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  • FO: hemlock tee

    I've been enjoying following Me Made May again this year, but with how busy it's been in my house - prepping for an international move, then a parental visit - trying to actively take part really hasn't been practical. There definitely haven't been many opportunities to actually create new items of clothing. I decided to set aside an afternoon while my parents were here, though, to sit down and sew something I've been meaning to sew for months: the Hemlock Tee. It's a free pattern from Grainline Studio, designed for knits. Ever since Me Made May rekindled my desire to sew last year, I've wanted to tackle knits.

    When I was in high school I did a lot of sewing, but I was never a technical sewer - I was very DIY make-it-up-as-I-go-along about it all. I think I wrote about this last year, but it's been so interesting to return to sewing after reaching such a professional level with my knitting. My knitting skills are pretty polished at this point and I know so much about technique, fit, and designing - so to come back to sewing means realizing I know next to nothing about the technical aspects of sewing garments. I was pretty sloppy in high school and I really didn't care, but now I want my hand sewn garments to reflect the level of polish I've come to expect from my knits. It's challenging, to feel like you're going back to being a beginner at something (and for that reason, it's probably a very good exercise for me, too).

    In any case, when I bought this grey and white striped fabric (from Drygoods Design in Seattle - I *think* it's this one), I had originally slated it to become a Linden. I even bought the pattern with it. But as it sat on the shelf, waiting for me to have time to make it, and as I looked into ribbing and trying to find a good ribbing to match the fabric, I started to think that perhaps I should start simpler. I'd still love to make a Linden, but the one-size oversized free Hemlock Tee felt like it might be less ambitious. (For those of you who sew regularly, the Linden might not seem that ambitious, but I really need baby steps here. I'm sloooow at sewing and it takes way more attention to complete simple tasks than it should because I so rarely do it.)

    This super simple tee still took me the better part of an entire afternoon. There are plenty of reasons for that - I used my regular machine with a walking foot put on, and I had to figure out how to install the walking foot before I could even test it out. I also started off using a triple stretch stitch (recommended for knits if you're not using a serger) but that was causing some serious issues with the shuttle in my machine and I broke a few needles before I exasperatedly gave up on that and switched to a normal straight stitch (since it's an oversized tee, I think it'll do okay). 

    I felt unsure about the length of the sleeves, so I didn't actually hem/finish the sleeve cuffs - since it's a fine gauge knit, the fabric won't really fray or do anything terrible, and I've just rolled up the sleeves for now so they're closer to elbow length. I also shortened the overall length of the tee, cutting off several inches of fabric before hemming it. I think it suits me better than the longer length did.

    While I wouldn't say I enjoyed the process of actually sewing it (I think it will take a lot more sewing practice before I can really enjoy sewing a garment) I'm fairly happy with the end result, even though I can spot all the flaws. At a glance, most people won't notice those, and this tee's definitely my style and is very at home in my wardrobe. I think it'll transition super well from a summer piece to a winter piece - it's very layerable, and I can already picture it with a huge scarf around my neck. 

    So this will very likely be my one make for the month of Me Made May. I'm still grateful for the excuse to think a little bit harder about what I'm putting on in the morning and where it came from, and I'm definitely grateful for the month of inspiration that comes with so many people sharing their handmade wardrobes day after day. I'll be doing a lot of culling of clothes before we fly to Tromsø, trying to pare down and really only bring essentials or things I really love, and this month has made it easier to think about what I want to keep and what I'd like to let go of.

    Are any of you participating in Me Made May this year?

  • woolful podcast

    I'm SO excited to be the guest on this week's episode of the Woolful podcast! If you've never listened to the podcast before, it's absolutely wonderful (and you've got 22 back episodes before mine to listen to). The podcast is the creation of Ashley Yousling, who currently splits her time between a tech job in San Francisco and a beautiful ranch in Idaho. I can't say thank you enough to Ashley for having me on, because I love her podcast and what she brings to our fiber community in producing it. And huge thanks to Tolt Yarn and Wool for sponsoring this episode! 

    I've received so many wonderful comments and messages since the podcast went up and I'm a bit overwhelmed by the love, so thank you all! I was quite excited to see some of you mentioning that I'd piqued your interest in Norwegian sheep breeds, and you'll be happy to know that Norwegian-specific wool is something I'm hoping to explore more and write about here after I move to Tromsø this summer. I can't wait to share what I learn.

