Previous month:
April 2017

Day off

Yesterday was my usual day off of work, and I decided to do a literal interpretation for a change. No dentist appointments, no banking or bill-paying, no grocery shopping, no dusting, no, nothing, nada.

I didn't get dressed until noon -- and, really, only then because there'd already been two delivery men at the door, and also because I'd be warmer. It was overcast and cool outside and... well, just not the kind of day that energizes me!

I never put on shoes and never left the house.

I never woke up my computer nor turned on the light in my workroom.

I watched TV and sewed.

Between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, I'd watched all of The Keepers on Netflix.

I basted the binding on the Alabama Chanin Corset over the weekend but that's not what I've been working on. What's been in-hand lately is the Magdalena A-Line Tunic that I stenciled about a year ago.

AlabamaChaninMagdalenaAline-2

This crazy thought popped into my head: Wouldn't it be fun to wear this in Spain?

AlabamaChaninMagdalenaAline-1

I doubt that I'll finish in time. This is the state of the front -- a bit of sewing yet to do, and a lot of cutting -- and I'll have to locate the back!

But... I'll never say "Never"!!


Book Bingo!

I had an OK weekend, despite aches & major sniffles from a springtime cold. We finished booking most of the transportation and lodging for Spain. We had some family time. I went to bed early...

I'm looking forward to an extra-long holiday weekend and the chance to catch up on some of the other things I'd planned to do last weekend!

Meanwhile, I'm feeling much better today, and am revving my reading engine!! Here's my 2017 BOOK BINGO card and ideas so far:

2017-Book-Bingo

The green-shaded squares are books that are currently underway. I'm nearly finished with Dark Matter, so am making progress with Homeland and Other Stories while I bide my time until the start of Memorial Day Weekend to finish (just a few more days!). I have to determine which of the others will be begged, borrowed, or stolen (haha, not really) (purchased: new or used), and which will be audio, if not already designated by category.

2017-Book-Bingo

That's what I'm thinking as of now! I have multiples for a number of squares and definitely reserve the right to switch things around. The one that's stumped me so far is "ABOUT POLITICS," because ew. Would The Handmaid's Tale work for that one? (Can you believe I've never read it??)

I am open to suggestions!!

Ready readers? Are you working on your BOOK BINGO card? There's plenty of time to pull it together. Mary has all the details, rules, and a link to the card generator!


Scenes

It's been a busy week! We had an impromptu get together & cookout on Wednesday... it was so nice outside!

SidewalkChalk-1
SidewalkChalk-1

Rod and his brother came over and began cutting up some fallen trees in our ravine. And while they did that, Rusty did this:

NoxiousWeeds

Two 30-gallon garbage bags full of garlic mustard... and I wish I could say that was the end of it. Terrible stuff.

Allium
Allium

Meanwhile, there's so much blooming right now: lilacs, allium, wild geranium, lilies of the valley, some sweet narcissus from out of nowhere!

I'm hoping to get a handle on my knitting this weekend. All of my projects are so "needy" at the moment -- and I refuse to cast on something new! I've been tempted, but instead I've been sewing...


Mother's Day Gardening & Crafts

...or Mother's Day Garden Crafts!! I chuckled pretty hard on Friday when I read about making a Garden Spicer! I didn't really have any intention to make one myself, until I was touring the back yard with Rusty on Saturday morning and spotted the old wooden star ornaments that Kate nixed from my garden. (And high time, too.)

I knew exactly how to repurpose those!! And I made two!! I had a date to take family photos for friends on the occasion of Mom's birthday, and I knew she's love a Garden Spicer!!

GardenSpicer1

There's mine in the barberry bush in front of the house. He's not sitting quite as I'd like, and I rearranged several times before deciding that maybe I should just try another spot... a barberry bush has thorns, y'all!

GardenSpicer1

Here he is popping up behind the vinca!

GardenSpicer3

Scamp's not too concerned...

GardenSpicer4

So damn funny.

GardenSpicer5

We've had some rain; he's starting to run.

* * * * *

On Sunday, Rusty and I got the potato patch ready.

Potatoes-1

And then I picked up our potato planter.

