Sunday, September 17, 2017

On a Happier Note

Although my weekend started out with an unfortunate knitting event (see yesterday's post), it picked up from there. For one thing, I was able to bike for the first time in almost a year. It felt so good to get the exercise and to be able to go downtown without looking for parking. I am pleasantly surprised that the incision from my July 6 surgery (on the back of my right thigh) is fully healed already.

On my first trip, I visited my dad, who is in rehab now. A week ago he landed in the ER with sepsis. That was his fourth ER trip in 7 weeks. Three of them resulted in hospitalization and this is the second time he was released to rehab, not home. Poor guy. He is going through a lot.

I also went to a fund-raiser for the local Rape Crisis Center and to a sketching event with a friends.

And, I finally had time to try a project from this great book I got from the library:
If you look closely, you can see light pencil lines on this sheet of paper:
Then I covered the lines with a watercolor resist pen by Christine Adolph.
Then I played with my paints:
Now I'm waiting for a special Ranger transfer foil to arrive in the mail. When I rub that on these little paintings, the white lines should turn gold! These are little paintings that I'll make into cards. If the gold really works, I want to try larger paintings.

And I'll leave you with a picture of our darling kitten:
She's a keeper!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Shame on Interweave!

I don't think I have ever seriously railed against a product on line, but I'm about to launch in to a near tantrum! You see, I am trying really hard to finish WIPs instead of casting on. Yesterday I pulled this shawl project out of the bin, figured out where I left off -- never easy! -- and started knitting.
You can see that it is no longer on the needles. When I finished the first lace repeat, things didn't look right to me. I jumped online to see if there was any errata for this project. And there is: Instead of using the size 6 needle listed in the book, I should have used the size 10 advised on line. 

Really! I spent more than 20 years as a newspaper reporter and editor. I understand making mistakes in the details. But in the needle size? No excuse! The editors should have made one pass through the patterns checking for needle size alone. It's too important to mess up.
The pattern is Quixote and it's from Wanderlust, which has a lot of really beautiful patterns. Warning: Don't make anything from this book without checking for errata.

I am going to contact Interweave and see if they will make this right -- i.e. refund me the cost of the book. I spent between 6 and 8 hours on this project!

I started this project about 2 1/2 years ago, so I'm not even sure I want to knit this. I love the yarn, so I may repurpose it.

Well, it's Saturday morning, so I don't want to be grumpy for my whole weekend. Thanks for listening!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

That Last Post Title Was Frighteningly Accurate

My last post was titled: The Quiet Before the Storm. Little did I know!

I was referring to the quiet pace of life before the high schoolers showed up for classes. But I have a daughter who lives in Miami, so storm took on a whole new -- and more menacing meaning -- by this past Monday, when Irma began to look like a serious Hurricane.

On Tuesday, my husband talked Rachel into flying home. To get a flight that didn't clean out our savings, she had to drive to Orlando and fly from there. Not that we are complaining to have her here, save and dry!

She is, of course, worried about her friends back in Miami, as well as her apartment (4 blocks from the ocean) and the University of Miami, where she's going to school. At least we have a new kitty and a new kitty-friendship to cheer her up:
There Nagi is, grooming Kola. There has been some playful biting, but mostly they are good friends and playmates. Kola is in that phase where she will leap pretty darn high for the right toy.

I cast off the last stitches on the Never Ending Shawl, also known as the TTL Mystery Shawl 2017.
I ran out of white, so I had to cast-off with pink, which I'm pretty happy with. I still have some ends to weave in and a couple dropped stitches to secure. I can't block it at this moment because I'll need the bed that Rachel is sleeping in!

My thoughts are with Dee and Mere and anyone else who is threatened by Irma!

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Quiet Before the Storm

Students start at my school tomorrow, so I've enjoyed three days of quiet.  I've done quite a bit of work on this project:
I'm beginning to pick up some speed with my bead embroidery, thank goodness! I wasn't sure I'd finish this on time. It's part of a larger art quilt, which will be on display this winter, and I think I'll be done in plenty of time.

