Sunday, February 18, 2018

When the Going Gets Tough, Knit

It's been more than a week since I blogged, though I have tried to read many of your posts. I've hit another bump on the health road and am doing a treatment that makes me super tired. I've been reaching for my easiest projects as a result, and lately that means my Winter Rose socks. They are practically knitting themselves.
I've only done one sketch this month: this drawing of our Hoosier Cabinet. Keith  bought it long before he met me, but I really like it.
These have been lazy winter days. My priority is getting through work. Then I come home and collapse in the window seat. Kind of like a cat.
I can't sign off without saying something about the latest school shooting. I am so heartened by the efforts coming from the Florida teens. Maybe they can do what adults have been unable to do -- sensible gun laws! I will never understand why anyone thinks their right to own a weapon outweighs a child's right to be alive. 
If you haven't listened to Emma Gonzalez's speech, you must! You can find it here. She gives me hope for the future!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Things To Love

I did get my snow day Friday, so that was the start of an awesome weekend! It gave me time to start on a project I am in love with: Winter Rose socks.
It is the first pattern in the Helen Stewart's Secret Sock Society. And isn't that yarn gorgeous? I won it in one of Andi's giveaways. The dyer is Great Lakes Tweed, and I know this isn't the last skein of this yarn I'll have on my needles. It is a joy to work with.

I went for a joyous walk Friday afternoon. I don't mind the cold at all when there is fresh white snow and a cerulean blue sky. And I've begun doing 20 minutes of yoga every couple of days, thanks to this DVD, which I've owned for years before finally putting it to use. 
I'm slowly making my way through Liz Steel's Watercolour Class, and it is both fun and transformative. One of my favorite exercises so far was painting my wardrobe.
And later today I'll be doing the only form of exercise I truly love: cross country skiing!

I hope you are having a fabulous weekend, too. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Reading, Listening &Knitting

It is supposed to start snowing any moment, and I'm hoping for more than the 3 to 5 inches that have been predicted. Maybe we'll have a snow day tomorrow! I'm pretty sure every teacher in southern Wisconsin has his or her fingers crossed right now.

I'd love to stay home and read. Right now I am loving both the books on my bedside table.
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry is written in modern English but has the feel of a Victorian novel and is set in 1890s England. There are rumors of a serpent, as well as a widow with a socially conscious friend, her autistic son, and a bevy of other intriguing characters.

I've been waiting for Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein to come out in paperback. The book tells the story of what happened in the city of Janesville, Wis., after GM closed a huge plan there. I grew up in Beloit, just 15 minutes from this plant. Beloit was always Janesville's poor sister city because we never had a plant like the GM monster in Janesville. Back in the '70s, tons of my schoolmates were happy to head for those great union jobs rather than college. Of course, I want to know the rest of the story.

As for listening, I am still making my way through Prairie Fires, about the life and times of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter, Rose Lane. The real story is so much darker and more complex than the rosy world set out in the Little House books. I'm listening to this on Audible, and it's perfect for knitting.

And then there's knitting.
I decided to make this hat after a sock I made from this yarn just didn't feel right. The yarn is Cascade Heritage Prints, and the sock was stiff and kind of small. I also wasn't happy with the striping. But, I love the way this hat is looking. 

Best of all, this is a stash-buster. That sock has been sitting in my basket for a couple of years.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Very Quiet Weekend

It's been an extra-quiet weekend here. A few inches of snow plus sub-zero temperatures have made it a lovely weekend to hunker down.

Few things are cozier than knitting on such a weekend. As part of my stash-busting efforts, I've been working on a second Tchaikovsky Hat. The yarn is a merino-silk blend so the hat will be super soft and comfortable. This skein languished in my stash for at least a decade.
The hat design is from my current knitting crush -- Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade -- and I'm excited to say that I finished my Vintage Fairy Lights socks on time! A number of you have asked what this yummy yarn is. The dyer is Casual Fashion Queen and the colorway is Bohemia
I'm awaiting tomorrow's release of the first pattern in the Secret Sock Society, a Curious Handmade project. Helen will be releasing a new sock pattern every two months. As she points out, this means knitting just one sock a month. I should be able to keep up with that! Today is the last chance to join at the early bird price. You can join up at this link.

Yesterday, before the snow and plunging temperatures, I did get to Barnes & Noble to pick up a gift and do a quick sketch. Not my best, but then, the whole point is to practice.
I'm sure I'll get more knitting done tonight while Keith watches the Super Bowl. I will never understand why anyone likes to watch sports! I'll be snuggled up in my craft room, listening to an audiobook and sipping on yet another cup of tea.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Too Much Weekend

The truth, my friends, is that there is such a thing as too much weekend. I am an introvert and I crave quiet, creative time. But sometimes I do everything offered in a weekend and end up satisfied, but tired.
That would describe this weekend. Saturday morning Madison Urban Sketchers met at the student union on the UW-Madison campus. It's an amazing building with a German beer hall called Der Rathskeller. I love this place because it's very cozy and because I worked there all through my undergraduate years.
Then Saturday afternoon, I was busy baking Oatmeal Scotchies in honor of the Scottish poet Robert Burns.
Werth reads some Burns in her excellent brogue.
My friends have an annual party to mark this, replete with faux haggis and Banoffee Pie (which turns out to be English not Scottish, but I'm not complaining); readings of Burns' poetry in a Scottish brogue; and the singing of Auld Lang Syne.
Percy made up three types of haggis: venison, poultry, and vegetarian. No one would eat the authentic stuff. It has lamb brains, I think.
This afternoon I went to a play with my mom and her friend. It was interesting, about a school that was being closed down. For me, this is full weekend!

I did find time to cast off one sock and cast on the for next before I run out of inspiration.
The first Vintage Fairy Lights sock.
I hope your weekend was lovely and you are headed into a good week!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Some Finished Objects

When I started my ZickZack scarf, I was sure it wouldn't be ready until the winter of 2018-19. Fingering-weight yarn, small needles, and long rows made it feel like it would be long-term project.

But I had forgotten the seduction of the Chevron stitch pattern. It became a comfort to knit a few rows every day. And now I'm wearing it!
I made mine longer than the pattern calls for. I like a scarf I can wrap around my neck and still have dangling ends, so I bought an extra ball of each color -- though I did not use all of the 3rd balls.

For the first time in a while, I have finished jewelry project.
I can't claim that this is an original pattern -- I got it from a book -- but I love it nonetheless. It's a bit tricky, but totally worth it. I think I know what my sisters-in-law will be getting for their next birthdays!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Fretting about a Sweater

I've been working on the Windchill Cardigan that I'm knitting for my daughter. The whole issue of fit is what freaks me out about sweaters. My daughter is quite slender so I thought this would be easy: Just make the smallest size and then hope it's not too big.
But now that I'm working the arms, I'm worried that they are too small in circumference. I could email her to measure her biceps -- she works out -- but at this point, I'm just going to keep going.

I do like the waffle-weave border!

If it doesn't fit, I'll follow Elizabeth Zimmerman's advice and find someone who fits the sweater. That would be a bummer and I'd still need to knit a sweater for Rachel.
I've started embroidering my knitting doll. As you can see, I make up the color scheme as I go. It's more fun that way.

In other news, Seth got news this week that he passed his Veterinary boards! This one huge stressor off his plate. He'll continue on rounds through graduation in May. In mid-February we should know where he'll be for his internship year. So far, hospitals in Louisville and Miami have told him they are interested. His sister in in grad school in Miami, so that would be a great place for him.

And this is the boy who barely did enough work to graduate from high school. They surprise us, don't they?