Potatoes-2

Seriously, other than some spacing issues, the kid has it down!! He was straddling the rows like a champ and loved watering, too.

* * * * *

On Saturday morning, I finally scratched a little itch I've had for a few weeks and cut out an Alabama Chanin Corset.

Petty-1

I'm using a Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers concert tee (US Tour 2005) that I picked up at a thrift shop a while ago. I've only finished one other Corset, so far, and that was also from a concert tee (Hootie & The Blowfish)! I made a little modification on this one to raise the neckline about a half-inch.

Petty-2

I accidentally snipped a hole on the back when I was cutting, but used this detail from the sleeve to patch it.

Petty-3

The pieces were sewn together by machine, finishing is being done by hand. I think the felled seams give Tom a sort of Franken-petty look!

It's a little snug, but I love it... incentive to keep collecting those "5" stickers at WW! I've got three, so far, and even though I was up a bit last night... still going down! Ali spent two days (and sent countless exasperated Snapchats) making an Opera Cake for Mother's Day... what kind of mother would I be if I didn't have a piece or three?? That's over now, and I'd like to hit -20 by the time we depart for Spain.


FO: Christmas Polar Bears

Given that it's taken until Mother's Day to finally finish what were intended to be Christmas presents, you'd think that perhaps there was a real big snafu or difficulty with the pattern.

Bear-3

  • Ravelry Project Pages:
  • Pattern: Knitted Polar Bear by Louise Walker in Mollie Makes, Issue #72
  •  Yarn:
    • Plymouth Yarn Encore Mega - Ecru, Natural, Black
    • A bit of leftover fingering yarn for eyes
  • Needles:  US 13
  • Start to Finish:  October 26/November 7 - May 14, 2017
  • Mods:
    • Embroidered eyes rather than safety eyes.
    • Rather than knitting 12 individual 3-stitch claws for each bear (I'd rather stick a needle in my eye), I cast on 9 stitches for each paw and used it as a base from which to knit them. It was still fiddly knitting, but I think it was easier to position and sew in the end.
    • Ooops! I just remembered that I knit collars for each bear. The head of each bear is filled with polyfil and I couldn't imagine that it would stay there with playing/cuddling/wrestling, so I "sewed" them closed at the neck... and knit a collar for each bear to a) distinguish one (Jun's) from another (Gin's) and b) hide the sewing.
    • Whatever. I'm still calling them FOs!!

The were very quick and quite fascinating to knit. The sewing up... well, that's never my favorite thing, but the finished pieces are so adorable, it's definitely worth it! The fact is, I've already "finished" once but that was quite short-lived as Junah dislodged a "safety eye" in all of three minutes while absent-mindedly cuddling/fiddling with his bear!

Ho-hum. I dithered over that situation for a while. I really loved the way those big fat round safety eyes looked, but they were obviously not so safe when used on a gauge this big and a toy intended to be played with.

They hung around my house for a while -- quite comfortably on my footstool, actually -- and in the course of the kids coming over, Gin eventually worked out another couple of eyes! They were so big that they weren't really a choking hazard, but still... ARRRGGGHHHH!

The wisdom of blog readers led me to embrace the embroidered eye... I was a little reluctant, but my other solutions involved a lot of un-doing & re-doing, and I hate that, plus I wasn't certain it would solve the problem.

So finally the other day, I sewed a rough outline of the eyes.

Bear-1

They were sitting on a side table by my chair when Junah saw them yesterday and lit up... They have EYES!! He grabbed them and cuddled up on the couch, hugging one in each arm, and I decided that it was TIME!! (How terrible a grandmother can I be??)

I finally located some leftover black yarn and set to work.

Bear-6
Bear-6

They're not perfectly smooth & round, but they are EYES and the job is done... so perfect.

Bear-5
Bear-5

And also loved!

Bear-2

I don't know why it takes so long to get around to things like this sometimes. My mom would say that I get that from my grandmother!

Speaking of mothers, I had such a wonderful weekend full of so many good things -- sewing, crafting, gardening, building, celebrating -- not to mention cooking, eating, and drinking! A couple of projects are underway... details to follow!

