Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday: Car Knitting

All I have to show is a finished sock, the one I keep in the car.

You have one, too, right? It's for long drives (when someone else is driving) and waiting in doctors' offices. This is a simple Hermoine's Everyday Sock in Plymouth Yarn's Splash. I love this yarn. It's very pretty and squishy, if a bit splitty.

I'm almost done with Dark Matter by Black Crouch. It is being heavily marketed at Barnes & Noble and I fell for it. Mistake. The plot does move quickly, but the characters are flat and the "science" isn't very believable
As you can tell, The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert, went to Copenhagen with me (thus the messed up edges). It reviews past mass extinctions that have occurred and then moves into the current situation, in which many species are disappearing quite rapidly. It's beautifully written and fascinating. Obviously, it's not the most cheerful book.

Do join in with Unraveled Wednesday. It's easy, just jump over here.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Not the Best for Blogging

So, I'm doing the Through the Loops Mystery Shawl KAL 2017. It's been a fun knit so far, but I've realized it's a terrible match with blogging. Why? You can't show any spoiler photos of the shawl. So this is what I can show you:
Pretty boring, huh?

But I can tell you all about my breakfast this morning: the Morning Detox Smoothie.
It comes from my newest cookbook acquisition, Oh She Glows Every Day by Angela Liddon. I love her first cookbook, so I was thrilled to discover she'd come out with a second one.
Her recipes are all vegan, and this second book also has a lot of gluten-free recipes, too. I am neither vegan nor gluten free, but I do try to include a lot of vegetables in my diet, so vegan cookbooks work out well for me.

Tomorrow I'm going to make my first green smoothie. I'm not sure how I feel about it, but it just seems like such a healthy thing to consume!

Lastly, thank you all so much for your kind words about my sketches. It really boosts my confidence because I am such an amateur!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Sketching in Copenhagen

One of the highlights of my trip to Copenhagen was meeting up with Urban Sketchers Copenhagen. Urban Sketchers is an international group, and I was lucky that the Copenhagen group was meeting to sketch the weekend I was there.

I had to figure out the bus system to get to this 1913 church that is outside the usual tourist area, and it was totally worth it.
It's not that my sketch is so special, but it was really fun meeting the Danish sketchers. They were all professional artists, so it was a bit intimidating. After drawing, we went out for a beer and talked. They are very well informed about American politics and worry about Europe going the same way we are. It was fascinating to hear their views.
Copenhagen is a charming and diverse city  -- perfect for drawing. This sketch is from Christiania, the hippie/artist community that was started in 1971. As you can see, it has not lost its anarchic look.
The Danish Design Museum is fascinating. My parents' house was largely filled with Danish furniture, so it was really interesting to learn more about it. It's still my favorite style.

As nice as it would be to have a spread like this for every day, it isn't going to happen. I am a very slow sketcher, so this took FOREVER!

Well, that's it for Copenhagen. I promise to get back to knitting in the next post!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I Swore I Wouldn't Buy Yarn

In fact, I walked past two yarn stores in my first few days in Copenhagen and didn't even consider going inside.

But then one day I went to what turned out the be the worst, most depressing flea market ever. Used shoes and clothes, mostly.  At one point, I glanced across the street and saw this:
It was just such a cheerful sight that I had to go in. And the inside could not have been more cozy or inviting:
The store mostly carried Drops, a brand I've heard of but never encountered. As far as I can tell, it isn't widely available in the United States. Well, it is beautiful, affordable stuff. I spent way too much time fondling all the various blends.  And we all know where that leads!
Yes, I bought a couple skeins. These two beauties, which will likely become a pair of fingerless mitts some day, cost less than $10. No kidding. On the off chance that I ever run out of yarn, I'll be looking for more Drops.

The store was different from the stores I'm used to here. For one thing, there were tons of sweater-quantity bags ready to be bought. Also, there were very few needles for sale and no accessories, like stitch markers. Maybe Danes are minimalists in their knitting, too!

There was more unknitting than knitting in Copenhagen. Here is the beginning of an Almondine Sock.  I was halfway through the heel flap when I realized I had misread the directions and had not divided the stitches correctly for the heel. I frogged the flap and tried to pick up the stitches. Too many dropped stitches! I went all the way back and cast on again.
Not surprisingly, I'm reading The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell, a Londoner who moved to Denmark when her husband got a job at Lego. Russell is a journalist and an excellent writer. The book is both amusing and interesting.

I just have to point out that Lego is far from Copenhagen, so I may have to write the Copenhagen version of this book some day!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Some Copenhagen Highlights

I truly do love Copenhagen: the buildings, the people, the food. While it lacks the drama of Paris or London or New York, it is the perfect place to relax and enjoy Scandinavian ambience. I could prattle on and on about all the lovely things there, but I'll restrain myself and share a few highlights:
This is Nyhavn, the picture-perfect canal that is probably the most famous scene from Copenhagen. It was our first stop. A native we met at the airport had suggested a canal tour as the perfect activity for our first, jet-lagged day. After the tour, we settled down at a canal-side restaurant and enjoyed smorrebrod (the ubiquitous open-faced sandwiches) along with the view.
We walked the Botanical Gardens and the flower gardens at the Rosenborg Castle.
Copenhagen has a number of great museums, including the state art museum (SMK) and the Design Museum, where I snapped this photo of a chair made from newspapers.
Walking home one evening, I was scooped up by two "vikings," who carried me to a  place where pretty young women were waiting with alcoholic beverages.  A vendor told me this is a ritual of the police in training.
Copenhagen's old city (Indre By) is infinitely charming. The Round Tower is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe -- and very pretty, too.

