Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Unraveled Wednesday

I have made significant progress on my gray Kate's Poncho. I'm on the ribbing at the bottom. 
And yarn for the third one arrived just in time this morning! I ordered from The Loopy Ewe, and the yarn got to me in record time.

I have to admit that I am doing more quilting and embroidering than knitting these days. For one thing, both the poncho and the blanket I'm working on are getting too big and too warm for some of the really hot days.

I went for a lovely walk yesterday with a friend in the Arboretum. 
July is beautiful!
Joining with Kat for Unraveled Wednesday.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Stitching & Listening

I've been a bit obsessed with my latest quilt. It's made  from my hand-dyed cotton, so it includes all my favorite colors. The main panel was printed with a real fern.
I'm hand-quilting it with a Kantha/Boro stitch, a process that is very relaxing. Meditative, even. Which makes it perfect for listening time.
I've mentioned some of my favorite podcasts in the past: The Daily, On the Media, Post Reports, and Trump Inc.

I wanted to share a few of my newer finds:

  • Throughline: Great history podcast from NPR. They cover a variety of subjects from conspiracy theories in American history to a look at the Kurds. As entertaining as it is informative.
  • Slow Burn: I loved loved loved the season on Watergate. The season on Bill Clinton was good, and the new season on David Duke is excellent!
  • Unfinished: Deep South: A truly fascinating investigation into the 1954 murder of Isadore Banks, a successful African-American, in Arkansas.
  • Thunder Bay: This rundown city north of Minnesota is the site of an uncanny number of First Peoples teen deaths. Turns out that Canada hasn't really made peace with their history of oppressing native peoples.
  • An Oral History of The Office. I am addicted to The Office. Its theme song is my ringtone. No romance will ever be more moving than the one between Jim and Pam. So far, there is only one episode out, but it is really good. If you like The Office, this is a smart history of the most-streamed show ever.
I'm always looking for good podcasts. What do you like?

Friday, July 24, 2020

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining with Kat for Unraveled Wednesday. 

I loved my Kate's Poncho so much that I decided to make one in gray for Rachel. After all, she's moving to Denver after 6 years in Miami. 

It's coming along so quickly that I think I'll make one for Clara, too. That's Seth's girlfriend.  This will require ordering yarn, though -- so sad! 

I love this gray wool. It is Shepherd's Wool Yarn from Stonehedge Mill. For a 100% wool it is quite soft and it knits up beautifully. I'm sure I'll be using more of it. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Tiny Needle Tuesday

Darn that Kim! I really try to work on original designs, but she got me into Cozy Blue. From the first moment I saw one on her blog, I knew it would just be a matter of time before I gave in and embroidered one.

Full Heart turned out to be the design that I could not resist.

It's been fun -- but also helped me work on one stitch I need to practice (satin) and learn how to do leaves with fly stitch.

So, I guess I owe Kim a big thank you!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

So Much News!

For the first time ever, I lost a pair of glasses. Also for the first time ever, I bought a pair of glasses without checking the price first. I am absolutely in love with my new glasses:
Luckily for me, the clerk is very chatty. When he found out I was a teacher, he gave me $200 off. And they were still pricey -- but worth it. Still, I really can't afford to lose this pair!

I have long admired (drooled over) the work of felt applique embroiderer Sue Spargo. I finally bought her class on Craftsy/Bluprint and started my own felt project. She provides a butterfly project, but I had to do my own thing, so I'm doing fish:

It has been hot as Hades here (and everywhere!), so I've taken advantage of the weather to do some fabric dying with  Dynaflow paints and salt. The results are always a surprise.

Yesterday I indulged in a fancy cold coffee at a cafe with outdoor tables. It was too hot to boil water and I'd forgotten to make iced coffee the night before. Also, I was celebrating: My district announced that first quarter will be virtual.
Like everyone, I have mixed feelings. Virtual teaching isn't ideal for students, nor is it fun for teachers. But I am almost 61 and I have an arrhythmia. I am terrified of going into a large high school with all those wonderful -- but less than adult -- disease vectors running around! And it turns out that teens are indeed vectors!

And the best news of all, thanks to Kat, Brenda Dayne is coming back. Pick up your pointy sticks!

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Sketching and Covid

Recently, my friend Tsela and I decided to draw in downtown Middleton, a suburb of Madison. We planned to get beverages at a coffeeshop, Helbach's, but it had closed early. Instead, we sat at one of their outdoor tables and drew:

Now we are glad we didn't spend any money there.  The owner actually posted a sign a few days later that said: "This is a Mask Free Zone. Please remove mask before entering."

Middleton is in Dane County. We are required to wear masks when we are inside a public place, including businesses. This is a county order. Someone took a photo of the sign and it went viral (pun intended). 

