All posts by Mary Anne Mohanraj

Sweater!

Finished blocking the first sweater-type thing I’ve made for myself. I’d hesitated for a long time, because it seemed like shaping would be trickier than sweaters for kids, and it was a big time commitment for something that might not come out.

Results — mixed, I think. This one is a learning experience. I love the yarn (Lana Riga, a gift from my sister Mir Mo Ga) to pieces — it’s super-soft to work with, and striped up beautifully. It took just over three skeins to make this.

The pattern I chose is fine through the body and fits well, but the straps on the top feel a little narrower than I’d want — I sort of wish it had cap sleeves instead.

That’s minor, though — a bigger issue is the flare at the bottom. It’s more dramatic than I realized, almost like a peplum. If I could do it again, I’d do those increases in a more graduated way, I think (instead of one increase row followed by one knit row, I’d do one increase row followed by two or three knit rows).

Now, here’s the interesting part. I don’t really want to add another layer under this, but I do want sleeves, I think. So I’m contemplating taking an inexpensive long-sleeve t-shirt, cutting off the sleeves, and sewing them to the armholes of this. That should work, right? (And I can hopefully frugally turn what remains of the t-shirt into a tank?) I’d love to have three-quarter sleeves added to this.

That’s the plan, when I next have a little time to sew. I’m not sure which shirt I’ll use — I have one in rose pink, and another in a striped cream-white. Will try them both, see how they look.

(Note: Ravelry project notes say I started this 2.5 years ago, oof.)

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/…/lib…/rosas-sleeveless-cardi–jumper

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Cancer log 190: Cast

Well, that was interesting. Not sure what I’m feeling right now, to be honest. A little sad, I think. But satisfied that I agreed to be part of this.

Plastercasting courtesy Elizabeth Vandermolen, an art therapist with Loyola. Part of an Oak Park Art League breast cancer project — usually the plaster cast would then go to an artist, but I’m going to be doing my own. We’ll see how it goes. The show will be October 13th at OPAL, and I think all are welcome? I’ll find out more and post info.

 

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Supplemental Programming

The Garden Club is experimenting with adding some weekend programming to our calendar — hope you can join us:

Sun October 1, 1:30 – 3:00, Oak Park Main Library, Community Engagement Space: “Planting Bulbs for Winter and Spring: paperwhites and amaryllis, spring ephemerals, daffodils and tulips and more.”

Sat February 17, 10 – 11:30, Oak Park Main Library, Small Meeting Room: “Seed starting for vegetable gardens.”

Sun April 22, 3 – 4:30 p.m., Oak Park Main Library, Veterans Room: “Dahlias! Planning dahlias for late autumn blooms.”

Light refreshments will be served; all are welcome.

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Pie

The children and I made Kevin some birthday pumpkin pie.

But then we had to wait for Kevin to come home from work, which was a little tough for Anand — apparently the pie smelled too good to resist. When it was discovered that Anand had grabbed himself a handful of pie, I may have scolded him a bit.

I came downstairs later to find that Kavi had written an apology note: “Dear Daddy, I apologize for the bite in your birthday pie. Anand couldn’t help himself, so he took a bite. By signing this, he agrees that he made a bad decision, and will resist next time. Signature: Anand”

In case it wasn’t clear enough, he drew an explanatory illustration:

Grabbing a handful of pie = bad.
Leaving the pie alone = good.

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Mostly writerly update

Finished my Wild Cards story draft and sent it off to George, woot. We’ll see if he likes it. Sometimes he takes my stories basically as is, sometimes he suggests minor changes, sometimes he suggests major surgery. It’s all good.

Somehow writing the story was exhausting — it was 9000 words, but I only managed 2-3K words a day over the past four days, and that was still very tiring. When did brain work become so draining for me? Either I’m getting older or it’s getting harder. Maybe both.

Signed a contract today for a little 1000-word XPrize story I wrote last week; they said they loved it, which was pleasing. It wasn’t so easy writing something optimistic about the future of housing, while keeping it at 1000 words. I need more words, please.

Tues / Wed / Thurs will be teaching + course prep + grading + community events; if I have a few hours to spare, I’m planning to spend it on editing the cookbook. Really want to finish that book and send it off to the publisher this month. Friday I’ve blocked out for a writing day (more words!) — hopefully progress on the novel, but if that doesn’t go well, I’d at least like to finish up some story revisions and get those in the digital mail.

