Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat & the Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday...

CROCHET:

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I crocheted the last charted circle motif the other day for Hexie Love (Rav link)!

My box of colors has changed a lot since February 1st.

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I started with 35 and not only have I run out of some colors, but I've also dumped the box too many times to count... so lately the chart is just a suggestion, and I work with whatever feels right.

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Now I have two stitch holders full of circles to join/make into hexies, and a pile of extras -- because every other row is a short one (not reflected in my chart of squares). So there will be one non-charted row, and at least a few more after that. At least.

READING:

I guess it's been a while since I wrote an Unraveled post! I have finished An American Quilt: Unfolding A Story of Family & Slavery (pages) and Sinéad O'Connor's memoir, Rememberings (audio). The quilt story was... missing something; it wasn't quite as dynamic and engaging as I'd hoped. I really enjoyed listening to Sinéad read her book, but I'm sure it's not for everyone. I was eye witness to the event that changed her life and it was interesting to hear the back story...

I just finished listening to Unsettled Ground this morning! It's a full month until the book club discussion (unheard of!), and I'm looking forward to that. On my nightstand is The Lager Queen of Minnesota: A Novel, which I am enjoying.

 


Unraveled Wednesday: Hexies All The Time

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting crocheting and reading!

CROCHETING:

The last time I shared an "official" Unraveled Wednesday blanket update, I was seven rows in, and now I'm three hexies away from finishing Row #11!

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I am still gobsmacked that it's working so well. I love it more and more! There are some very weird color combos in a few of those hexagons... there are also many that are perfection, and often I'm surprised. Details & more pics on my Ravelry project page if you're curious.

READING:

I will likely finish listening to Futureproof: 9 Rules for Humans in the Age of Automation by Kevin Roose today. It's not my usual type of book, but it's interesting and enlightening, even for someone at little risk of losing her job to a computer. AI (Artificial Intelligence) touches our lives every single day in a myriad of ways and, while "controlling" may be too harsh, it (algorithms, data, analysis) definitely influences us in ways we might not even realize.

Perhaps then I will get back to & finish The Midnight Library, I know I'm not the only one who found it a bit of a slog through the middle.

Though I should probably start reading Shuggie Bain!  

And An American Quilt: Unfolding A Story of Family & Slavery is still on my nightstand. I used to read a little every night, but lately I've been prioritizing sleep (sort of, because I'm still a night owl and stay up too late) over reading.

 


Tuesday

Annie & I took another online cooking class on Saturday. This time it was "Online Thai Tonight," by Sur La Table. I learned about their cooking classes from Kym, who went on an exploration after reading about our Pisco Sour adventure, and the class that we took from the New Orleans School of Cooking. I love the way this community works!

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One of our recipes was for Fresh Rolls with Poached Shrimp (or Spring Rolls, as we call them) and Coconut-Peanut Dipping Sauce (a lot of Peanut Sauce). These were actually Sunday lunch, made fresh for me by Kate. In class, we also made Stir-Fried Wide Rice Noodles with Beef. We enjoyed it so much, and the food was so good, that we've signed up for Chef BB's "Authentic Fried Chicken & Sides" later in the month. Both of us were drawn in when Chef said that it was her class for Women's History Month... and that this was her women's history! 

Yesterday, for International Women's Day, I accompanied my eldest to Milwaukee where she needed to get her biometrics done in order to complete & send in her visa app for moving to the UK -- specifically, Scotland -- so that she can continue to carve out & pursue the life & career that she desires. You may recall that this move was on the table a while back, then off, then a bunch of other things were proposed/considered, and it swung back around to Scotland again. It's where she really wants to be, and she* came up with a more economical way to do it (housing-wise, mostly) (one of the biggest barriers), at least initially. It looks like she'll be heading over in 6-8 weeks on a 3-year visa.

I thought a lot about my "international" women -- Ann in Peru (formerly of Spain & Brazil), Maddy in Australia, Kate soon to be in Scotland, Ali here in Wisconsin -- celebrating all that they've already achieved for themselves, and the new pursuits that they explore... and how they all continue to inspire.

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In other not-so-new news, I continue to crochet.

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Oh boy. While waiting in the car for Kate yesterday, I worked on joining a hexagon to the blanket and ended up having to fudge -- too many stitches were left after working all the repeats. Y'know, crochet is not my "natural" craft... I'm feeling more comfortable with it, but it still feels quite awkward, and I certainly can't "read" it like I can knitting. Anyway, it dawned on me after I cut my yarn, that perhaps my count was off -- which would surprise me because I feel like I'm counting all.the.time -- but, sure enough, there were 13 repeats in that particular motif instead of 12.

Aaannnnndddd... turns out, that was not an isolated incident. Haha!

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Also, continuing with the random/unplanned design of this project, I am joining the fifth row from left-to-right instead of right-to-left as I've done all the others -- and as I intended to do and THOUGHT that I was doing (though I knew there was something "different").

Guess what? I'm not re-doing any of it. I love this darn thing, warts and all.

 


Weekending

I did a fair bit of stitching on my Alabama Chanin Car Jacket over the weekend. Prompted by the photo I posted a couple of weeks ago of the wrong side of the back piece I'm working on, I went on a hunt to find the last one I'd taken...

