Happy December!

My Holiday Doodle cowl is almost done! It’s so wide and thick, I’ve decided one loop is enough. Just a few more segments to knit!

For Thanksgiving, Bob and I and my two oldest kids spent the weekend in Pittsburgh seeing all the zombie sites: Evans City Cemetery, Monroeville Mall, and the Living Dead Museum. We also rode the Duquesne Incline, went thrifting, and went shopping at McWalker Yarns! I thought it was funny the yarn shop had “walker” in the name. I got to experience a Bavarian Christkindlemart complete with wooden stalls. We ended the trip with a fabulous dinner at Apteka — an Eastern European vegan restaurant. Their borscht is amazing!

I’m already listening to holiday music and watching Christmas movies and shows. Here’s my watch list so far:

  • Gilmore Girls holiday episodes
  • Great British Baking Show holiday episodes
  • Great American Baking Show holiday edition
  • A Christmas Story Christmas movie (a worthy follow up to the original)

It’s almost Krampusnacht! You know what that means, right? A viewing of Rare Exports, my favorite Christmas movie ever –possibly my favorite movie ever — and our “drinking” game where we eat gingerbread cookies every time a character takes a bite of gingerbread. This year I get to use my Krampus cookie cutters that Freya gave me for Christmas last year.

In other news, I ran the numbers on my little business, and I lost money this year. I promised myself if I had a loss at the end of the year, I would close up shop. So I did. I’m sad, but I tried, and I did my best.

Sunday Scones

I continue to bake with gluten-free sourdough starter. I am now baking scones following this recipe. Today I added chopped fresh cranberries and grated orange peel. They came out a little softer, but still delicious.

I am doing well with pizza dough and naan flat bread. My loaves were not coming out well, so Bob has taken over baking the bread. He trained me, though, so once I get the hang of his yeast blooming sorcery I will start baking loaves again and share the recipe.

I have a crackpot theory that US biscuits are based on UK scones, but after the American Revolution we decided to rename English things to make them our own. Watching Great British Bake Off, I have learned that in the UK they have biscuits (cookies) and cookies (also cookies). I’m not sure what the difference is, since all our cookies are called cookies here. Their pudding is any kind of dessert dish, and our pudding is a specific kind of dessert dish. Cake is cake, though. And pie is pie. I suppose it could be a change in language in the UK after the colonial period, like the British starting to pronouncing their H at the beginning of herb in the 19th century. I’ll do some research. (I did, and found this article online.)

I have a cold today so I’m going to curl up in front of the fire and rest.

Friday Finally Finished: Ghost Knitter’s Shawl

I finally finished it! Pattern is Ghost Knitter’s Shawl by Ambah O’Brien. Yarn is Pacific Northwest Purls Bump in the Night and Fluorescent Green, Seattle base. It’s sparkly!

And yes, the green glows under black light.

I had some trouble with the lace section, which surprised me as I’m usually pretty good with repetitive lace patterns. I made a few mistakes, some I fixed and some I fudged. You can’t tell unless you look closely. But overall, I’m pleased, and I look forward to wearing it next October. I think I may knit another in a gradient one day. I hope I learned enough from my mistakes not to repeat them!

Beauty… 🎃

Is in the eye of the beholder.

This little pumpkin was made by a young woman at the Ohio Craft Museum on Saturday. She wasn’t happy with the shape or the lines that formed, so I asked if she wanted to make a new one. She was much happier with the second one, and although I suggested she take both, she left this little guy behind. I thought the line made a great mouth and gave him two little eyes. He inspired some of the kids to put features on theirs. I brought him home and gave him to Bob. I think he has a lot of character.

I had a great time teaching at the event. One little boy whispered to his mom, “I can’t believe I made this!” I haven’t led a workshop in a long time, and I’d forgotten how rewarding it is.

Thorsday Three: Dread Full Media (in the Best Way)

Book: The Dark Queens

My sister recommended this, and it hasn’t disappointed. I’m near the end and want these proto-Machiavellians to repent, especially Fredegund. Absolutely horrible, but fascinating. It’s nonfiction, but written in a fun and engaging way. I was surprised how many Frankish documents from the sixth century survive, which are the sources for this epic work.

Film: She Will

I have loved Alice Krige since Ghost Story and will watch her in anything. Even so, I found this film bewitching — a fanciful tale superbly done, dark, mysterious, and cathartic. And how refreshing to see a wonderful actress aging naturally and playing a choice role. I felt very satisfied.

Podcast: English Heritage Episode 184, Bram Stoker’s Dracula

I don’t normally listen to this podcast, but the topic of this episode piqued my interest. It includes a history of the locations where the novel is set, a bit about the origin of the work, as well as a brief history of vampires and revenants in general. I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of the first nonfiction book I read about vampires in my teens, which was essentially coverage of 17th and 18th century court cases. I couldn’t find this episode on their website, so linked to a public service where you can listen in a browser. However, you can find this on Apple, Spotify, et al.