    Those of you who regularly follow the podcast know that with each episode comes a giveaway - and this week we're giving away a copy of Moon Sprites along with the Létt Lopi to knit it! Many of the comments on the podcast episode mentioned a desire to work on colorwork, and Moon Sprites is a great pattern for that whether you've done a lot of colorwork or not - with just seven rounds of simple colorwork, it's totally appropriate for a colorwork beginner! To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is leave a comment on the episode's blog post.

    Be sure to visit the Woolful website and listen to those back episodes if you haven't before! And be sure to check out Ashley's shop, Woolful Mercantile, while you're there.

  • new favorite blogs

    Work is slow right now while we've been doing a lot of move prep, but I'm slowly chipping away at projects for fall when I can. In the meantime, I've added a few new inspiring blogs to my regular blog reader lately, and I thought I'd compile them here in case they're new-to-you too.

    Top row, from left:

    My Scandinavian Home - an interior design blog. If you follow me on Pinterest you may have noticed a proliferation of pins coming from this site. The blog is run by "a London girl in Sweden" and I absolutely adore her taste. The homes she features are super inspiring. 

    Ein Kopp Te, Takk - this blog is written by a Norwegian master's student, Kristin (though it seems she's nearly done with her degree). You won't be able to read it unless you know Norwegian (Norwegian has two written forms, and Kristin writes in nynorsk rather than bokmål, so machine translation like Google Translate will come out even more mangled than usual). Still, her photos are gorgeous, bright and lofty, and it's kind of worth following for those alone. The name means "a cup of tea, thank you." Be sure to check out her Instagram, as well.

    Bottom row, from left:

    Ella Gordon - like many, I found my way to Ella's blog via Kate Davies, and I'm so glad I did. Ella's from Shetland and resides in Lerwick. She does quite a bit of hybrid knitting - machine knitting sweater bodies and hand knitting their yokes - which I find really fascinating. Her projects are always beautiful, as are her vintage finds. She works in the Jamieson & Smith shop, so perhaps we'll cross paths one day when I make it to Shetland!

    Paunnet - I've actually been following Anna's blog since some time last year, but it's one of my favorite sewing blogs, hands down. She lives in Italy and it's fun to follow a sewing blog with a European perspective. I think I found her blog around the same time I found Deer & Doe patterns, because she sews a lot of them. Her photography is beautiful and I love her taste in fabric. 

    What blogs have you been inspired by lately?

  • very shannon's tops, tanks, and tees KAL

    Today is the official start - cast-on day - of Shannon's annual Tops, Tanks, and Tees KAL. I learned about this KAL last year during the Vasalong, as many folks knitting a Vasa were including it in both KALs. I was pretty stoked to learn about the TTTKAL, as it's a ideal for spring heading into summer, and if I can swing it, I'd love to participate this year (though I'd better get going if I want to have something finished by the June 3rd deadline).

    I've got a solid garment's worth of Shibui Linen in my stash that I've been wanting to use for ages, but I haven't landed on the right pattern yet. I'll also admit that part of why it's been languishing in the stash for so long is that once I fell in love with Quince & Co. Sparrow, the Shibui Linen seemed less appealing (while they're both fingering weight and 100% linen, the Shibui is a chainette yarn, so it yields a more textured fabric than the Sparrow). Absolutely nothing against Shibui, who make wonderful yarn I enjoy knitting with - I just have a rather giant soft spot for Quince & Co. in general. Still, I'm determined to start knitting more from my sizeable yarn stash, so I'd love to use this yarn for the TTTKAL. I have three skeins of grey, and two of navy, so stripes seem like the best use of the yarn. Because of the way the Shibui knits up, the fabric has some texture already and textured stitches migth compete with it, so stockinette also seems like a good way to go. Here are some patterns I've been considering:

    Top row, from left:

    1. The duh-totally-easy way to go about things would be to knit yet another Vasa - I love my linen Vasa (in Sparrow) and it actually gets a lot more wear than my wool version, so another linen Vasa would be a bit of a no brainer. I know I'd wear it. But on the other hand, I've already knit two Vasas and I don't often knit garments more than once. I can feel myself itching to knit something different.

