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February 2007
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April 2007

I want to be like Bron

Dsc09844I don't think I've sewn anything for myself since maternity clothes when I was pregnant with Katie... that would be 22 years ago.  I've sewn a few things for the kids and some window coverings and have done a tiny bit of quilting, but that's it.  I saw this pattern at Bron's Blog the other day, and then the finished top and, well, I stopped at the fabric store on my way home yesterday.

I had this pattern (McCalls M5357) in my hand along with another that was very, very similar (slightly different design for the tops), but decided that I should just buy one for now and see how it goes.  I had a hard time choosing fabric -- that's probably my biggest challenge -- but I made myself buy something.  I really need help in that department -- color, print, envisioning.

I'm going to make the longer tunic top with this fabric.  I think it will look good with some capri pants that I already have -- two different greens, black -- maybe even with denim.  I'm not so much into the wearing of the same print from head-to-toe, though I will admit that I did once have a top/shorts "set" once and I wore it to death.  What can I say?  The kids were little, it was easy-care fabric and very, very comfortable, and sometimes it's just nice to spend all that time gazing in the closet, not having to think about whether this top goes with that bottom and do these colors look okay together and does this make my butt look big or my tummy pooch show too much.  It was tried and true.  I don't have it -- or any "set" -- anymore.  And I won't.

Dsc09846The thread is ready to go.

There's a good antique show this weekend and I'm planning to go tomorrow with Mom.  She always likes to be there first-thing, so I guess we'll be there first-thing.  I'm actually looking forward to it -- more than I have the past few years.  I haven't been in the market for anything in particular in a long time, but keep my eye out for the usual suspects -- pansy stuff, orphaned cabinet photos that strike a chord, "woman's work" things.  I did okay last year.  ; )

Have a good weekend.

Who farted? What? The dreamboat?

...or When Will I Get My First Hearing Aid?

I often knit while "watching" TV, which means that I actually listen to the TV much more than see the TV.  When commercials for The Departed began airing several months ago, I could have sworn, one of the first times it was on, that it was Who Farted?  Now that would have been a much different movie, appealing to a completely different demographic.  I laugh about it every time a commercial airs.  (Who would have?  Survey says it could have been any of them -- everyone does it, just like you and me -- DeNiro, Nicholson, DiCaprio, Damon, Wahlberg, Sheen, Baldwin...)

One of my guilty pleasures, lately, is Dancing With the Stars.  I used to watch ballroom competitions when they were aired in obscure time slots, only on PBS and, years before Dancing hit prime time, I actually tried to get a group of friends together to take lessons.  I still think it would be a fun thing to do -- not to mention great exercise (much more fun than walking).  Anyway, the other night, while watching Dancing, there were a lot of advertisements for a new show, The Great American Dream Vote, hosted by Donny Osmond, which I heard as The Great American Dreamboat.  It may help to know that Donny was my pre-teen heart-throb -- the only one for me.  (And yes, even dreamboats do...)

Dsc09840Guess what?  I've got knitting and pictures!  This is the ABC Sweater from Debbie Bliss Nursery Knits for which I'm using Rowan Handknit DK Cotton from stash.  I started with, and have finished, both sleeves and I'm closing in on the back.  It's a fun knit and quick!  The only change I've made is in the direction of one of the cables -- so that the right one twists right and the left one twists left, instead of both in the same direction.

Dsc09841There are several other designs in this book that I'd really like to knit and I probably have appropriate yarn in stash for some.  I'll keep this one for a while.

Oh, and I forgot to mention Iowa yesterday -- the Midwest Sheep/Wool/Fiber Festi list includes Iowa!  It was a lot of fun working on those lists, but it sure makes me wish I had more free time and money -- a lot more money!  Those festival sites are a treasure trove, by the way -- the vendor lists are a gold mine of little-known, but often extraordinary, producers.

Mid-week update

Wednesday is normally my day off, but not this week.  My alarm went off at 5:15 a.m. this morning and, being Wednesday, my body did not want to get up.  I vaguely recall that there were some good (but, apparently, not alarming) tunes on the clock-radio and I didn't actually throw back the covers until nearly 6:00.  There was barely time to make coffee (I can't believe I actually debated), definitely not enough time to take project progress pics.

I wasn't really going to blog today.  Instead, I was checking and updating the "Wisconsin Resources" list (right sidebar) because, you know, it's only a work in progress if I keep working on it.

Later... after emerging from the vortex...

It never fails.  It begins by clicking the link for Knitter's Treat/The Dining Room at 209 Main, and then the Current Textile Display.  I get mad at myself because I don't remember to check this out on a regular basis -- it's always so interesting.  By the time I get to what's coming and what was, I start to wonder about the employment picture and real estate market in Monticello.

I ended up adding an entirely new list called "Feeling Festi" -- Sheep, Wool & Fiber Festivals in my general area -- Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan (lots in Michigan!), even Ohio and, of course, NY.  That's been on my mind for a while.

It's all downhill from here

Nothing really beats just going for a walk in the plain old outside -- not the recumbent bike at the Y, not the track at the Y, not the treadmill at the Y.  I did that last night -- went for a walk in the plain old outside -- and I felt it this morning, that I actually worked some muscles in my legs!  There are no curbs and brisk jay-walking jogs across the street when on a treadmill, no maneuvers to avoid kids on bikes or sidewalk chalk artists.  From my house, it's downhill in almost every direction -- down a muddy path, old stone steps, or a sidewalk -- which means that the last leg of nearly any walk is (you guessed it) uphill, in varying degrees.  The tack can be varied, adding extra distance in exchange for an easier grade, and sometimes the route is planned ahead of time or changed mid-stride, all with that last little climb in mind and depending on how challenged one feels on any given day.  I'm going to try to do it again tonight.

