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January 2009
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March 2009

It's Celebrate Michael Day!

I just called my brother to tell him how happy I am that he's here.

DSC00682  DSC00683 

DSC00684  MikesCar

He's over 6 feet tall and was driving that "car," so you can see why we're happy that he's here.  Three years ago today, he was rear-ended by a semi-truck (visible in the background of the top two photos) while waiting to make a left-hand turn on his way to work; the semi pushed him into the path of an oncoming pickup truck.  He was conscious when they pulled him from the wreck for the helicopter ride to the hospital.  Emergency brain surgery soon followed, though, and it was quite a rollercoaster ride over the next several weeks for all of us!  I've never posted these pictures before -- the first three were taken by the helicopter pilot, I think, the fourth nabbed from the local paper.  (I should be flogged, but tell me you wouldn't have.)  I saw the helicopter on its way to the scene on my way to work that morning -- I always noticed them because my uncle was a flight nurse at the time (thankfully, on vacation that day).  I blogged many of the ups and downs over the following weeks; click "Michael" under Categories in the sidebar for the rest of the story.


Forces rallied and the most awesome Christine gathered squares for blankets -- for both her brother and mine -- and sent it to me by Mother's Day that year.  Michael dubbed it the Knitblogger Blanket of Love, and it couldn't be more true -- every stitch infused with special healing powers to keep him warm and remind him how much he is loved.

And they all lived happily ever after.


Friday This 'n That, and What do you think?

365.79 -- Everything slightly askew

I posted this photo collage on Flickr the other day with a question:  Worn this way, does the shawl look crooked in a way that makes you want to reach out and straighten it -- or want to tell me to straighten it?

I have always worn this shawl "traditionally," with the point of the triangle pointing right to my butt.  (My butt isn't in any of those photographs, so I don't even have to ask THAT question!)  The other day, as I threaded the tails through an old Bakelite belt buckle (my favorite way to tame the tails) and adjusted and arranged, I had a thought...  and decided to wear it differently -- slightly askew, a bit off center.

What do you think?

ToolsLook at this!  I finally searched through the archives to find my first Tools of the Trade post on October 26, 2004.  (How long ago is that in blog years?)  The similarities crack me up, especially that I'm still toting "seldom-used point protectors" and the old stork scissors "that’s purely for decorative purposes, as it doesn’t cut worth a damn"!

So, I cast off a couple of quick-knit projects in the last week or so and I'm not altogether happy with either of them -- in fact, one of them will be frogged forthwith and need not be mentioned ever again.  Last night, I cast on another Afghani Cap so I could try the mods I had in mind and, so far, I'm very happy!  Yay for happy!

Yesterday's Flowers

Things are sucking big time at the moment.

TGTIF = Thank god tomorrow is Friday.
With the prediction of 6-10" of snow, perhaps it'll even be a snow day.

Stop and smell the flowers. Um. These particular ones didn't really smell. They were up at the coffee shop yesterday. I took a few photos while waiting for my mom, her sisters, and their husbands to meet me for lunch. The relatives drove over from Marshfield for the afternoon. Well, basically for lunch. You can do that when you're retired -- drive two hours to go out to lunch.

A float

This photo almost looks like a colorized or selective-color black-and-white, but it is not; it's exactly how a blue glass float on a basement window sash looks on a snowy, yucky, February day. That day was last Saturday. I challenged myself to find something interesting to shoot at home and I ended up in the basement.

Oh, I am so ready for spring. I'm feeling restless, all of a sudden, and almost ready to GO! I'm not exactly sure WHERE to go, but I'm almost ready!! Hibernation time is almost over.

There's been knitting!


"Afghani Cap" pattern by Teva Durham, found in Vogue Knitting On The Go: Caps & Hats.  I used Handmaiden Fine Yarn's "Ottawa," leftovers from the same hank that I used for my Moebius cowl, and there's still quite a bit left.  Intended for my mom, this hat didn't turn out exactly as I'd hoped (though I haven't blocked it yet, and that could change things), but it works.  It turned out just fine, in fact, and looks really cute on Maddy -- so I win!


I can't get enough of these colors, so I'm just fine with trying again.

I finished a scarf last night, about a quarter-way through the Oscars.  I sat back, gave appendages a rest, and watched the rest of the show sans knitting.  I think Hugh Jackman did a terrific job, very entertaining.  His opening number was clever and funny.  I laughed hardest at Ben Stiller as Joaquin Phoenix on David Letterman, complete with gum on the podium.  I kind of lost my way during a few of the montages and sequences, and wasn't blown away by the big musical number.  Absolutely LOVED the format for the four Best Actor/Actress awards.

Anyway, I had a good weekend and feel more rested and "with it" this week -- I was off from the starting gun last week.  Details on that new scarf tomorrow.

