early november projects

mister winter circles

In two years, I feel like I have become a fairly accomplished crocheter. Complicated projects don’t scare me. I can read my stitches inside-out and upside-down. Learning to knit, for me, is completely different.

For a long time, I was too scared to try, especially intimidated by holding tools in both hands. Plus yarn. The idea still frightens the heck out of me until I actually start moving the yarn around with the tips. I’m not even remotely good at it yet. I can cast on, knit, purl, and awkwardly bind off. If I make even one mistake, I’m totally done and have to frog the whole thing and so I’ve only made swatches thus far. My next goal is to learn to read the knit, pick up a lost stitch, and unravel to a set point.

I am totally a continental knitter, sometimes called left-handed knitting or picking (as opposed to throwing). I think that it’s because I hold the fiber in my left hand when crocheting. If I had switched my yarn-holding hand when attempting to knit, it would have been just one more thing to think about while learning. And, learning I am… now and for quite some time in my future.

I have nearly enough motifs to begin crocheting together Mister Winter, which is Solveig Grimstad’s popular pattern, Flowers in the Snow. I made a mini version of this for my, ahem, cat last year. I really loved the design and decided to make a larger version for my sofa, in colors that remind me of winter in Sweden. I’m pretty firmly set on going with 192 squares. One of my favorite things about this design is that you don’t sew it together. The motifs are crocheted to one another. That said, I’m entirely ready to finish this puppy and get started on something new.

Like, maybe, knitting more than a swatch.

 

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hillside school

Sometimes when I go for a hike, I forget my camera. Despite the initial disappointment, it’s okay. The experience will be just as sweet if I don’t document it, perhaps even sweeter as I’ll only have my memories. I feel as if these months where I haven’t been keeping much of an online journal are like those hikes without photos. I still have a good time and live a full life; I just don’t have a tangible way to share it with others.

A lot in my life has changed, but the transitions have been smooth. My uncle passed away in early July. He lived with my grandma and, therefore, tended to her well-being on a regular basis. She is 89 and now lives on her own for the first time in her life. (She was one of 11 children.) I provide her primary care, visiting morning and evening for a total of three or four hours daily. In June, I never would have thought that I could carve 25 hours out of my week, much less do it while increasing productivity in other areas as well. It is quite unfathomable, yet I’m doing it. I think that it just goes to show that we are capable of so much more than we realize, so it’s good to keep challenging one’s self frequently.

I think that I’ll make a little list of what has been going on in my world this summer:

  • Earlier this year, at the age of 20, my daughter finally received her Asperger’s/Autism diagnosis. We’ve long known that this was the case but, like with my own health issues, it was difficult to get someone to listen. This is quite validating and she can now receive services that were unavailable to her before this.
  • I pretty much abandoned my garden around the end of June. Like much of the US, Wisconsin was stricken with a severe drought and extreme temperatures this summer. The month of July was absolutely unbearable. I am partial to cold weather as it is, so the heat really bore away at my whole being. In August, the heat broke and we received a fair amount of rain. The strange weather of March through July has affected many harvests in Wisconsin, not the least of which include corn, apples, and grapes. Soon I will pull that which I let go wild. I may plant some fall crops and I might yet hoop a few beds. I’m looking at you, leeks.
  • Work has again slowed on the Mister Winter afghan. I crochet circles here and there, but to get my project-completed satisfaction on a regular basis, I have been squeezing in smaller projects. I made three plant hangers, a gazillion coasters, and various bits not quite worthy of an individual mention.
  • While I did whip up one medium-sized basket because I was itching to do some weaving, I otherwise haven’t done much in that area. I’m planning to do a few Sauk Indian-inspired baskets for the local historical society, which is pretty exciting and interesting to me. I believe that I’m going to make a birch bark bucket and a sweetgrass basket. We’ll see…
  • So many people have cut back on taking photos with their camera and are instead doing phone photos. I am guilty of this as well, yet I’m trying to change that a bit. In the meantime, I can be found on Instagram @sonotcool. One of my favorites there is @heiastrid. Her life is so interesting.
  • I have been hiking quite a bit again. It hasn’t been lengthy or strenuous, but easy and beautiful. We hit a lot of Wisconsin’s State Natural Areas. Baxter’s Hollow is a current favorite. We’re out there at least once a week. The photos from the Stones Pocket Road post were taken on the way into that site. That reminds me… I need to purchase Baxter’s Hollow Bird Food this week. Their site is gorgeous and has bird song from its location playing in the background.
  • I go to the local historical society about twice a week to archive glass-plate negatives. Although we started in March, we’re only halfway through the collection at this time. Each scan is like opening a birthday present. Hundreds and hundreds of birthday presents. One of them included the school above, Hillside School on Prairie Road near Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin.

finished things

spring woods shawl

In late May and early June, I crocheted a bit.