I've begun to knit another baby sweater rather than seam the Baby Cashmerino v-neck.  I'm using Rowan DK Handknit Cotton purchased two years ago for just that purpose.  I seem to be attacking the stash of late, particularly that earmarked for baby stuff, and it's a good thing.

This is what I have to share today:  One of the most delightful pictures/projects I've ever seen on a knitting blog is in this post at Gail's Good Yarn.  The Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired afghan that she writes about is fantastic, for sure, but it's the first picture -- the smiling kids pictured around the afghan made up of knitted squares representing their country's flags...  I don't know, I find it very moving -- happy and full of hope.  I feel like it should be required viewing for everyone in the world, that leaders of every nation should have a framed copy on their desk.  How could anyone look at those happy faces, that beautiful afghan made from all those designs and colors -- all so very different, but working together so well -- and not think happy, peaceful, harmonious thoughts for the humanity represented; not wonder what has to happen before the entire world feels it, too?  All together now!  Absolutely phenomenal, Gail.

Peas, please

Dsc00011Madeleine is a big fan of the edible pod and I finally remembered -- in March -- that March is the time to plant peas!  I planted two of the three pergola planters with peas and I'm thinking of clematis in the third -- the way it's situated, the plant would get plenty of sun and its "feet" would be naturally cool (they way they like it) because of the orientation.  I originally thought I'd plant tomatoes in these planters, but it's not working out that way.  Sometime in the next two months, DH and I will make some kind of raised planter thingy on the back side of the southern-most pergola bench, and I'll plant beans -- eventually, it will make a leafy bean curtain behind the bench.

We broke records yesterday with a high temperature just shy of 80 -- both the temp and the humidity rose very quickly in a short period of time yesterday afternoon.  There were tornado watches all over our area and even a few warnings.  It's too nice a day today to be stuck behind a desk, but here I am.

I've only just posted the ninth installment of my 100 Little Things project -- there should be about twice that number at this point -- but I have some things in queue and I'll be doing a little catch-up over there.

I washed and blocked the Baby Cashmerino V-neck sweater, wove in all the ends, did a tiny bit of seaming (remaining shoulder, one side of each pocket flap).  I guess my heart wasn't really in it.  Again, I am reminded, there is as much finishing in a baby sweater as there is in an adult's -- you'd think it would go quicker because the seams aren't so long, but it doesn't.  Once the mattress stitch gets set up, the length of the seam doesn't really matter.  It must be the threading of the needle that takes so much time.  ; )

The tattoo jury is still in deliberations.  Thank you so much for all your advice!  You'll be among the first to know when a verdict is reached.

Saturday sky through pergola


Today's Saturday sky was very gray.  There was a change in the weather (or something) that caused a severe pain in my head.  It was so bad that I actually went back to bed after breakfast, which included ibuprofen, but that almost hurt worse.

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By noon, my head was fine -- the rain never appeared, and it was a lovely day to experience spring.  Aaaahhhhhhh.  It feels so good!

Friday -- freefalling toward the weekend

So, if you were 48 and me and in the market for/considering your first tattoo -- not sayin' that I've made an appointment -- in a kind of (hopefully not too painful) solidarity-with-the-kiddos move, though not yet the youngest, in a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" way -- but in a more protective super-mom-power way, like, look how I can take the heat and divert bad vibes from you to me -- and also because you've been pondering it for a while... maybe you've been channeling your inner Rhonda.  Not too big, but not too small, and then again, maybe kinda sorta medium big (if you're going to do it...), but not like all over your back or anything... 'cuz ouch, honey, that looks so painful... anyway...

What design would you do?  And where would you do it?  Well, not IT, but THAT -- where would you have a tattoo placed?  I'm thinking Celtic.  Tell me.

* * * * *

A little housecleaning today -- items from my Bloglines list to list here instead:

This weekend, I am finally going to make Carole's version of Artichokes French -- that she blogged about almost a month ago!  Birdsong had a hit with it recently, too.

The baby sweater will be blocked before it is seamed this weekend (man, is it curly!) and while it's drying, I'll finish the Latvian mitten thumbs (and maybe update the Knit Like A Latvian KAL blog that I am hostess of) now that I know there's someone(s) that they'll fit, even though the weather isn't suitable.  Speaking of Latvian Mittens -- go see Maia's here (what a difference scale makes in photography!) and then here.  And also speaking of mittens, don't forget Terri's new book Selbuvotter -- the pre-order shipping deal expires at the end of the month.

Even older than Carole's recipe is this post/Mirelle pattern (pdf) at Through the Loops!  More recently and seasonally spectacular is Linea (hopefully soon a pattern?).  Kristen is also the designer of Tahoe in the new Knitty.

I've got a thing about small shawls, I guess, and Susie finished one recently that caught my eye.

Julia's got this great post with a possible destination for some of the things you may have in your de-stash pile.  I think I may have some things...

I've had this post at sweet figs marked f.o.r.e.v.e.r -- some really great photos of Elizabeth Zimmermann's work.  Time to make note of it here and let go.  ; )

I'm not misbehaving...  A great little post at Vicki's a while back.

It might soon be time for a Vicki webring.

As a former typesetter, myself, I absolutely loved the haiku at the end of this post...  Hahahaha.  I shot the serif...  Hahahaha.  (Is there milk coming out of my nose?)

I've been enjoying The Writers' Group blog quite a lot; this is the post I've had bookmarked and have re-read a few times already.  I might leave that one marked for a little while yet.