Tools of the trade

I kept seeing shots similar to this last week on so many of my Flickr contacts' photo streams. I recall shooting my knitting box -- that very same one (top left) and blogging it four or five years ago (in my early blogging days) -- though not quite so, um, laid out and open... or organized. I tried a couple of times during the week to do it, but the light wasn't right or I didn't grab a big enough surface on which to lay it all out, or something. I added a bunch of notes on the Flickr page about stitch markers, bread closures, Chibis, and Heinz pickle pins, among other things.

What's in your work bag/box?

Ali's back


Ali started Saturday with her first haircut in nearly a year.  Katie and Maddy both had hair appointments on Saturday, too!  They haven't all three had their hair cut on the same day since I was in complete control of such things -- it's been a while.  Ali & Maddy mutually agreed to break a pact they'd made to NOT cut their hair until Maddy's graduation -- they made it to within a few months and resisted many previous urges, so I commend them for the resolve.


We put in about 8 hours on Saturday -- cleaning, patching, cleaning, prepping, cleaning, priming.  Did I mention cleaning?  As of Monday morning, Ali took over management of the coffee shop where she worked when she was in high school, and where Maddy currently works.  We spent the weekend spiffing, organizing, painting, and redecorating.  This is me at around midnight on Sunday after 14 hours on my feet -- I think I sat down for a total of 10 minutes all day -- ohmygod, my feet have NEVER been so sore!  I had to ask DH to drive home because they were too sore to step on the gas -- that says it all, because my preferred spot is behind the wheel.

Ali's back 

Far out.  It really is.  A long time coming -- so much planning and work.


This is also at about midnight on Sunday night.  She looks tired, but so happy and excited.  She will continue to put her mark on this thing as it all evolves and begins to reflect her vision and personality -- there are subtle changes by the hour.


I sat down with knitting last night for the first time all weekend.  Sailing along on a very simple project, really, with only a couple of XO cables to keep track of... and here I am, concentrating hard while dropping down a few rows to fix a couple of those XO cables.  They were fixed before bedtime.  I crawled in at about 11:00, and had the worst night's sleep I think I've ever had.  I'm upright and responding today, typing (hopefully making some sense), moving forward, so far so good.

Sharin' the love


My grandparents, Virginia and Lester, circa 1930.


And again, with the addition of a little imp... probably one of my grandmother's younger brothers, in fact it's most likely Charley.  He doesn't seem to be crampin' their style none.

Give your honey a little squeeze.  Happy Valentine's Day!

TGIF! Busy weekend ahead.

It's true. I do look "serious and concentrate-ful," as kmkat pointed out yesterday, in so many of the self-portraits I've taken -- 70 so far! Katie looked at them the other day and said that I even looked MAD in a couple... and she would know that look! It's a weird thing to do, these daily self-portraits, and especially now when the days are still short and the light not so good and the landscape rather blah; my creativity is rather blah, too. It's also a great exercise. I didn't didn't realize how often I do a little "I'm amused" half-smile thing with only the right side of my mouth. In this photo, I was trying to look the opposite of "serious and concentrate-ful."

Katie picked me up from work last night and we met Ali and Kevin at Home Depot to affirm color choices and buy paint -- six gallons of four different wonderfully rich colors, plus a gallon of tinted primer, along with some pans, rollers, brushes, and dropcloths. This is part of Ali's Big (Colorful) Adventure -- therefore, an adventure for us all -- that will commence tomorrow with a painting party at the coffee shop that she is taking over as of... tomorrow! It will be closed all weekend as we paint, clean, spiff, refurnish, and help her realize her vision and step closer to her dream. She originally hoped to purchase the business and the building, then just the business -- neither of which happened -- but this is how it's working out for now. A little lesson in never give up.

Stay tuned. And have a great weekend.


Katie wanted to go to Target last night because she needed to get a watch for work.  I wanted refills for my Reach flosser -- bad because they're disposable, good because I have a small mouth and tight teeth and, hello, I used them.  (I still haven't climbed back aboard the elliptical -- wish I didn't hate exercising so much -- but I have continued to FLOSS!)  Anyway, I returned some fireworks that weren't really fireworks, too.  I'd purchased them for New Year's Eve, but found some others that really WERE fireworks instead, so these have been rolling around in the back of my car for... almost a month and a half.  Yeah.  To be honest, I've hardly even been to Target since then.

I was in need of a little retail therapy.  I really wanted one of Caro's DSLR straps and clicked on every single one over there this morning -- alas, almost all are sold out.  I'm a complete poser in the SplitYarn in the Wild Flickr group, by the way, but I have made note of the next shop update on my calendar and aim to make amends.

