Friday, June 27, 2008

More Knitting!

I know. Crazy.

While Len was out getting water for "the ladies" (his chickens are collectively called "the ladies") this morning, I managed to get some pictures of the purple cardigan.

Purple Sweater

One full sleeve is done and I am working on the second. No SSS* for me! I love top down sleeves, they alway seem to go much faster than cuff up. It's an illusion, I'm sure, but I'll take it.


Getting the cuff to come out nicely was harder than it should have been. I ripped it out a few times before getting it right. Cotton is not very forgiving, so just starting into the seed stitched blue cuff (on smaller needles than the body) looked really bad. I tried a purl round of purple, thinking that would smooth the transition. Um, no. Finally, I tried a plain stockinette round of the blue before the seed stitch. Perfection!

Arm Part

It is true that this is not exciting, but until my sewing machine gives me my knitting mojo back, this is what I seem to be capable of. Which is unfortunate, since the Frost Flowers shawl has been shooting me dirty looks and may be conspiring with Drifting Pleats to me harm. My usual "I don't knit wool in the summer" excuse hasn't been working since it hasn't been particularly hot. Oh well. At least the purple is pretty!

*SSS = Second Sleeve Syndrome.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

You Got Questions

I got answers. Ok, two questions.

Leek Seed Pod2

Barb asked what kind of seed pod this is. It is a leek, I stuck a few in my flower garden late last summer for lack of a better place. They didn't really do anything and, because I am lazy, I left them there. This spring they sort of woke up and started growing. I think this might actually be a flower bud, rather than a seed pod; I'm going to leave them to see what happens.

Sharon asked what I am reading now. First, I finished The Great Gatsby. I have to say, if you haven't read it since high school, you really must read it again. It's place in the American Literature Canon (whatever that may be) is well deserved. Fitzgerald's story of the soured American dream isn't hard, but it is complex, sad, and ultimately tragic. I only remembered a little of the book, and I don't remember disliking it as a teenager (the teacher who assigned it was very good at conveying her love for particular books and for reading in general). While I don't think the book is inappropriate for teenagers, it certainly takes on a different resonance as an adult.

Now I am halfway through Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner (totally because both Sharon and Valerie have mentioned it as one of their favorite books). I had read (and loved) it a few years ago as part of a book club. It is every bit as American as Gatsby, but couldn't be more different. It is big, rich and utterly human. I don't want it to end and I imagine I will be lost when I finish.

Vibrant Colors

This week's challenge at Exposaroonie is Vibrant Colors. I have plenty of color in my life, what with the flowers, the yarn and the fabric, so I was looking for something different.

Construction Site

On Saturday, Len got a call from a tenant that the building's basement was flooding. We were in the Ann Arbor area anyway, so I went with him to check it out (it was due to an overflowing laundry tub and not a big deal). The Kellogg Eye Center is building a very large addition and the construction site is just across the street.


The site was very bright. I have to admit to a bit of Photoshop tweaking to get the photos to pop since the colors washed out in camera (levels and color balance), but I didn't feel a need to crop. I'm going to submit the top picture since it is less cluttered.

Slow Arrows

Another, less colorful, picture.

By the way, this is just down the street from where a good portion of my misspent early 20s played out. I vaguely remember writing about the house in my early blog days, but I can't find the post now. I have very fond memories of that house, but it is a parking lot now. Couldn't have happened to a better place.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Random List of Nothing

I feel like I have writer's block, but I'm not a writer, so what? Blogging block. So I'll just toss out some random things and see what sticks.

1. Len decided it might be ok if I sewed him an Hawaiian-style shirt. I find it hilarious that the man who will usually only wear solid gray, blue, green and sometimes red shirts also likes colorful, patterned Hawaiian shirts (not super-crazy, loud shirts, but patterns, teal, yellow). I took home some pictures of fabric and he chose this Amy Butler fabric. It's green, but it has flowers on it!

2. Proof that I haven't given up knitting completely:


It's a foot! I'm knitting this from the toe-up since I don't know if I have enough of the green yarn for two man sized socks. I'll tell you a secret: I don't like knitting toe-up socks. It isn't the construction, which is kind of genius. They remind me too much of feet, and even though this hasn't been on anyone's foot, I can't help but think it is kind of gross. Stupid, eh?

3. Len is pretty sure this chicken goes to the hairdresser once a week:

A Lady

4. I got these adorable Moo cards in the mail yesterday. I am completely enamored:


I saw them quite some time ago and finally gave in. Some of the pictures worked better than others, but so cute!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Exposaroonie Challenge

This week's Exposaroonie challenge was Silhouettes. This is my submission:

Birds in a Tree

I rather liked this leek seed pod as well, it is so weirdly elegant, but couldn't get it to fit into the 2:3 ratio requirement. It was just too difficult to get the pod against the sky without a lot of clutter (despite the cropping, this is still a bit cluttered).

Leek Seed Pod

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I Got Nothin'

I'm in a foul mood, mostly hormone induced. I hate being that person, but there it is. Once a month, for several days (sometimes for two weeks), I want to stay in bed, pull the covers over my head and make the world go away. It doesn't help that last Saturday was a series of traffic jams, missed opportunities, parking lot meltdowns, not to mention my car trying to hork up a lung. I'm still recovering.

How about instead of whining and complaining, I show you the best part of the day.