I hope you had a great weekend, too.


Majorette Mom

The other day I read this great piece in The New York Times: Our Mothers as We Never Saw Them. I've read it three or four times now.

I'd already been thinking about my mom, of course, and even thinking about her being a Majorette when she was in high school... before I knew her. I decided that this was the year of Majorette Mom! There aren't a lot of photos of her before I knew her/she became a mother, but of them, most are as a Majorette.

I think this is the only "pro" shot, probably taken for the yearbook or a program.

Knitorious-majorette-mom-1

There are a bunch of photos, in different outfits, that were taken by my grandpa around their home in Marshfield.

Knitorious-majorette-mom-3

One of the cutest things I remember my mom saying about being a cheerleader is that she'd shout "FIRST & TEN, DO IT AGAIN!" but had absolutely NO IDEA what it meant... having zero interest in the game (it was all about the BOYS) (of course).

Knitorious-majorette-mom-7
Knitorious-majorette-mom-7

I remember those boots. She'd kept them a long time, for whatever reason, and they were in the cedar chest (now mine) that was at the foot of her bed (along with her wedding dress) (most recently worn by Ali). They were EVERYTHING... with TASSELS!

Knitorious-majorette-mom-9

I am reasonably certain that my mother's affinity for all things ROYAL began here. And also the attitude.

Knitorious-majorette-mom-5
Knitorious-majorette-mom-5

She used to give lessons to the little girls in the neighborhood for 25 cents.

There was a scar on one eyebrow from a wayward baton.

Knitorious-majorette-mom-8

I'm not sure whose idea it was to climb onto the ridge of the garage... probably not Grandma's!

Knitorious-majorette-mom-2

But it resulted in one of my favorite photos of all time! I think Grandpa wasn't a half-bad photographer, though I know of no other photos he made.

Knitorious-major-grandpa-1

And when the tables were turned, he wasn't a bad subject, either! Haha!

What springs to mind about your mother... before she was a mother?


FO: Colorwash Scarf

It's official!

Knitorious-colorwash-scarf-3

Knitorious-colorwash-scarf-6

Isn't she lovely? Kym deserves credit that this is even a thing! I was this >< close to frogging after barely getting a start; she was the lone voice cautioning, "not so fast, see what happens." And I listened!

We seem to be forming a Mutual Encouragement Society!

Knitorious-colorwash-scarf-2

I love how it turned out. It was really fun to knit and watch it develop; the more I knit, the more I liked it.

It's bright and bold -- and a bit outside of my comfort zone. It will "go" with almost anything, though, and will certainly provide a pop of color to my normally dark and neutral wardrobe.

Knitorious-colorwash-scarf-2

I think there are a couple of reasons this worked so well, despite the super-colorful and super-saturated yarn.

One is that Kirsten's brilliant pattern was designed for WILD YARNS, and this is certainly that!

Another is that the distribution of color was very even throughout. Each color was given equal billing, so to speak, and they all play nicely together -- there are no spotlight-hogging (pooling or flashing) divas!

Knitorious-colorwash-scarf-2

I'm on the fence about the yarn, which I've never used before. It's very soft and there's a fabulous halo; I'm not sure how it will hold up over time, especially in terms of pilling. It's also very hard... it's difficult to describe, but it makes a "hard edge" that I sometimes find uncomfortable to wear, and I wonder if that might be slightly less an issue without the silk element. It might be partly design; I find it tricky to comfortably wear any shawl that has a really taut edge. It's definitely a thing with me, though, because it's not just shawls -- this is something that happens with all types of garments, whether commercial or handmade. I don't know what it is, but if it doesn't sit "just so," it can hurt my neck, back, shoulders.

Knitorious-colorwash-scarf-1

It sure makes me so happy, though, and it looks fabulous on the form. I will fuss 'til it feels right!

Meta moment with Kate... she's posting about me taking pictures to post about my knitting. (She'd also been working in the garden!)


Unraveled: unofficial FO

Joining Kat & friends again this week for Unraveled Wednesday!

I'll save the official FO post for later, when I can take some photos, but unofficially it's a finished Colorwash Scarf!

