Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Starting Again

Not long ago, I mentioned that I had had to frog a very simple hat twice. Well, I think the third time might be the charm. The hat is looking right this time around. 
I've been working on it while listening to The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin, which is about the lives and relationship of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. It's a very good book, but it's taken me months to get through, seeing as the Audible version is more than 30 hours!

Since I'm in the mood for Teddy, Keith and I have started watching the Ken Burns documentary on the two Roosevelt presidents. It's also quite good.

As for traditional reading, I'm making my way through Virginia Woolf's first novel, The Voyage Out, and I am enjoying it. It's not a page-turner by any stretch of the imagination. I have to approach it like I would a long Victorian novel.

And I'll close with a picture of our fast-growing kitten, Kola, who always sleeps with us.

Joining up with Kat for Unraveled Wednesday.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

A Project for Me and Kitty TV

Every now and then I get pulled back into cross stitch.

I've been eyeing patterns at the SatsumaStreet Etsy site for a couple of years now, but didn't give into the temptation to buy one until I saw Happinest at my local embroidery store.
While my weekend is largely devoted to the fairly difficult task of finishing my ocean fiber piece, I've been relaxing with this project. I think it's going to be a gift.
I also suspect it will not be my last SatsumaStreet piece. If you have any interest in embroidery, you should head over there. She does amazing cityscapes of some the world's great cities.

Meanwhile, we have some very happy cats at our house. They spend a lot of time like this:
Watching things like this:
Here's another favorite:
I have to thank my daughter for turning us on to cat TV

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!