South Haven

I went to South Haven on Saturday to visit my mother and my sister Sarah, who was taking a quick vacation to see her parents this weekend (our mom, her dad, complicated family). It was a lovely visit and a stunning day.



There were so many people on the pier, getting a decent (interesting) picture of the lighthouse wasn't really possible, so I just took one of the graffiti.

Now I'm going home. Maybe pull the covers over my eyes.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gardening at Night*

And so it begins:

Garden 2008

Garden, version 2008. We did not manage to raise seedlings this year (except for leeks), which didn't seem to be an auspicious beginning, but things are growing now. We've had a goodly amount of rain, which is good at the start, but I hope it backs off now that most of the plants are well established.


We will have a lot of tomatoes, 36 plants in all -- Supersweet 100s, which are small cherry tomatoes and are perfect in salads and for drying and roasting; Brandywine, so I can say I have at least one heirloom tomato in my garden, Romas and First Lady (I don't know anything about these). Len and I are strange, we don't really like raw tomatoes very much. But I make and can salsa, sauce (plain), ketchup, plus canning them whole(ish).


A row and a half of green, purple and yellow beans. They freeze really well. Obviously we will continue to grow our usual crop of weeds. They don't freeze well, but insist on showing up anyway.


Jalapenos and something called cherry peppers (which look pretty), for the salsa and pickling (honeyed pickled hot peppers are to die for!) No red bell peppers this year, they are much too frustrating.


Cucumbers for pickles (my sister, a niece and a friend of ours like my kosher dills, I don't know why, I think they're weird) and for dill and sweet relish.

And finally:

Broccoli & Brussels Sprouts

Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts.

Whew. It will be a labor intensive summer and fall. I'm glad I have the knitting retreat** in the middle of canning, I'll need to get away.

*I'm having an REM moment. I have a whole discourse on REM but I'll spare you the pain. Gardening at Night is from Dead Letter Office, a compilation of b-sides and outtakes (including an extremely drunken version of "King of the Road" which cracks me up).

**Sharon, I meant to say earlier, the retreat is in Silver Falls State Park, which is south and a little east of Portland. I'm so excited I could spit! (what a stupid expression...)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Frog and Toad Forever

Pool Frog



I have sewn quite a number of things since my sewing machine took me hostage and I was hoping to post a full fashion show for you, but the pictures I took yesterday afternoon were beyond awful. Honestly, I need a dress form* simply for picture taking purposes. So the semi-decent pictures I took last week will have to do.

*I found some instructions for making a duct tape dress form. For some reason, Len is leery of wrapping me in tape. I ask you, who wouldn't jump at the chance to wrap their beloved in duct tape? I'm totally into it, he thinks I've lost my mind.

First, a blouse desperately in need of an iron:

Plain vanilla linen blouse. But I have 2.5 words for you: set-in sleeves (-in counts as half a word).

Nice, eh? The instructions were so bizarre (gather? are you kidding?), but I think it helped that I've set in sleeves in knitting, I understood the concept, even if I've never done it well.

I got the buttons a very long time ago. They add a little oomph to what is otherwise a very plain blouse.

Amy Butler's Lotus Cami. In Michael Miller Ginger Blossom Bouquet (and Vintage Dots trim).

The underarm is too tight. I suspected as much, but now that I am spending a day in it, I know it is true. I will look at the construction tonight and see if I can figure out how to deal with it, since it is very uncomfortable. Otherwise the fit is perfect, and flattering.

I got these buttons at the same time as the ones I used for the previous blouse.

By the way, my crappy sewing machine does not like to make buttonholes. I make test runs on scrap fabric, which go fine, but when it comes to the real deal, it is all swearing, gnashing of teeth and chewed up fabric. Not fun at all. Until the machine and I have a parting of ways, I think I will go with a less automatic version.

Friday, June 06, 2008




Now to behead them all!

Thursday, June 05, 2008


So, I hear the Detroit Red Wings won some sort of cup or something?

"Detroit, Detroit
Got a hell of a hockey team"
--Paul Simon

That was for Stef and Keith, since I don't know from hockey, but it is also a nice moment for Detroit, which hasn't had many nice moments lately (yeah, Kwame, I'm lookin' at you!)

And, I got an e-mail from my aunt Penny. Some time ago, she had mentioned a knitting retreat in Oregon (where she lives) which she attended last year with my aunt Jeannette. She thought I might like to come this year and put me on the waiting list and early this week she got confirmation that I am in! So I get to go to Oregon, hang out with a bunch of knitters in a gorgeous place, and, most importantly, spend quality time with my aunts, who I adore and don't get to see enough of (Penny lives in Corvallis, Jeannette in Idaho). Unfortunately, this is in mid-September, which is right in the middle of canning season, so I can't stay as long as I would like, but it will be very nice to get away.

And. One more. My oldest nephew, Darian, graduated from high school on Tuesday, which is one thing, but he had a whole bunch of marks next to his name standing for honors like Summa Cum Laude, National Honor Society, and Senior Class Vice President.

Here he is with two of his proud sisters (my nieces, Imani, in yellow, and Cierra, in blue). Darian will be attending the University of Michigan in the Fall (chemical engineering). His early childhood was kind of crazy -- he was adopted at a year old by Kathy and Edgar in a very open adoption -- things could have gone very badly for him, and it is a great tribute to him, Kathy, Edgar and my sister that he is such a terrific young man. We are all so very proud of him!