Wednesday, June 19, 2019


The days do fly by. When I look out the window over my desk, I am sheltered by birch leaves. One morning I watched shades of green change as sun broke through the clouds. I haven't had a green sweater for quite some time. I've been looking for just the right shade of raspberry but maybe green would be a good choice for a winter sweater. It is something to think about.

In the meantime, I've been sewing. I've made many quilts but not sewed other things recently so these projects were fun. Some time ago, Kat linked to a pattern for a pillowcase dress for little girls. It was so cute and simple I made one for Norah. I also used several tutorials to sew two lined project bags. (Missouri Star Quilting Co. and Hue Loco and Darvenlee Design Studio ) Naturally I learned some things about sewing bags. The first bag is almost too small as I sewed wider seam allowances than specified. The second one is a little larger than I intended but I will use it for sweater projects. Next go around, I'll aim for a bag size in between. Bigger bags may need some kind of handle. Some makers sew them into a side seam. I will also take the zipper out of the package ahead of time to see if the folds (from being in the package) can be smoothed out. After ripping out one zipper, I managed to install it with fabric tabs on the ends. I also prefer medium weight interfacing to the fusible fleece used in the bigger bag. Makers are generous to post free patterns and tutorials and zippered pouch bag tutorials abound. Since these were trial and error projects, I used fabric I had on hand. I will say, prices charged by independent business women on Etsy are quite reasonable. The projects take materials, time, and occasional ripping.

In the evenings, I am hand stitching the binding to Norah's Christmas Quilt and knitting on the sampler scarf. This scarf is a process knit and turning out to be quite fun. Due to the variety of stitches, it may have a wavy edge. I decided not to fret about that and just enjoy the yarn and the knitting.

I listened to Transcription, yet another story about World War Two. Kate Atkinson is a good writer. This latest book provides a voice for a young woman doing war work in London and examines the tangled world of political viewpoints. Toni Morrison's new book of essays, The Source of Self-Regard arrived in my library audio requests. After listening to the first three, I realize these pieces are deep and thoughtful. I will better understand them if I read a print version so I set the audio aside.  In one of the first pieces, she comments on globalization and the movement of people around the world. She offers a very interesting perspective. I have just begun reading Power and Possibility: Essays, Reviews, and Interviews by Elizabeth Alexander. I heard Alexander interviewed on the podcast, "On Being" and find her another thoughtful voice. All these writers offer food for thought.

I love the way this lavender blooms with the two small leaves and blossoms half way down the stalk. I don't know why the plant does this but I find it charming.

Have a good week. Click on the link to Kat and the Unravelers for more reading, making, and knitting.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

This and That

Here we are almost smack in the middle of these lovely June days. My tomato patch could use more heat but all in good time. Today is bright, breezy, and cool - perfect walking weather. Sunday, in honor of Father's Day, I plan to bake my husband one of his favorite desserts, lemon bars. My Dad was very fond of good pastry. He grew up in a rural family and community of "from scratch pastry makers." Most were farm wives with plenty of eggs, butter, and lard on hand. When he drove into Omaha for his cardiology appointment, he often stopped on the way out of town to pick up several caramel pecan sticky buns from a favorite bakery/restaurant. He also loved Mom's pies with flaky homemade crust. All the shortening in the pastries didn't keep him from living into his early 80's. I'm not sure what to glean from this memory except that life is to be enjoyed and a little pastry now and then won't hurt. A good cardiologist isn't a bad idea either.

My knitting is treating me well this week. I finished Norah's little swirly hat. Looking at this photo, I notice the ribbing of the hat and sweater don't match but she isn't going to care. Who is going to notice that on a cute toddler? The hat pattern was fun to knit, a change from the typical stocking hat. I also cast on a sweater. Sometime last fall or winter I bought the yarn for a sweater I didn't knit. Although I continue to swatch, gauge is a mystery to me. This pattern calls for DK yarn but I am very close to the suggested gauge with a fingering weight yarn.  The lace inset at the neck is fun and easy to knit. So far so good.

I abandoned the audio version of The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss. The narrators, Weiss and another woman, were too dramatic with the different voices. The topic is interesting to me so I may read the print version. A narrator can make or break an audio book. I've gone on to Transcription by Kate Atkinson. The story isn't as compelling as Life after Life but Atkinson is a good writer and the narrator's interpretation is pleasing so I am enjoying the story. I read A Place in the Woods by Helen Hoover. Whew! What a hard life they lived after they first moved to the shore of Lake Superior. Establishing livable space was not for the faint of heart. Hoover reminds me of something a friend who served in the Peace Corps once said, "A simple life isn't easier." I am a fan of running water and electricity. Hoover's story reminds me not to take them for granted. I did love the descriptions of flora and fauna in the North Woods. Hoover's writing paired with her husband's pen and ink drawings is a treat. I'm almost finished with Seeds. The book is chock full of interesting information about seeds but one I read mostly during the day and not before bed. Reading during the day feels like a guilty pleasure akin to eating a favorite pastry. Maybe I should try it more often. Do you read during the day? 

Click over to Kat and the Unravelers for inspiration. Enjoy this Father's Day weekend.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Hello June

Hello June - I've missed your balmy sunshine, long evenings, and warm days. I haven't missed the weeds that come with abundant rain. Since today promises to be dry I hope to weed the perennial flowers along the fence. Saturday I replanted cucumber and zinnia seeds that were either washed away or eaten by the birds. As I walk, I'm enjoying the splashes of color from flowers in the neighborhood. They reflect the gardener's personality and tell me a little about my neighbors. My pots are planted with a lick and a promise and what is economical from the nursery. When it rains, I'll sew but that is a post for another day. I have supplies for two small projects.

The two little sweaters are finished and ready for delivery. The rose cardigan is a baby shower gift for later this month. I sewed two wee white buttons on the yoke after this photograph. The bottom rows that flipped up while I was knitting blocked out nicely. Blocking is knitting magic. I will deliver Norah's sweater in person later this month and I can't wait. The free Flax patterns, one in worsted weight and the other in fingering, make nice pullovers. The patterns are sized from infant through adult.

Since finishing these sweaters, I've had a bit of a cast on party. I made one hat for a charity donation and am swatching for a sweater. Last knit I cast on a hat to match Norah's sweater. Sunday I cast on and unraveled the beginning of a lace scarf. Since I had one skein I decided to use it for lace scarf. I meant to choose a project from a knitting book on my shelf but instead flipped through the Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary (from my shelf!) and chose a few stitch patterns to try. A lace leaf pattern got lost in the tonal variation of the darker color so I began again with the Wave Crest stitch. I'll knit until I get bored, then add garter stitch rows and perhaps pick a different pattern. I am in the mood for casual summer knitting. The yarn is lovely and reminds me of the Connecticut trip when it was purchased.

I am reading the book The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernals, Pulses, and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History by Thor Hanson. The science of seeds is interesting but the historical significance of different varieties is fascinating. The author mentions in the preface he has kept scientific jargon to a minimum. Well maybe. I do appreciate the glossary of terms for reference as I am not a botanist. In contrast and because none of my holds had come in from Overdrive, I listened to an unabridged version of Mary Poppins. I had never read the entire story and found it full of lively nonsense and fun.

I am linking with Kat and the Unravelers and then off to do battle with the weeds before they triumph over the flowers and the rhubarb. Have a good week.