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July 2012

Wow, what a day. And hot.

I was up early this morning and met Ali to set up at the market.

I brought only sock yarn and a few hanks of lace weight this week, and Color Affection as a sample. It is so interesting to see the knitters emerge in my little community! And, I have to tell you, I am simply amazed at the number of people who fondle and admire yarn but do not knit or crochet or have any interest in doing it! They are either drawn in by the color, or they are remembering... that their mother used to knit. Or their grandmother. Or their sister who lives far away. Or a favorite aunt. It is pretty cool. The power of wool.

I was knitting on my TTL Mystery Shawl at the market... I'm comfortable enough, at least with the section that I'm working, to do that even while putting it down to pour a lemonade or tea, or make a latte. At one point, I looked up... and looked again... then jumped up and said something like, "Oh my god, KIM!!"

This is Kim, ever'body! We graduated from high school, together with 30+ classmates, *several* years ago, and found each other on Facebook about a year ago. She still lives in the Duluth-Superior area (about 5-6 hours away) and is among the last people I'd expect to see walk by at our little farmer market! Turns out, she and her husband were in Green Bay with their grandson; she saw a post I'd written on FB last night about being at the market, did a little looking at a map, and found out how close she was! Too close to miss. And, oh, that was FUN!!

After putzing, cleaning, unsuccessfully napping, grocery shopping, and doing some laundry this afternoon, we made dinner for Maddy and her friends, including The Internationals, this evening! And we did pretty good... for the record, the pickiest amongst them was not the vegetarian. Katie and I want to cook for them again, but tonight Rusty and I grilled both beef, turkey, and veggie burgers; I roasted asparagus, had vegetarian baked beans, potato salad, chips with salsa and guacamole, and lots of fresh fruit. Also some beer and wine and other refreshments.

And now I am EXHAUSTED... and quite happy with the day!


The state of things

It's possible that I'm knitting clown barf.

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But I'm using a Hundertwasser yarn and I have a soft spot for that... possibly a blind spot. Whatever. The pattern is Lokken by Megi Burcl from Knitscene Accessories 2012. Angie had one underway when she visited at Knit Night a few weeks ago and when I found myself in need of a simple carry-along project, I decided to cast on! It's one of those things... we'll just have to see.

Meanwhile, I've fallen a little bit behind on the TTL Mystery Shawl... which is a dumb thing to say because there really isn't a deadline. I haven't been looking at the spoilers, so it's still a mystery to me... and I'm back, all the clues are out, and so it shouldn't be long.

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These are quick snaps from the camera phone, but the color is pretty true!

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It's farmers' market day again tomorrow!

Sunday is another "farewell" party at my sister's. I'm thinking of it more as Addy's early birthday party! (Hm. That means that there might be CAKE!) My other sibs will be there this time and that'll be nice.

Thanks for all the help with the veggie options for The Internationals. I don't know what I was thinking... standing out there in left field, panicking about what to feed a vegetarian while eating the last of the leftover black bean patties (with guacamole) that I'd made the other day...


Have a great weekend!


The "Internationals" are coming!

They're all Brits, but we like to call them The Internationals... so cosmopolitan of us. Or something.

Anyway. I'm still contemplating Big Things, but the LITTLE THINGS and all the Other Things  refuse to be ignored. You know how they can be.

One of the Things is that The Internationals are coming! Maddy is working as a camp counselor again this summer and there are some Brits working there, too. Camp will not be in session next week, as the 4th of July falls right smack in the middle of it, and Maddy has made it her mission to help them relax and enjoy their week off, and experience a little bit of everyday U.S.A. (our little corner of it, at least).

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And, yes, I think it's sort of hilarious that... The British Are Coming! And that they'll be here while we celebrate Independence Day!

Naturally, we have to have an all-American 4th of July cook-out... hamburgers, hot dogs, Wisconsin brats... with all the trimmings, including apple pie for dessert.

HELP! What's on the all-American VEGETARIAN menu??? I know there is at least one.

