Sunday, October 25, 2020

Published in todays NYT!

 Last Sunday, the New York Times put out a call for sketches to be published in today's print edition's At Home section. I was so thrilled to see this made the cut:

I'm sending a copy of the original because it's much bigger and clearer than the version in the paper.

It's a small victory -- but still, pretty darn cool!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Finishes on Friday

I'm pleased with this mitered-square blanket. I made up the pattern to use up the colored yarn, which is the now-discontinued Julia yarn by Kristen Nicholas. The gray is that workhorse: Cascade 220. I crocheted the edges, which is a new skill for me. It's a bit wonky.

I know I should block it, but it's cold and rainy here, so I'm just going to start using it!

I finished my second coffee-cup mini-quilt. I think that having two cups is more satisfactory, 

What do you think?

I finally finished a sketch I started a month ago, when it was warm enough to draw outside. This is a gorgeous house on Lake Monona.

 And here is a very special finish I'm looking forward to:

 I eat one candy bar on the 1st and 15th of every month. When this is empty, the school year will be over! 

And since it's Friday, here's a feline. Kola enjoying HBO's "Succession" with me



Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Tiny Needle Tuesday

 Just a quickie. I'm working on another coffee cup mini-quilt:

Keith doesn't like the gray background (the last quilt had a very colorful background) but I think this could work.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Some Happy Things

  As winter hovers, we Midwesterners are eking out every outdoor activity we can. My Urban Sketching group met at the UW Arboretum on Sunday. My sketch is the ugly one. I can't seem to get the hang of trees.

I'll sure miss seeing these folks over the winter.
I finished a project that is making me happy. 

Of course, it is: It's a coffee-themed mini quilt. The background is from cotton scraps left on my cutting board from a throw I'm quilting. The cup is felted wool, and the "steam" is made from beads.

I am also happy with these mitts that will be making their way to my daughter in Denver.

The pattern is Align Mitts. It's free and well-written. I zipped through these with a Madtosh speckled yarn.

And there are some good things about working from home. Sometimes I have company while I'm teaching:


She slept all through a Biology class!

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Sweater Weather

 I will admit to being a fan of the Upper Midwest. I've spent most of my life here, but I also lived in Pittsburgh and Annapolis. I did like both of those places -- especially Pittsburgh -- but I'm a Wisconsin girl. And if there is one time of year that this is a glorious place to live, it's early October, when the colors are changing, the temperature is mild, and the mosquitos are gone.

I've been biking a lot and just enjoying our lovely tree-line streets:


It's also the perfect time to start a sweater. I put a lot of thought into this one as I've knit a few that were too small. I avoided raglan-sleeves because they don't work well with my broad shoulders. I landed on the Adult Modular Cardigan and went up a size. It's a layering piece, so I'm OK with it being on the big side.

It starts with the back: a simple garter-stitch rectangle and a huge mitered square. So far, it's going well.

Something that's not going so well in Wisconsin is the virus:


That big dark blob encompasses Green Bay and Door County. Madison is in a less-terrible color -- but still pretty bad. I've heard that Door County became jammed with tourists who didn't believe in masks. So Vicki, please be careful!

The upside to lots of Covid is that I expect to be able to continue teaching virtually. I hate teaching virtually (who doesn't?) but it is far better than dying. However, things in Madison are quite discouraging. A few weeks after teachers signed their 2020-21-year contracts in June, which included small raises, the school board cut our raises. I'm pretty sure that's illegal and that we will eventually get our tiny raises, but it is quite disheartening to have our pay cut (and the amount we pay toward our health insurance doubled!) when teaching is harder than ever.

If you were able to retire before Covid, thank your lucky stars! 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Good Enough

I did fix my About Town mitts -- sorta. The one on the left is correct; the one on the right has some issues: there is a blip on the thumb, holes at the base of the thumb gusset, and the hand part isn't quite right. 

But when I put them on, they look just fine -- and that's good enough for me! I'm going to make a pair for my daughter -- and those will have to be perfect!

Keith is Up North camping this week, so I'm cooking for myself. Last night I made crepes with ricotta cheese and sauteed nectarines. Pretty amazing.

Tomorrow is the first night of Rosh HaShanah, and I'm going to a virtual dinner before services. I'm going to make baked tofu with peanut sauce. It's a New York Times recipe and recommended by a friend, so it should be good. I have to do something festive!

Virtual teaching is really hard, but I feel re-energized. This evening I went to a McDonalds where I knew one of my graduates would be working. She was so happy to see me (and I to see her). Reminded me of why I do this work. The best news: She's going to cosmetology school. In June, she told me she was not ever going to school again. So glad she saw the light sooner rather than later!


Saturday, September 12, 2020

These Mitts are Cursed

 I can't find my favorite fingerless mitts, so I've been knitting myself a pair of About Town Mitts, a pattern by Bonnie Sennott. As you can see from the two finished mitts, some things went terribly wrong.

Most obviously, the mitt on the right is too short. I thought it was just a weird design, but then the second mitt worked out beautifully. I missed an entire section on the hand the first one, so I'll have to tear it back and reknit.

Also, there are some weird holes at the bottom of the thumb gusset of the mitt on the right. When I put the mitt on, the holes don't show, so I think I'm just going to live with that. At least these aren't a gift for anyone!

I am always admiring the quilting I see on your blogs. Those of you who quilt perform miracles, like sewing straight lines and producing even squares. Instead of just envying you all, I am working on a modern log cabin pattern that allows me to focus on those two skills.

So far I think I see some improvement in my skills. But I won't really be able to tell until I start putting together the pieces.

I have to admit that I'm feeling a bit down this evening. It's Selichot, a service that is held on the Saturday night before Rosh HaShanah. My congregation isn't even doing a Zoom service, so I feel a bit off. For me it's the first step in the High Holy Days.

Also, I'm tired. Teaching on Zoom is exhausting. And there were so many issues -- technology problems, scheduling issues, frantic phone calls from confused students and parents. It was good to see students, even if it was just online.

You may have seen Madison in the news. Students at UW-Madison are not following protocols and the numbers in Dane County are spiking. Every day is new high. More than half the frat and sorority houses are quarantined, as well as two large dorms. 

It's going to be long winter, I'm afraid.