    2. Saco Stripes, by Pam Allen. I've loved this pattern ever since I first saw it, and part of me still really wants to knit it. But as far as knitting things that will actually become wardrobe staples, I'm not sure how it would do. My hips are wider than my shoulders, and tanks tend to emphasize that with the narrow shoulder width. A top that extends beyond my shoulders tends to make me look a little more balanced, which means I may only wear a tank like this if I've got something to wear over it. I love it, but this probably isn't the best choice for me right now.

    Bottom row, from left:

    3. A host of things from the new issue of Pom Pom Quarterly, that cover sweater Greco in particular. The summer issue of Pom Pom contains several patterns that would be perfect for this knitalong, and I was entertaining the idea of a Greco in plain stockinette - the lighter weight linen would lend the whole top an open, summery feeling, and the V-neck in back is a nice touch. The cropped length is cute, too, but again I'm not sure how regularly I would wear that. I suppose adding length would probably be fairly simple, though.

    4. Dubro, by Michiyo, for Quince & Co. I think I've settled on this one - the finished garment is something I would definitely reach for and wear a lot, I don't have anything like it in my wardrobe already, and Michiyo is one of my favorite designers. I love the use of blocks of stripes with a plain yoke - a little bit of a Breton sweater, but with a twist. Proportions are tricky to nail down with stripes, but I love the proportions of these! I might have to get a little creative with yarn here based on my yardage - the sleeves may need some modifications - but I think I can swing it.

    Are you taking part in the Tops, Tanks, and Tees KAL this year? I'd love to hear what patterns you're working up!

  • a vintage norwegian yoke

    Perhaps the posts about vintage yokes from Kate or Ella finally got to me, or perhaps it was just the siren song of the bright, bright teal, but I found myself impulse-buying this beautiful Norwegian yoke last weekend when I spotted it on the sidewalk rack of a local vintage shop.

    While the fit is a bit... let's say dated, and the sleeves are short (they're always short on me if I haven't made it myself), I really don't mind since the yoke is so striking and it'll be warm in the winter nonetheless. It's knit by hand, bearing the label "Maurtua," which was actually a handicrafts shop in Oslo that catered almost exclusively to tourists (which is probably how it made its way from Norway to Seattle). The address, Fridtjof Nansens Plass 9, is located in the semicircular plaza surrounding Oslo's city hall, and that storefront is actually still a souvenir shop today (though the current shop goes by the far more generic name of "Norway Shop"). 

    At any rate, I got curious about the pattern, which bears a notable resemblance to Unn Søiland Dale's famous "Eskimo" sweater. Those of you who have read Kate Davie's Yokes will recognize it from the chapter, "Greenlanders and Norwegians." If you don't have the book, Kate talks a bit about the sweater about halfway through this blog post.

    Unn Søiland Dale's "Eskimo" published by Sandnes 

    In any case, here's what I've managed to dig up looking for information about my own vintage yoke. It's almost a perfect match with one of the Husfliden pattens, number 419:

    (The image on the left is from Raumagarn, the older one on the right was found via this Pinterest user)

    A quick Google image search for "Martua Husflid" shows that Maurtua definitely made use of Husfliden 419, different iterations of which can be spotted on the image search page. While it's possible a pullover version of the pattern existed too, my best guess is that the knitter who made this sweater decided to make use of artistic license and modify the pattern. I must say I'm in favor of the design choices - the design looks great as a pullover rather than a cardigan, and the use of two different teal-blues gives the yoke a lovely depth that Norwegian knitting doesn't always achieve with its typically limited color palette (the same goes for the combination of light grey in addition to the main off-white color). The red is a sort of rusty brick red, less saturated than a candy apple red would be, which helps balance the yoke and keep the bright design from being too overwhelming. There are some chart differences as well, where the knitter appears to have embellished or modified existing motifs. The stripes at the ends of the ribbing at neck, cuffs, and hem are a nice touch. I love too how the stranded motif at the sleeve cuff echoes the motifs in the yoke without actually replicating them.

    I'm quite pleased with my new pullover - I love digging into the history and trying to track down the origins of a piece of knitting. Do you have any vintage favorites or hand-me-downs that bring you inspiration?

    --

    P.S. A very hearty thank you to all of your kind words about my Norway/grad school news. I am so excited to make this leap and your support and encouragement means the world to me. I've had a lot of people express hopes that I'll be writing about my adventure, and I'm absolutely planning to do that! Something to look forward to.

