Thursday, September 13, 2018

Chipping Away

 In the whirl of school and the holidays, I haven't had much time for crafting or blogging or blog reading -- though I've squeezed in a bit of that. I have chipped away at a few projects during my morning coffee.

I'm almost to the heel flap of my Winter Rose socks.
My unnamed embroidery is getting more filled in.
I made my sketch group for the first time in months at a cafe in Verona, a Madison suburb.

The cafe where we sketched had this sign:

I have to mention that there's a yarn store in Verona. My friend wanted to go in, so we did...and I came out empty-handed. No yarn was acquired!

This weekend I'll be cooking for the Yom Kippur break fast that I host every year. It's always fun, but it's a big event and it's a relief when it's over.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

It's THAT Time of Year

Well, it is if you're a teacher. Today was freshman-only day, and I'm exhausted! I did stay late for an IEP meeting, so that doesn't help. But I'm excited for tomorrow when the rest of my students show up. I want to hear how their summers were.
 There hasn't been a lot of time for crafting. My weekend was busy with driving to a family gathering in Chicago and working. But I did finish a Winter Rose sock and get a start on the second one.
 And I assembled another mini-quilt. I want to go through the whole process soon -- before I forget everything I learned at the workshop in August.
And along with the start of school, the High Holy Days start at sundown on Sunday. I took this photo of our communal granddaughter at services this past weekend. I told her that we stored all the good girls on this shelf, and she climbed right in!

I'm hoping to get back to work on my Vodka Lemonade sweater this week. Do you have any projects that you've been neglecting?

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Unravelled Wednesday.

I've added a few inches to my slouchy hat, some of which was done during professional development. The knitting actually helps me pay attention.
I finished reading Sisters by Lily Tuck, which is really just a novella, which is not about sisters at all. It's about the second wife of a man who is obsessed with his first wife. I'd recommend it.

I chanced on I Await the Devil's Coming by Mary MacLane at a small bookstore in Minneapolis, and I could not resist it. It's a diary written by a young woman in Montana in 1903. She is depressed and lonely, but also believes herself to be a genius. The book was a sensation when it was published -- a time when confessional writing wasn't done, especially by women. It's short, yet it is dragging because there is no plot at all. More of a curiosity than a real book.
Our cats are usually near one another, although not usually this close. Nagi regularly grooms Kola, but I've never seen her return the favor.  

I'm joining Kat for Unraveled Wednesday.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Back to Stitching

On Monday, we had torrential rains in Madison like we've never seen here. Many businesses are closed; lots of basements are flooded. So far, we haven't had any water in our house. And the levels of the four lakes in the city limits are still rising. 
This is one of the roads that Keith bikes. It's hard to believe so many people don't accept climate change as real. 

With more rain predicted for tomorrow, the danger is far from over. I plan to stay home, do some cleaning, and hopefully have creative time

I do have a knitted FO to share with you. This is my second Quill, a Taproot pattern, in Cascade 220. It's a pretty fast knit.
 I just love the gansey texture.
And my workshop quilt is officially done. This is the first quilt I've successfully quilted on a machine, and I am very proud of my crooked lines.
It's not a crooked as it looks. Some of the crookedness is the way I took the photo.
I've been working a lot on this embroidery piece. It may look familiar. Actually, it's new; but its partner is being framed. One just wasn't enough.

When I'm done with the color, I'll fill in the rest with white. I love the look of fabric that is 100% embroidered.

I go back to work full time on Monday with mixed feelings. I enjoy the students and the teaching, but there's always the paperwork hanging over my head. It reminds me of being in college and having homework all the time!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The End of Summer

Although we don't get paid until next week, I am one of many teachers who have been showing up at school. For me, it is worthwhile to start on the paperwork and make get-acquainted calls to my new students and parents.

So, now it seems like ages since my wonderful week Up North with Joni, shown here with her quilt:
I can't say enough good things about Judy Coates Perez, our teacher, or Chris Daly, owner of Woodland Ridge Retreat. It was a week of being pampered in a beautiful setting, learning and exploring, and making new friends. I can't think of anything more wonderful!
Judy and Chris
There are trails right outside the retreat, which is nestled in the woods. One morning, I snapped this photo of a swallowtail:
Before we went to Woodland Ridge, Joni and I had a few days in Minneapolis. Right in the middle of the city is a park with the Minihaha Falls.
My favorite clothing designer, Gudrun Sjoden, just happened to be featured at the Swedish American Institute.

I loved the exhibit because it showed her process:

Most of all, I loved having a week with my best friend!

Friday, August 17, 2018

You Have To Remember...

...that I had to cancel my travel plans last summer and the summer before that due to surgeries. So when I tell you that I am at an art retreat -- after my other trips -- don't judge me too harshly. I've never traveled this much, so it feels a bit weird to me.
Judy is an incredibly generous teacher.
That said, I am having an amazing time at a quilting retreat at Woodland Ridge Retreat in northeastern Wisconsin with Joni, my dear friend from California. I have wanted to take a class from Judy Coates Perez for years, so I jumped when I saw she was teaching in Wisconsin.
We have spent the week learning to dye and print cloth with acrylic inks. Here is one of my dyed pieces:
This is what it looked like after stamping and adding Thermofax images:
Today we pieced quilts. Most participants are experienced quilters making large projects, but Joni and kept our quilts small so that we'd be ready to quilt tomorrow. This is my quilt top:
The black-and-white fabrics are commercial, but I designed the rest. 

Woodland Ridge is an amazing place. Nestled in the woods at the edge of tiny Downsville, it has luxurious rooms with whirlpool baths. Breakfasts and lunches are included -- and have been healthy and delicious. I am not sure I have ever felt so pampered.

Small as Downsville is, there is a darling coffee shop where Joni and I go for coffee every morning:
It is going to be sad to say good-bye to all our new pals tomorrow when the retreat ends.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

On Travel Knitting

I didn't get a lot of knitting done on this trip, partly because I had my daughter to hang out with and partly because I didn't make good choices in travel knitting.

I chose two sock projects, starting with Bonnie Sennott's Plumtree. This is a darling and well-written pattern.
But it has two 32-stitch repeats per round, so you really need to follow the pattern. It also takes more concentration than I wanted to spend on vacation

The second project is one I'd knit before, Helen Stewart's Winter Rose Socks, which I knit once last winter.
This one has a pattern that is easy to remember, but there are three plain rounds. I'm not good at reading my knitting, so I need to have a counter handy to keep me from knitting too many rounds. 

I will finish both pairs eventually, but it would have been nice to have come home with at least one finished sock, if not a pair. Next time, I'm packing some mindless knitting!