Thank you.  ;)


I am...

...contemplating a number of Big Things. This is causing occasional crabbiness, and also a bit of tongue-tied-ness. I'll be back soon. Right now, I'm off to see Billy Elliot and that ought to cheer me up.



It was one of the best! I drove up with Annie on Friday night, the girls alternately leading/following in my car, and found our accommodations without any trouble at all. The Village View Inn is cute and comfy, and we couldn't have been happier with the location or our hosts.

We had our customary pre-ride breakfast on Saturday morning at Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant and, because we stayed right in Sister Bay this year, we were able to walk.

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My only photo before/during the cycling event happens to be before: Alison ready to go, and Oswald strapped in for the ride! That's my bike, to her left, with saddlebag mounted on the back and with a slightly more comfy (padded) seat than the original manufacturer part.

The weather was pretty good -- sort of warm and a little more humid than I'd like, but mostly cloudy and with a nice breeze. I just love how well organized this event is, and we finished our 25-mile ride (same as last year's with a very slight but welcome deviation) in about 2.5 hours.

There was a welcome and very nice pasta lunch waiting upon our return. And Frostop root beer on tap. Yum. Folks were arriving for early beer festival seminars and VIP events as we returned to our lodging for showers and then to meet up with Mom & Joe before returning.

This was the first -- and also my first -- Door County Beer Festival -- I wasn't sure what to expect. There were 40+ breweries -- big, small, local, not-so-local -- with many, many beers, as well as some of the best local food, including personal favorites The Wild Tomato and The Cookery.

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I don't know... what do you think? Does it look like we were having a good time?? {The younger guy is a) just a random beer-loving guy and b) friend of the band.}

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That's Tumbling Bones -- super fun and there was dancing!

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When we went for dinner, we drove through Ephraim where the annual Fyr Bal Festival was underway.

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It was a bit breezy and chilly, but a beautiful evening nonetheless.

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Very fun! These official bonfires were lit all around the bay -- so pretty. I believe there was some unofficial participation, as well -- there was one, in particular, that was VERY large and accompanied by fireworks. We were walking back to the car as the real fireworks show was just beginning (we were so tired by then!).

On Sunday morning, we met at (and to) Drink Coffee for breakfast. Annie left for home shortly thereafter, and Mom & Joe went off to visit some antique shops. The girls and I headed north to a used book shop, which didn't open 'til noon, so then further north just because... and we ended up at the Door Bluff Headlands County Park.

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It was another beautiful day!

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None of us were really dressed for a hike, but we made our way down the "path" to the water and I'm glad we did.

This last photo just cracks me up. I think Kate knew that I was taking photos, but I doubt Ali did... and don't you wonder just what the hell both of them are looking at?? What's going on? It's like a wonderfully set-up shot, except that it wasn't.  ;)

By the time we headed back south, the book shop was open and we stopped for a bit. When we reached Fish Creek it was time for lunch, and then pointed for home.

Our second-to-last stop was at Sweetie Pie's where we picked up a Father's Day cherry pie; our last stop was at our local Piggly Wiggly for the requisite vanilla ice cream!


New bikes!

Sharon & Karen, ca. 1965-1966. I can't tell if they're 5 or 6 -- Sharon looks 5, Karen looks 6. Whatev... new bikes!

Happy Birthday, Karen!!

Missing you everyday, Sharon!


Objects in mirror are closer than they appear

In other words: It's a random bullet-y type of day!

  • We're heading to Door County tomorrow evening to participate in Saturday's Ride For Nature for the second year in a row.
  • We'll also participate in the inaugural Door County Beer Festival, and I'm really looking forward to it!
  • Having learned our lesson last year, we are staying overnight on Saturday instead of trying to drive home.
  • Annie's riding with us this year, and Mom & Joe are coming up on Saturday!
  • Last year, besides the New Belgium sticker for my bike (that I'm still extraordinarily giddy over) and some other goodies in our welcome packet, there was a coupon from Nor Door Sport & Cyclery.
  • I ended up with a rack and saddlebags for my bike! I didn't really use them much last year and was beginning to wonder if I'd made yet another dumb purchase.


