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June 2016
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August 2016

FO: TTL Mystery Shawl 2016

If you think you haven't seen a finished knitting project around here in a while, you would be absolutely right. If you took a look around here, you'd think that this shawl was the ONLY finished object of 2016! In fact, it's the second*, though it is the only project so far that I both started & completed this year.



This is my fourth Through The Loops Mystery Shawl!


I had some issues... tinking back a few times to get back on track after dropping stitches.


And I'm pretty sure there's an error or five to be found.


But I loved knitting it and kept it a mystery, never peeking at spoiler photos after I fell behind -- until I got to the bind-off row, and then I took a look. I used a 5 US needle for the body of the shawl, but an 8 to bind off in order to get the stretch I wanted. I was tempted to knit a couple/few more rows of garter just before the bind off, too, but wasn't sure I had enough yarn. (Turns out, I had plenty... but I love it as is!)

*The first FO was Deep End IIwhich I began February 4th, 2015, while vacationing in Todos Santos, Mexico! I noted on Ravelry that I worked the sewn bind-off at the Madison Knit-In, which was Feb. 20-22 that year, but it took over a year to pick it up and weave in ends. I did that during the Rites of Spring Fiber Frolic, April 29-May 1. Gin was born May 2nd... and that explains both the lack of an FO post and the general lack of knitting altogether. I have been saying that the creative output so far this summer has been way down, but the cuddle quotient is WAY UP!


I had a hair appointment yesterday. My stylist, Kate, blew out and styled my hair so nicely... but with the temp (upper 80s) and dew point (72F -- that's TERRIBLE!), it wasn't long before the back of my neck was sweating and my hair was back in a very unglamorous ponytail! Whatever. A salon date always makes it a better day!!

The kids came over for a while in the afternoon while their momma was at a meeting.

There was some snoozing.


Some exploring around the house and down the street.


This is right in front of my house: DIG! Junah had fun identifying all the colors and made a game of jumping over some of the marks and lines (and getting me to jump around, too!).


The gas line is being moved from under the street to under the sidewalk, with new connection to the meter -- it's happening all down the street, around the block, and in the entire neighborhood! It looks like I'm going to lose three nice old sidewalk blocks -- naturally, it can't be the newer ones that area already disintegrating. It's going to be a bit of a mess, but the actual work shouldn't take very long. I am assured that my plants will be OK. I know those guys with the diggers can be careful and precise when they want to be... we'll see.

There was laundry on the line.


Someone loves it as much as I do. There'd be a breeze every once in a while, and everything would swish around -- even his hair would sort of blow up. So cute.

There's live music every Wednesday night at a park downtown. I can actually hear it just fine from my front porch, but it's nice to see it, too. Rod usually runs sound for these events, but last night one of his bands was also the headliner!


Princess Gin was prepared! She didn't like the ear protection so much at first, but she got used to it. From glances I caught, some of the other kids in attendance seemed a little worried about what might be "wrong" with Gin that she had to wear such a weird thing.


Just over 11 weeks old, there's absolutely nothing wrong with her!!

20 On Tuesday: Summer Camp & WI Songs

I missed last week because we were up north, but I really wanted to participate because I LOVED SUMMER CAMP! I went twice, with my cousin Gail, to a week-long YWCA-sponsored residence camp in Minnesota.

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Loved About Summer Camp

1 - Riding the Greyhound bus to camp. I did that at least once (my first solo travel!) from Appleton to Duluth, taking "the long way" (all those bus stops), and it took about 9 hours in my memory. On the return trip I forgot/lost my pillow on the bus.

2 - Horseback riding. "My" horse, both years, was a seemingly huge palomino named "Taffy." She was the sweetest & gentlest of all. I guess you'd call her a "rescue" now; she couldn't be tied up or she'd go nuts -- one can only surmise what that signaled to her. I loved learning how to saddle up and groom a horse!

2 - Arts & crafts time. Making lanyards and all that stuff.

3 - Swimming. Except that time I wandered into the weeds and had a giant leech on my leg.