Spring rolls in

There was a thunderstorm last night!  It was a real show with lots of lightning and low, booming thunder that went on and on, all accompanied by plenty of rain.  It was a terrific way for Mother Nature to announce the First Day of Spring!  That, and the birds have been singing to beat the band these last few early mornings.  It's getting warm during daytime hours, but still cold at night, so jugs and buckets are hanging 'round all the maples in town, collecting sap for syrup.  We're in for a fair amount of rain through the weekend -- with just enough sunshine to... well, she's throwing us a bone -- and I just love it because that means, when the sun does come out for a while and it warms up good for a few days in a row, the bleeding heart will blast off and spring will have sprung for sure.  Oh, I do love spring.

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Maybe our groundskeeper will soon be able to find some raking to do outside.

I finished the first sleeve of the baby sweater at Knit Night on Wednesday and started the second.  Ann is the organizer of the group and also a new blogger -- she has some pics posted, though I shouldn't be pointing (I don't mind the group pic, but the close-up... *sigh*).  I believe it was the third gathering of the group, but only the second that I could attend.  There were a few faces the same, but also some different.  It seems like a lively and fun group is evolving, and I'm looking forward to knitting out more often.

Last night, during the "show," I finished off the second baby sleeve, knit the pocket edgings, seamed one shoulder (trying the crochet method touted by Bonne Marie), and knit all the neckline ribbing.  All that's left is binding off!  And blocking and seaming and sewing down pockets, but hey, gettin' close.

I'm three

The blog is three today.

What better way to celebrate than by being one in a million.

Iraq2  Sign up!

One Million Blogs for Peace to End the Iraq War.

(Thank you, Celia.)

I don't get too political around here.  I don't like what's going on over there.  Enough said.

I have emailed Elise, winner of March Madness!!  She was one of 16 who guessed that this would be my 917th post; there were 8089 comments when I signed on today, and she was closest with her guess of 8099!  I'll be sending a copy of Cables Untangled as soon as I have her address!  It was a lot of fun to read your guesses, and thank you for all the good wishes and support!


--I need a vacation.  I have never before in my entire life wanted to go to Florida or Mexico or Hawaii or the Caribbean or Jamaica or... any other place that's all about sunshine and nothing but the beach...  Oh, I have had a desire for the warm lately and I've had it something fierce.  I want to feel warm sand on my back and sunshine on my face, I want it wrapped around my shoulders.  (I'm tired of wearing turtlenecks.)  I'm sure it has everything to do with 1) a co-worker having just returned from a) a vacation in Colorado (granted, no beach, but there was fun on -- and here began the slide -- the slopes), b) another vacation in Florida, c) a vacation (next week) in the Bahamas cancelled (oh, boo-hoo) in favor of a vacation in Italy (oh, boo-hoo-hoo); 2) another co-worker a) basking in the sunshine of... I forget, but it's way south of here and he's there right now, soaking it up as we speak, b) going on a Caribbean cruise next month; 3) another co-worker going to the Bahamas next week...

It looks like partly cloudy and 54F/12C on Saturday is the best I'm going to do here in the foreseeable future.  Maybe it'll feel warmer on the deck if the wind's just right and the house acts as a windblock.  Or maybe I could do something out there with foil to reflect and maximize the sunlight.  ; )

And if I do that, maybe my next "vacation" will be somewhere else entirely where the "cabana boys" wear long white coats and the "massage tables" have restraints...

--I have not forgotten about my Latvian mittens.  As soon as I finish the baby sweater (half-way through the first, quick sleeve), I'll finish off those thumbs.  They're not going to fit me, but they'll fit the girls.  I will knit another pair.  I am thrilled with the improvement in stranding and tension since I began and have high hopes for the next pair, whatever they may be.

--I am a big fan of Lean Cuisine and now more than ever.  Have you seen/tried the new entrees with more vegetables?  The only one I've tried so far is the Butternut Squash Ravioli and I absolutely love it.  "Tried" isn't even accurate, I've had it numerous times (at least six) since first spotted in the freezer.  I'd love the traditional ravioli with more veggies, too; zucchini and mushrooms come to mind as good possible additions.  Grilled Chicken Primavera is next on my list to try, followed by the Sesame Stir Fry with Chicken.

--So this is my life these days.  On Friday night, at about 10:00 (right on time, I might add), I spotted my nephews on the back porch.  Katie happened to be coming into the kitchen at the time and I remarked that the boys were here and she said, "The boys are here?  I didn't know they were coming!!"  At about 11:00 (same night), as the boys are heading into the living room, getting ready for bed, there's a knock at the front door.  My sister opened the door and it was Ali who said, "Oh, I'll bet you're sleeping in my room!"  Apparently, she didn't know they were coming either.  She got kicked out of the dorm because of Spring Break and some plans made previously did not pan out, so she came home.

--Knitting out tonight for the second time.  I think I could use it.

If I've taken 10,000 pictures...

...are they worth 100,000,000 words?

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These are pictures 10,007 and 10,008 taken with my Sony DSC-85 which I love, love, love except that it's slow, slow, slow.  Most of the time, the slowness isn't an issue -- the knitting doesn't move very fast -- but my 2-year-old nephew?  Let me count how many pictures I have of the back of his head/behind his right ear...  It was a FANTASTIC camera when I bought it 6-7 years ago (I did not pay even close to the $800 "street price" quoted in the linked article -- I don't know where that figure came from), and I love how it feels and looks, but, along with being slow, it's also starting to make funny noises.  Well, whatever, I won't be buying a new camera anytime soon.