I gave it a soak yesterday afternoon and pinned it out on my blocking mat atop my bed. Then realized that the "guest room" could easily be my "blocking room," so carried it up to the guest bed!

I unpinned it from the blocking mat this morning and took a quick selfie outside the garage before I got in the car...

Web-20170510_063156

You might notice that I added a few stripes... couldn't help myself. I have a couple of things to say about this project, so stay tuned.

I began listening to Crossing To Safety by Wallace Stegner last week. It's been a little busy around here, so even when there was quieter time when I could have been listening to my book, I opted instead for silence. I'm at a part in the book that's set in Madison, though, so it was kind of fun to visit as I'd just read about it... albeit 80 years difference. (You cannot drive your car down State Street toward the Wisconsin State Capitol anymore! Since it was turned into a pedestrian zone in 1974, the only wheeled vehicles allowed are fire, police, delivery, buses, and bicycles.)

And Dark Matter is still the book on my nightstand. I am making progress. It may have turned a little weird(er) last night... or I was just really tired (which I was). Progress is slow, but it is progress. I should start thinking about the next nightstand book!


Sunday Shenanigans (Weekending, cont'd)

I let a couple of participatory things slide this month.

In the past, I've enjoyed doing Macro May (even if I was the only participant!), but I let that slide this year in favor of another photography-related challenge which I shall share in good time.

Actually, I don't think I ever fully participated in #memademay, but I've been a fan and it was on my radar. On Sunday, I fired up my newly repaired sewing machine* and did a little mending... #memendedmay!

IMG_20170507_125621_442

This is one of Kate's book bags from when she was a Master's student at University of Edinburgh... and obviously used well beyond! The fabric began to fray at one of the handle attachment points, and I wanted to fix it for her. The bag is worn, ink-stained and, some might argue, really not worth the trouble. (Kate may even have replaced it on her most recent trip.) That ink stain, though! I reinforced the frayed areas with stitching, then added another layer of fabric inside -- scrap from Mom's old pillowcase that I used for Gin's most recent Gingeranium dress.

That project under my belt, I mended the failed handle (and reinforced the rest) of a Tyvek tote bag from Rio de Janeiro, repaired a couple of the canvas grocery bags that we've used for years, and even repaired a pair of underwear where the elastic had come away from the fabric.

Oh, I was channeling my mother BIG TIME!! She mended everything, including more substantial underwear repairs (but that's where I draw the line).

20170508_143509

I patched a hole, by request, in this favorite paint-spattered flannel shirt of Rusty's. (Yes, I did use a piece of pink & white gingham -- it's the only flannel that I could find in my stash!) It's not beautiful, but it'll do... I also reinforced a button that was barely hanging on.

IMG_20170507_125621_442
IMG_20170507_125621_442

And I made towels! I've had a length of this fabric for years, always with this intention. It finally dawned on me that it might have been from one of those hand towel rolls (that you rarely see anymore). Anyway, I cut it (none too carefully) into kitchen towel-ish lengths and hemmed both ends... voila! Three new towels, plus a little extra for the rag bag.

20170507_171407

POTATOES!! I am so excited, you just can't imagine. We drove out to the local farm** on Sunday morning and I bought a little of everything. All Certified Organic, I have Dark Red Norland, Oneida Gold, Blue Adirondack (purple), Superior, and French Fingerling.

20170507_171407

Here's the view of my little potato patch from they bedroom window. I'll be able to check on it everyday! There's nothing there yet; next on my list is manure and hay/straw. I may build up the soil just a bit, too, because there's a black walnut tree a little ways away.

20170507_183540
20170507_183540

Family photo shoot! I helped wrangle and cajole, and then Rusty & I had a few frames snapped with the kiddos.

Whew! I had yesterday off and spent most of it at home... quietly and mostly alone. Ahhh.

*The old Husqvarna is still humming, but my repair guy says that parts are getting harder and harder to find, and I might want to start looking around for its replacement. Boo.

**We chatted while bagging potatoes and when she told me that they also give horseback riding lessons... ding-ding-ding. I realized that I'd been there before! Ali & her friend Abbey used to take lessons there when they were in high school; Abbey's mom still keeps her horse out there.


