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September 2011


I wanted to share some knitting but, man, it takes for-freakin'-ever to send a phone pic to myself by email... or to receive... whatever.

There's progress on Stripe Study II and I am LOVING it! I'm itching to cast on III, but first things first... or second things... heh.

I am VERY slowly making progress on the black hole Gretel, and also on a project I don't think I've even mentioned here -- Mary Jane Mucklestone's "Sea Green" Little Arrowhead Lace scarf, which I am calling "Juniper Scarf" because I'm knitting it using (finally!) the lovely ball of Sporfarm Baby Alpaca (color: Juniper!) given to me a million years ago by Jessica in a Secret Pal swap (OMG, remember those? That's what they were called, right?). Anyway, oh so LOVELY!! I'm making mine with fewer repeats across because I don't have the yardage that MJM did, and I wish to maximize length.

So, perhaps I'll take some "good" photos tonight.

Yesterday was all about getting things done... taking people places, registering stuff, getting my hair cut (I love it!!), closing this and opening that, banking... more than the usual day-off running around.

Monday was all about the mom, the sibs, the aunts and the uncles, the cousins...

My sibs and I outnumbered the cousins 2:1, but it was a big deal. There's my cousin Rae, me, Michael, Ann, cousin Missy, and Karen.

Missy's the one visiting from Albuquerque -- pretty much taking a driving tour of Wisconsin in getting around to see as many people as possible!


(What can I say? She's the middle child.)

We had a great time together! Looking forward to a possible meet-up with Rae at Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival in a couple of weeks. (Just learned that Dixie and Yellow Dog Knitting will be there! I haven't seen her in ages!) And I sure have a renewed desire to visit Albquerque again!

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Picking up a whole lotta extra tomatoes with the CSA delivery today. I predict Roasted Tomato Sauce!!

In the pink


Tickled, even.


While my thoughts over the weekend have been with my east coast friends as they faced Hurricane Irene, we are in the midst of the most wonderful stretch of beautiful weather. 


So, while it's been pretty busy 'round here, I've been able to carve out time here and there to enjoy the weather and recharge, which makes it a whole lot easier to get some things done.

Yesterday, I sliced up some fabric for a small quilt project and, at the same time, fired up the dye pot and made some pink yarn.

{Squint} I've a Stripe Study III in mind... No. 2 is coming along nicely!!

Had a nice visit and lunch with my dad on Saturday. All of my sibs are here for a visit with cousins today!


Knitting al fresco

Afternoon knitting

New project: Stripe Study II. Afternoon knitting in the pergola.

And? The basil plants scent the air so sweetly. Wish you were here!

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Duncan does, too.

Starting to get excited now


This photo is from a family reunion 24 years ago. I'm on the left, holding 2yo Katie (it wasn't until I saw MOVING PICTURES about 9 months later that I made a bee-line for Weight Watchers and lost 50 lbs!); Rusty is holding 4mo Ali; Mom, Joe, Sharon, Mike; my sister Karen and her husband Jay, holding my 1mo niece. The difference you could see in the 3 months between the births of those babies, at the newborn-infant stages, always left (still leaves) me awestruck -- Ali wasn't even 7 lbs at birth.

Let's not talk about the hair. Or the glasses. OK? And, I know, my BIL looks like he's 16!!

Anyway, my cousin Missy from Albuquerque was at that family reunion with her family and her parents. I've seen Missy since then, having visited NM a couple of times (when her brother got married -- one of the best weddings I've ever been to -- and when her dad/my uncle died), but this reunion was the last time she was here...

Until this Monday! And I'm getting so excited!! My sisters will be here and, hopefully, my brother; my mom and her sisters; my knitter cousin Rae, maybe others. There's a pretty good number of relatives who are educators or work in education-related fields -- or have school-age kids -- so I'm not sure how many more.

But, anyway, YAY! I just had to share because I'm really starting to get excited!  ; )

I went to Norway

But first, I went to Escanaba (in da moonlight, even). I think I've covered the recent crazy-busy, so we shook things up a bit in order to preserve our sanity and took a mid-week overnight road trip to wherever the road led.

We packed up as soon as I got home from work and the road led us to Mickey Lu's in Marinette for a burger. And then to Cottage Ten (not Four, as pictured) at Sandy Shores Resort just a few miles south of Escanaba. Long-time owner, Rosie, passed away in June, but her mark is everywhere. There's a vintage retro vibe, for sure, and everything was spotless. So cute. We just stayed in a "room" but a week in one of the actual cottages would be divine. Our front-porch "neighbors" were a couple from Germany travelling with their two young-adult children -- and they were very nice neighbors!