When county health officials showed up at Helbach's to investigate, the owner called the police and complained about being harassed. Of course, the police backed up the health officials. I assume that they are requiring masks now, but I won't be going there to find out.

There is an excellent coffeeshop a block away, in case I'm out in Middleton again.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Fiber on Friday

Yes, this is still a knitting blog. But first, thank you so much for your kind words and support about my work. I have helped some students get through school and into college, but I definitely feel like I mostly lose out to structural racism. Because Wisconsin's court system is all online, I can count 24 students who have been convicted of crimes -- most of felonies. All --100% -- of these students are Black or Latinx.

On to more cheerful things. The weather is moderate today, so I had a fabulous bike ride. I try to bike 3 or 4 mornings a week -- at least 35 minutes of hill repeats. I live in a glaciated part of Madison, so I don't have to go far. I actually live on a pretty steep hill.

I have an FO to share today. This is Kate's Poncho, which I finished in 90-degree weather. Even today, I can't stand to put it on to model it!
I made it with a now-discontinued Miss Babs worsted. It is going to get a lot of wear next winter! It is a very easy pattern, top down, nothing fancy. I shortened the neck because my neck is so sensitive to wool.

My daughter has enjoyed teasing for me 6 years about the fact that she doesn't need many knitted items as she lives in Miami. But, August 1 she will be moving to Denver! Mittens, hats, scarves! I could hardy be happier! When I asked her what color her winter coat is, she said, "I know why you're asking." She know me, all right.

I am working a pair of socks for her -- the Petty Harbour pattern on Ravelry:

It's a great and easy-to-memorize pattern.

I hope that we all have a calm and not-too-hot weekend!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Some Truths

Truth 1: I've realized since I got back into the blogging game that one factor that stopped me last year was my inability to read and comment on your blogs daily. I was harboring quite a bit of guilt about that. I didn't think about it; it's a thought that just surfaced recently. Once I thought about it, I realized that I was being silly. You all are some of the loveliest people on Earth; of course, you understand.

Truth 2: Summer ain't what it used to be for teachers. I spent hours this morning watching court hearings on You Tube and then emailing lawyers who are not doing a good job representing my former students (now in adult court😟).

In my district, special ed has to work 3.5 extra days in August. Plus, I am on three teams working for equity for our minority students. All worthwhile endeavors, but less summer for me.

Truth 3: Structural racism is real. Today I actually filed a formal complaint against one lawyer. I had begged him to subpoena me. That's the only way I can testify. He didn't, and he didn't present a good case, and now a young African-American youth may go to prison. My heart is breaking. He should never have been convicted -- and I am pretty sure he would not have been convicted if I could have testified about his disability. Also, the lawyer did not subpoena the one witness. The young man tried to talk for himself -- he is very intelligent and articulate -- and the judge just cut him off.

So, I guess you can tell where I stand on Black Lives Matter. There were some fabulous peaceful protests in Madison's downtown, followed by some pretty scary vandalism. Every window on State Street was boarded up. Most still are. But many have inspiring murals painted on them. I just had to document the pain and the hope.

I'm doing my best. One kid at a time.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

On Sun-dying and Memories

Every year since 1972, when I met her at summer camp, Joni and I have vacationed together. She lives in California, and I live in Wisconsin, so this will be the first time in 28 years we will not see each other, which is really sad -- but better than one of us getting sick or worse from taking an airplane. Next summer, though, I will drive to California if I have to!
The rocky shore of Lake Superior near Grand Marais.
We like to do some kind of art or craft project together. Last year, I learned how to sun-dye with Dynaflow (a high-flow acrylic fabric paint from Jacquard) so we could dye cloth and make art quilts. It seemed like a reasonable project give that we were renting a cabin in the little artsy town of Grand Marias on Minnesota's North Shore (one of my favorite places on Earth).
Joni and I in front our little house. We love to dress alike!
It is super simple. (Directions at the end of the post).

Here are Joni and my quilts in progress (Mine is on the left):
And here is the finished quilt:

Those really bright images in white and black are silk-screened with Thermofax screens, which Joni and bought at a retreat with Judy Coates Perez.

You need: white cloth, water, sponge brushes, Dynaflow, stencils (or leaves or other objects), and a garbage bag or some other plastic surface. You wet the cloth, pat it flat on plastic (which I stretch over foamboard or a similar flat surface), and brush the cloth with paint. You can water down the paint for lighter colors. You can mix up your own colors. Then lay down the stencils/other objects and press them flat. Move the surface into the sun and let the cloth dry.

I'm just started to experiment with leaves, so I'll let you know how that goes!