So.  I did find a long-sleeve black T-shirt, which I need like a hole in the head, but for $3.24 I could not say no.  Plus it does have an interesting and different treatment at the cuff.  I also found a patterned T-shirt -- color would have been better than pattern, but pattern is good -- and a long cardigan (shown above with the patterned T-shirt and a "Fun With Photoshop" treatment) which is actually a Liz Lange Maternity piece, but I rip all the tags out of my clothing prior to wearing and will probably forget that little detail before long.

We left Target without a watch for Katie.  She found some cute pants, though.

I'm off to Madison with Mom today.  We're meeting my sister at University Hospital where itis Day 3 of her rigorous chemo/radiation treatment schedule.  I'll be delivering a nice, soft hat.

Can I be engaging...

...without being engaged? Or is that like having my cake and eating it, too? It's how I feel. I have a need to be here -- be a part of things, I guess -- a part of something that, for the most part, is non-threatening. (None of you are aimin' to poke me with your needles, are ya?) Be a part of something that doesn't demand any more than I'm willing to give, maybe, something over which I have COMPLETE AND TOTAL CONTROL. Yeah, maybe THAT'S the ticket. I'm feeling a little bruised and battered, helpless and confused, stuck between a couple of rocks and wedged into some hard places. I decided this morning that I really need to strap on my rose-colored kaleidoscope and just deal with things the best way *I* see fit, the way that *I* can live with them and with myself. No matter what I do, it's going to be wrong in someone's eyes. What is right in mine, what feels right to me, what is the best thing for the MOST IMPORTANT people involved?

Thank you for that indulgence. I needed the happy flowers from the archives today, too.


Katie had orientation on Friday and her first official day at work TODAY!! It's all very exciting and has nothing to do with coffee.

Alison slung her last cuppa joe at S***b**ks yesterday and is on to new adventures... it has everything to do with coffee and will involve both of her sisters to a degree... and her mom and dad... and a bunch of other people. It's all very exciting!

Maddy has sent in the paperwork for college orientation! Wow.

Shawl on four needles

Making progress. Closing in on the end, in fact. I'll likely finish the knitting by mid-week. (Hm. Then what? Must consult the project queue.)

The stitches are on three needles and I'm working with a fourth; as shown, I'm half way through a row. It's working out quite well. I knit a helluva lot faster on straights than circs and I'd NEVER be this far if I'd used them instead. There are a challenging few stitches at each change of the needle, but nothing that makes me wish I'd done it the other way.

To each their own, of course. I'm doin' it my way.

Seasonal knitter


Katie had at least a half-dozen false starts with this scarf.  There were requirements of design (namely, suitable length) that needed to be reconciled with available quantity of yarn.  It's Malabrigo, purchased locally a couple of years ago, but that's all I know at the moment.  She thinks she may still have a ball band.  She settled on a simple drop-stitch pattern on large-ish needles and I'm having a hard time finding just the right word to describe it; glorious and magnificent are not words I commonly use, but they're among the first to pop into my head.  Spectacular, too.

K's Malabrigo Scarf (detail) Katie's Malabrigo Scarf

It is positively balmy outside today.  A well-chosen and attractive scarf may be all that's needed.  I'm outta here!

ETA:  Pattern details!  I am certain that it’s Malabrigo, nearly certain that it’s Aquarella, and pretty darn sure that the colorway is Soriano (it is absolutely gorgeous).  She used a simple drop-stitch pattern and the recipe goes something like this:

3 hanks of Malabrigo (probably Aquarella)
US11 needles

Cast on 18 sts and knit a few rows in garter stitch.

Row 1:  K1, wrap three times repeat across, K1.
Row 2:  Knit across, dropping the wraps between stitches.

Repeat until desired length (leaving enough yarn for fringe, if desired); knit a few rows in garter; cast off.

Baby's first haircut

We were so busy yesterday -- and the boys were SO GOOD!!

Katie & Ali met us at the Mom & Pop Place in Neenah -- a kid-oriented cafe with a toy store attached. While we were there, I took photos of the awesome scarf that Katie just finished. I was too tired last night to do anything but dump them on the computer and was running late, as usual, this morning. Anyway, we all had a good lunch and visit, and some good play time. ; )

Through an arrangement with my stepdad's employer, my mother sees a personal trainer a couple of times a week and yesterday was one of those days. The boys were very interested watching their Noni on the rowing machine, doing lunges (heh, that's the second time I wanted to type LUNCH instead of LUNGE), and lifting weights!

No more bad hair days! We took the boys to a kid-oriented hair salon where the both had haircuts. It was the baby's first! He needed his bangs trimmed so badly. I thought it would look weird to trim only those, but didn't want the curls shorn off completely, nor was a baby mullet desired, and the stylist did a wonderful job -- trimming up just enough and leaving some curl! I imagine they'd have put up a bit of a fuss if their mother had taken them instead of us, and the baby was pretty tuckered, but we didn't hear a peep and they didn't want to leave! They were so incredibly good all day long!