  • Guess what fits beautifully in one of those saddlebags?
  • Knitting!
  • For the second time in a few weeks, I rode my bike to Tuesday Knit Night!
  • It's 8.5 miles one way.
  • I took a slightly different jog at the end this week that took me past a wonderful little garden at a local high school.
  • I was surprised to see the purple coneflowers so prolific already!
  • It was an easier ride on Tuesday than any other I've done so far this year -- little wind, no cliffs to climb.
  • I'm still feeling it in my legs and butt.
  • It's not painful, just a reminder... I guess that's good.
  • Due to daylight, knitting out time is limited and... I hate to say it, but the days will be getting shorter again soon.
  • I guess I'll just keep doing it for as long as I can!
  • I love killing two birds with one stone -- something that I should do combined with something that I want to do.


Ten on Tuesday: Strawberry Fields Forever

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Favorite Ways to Eat Strawberries

1. In the field, right off the vine.

2. In the car, right out of the flat.

3. In the kitchen, right out of the colander.

4. By the slice, right off the knife.

4. In a bowl with a little bit of cream.

5. Sliced, in cereal (Cheerios, Chex).

6. In strawberry shortcake, of course; sometimes with other berries. I like my shortcake less sweet and more biscuit-y than cake-y.

7. In a fruit salad. I made a simple one on Sunday with organic strawberries from my farmers' market neighbor, blueberries from another vendor, and fresh basil from my own yard -- all with the slightest drizzle of honey. So good. I saved a little for yesterday's lunch.

8. Slightly mashed, over ice cream (I guess you'd call that a sundae) or cheesecake.

9. In almost any dessert, actually.

10. The fresher the better, but I do love good homemade strawberry jam!

I meant to take a photo of my fruit salad, but it disappeared before I had a chance. Mom recently brought over this cute gebera daisy -- it goes nicely with the back door of the garage! I've been watering it every evening, but in the heat the other day it was completely wilted and I thought that perhaps a drink in the morning would be better. So far, so good.


Weekend doings: Busy

Farmers' Market! The season opener was Saturday and here we are -- well, there's my co-worker Abbey -- having arrived just a wee bit later than we'd have liked, but whipping thing into shape. She is pulling apart "puff balls" which we hung inside the tent with the red Japanese lanterns and it was all quite festive. It was very, very warm and, thankfully, also breezy, so we sold a lot of iced tea and lemonade!

I'm so happy with how our little local market has grown. Not too big, not too small, it's Just Right! Everyone is so friendly, and, welp, that's no surprise because we do live in "The Friendly City"!

My personal favorite part of the day, besides actually selling some yarn (some to a non-knitter, even, who fell in love with yarns/colors and purchased for her sister) was when a young girl (maybe 11) walked straight up to admire yarn. When I asked her if she knit, she proceeded to open her very stylish bag to show me that she had her yarn, needles and hooks right with her! I gave her my card. I'm looking forward to seeing her again!

I was so tired by the time we tore down and unloaded back at the coffee shop. I came home and typed a few words onto FB and then stared at the computer for 10 minutes trying to decide whether I should take a shower and then a nap, or a nap and then a shower. I'm not sure it was the right decision, but I figured that if I needed 10 minutes to contemplate such a question, then I pretty much needed a nap first.

Zzzzzzzzz. Shhhhhhhh!

I had some yarn soaking that I knew I wouldn't get to on Sunday and wouldn't wait for next opportunity on Wednesday, so I made some more lavender yarn, and also one that's more "lilac." (Photos, etc., soon.)

On Saturday night, I managed to knit through all of Clue #2 on Kirsten's TTL Mystery Shawl... and I'm so anxious for #3!