I talked to the designer for Perennial today, and he’s hoping to have the interior design done this week; it’ll be great to check that book off entirely. I think it’ll make a nice little gift book for cancer folks, as well as just a nice little romance. I wrote a romance; that still strikes me as sort of surprising.

(Note that assistant Chris continues v. helpful — he spent about two-thirds of his time on house and garden today, also errands to the UPS store and SLF flyer posting / distribution. I spent pretty much the whole day on actual writing / teaching work as a result; couldn’t have done so otherwise. If I continue this productive when he’s around, then I think I’ll be earning enough to justify his two days / week pay without too much trouble.)

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Bread

Kevin has been on a bread-making kick (possibly related to the spiffy bread box I got him for his birthday) so every morning lately I’ve been waking up to a new loaf of bread. Today’s bread has quite the crisp and chewy crust, which does make me feel a little bit like I’m battling my breakfast, as I tear off pieces forcefully with my teeth.

But it’s delicious — slathered with smoked whitefish spread for breakfast, and I’m planning on an open face roast beef and seeni sambol sandwich for lunch. (Would cheddar be a good addition to that? Not sure.)

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Autumn Reynard

Whoa. I think I’ve made my first color work knitting pattern. Cool. Lots of long floats, sorry, but it actually looks like what I wanted it to look like. Weird.

Two sides of a fingerless gauntlet. If anyone uses this pattern, I’d love to see the result! I’m knitting it myself, but I’m slow, so it may take me a while.

(please use under a Creative Commons non-commercial attribution license)

I still like the colors I picked for it, but I admit, they look a little more Wonder Woman / Hogwarts than I anticipated, somehow.

Spring is my favorite season still, but autumn does have its charms.

This yarn is Lana Riga, a gift from my sister — finally getting back to this project after a long time in hiatus. First sweater-type thing I’ve made for myself; we’ll see how the sizing works! Ravelry tells me I started it in April 2015, when I’m pretty sure I was a size bigger than I am now. But I may have radically misestimated the size anyway….

Question — I see people saying that when you do a top-down sweater, you can check the sizing as you go. But the needles are in the way. Do you transfer stitches to waste yarn? Is there an easy way to do that? Feeling dense that this isn’t obvious to me.

Have now ducked out and picked up cheap over-door mirror (thanks, BB&B) for basement, which will hopefully make it easier for me to tailor clothes. I have a fair number of pieces from larger-size days, and I still love them, but they’re not nice enough to be worth paying a tailor to size them down, not when I have a perfectly good sewing machine and the ability to sew a straight seam — but I do wish Kavi was just a little older, so I could have her pin me appropriately. Pinning self = tricky.

(This is apparently my super-domestic weekend — I have been running a bit ragged with start of school, etc. writing and work stuff, and am feeling a strong need to immerse myself in space opera tv and textiles. Hopefully will be back to writing by tomorrow — we’ll see.)

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Autumn

It’s a little chilly to work on the porch this morning, but I’m insulated with my mug of tea (thanks for the pretty mug, Jarmila!), my snuggly puppy, a warm blanket, and my new elephant pj’s (thanks, Angeline!) — okay, the pj’s aren’t actually particularly warm, but they’re cheery, which is just as good. It’s been a bit of a frenetic run-up to the start of semester, but I knit for a little bit last night, and crocheted a little bit this morning, and I’m starting to feel relaxed again. Need to settle into a more reasonable pace for the semester, or I’ll exhaust myself — it’s a marathon, not a sprint! Prescribing myself 30 minutes of tv + knitting / crochet daily.

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2nd grade

Anand’s first three days of school, rated:
 
4 out of 10 (which he said was still fine)
5 out of 10
8 out of 10!
 
This year is going SO much better than last year, I can’t tell you. I don’t know how much of it are the school’s better accommodations for his needs (8 out of 10 day was because he finally got his scheduled motor break; they weren’t quite ready to do those in the chaos of the first days), and how much is him aging and maturing and just being more developmentally ready to cope with the expectations of school.
 
Regardless, delighted. Happy boy goes off to school, happy boy returns. Fingers crossed it continues.
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Queen of Deception

Finished the cookbook recipes today — just need to do an editing pass and then I can hand it off. Launched my last issue of Jaggery today as editor-in-chief and handed the magazine off.

I told Kevin that this was going to be a really busy week, and he said that he thought last week was supposed to be the last really busy week.

I know, sweetie, I know, I am full of lies about when I will stop being busy, I am the Queen of Deception, but I swear to you, I am *trying* to put things down.

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