Saturday, April 28, 2018

Sort Of Spring

It was 36 degrees when I set out on my bike for Urban Sketching this morning. That seems awfully cold for the very end of April. At least I'd remembered to cover my ears, and the cold air turned out to be quite pleasant.
We sketched at a cafe along one of Madison's four lakes, and most of us drew the folksinger who was providing live music. Not my favorite drawing, but not bad for practicing. I told him we were competing to do his next album cover.

It's always fun to see what everyone else has drawn.

Work is getting busy as the end of the year approaches, so there hasn't been a lot of knitting. I did finish the first Magnolia sock.
Here is a close-up so you can see the pattern a little better.
There are crosses (cables involving only two stitches) and cables with four stitches. I do fine on the cables, but a good number of the crosses are in the wrong direction. I will confess to being a fudgy knitter. I think the color changes hide the errors. Besides, these are for me. I'm going to live with the mistakes.

Do you fix ALL your mistakes?

Monday, April 23, 2018


At long last, spring has arrived here. After all, it's only late April! I was able to take a spin on my favorite vehicle this weekend:

I have to say that it was a bit rough and I need to build up some strength -- but it felt good to be out riding in the sunshine.

I've gotten a good start on the second pattern in the Secret Sock Society run by Helen Stewart. Magnolia is a beautiful pattern:
Once again, I'm using a yarn from Great Lakes Tweed and I love it. However, it's a little busy for such a detailed pattern:
Even so, it's very pretty and I'm going to keep going on this pair. I can always knit a second pair in a different yarn!

I hope you have a wonderful week. Mine is starting out with jury duty!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

More Hats

 I had enough yarn left over from my last Fair Isle hat to make a second one. I designed the pattern for this one:

I'm not sure I like it better than the original. You can compare them below. I'd love to hear your thoughts -- yes, constructive criticism is welcome. Mine has more detail, but I think these colors worked better in a simpler design.

And I finished After the Fall. It's a good beach-type read about a group of people on a private plane that crashes.]I think it's out in paperback, and it would be a good vacation novel.

I hope your week is going smoothly. Snow is falling here as I type, with 5 to 7 inches expected. The snow will probably end by 1 a.m., so it's unlikely I'll get a snow day tomorrow. That's probably for the best. I have a lot of work to do before the end of the school year.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

If you read a few blogs, you've seen this adorable handmade card over the last few days:

Yes, it is the handwork of Deb. If you don't know Deb, you can meet her here. In addition to writing a great blog, Deb might be the most generous crafter out there. She is a master of soapmaking, and she gives away her amazing wares:
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Look at that loot! From top left, there are lotion bars (which I use constantly), soaps, lip balm, and facial soap. You cannot buy soaps like these! And I mean that literally: These are superior to any commercial soap out there. Effective, gentle and perfectly scented. And beautiful:
A huge thank you to you, Deb, for your incredible generosity. You are so talented -- and so kind to share your creations.

That was the good. Here is the bad:
Fair Isle is so much fun to knit, but then there are all those ends to weave in. Not so much fun.

And then there's the ugly. Yesterday, my MIL and I took a class at a local fabric store to learn how to free motion quilt. I'm really glad to start learning this skill, but my first attempt is not beautiful.

My MIL, a lifetime seamstress who sews most of her own wardrobe and all my FIL's shirts, took to it right away. And we both learned that quilter's gloves are not optional. Neither is practice!

Also ugly: snow in mid-April. The roads are snow-covered ice. We were able to have breakfast with my parents, but I can't see going out a second time.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Quick Book Reviews

 It's been a while since I reported on my reading, so here we go...

I finally got around to reading A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, and it holds up to its reputation. A good solid read, entertaining, well-written. Not too light -- but not too ponderous either. The characters are wonderful. It's about an irritable middle-aged man whose life is changed when a young couple with two children moves into his neighborhood.
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If you like this, you should try Beartown by the same author. It is darker and more complex, but still has that wonderful writing style.

Zadie Smith bursted on the the literary scene in 2003 with White Teeth, which I loved. It's the story of two middle-aged Englishmen in London who make unlikely friends. It doesn't sound that great when I put it like that, but it really is.

NW sounds so good. It follows four young people of color in London who take very different paths. The writing is experimental -- stream of consciousness, fragmentary, and often frustrating. Maybe I'm just not smart enough to appreciate this one. I finished it, but I'm not sure it was a good use of my reading time.

I'm about halfway through Before the Fall by Noah Hawley, about a group of people who are flying on a private plane that mysteriously drops into the North Atlantic.

It's quite good reading, though not a literary masterpiece. It keeps me turning the pages -- which is exactly what I was looking for!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Sunday Start and Finish

 So, here we are in the middle of winter -- wait! It's April 8! How can the high temps be in the 30's? Not fair! However, I suppose it is good weather for hat knitting. It only took me four days to knit a Crazy Color Hat:

I've started a second one, only I'm designing the colorwork section just for fun. The colored yarn is Ewetopia DK, and it is divine. The gray is MadTosh Charcoal.

And I cast on the second sock in the Secret Sock Society from Helen Stewart. It was 2 inches long when I realized I had made far too many mistakes, so this is how it looks now:
This pattern has lots of cables, which is both great and scary. Great because I need to get better at them and scary because (as rediscovered today) I am terrible at doing them correctly.

Has anyone else noticed that weekdays are longer than Saturday and Sunday?

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Like a Ton Bricks

The re-entry to work has hit me like a ton of bricks.  So much to do and only one quarter left before summer! So, excuse me for falling behind on blog-reading.

I'm still working at reducing my stash through hat-knitting. (If you are related to me, guess what you are getting for Hanukkah or Christmas!)

I've begun Alaska in Knit Circus yarn:

The Crazy Color Hat will soon be eating up some Ewetopia mini-skeins. It's not too exciting with just the brim:
I have to admit to being a tad tired of ribbing!

During spring break, I found some books at the library about making folk-style art. I've aways shied away from this style because it requires symmetry. But with some directions, it turns out not to be too difficult. Also, my symmetry isn't exact.

I'm thinking about scanning it into my computer and turning it into textile art.

I did get some organizing done in my craft room during break. Turns out I need to provide storage for cats:
Only two days until the weekend!