Of course, I am enjoying time with our new cat. Kola enchants us all of the time, even when she's sleeping!
See that afghan on the couch? It was crocheted by Keith's grandmother. I can see that she had great skill, but she made it out of that old acrylic yarn, and it is not exactly soft! It reminds me that good wool is worth the cost.

I've had a few outings: coffee and knitting with a friend; a good walk with a newly retired teacher friend; the Labor Day lunch at my parents' community; and dinner a friend's house, which included her new grandson:
Is that cute or what? 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

It's Hard to Knit or Read With...

...this sweet girl around:
This is Kola, and she is part of our family now. There is a story behind her adoption. Our trip to Door County was first trip we've taken since putting down Weeko in April. While we were gone, Keith's brother came in once a day to feed Nagi.
When we got back from Door County, Nagi was a like a dog. He followed us everywhere. He woke Keith up every few hours during the night with licks and love. This represented a complete personality change. Clearly, he had been desperately lonely during our trip.
So the next day we went to the Humane Society. The place was packed with humans wanting cats, so we were very lucky to get Kola. Her name is Lakota for friend; Nagi is Lakota for both gray and shadow.
They were friends instantly. They play together and even nap together.

She is almost 6 months old. When she first came home she smelled terribly from ringworm treatment, but that is fading. She still has lots of kitten energy and is entertaining to us as well as to Nagi. So far, she is very attached to Keith and I, so we are hoping she will be a lap cat -- something neither Weeko nor Nagi have been.

Nagi is back to his more sedate self. I miss all that affection, but I'm glad that he's happy.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Gift, Some Knitting, Some Reading

First off, I have to share the wonderful goodies I got from Kim of Kim Knits, thanks to a lovely swap arranged by Kathy of Compassionknit. Kim is so smart. The swap was a no-yarn swap, so Kim included needles!
It seems so obvious, but it never occurred to me. Of course, the first thing that occurred to me was chocolate, but that's another story! I love the little notebooks she included. It's just perfect for keeping in my knitting bag and tracking details about my projects. And she noticed that I am a sucker for all crafts, so she sent a needle-felting project. It's a little hamster and just adorable. I'm thinking it would be perfect for Thankgiving weekend!

Thank you so much, Kim, for such fun and thoughtful gifts!

As for knitting, I've been unusually monogamous and managed to add quite a bit to my TTL Mystery Shawl 2017. I ordered the light pink online because I couldn't find anything that seemed right locally. It's OK, but a bit too pastel for me. I'm about 20% through the final clue; I will finish this!

I just finished History of Wolves, a first novel by Emily Fridlund. It's a coming-of-age novel set in northern Minnesota. It's much more nuanced that your usual COA novel and well-written.  In this book, a teen-age girl who is being raised by her hippie parents on the site of a failed commune begins baby-sitting for an affluent family that moves in nearby.
The plot is not what you'd expect. I found this novel quite gripping.

That just leaves me reading non-fiction for now. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, a doctor, looks at death and end-of-life issues in America -- and what a mess it is! Not a cheerful read, but very thoughtful and thought-provoking. My father moved into Assisted Living a few weeks ago, so this has special resonance for me.

I've just begun The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf, which is about early biologist Alexander von Humbolt, and it is fascinating and really well-written. I'm looking forward to getting deeper into it.

Please do join us for Unravelled Wednesday with Kat!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

I Guess It's Finally Public

I'm still slogging through the Through The Loops Mystery Shawl 2017, but the KAL is over. Designer Kirsten Kapur has renamed the project "Fugue in Mosaic Minor," and is it for sale on Ravelry.

Many people have finished their shawls. Here was mine before we left Madison for Door County:
I was halfway through Clue 3 out of 5, so I figure I'm about halfway through it.  Now I've seen photos of the finished shawl, and it is pretty stunning.
Can you see my mistake here? There's an extra pink ridge at the top of the mosaic section. I'm OK with it.
One of the nice things about it is that there are four mosaic sections, each one more challenging than the one before it. It's like a mosaic tutorial.
If you are interested in the pattern, you can find it here.

This is my trip knitting, but I don't know how much I'll get done. My main focus is on the art quilt I need to finish for a show this winter.