Saturday, June 12, 2021

Real Hugs All Around

If you think I've been away from this spot, you are right. Fair warning: this post is a record of a joyful family visit. I knit a sock and a half while traveling but that can wait. You are welcome to come back later if family photos aren't for you.

We are home from a glorious week of ordinary days with our Connecticut family. Days filled with buttering toasted bagels for bright morning faces, sitting on the patio while grandchildren play in wading pools, playing board games, snitching potato chips out of a bag on the kitchen counter at lunch time, and reading bedtime stories. Time with the six of them was absolutely wonderful and precious. 

We were welcomed by hugs, handmade posters, and drawings that Jonah rolled up for the trip home. We cheered the three boys at T-ball, coach-pitch baseball, and kid-pitch baseball all on the same day. We raced so many Hot Wheels. 

Jonah had gardening gloves at the ready, his and mine. Kate and Jonah drove Pops to Home Depot so Jonah could show Pops the riding lawn mowers (he likes lawn mowers) and purchase herbs. Then at home, he hauled the soil, pots, and plants in his wheelbarrow. He and I planted them. We hugged often.

We dodged bikes and scooters as we walked the cemetery loop. At Emmet's request, there was a trip to the Dairy Queen with Blizzards all around. My daughter and I were shoulder to shoulder in the kitchen. Micah showed us his new karate belts. I gave him a big hug. 

Then the week was over. Weather delayed our flight and then the pilots timed out. We were fortunate to catch a later flight that same evening. My motto is if you get where you are going at the end of a traveling day, it's a good day. At 10:00 p.m. we were happy to be in our own car. I pulled up Broadway music and we sang ourselves home, arriving at 1:00 a.m. Our full hearts and poor voices kept us from getting sleepy. Not bad for a couple of oldsters. 

Norah, Emmett, Maddie (the dog), Micah, Jonah

Everyone on the plane, the airport, and airport shuttle was masked. The airline was no nonsense, announcing the possibility of criminal prosecution for anyone who didn't comply. Some restaurants at LaGuardia were checking temperatures before allowing customers in for dining. We welcomed the regulations meant to keep us as safe as possible. 

We are so grateful for the time together. I hope never to take these moments for granted again.  May your June days bring moments of joy with those you love. Did I mention the hugs? 

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Simply a Moment

June 1, 2021  1:21 p.m.

Under a brilliant June sky:

A mama cardinal works on her nest. 

The breeze is still.

The garden grows.

The handspun really looks like yarn. 

two ply Cormo 

Ginger tea cools as I cast on a pair of socks. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

May Flowers

What a gorgeous morning in May. After days of overcast skies, the sky is brighter. These days I tend the flower bed, herb garden, and the vegetables. The potato plants thrive and the cilantro, basil, and thyme that I planted are growing. The tomatoes need more sun and heat but all in good time. I'm using cayenne powder and/or spray to keep the critters at bay. So far so good. The iris are beautiful. I am also enjoying a bouquet of peonies from my neighbor. No ants so far. She is a seasoned gardener so she may have done something to prevent ants before she brought them over. 

Here is this week's Unraveled Wednesday (with Kat and friends) news. In between the outdoor work, I put a few more rows on the Rewilding Shawl. This is my third go around with this pattern. The increases and decreases are arranged to make a slightly deeper shape. Helen Stewart writes line by line patterns in the percentage system so the pattern is a good canvas for modifications. The Antler Mittens need thumbs. Rios is a nice the yarn and the Tin Can Knits pattern is well written. Cabling without a cable needle is another one of those knitting things that makes me feel smart. These mittens match a hat I made earlier. Just think, knitted accessories that match. The neighbors won't know what to think when I walk next winter. 

I didn't do any unraveling but I did throw away the wild and crazy socks. The shades of orange and pink grated on my color sense. There were also some odd blips in the color repeats. I kept knitting but wasn't enjoying the project - at all. Then I noticed one leg was longer than the other. The socks became a chore. I don't know about you but I have enough chores in my life. I rarely throw yarn away but I didn't even want to rewind it for a thrift store or inflict it on a school knitting group. I was just done with this yarn. Enough was enough. Have you ever thrown away yarn?