And I was so incredibly tired last night!!

A day with the boys

365.63 (Nephew In Hand)

My sister is here for a conference, so Mom and I are taking care of the boys today!  Ann has had a photographic cut-out statuette of her 3yo on her desk for a couple of years and wanted a one of her 1yo.  When the boys were here eating crackers a month ago, I was able to get some pretty good high-key (and easily cut-out) shots of him. can make them in two sizes (this is 5x7) and it arrived yesterday.  It's really something else!

SYES Noro Shawl

It's knitting!!  I didn't get much done yesterday and today's progress will be happily hampered by the aforementioned boys.  At this point, most people would switch to a circular needle.  Ha!  Wait.  Actually, most people would have STARTED on a circular needle and knit the ENTIRE THING on a circular needle.  Well, I don't like 'em -- never have, never will. I  don't have many in my tool chest, either, and, honestly, am rather loathe to go buy one that will likely never get used again.  I've been knitting for how many years now (?) and have never needed a US4 circular needle in any length before.  So.  I'm going to continue on straights, employing a third needle and even a fourth, if necessary.  I may squeeze in another few rows on the pair I'm working, but that's it!

This is the striped version of the fingering-weight version of the Simple Yet Effective Shawl, by the way, knit in Noro Kureyon Sock.  I was HATING the colors when I started, HATING them even more as I progressed, but I turned a corner while knitting out on Tuesday night, and they're growing on me -- I wouldn't say that I'm LOVING them, but definitely LIKING.  I am seeing farm fields in spring, sand and surf.  Anyway, it's getting better.

Have a great day!!

Baby, it's cold outside!!

I just want to cover up everything! Looking forward to a warm-up on the weekend, anyway.

I've been working on the Simple Yet Effective Shawl -- I cast on almost right away after seeing Ann's a couple of weeks ago. I'm using Noro Kureyon Sock... wasn't thrilled with how the colors were working out/together at first, but it's growing on me as it develops. We'll see. If I end up hating it, I do have a plan.

Treasures on a Tuesday

There was a small package from my aunt in the mail yesterday.  She'd been scanning photos from some of Grandma's old albums and burned them to CD.

Oh my.


I will bet one million dollars that we're all sucking on Tootsie Pops!  My grandparents owned an oil distributorship and there was ALWAYS a box of Tootsie Pops on the front seat of the big Deep Rock truck in the driveway.  It looks like we're standing in the middle of the road, and it took me a little while to realize that we're standing on the sidewalk at the end of our grandparents' driveway.  My mom was probably just pregnant with our youngest sister when this photo was taken.  I'll bet another million dollars that Mom made our dresses.  I love how we're ALL so color coordinated -- Michael sure made a big mess on his shirt, though.


Here we are with said grandparents, two cousins, and an uncle -- we three girls in matching, made-by-mom outfits again.  I'm not sure where this photo was taken.  My grandmother -- the grandmother of SIX at the time (soon to be seven) -- is the same age in this photo that I -- the grandmother of ZERO -- am now.  I cannot even imagine...  Isn't my uncle cute?  He's only 10 years old than me (the eldest of the grandkids), and was always just a big kid to us.  He still is.  Uncle Duck.


And we six, at what appears to be high noon, with our Great Grandpa Sutton.  Always a bit sensitive to the sun, I'm on the left.  Um.  And while it looks Mom didn't make our clothes, we three sisters are still pretty matchy-matchy.  Okay, very matchy-matchy.  GG'pa was our grandmother's dad and he always lived with them as far as I knew; GG'ma died before I was born. He was about 81 in this photo, and lived to 92.  I was a little big a'scared of him.  Too bad.

January Photo Walk

I met up with some local Flickr peeps for a winter photo walk at a local park yesterday. I'd met a couple of them last October at the fall get-together, and was very happy to meet a few more! And YAY! Marci's a KNITTER!!

IN OTHER NEWS: We celebrated my Mom's birthday (29, again!) yesterday by going out for coffee and having a nice visit. We also gave her a digital photo frame, similar to the one we gave Dad for Christmas, and I loaded some photos (many more to go).

And MORE GREAT NEWS: KATIE HAS A JOB!! WooHOO! She interviewed last week for a new book store opening in the area and had VERY good vibes. Honestly, even while trying not to jinx things by being too hopeful, she was walking on air! She was supposed to hear by Wednesday, and they called already yesterday morning. It's full time with bennies and they don't mind at all that she'll be gone to Italy & Greece for two weeks in April!

Happy Pajama Day!!