My shawl-turned-scarf turned into a shawl after all. Post blocking, it measures 76” x 10”. I made the Autumn Around cowl for my friend. I also blocked this and both pieces bloomed nicely as they dried.

I have had an urge to make plant hangers. I did a simple 10-knot one (not pictured), but wanted something less simple that wasn’t full-on macrame. I crocheted one, which turned out extremely small, yet also very cute. I crocheted one more (also, not pictured), but haven’t finished off the strings.

autumn around cowl

yarn feeder

spring woods in progress

spring woods scarf

This weekend, I firmly decided to change the status of my shawl in progress to that of a scarf in progress. I had to be realistic about the fact that I don’t wear sleeveless clothing, and that’s what would have been most appropriate with this design as a shawl. So, I’m hustling to finish my Spring Woods scarf before the season ends.

more, lately

 rainbow afghan + sweet dreams pillow

This spring is so different from any that I’ve known for the past 20-plus years.

I haven’t been working in the garden at all, save for one day in March, when it was technically winter but felt like summer. I’m glad that I have a good many perennials, be it herbs or flowers or asparagus and rhubarb, to provide sustenance and beauty during this downtime. My tomato plugs arrive late next week. I have ordered many of the varieties from last year, as well as a few new-to-me heirlooms. Otherwise, I haven’t planted a thing and it sort of haunts me. I shall be sure to toss some seeds in the soil while establishing the tomato plants.

I haven’t completed (or started) too many projects around here. I made a beach tote. I like it better for linens.

The shawl is coming along slowly. I’m at over 60 motifs and I’m thinking that I might need 150 or so. I try not to think about that and just focus on one stitch at a time, as I did with the rainbow granny stripe afghan that I finished last spring. I finally took a somewhat proper photo of it, and I also snapped it with a granny stripe pillow that I fashioned this winter.

I hope to be back on track with gardening and basket weaving and crocheting and cooking and other household projects soon. There won’t be a lot of quantity with regards to activity, so I will be, as always, focusing on the quality.

totally square beach tote

lately, around here

bike basket form

weaving in various stages

garlic in the 'hood

prepping for seeds

seed-prepping manager, kin

for rent

lately, around here

 

 

today

spring woods

mother river antler basket detail

mother river antler basket

at home in february

day 17 :: last FO used

day 16 :: texture

day 13 :: inspiration indoors

day 15 :: a new skill

giddy up

day nine :: your hands

Whew. I got back on my horse with the picture project, A Month of Craft Photos. I’m almost caught up again. It is weird how day eight with the word prompt “challenging” proved, indeed, to be quite a challenge. Just a few more snaps… tomorrow.

It has been snowing and it’s so lovely outside. The sky and the ground have been the same color most of the day. Additionally, and sweetest, I have not a place in the world to go except for my favorite chair with its just-right foot stool. My husband is out of town for the week, and when that happens, on this first night I make a super-quick supper for myself so that I can crochet and watch something fluffy on television, with little action and no loud sounds.

experiments in crocheted ric rac

multicolor crocheted ric rac

Quite some time back I discovered a ric rac pattern on Ravelry and, last week, I decided to try it out on some varied fibers. I started with leftover pastels (DK yarn, F hook) from the rainbow granny stitch afghan and, simultaneously, I began another roll from a cheap 3-ply (C hook) that I bought solely because of its color when I saw it on vacation last summer. (Of note: The pattern was created by Kate Ulman and can be found on her blog.)

Since it would be difficult to trim the ric rac for edging purposes, it’s best off to know what size you need ahead of time. I hadn’t really planned to use it as a notion, opting instead to maybe hang them like banners or garlands, so I am crocheting very long rolls of it.

The multicolor pastel is 16+yards and the baby blue is 76 inches.

baby blue crocheted ric rac