We sort of liked Escanaba. It's the first place I moved to from my birthplace of Milwaukee when I was just a baby; the first of many such moves (annual, at least) in my first 8-9 years. Needless to say, I don't remember it at all, and my only other memories of Escanaba are that it's a place we'd drive through to get to Mackinac Island!

Anyway, we found the Swedish Pantry downtown and started our day with Swedish pancakes for breakfast. And then we just drove -- up the bay and down the bay, and then over to Norway.

I'd spotted a story about Rainbow's End Alpacas in one of the Michigan tourism magazines and decided that it needed to be a destination. It was a nice drive, a really great location, and there was yarn. What's not to love? The shop has lovely light with nice, big windows (with a view of the farm and alpacas) and a fireplace with comfy chairs -- I can imagine how cozy that must be in January!


We just continued meandering on state and county roads and returned home in the late afternoon; enough time to wind down, throw in some wash, eat a little dinner.

And now I'm going to press some fabric that I just washed for a project. Woo!


Little pink squares

...for you and me.

Um, okay, maybe just for me.

This is not quite the cohesive bunch as the previous colors, as I was half-thinking that maybe I'd hit upon the perfect color to coordinate with some stash yarn for the Mystery Shawl KAL. I was dyeing and over-dyeing and just sort of willy-nillying. I came close, but not quite and just haven't had time to try again.

As it is, I'm totally not in love with my color combo for that shawl, and I don't have time to think it through at the moment.

August, man, it's bustin' my butt!!

I was happy to knit up the squares for my Project Spectrum Square Project, though, and the rest... well, I'll get caught up eventually.


Walk this way

A while back -- after all the hot and all the rain -- the weeds (and everything) really started to grow! I love our brick walkways, but so do the weeds!

That's a creeping thyme settling in and it stays. There's a big patch planted way over to the left, outside the frame of the photo -- over a small V-shaped area (planted mostly with a variety of succulents) and another width of walkway. I leave whatever chicks roll off the hens and into the cracks, too.

I'd weeded half of this "V" a couple of weeks ago and finally got around to the other half last night. I think someone mentioned that they'd take care of the big weeds (a couple have thorns) out front of I'd take care of this.

Sounded like a good deal to me! I always like to hose off the bricks when I'm finished.

Happy weekend!

Crazy (mostly) good busy

Buzz buzz buzz.

And when I'm not doing that, I've been runnin' round 'n round!

So, we shall proceed randomly because I'm having a hard time focusing, much less landing.

Monday was rough. Sunday took a toll, for sure, but there has been much unbloggable behind-the-scenes stuff happening this summer -- not all of it good, some of it downright shitty, with plenty of stress building up -- and let's just say that Monday didn't end well. Someone pricked my balloon at the end of the day and, before I knew it, the prick had grown into a big gaping hole and then there was my balloon, flat and deflated on the floor.

There were tears.

I miss my sister.

I ate a lot of chocolate chips.

Next year, I'm taking an extra day off after the race.

I didn't wallow long, already reinflating by Monday night and looking ahead.

Tuesday was better. I had a lovely dinner by myself at the Kangaroostaurant, our area's first and (so far) only food truck, and then knit out for the second week in a row!

I'm thinking of knitting out with that group every other week, at the location that's most convenient for me, and getting a group knitting more regularly at Ali's coffee shop -- maybe on the alternate weeks to start. There's some interest over there.

Yesterday was BUSY, but really great. I went to an estate sale with Mom and found a couple of things (literally, two very practical and useful things), but it really only made me want to go home to CLEAN and GET.RID.OF.STUFF! It was more than one estate, so WAY overwhelming in the little frilly geegaw department.

I am intently contemplating the calendar for a chunk o' days that I can free up for a clean out.

We stopped in at the local antique mall, owned by a former classmate and current neighbor of mine (I was actually there twice yesterday), and ran into a former dealer from our mall that I haven't seen in years! That makes two -- one each in the last two months -- and so I'm wondering who Mr./Ms. September will be!

Yesterday was CSA delivery day, and I made a quick batch of refrigerator pickles -- first time ever! We had fresh, sweet, corn-on-the-cob for dinner. There were lots of yummy tomatoes, some cukes, a couple of patty pan, and a few carrots to wash and put away.

This weekend: Kolokithokeftedes. It's time to make a dent in the zukes.

Tri, tri, triathlon again!


Well, we did it! Team SOS after the race, sporting team shirts that Karen had made for us, and (by no accident) pictured in order of events: Ann (500-yard swim in 14:32), Vicki (14.3-mile bike in 1:07:41), Karen (3.1-mile run in 32:25) -- factor in transition times for a finish time of 1:56:11. Good enough for second-to-last place... or 9th.

They said that I should say "9th place" because it sounds better. Heh.

Karen ran her best time ever!!