4 - The kitchen staff. Not because the meals were memorable (or even all that good - I don't remember), but it was one of the cooks who ran out of the hall to save me from that leech!

5 - Archery. I was pretty good at it, too.

6 - Tetherball. It was for casual recreation, and there was always a game underway.

7 - Canoeing. That was likely my introduction to canoeing and learning how to paddle.

8 - Camp songs & campfires!

9 - Goofy games, skits & contests. I won the title of "Miss Ugly" in a pageant after my cabin-mates dolled me up... smearing toothpaste on my legs, teasing my hair to high heaven (no fun brushing that out), dressing me in all sorts of mismatched clothes... and for "talent," I sawed on my violin (which I had inexplicably brought along to camp) and shout/sang "Mary Had a Little Lamb" with no discernible tune nor key.

10 - Free time. You'd find me playing tetherball or reading in my bunk.



Ten on Tuesday:  10 Songs "About" Where I Live

Hm. Well, Wisconsin...

1 - Cadillac Ranch - Bruce Springsteen (Drivin' alone through the Wisconsin night)

2a - Milwaukee, Here I Come - George Jones & Tammy Wynette

2b - or by Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton

3 - Wisconsin - Bon Iver

4 - My Cousin In Milwaukee - Ella Fitzgerald

5 - What's Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me) - Jerry Lee Lewis

6 - They're Not Tryin' On The Dance Floor - Jonathan Richman (Like Sheboygan or Eau Claire, they're just there)

Sure, there are a few other obscure songs that mention Wisconsin... but if you ever actually CAME to Wisconsin, say to Lambeau Field in Green Bay and attended a Packer game, you would most certainly hear these songs (among others), so by association...

7 - Start Me Up - The Rolling Stones (kick off)

8 - Bang The Drum All Day - Todd Rundgren (TOUCHDOWN!)

9 - Beer Barrel Polka / Roll Out The Barrel (start of the 4th quarter)

10 - I Gotta Feeling - The Black Eyed Peas (WIN)

True, it is not guaranteed that you'd hear #10, but we certainly hope so! (How can it be that the Packers' first pre-season game is less than 3 weeks away???)

A few days up north

We'd been looking forward to it for weeks! My uncle was going to be away for a few weeks and offered his cabin to us. It's been a while since we've been up north at the height of summer, and we jumped at the chance. Rusty was in CA helping a friend with a kitchen remodel, and Rod had some gigs and also continued work on the "coffee camper," so it was just us girls and Jün for five days & nights!

There was canoeing, kayaking, walking, and hiking.


And also a little bit of running (moi!) after Jün accidentally disturbed some bees and got stung a couple of times!

Trains are the big thing occupying Junebean these days -- the old Brio track & train that was his mother's & aunts', with the addition of THOMAS and PERCY... and oh, my, does he love those engines! He also had some THOMAS DVDs, which we watched a few times, and his book bag with some of his favorite books... including THOMAS! I had a very enjoyable time one evening listening to his momma read him stories at bedtime.


Gin & Jün are starting to interact a little bit... it's going to be so fun to watch them grow together!

There was some hammock time (who knew that was so comfortable?)!


And plenty of playing-in-the-water time.


There was lots of great cooking and eating, everyone pitching in and... I don't think I even lifted a finger in the kitchen 'til Day 3. We made "camp food" one night with Maddy's direction and assistance... tin foil packets of ground beef, carrots, onions, potatoes, and lots of butter... sort of like pasties without the crust. So good. I ate every crumb.


And leaving plenty of room for s'mores! It's been ages since I've had one (so I had more than one!).


I didn't try it myself, but in case you're wondering, the addition of the chocolate covered pretzel crisp was deemed "too crispy!"

There was even laundry. Ali uses cloth diapers most of the time, and Gin is a frequent spitter-upper, so there was need. We filled two clotheslines... plus the dog lead! Thankfully, all of those diapers have inserts and covers with snaps, so I snapped them on the line, or we'd have run out of pins for sure!


And there was an awful lot of this... lake- and sky-watching.