I talked about baby knitting the other day, needing something small and quick with a good chance at success.  This is the completed back and nearly completed front of the "V-neck Sweater with Pockets" from Baby Knits for Beginners by Debbie Bliss.  I am using DB Baby Cashmerino (from stash) in one color rather than two and it may fit Mack for just a little bit before being put away for the new baby.  I might have enough yarn left to make a matching pair of socks from the same book.  I love this yarn except for the static cling -- lots of static cling -- while knitting.

Did I mention that Mack's moving to a farm?  A 100-acre farm whittled down to a 14-acre farmette, really, with a big ol' farmhouse, a real barn and outbuildings (tingle).  There is talk of raising chickens and a pig ("don't get too attached"), and (ohmygod-if-anything-gets-me-to-spin-it-will-be-this) SHEEP!  How could I possibly pass on the opportunity to have a sheepie or two of my own???  Now I'll have to do some research!

The weekend was really nice.  We had a great get-together on Saturday for Michael's birthday.  The card turned out pretty cute -- I found a picture of George Martin w/The Beatles that I used inside, replacing George's head with Mom's, and captioned it, "...with our producer..."  The book was a big hit.  It may be the last Beatles gift that Michael ever receives, because I don't think there's a thing that could top it.

Who loves you, baby bro?

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and, more importantly in these parts, my brother's birthday.  It's kind of a big deal for our family this year.  We're all getting together for corned beef & cabbage and birthday cake. My sisters and Mom and I are giving him this (Julia's brother-in-law's cool, cool book):  Recording The Beatles.

Dsc09921I was a little worried that it wouldn't arrive in time, my fault since I only ordered it on Sunday, but it arrived on my kitchen table with a real nice thud yesterday!  (It weighs in at 11 pounds, so I'm not kidding about the thud.)  Way before he was a Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, my brother was a Wings fan; and way before he was a Wings fan, my brother was a Beatles fan -- I wrote about it a year ago.

He is going to FREAK OUT when he gets this!

I will admit that I peeked and flipped through the book a little and it is beautiful.  This comment at Bedazzled about the almost-pornographic photos... of recording equipment... hits the nail on the head.  I don't even care about microphones, amplifiers and mixing boards, but this book makes me want to care!  Someday, I'm going to have to borrow it back.

Weloveyouyeah_2I'm working on a card to accompany the book, and this is the image I've come up with so far.  I'll change that to "The Something Else's" and "We Love You," and I've got to work Mom in somehow... maybe on the inside... maybe she can be George Martin or Billy Preston or one of the other Fifth Beatles.

* * * * *

Knitting-wise, with Katie taking possession of yet another sweater the other day, Madeleine let me know, in no uncertain terms, that she is still awaiting (and still wanting) a sweater that she picked out a few years ago.  The one Katie is wearing in the previous post, by the way, is the cover sweater from Vogue Knitting, Spring/Summer 2003.  Maddy desires one from the Spring/Summer 2004 issue (#2, if you're interested) and it's a great sweater, but it's knit in Berroco Suede -- 15 balls in the smallest size, and we'd need more like medium (17-19, hell let's just call it 20 balls) and at $10 a ball, well, I don't usually spend upwards of half that on yarn for my own sweaters...  I'm afraid Lion Suede would be too bulky and/or involve way too much math to make work.  Any thoughts on what would make a good, still suede-ish, reasonably-priced alternative for a 16-year-old's sweater?

Happy St. Paddy's Day!!  Don't forget about the contest -- you can read all about it and enter here.  Deadline is Sunday.

Takin' care of (unfinished) business

Dsc09915I did a little stash-diving the other day.  I was looking for a list I'd made about two years ago that matched up yarn to project.  At the time, there was a baby on the way and I'd stocked up for some wee knitting at an LYS inventory reduction sale.  Well, Mack will be 2 in June, but there's another niece/nephew due in August, and maybe I can get some of this stuff knit up as intended!  I'm in the market for a small project that has a good chance at success.

One of my stash storage containers is a big, canvas-lined, covered wicker hamper in the living room.  For nearly two years, as I prepared for every dive, I've had to first move two sweaters and a bag of buttons from the hamper.  I'd go in, find what I was looking for (or not), then move the sweaters and buttons back.

The buttons were purchased in June 2005 at Tender Buttons in NYC.

I know.  Procrastinate much?

Well, on Tuesday night, I tossed the sweaters and buttons on my chair, instead, and I am proud to say that, finally, these sweaters are done.

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The fruit sweater was knit for me by one of my sisters many years ago and I replaced cheap, plastic, dime-store buttons with some gorgeous, made-for-this-sweater ceramic cherry clusters.  I fiddled with placement a little bit, too, so that the checkerboard stripes lined up better on either side of the button band.

The blue sweater... incredibly, this is the first knitting I ever showed here on the blog, with the first yarn I ever bought from Elann, way back in April 2004.  (What was that about procrastinating?)  It would have fit me then... it would have fit me two years ago when I bought the buttons... it does not fit me now.  It fits Katie, though, and (even better) she LOVES it -- and when she wore it to run some errands yesterday, she came back bearing compliments.

I think these two will satisfy my UFO Resurrection requirement for March.

CONTEST UPDATE:  I will accept entries through Sunday, March 18th.  It would help a lot if they were all posted in the comments to this post.  Thanks and good luck!!

March Madness (of a different sort)

Happy Birthday, Margene!!!

Heheheh, there's a little hand-eye coordination test this morning...  Click on over with birthday wishes for Margene!!

A week from today, the First Day of Spring, marks three years of "knitorious" blogging.  Technically, it was March 20th, but the "First Day of Spring" sticks in my mind.  I am truly amazed at all that blogging has brought to my life.  I never imagined that I'd meet so many people from all over the globe.  I never imagined that they'd utterly astound me with their compassion and support during crisis.  I never imagined that I'd have the opportunity to meet so many of them in person.  I did suspect that my knitting would show improvement, but never imagined it would be so much or so quickly.  I never imagined that blogging would be so good for my health.

