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Of Halloween Past

2004 - Halloween

Ali & Maddy - 2004

2004 - Halloween

Maddy - 2004

2008 - Mack-Addy_Halloween
2008 - Mack-Addy_Halloween
2008 - Mack-Addy_Halloween
2008 - Mack-Addy_Halloween

Mack, Addy, Mom, and yummy witch hat treats - 2008

2009 - Mack_Halloween

Cowboy Mack, hamming it up - 2009

2011 - Katie

Katie - 2011

Mack - Batman


Happy Halloween!!


What's a knitting belt?

In Tuesday's post, I mentioned that my knitting belt would invariably be among the items in my project bag. I don't use it everyday, but it is essential for anything I knit on DPNs.

I am most comfortable knitting on straight needles -- the longer the better -- and avoid using circulars whenever possible (almost always). I normally anchor the right needle of a single-point pair in my "lap," throw my yarn with my right hand, and work the stitches with my left-hand needle.

If I knit on DPNs, the knitting belt comes into play as a place to anchor the right-hand needle. Before I bought the knitting belt, I'd use my clothing to anchor the needle -- not very well, most times, and I'd often end up with a holey shirt, too! I don't usually even put the belt on and buckle it, I just rest it in my lap.

You can understand why I avoid circs, as there is no "end" to anchor. I feel loosey-goosey and completely out of control when I knit on circulars!


I bought my knitting belt a few years ago from Journeyman Leather in Shetland.

(What I'd really like next is a knitting sheath!)

You can read more here:

It is worth a googling -- "knitting belt" -- for web pages, images, and videos. You'll also find references to speed and production knitting.

  • Knitting for Speed & Efficiency by Felicia Lo (sweetgeorgia)
  • Stephanie Pearl McPhee/The Yarn Harlot teaches the class called Knitting for Speed & Efficiency (as referenced in Felicia's post, above) and, while I haven't personally taken it, I definitely would... it's worth keeping an eye on Stephanie's schedule for upcoming events


Ten on Tuesday: FIRE!

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I'd Save if My House Was On Fire

In no particular order...

1. Photos! They're all scattered at the moment, though, as we speak, there's another batch being digitally preserved at ScanCafe!


2. A String of Pansies.

3. A few handknits. The beautiful autumn sweaters that Sharon knit; Parcheesi; Fib; Algiers; some of the baby things* I've made (heirlooms!).

4. My current project bag(s) -- sewing and/or knitting. This/these would invariably also contain needles and notions, my knitting belt, electronics (tablet/Kindle), and current "stuff" (magazines, recently printed patterns and recipes to try).

Among the year's best Christmas gifts. v.Mother: I am a fighter. v.Father: I am a dreamer. Love my Maddy Mo. #christmas2013 #kidswritemakesayanddothedarnedestthings

5. A select few books. My Grandma Blum's memoir; the books that Maddy made for us last Christmas (above) (and so awesome); the equally awesome annotated Mother that she gave me a few years ago (below).


6. A few little "decor" items. Where Maddy makes books, Katie & Ali make... other things. The tiny bleeding heart blossom that Ali pressed between some plastic wrap and inserted into an old plastic slide "frame." The 3-dimensional heart/frame (also employing great use of plastic wrap) that Katie made when she was in elementary school. The handmade cards that Rusty's made, and the "clothesline" watercolor that he painted for me. A few little things like that...

7. My Globe Wernicke bookcase. Gee, it would make sense to make sure the books I want to save are in the bookcase that I want to save, wouldn't it?!

8. Grandma Koenig's treadle sewing machine & "button bowl." Grandma's sewing machine has been "mine" for nearly my entire life -- since she died, when I was six. Mom "antiqued" it back in the day; I stripped it many years later; it was my "night stand" for many years (and would be still, if it fit). My button collection (with contributions from my mother, both grandmothers, and a great grandmother) is actually a green depression glass bowl that's part of a "console set" with a pedestal for the bowl and a pair of candleholders with painted wood "candlesticks."

9. Camera stuff. There's a whole lotta that, and I really need to get it organized.

10. My purse... inside of which are always my wallet, ID/license, phone & accessories, keys, a credit/debit card or two, usually some cash, insurance cards, a hair band, some coupons, and my library card!