Today, we went to Mack's house to celebrate his 7th birthday! It's hard to believe he's gone from this:

( t i n y  t i g e r )  to this:

in seven short years -- toothless, to a varying degree, in both! (Bad auntie, I didn't take any photos and nabbed this from the party invitation.)

There was cake! And a good time was had by all.  ;)


Day off doings: Inspired

I had a dentist appointment yesterday morning, which went okay except for the reminder (again) that I should start working on having a few teeth crowned while I still *want* to do it. You know, rather than having a tooth crumble at... oh I don't know, 3:30 on a Sunday afternoon would probably be about the most inconvenient of time, wouldn't it?

Yeah, so after a dentist appointment I usually treat myself with a trip to my LYS (local yarn store), just a half-mile or so to the north. This time, though, I went to my favorite LSS (local shoe store) a few blocks south.** I was on a quest for new sandals, having admired a neighbor's lovely pair a few weeks ago. They were so comfy looking, a perfect style for my feet which sometimes swell, and I haven't been able to get them off my mind. I found them, ordered them in a different color, and also found an adjustable pair with velcro closures. Shoe shopping is not a regular occurrence around here, and there are plenty of times that I leave empty handed, so I'm actually quite happy that I found two pair! It's been a while since I've worn thong-style sandals, though -- I used to wear them all summer, every summer -- so there'll be a period of getting used to that again.

I met Rusty at the home improvement store to find a replacement for the air conditioner for our bedroom -- looks like we're going to need it this weekend -- and then we grabbed a quick lunch before heading home.

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He went out to continue painting the house. I fired up a kettle of water and mixed up some dye -- inspired by the lavender blooming outside the garage door! I had just enough time to do a test hank before riding my bike over to Mom's to consult on a few things. What color to paint the outdoor furniture? When shall we leave for Mack's 7th birthday party on Sunday?

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I can't believe he's going to be SEVEN!!

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Then it was time to head off to book club. It was another in a string of gorgeous days and we met at a place with a lakeside patio. The service wasn't too great, but the relaxing was very, very good.

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Meanwhile, having always been a fan of lavender "the flower" and lavender "the scent," I was never too crazy about lavender "the color" for anything other than lavender flowers. Until now.

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I'm inspired and in love!

**I was actually hoping that I'd have time to treat myself with a trip to the LSS and the LYS!


I voted

It's a big election day in Wisconsin and, just from random things I've seen throughout the day, voter turn-out seems pretty high. I haven't actually been closely following, so it'll be interesting to see how the numbers really compare to other recent elections... not to mention how it all turns out in the end!

* * * * *

So, has anyone currently reading this blog been around long enough to remember KNIT LIKE A LATVIAN?

One of my "holy grails" of knitting has been -- and continues to be -- Latvian mittens. About five years ago, I was caught up in a) the excitement of trying to knit a pair, b) the newness of Ravelry, and c) the newness of GROUPS on Ravelry (which were populating at an incredible rate -- dozens every day, maybe even every hour for a while there) -- it was crazy and I got caught up in it.

Even though I've always said that "I'm not a forums girl" and creating a group on Ravelry is pretty much the opposite of that ("Let me be the LEADER of a forum!), I opened Microsoft Picture It and put some (not even Latvian) mittens on the hands of a clip art Egyptian, humming and riffing on The Bangles all the while, uploaded it, and started a group called Knit Like A Latvian.

It lives!! Not only that, it's grown to over 860 members while I, for the most part, have been an absentee mother. I love it so and it's flourished despite my neglect! Isn't that crazy? It just blows me away. There are and have been some knowledgeable and exceptionally talented people who knit and discuss and share their work there, and keep it all going. Some of the members have, literally, "written the book" on knitting from Latvia, Estonia, and the Baltic region. I am indebted to them and the dedicated members who contacted me about becoming moderators. (Thank you so very much!)