Yes, you read that right, I'm living proof, and I do declare it:  Blogging can be good for your health!!

If it wasn't for blogging, my sister and I wouldn't be celebrating TWO YEARS as EX-SMOKERS with Ann -- because of Ann -- this weekend.  I hadn't laid eyes on Ann, or even spoken with her on the phone two years ago, when I read her fateful post, where there's smoke...  Chords were struck and I practically joined up on-the-spot!  We have so many other things in common, it turns out, that she's become a good friend, too -- and we hardly ever talk about smoking.

If it wasn't for blogging, I'd never have met Cara, either.  She was so generous and supportive of the quit.  She rocked my socks (before we knew the yarn), sending me a wonderful box of goodies -- stir straws, sunflower seeds, Dum-Dums and gum.  She sent me so much, in fact, that I shared the wealth and sent a little on to Ann, rocking her socks, too.  At the time, Cara and Ann had never met -- I don't think either was even much aware of the other's blogging -- and I do rather look at the wonder that is them (and you must agree that, together, they are truly a Wonder) as something I helped to promote, nurture, foster, create.  I like to think of myself as their Fairy Blogmother (as opposed to Frankenstein).

To commemorate the not smoking, I have finally categorized all of the posts having to do with quitting smoking -- the why and how, the cravings, the suffering, what helped, what didn't, the triumphs, a running tally of how many cigarettes I have not smoked and how much money I've saved -- all that into Smokin' (or NOT).  I've been meaning to do that for a year.  Maybe it'll help some folks to commiserate, get through it, know that they're not alone.  I hope so.

Anyway, with two milestone anniversaries, not to mention my brother's birthday (and last year's sort of re-birthday) on St. Patrick's Day, March seems like a good time for a contest.  YAY, presents!

Dsc09917Here's how:  Yesterday's post was my 910th and the comments, as of this writing, number 7940.  What will the numbers be when I sit down to post on the First Day of Spring?  You may enter by comments or email.  If I post everyday between now and then, it will be the 918th post -- and I could, but is it likely?  I rarely post more than once a day -- I could, and I have, but is it likely?  My comments aren't generally in the stratosphere, but when there's a contest involved, anything can happen... Your guesses are as good as mine.  The winner will be drawn at random from all entries with the correct numbers; in the event no one gets both numbers, then it shall be from among the closest(s).  The prize, at the very least, will be Cables Untangled.

A study in contrasts

The mittens and I are thinking things over.  I have resolved the how-many and how-to pick up stitches for the thumbs and have even begun to knit one.  I'm not sure it's big/wide enough -- or maybe I'm knitting too tightly on such a small circumference.  There are plenty of things to think about.

Meanwhile, I found the 4x5 negatives of the photos that Cousin Char is seeking.  I'm sure I had extra prints made, but either they're stored elsewhere or I gave them all away.  According to the photo finisher's envelope, that was all the way back in 1992.

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This is one that she requested, and it's one of my favorite photos ever (yes, there are many) -- there are so many reasons why, but mainly...

Dsc09912Meet Sarah Nutting (Drake) Hopp, my great great grandmother.  My grandma (far right in the photo) called her "The Methodist" -- not just "A" Methodist, Sarah was "The" Methodist; Grandma, herself, was only "A" Methodist.  Yeah, when Sarah was around, she ruled -- whether it was her true domain or not.  No card-playing, no dancing, don't even think about drinking.  What a presence she must have been.  She scares the shit out of me even now.  And yet, I'm completely mesmerized by her and if time travel is ever possible, she's on my list.

That's little Harry on her lap, happy as a clam  -- oblivious to the force that holds him.  Charlie, on the other hand, is feeling it -- he isn't giving off much of a warm-and-fuzzy vibe.  A wonderful study in contrast and body language, those three.

Harry was born in late 1915, so this must be summer 1916, in Mason City or maybe Brooklyn, Iowa, probably just before my great grandparents moved their young family to the farm in central Wisconsin.  Sarah would have just had (or maybe this was) her 70th birthday.

Skimming the archives

Sutton1A genealogical query late last week had me skimming the archives a bit during my free moments over the weekend.  I didn't come up with exactly what I was looking for yet -- that computer room move and all the rearranging comes back to bite me every now and then (though I'm still glad we did it and I wouldn't change a thing).

The inquiring minds belong to Char, a first-cousin-once-removed, and her son (my second-cousin) on my paternal grandmother's side.  They're looking for better copies of some photographs -- from her description, I know exactly which photos they are and I pass some of them every day, every trip that I make up or down the stairs -- old photos that I borrowed from my grandma several years ago; DH and I made copies -- some 4x5 transparencies, some slides, some digital -- my grandma must have given Char photocopies.

Sutton2I did come up with a couple of photos to keep Char happy while I search for the others -- one of my grandma and her three younger brothers on their parents' farm in central Wisconsin, ca. 1920.  One of the boys is Char's dad.  It is one of my favorite photos ever -- they look so happy.  Even if my grandma wasn't tallest, you can tell that she's the eldest, can't you?  Standing there, watchful, hands on hips.  I know it isn't going to surprise you one single bit that she was a teacher before marrying and having a family of her own.  I am often compared to her -- a comparison I welcome gladly; listening to a fairly good recording of myself a year ago (not on an answering machine), I was shocked to hear how much I sound like her, too.  The other photo is a few years later, the whole family.

