Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Peace: It Can Be Hard to Find

One of the odd things about blogging is that you share a lot of your life, but sometimes you can't share everything. Like now. A member of my family is ill, but doesn't want to share their problems on the Internet -- and who can blame them. So, just know that I am stressed and worried and struggling with deadlines at work. Not a great time for me.
However, I did find a few hours of peace this past weekend at a workshop at Bare Knuckle Arts, run by former art teacher Amy Mietzel. (If you leave in the area, do check out the classes and workshops; they rock!) We painted Peace Poles, which are poles that say "May Peace Prevail on Earth" on four sides, usually in four different languages.

I can't find a lot about the history of Peace Poles, but the first one went up in Japan 1955. Since then, more than 100,000 poles have gone up in more than 180 countries. It turns out that the largest Peace Pole is located in Janesville, Wisconsin, just 40 miles from me. It was put up at the site of a Ku Klux Klan rally.

Anyway, the workshop was friendly and peaceful. For a few hours I just enjoyed the painting and the company and the music. Thanks, Amy!

I'm joining with Nicole to Keep Calm and Craft On. I could use some calm!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Miles And Miles of Garter

Yep, I'm still slogging away on my Quicksilver Shawl.
It seems like I've been knitting this forever. I want to point out that it takes three skeins of fingering-weight yarn, so there's a reason why it seems so endless! I'm going to try to catch up on American Crime (an ABC series) this evening while I get some knitting done.

We are in the middle of standardized testing at my school -- and that seems endless, too! I think that the teachers will be as happy as the students when we get to the end. As a special ed teacher, I'm really looking forward to finishing up all my meetings and paperwork. I try to be done by the end of April, but I'm not going to make it this year. I think I can be done in mid-May, and I'm OK with that.

I'm joining Nicole to Keep Calm and Craft On.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Bitten by the Beading Bug

Every now and then, I get this undeniable urge to bead. Lately, I was inspired by this pattern, which came from Beadwork's Quick + Easy Special Issue, Winter 2015.
I have mixed feelings about spending time on other people's designs. I really like to work on original designs, but sometimes I just love other people's designs so much that I jump in. Then I get into a run where I want to try a design in various colors. Unfortunately, the accent beads on this bracelet are brown, even though they look red in the photos.
And we finally had a spring weekend here! As you can see from this photo of the bike path I take to work, it doesn't look much like spring yet. The trees haven't really begun to bud.
After getting out on my bike for three days in a row, I am tired and sore -- but in a good way. It was a good but busy weekend. I went to a dinner/discussion on race relations in Madison on Friday evening. Met a friend Saturday morning and then went on to do a bunch of errands on my bike. Saturday afternoon, I cooked and cleaned so that I could host all our Madison relatives for brunch on Sunday morning. Then this afternoon, I went out to lunch with friends and then to my sketching group. Of course, we ate and sketched outside.

Saturday night, Keith and I watched a few episodes of House of Cards on Netflix. Do you watch? I am not liking the third season as much as the first two. Did you know that On The Media does a podcast about the show? Sadly, they agree with me.

How was your weekend?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Guest Speaker That Wasn't

Every month I swear I won't buy anything at the monthly Madison Knitting Guild ... some months I do better than others.

But before I get to that, I want to talk about the guest speaker that wasn't. This is how it was explained in our newsletter:

It is with great regret that we were forced to cancel the April visit and Icelandic Knitting classes with Hélène Magnusson. Our request for a visa to bring Hélène to the U.S. and pay her for her services was denied. Although we requested the visa in December, we did not receive a written decision until March 21. Homeland Security did not agree that MKG provides an ongoing program that qualifies as a cultural exchange. We appealed the decision, but there is no guarantee of success and we cannot take that risk. We are gravely disappointed in this outcome as we found Hélène to be an absolutely delightful person who we know would have delivered an extraordinary program. 
Is that crazy or what? I think Homeland Security may be worrying about the wrong people here! We had a lovely talk by the curator of a local textiles collection and we are greatful she was willing to pitch-hit -- but it wasn't the same as an expert Icelandic knitter!

I decided I could buy yarn for gifts only, so here is what I purchased from Ogle Design, an indie dyer and designer in suburban Milwaukee. I chose:
On the right are two small skeins of 100% Superwash Merino to make mitts. The larger skein is 100% Merino and will become a hat. Can anyone guess why I grabbed this colorway?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dreaming of Casting On

I have a problem with casting on. It's kind of like chocolate for me. I just can't get enough!

Except, I can. I have an insane number of FOs lounging around the house. I really should ban all casting on until I get caught, but that's not going to happen!

I bought this book a while ago, and I've been drooling over the sock patterns lately.  Finally I decided I could plan which pattern I'm going to knit first and which yarn I'm going to use:

I'm hoping this will satisfy some of my cast-on cravings for a while.

If you haven't seen this book -- or it's siblings -- I highly recommend them as eye candy. Eventually I'll be able to tell you whether the patterns are easy to follow -- but not yet!

I'll be linking up today with Nicole at Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm Cast On.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Nicole at Frontier Dreams recommended this book:
I'm not vegan -- or even vegetarian -- but I do think there are lots of good reasons to eat less meat, both for the environment and for one's health, so I requested this from my local library. And I have to say that so far, it hasn't disappointed!

My very favorite recipe is the Classic Glo Bar. It's a granola bar that you make from scratch with ingredients I had not used before, such as chia seeds, hemp seeds, and brown rice syrup. The seeds come in large and somewhat expensive bags so I felt like buying them was a gamble. What was I going to do with all those chia seeds if I didn't like the bars?

Not to worry. The Glo Bars are delicious! And much more healthy that anything you can buy. So today I'm planning to make Present Glo Bars, a similar recipe but featuring some different items.

I'm also planning to try one of her green smoothies later today. As someone with jaw problems, I can't resist checking out a smoothie that has kale in it!

I hope you're having a great weekend. After a rough week at school, I was more than ready for a few sunny, lazy days. Yesterday I went for a bike ride and today I've got a walk scheduled. I'm hoping two days is long enough to recharge!

Monday, April 6, 2015

More Socks; More Florida

Monogamous knitting doesn't make for very exciting blogging, but this is what I have.
I'm not thrilled with the dark stripes. Should I have seen that coming from the skein? I'm not very good at translating the color changes in a skein into how they'll look in a sock.  The trip home from Florida Sunday was long, so at least I made some progress on the sock.

On Saturday, Rachel and I went to South Beach, and it's even more beautiful than I expected. The Art Deco architecture is stunning:
And the beach is so beautiful. The water is a gorgeous turquoise.
The food in Miami in amazing. We ate Peruvian, Venezuelian, and, of course, Cuban. But it is SO hot -- and it's only April! I cannot imagine what it's like in July.

And best of all, I spent the day with my daughter!
Today I'll be back at work. It's going to be a tough transition so I'm going to make pancakes for our homeroom. It's the first day of fourth quarter, so I'm hoping that a surprise with help all of us get off to a good start!

Don't forget to see what everyone is up to at Frontier Dreams.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Knitting in Paradise

My Trellis sock is coming along here in paradise.

This is my first visit to Miami and I am finding the city to be quite charming. Yesterday we went to Wynnwood, the city's art district, where there are stunning murals.

But of course the best part is spending time with my daughter.

She is studying now but in a little while we'll be heading out to South Beach. I can't wait to be by the ocean!