  • a move; a shift; a change

    I have some rather big news to share today. I've been looking forward to sharing it so I'll get right to it - and for those of you who want to know the hows and whys and buts, you can read on below - but here it is:

    I'm moving to Norway this August where I'm going back to grad school. 
    I'll be starting a master's in Theoretical Linguistics this fall at the University of Tromsø.

    This is obviously a huge life changing thing - a move abroad is quite an undertaking in any case, and the scale of this one is pretty different than my first go-round (some of you may remember I once spent a year working in Hungary). There are many, many more practicalities to consider, I'm bringing a spouse along this time, etc. But it's also a huge career shift from where I am at this moment and what I've been doing for the last two and a half years. 

    I've spent an immense amount of time in the last year trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. That's a big question to ponder, and one we never totally figure out - we're constantly evolving, after all. But it's a question I definitely wasn't really ready to answer when I was finishing my BA in Linguistics six years ago. I freaked out about finishing school and applied to grad school at the last minute. I got a Master of Arts in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), a program that put my linguistics background to very practical use and which I enjoyed immensely. I went to Hungary to teach. Hungary was wonderful, but it was exhausting. I decided to head home to Seattle at the end of my contract and give my long-held dream of running my own arts & crafts business a go. And what a go it's been! But the challenges of being self-employed are myriad, particularly when one's spouse is also self-employed. Sometimes we just don't have an anchor, and I've struggled with it often. I'm incredibly lucky to have friends and colleagues to lean on for support, and I'm so lucky to have support from every one of you who's ever sent me a message, knit one of my patterns, taken a class, said hello at a conference or trade show. It's an incredible thing to make a job out of a passion, and I'm happy to have done it. But - of course there's a but - I've been making myself face a lot of truths about the realities of the situation I'm in. Motivational realities. Financial realities. Trying to imagine what I want my business to look like five or ten years down the road. Can I even imagine still running my business five years down the road?

    That's opened the door to imagining all kinds of possible futures. If what I do now isn't my career, then what do I want my career to be? It's a big question (there have been a lot of big questions lately). So I thought about it, and then I thought some more. And then some more (and I'm still thinking about it). I started thinking about academia again, about applying to go back to school. My summer in Oslo last year was a little bit of a test-run/research trip, actually, though of course I didn't divulge that here at the time. I quietly applied to grad schools last fall, and I also started thinking about the possibility of teaching English again (especially after I didn't get in to a few of the more competitive programs I applied for). But when I found out I got into the University of Tromsø's master's program in Theoretical Linguistics, it was a game-changer. It's a department I've followed since I was an undergrad, in a city I've been to and like quite a lot, in a country I really love. There are many reasons it's neither the most practical nor the "safest" option at this juncture. There's a lot of risk involved in a leap like this. And I agonized for a few weeks as I tried to make my decision about what to do. But in the end, I couldn't say no - the stuff about this decision that doesn't make sense falls away in the wake of all of the things that make total sense. Sometimes a big leap makes sense, even if it's risky in some ways. And I am very lucky to have a partner who's been supportive of this decision and is probably just as excited to move to Tromsø as I am.

    So what does that mean for the future of Paper Tiger? It's a valid question, and a good one. And the answer, of course, is that at this point it's impossible to know. I'm not naive about what I'm taking on with a research-based graduate degree. I won't make any promises about whether or not I'll continue designing once school starts this fall. But I can say that this space isn't going anywhere. I'll definitely still be knitting (I'm literally moving to the Arctic, after all), and I plan to keep writing - about knitting, about Norway, about whatever seems relevant. I'm definitely excited for a chance to learn more about knitting in Norway, and get to know Norwegian yarns that are domestically raised and produced.

    In the meantime, I do have a few things lined up for fall release that I'm working on before the move, so you certainly haven't seen the last of my patterns yet. This is still my day job, at least for a few more months! 

    --

    For those who will ask about the mitten in the photo: it's purely selfish knitting! The university seal of UiT features stylized renderings of Odin's ravens from Norse mythology, Hugin and Munin (representing "thought" and "memory"), and I couldn't resist knitting them up in to an otherwise very traditional Norwegian mitten. I actually knit myself a pair of mittens when I got into grad school the first time around, too. I'm happy to say my skills have progressed since then!

  • mittens in may!

