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January 2018

Nashville!

Ho-lee-mo-leeee!

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Nudie Cohn was a tailor -- check it out!

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They say there are 10,000 silver dollars embedded in the bar at Nudie's.

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Hell yeah, we bought a t-shirt from these fine NFD representatives...
so that they can provide coats for kids (all for a good cause)!

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Unexpected highlight!

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Congratulations, Superintendents, on your certification!

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The Don Kelley Band at Robert's Western World.

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JesseLee Jones -- Brazilbilly -- at Robert's Western World (which he now owns).

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Oh my, did we ever have fun! Last year, in New Orleans, we were all about the Fine Dining. This year, in Nashville, it was all about Honky Tonk!!

TUESDAY

I left work at noon and drove down to Milwaukee to catch my afternoon nonstop flight. Ann had sent me an email: "When you get here, let's go out!" And we did.

WEDNESDAY

Ann had conference all day, and I had plans to meet up with Annette (yes, Annette)! We met for coffee at The Frothy Monkey, then walked across the street to Craft South (where I was quite restrained), and then up to Jeni's where we had ice cream for lunch! It was SO nice to meet & chat with Annette, so comfortable & easy. Blog people really are the best people. :)

THURSDAY

Ann's graduation! Initially, the ceremony was to take place in the middle of the whole affair and Ann & I were going to cut out of Music City Center to make it on time to a dinner reservation before going to a concert, but someone's speech went long and another someone had a flight to catch, so it got pushed to the end. The big perk was that I didn't miss Doris Kearns-Goodwin's keynote address. What a pleasure that was!

I ended up cancelling our dinner reservation and we enjoyed the lovely & plentiful reception buffet, instead (Hot Chicken Sliders, anyone? YUM!). And then it was time to walk up to the Ryman to see Blues Traveler!

FRIDAY

Tourist time! We took the Historic RCA Studio B Tour and had our photo taken at the piano that Elvis played, and spent a nice few hours at the Country Music Hall of Fame. We especially loved the Loretta Lynn and Johnny Cash & Bob Dylan exhibits, but everything else, too. The clothing/costumes are amazing (and all of the women were/are tiny, tiny, tiny)! (BTW, the Studio B Tour was good and our guide was great, but it didn't hold a candle to The Swampette Tour of Muscle Shoals! Not sure it'll ever be beat.)

SATURDAY

Up EARLY to catch flights... and having been out a bit later than intended on Friday, whooaaaa! Ann's left a few hours before mine, so I found a couch on which to rest. Using my ample but not too big carry-on bag for a pillow, I actually fell asleep... and woke up wondering if the word "Baggallini" was impressed upon my face (it wasn't). I slept on the plane. And then a half-hour from home, I took another little nap. The driving had been slow-going and intense, as there was some freezing rain and more than a few cars in the ditch, I needed a break!

Over the course of four days, we had food and/or drinks at The George Jones, Cerveza Jack's*, Jack's Bar-B-Que, Puckett's, Wild Eggs, Another Broken Egg Cafe, and I'm thinking there was another place but I can't remember. Anyway, I didn't realize until just now that both of the "egg" places are franchises. They were both very good! The photo is from Another Broken Egg -- a just-the-right-size Belgian waffle, topped with brie and blackberry crisp -- YUM.

We enjoyed music at some of those places, and also Honky Tonk Central (where a former co-worker of Ann's once sang!), Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, Nudie's Honky Tonk, Whiskey Row, The Second Fiddle, and Robert's Western World. I'm sure we popped in & out of a couple of others!

There is no shortage of music in Music City! Wow. All for tips/no cover (at least that we ran across). As our guide on the Studio B Tour said, musicians come to Nashville to make music but leave Nashville to make money!

Now, neither Ann nor I are what you'd call a "country music fan," but there are some indelible impressions in that flavor from our childhoods: Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Buck Owens & Roy Clark & Hee Haw, Jeanne C. Riley, Tammy Wynette, Lynn Anderson... and Marty Robbins. Marty Robbins held some weird connection to our dad for us all, I think; after our parents split, we spun Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs until it would spin no more.

So, it's the more old-school stuff that rings our bell. I remember specifically that it was the notes of Harper Valley PTA that drew us into The Second Fiddle on Friday night!