Weekending: Together With / Madison

20170505_192244

Brian Prugh . (title to be updated) . Nylon tulle . 2017

20170505_192244

Tobias FikeDraco (left) and Puppis . Solar-burned canvas. 2017

20170505_192244

Laura ShillRun So Far (from the Absent Lovers series) . Cyanotype . 2017

20170505_192244

Amber CobbHeld, Hugged, and Stroked . Silicone on bathmat. 2016

20170505_192435

Esau McGhee . (titles to be updated) . Collage. 2017

20170505_192435

Ian FisherAtmosphere No. 85 . Oil on canvas . 2017

20170505_192435

Ashley Williams and Sarah Williams (collaboration) . Necessary Language: Berlin/Doi Saket . Clay, wire, foam, and paint . 2017

Those are a few of my favorites pieces from TOGETHER WITHThe show will be up in Madison for a few weeks, then packed away & stored until September when it heads for Denver!

It was late, we were hungry, and Rusty was mightily suffering the allergies, so the only other Gallery Night venue we visited was right across the street at the Overture Center for the Arts, where The Fairytales of Grimm & Litherland was my favorite exhibit by far!

20170505_200725
20170505_200725

Gerit Grimm

20170505_200821
20170505_200821

Gina Litherland

Path of Needles . Oil on Masonite . 2009
Three Spinsters . Oil on panel . 2015

For anyone interested who lives in or around Madison, Gerit Grimm will be giving a demo @ UW-Madison Art Lofts on Thurs., June 8, 6:30-8:00 pm.

Our Airbnb -- with an app for the garage door and an app to unlock the door -- was really pretty great. We were literally in & out -- went to bed when we arrived, and got ready to leave when we got up! We had breakfast at a new-to-us diner in Madison called The Curve (a whole area of Madison over there that I seem to have never visited before!). 

20170506_101556

It was so lovely, we walked down by the water. I took a panorama photo and then Rusty decided to move and this is what was captured -- it's always weird when something moves!

We were home by early afternoon and I watched the kiddos for a while before getting ready to go to hear the Fox Valley Symphony. It was the finale of their 50th season, and as part of the anniversary celebration, they asked a few local artists to create works of art for the pieces they would perform -- Saturday's piece was A Sea Symphony, and Rusty was asked to create the artwork! Imagine that.


Dear May,

Well, we've already celebrated Gin's first birthday, May the Fourth (Be With You), and now Cinco de Mayo!

20170429_135751

Where can it possibly go from here??

For starters, we're heading to Madison this evening for Gallery Night and the opening of TOGETHER WITH, curated by Kate and showing at The Bubbler at Madison Public Library! We're staying at a new and contemporary Airbnb with the most techy host ever -- apps for everything! It'll be a fun get-away. Quick... but FUN!

Mother's Day is there in the middle. Memorial Day at the end.

Really, though, compared to just about every other month this year, you are rather quiet and I'm not going anywhere. Except for the quick trip to Madison, I am staying put!

I'll continue working on projects...

  • Rusty's nearly finished with his part of the guest room re-do, so I'll be furnishing, decorating, and sprucing up a few things. I'm excited for it to come together!
  • I'm not much of a "harvest" gardener, but I'm going to attempt potato farming for the first time! I found a local source for organic seed potatoes -- and many organic other things -- it's not too far from home and I'll be heading there soon.

20170429_135648

My newest assistant!

  • My second shawl in as many months is almost finished, with another (three) (at least) still on the needles and I'm hankering to get back to them! A couple have been in time-out for crimes not their own, and I'm ready to set them free -- figure it out & finish!
  • I am feeling overwhelmed by possibilities, stifled by WIPs, and really need to KonMari my stash and projects; Memorial Day Weekend is earmarked for that task. (I even put it on my calendar.)

And... prep for SPAIN will begin!! I'm so excited to see Annie & the boys, and Maddy!!

Love, Vicki


FO: Summer Camp

More like "Spring Camp!" I actually finished this a couple of weeks ago. I've been wearing it a lot, too.

