Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Ordinary Days

Last night as I drifted off to sleep, the wind began to blow. Today promises to be warm, windy, and sunny. The wind matches my unsettled spirit. Although I try to separate from the cacophony of news coverage, I find it hard to ignore undercurrents of wide division. My feeble answer is to smile and offer courtesy to fellow citizens while savoring ordinary days. This week I joined good friends for coffee and dinner in addition to completing chores, errands, knitting, walking, and reading. Monday I came out of a store and noticed a large flock of migrating birds, perhaps sandhill cranes. I waited for them to pass overhead, hoping to hear their calls. The noise of vehicles and construction across the parking lot made that impossible. Somehow in spite of our strife, the birds respond to patterns of light and darkness in each season.

Late one night, I pulled an old favorite from my bookshelf. Louise Erdrich's Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country, published in 2003, is an account of a trip to Lake of the Woods in Southern Ontario. Traveling with her baby and the baby's father, an Ojibwe spiritual leader and guide, she "reads the islands like a book." (Erdrich, 2003) They also visit a fragile island housing Ojibwe artifacts and the large library of Ernest Oberholtzer. In 1912, Oberholtzer, an immigrant of German heritage and an Ojibwe man, Billy Magee, canoed and mapped an area bounded by Lake Winnipeg, Hudson Bay, and Reindeer Lake. As Erdrich reads the island paintings and visits the Oberholtzer cabin lined with books, she explores the question, "Books: why?" as well as the importance of language to the Ojibwe culture. Small beautiful illustrations by Erdrich accompany the text. Although I have read this book previously, I am enjoying her meditation on the North Woods, language, and Ojibwe culture.

Last week I cast on Norah's Christmas stocking but am waiting for another skein of red yarn. I am not interested in playing yarn chicken while knitting a good sized intarsia Christmas stocking. Even though the yarn will be a different dye lot, I plan to use it for knitting her name and the red parts of other small motifs. I found several yarn shops with an online presence still selling the Brown Sheep Lana Loft in sport weight. Now I wonder if it might have been better to order three skeins and just knit the entire stocking in the same dye lot. Time will tell.

While I wait for the yarn to arrive, I picked up scraps of Cotlin, the cotton linen yarn I use for wash cloths. Garter stitch is always a good idea. After knitting blanket squares, I am giving in to the siren call of mitered squares. I have used this yarn enough to be fairly certain it isn't going to fade. Fading and color bleeding has kept me from knitting a sock yarn blanket. That and the amount of knitting such projects require. I admire those of you who do make those blankets. Now I wonder if my leftovers of Chickadee by Quince and Co. would knit up into a scarf or small lap blanket of mitered squares. These squares are a rabbit hole but first I have some gift knitting to do. I plan to savor autumn but as sure as cranes fly south, Christmas will come. 

Today, I join Kat and the Unravelers. What do you read and make on an ordinary day?



  1. Your mitred square is beautiful. Those colors go so well together.

  2. My interest in mitered squares waned as soon as I was done with blanket squares, but you've piqued my interest again with your lovely Cotlin square. I've been thinking about Christmas knitting and this might work well for several of my recipients. Thank you for the reminder that nature doesn't pay attention to the foolishness, division, and rancor that we humans carry on with, and may your tea bag speak the truth.

  3. Thank you for this beautiful post! It was JUST what I needed to read this morning. XO Louise Erdrich is one of my favorite authors, although I haven't read Books & Islands in Ojibwe Country. I think, based on your recommendation, it is one I should pick up. Nature . . . is always my most reliable balm for the soul.

  4. Ordinary days mean sock knitting for me! Im looking for a new sock yarn. One that feels like fall! Maybe saturday will allow for a trip to my fairly local yarn shop

  5. I need to regroup and unplug from the news - I find my attitude being destroyed and then my creativity plummets. lovely post and gorgeous knitting, looks meditative.

  6. Thank you for highlighting a new to me Louise Erdrich book... I have added it to my read list!

    And, as always, beautiful photos and knitting!