Side note: have you watched Dracula on Netflix? Claes Bang and Dolly Wells are delicious! The dialogue is smart and funny.

Finished Objects Coming Soon to a Craft Blog Near You

I’ve primarily been focusing on knitting my Peaceful Lodge Sweater. It’s so soft and it’s easy knitting. I would love to finish this soon so I can wear it all winter.

I’ve also reached the skull lace on Ghost Knitter’s Shawl. I had to rip back half of the first row because the count didn’t match the pattern, although the stitch count is correct on the row. I must have made a mistake. The lace looks pretty straight forward, so I’m hoping once I get started, I can finish it by the end of the week. I would hate to have another unfinished Halloween project to add to next year’s stack. I’m starting to feel overwhelmed by the number of knitting projects I have going.

I need to start on my Audrey Trousers in the black cotton twill. (I’m not saying pants anymore, for my friends in the UK.) If I could sew these this week, I could wear them with my Halloween Number One Shirt, which was the plan all along. Can I finish these in a week? Doubtful, but I will might try.

I also need to sew project bags from the cotton canvas dyed with black walnut leaves and iron mordant. I’ll be making a sweater sized bag and a shawl sized bag to list in the shop.

What Else is Going On?

I’ve started bullet journaling in earnest. It’s helping me stay organized and I can design it to work with my brain.

This Saturday, I’ll be volunteering with the Central Ohio Weaving and Fiber Arts Guild at the Ohio Craft Museum, leading a make and take activity: a tiny wet-felted pumpkin! This is my sample. I need to organize the materials today so I won’t be stressed about it during the week.

As you may have noticed, I’m not blogging (or crafting) as much. I’ve taken on two part-time, remote jobs. One is temporary, but it will help us make ends meet and get caught up on bills. Working will also impact how much time I have to concentrate on my own business and personal makes. (Survival must come first. Story of my life!) I’m lucky I could take time off to rest and reset, and figure out my GI health. And I’m grateful to be working. The job hunt was deflating.

I’m still sorting out how to create a sustainable routine for myself. It will take practice. And it will mean letting some things go. What about you? Are you thinking of letting some things go? Fall is a great time for that.

There and Back Again: Lake Michigan Adventure

Bob and I spent last week in Southwest Michigan celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. We hiked, walked along beaches and piers, and ate delicious food. Bob even swam for a (very cold) second.

Here are my Beachcombing Slacks in action. They were perfect for long walks down Weko Beach. Someone in downtown St. Joe complimented me on them. It always makes me happy to have my making skills admired.

This year we hiked Warren Dunes, Chikaming Township Park and Preserve, and Warren Woods State Park. Warren Woods includes a primeval forest. The beeches were ginormous!

I didn’t take very many photos, but here’s a gallery of selfies which I imposed upon Bob as often as possible.

We missed Flick or Treat this year, so instead we watched The Last Drive In Nosferatu double feature from last season. (We saved it for vacation.)

I’m so grateful they showed the FW Murnau silent version with correct timing and original score. The first time I watched it — late 1980s early 1990s I guess — I had checked it out at The Ken Cinema in San Diego. The Ken was a wonderful theater with attached video rental store specializing in independent and foreign film. As an art student at UCSD, going to The Ken was a type of pilgrimage. Unfortunately, the Nosferatu version available at the time was not complete. It was also hilariously timed too fast, and the score was… ragtime? Not spooky, anyway. I’m glad I finally got to view this as intended, although Herzog’s Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht is my favorite. I also love Shadow of the Vampire, which I kept thinking about while watching Murnau’s Nosferatu. They are closely intertwined. I’ve heard Robert Eggars is planning a remake with Bill Skarsgard in the lead role. I can’t wait for the release!

I found a new favorite radio station during this trip: Radio Harbor Country. (They have an app!) We also bowled again at Pete’s Cider Social, ate burgers at The Buck, enjoyed pizza at Silver Beach Pizza, breakfasted at The Mason Jar, and dined at Blackbird Waterhouse for our anniversary dinner. We’re lucky there are so many gluten-free options in the area. We also picked up gluten-free treats from Sweet Bees Bakery, like last time.

I’m mostly posting links for future reference. You would be surprised how many times we looked up our last trip to Michigan on my blog!

Oh! I picked up a souvenir skein called “Michigan October” from The Sandpiper Bridgman.

We really love this area of Michigan. It’s beautiful, waterfront, with plenty for us to do, and it’s only a 6 hour drive from home. Next time, I think we are both interested in visiting the upper peninsula!