Wow.

I hardly worked on that project at all in 2020! Not only were we slammed with the overall weirdness of Covid, but Ali had just moved into a new house at the end of 2019, learned that she was pregnant, and had a business to keep afloat (an endeavour that wasn't mine, but I did numerous things to help). Kate & I bought Ducky and that renovation kept me busy. I had an epic baby blanket to knit! And other stuff.

Anyway, it looks like the last snap of the back I took was at Kym's in October 2019 when I drove to Michigan for our Mini AC Weekend!

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I like to photo the back because the stitches are so much more obvious. Here's the same thing as of yesterday afternoon:

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And here's the front:

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The top image is from April 7th, and the bottom is yesterday.

I couldn't resist putting it together with a sleeve:

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The end is really nowhere in sight -- there is so much left to do -- but this is really motivating! This piece is more than 2/3 done -- I've finished stitching the two top sections, and have a good start on the bottom. I'm confident that the other pieces will go a little bit quicker and I'm excited to baste the layers together for the other back piece... SOON!!

I also started making my crocheted circles into hexagons and joining them together.

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I'm working from the bottom, so that's the bottom row -- just over half the width (it'll be 15 hexies wide x 21 hexies tall) (I think). I made progress since taking that photo, and have only two more hexies to work before starting the next row. I've been working the circles in order and slipping them onto stitch holders, but I could only find two, so you can see the third row stacking up in the top photo. I need a little more order, organization & control than that, so was happy for the weekend and time to work out the JAYGO method again. I'm super clumsy and some of this pretty sketchy, but oh... it makes me so happy. The colors & combos are wild, technically they shouldn't all work together, and yet... 😍.


Unraveled | 3TT

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm working on, and, because I'm a day late, I'm also joining Carole & friends for (a very loose interpretation of) Three Things on Thursday...

1 -- KNITTING CROCHETING:

Knitting is on hold. I have things percolating, but nothing is moving forward at the moment. Instead...

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I picked up one of my crochet projects last night. Remember crochet?? Way back in JULY, while I was also working on Davy's Safe At Home Blanket, I also decided to start crocheting not one, but TWO, blanket-type projects. I even designated Saturday as "Crochet Day," which I think happened on the very next Saturday and then never again. Heh.

I plucked two yarn balls from the basket and reacquainted myself with the process, making some of the same mistakes again! It's all about practice! This is Hexie Love Actually, and I think it's going to be random, but with some "rules"... which I've yet to figure out. And, since I'm the one making the rules, I probably won't use ALL the colors I have of this yarn as originally (loosely) planned... the neons do not bring joy for this project. (I think they might make an awesome something for the kiddos... maybe some trippin' gnomes!)

READING:

I still have a few hours of listening to HAMNET, and I'm on the edge of my seat. I am also reading AN AMERICAN QUILT: UNFOLDING A STORY OF FAMILY & SLAVERY. I don't remember where I heard about that book, but it's an interesting historical non-fiction story that truly "unfolds" through the discovery of an unfinished quilt. At the risk of sounding juvenile, I like that there are lots of pictures!

2 - MORE MENDING:

When I patched the left elbow in this favorite sweater, I wove the patch directly into/onto the sweater... you can see that process here.

For the right elbow, I picked up and knit a stockinette patch, which I then sewed down on the other three sides.

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In hindsight, it would have been nice to do some increases along one side of the patch to better "fit" the shape of the sleeve... but it's a patch on a holey old sweater that is in need of some other repairs, likely soon relegated to "house sweater," though I am going to get some public wear out of it yet!

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Though the hole was smaller, the new patch is quite a bit bigger than the first -- there was a lot of "thinning" happening!

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A close-up of the first patch. I'm happy with how it's held up. Both of these were worked in Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails.

3 -- CUTENESS OVERLOAD:

Kate had a dentist appointment a few days ago that involved novocaine and she sent a hilarious Snapchat to all of us, which, as often happens, started a flood of Snaps amongst us.

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I had to grab a screenshot along the way!

And this morning, Ali sent a few photos, including this:

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If that is not a doting big sister... and her little brother who is fully aware that he is Living The Life... I don't know what is.

P.S. Ginny is wearing a pair of Hannah Andersson PJs worn by both her mother and her Aunt Maddy, and still going strong! Quality FTW.

 


Getting back into the groove

Well, that was a nice break... a long, hot & lazy weekend. Though, y'know, "lazy" doesn't mean I didn't get anything done!

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I gave Rusty his second haircut! I borrowed Ali's electric clippers and even did the back this time. It was my first time using a clippers -- it was only a little scary, and mostly because I was thinking about all the people I know who have ended up with mohawks or total buzz jobs because of a slip. Whew! I should have trimmed his brows, though.

I've designated Saturday as Crochet Day...

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...but I also did a little on Sunday. I wanted to finish the first square of the Rainbow Blanket, and figure out the join-as-you-go method for the hexies. So far, so good! I definitely use different hand/arm muscles when I crochet, so my appendages are thankful for a break.

