Sunday, January 28, 2018

Too Much Weekend

The truth, my friends, is that there is such a thing as too much weekend. I am an introvert and I crave quiet, creative time. But sometimes I do everything offered in a weekend and end up satisfied, but tired.
That would describe this weekend. Saturday morning Madison Urban Sketchers met at the student union on the UW-Madison campus. It's an amazing building with a German beer hall called Der Rathskeller. I love this place because it's very cozy and because I worked there all through my undergraduate years.
Then Saturday afternoon, I was busy baking Oatmeal Scotchies in honor of the Scottish poet Robert Burns.
Werth reads some Burns in her excellent brogue.
My friends have an annual party to mark this, replete with faux haggis and Banoffee Pie (which turns out to be English not Scottish, but I'm not complaining); readings of Burns' poetry in a Scottish brogue; and the singing of Auld Lang Syne.
Percy made up three types of haggis: venison, poultry, and vegetarian. No one would eat the authentic stuff. It has lamb brains, I think.
This afternoon I went to a play with my mom and her friend. It was interesting, about a school that was being closed down. For me, this is full weekend!

I did find time to cast off one sock and cast on the for next before I run out of inspiration.
The first Vintage Fairy Lights sock.
I hope your weekend was lovely and you are headed into a good week!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Some Finished Objects

When I started my ZickZack scarf, I was sure it wouldn't be ready until the winter of 2018-19. Fingering-weight yarn, small needles, and long rows made it feel like it would be long-term project.

But I had forgotten the seduction of the Chevron stitch pattern. It became a comfort to knit a few rows every day. And now I'm wearing it!
I made mine longer than the pattern calls for. I like a scarf I can wrap around my neck and still have dangling ends, so I bought an extra ball of each color -- though I did not use all of the 3rd balls.

For the first time in a while, I have finished jewelry project.
I can't claim that this is an original pattern -- I got it from a book -- but I love it nonetheless. It's a bit tricky, but totally worth it. I think I know what my sisters-in-law will be getting for their next birthdays!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Fretting about a Sweater

I've been working on the Windchill Cardigan that I'm knitting for my daughter. The whole issue of fit is what freaks me out about sweaters. My daughter is quite slender so I thought this would be easy: Just make the smallest size and then hope it's not too big.
But now that I'm working the arms, I'm worried that they are too small in circumference. I could email her to measure her biceps -- she works out -- but at this point, I'm just going to keep going.

I do like the waffle-weave border!

If it doesn't fit, I'll follow Elizabeth Zimmerman's advice and find someone who fits the sweater. That would be a bummer and I'd still need to knit a sweater for Rachel.
I've started embroidering my knitting doll. As you can see, I make up the color scheme as I go. It's more fun that way.

In other news, Seth got news this week that he passed his Veterinary boards! This one huge stressor off his plate. He'll continue on rounds through graduation in May. In mid-February we should know where he'll be for his internship year. So far, hospitals in Louisville and Miami have told him they are interested. His sister in in grad school in Miami, so that would be a great place for him.

And this is the boy who barely did enough work to graduate from high school. They surprise us, don't they?

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Lovely Long Weekend

Finally...snow! We didn't get a lot, but it was enough for Keith and I to hit the golf course to cross country ski. The tracks were skied-in -- as opposed to beautiful machine-made tracks -- but I'm not complaining. It felt so good to be out and moving across the snow.

I do love knitting on a long winter weekend, so I was able to make some progress on my Vintage Fairy Light socks:
And I'm slowing knitting rounds on the super-bulky Clara's Cape. In real life, the pink is more subdued than it looks here.
I made it to Madison Urban Sketchers for the first time in a while, and we had a record turn-out: 20 sketchers! We were at the Chocolatarian -- and, yes, this cafe is as delicious as it sounds -- on the West Side.
As we often do, my friend Tsela and I sat together, so we drew the same thing. You can see her drawing on the left and mine on the right.

