Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Unravelling on a Wednesday

I did some unravelling in the past week, in fact. For the second time I unravelled a fingering-weight hat. It is the most basic hat possible but I just keep making mistakes. In the last round, I forgot to change to larger needles after finishing the ribbing for the brim. Argh!
My ZickZack scarf is going to take forever, but I am so happy with the way the colors are playing together that I don't mind. Of course, I haven't been working on it very long. We'll see how I feel six months from now!

I'm almost done with NeuroTribes, which is about the history and current state of autism. It's well-written and very interesting, especially for a special ed teacher who has a nephew with autism. It is also painful at many points. People who are not "normal" have not been treated well for much of history.

Next up is The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf. I've found myself drawn back into her work. I haven't read this one before. It's an early, less "modernist" novel than Mrs. Dalloway or To the Lighthouse.


Joining with Kat for Unraveled Wednesday. Come along for the ride!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Swimming in Stitches

I can't be the only Midwesterner who is obsessed with the ocean.  Most of the planet is covered with water, but so many of us have to settle for lakes or rivers when we're longing for water. I am never surprised by how expensive it is to live near the sea because I can't imagine anything better (unless there's a hurricane, of course).
I have two watery projects going. One is a summer dress that I'm turning into a seascape with phantasy phish based on 19th-century drawings.
This project is pure fun. I just start stitching and go with the flow. Very relaxing!

The other is my main quilting project, which will go on display this winter at Madison's Overture Center. This has been a lot of work, but I'm nearing the end. 
Here's a sneak peak at the fringe. I hope it gives a watery feel.

I hope your weekend has been more relaxing than mine. I volunteered to be a proctor the PSAT on Saturday. Yes I was paid, but a six-day week is exhausting! This would be a great retirement gig, though. That leaves one day for getting my livf in order and doing the homework for the mindfulness class I'm taking.

And my embroidery club at school starts up on Wednesday, so I'm washing muslin as I type, so the kids will be able to dive right in. Then I'll need to cut it up and zigzag the edges so they don't unravel. There are times when my sewing machine is my best friend.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Knitting and War: A History

I just loved the speaker at this month's Madison Knitters' Guild meeting. A graduate student from UW-Madison named Rebecca Keyel talked about her research area: knitting during the two world wars. Knitting and history are a heady combination for a nerd like me.
This was called a "helmet." It's one of the samples that Rebecca knit using the traditional patterns. She used Quince & Co. yarn.
I didn't take notes (too busy knitting) but here are some tidbits that stuck in my mind:

  • Socks were really important during the trench warfare of WWI because the men's feet were always wet and muddy. Trench Foot was a real condition.
  • Knitted items were called "comforts" because they brought comfort to the soldiers.
  • Women started knitting the minute war was declared, feeling the need to participate in the war effort and to support the soldiers.
  • By WWII, there were more knitted items than were really needed, but the government kept encouraging knitting to keep up morale on the homefront.

These are socks based on wartime patterns. Again, Rebecca knit them from Quince & Co. yarn.
I hope Rebecca eventually publishes a book because she was fascinating. She told us that there were constant rumors that the Red Cross was selling the sweaters and other items instead of sending them to the front. So far, she has found no evidence that this is true.

I apologize for the poor quality of the photos, but there was quite a crowd around the table that held the samples.

As you may have already noticed, I'm getting back into the swing of blogging and have been catching up on my reading and commenting. I've missed you so it's nice to see what you are all up to.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Happy New Year!

It's been a while, but starting school and getting through the High Holy Days is just exhausting!

As always, I enjoyed the holidays. I try to make them peaceful and reflective, which would be easier if I didn't host the Break Fast that ends Yom Kippur. I fed around 35 people this year -- some of whom had fasted for 25 hours.
My friend Richard makes the most beautiful -- and delicious -- challahs.

We are having a gorgeous fall -- thanks, no doubt -- to global warming. The most exciting part is that I can bike again, now that the scar from my surgery is healed. And the fall flowers are stunning.
I know I swore not to buy any yarn or cast on any new projects, but I have finished a few things, so I gave in when I saw a sample of a ZickZack Scarf at an LYS. Here's my new beginning:
Besides, it seems only right to start a new project at the beginning of the new year! The yarn is Lang Mille Colori Baby. It feels like it's very thin sock yarn, almost lace. This is going to take FOREVER, but I think it will be worth it.

I hope to get back in the blogging groove. Work has just been overwhelming! Many days I'm at school from 7:30 to 5:30 without even a break for lunch. I feel really lucky to work at a great school where the staff is amazing and the students are diverse and interesting. I like my work -- there's just too much of it!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

And the Knit Goes On

For some reason, work just wiped me out last week. The upside was that I saw most of the new PBS documentary on the Vietnam War. This documentary is truly excellent. It gives you a lot of insight into what the various Vietnamese peoples were thinking -- all of which supports the opinion that we should never have been there in the first place!

I finished this sock, made with one of Knit Circus's amazing gradient stripe yarns.
Isn't it cool how the project matches the bag?

I ended up spending most of the Jewish New Year resting, but I found enough energy to block some winter projects while the blocking bed is open:
You can see my Winter Ridge Shawl/Poncho on the right and the Through the Loops Mystery Shawl 2017 on the left. There is a pair of mitts that needed washing in the middle. I am ready for winter!

Not that winter feels like it's coming. We expect a high of 90 today! I'm enjoying this last bit of summer, hoping to have enough energy to bike tomorrow.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend, too!

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!