* * * * *

I have pulled the red holding yarn in one of the mittens to pick up stitches for the thumb, but was a bit hasty and have a little bit of a mess on my hands.  I didn't think I'd be so confused by the strands that were carried along in the back, but I am.  I have enough stitches on the bottom, but not on the top.  I ended up stopping with the knitting and giving full attention to Running With Scissors last night, but tonight I'll be a little more careful in picking up the stitches on the second mitten, in hopes that it will give me some idea of what I'm supposed to have on the needles for the first.  Ack.  Joseph Cross reminds me so much of Bob Crane -- very young and more adorable, but every time I saw him last night, I thought, "He looks like a young Bob Crane."  (Not to be confused with Denny Crane.)  Is it just me?

So close in so many ways

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Mitten time was overtaken by Mack time yesterday.  My nephew came to town (with his mom) for an impromptu visit -- it's my stepdad's birthday tomorrow -- they'll be here next weekend, too, for Michael's birthday celebration!  Can never get enough Mack.  Or Michael.  Or celebrations.  Mmm, cake.  ; )

Look how close I am to finishing!  It was getting to be a tiny, tight circumference and a little frustrating with all those needles -- not mixing well with being a little bit tired and not in my favorite spot (which had been overtaken by Maddy & friends).  I will definitely finish and move on to thumbs today, though... but look at how much of the dark green yarn I have left!  I may end up frogging my little swatch to reclaim enough yarn to finish.

If you have not been over to the Knit Like A Latvian blog in the last couple of days, go now, I'll wait.  Nessa Z. has finished her mittens and they are GORGEOUS!!  I have another black-and-white mitten from Willi in Berlin that I will post there soon.  So interesting -- it looks like she did a little entrelac for the cuff!

Speaking of entrelac, that reminds me of Kathryn Alexander...  who I actually met in person (couldn't keep my eyes off that amazing hat, so I photographed it) (oh, how I wish I was a hat person!!)... she wrote that she has new/more hat kits... THE hat... on her updated website.  Oh, I love that vest, too... and socks coming soon!  ; )

It's melting!

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It's a mish-mash.

The sky is blue, the sun is out, the snow is definitely melting -- and fast!  Sorry about the lousy mitten picture, but the morning sky sure looks nice, huh?  I have renewed focus on the mitts and have begun decreases!  I think I will have a finished pair just in time for next week's forecasted 50 degrees.  ; )  Timing.  Much as I hate to say it, though, I'll probably have opportunity to wear them yet this season.

With all this melting, ice is a real danger.  I mentioned to DH this morning, as I brought in the newspaper, that we should sprinkle salt on the bricks leading to the front porch.  They ice up all the time, anyway, but especially now and there's the double-whammy of being in the north side.  I am more and more fearful of falling, slipping, tripping.  As I read the paper this morning, I came across a notice about a man -- who I may have met once, whose wife I most certainly have met and DH knows -- who slipped and fell on the ice outside his home yesterday.  He hit his head and he died!  I've already been out running a few errands today and, along the way, noticed a woman walking in the street rather than on the sidewalk -- hazards of another sort, but hazards all the same.  Anyway, I contemplated a walk outside today, but maybe I'll just find something puttery to do in the sunshine.

Speaking of walking...  I will not be making 100 miles in any way, shape or form by April 1st, so I took that button down from my sidebar.  I have been biking on the recumbent, walking a few laps on the track at the Y, and, on Wednesday, I finally tried the treadmill again.  I'd been suffering from shin splints so badly, that I had to stop a while back -- I was looking rather like Festus, dragging my foot along.  Pathetic.  On Wednesday, I felt only the very smallest of twinges.  I was careful not to overdo, and also paid attention to both my step and my stride.

When I opened the door last night, I knew instantly that there was pie in the oven -- apple.  There was a little dish with raw pie crust scraps waiting for me.  I tried to take the picture without being noticed, while DH was out flipping stuff on the grill, but he caught me.  Hello, I'm a dork.

I hope my sister has a girl.  Not only do I have Miss Dashwood waiting in the wings, now there's Monica.  I love the new KnittyTorque is fantastic, Isabella intrigues me, More Stripes... there are some great patterns!!  Theresa's article, Recycle-Reuse-Renew, is very timely for me -- I have a couple of projects headed in that direction.  Soon.

Back to me

Dsc09850This is the Noro Blossom I've been working with the last few days.  I just started ball two of four last night and that's all I have -- it isn't going to be enough, so Plan A is out the window.  I kind of knew it would be.

I originally bought this yarn in NYC almost two years ago for Williamsro -- on my first-ever blogger meet-up yarn crawl weekend (which was so perfect that it still seems surreal) (the yarn is even pictured in one of those posts) -- a really fun, last-minute, tag-along with DH on business trip.  This is mostly mindless knitting, just the sort of thing to do with yarn like this.  I love watching the colors change and, with this yarn, the texture changes a lot, too.  It's very enjoyable.  I was photographing it morning light on the kitchen table as the sun was coming up today -- definitely color similarities between the yarn and recent sunrise/sunsets.  I do have a Plan C(ascade) if I can't come up with more for Plan B(lossom)...

I am so happy that the weekend is upon us -- a warm one, too.  The forecast is for 40s straight through the weekend, which means lots of melting snow -- and almost 50 on Tuesday!  I'm not sure what's beyond that, and right now I don't care!

Happy weekend.


I had a wonderful, heartfelt post written today (started yesterday) -- almost finished -- when POOF, it was gone and it had been far too long since I'd saved.  I've tried to resume and resurrect, but it's not happenin'.  Perhaps the part that lived will one day be a different post (I was kind of going off in different directions, anyway, like I do), so for now...