Weasley Sweater

*My brother-in-law told me that he caught a few minutes of a Harry Potter movie while Mack & Addy were recently watching and noticed Ron Weasley's sweater; he thought, "Hey, that looks just like the sweater that Vic made for Mack!" As well it should, made from the original Harry Potter Sweater Kit. He asked, "DID YOU KNOW THAT?" Haha. Made my day!


It's only natural

I dyed two cotton hankies during my afternoon at Have Company in Grand Rapids. Shown below, with yarn resting upon it, is a brown hankie that was dyed in a bath made from Juglans nigra, or black walnut, and a pale yellow from a pot of brewed Tanacetum vulgareor common tansy. I've dyed with walnuts before so that pale brown was no surprise, and while I can take or leave most yellows, I love that pale tansy yellow!

I realized that it's been almost two months since I was round-aboutly inspired by Outlander and harvested some natural dyestuff from the back yard to brew for some yarn!


I gathered Impatiens capensisor touch-me-not, which is fairly prolific on the hillside behind our house (said hillside making it somewhat treacherous to harvest!). I tried to be somewhat scientific -- weighing it and making notes about what I did -- but I have no idea what happened to all that. But look! Pretty yarn.


Two skeins of my fingering/sock base (75% superwash merino, 25% nylon), and two skeins of a lace base (80% merino, 20% silk). I'm excited to explore some more natural stuff... especially indigo. Mostly, I have some fabric that I'd like to overdye with indigo. But yarn, too!


We have a weekly newspaper in my 'hood. It's in my mailbox every Wednesday and Saturday, and I sometimes fall behind. Um, I don't think I've ever been this far behind! I was all set to get caught up, with coffee and chronological stack of papers, but it didn't happen. Annie & boys were here for the weekend, so I opted to spend some time with them.

It was really a pretty great weekend, and concluded with a drive over to visit Maddy. I love the message board in their kitchen, and that her 3 roommates are "family."


We spent some time with this guy, too. Unless he's sleeping, I don't know if I'll ever get a good photograph of him wearing the adorable Fourques Hat.


Hope you had a great weekend, too.

9 Months!


He cut a third tooth (the first on top) over the weekend, and is just beginning to crawl. Figuring it all out!


Compare: 9 Weeks, above, and 9 Months, below (special attention to bear!).


Also, hair! You cannot see it, but it's there... soft and wispy, it even blows in the wind!  :)


Ten on Tuesday: Chicago-Grand Rapids Weekend

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Did Over The Weekend

I had a 4-day weekend!


1. I consider my weekend officially started on Thursday night when we drove to Chicago after work, arriving quite late but ready to go on Friday!


2. Friday was, for us, David Bowie Day! (The official David Bowie Day in Chicago was 9/23, on opening day of the DAVID BOWIE IS exhibition.)


Waiting on the steps at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art

The exhibit was fantastic, by the way, and made great use of technology: each person was given their own location- or space-sensitive device/headset, and the audio was specific to whatever part of the exhibit you were viewing at any given time. I usually opt out of the audio portion of the program, but this was super-cool.


Waiting to be seated for lunch

3. We had a fabulous lunch at our favorite Chicago eatery, The Purple Pig! We tried a couple of new things this time: Bobota "Greek Cornbread" with Feta, Mizithra Cheese & Honey, and Eggplant Caponata with Goat Cheese:


Eggplant Caponata

And we had a couple of stand-bys: Salt-Roasted Beets with Whipped Goat Cheese & Pistachio Vinaigrette (a recipe that Kate spent some time replicating... we love it so much), and Chicken Thigh Kebabs with Fried Smashed Potatoes & Tzatziki. Oh yeah.

4. On Friday afternoon, we drove to Grand Rapids, MI. Forgetting about the time zone, we arrived a little later than planned. Pesky time zones!

5. Saturday morning's lovely breakfast with Maureen (Rusty's host for the previous 19+ days), Maureen's sister & brother-in-law (who also hosted an artist), and Dona (said hosted artist) was a wonderful start to a very busy day.


Kym & I at an installation outside of BOB (Big Old Building)

6. I met Kym!! It was about as fun and enjoyable as you might expect, because Kym!


7. We spent a good part of the day enjoying ArtPrize -- and also lunch! It's a pretty amazing thing which you can read about on their site, as well as Kym's take, and Kate's too. There sure was a lot of "art talk" over the weekend!