There have been some KALs organized by members, and new one has just been announced! The start of Knit Like A Latvian: Sock KAL 2012 is set for July 1st! And I'm actually considering it. Colorwork being my nemesis, I've found a pattern that is about half texture and half color -- considerably lowering the frustration factor. There will be random prizes for completion (by the end of August), for which I won't be eligible, of course, but for which Make.Do will be donating along with (so far) two other moderators, The Needle Gnome, and everyone's favorite Miss Babs!

I'm really trying NOT to get carried away and join in a bunch of stuff, but the timing for this is good.

I could take it to another level by also doing it for Knitting Olympics -- July 27th to August 12th.

Hm. I shall ponder that...

* * * * *

Meanwhile, World Wide Knit in Public Day/Week kicks off this weekend, which just happens to coincide with the opening of our local farmers' market, and my manning of the KC&T/Make.Do tent where I'll be dispensing beverages and hawking wool. It's official (on the website and everything!), we (I, as much as possible) will be WWKiPing at the farmer's market on Saturday morning -- read all about it and join us if you can!

* * * * *

Ten on Tuesday this week is 10 Favorite Work Out Songs, and I pretty much covered that here. I haven't been riding a stationary bike lately, though, and for safety reasons I don't listen to music when I'm actually biking on the road, so I have nothing new! I've linked to Carole's post, though, because it's a great topic!



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It was a mighty fine weekend and it ended like this. A little late in the day to be hanging yarn outside to dry -- I'd already taken down the laundry and retracted the line -- I just had to hang it out for a little while. Then I took my knitting out to the pergola and enjoyed the bright, cheerful view.

Rusty was there when I pulled those two fiery hanks out of the pot. He couldn't get over it. "It GLOWS!"

That it does.  ;)


Knitting a mystery

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The color's still not quite right, but it's closer. It's Clue #1, all 15 rows, for Kirsten's Through The Loops Mystery Shawl 2012. I started when I got home last night and finished just after dinner. So far, so good!

It's pictured atop my Aviatrix hats; here are both, so far:

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This is the smallest size and the largest size; a third (and final) is underway! I think it's pretty cool to get three of these spectacular hats out of one hank of yarn.

You should see my Ravelry project page right now -- that's a lot of red!!

I went on a great bike ride today with Katie and then went out and bought all my plants -- AND PLANTED THEM! That is practically unheard of around here. I usually let them sit for at least a day. Often a week. Even Rusty was surprised. Heh. New tricks.


Try, try again

I've done very few Knit-Alongs (KALs) in my years of "online" knitting. Audrey was the first -- and came so early in my blogging career that I didn't even know how to hyperlink!

I never finished that sweater*, but I've rarely learned so much from a single project! My first encounter with in-depth discussions of increases and decreases -- and that there were so many ways to do them -- came via that KAL. There were in-depth discussions about every aspect of that sweater and pattern and it was fascinating to be a part of it!

It's a safe bet to say I'd never have worn that sweater even if I'd finished. Ever. Adorable sweater, but completely wrong for my body shape and type. (The Vespa made me do it, I'm sure!) It was the throwing in of the towel by the venerable Bonne Marie Burns that "gave me permission" to admit the same and the confidence to frog it all.

It was so liberating! I've frogged a few projects since then, too. It certainly hurts, but it feels so good to reclaim good materials and try again!

St. Brigid was a success, as was Williamsro for the first Knitting Olympics**.

My first mystery KAL was a bit of a bust, but I'm ready to try again. And I'm starting today!

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This is some Knit Picks Bare Lace Weight that I've had around for a while. I'd dyed it a while ago and it turned out a shade of magenta -- that seems to be my default color. I decided to overdye it to give it a richer red feel -- and, being red, it's next to impossible to photograph so the photo has been manipulated and the color is not true... but believe me that it's a nice deep red and I do love it.

Trying again. Katie will have to... She learned yesterday that she wasn't awarded the scholarship that was the make-or-break deal for school in Scotland this fall... this fall. There's always next fall...

Happy weekend! Trying anything?

*Nor have I finished Cromarty, the successor sweater.

**I'm pondering possibilities for the summer games.