I've been very busy lately -- for months and weeks and days and days and days -- doing some work for my husband.  I never intended to have him here, on my blog, in any way other than he's been -- pounding nails, doing a little cooking, away on a business trip, helping to hold things together around here.  I am proud of what I've done to help showcase his work, though, and I feel compelled to share it this one time, to toot our horn.  I toot a lot of horns around here, but not usually the one that means the most to me.  Here's what I've been doing on so many of my "days off"...

Duallogo  Project1

The sticking point for so long has been resurrecting/re-inventing the online shopping part of his website, Oceans and Dreams, and I believe it's been a much larger monster in my mind than in reality, but I think I've got it now (I won't know for sure 'til an order is placed).  His name is Lee Mothes and he's an artist, a painter, working mostly in watercolors, but also oil and acrylic.  Another big thing, fairly new and mostly my idea, is the Rusty's Beach blog, about his childhood and inspiration (he writes, I edit and post) and, in conjunction with that, an experimental CafePress store.  When he was a teensy, tiny baby, his mother saw a little glint of red in his hair and he's been known as "Rusty" ever since.  Lastly, and thankfully, someone else is doing most of the online work for New Island, an idea that has taken a lot of his time and energy over the past several years, to the detriment of almost all else, at times, but has maybe found its place.

My next few days off will be spent online... with TurboTax.

The knitting will be back tomorrow.  I'm still working on the mitten, but I've started something new.  If anyone has a stash/source that might yield some Noro Blossom in Color #6, Lot D, I might be interested.

Dsc09834Sky.  The skies here have been beautiful lately, Sandy, morning and night, any day of the week!  I caught sight of this morning's from the stairway landing as I rushed downstairs, socks in hand, behind by a few minutes (as usual) -- it changed a lot just in the amount of time it took to quickly put on said socks and shoes and dash for the camera.  It was only 2 degrees this morning, my hair was still wet, and I didn't stop to grab a jacket... this blog's a real task-master.

Snow.  Three inches expected by tomorrow morning.  Forty degrees by Thursday, Friday, into the weekend.  (Yippee!)

Pink.  I've been wearing a new pin made with beads and a pink breast cancer awareness ribbon, one of many given away at my aunt's memorial celebration on Sunday night.  It was a lovely remembrance event -- rich with family and friends, full of laughter and tears, brimming over with love.

Love.  I told my girls that if they can find someone who loves them as much as my uncle loved his wife, they'll have few worries.  They'd already picked up on that.  Smart girls.

Mittens.  Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition, by Terri Shea of, is now available for pre-order.  Orders placed this month will have free shipping for the first copy (to the U.S. and Canada) and only $2.00 to ship each additional copy.  Long-awaited, this book looks like a real treasure -- and a triumph for Terri.  ; )

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Lately, it's been a race to see if I can photograph the knitting before it gets some kitty love.  I've been experiencing a period of slight boredom with the second mitten, but I can see that I'm nearing the exciting, redesigned top and then it won't be long before I pick out that red yarn and make some thumbs.


Not only did I make Carole's Roast Beef Soup on Saturday, I invited people over to help eat it.  Yes, it's true, I often spring first attempts at new/untried recipes on unsuspecting friends and relatives.  I was pretty confident about this one, though, and an offer of a free meal with no strings (no prep or clean-up, nothing to bring), usually yields a couple of willing guinea pigs -- you'd come, too, wouldn't you?  The invitation was designed to spur motivation to clear the kitchen table and surrounding area!  Man, it needed it -- stuff piles up so fast around here -- it's amazing how big the dining area looks when all the crap is put away!  The soup was fantastic, quite simple to make, and it received highest possible "requested recipe" honors!  My favorite part of the making was deglazing the pan.  (It's the simple things.)  Next time, I'll add a few more carrots and use a little less water -- maybe 10 cups instead of 12.  Next up: Artichokes French!

Dsc09544_2Dsc09546_3 Recently, it's come to my attention that certain parties (who shall remain nameless, but who live a fair bit east of me, whom I have had occasion to visit, attended fiber festivals with, went shoe-shopping with and/or played catch with their dog and its ball-thrower-thingy) have no idea what I'm talking about when I refer to Coup d'Etat (scroll down, it's there) -- Is someone trying to overthrow Vicki's knitting?  Just for them -- and any other nameless readers with questions marks floating over their heads at the mention -- I have searched and categorized every post wherein "Coup" is mentioned and -- yes, I know, a coup is not often peaceful, as you're wont to think when you see "Peace Fleece," but it must be thus named because of the historical significance to Russia, don't you think? I don't name 'em, I just knit 'em -- so there is no mistake, I've also re-posted the best pictures.  It's a bugger to take a picture of that nearly-black sweater.  Alas, projects do get pretty drawn out around here sometimes.

Anyway, got it, darlings?  It's the other soup topic du jour.  When last we left the poor, unphotogenic Coup d'Etat, the threat of underarm gussets was on the wind.  After a short period of separation/marination, I tried it on again last night and I don't think gussets will do the trick.  That is one tight fit under the arms, fitting about as close as I'd want a shirt, definitely not a sweater.  I think I'll remove the sleeves and determine whether the armscyes are of adequate depth -- there was a bit of easing the armscye to the sleeve during the seaming -- and if they are, ripping and reknitting the top of the sleeve.  If the armscyes are too short, I'll probably undo the shoulders and knit another inch or so (*sigh* and re-do the sleeves).

Or maybe I'll rip the whole darn thing and start over.  It fits okay, but it's not really what I envisioned -- thinking that the waif-ish model in the photo was wearing "her" size (not "my" size), I completely glossed over what the significance of the numbers (sweater measurements) and was expecting something a lot roomier when I knit the largest size.  I'm not upset, just a little disgruntled that I fell for it... again.


