Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Knit, Read, and Learn

Every time I knit a sweater, I learn something new. This time I set out to knit a color block sweater from leftover yarns. Guess what? Yarn on the coffee table looks differently when knit into a sweater. The values of the blue and gray colors are quite similar. More contrast between the two might have been better. And, what was I thinking when I decided to make the cuff off white? That color will show all the dust and dirt in a sweater I plan to wear as a sweatshirt. The neck would have been a better place for that color but one skein wouldn't have gone far on the neck and shoulders of a top-down raglan.

The sweater fits fairly well. I carried the ribbing in the raglan line down the sides of the body and sleeves to create faux seams and to make the knitting a little more interesting. The pattern doesn't include shaping but the ribbing pulls in the body slightly. Don't you love the stitch marker jewelry down the sleeves?

I have some decisions to make. I could knit the rest of the sleeve in light gray but that seems boring. I ordered a little more yarn in a slightly darker blue to finish the sleeves. So much for my idea of knitting with leftovers. I plan to finish the second sleeve in the new color and see how it looks before unraveling the cream cuff. I also plan to reknit the bottom ribbing because it looks sloppy. I forgot to change to a smaller needle. Knit and learn. So today as I join Kat and the Unravelers, I will be unraveling.

I finished listening to Hidden Figures by Margot Shetterly. The narrator is excellent and the story is fascinating. I loved the grit of the women who contributed so much to space and aeronautics research. As a retired educator, I enjoyed the story of how the women completed their educations in the context of school desegregation. Don't miss the epilogue at the end where the author includes additional information and answers the question, "Why hasn't this story been told previously?"

The late winter sunsets are glorious. One evening I made a cup of tea and took time to watch the sun go down. The colors are consolation for the remaining weeks of winter.

Knit, unravel, reknit, read, and learn. It is a great way to look forward to Spring. March weather is fickle. Even so the cranes will be passing through central Nebraska.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Small Things

Early this morning I watched light come into the sky. The sun is visible from a slightly different point on the horizon than it was a month ago. The quality of light has also shifted. The early birds to the tube feeder were gold finches, with the sun on their gray/green breasts. Geese flew over the house. I recognized their calls before they came into view. No doubt they belong to the urban wild fowl that circulates among city ponds and creeks. They were not migrating sandhill cranes or snow geese but I am waiting for those ancient cries. 

Mornings at my desk, I watch the little birds at the seed and suet feeders. The last two weeks I've been watching this Downy Woodpecker. I know it is the same bird because the little black feather with white polka dots hangs askew from his back. Though the days are growing longer, February doesn't seem like a good time for molting. The feather blowing in the breeze reminds me of a loose tooth in the mouth of a seven year old. The bird just doesn't use a tongue or finger to worry the feather away.

I knit a hat and mittens for a child who needs them to keep warm. Some children don't have a Grammy to knit for them so occasionally I take up my needles to help out. Last night I worked on the first sleeve of the color block sweater. It is still a blob of gray and light blue, a little like a late winter sky.

Tomorrow is my Dad's birthday. He passed away seven years ago. Dad was strong willed and not the easiest guy to love. Alcohol was a demon in his life. However in the days before Driver's Education, he taught me how to drive. The first time I drove for my license, he stood on the curb waiting for my return to the county courthouse. He shook his head as I scraped his Pontiac against the bumper of a patrol car while pulling into a parking place. He didn't scold but remarked, "we need to practice parking." The following Sunday afternoon, we pulled in and out of parking spaces all over town. I passed the second driving test. Many evenings he came home from work complaining about lights on all over the house. "Turn off the lights. Money doesn't grow on trees." He took me down to the Norfolk Savings and Loan to open a savings account based on earnings from babysitting and my quarter a week allowance. After watching his widowed mother struggle to make ends meet, he helped both his daughters and sons obtain college educations. He loved pastries and the smell of birthday candles burning on a frosted cake. He was fond of his grandchildren. After Mom died, he learned how to wash a load of towels and make a pot of coffee. When I drove to see him in the nursing home, he thanked me for coming and shooed me out mid afternoon saying, "you need to be home before dark." As long as he was able, he stood and walked me to the door of his room. I plan to bake a sweet treat this weekend to remember him.

I hope your weekend is filled with the goodness of small things.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

This is a Winter Hat

Gentle snow fell on Monday and Tuesday. Today the sun is out creating a beautiful winter landscape. I may invest in some winter athletic shoes to make walking safe. Boots are so awkward for walking any distance. I'd love to be out walking this morning but I don't want to fall.

Though I am joining Kat and the Unravelers, my knitting projects haven't required any unraveling. I finished this hat late the other evening. The knitting with this DK yarn was lovely. As I came to the top, the hat looked so tall. I kept trying it on to make sure it wasn't going to be a cone head hat. Gathered up with needles at the top, the hat was quite a look over flannel pajamas. The texture creates a very warm hat. Even though it doesn't match my winter walking coat, I'll settle for warm. The snow won't be melting today and more is predicted for later this week. I should have cropped this photo but didn't want to enlarge the wrinkles in my face. Smile lines, let's think of them as smile lines. 

Last night I finished the body of my color block sweater. Something about round and round stockinette sweater knitting is perfect with a cup of tea on a winter evening. I am going to knit the neck band out of gray and then divide the remaining yarn for the sleeves. I hope to knit cuffs plus a little of the lower sleeves from one skein of cream colored yarn. All of the yarn is Chickadee (sport weight) from Quince and Co. I knit a panel of ribbing down the side and then finished with a split hem because I could. I have tried the sweater on several times and it fits.

As for reading/listening, I am listening to Hidden Figures, the story of the African American women mathematicians and scientists who contributed so much to World War II aviation and the space program. The narrator is excellent. Shetterly writes well and the story is fascinating. I am enjoying the details about the strong group of bright intelligent women. I think novels and nonfiction works would provide great discussions in history classes. I finished reading The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. My sister gave me this book as a Christmas gift and I loved it. The small book is full of good nature writing with a little personal reflection on illness. The small soft pencil half-tone drawings of snails along the edges of the pages are charming. As my sister said, "it is a book about patience."

Stay warm and enjoy the rest of the week.