    Hello everyone! Just a quick post today to let you all know there are still a few spots available in my upcoming workshop at Tolt Yarn and Wool, Mittens in May. This is the traditional mittens workshop I taught at the Nordic Knitting Conference last fall, and I'm so excited to be teaching it again. The workshop will be May 3rd (that's a week from Sunday) from 11-4.

    We'll be talking about traditional mittens from the Nordic and Baltic countries, and you'll get to choose a mini-mitten to start working up in class to try out some of the techniques we'll be discussing. I've been working up new samples of the mini mittens in Rauma Finullgarn, a wonderful woolen-spun fingering weight yarn from Norwegian company Rauma:

    From left to right, the mittens are: Latvian (focusing on a seamless lined cuff), Estonian (with a vikkel braid), Norwegian (with a Norwegian thumb gusset), and Bohus (in the style of Bohus Stickning, from Bohuslän in Sweden, focusing on combining knits and purls in colorwork with more than two colors per round). 

    As you can see, all of the mini mittens involve stranded colorwork, so you should have some familiarity with colorwork and knitting small circumferences in the round to take the workshop. Other than that, there's a wide range of skill levels represented - the Norwegian and Estonian mittens each only use two colors, and you can elect to skip the braid on the Estonian mitten to keep things super simple if you wish. The Latvian mitten brings in a third color, but there's still never more than two colors per round which keeps the colorwork simple and manageable. It'd be a great stepping stone if you've never worked a third color into your colorwork. The six-color Bohus mitten is a beast, I'll admit, and routinely uses three colors per round in addition to switching between mitts and purls, but there's also a two-color chart included to keep things simple if you just want to give the knit/purl combo in colorwork a try. 

    All students will leave the workshop with a booklet containing information about these different traditions, and the mini mitten patterns are included, so you can work up the others later! You'll be able to apply the techniques for the mini mittens to full-sized ones down the line.

    You can stop by the store or give them a call at 425.333.4066 to reserve your spot! Check out the page about the class on the Tolt website for info about materials, etc. here. Tolt carries Rauma Finullgarn so it'll be easy to pick up supplies for the class there as well. This is a fun, choose-your-own-adventure kind of class I hope to see some of you there!

  • golden milk smoothie

    I've probably used the "I know this isn't a food blog" disclaimer before, but I do enjoy sharing the very occasional recipe in this space when I come up with something I actually think is worth sharing. In any case, I've been pretty into making smoothies in my Vita-Mix since the start of the new year, and I'm kind of an Oh She Glows devotee at this point. One of my favorite smoothie recipes in the Oh She Glows cookbook is the Cheerful Chocolate Smoothie, a vegan chocolate smoothie that uses a combo of almond milk and avocado (rather than banana, which is not my favorite smoothie ingredient) to create the creamy base. To give credit where credit is due, that's the smoothie that put this idea in my head. Thanks for that, Angela!

    Golden milk is something I've seen popping up all over lately, and for good reason. It's long been a folk remedy for colds and other sicknesses, largely due to the benefits of turmeric - which is what gives it its namesake golden color. A quick Google search will have the Internet hitting you over the head with the magical! healing! properties! of turmeric! so search the Internet at your own risk and take it with a grain of salt. But at the very least, the mix of sweet and spicy in golden milk does do a great job of being refreshing while also clearing out your sinuses. It's served as a hot drink, and I've definitely enjoyed it before bed a few times. If you've had golden milk and liked it, or if you just know you like turmeric and ginger, this smoothie version's totally for you.

    Vegan Golden Milk Smoothie

    A few notes on the recipe:

    - It involves frozen goods and ice cubes, and dates can be on the hard side depending on where they're coming from, so you may not want to attempt this if you haven't got a high speed blender with a good motor in it.

    - When cutting into a new avocado for a batch of smoothie, I go ahead and quarter it so that the sections are ready to go for future batches. Pop the 3/4 you're not using in a freezer-safe container and freeze them for later.

    - The almond milk could be swapped out for any other non-dairy milk (or even dairy milk if you roll that way). I use unsweetened and would recommend that for this smoothie, since the dates act as a sweetener. 

    - When I make this, it yields about 3 cups. I like to pour half in a glass and the other half into a jar I can pop in the fridge for later.