8. Wireless connection being somewhat testy, Kate & I escaped to Starbucks on Saturday night for a little while. She caught up on blogging, and I started knitting a hat for Junah: Fourques!


“Intersections” by Anila Quayyum Agha - winner of the public vote; also winner of the jury's grand prize shared with "The Hair Craft Project" by Sonya Clark


9. Sunday began with a lovely latte, waiting in line for the museum to open, more ArtPrize, and then the Seasonal Natural Dyeing Workshop that I signed up for at Have Company. I dyed two cotton hankies, one with walnut (to which I am no stranger) and the other with tansy. I love the tansy yellow!

10. On Monday, we all came home. I drove about half of the 7-hour trip, leaving plenty of passenger time during which I finished knitting the hat! I need to weave a few ends, wash it, and make a tassel (at mama's request).

It was a darn good weekend!!


Artsy ahead

At 3:00 today, a long weekend begins. I'll pack, gas up the car, wait for Kate, and then we'll head to Chicago for an overnight stop on our way to Michigan. On Friday, during that little intermission in our trip, we'll be seeing DAVID BOWIE IS at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

While I'm not the biggest Bowie fan in the world, this is about so much more than music... as is David Bowie. Chicago is the only U.S. stop for the touring exhibition and, well, YES.

Our final destination (by Friday evening) is Grand Rapids, MI, where Rusty's been for almost 3 weeks while exhibiting and participating at ArtPrize. The event continues through Sunday and we'll load up and head home on Monday.

Meanwhile, Saturday will be all about ART! The whole concept of ArtPrize is fascinating, the conversations, the evolution... we're all so interested in what it's all about. Rusty's been volunteering, taking part in events, even showing up in a couple of video clips! (A regular media darling... who knew?)

Saturday will also be about KYM! We're only 190 miles apart as the crow flies (across Lake Michigan), but more like 350 to drive. We've talked about things on "my side of the lake" and "your side of the lake." Now we'll both be on the same side for a little while and we've arranged a meet up! So excited.

I just became aware this morning of a Seasonal Natural Dyeing Workshop at Have Company on Sunday afternoon and, figuring that I'll probably be "arted out" by then, I've signed up! It looks like an interesting shop, too. I've done a little natural dyeing on my own, but I love learning at and participating in workshops. Perfect.

In closing, some local fall color.


After a little break, the photojojo macro lens is back in action!


And some jacked-up banana bread a la smitten kitchen.



Happy Weekend!!


They call me...



That's a tired 25+ lb. baby boy wearing the 3-6 month size of Heather Saal's Baby Leggings like a glove. He hasn't really needed them until now! The pattern runs a little large, so the 6-12 month size ought to get him right through winter.

And then it will be spring!


Square One

I was successful in finding some Rowan Fine Art at my LYS yesterday in a green colorway -- a color that was somewhat under-represented in the overall (and very fluid) scheme of things. (Not shown here.)


I gave Square One a soak and pinned it out before leaving for Knit Night, where, due to a Thursday night football game (and some other things), I was the sole knitter... and now there's a Square Two!

I'm feeling, as with Parcheesi, that some rules are developing. It's hard to know how this is going to go, being a Mystery KAL, so the rules are likely to be just as fluid as the colors. I hope it all works out.

So far, it's a blast. I'll be making 7 squares in this manner; then there are 9 more "squares that Kaffe has designed" and/or "colour way" releases... and I am hoping that it's much more the former than the latter. We'll see!!

Happy Weekend!


Knit along

The Kaffe Fassett KAL started yesterday. And so did I!


It's going to be:

  • Scrappy
  • Random
  • Fingering-weight (instead of worsted)
  • From stash* (because I have a ton)

There are leftovers from Parcheesi amongst my choices, and even some yarn reclaimed from a large experimental now-frogged Log Cabin square; Socks That Rock, Jitterbug, Regia, handspun, and a whole lotta Who-Knows-What!

I completed one square last night, and I *love* how the colors played, but it's a wonky M1 version and I may try the other.

*Feeling a little guilty that it's a Rowan-sponsored KAL, I may stop by my LYS and see if they have some Rowan Fine Art or something that I can add.