I'd noted Robert's Western World, a few doors down, on previous walks down Broadway, and on Friday night, we were also drawn inside... and weren't we lucky! The Don Kelley Band was very good, with an entertaining bass viol player, and a 17-year-old guitarist that blew our minds. (And not only ours! Luke McQueary was mentioned in a NY Times article about Nashville just a few weeks ago!) We had a beer and listened for a while, and moved on to another venue, but it wasn't long before we were back! In striking up a conversation at the bar, we learned that JesseLee Jones -- the Brazilian Hillbilly, aka Brazil Billy (or Brazilbilly) -- would be the next band up, and heard all about his story. Born in Sao Paulo, he made his way to the U.S., unable to speak English, he could sing country music (having memorized Marty Robbins' Greatest Hits) (or something like that). He eventually made his way to Nashville and was taken under the wing of Robert Moore (of Robert's Western World), eventually taking over the business (or something like that). SO MUCH FUN!! And the reason we were out way past our bedtime (though still way early by Nashville standards).

*So, we're at Cerveza Jack's having tacos and nachos and beer, and all of a sudden we hear the singer (dang, I can't remember her name right now... but I will) talking about Appleton with the people at the next table. "Wait, Wisconsin??" we asked, and piped up with howdy-do's. "Were you at Mile of Music?" I asked. No, she said that she played a benefit for a Catholic middle school here. We're whoopin' it up and all of a sudden, from across the bar, we hear, "COMBINED LOCKS!" (Pop. 3509.) WHAT?!?? The woman comes over and we're all chatting up a storm when she asks for more specifics about where I live, and I said, "Oh, at the end of the street right up from the bank." And she said, "On Such-and-Such Street?" (A two-block long dead-end street that no one knows about.) Turns out, her then-fiance owned/flipped the house next door, and we'd met & talked before! She said, "I was in your house!" The world is SO FREAKISHLY SMALL sometimes.


Fly-by

Well, I cast on my shawl, watched Opening Ceremonies and some figure skating here and there... y'know, you really have to WATCH figure skating, and that cuts into the knitting time! It was a great weekend in every way except for the knitting output. I'll be picking up on Row 20 of 54/Chart A this evening; Charts B, C & D, plus body & ribbing (x2 on all of that) remain! At this point, the podium seems very far away...

In other news, I finished sewing the epic, years-long, multi-generational sewing project on Saturday morning, and I'm really pretty thrilled with how it turned out. All the pattern pieces are pressed, neatly folded and put away, and I would consider sewing the pattern again! Details, photos & a bit more of the story are forthcoming... next week!

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Oh funny & flattering Snapchat filters, I love you! (There are some very UN-flattering filters - no love!) There was KID TIME on Saturday afternoon! We had so much fun in just a few hours! It's hard to imagine adding #3 to the mix... there's only 5-6 weeks to go!

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Kate, Ali & I drove down to IKEA in Schaumburg yesterday, passing right by the new store in Oak Creek that looks like it should be open, but won't actually be open until this summer. That'll still be a bit of a trek, and not something we'll do on the regular, but here's to saving 1.5 hours travel each way! We had a successful day (13.5 hours, door-to-door including unloading), complete with Swedish meatballs & Dala horse candies. I found everything on my list, made my judgments and comparisons, and despite leaving a number of things on the shelf, the car was stuffed and we all had plenty of things to unpack & assemble when we got home.

Rusty and I will be doing a literal fly-by tomorrow -- he returns from Mexico as I jet off to Nashville!

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He spent quite a bit of time demonstrating at Galeria Logan, and finished the piece he was working on. (You can spot some of Rusty's other work in the photos -- from last year or the year before; he just made a fresh delivery). And he got some GREAT wave photos at the beach... inspiration for future work!

I hope you had a great weekend!


Friday Fotos

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From the top:

  • Sleepy Kitten clothing serves dual purpose! (Perfect excuse/justification to knit more.)
  • It took way longer than it should have, but I finally located my knitting belt and now all tools are assembled to knit for the Olympics! I've used much shorter (i.e., 8") needles to successfully cast on Morvarch, ready to switch to the 14-inchers when needed. I will try to catch some video of that when the time comes.
  • It's melting... or it was the other day when this photo was taken. It's snow-covered again now. Bleh.
  • I'd much rather be in Mexico at this cute little casita with Rusty! Timing & various other factors prevented that once again... and he's "working," so that would be somewhat limiting... still. I am going to Nashville next week. It won't be as warm, and there's no ocean or sand, but my sis found a cute Airbnb, I'll represent for her as she graduates -- an official ceremony (with rehearsal) and everything -- plus some extra-curriculars!