Knitorious_summer-camp_5

Knitorious_summer-camp_3
Knitorious_summer-camp_3

It's quite long, and wraps generously around my neck. I never blocked it, and think perhaps the knitted-on leaf edging might benefit from it. But I'm in no rush.

Knitorious_summer-camp_1

It "goes" with just about everything, but I especially love it with black, gray (my basics), or light blue.

Knitorious_summer-camp_2

It's all garter stitch, which I love, and the pattern was truly easy to memorize! I would consider making another one -- it's a great pattern for speckled or variegated yarn.


Unraveled: closing in

Joining Kat & friends again this week for Unraveled Wednesday!

I've been exclusively working on my Colorwash Scarf, and here's where it's at as of this afternoon:

Knitorious-colorwash-1

I noticed a silly but large & noticeable mistake late last night, so took a little time this afternoon to rip & re-knit a few rows before taking it outside for a photo.

Here's a close up:

Knitorious-colorwash-2

Um, yeah. This is one colorful Colorwash. I'm so glad I didn't rip it! It's probably one of the happiest things I've ever knit.

The plan is to finish & block this, then return to & finish the Brambling Shawl, and ONLY THEN will I begin to entertain notions of possibly knitting an adorable mouse... though first I should probably finish knitting the adorable rabbit that's been underway for a couple of years now... oh, and polar bear eyes (I'm getting closer).

Too many things + a little procrastination.

I finished listening to Lincoln in the Bardo just this morning. I am certain that I will be listening to it again, and I also desire a hard copy (my bookseller is on it).

It was just incredible -- one of the most unusual books I've ever read/heard, and also one of the best. I truly laughed out loud (while driving in my car, possibly being given a wide berth by fellow travelers), and also cried. The performances are stunning. I highly recommend this book (5 stars!) -- in whatever format you prefer (I believe it takes a little while to get comfortable with either).

I've listened to a little music and downloaded a new audio book today... but I'm not quite ready to move on, so will start it tomorrow.

What's it? Crossing To Safety by Wallace Stegner.

My interest was piqued after reading Carole's review and a few others. I'm always interested in good books with a Wisconsin angle, too!

Dark Matter is still the book on my nightstand!

What are you knitting & reading?


It's another birthday!

In fact, it's a FIRST birthday!!

01-months

One month.

02-months

Two months.

03-months-with-Jun

Three months.

05-months

Five months.

11-4-16

Six months.

Almost-01

Last week.

Happy 1st Birthday to my darling granddaughter Gin!


Weekending: From Bizarre to Bazaar

In the bizarre, I assisted with some unplanned car buying last week. Kate's 2005 Subaru Forester took a crap on her late last week (thankfully, waiting until after our return from Chicago!). There's already been a pile o' money sunk into that vehicle with, it seems, only the promise for more of the same. She decided to cut her losses, and once that decision was made, she began doing the legwork involved in finding a replacement. She ended up spending most of the week with us -- in a half-painted room with drop-cloth-covered furniture -- which made car-pooling and -sharing a little easier. By Friday (my day off), I schlepped her around to sign many of the things, and by noon on Saturday, after signing all the rest of the things, she drove a new-to-her (one previous owner, less than 90,000 miles) 2010 Subaru Forester off the lot! It's newer, nicer, and has a few more bells & whistles. Also, little things that make a girl happy... like an AUX jack!

_ _ _ _ _

I watched the kids on Saturday afternoon while Ali readied the KC&T Coffee Camper for it's longest & busiest gig so far!

20170429_193439

It was pretty chilly on Saturday night -- which is just what you want, I guess, if you're offering mostly hot drinks at the first Bazaar After Dark of the year! They were busy -- working their butts off busy -- all night! I was even put to work for a few minutes.

20170429_205627

Two streets & and alley were closed to traffic for the event, with lots of really great craft, food & drink vendors (which I happily did my part to support), music & entertainment.

The bazaar served to kick off a Habitat for Humanity Rock the Block event happening this week, right in my 'hood. One of the main items on the agenda is the rehab of a small park down the street that's seen better days (like, once upon a time, when the fountain was still working). I am anxious to see the re-do!!