    Ingredients

    • approx. 1/4 of an avocado
    • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk or other non-dairy milk
    • 1 heaping tsp turmeric powder
    • small quantity chopped ginger (I chop up about a 1/2" piece)
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 4-6 medium medjool dates, pitted
    • 1/8 tsp cardamom
    • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
    • 4-6 ice cubes
    • pinch of salt
    • dash of black pepper

    1. Add the avocado, almond milk, turmeric powder, ginger, and vanilla to blender. Blend on high speed until mixed.

    2. Add the pitted dates, cardamom, cinnamon, ice, salt, and black pepper to blender, then blend again on high speed until mixture is smooth.

    3. That's it! Pour and enjoy!

  • the fringe hat-along

    Back in February, Karen of Fringe launched the Fringe Hatalong series, and I really enjoyed following everyone's progress with the first pattern she picked, the Audrey hat from Tolt. I didn't join in on that round, knowing that there would be more coming in the series, but I'm excited to say that I'm very much looking forward to hat number two.

    The pattern won't be revealed until Thursday the 16th, but there's some preliminary information posted over on Fringe, particularly regarding yarn selection. Hat number two is a pattern with an all-over textured stitch pattern, and it calls for a heavy worsted/aran weight yarn. I've been doing some stash diving, trying to see if I have anything appropriate, but I've also been down in Portland for the weekend and I couldn't resist popping into a new-to-me yarn store, Twisted, so... in the end, I picked up a beautiful skein of Quince & Co. Osprey in Glacier, pictured above. So much for knitting from the stash. Oops! Perhaps I'll have to knit more than one hat so I can actually knit through some stash yarn as well.

    I can't wait for the pattern reveal on Thursday, and to see how this Osprey knits up! Will you be joining in on this round of the hatalong?

  • lately

    There's been a lot going on behind the scenes for me recently, and I'll share more about that soon, but in the meantime, here are some things I've been up to lately:

    I started a pair of socks with some of the new Arne & Carlos sock yarn from Regia. I've never been one for self-patterning yarns, but this line - and this colorway in particular - totally won me over. The colorways are all inspired by paintings by Edvard Munch with ties to the Norwegian landscape through the seasons. The colorway pictured above is called Summer Night, and I basically want to live in it.

    -

    I've been thinking about sewing quite a bit (after all, Me Made May is coming up). I'm so pleased with how this Chardon skirt I finished a month ago turned out, box pleats, pockets and all. I haven't had a chance to sew anything since, but I did buy a walking foot for my machine so that I can try out sewing with knits. I have a striped grey knit fabric I was originally planning to use for a Linden, but I've decided it's going to be a Hemlock tee instead, because that seems more beginner friendly and still totally fits with my wardrobe. If you have any advice for sewing knits without a serger, I'm all ears! 

    But back to the Chardon skirt (or Jupe Chardon, as Deer and Doe is a French company) for a moment. This is marketed as a beginner pattern but even so, it was kind of a big project for me. There's not a ton of guidance on how to deal with pressing the box pleats, and the belt loop instructions are literally just a sentence telling you to sew on the belt loops. I know in this modern age of internet tutorials and craft blogging we can expect a lot of hand holding, but if you're taking on these skills for the first time, expect to spend some time doing research on the best ways to go about it. Still - the box pleats and belt loops are acceptable, if not fantastic, and the skirt is super wearable!

    I used an amazing fabric I picked up at Drygoods Design - this Pickering International organic lightweight duck cloth in grey (which now appears to be sold out). It's a 45/55 blend of recycled hemp and organic cotton, so it's going to make a fabulous warmer weather skirt (and it's been doing great in the winter to spring transition with a pair of tights). I love this fabric and would definitely work with it again. Perhaps it's the hemp in it, but it manages to hold the pleats well it doesn't wrinkle anywhere near as easily as a plain cotton or cotton/linen blend would.

    If I make this skirt again (and I might, because it's so versatile) I may add a little bit of length. I have a high waist on a 6' (182cm) frame, so the hem falls a few inches higher above my knees than might be ideal, proportionally. But I'd love a version of this skirt in a darker color - maybe a charcoal or a navy? Or even black?

    You can check out the photos in more detail with some progress notes over on my project page on Kollabora.

    -

    And lastly, the main recent development in my world is that spring has come screaming into Seattle. It came early this year for us (sorry, east coasters - especially you Mainers who I know just got more snow) and the whole city has been in bloom for weeks. I can't deny I've been enjoying it; Seattle on a sunny day in spring or summer is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I hope spring is finding its way into your world, too!