However, it hasn't been all fun. I have been working on modifying a 100-question biology semester exam. Finals start Wednesday, so it will be a crazy week.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Bad Photos; Great Event

To celebrate our show at Madison's Overture Center, the Madison Contemporary Fiber Artists held a workshop today, and it was a huge success. We invited the public to make leaves for our "tree," a branch that is part of the exhibit. We had five stations for leaf-making: embroidery, embellishment, felting, weaving, and coloring. 
We were told to expect 100 people. We got about 350, half children. People of all ages loved the projects and made beautiful leaves.

I am exhausted. We set up at 9 a.m. today and closed down at 1 p.m. Thank goodness we have a three-day break from school so I'll have time to recover. And excuse the photos; we were in an interior room with no natural light.

The opening reception was last night. We had a great turnout -- even though the temps were well below freezing. I want to share a few of the quilts with you. This first one is a huge landscape by Susan Jackan. Sue was one of my team teachers my first year of teaching. She retired a while ago, but it has been fun to meet up with her again. She has won all kinds of national awards for her work.
This one is by Laura Gottleib. I love her colors and the composition.
This next one is a small work of dense embroidery accented by beads done by Dvorah Kaufman.
And last is my entry:

I really wanted to have a third panel, but I ran out of time. It was fun to make, especially the fringe at the bottom. I titled it "Perishable." It's supposed to be a play on words: perishable in the sense of food going bad but also a reference to our fragile Earth.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Mid-Week Hello

 I'm often surprised by how quickly the week goes. Is it really Wednesday night already? I got through my two IEP meetings and now I'm frantically trying to get my students ready for final exams next week. 
I started two projects on Sunday. I cast on for my Clara's Cape. I have never knit with super-bulky yarn before, and it's hurting my hands a bit. The issue could be the yarn: Spud & Chloe Outer. It is a cotton-wool blend, so it is super non-scratchy. But that cotton content might be the reason I can only knit a few rows a day.

And I've started a new embroidered doll. This one has a knitting theme:
I have yet to pick out colors and start embroidering, but that's the fun part!

Thank you all for your compliments about my mug rugs. I am blushing now!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Quiet Weekend

 It's been a quiet weekend in Madison. (Do you hear echoes of Garrison Keiler? I miss that guy!) Other than a few outings with friends, I've been working on various projects at home, including my embroidery club at school and a community project for my fiber group.
I made these "mug rugs" as a way of playing around with free-form embroidery. I am most comfortable following lines, but I want to venture into more spontaneous embroidery. These small circles provided the perfect experiment. And, I didn't have to buy anything for them! Pure stash-busting.
I cut the biggest circles out of felt, and the rest came from my fabric scraps. I basted the circles into place and just started embroidering with 6 strands of floss. I can't decide if they are going to be a gift or stay here at the house. They were fun, but somewhat time-consuming.
I repaired this necklace for my daughter. (I made it a few years ago and was horrified that it broke.) Now I have to get it into the mail. She's very happy to be back in the Miami warmth -- even though it's been unusually cold there. It hasn't gotten anywhere near the sub-zero temps we've had here.
This came in the mail. But I ordered it before January 1, so I haven't broken my vow not to buy yarn outside of a few major yarn events in 2018. It's going to be a Clara's Cape, one of Helen Stewart's Knitvent projects.

Today I went to an amazing LYS and walked out with nothing other than the 5 skeins of embroidery floss I needed. Go me! This LYS has truly beautiful yarn, I might add.

It was nice to have a three-day week for our first week back to school. This next one is a five-day week, which is going to seem very long! I have IEP meetings on Monday and Tuesday, and it will be nice getting them accomplished early in on.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

All Good Things Come to an End

I'll be heading back to school today. While I do enjoy my students, I'll miss those long lazy mornings for coffee and crafting. My daughter flew back to Miami yesterday, and I'm going through a bit of withdrawal. We had such a great visit!

I won't have as much time now for knitting... 
Fairy Lights Socks
...or making jewelry...

...or hanging out with this girl:
But I'm sure I'll adjust to work. And Spring Break is only 3 months away!