And some obvious favorite subjects & angles.


Every day is different!


Maddy camped out in her tent, driven in only once by thunderstorms and torrential rain! Luckily, our days were mostly dry... if a little warm (though not as warm as predicted, so YAY!).


We came home to some surprising, gut-wrenching & scary news that isn't mine to share and that I find rather sad, desperate & embarrassing, but am afraid will be inescapable, and so I'm going to have to find a way to deal with it. Ugh. It makes for a rather worried & moody Vicki.

We also came home to the surprising, heart-wrenching & exciting news (even if it's taken a while for the shock to subside and excitement to sink in) that my sister and her family are moving to SPAIN... in 5 weeks!!

Bitter, bitter, bittersweet.

Watch this space for a future Mediterranean vacation!

Li'l Gin's Geranium

Determined to get something made over the holiday weekend -- which, for me, was 4 days long (so what's the problem?) -- I cut out an Alabama Chanin A-line Tunic on Monday. I'd picked up the remaining yardage on a bolt of black & white printed cotton jersey with just that in mind on my one and only trip to Hancock Fabric's going-out-of-business sale. Playing it by ear, I hadn't given much thought to some of the other options and design elements, but when Ina wrote, "Calls for white armhole trim!" Well, of course it did... and, naturally, I didn't have any "white" jersey in the correct shade.

Bump in the road.


Still... determined... I eyeballed the remainders and decided that I had enough to make a little dress/top for Gin!


So I did!!


It's the darling Little Geranium Dress (a free download) from made by rae!


The pattern wasn't intended for knit fabric... but don't fret, Gin, Nona made it work!


The bodice is fully lined, and Ali used the new snap pliers (also a Hancock score) to add some black pearl snaps at the back.


It was finished on Tuesday, just in time to wear to her cousin's 7th birthday party!



I've had a hard time with focus lately, but managing to move forward!

Right now: July

Anticipating... our first Farmers Market of the season tomorrow morning! It started a few weeks ago, but we've all been on leave.


Baby Barista will likely be in tow!

Celebrating... 4th of July weekend! Well, it'll be a very low-key celebration 'round here. But YAY! The work schedule has shifted a bit, so I'll have another 4-day weekend, too.

Drinking... Iced SPORTea, coffee, water, and G&T -- St. George Terroir in the mix at the moment.

Enjoying... Summer. It's been pretty nice so far, and now that the busy-ness of June is over... I really can start to enjoy it more!

Itching... (perpetually) to clean up my workroom and make progress on something... anything!

Knitting... The TTL Mystery Shawl has been a challenge this year due to issues with time and concentration. More than a few backward steps involved in this one... but moving forward at the moment!

Looking Forward To... A few days up north, after the 4th, with the girls and the babies!

Reading... I'm reading All The Light We Cannot See in book form, so it's slow going, but I'm enjoying it quite a bit -- and hoping that above-mentioned time up north with allow some extra reading time!

I was a little surprised -- and disappointed -- this morning to already hear the end of Lab Girl... which is, sadly, now no longer my "current" Audible book. I really enjoyed that book! And I'm sad that it's over. I had an inkling that I'd like it, based on description and reviews that I'd read, but had no idea how much I'd LOVE it! I especially loved listening to it being read by the author*; born and raised in Minnesota, of Scandinavian heritage -- so familiar with the details and nuances of her speech and delivery -- it was like listening to a friend or a family member.


Here is my progress so far -- I'm excited to be close to BINGO two ways! Next order of business: a new audio book... possibly one that is borrowed from the library!

Sewing... Oh, man... not much. I carry around the Magdalena A-line Top that I stenciled a while ago and began sewing, but it has barely seen the light of day. I will bring it up north, along with the visible mending that I'd like to in Sashiko (first and last mentioned a month ago!) (crazy June!).


Watching... there hasn't been a lot of that lately. And when I have watched something, it's been in total ZONE OUT mode, so I don't even remember. There have been some pretty sunsets lately, though.

Wondering... What's up with you right now!?