Happy Weekend, y'all! I'm looking forward to some Kid Time and also a trip to IKEA -- with an obscenely long shopping list that I like to think of more as a "Reminder to Check This Out/Compare List." Also knitting and the Olympics!!


3TT: Throwback

For the Olympics in 2006, I knit Williamsro.

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That one earned a gold medal, which is still hanging on my fridge! Hm, I haven't worn this sweater in a while...

In 2010, there was a pile o' finishing to do.

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I finished a couple of them then, too! They've all been finished now, in one way or another* (though perhaps not until 2017 -- Oblique!), except for the one on topWill it ever??

{I don't remember why, but the 2014 games were skipped altogether.}

This year, I am gearing up to knit during PyeongChang 2018!

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Team Rules Schmules... it works whether you're in it to win it, or just in it for the camaraderie & fun! Feel free to join in!! Official cast on is tomorrow morning at 5 a.m. CST.

I think I'm in it to win it this year (so some of the rules apply), but we'll see... traveling for 5 or so days with a not very travel-friendly project may change that! But for now my yarn is wound, I played around with the cast on and 14" DPNs last night (and dug out some shorter ones because those long ones aren't needed right away), and need to find my knitting belt.

*Man, that Peace Fleece (bottom) is gorgeous, isn't it? Coup d'Etat was frogged, but I still like that design...


Unraveled... and mended

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As I've done many times before, I had Gin in the stroller the other day all bundled up in Parcheesi. We ended up doing a little cross-country, and the blanket got caught up in the front wheel, leaving a hole...

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It's the first time I've had to mend a hole in this well-loved and much-used blanket!

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And, while it was more than one stitch, I definitely had The Rare Stitch in mind as I made the repair. I took the opportunity to toss it in the washer & dryer, too, so all fresh and clean!

READING:

Like the knitting, the reading has been slow around here. I continue to listen to Mustard Seed, mostly in the car, and turning the pages of Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Today happens to be the 151st anniversary of Laura's birth in the Big Woods of Wisconsin! Happy Birthday, Laura!


Ten on Tuesday: 3-Day Weekends

I've had a few 3- or even 4-day weekends lately and, while I really do love my regular Wednesday off (I like to think of it as a "mini-weekend"), there is something to be said for three or four days off in a row. It's fun to get out of town, of course, but it's sometimes just as fulfilling to spend those days at or close to home.

Here are 10 things I did on my (most recent) 3-day weekend:

1 -- Relaxed. No bra, no shoes, no makeup, PJs until whenever I wanted (or someone let me know they were on their way over)...

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2 -- I made Homemade Clam Chowder! I've had clam chowder a million times -- out of a can, or at a restaurant (probably out of a bigger can) -- but I've never made it at home. One reason for this is that I live in Wisconsin and we don't have clams like that (I don't think) and, even if we did, it would be illegal to harvest them. I've also come to know and trust the popular and well-stocked seafood counter at my favorite local grocery, so when a NY Times Cooking recipe by Sam Sifton came across my desk on Friday, I decided that I'd give it a go if there were cherrystone clams to be had. There were, and it was delicious!

3 -- We had a nice dinner at the home of friends on Saturday -- G&Ts, soup & salad, lots of gabbing! We will need to reciprocate!

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4 -- I "cleaned up" my room a little bit... moved some things around and made some room to do some sewing. This is a long-languishing (as in years) project that made it's wishful way from my mother to Annie to Ali and finally to me. I was sick of "moving it around" and was finally inspired to sew it up. All the pieces had been cut, the pattern was in the bag and intact, and I am moving right along. It's going to be a gift and is a bit of a stealth project at the moment... all shall be revealed in a week or two!

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5 -- We continue to ponder & plan (& sketch) the replacement over-the-fridge cabinet situation. Another change has already been made since this drawing was scanned. Doors of correct dimensions have been located, though, so now we're just hammering out some details. (Actually, I just realized that maybe I need to bring home said doors as a visual aid in order to make the final decision!) (Thanks, blog!)

6 -- Planning for the Olympics. I've already set the DVR to record a couple of things.

7 -- I ordered some extra-long DPNs for my Olympic knitting project, and hope to see them in the next couple of days so I can train swatch!

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8 -- More sewing. Daily stitching, in fact. And I did a lot more of that than knitting over the weekend! That's the wrong side of a sleeve, and it reminds me of watermarks & spills.