I upped the pace by a hair and shaved 1:21 off of last year's bike time! It's a hilly course, so challenging for this flat farmland rider -- and there's a hill right off the bat with the added thrill of a headwind! I was having a couple of issues with regulating my breathing and a sudden headache -- I'm not used to the whole race aspect and you just get caught up in it all even though you know there's not a chance in hell of winning, nor do you even want to! It's weird and I stressed out a little. I should have taken better care of myself prior to the race, too. Things slowly improved along the way and by the mid-way mark I was perfectly fine.

Annie accidentally registered as an individual when she signed us up for the race, and was listed both as an individual and as a relay team member when the wave assignments were released a couple of days before the race -- which is when she decided that she'd do the whole triathlon! And she did GREAT -- finishing in 1:51:58. I am so proud of her!!

It smells of an annual event.

Along came PINK & Stephen West

...and best-laid plans (continue to) run amok.

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Originally, I was going to knit all one-skein projects with the yarn I dyed for Project Spectrum and I sort of even planned the whole thing out. I knew I wouldn't do it to the end if I boxed myself in too much, though, so beyond some basic guidelines and scribbles on paper, it was all very fluid... playful and fun, yay!

RED: The first month was pretty normal, though I definitely caught the fever because I was throwing all sorts of extra-curricular skeins and hanks into the pot!

GREEN: The second month took a vibrant and much more colorful route -- a woolly and literal interpretation of "playful and fun."

BLUE: The third month was all about experimentation, so much so that the final "project" yarn doesn't even look blue to the untrained eye. Heh. It's blue to me and always will be! (I had a big red stuff dog once, very much like Clifford, and I named him Blue.)

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PINK! Pink is... well, pink ain't so easy folks! It can easily be so hot it sears the eye, or a little too Pepto, or too... I dunno, it's just tricky.

Pink #1

Here's my first attempt, using what I thought was a weak solution of red and burgundy. Heehee! It's very happy and definitely not Pepto, though it doesn't always play well with other colors and sometimes makes you want to squint a little (it depends on the light).

Pink #2

The second attempt, using half the strength of the first and with just a DROP of black, is still a pretty strong pink!

Pink #3

The third solution was half again the strength and with a half-drop of chartreuse in the mix. That resulted in a rather soft, pretty, girly pink.

Well, then Stephen West came along with his WestKnits Mystery Shawl KAL. It's been ages since I did a KAL (okay, fine, not counting the Through the Loops Cerasifera shawl I just finished). I've never done a mystery KAL, though, and I found myself completely enchanted... and then thinking about stash yarn possibilities and which color combinations might work and... hey! maybe I could dye yarn to match!

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There are a few skeins of fingering-weight yarn from each of the first three batches of pink that were overdyed to sort of "dirty" them up a bit -- some are easier than others to pick out in the photos above -- with varying degrees of success (and also pastel green!). I came close to what I wanted, but no banana... I was short on time (this being a last-minute decision) and it just wasn't working to rush (i.e., NOT FUN!), so I found some yarn in Iowa to use for the mystery shawl (MUCH MORE FUN!) and will do something else with my PS pink yarn.

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I may or may not be thinking about my next Stripe Study Shawl.

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Have a great weekend. I'll be making my way to W'loo in order to participate in the Fit City Triathlon (relay) with my sisters on Sunday morning! The event benefits the swim club there. I sure wish it had been a nicer summer up 'til now, I hardly feel as though I've ridden except for events... probably because I've hardly ridden except for events.  ; )  Oh well. I'm just thankful that my very competitive Type A sister/teammates are aware of their ages and limitations! Wish us luck!


1. Blueberries, 2. Sky blue, 3. Navy & sky, 4. Complementary, 5. Lively!, 6. Just beginning, 7. Watering cans, 8. Blue lights, 9. Blue lantern, 10. Blue bottle tree, 11. Blue Squares III, 12. Blue Squares II, 13. Blue Squares I, 14. This is supposed to be blue, 15. There he goes

We finally installed the blue-bottle dragonfly garden sculpture that I bought way-back-when on the garden tour. It's in the front of the house, "landing" on the barberry bush. The barberry is a good theft deterrent. I've never put much visible stuff out in the yard since a cute wooden bench that was in front of the kids' playhouse disappeared... years ago! I'll be sad if the dragonfly flies...

There's so much going on around here. I'm happy to finally put Project Spectrum July:Blue to bed. Well, I guess I still have the project to make... hopefully this weekend. I'm calling it good enough.

Come back tomorrow for pink!

Really, if I didn't have to take time to sleep, I'd be doing fine.