Good food is everywhere in Copenhagen, and, yes, it is pricey. But you can always find a stand selling the inexpensive hot dogs that the Danish love.
Grod, one of my favorite Copenhagen restaurants, features porridge. Yes, porridge. They turn humble grains into gourmet treats. On this visit, I ordered a Chia Seed Parfait.
Here are two things you find everywhere in Copenhagen: Beautiful brick buildings and bicycles:
We went on a wonderful tour by one of the original inhabitants of Christiania, the hippie/artists community founded on an abandoned military base in 1971. You can still buy marijuana or hash on Pusher Street, but the community banned hard drugs a long time ago. As the city grew, this site became prime real estate, so a few years ago, the residents bought the land from the city so they could maintain this "Freetown," as they call it.  Now they pay taxes, which is against their principles, but a better alternative than being kicked out.
There is art everywhere you look. Each building or house is unique and original.
Although tourism has become a large part of the income in Christiana, there are some factories there, including two bike manufacturers. The bike above is one of the types made right there.

Last, but not least, I had a great time traveling with my friends Percy and Lisa.
While I flew back to the States yesterday, they were off to Scotland. When they get back, we'll have to sit down for some smorrebrod!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Beads and Byes

I know you can't really tell, but take my word for it: This car is covered with Swarovsky crystals.
I had a quick trip the annual Bead & Button show in Milwaukee because back in January, I had signed up for a class. I'm glad I made the trip because I love the bracelet I learned to make:

It isn't that hard, just basic off-loom weaving with leather and Delica beads. But I can't stop admiring the result.
I've already started making a second one:
But I don't think I'll be able to finish it until I get home from Copenhagen. We catch the bus to O'Hare at 5:30 tomorrow morning. I think I'm done packing, but I better make one more check!

I won't be sad to leave behind this weather: 90 degrees every day. And we don't have air conditioning! I actually don't mind most of the time -- but I don't do much cooking when it's this hot. In this weather, Nagi needs lots of extra naps. His favorite spot is my chair on the screened porch:
It's hard to imagine that just a few morning ago I needed that blanket for warmth!

I probably won't be blogging from Copenhagen because I'm not taking a tablet or computer. I hope you all have a great week!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Ah, Summer!

For me, summer starts officially this afternoon, seeing as today was the last day of school. I will have to go back to organize and clean, but that's easy stuff.

I celebrated with a pitcher of Rishi iced tea, peach rooibos.
And I admired my new t-shirt. I'm sure you can see why I HAD to have it:
I wasn't planning to buy any shirts at all, but last night I went to a Night Market (a street fair held in the evening) with a friend and I could not resist this adorable T!

And speaking of shirts, I'm embroidering another one. You can't tell, but it's blue chambray.
I finished the Lambkin Lid, destined for an August baby. This is the toddler size and it seems large, so I think I'll make a baby one, too. It's one of those projects that flies off your needles!
And last, but not least, I went stash shopping for yarn to use in the Through the Loops Mystery Shawl 2017.  Kirsten Kapur recommends using solid yarns for this pattern. Most of my fingering weight is self-patterning or variegated. I was surprised I was able to find two solids that would work together.
Tomorrow I'm off to take a class at the Bead & Button Show in Milwaukee. I may visit the market there, too!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Stitching & Listening Outdoors is the Best

I couldn't help but snap another shot of backyard stitching after work yesterday. The yellow puddle of yarn is a Lambkin Lid from Drop Dead Easy Knits. I'm using a Encore DK weight. I like to use sturdy, washable yarn for children.
The sock is Idlewild, also from Drop Dead Easy Knits. The product is cute, but it's a bit tedious of a knit. I'm determined not to let it become a UFO, so I try to knit a few rows every day.

Idlewild is written by one of my favorite designers, Kirsten Kapur. I like her designs so much that I'm going to try a mystery knit-along for the first time. She has a mystery shawl KAL starting June 15. It'll be a bit tricky because I'll have to find a cafĂ© with WiFi.  Have I mentioned that I'm going to Copenhagen next week?

Don't you love the basket? It's my new way of keeping my focus on just a few projects at a time. Plus, it's easy to carry stuff in and out of the house.

As for listening, I've been making my way through King Leopold's Ghost on Audible. It is devastating and enlightening. It explains why African nations today have so many challenges.

Three more days to summer!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

After Work Yesterday

It was the Monday of the last week of school and a beautiful day. So, I had a bounce in my step as I walked home. My favorite flowers are in full bloom, like this:

and this:

And best of all, look what came in the mail:

These luscious goodies are from Andi of My Sister's Knitter. A while back, I was the lucky winner of one of her give-aways. And I was VERY lucky.

Let's take a closer looks at the Great Lakes Tweed. The good news is that she has plenty more yummy skeins in her Etsy store.
Quaere Fibres also has a tempting selection on Etsy. And Andi is so thoughtful. She picked out Hanukkah Self-Striping Sock Yarn for me.
Both of these skeins are so beautiful that I'm not sure they'll turn into socks.  I'll need to be patient; sooner or later they will tell me what they want to be.

Thank you so much, Andi. You made my week! And it's a week when I can use all the support I can get!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Pleasure of Process Knitting

It isn't often that I go for a whole week without posting, which tells you what these last weeks of school are like for special ed. I was unprepared for how hectic these weeks would be with finals and trying to help kids with final projects and assignments.
Maybe that's why I wanted some knitting that would be pure pleasure. I fell in love with Quill, a hat in the most recent Taproot, and I just cast it on on a whim. I'm using Tosh Worsted in Composition Book Grey, which is luxuriously smooshy. The pattern and the yarn together are heavenly.

I need some pleasure here as I brought home a pile of work. When I think about the fact that school ends on Friday, I don't know if I'm more excited about summer or worried about getting everything done!