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This is a day or two or three later and I've done some applique, too. The basted line is where I imagine (I'm pretty sure... almost certain) that I'll be rolling up the sleeve and I don't think I want watermarks on that part!
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9 -- And cutting! Woman can only sew for so long on an Alabama Chanin project before she must cut!

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10 -- Even though I wasn't knitting, I did play around with some yarn yesterday. Experimenting in a couple of ways... and I'm happy with the results!

It was back to work today. It's freezing cold but sunny and, happily, we're up to 10:04 hours of daylight!! (Your daylight & happiness may vary.)

I hope you had a great weekend and start to the week!


The Rare Stitch

I had an email the other day from my friend Margaux at 1010 Studio. I've known Margaux through blogging for... I don't even know how long (before she was a mama, for sure)! I met her in person, finally, at Rhinebeck 2016, and my project bag of choice since last fall has been the "Rhinebeck or Bust" bag that she designed for Rhinebeck 2017! With any luck, we'll meet up again at Rhinebeck 2018! She is a wonderful, creative, amazing, loving woman with a great idea to share! She says it best (and also has great photos), so...
 
As you may or may not know February 28th is Rare Disease Day. The day we get to shine a light on so many kids and adults living with a Rare Disease including my son James. 💕

I have been thinking of ways to increase awareness for Rare Disease in the community I love so much and realized that #knitting is a perfect metaphor of the odds of rare disease. Thinking about your knitting as a population, how many hundreds of thousands stitches do you knit? Now imagine if one of those stitches is “off.” A sea of stockinette but one isn’t quite the same...
 
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So what am I asking you to do? Something very simple.
 
👉🏼 Starting today, grab a knit you’re working on or one you already have and duplicate stitch One Stitch in a contrasting color ➰

One stitch of so many that is different. That stands out from the rest. That can’t be ignored.

A disease or disorder is defined as rare when it effects less than 200,000 people in the U.S. My son James is diagnosed with Alternating Hemipelgia of Childhood (AHC) which has only approx 400 cases in the US. A 1 in a million chance diagnosis.

I’d love to start seeing these “rare stitches” pop up around social media! Maybe James is the one you know, maybe you of know another? Tell their story! By the time Rare Disease Day happens on February 28th I can imagine seeing a flood of Rare Stitches all over the world.
 
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You can use hashtag #therarestitch and tag me at @1010_studio when you post. I’d love so see them and want to create a huge “collage” by the end of the month! Please encourage or tag others to keep it going.

Seeing the village around us supporting him (and me) as we keep making our way through this Rare Disease world is amazing. I know I wouldn’t be as chipper as I am without you all! I cannot thank you all enough for being a part of our journey and helping to shine a light on that One Stitch of many.
 

3TT: It's February!

Joining Carole and friends again this week for Three on Thursday...

Unlike some others, I felt like January flew by. We welcomed the New Year, Maddy was around & then made her departure for NZ, Katie moved, Junah had a birthday, we celebrated our anniversary with a weekend in Elkhart Lake, we attended an art opening, a film festival, and a play... not to mention dentist & hair appointments, book club, knit nights, and a couple of movies at the theater!

WOW!

January was probably my worst month on record in the "video everyday" department, but I managed to eek out (& edit) enough for an OK #1SE video.

I don't normally get too excited about February -- though it's the shortest month, it sure can drag -- but I do begin sense that we're making progress on our way toward longer, warmer days!

Here are three things happening this month:

1 -- A long-awaited visit to Nashville with Annie! I'll have some free time (Craft South, Jeni's 12 South, Frothy Monkey, I am looking at you) and am hoping for a meet-up at one or all of those places; I'll be attending Ann's graduation from her program (yahoo!); and we have tickets for Blues Traveler at the Ryman Auditorium. I'm open to suggestions for other things to do & see -- our Airbnb is right in the thick of it downtown.

2 -- The Olympics!! And knitting -- Team Rules Schmules is already loads of fun!! Though I'll be traveling a little bit, I still expect to knit everyday and finish my shawl. I've also been sucked into the Bang Out a Carbeth vortex and am pondering yarn choices... I liked that sweater the moment I saw it, and I think it could work.

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3 -- The Grand Re-opening & 9th Anniversary Celebration at Kaukauna Coffee & Tea (KC&T) on Feb. 16th -- nine years to the day that Ali opened the doors as proprietor! I am so sad that I'll be in Nashville on that day, but will certainly be following the celebration on social media.