Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Knitting, Watching, Reading

There hasn't been a lot of knitting here lately. I've been putting in a lot of time at school, and we've been visiting my dad in rehab. We're hoping he'll be able to move to Assisted Living next Thursday.

I've made some progress on my Winter Ridge Cowl Shawl, which is really a poncho.
It has been perfect for watching Shetland, a BBC series that streams on Netflix. How did I miss this for so long? One plot is set on Fair Isle! The settings are just gorgeous, and I'm half in love with the detective, too.
If you haven't watched this yet, you are in for a treat.

Note: I tried reading the books, where the whole series began, and I didn't like them.
I finished Graham Swift's Mothering Sunday, and it's OK. It is short and sweet and thoughtful, but not so engaging that I loved it.
I finished The Trip from last week, about Andy Warhol, and I liked that, too, but didn't love it.  It really brought home that his image was completely crafted and false. He in interesting, though! Next up is The Invention of Nature, by Andrea Wulf, which is about the early biologist Alexander Von Humboldt, who did pioneering work in South America in the 1800s.

Joining up with Kat for Unraveled Wednesday

Sunday, August 13, 2017

I Fall Victim to Good Marketing

I should put myself on a strict knitting diet: no new yarn, no casting on. I was thinking very seriously about doing just that but then a friend "forced" me to go to The Knitting Tree, a LYS. She needed buttons; I needed nothing. Yet, three days later, I have these:
They are Stripey Fingerless Gloves from Patternology, which is the brand that the Knitting Tree owner uses for her designs.  In a brilliant move, she doesn't sell the patterns; instead, they are free when you purchase the yarn each pattern is designed for.

The yarn in this case is KFI Luxury Collection Indulgence Cashmere. It's a DK weight with 5% cashmere. For $30, you get 437 yards and 150 grams, enough to make a set of fingerless mitts and a matching slouchy hat, which I've begun:
The mitts and hat are going to be gifts for two different people, however.

I have had too much time to knit. Someone -- not me, for once -- backed a car I was riding in into a post and aggravated my highly arthritic neck. Knitting in a neck-friendly position was my main activity this weekend, along with  experimenting with pain-killers. Gee, I sound so old here!

I'm off to catch up on your blogs. That's one other thing I can manage!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

From a Coffee Shop

Our Internet is out. We are trying to change companies and the old one is gumming up the works, so here I am!

I decided that I need to start working on my travel sock at home, seeing as I had to cancel most of my travels this summer. Some progress has been made on the first Almondine, an Anne Hansen pattern from the the book, Sock Knitting Master Class. The yarn is Cascade Heritage, a very dependable sock yarn. Affordable, too.
The Trip: Andy Worhol's Plastic Fantastic Cross-Country Adventure is itself a trip. It's a fast read about his early career and a car trip to his first Los Angeles exhibit. It's hard to believe he lived such a crazy life with his mother as a housemate! I'm not a huge fan of his work, but his life is very interesting.

Idaho is a literary novel with a mystery embedded. The writing is a bit flowery for my taste; sometimes I feel like the author is trying too hard. The intricate plotting holds my attention, so I'll definitely finish this. I should add that it involves a couple characters with dementia and is overall fairly depressing.

Joining with Kat for Unraveled Wednesday.

Monday, August 7, 2017

It's Never a Good Sign ...

... when I don't blog for more than a week.

My dad has been complaining of back pain. He's also been having a lot of trouble with mobility. So, we made arrangements for him to move into the assisted living section of the retirement community where my parents live.
Yarn bombing downtown Madison! I love this.
But before we could get him moved, he ended up in the emergency room. Turns out the poor guy has a compression fracture in one of his vertebrae. He'll need a stay in rehab before moving into his new digs.
I've been embroidering a lot of ocean stuff lately. 
In between that, I've put in quite a few hours getting ready for school, and we are trying to make some progress in decluttering our house so we can put it on the market int he spring. We don't want to move far, just to downsize.

There simply aren't enough hours in the day, are there?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Week of Crafting

Joni and did lots of different crafts during her visit last week. We took a great class at Bare Knuckle Arts, where we made paste paper and marbled paper.
We found white shirts on sale at Anthropologie and decided to dye them with red cabbage.  We did a ton of research and tracked down alum and cream of Tartar to prepare the cloth. We added ammonia to the dye to make it more blue, and look at the gorgeous color we got:
Sadly, the color almost completely washed out! Now we have off-white shirts. Is there some way to fix the color?

Joni decorated a store-bought frame with some of my polymer clay tiles:

While she did that, I painted some handmade polymer clay pendants that I made a while ago.

I'm lucky that I have some art/craft friends here in Madison. After Joni left, Tsela and I went painting at the Memorial Union at UW-Madison. Here is mine:

And here is hers:

Art/craft and friends are a pretty amazing combination!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Friends Rock

The upside to having surgery is that I've been overwhelmed by how many people have given me support. All the comments on my blog have meant so much to me. They truly helped me through this, especially those first few weeks.

And I have to give a special thanks to Rose of Sand in My Yarn, who sent me this bundle of knitting goodies:
I am so touched by all the thought she put into this. Inside the great mesh bag I found two darling tea strainers, fragrant Pumpkin Spice soap, darling crocheted Lantern Moon Stitch markers ...
... repositionable markers, washi tape, knitters gift tags that are adorable beyond belief, and sweet nail files that fit in any purse! Thank you so much, Rose! You really cheered me up at a tough time.

Another friend who went beyond and above is my childhood best friend, Joni. We were supposed to meet in Seattle, but my doctor said I could not fly this summer. Instead, she flew from Berkeley, Calif., to spend time with her post-surgical friend.
We had lots of craftsy adventures. But thats another post!

P.S. Now that she has headed back home, I'll be catching up on all your blogs.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Stitch Markers Rock

Many of you commented on the challenge of casting on 472 stitches for my Winter Ridge Cowl Shawl (that is really a poncho). Vicki noted that she uses stitch markers every 20 or 25 stitches. I couldn't cast on a lot of stitches without markers!
For this project, I used stitch markers every 50 stitches. Using them every 25 stitches would have given me too many markers to keep track of.  It was painful, but it worked out. And I'm very happy with the project so far.
I am a true believer in the long-tail cast-on. I was taught by a Norwegian woman when I was 10, and I can do it in my sleep. It is flexible and looks great. But even I don't want to try to figure out the tail for 472 stitches especially with yarn that ain't cheap!

For this project, I used the cable cast-on (which has nothing to do with cables, as far as I can tell). I don't think it's as stable, but it did the trick.

Update: I had my staples out today, and the healing is going well. The nurse warned me that it will take a full year for my incision to heal! But I should be able to drive soon, so I'll settle for small victories.

Have a great weekend!