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Number 7 is a bunch of Little Things.  Last Friday, about the time that I'd planned to be breezing through Wausau on the way to my sister's and then, of course, onward to planned merriment and mayhem (oh, no, not mayhem, except, perhaps, as in relation to chaos...) in The Cities, more than likely making a potty stop (as my bladder isn't what it used to be), I was actually killing time in my local antique mall, half a block from where my car was getting its electrical system checked out.  The owner and I were in the same high school class, though we didn't really know each other then, and we've lived down the street from each other for the past 20 years.  (Honestly, it just hit me like a ton of bricks this morning that it's 20 years this year -- twenty years in August that we moved into this house.  It completely blows my mind that I've lived here for TWENTY YEARS!)  She has this incredible Sears house -- a bungalow that was her husband's grandfather's -- which has this neat porch across the back, overlooking the South Side of our fair city.  She was telling me that she calls the back porch her "Chippy Room" -- where she puts all the chipped-paint, chipped-china stuff that her husband can't stand --  a girlie place for her and her daughter, their only child, a 10-year-old with cerebral palsy, among other special needs.  They finally had a windy ramp built over part of the front steps last summer, making it easier to bring the wheelchair in and out of the house.

Anyway, there's always something to talk about and I hadn't been down there in a while, so there was plenty to catch up on while I awaited the car diagnosis damages, but I'm always on the hunt, too.  There doesn't seem to be as much pansy stuff lately, and the cabinet photos have to really be somethin' special, and I have enough green depression glass, and I don't need any furniture, really, so I look for little "treasures" like these.  A small plastic bag with all this stuff inside and an irresistible price of $2.00.  The two stitch holders at uppermost left have the word BOYE embossed on them, and those wee ones aren't even two inches long!

I noticed, as I signed on, that this is my 901st post.  Crazy.  I celebrate my third year of blogging later this month, in most esteemed company, on the first day of spring!

Just a few things

Carrie referenced the BigAlice List of Positives in her comment to my last post.  She said, "Make your own list and tell me you're not grinning by the end."  Carrie, just so you know, despite this beyond-crazy week and our amazingly crappy weather, I'm smiling before I even insert the first bullet in my bulleted list.

Random Things I Like...

  • Spring
  • Thunderstorms
  • The smell of lilacs on a May breeze
  • Snow days
  • A clean(-ed by someone else) house
  • Fresh flowers
  • Watching my garden wake up -- especially when the hostas, bleeding heart and bloodroot begin to emerge
  • Windfalls
  • Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss beer
  • Knitting with friends
  • Freshly baked cookies
  • Rock 'n Roll (loud, on the car radio, rockin' down the highway... with the windows down... I could drive straight through to Texas if the music held out)
  • Sun-warmed, just-picked tomatoes
  • Rich coffee
  • Babies
  • Spontaneity
  • Laughing 'til I cry
  • Full body massages
  • Having my hair washed
  • Big fat snowflakes, falling thick and soft
  • The smell of fresh-sawn lumber
  • Chocolate
  • Big family gatherings

My brother called from the nosebleed section of the Bradley Center on Wednesday night -- they were up so high and, he said, my SIL was experiencing a bit of vertigo and was so scared that he didn't think she'd move 'til the concert was over, even if she had to go to the bathroom.  I can definitely relate.  I think he called all of us at some point during the day, just to say, "Hey" and "Thanks."  There are certain things he doesn't take for granted anymore, that's for sure.  None of us do.

030207_0751Though my knitting time has been severely curtailed this week, I plugged along and finished Williamsro last night -- back and forth on circs is not my favorite and definitely not speedy, even if it is doubled-yarn-on-big-needle-stockinette.  So far, I am happy with how it turned out -- I not only picked up fewer stitches for the bottom part, I also made it just a wee bit shorter.

One thing is for sure, my love for the Noro Blossom yarn may even have grown -- I particularly love this color (#4), but I'm itching now to knit the Blossom Vest that I first saw at Julia's.  The itch is such that I even went searching for the stashed Blossom (#8) over the weekend.  When I found it, I remembered that I may not have enough yarn, especially given Julia's noted overage.  I've been meaning to consider mods, possibly incorporating another yarn, but it's occurred to me that it might also make a fantastic Rib Warmer.  I've been wanting to do another since my first, using the pattern from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop, turned out quite, um, smaller (truly a rib-warmer) and quite form-fitting with the shaping (also bringing to mind Glampyre's famous Boob-holder from a couple of years back, except this is definitely less -holder and more -warmer).  Peg has knit all hers the Wool Gatherings/Spun-Out design -- and there are variations.  I don't remember which specs KnittingJones used, but she added an edging that looks great.  I haven't even looked at Zimmermania.

I'll be getting back to my mittens now, but I've made some well-placed orders and don't be surprised if there's some vesticular* action around here soon.

021007_1528021007_1529While perusing the bad picture phone photos I'd taken this morning, I discovered these two that were snapped at an antique mall in Madison when I was there a couple of weeks ago for the garden show and a Mack fix.  Imagine my surprise when I came 'round the corner to find this -- I have no idea whether it's an actual "antique," it may or may not have been used as an actual dress form, and it could possibly be someone's art project, but it was fascinating no matter its origins -- made entirely of paper strips, all very deliberately and artistically placed.  I hope you can see some of the details in the photos.

*Inspired by Norma's post today...  vesticular adj : of, relating to, or functioning as a vest

ETA: Oh, things I don't like -- centered, bulleted lists. HOW DO I FIX THAT??? My html fixes thus far have failed...