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And now I'm back to houses & stripes. This is Row #3 (of 9). Still figuring out a few things...

I hope y'all had a good weekend and start to the week! I'll be catching up...

 


3TT: Dovetail, Garden, Crochet

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday...

1 -- I stopped at The Office after work the other day to drop something off? pick something up? I don't remember! I did take a seat for a few minutes...

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Kate was inserting goodies into the magazine, readying shipment of the premier issue of dovetailI gotta say, it was nice just to sit for a while and watch someone else work!

2 -- How does my garden grow?

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The tomatoes are all coming along. The basil is AMAZING!! (That photo-bombing succulent is also doing quite well.)

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Something is nibbling at my zucchini!

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And this is the usual raucous jumble of things.

BONUS:

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The platform rocker is out of the garage and in The Garden Room! There's a pretty good view of the lower yard/garden from there.

3 -- I'm getting the hang of crochet again! My rainbow box of yarn is only a hint... this is the bigger picture:

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As Wisconsin began its Safer At Home order in March and I awaited my stimulus check, Madelinetosh threw up a post about a Prism Pack of Unicorn Tails and, well, I've always loved those unicorn tails and... I didn't even think twice before ordering. (Ugh, pandemic times!) If I was going to be "safer at home," I was going to be surrounded by things I loved... and colorful, too. Heh.

Well, I really can't be spontaneous and throw down money like that without some sort of plan, and they were making me feel so guilty just sitting there, so I sort of had to MAKE A PLAN! The Safe At Home baby blanket was & is perfect for the baby and already in the works by then, and I knew it would never be a "portable" project... not that I was going anywhere with my knitting, but y'know... And so many people were crocheting... so, yeah, CROCHET! That could work! And even though those are little skeins of yarn, they're going to go a ways, so maybe TWO projects, somewhat simultaneously, even...

Uh, yeah, why not THREE epic blanket projects at once?! (Ugh, pandemic times!)

So my plan is to make Bear's Rainbow Blanket and also Hexie Love Actually! << FYI: Those are Ravelry links, just so you know in case the new design is problematic for you, as it is for many. (I am not in love and wish it wasn't quite so stark. I like it on my phone, but find it a bit easier to take if I enlarge my desktop display, and I've tweaked settings to remove drop shadows, etc.)

So, anyway, back to crochet. As I said the other day, it is not like riding a bicycle for me! I'm getting my feet wet and re-learning with Hexie Love Actually!

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That red & blue blob was my first effort. I thought I was doing OK, but it was supposed to have six corners/sides, and instead turned out with only four. So, basically, a SQUARE (and not even a good one)! Turns out, I did a few things wrong, and my second effort (red & orange) turned out much better. With the orange & blue hexie, I'm trying the "join as you go" method and I'm not sure that's right but will figure it out. It's really fun, but once I get the hang of it I'm going to limit my crochet time until I get the blanket done. (Did I mention that I've started Row 3? I meant to take an update photo... maybe tomorrow.)

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(It was a stellar morning for photographing yarn on the walkway outside the back door!)

Even for me, this feels a little crazy, but... pandemic times! I'm just going with it.

 


Hello, July

My calendars are already flipped to July, so... HELLO. And, also, you're looking OK in some respects. I just realized that, with regular days off + holidays + vacation, I won't be working a "normal" week until the last week of the month (and, as always but especially in summer, that's subject to change).

I rented a "beach" house on the lake-side of Door County in the middle of the month and am heading up with Kate & Al & the kids. Rusty & I took the kiddos on Sunday and gave them a preview.

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I'm not gonna lie... it was Sunday, it was gorgeous out, and it was crowded -- sometimes, uncomfortably so -- but Ali lent us a secret weapon: a large pop-up screened gazebo! It was/we were terribly obnoxious about it, especially since the water level is high and the beach is not as big as it used to be, but hey! We muscled in, and it worked! The added benefit is that we had a place for sun breaks and didn't get sunburned!

When we dropped the kids off on the way home, I took a peek at my grandchickens!

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They're getting so big, but still sounding like chicks.

Yesterday, I took a drive across the state with Kate. Her new art magazine, dovetail, debuts tomorrow and I rode shotgun to Chanhassen (a 'burb of Minneapolis) to pick it up. It was a full day of driving and, y'know, things being as they are we had lunch in the car in the parking lot at Culver's instead of a nice cafe lunch before heading back, but it was a nice day and even with gas & food, it was a solid $200+ saved. What else would we be doing?? (Well, I might be finishing my taxes, but p'shaw... I have a couple of weeks yet!)

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There was weather! It was hot and my air conditioning was a little sketchy for a while, and there was rain, but mostly it was a lot of fun watching the sky all the way there and back.

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I had prepared a nice little R A I N B O W box of yarn to take to the beach... an idea has been percolating for a while and I just had to scratch that itch! I didn't get started on it, nor did I really do anything while in the car yesterday, as planned... it turns out that doing crochet is not like riding a bicycle (at least not for me). I got the tiniest start last night, though, and we'll see. The baby blanket is still my #1 focus (I've finished Row 2, started Row 3), but I'm going to designate one day a week for at least a little crochet action.