A 3-day weekend in pictures (mostly)

I'll forego to the bathroom details... for now. That was Sunday's activity and it's enough that I could flush by the end of the day... and no one was hurt. Hopefully, today's sink installation will go smoothly.

I had Friday off and headed south and a little bit west.

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There was a stop at Pendarvis - A Wisconsin Historic Site in Mineral Point, WI, along the way. I've been there before -- for a weekend with all my sisters a few years ago to celebrate my 50th birthday -- but we did not tour the site (there were so many other things on our list!).

There was a quick and photo-less stop to stretch legs in the Galena Historic District. Naturally, while walking, I found a yarn store -- Fiber Wild -- and a fine yarn store it was! I would love to visit Galena again, and for longer.

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There was a stop at the Home Ec Workshop in Iowa City, IA, where a definite color theme to the weekend emerged.

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These items will combine to become a project bag using Kirsten Kapur's free pattern, Dante's Purse.

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And the new contenders for the mystery shawl (my "Highland Holiday" yarn still in the mix). Heh.

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The drive was beautiful, both there and back. I saw parts of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa that I've never seen before. I've been enchanted by Iowa since my first time driving through and that has not changed. My grandmother was born there (Mason City), and some great greats and great great greats buried there (Brooklyn and Belle Plaine). I'll be back there again, too.

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Lastly, HAPPY 3rd 4th BIRTHDAY, ADDY! (Bad auntie! And, my, doesn't time fly?) (This is last year's pic, so he's another whole year cuter -- if you can even imagine.)


There are people you meet

There are people you meet in life that you never really get to know, even though you'd like to, but the stars never seem to align, and when they're gone there's a great big gaping hole that you know is just never going to be filled.

Joyce Williams was one of those people in my life. I met her six years ago when I took a class -- three classes, actually -- that she taught with Lizbeth Upitis at a Yarns By Design Midwest Masters Seminar in Neenah. I would have taken all four of their classes, but I don't know... it made me feel less of a stalker to throw in a class with Lily Chin.

I don't know why -- perhaps we knit together in an earlier life -- but there was an instant recognition and familiarity between Joyce and me, though we'd never met before. The feeling was mutual because, at one point, after catching ourselves numerous times quizzically looking at each other, as if trying to recollect, she knit her way over to me and asked, "Have we met before?" There are common places in our lives, but our timelines were different, and we could discern no people connections nor mutual occasions where we might have met.

Anyway, I ran into Joyce again about five years ago at Yellow Dog Knitting in Eau Claire, when Stephanie stopped there on a book tour. That's the Yellow Dog's and Dixie (right) and me (top) coming together with Joyce in a sort of Knitterly Girl Power ring thing. Huzzah!

The last time I saw Joyce was a very brief encounter when I visited Knitting Camp a couple of years ago. She was a tiny little thing, but fierce -- a force! Unforgettable.

When I read Jessica's post about Knitting Camp being different this year because of health issues among key players, I just knew in my gut that one of them was Joyce. So it wasn't a real big surprise, but I was no less shocked and saddened, to learn today that there will be a fierce new star burning for knitters in heaven tonight.

Rest in peace, Joyce.

Stripe Study

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It's an interesting color combo, as mentioned a few times along the way, and not the combo I started with! The "Forest" is very subdued and sedate, and the "Highland Holiday" just goes ZING! Let's have a party in the woods!!

Up 'til now, I've knit only mostly one-skein shawls -- and I love them and I'll certainly knit more -- but this is the second in a row, now, that I've knit using at least two skeins/hanks/colorways and I love the larger size! (The first was the recently completed Cerasifera by Kirsten Kapur.) I'll be knitting the larger size of Stephen West's Mystery Shawl in three colors** and I can't wait to get started.

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One last parting shot. Alison must really love me because she let me wrap that big wool shawl around her neck and then take her outside for photos -- I worked quickly because it was 90F and the humidity was awful! I'm so sick of being hot and sticky. If you have to stay inside because of the weather, it may as well be winter... it's just depressing when it looks nice out but feels awful. I really do love summer, so I'm conflicted... it's been a tough year.  ; )

The westknits Mystery Shawl KAL kicks off today -- in fact, the first clue arrived in my mailbox already last night! I'm very excited as I've never knit a mystery before.

*I used my second-to-last hank of my OMA workshop yarn for Stripe Study; the last is earmarked for the Mystery Shawl, if...

**I can dye the right shade of pink to go with it, and then come up with a third color... which I'm thinking will be either black or gray, or maybe blue. I'll probably buy that yarn because dyeing is hard. Pink is hard! I dyed three test batches yesterday (naturally, because it was hot and humid!) and may yet dive into the surplus test skeins for more experimentation before settling on the final color. I haven't had to do that before! Pink is the Project Spectrum color for August.

Stay tuned!