I am reading The Soul of a Woman by Isabel Allende and enjoying it. This nonfiction reads like a feminist manifesto. From her rich and varied life experiences, Allende writes with a strong voice. In my opinion, this book reads differently than her fiction but then again she shares similarities with the strong women characters in her fiction. One night, in between library holds, I pulled the The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood from my shelf. I recall enjoying the novel the first time through. Now it seems like an over dramatic cliche'. It is interesting how time changes reading preferences.  

I hope your May days are bright with flowers. 


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

A Lighter Spirit

I feel a lighter in spirit. The iris and bleeding heart bloom. White anemones bob in the breeze. The potatoes are up and the bunnies and squirrels haven't eaten them - yet. Lighter meals of egg salad, chick-pea salad, fresh berries, and salad greens are a welcome change. A little disheveled starling chick with crazy eyebrows bounces around in the top of the bushes. He can't quite find balance on his perch. I know how he feels. The county Covid vaccination rate is at 57.7% and the positivity rate at 2.7%. The local mask mandate expires tomorrow. With Mary's wisdom of grace and space, I wear a mask, eyebrows visible, nose and mouth covered in public settings. 

Today I am linking with Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday. I cast on a lace weight Rewilding Shawl from some stash yarn. I have knit this shawl twice and enjoy the gentle shaping. Periwinkle is one of my favorite colors. My plan is to modify the pattern by adding more eyelet sections. Eyelets in this color remind me of the wild violets that grow in my flower beds. I leave them to grow as they are prettier than bindweed and creeping charlie. It's raining here this morning so the photo is a little dark.

I finished the Falling Water Shawl. It is a very generous size. The yarn, Tern by Quince and Co., grew with blocking as I knew it would. I loved the pattern but am less thrilled with the color. Such is knitting. This shawl may go in the gift stash. I am knitting the second sock of the wild and crazy yarn.  

I am planning my summer reading list and book order. When I taught, I made a reading list to celebrate summer. I continue to make that list and then check on library availability. I often order summer books used from Powell's Books or shop my local used bookstore. I may actually venture into The Novel Idea this summer. The summer reading list takes me back to the old Carnegie Library in my hometown. I don't know about you but I can still recall the smell of that library of my childhood. I loved it.

What is lifting your spirits these days?

Ravelry Links

Spring Rewilding Shawl

Falling Water Shawl

Wild Socks

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

May News

Hello on this bright, cool, breezy May day. I am watching a mama starling fly in and out of nest in the bushes along the front of the house. I can't see any tiny heads but she did wind a bit of transparent ribbon into her nest which gives it a little style. Yesterday I planted tomatoes and cucumber seeds. The temps are chilly but I bought the plants late last week so it is high time to get them into the ground. The forecast shows rain beginning Friday and lasting an entire week. If I were writing A Gardener's Alphabet  (see below) I would write "B is for backache" and "G is for gamble." Yesterday's work took two and a half hours. It was glorious while I was planting, digging, potting, and laying drip hose but it might have been 45 minutes too long. A hot shower and a heating pad revived me. 

I am joining Unraveled Wednesday with Kat and friends. I finished the shawl late last week but it still needs to be blocked. I made a little progress on the wild and crazy second sock. I wanted something else to work on so I cast on Antler Mittens to go with a hat I knit last Fall. Since the pattern calls for an aran yarn and I am using Malabrigo Rios, the first cuff was too small. After a knitting a few rows of the pattern, I listened to the voice in my head. Blocking wasn't going to help and neither was knitting more rows. The fabric is right for a mitten and I love the yarn but an evening with this project made my hand hurt a little. I'll knit on them for shorter periods of time, alternating with yet another to be determined project.  

I am currently reading The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. Last year I listened to the novel but am reading it as it is our book group's next discussion book. It's an interesting reread of sorts. Tom Hanks' voice still rings in my head as I recall some of his inflection and expression. 

My children sent thoughtful Mother's Day gifts. My son sent the books on spinning stacked up by the socks. Sometimes he calls to chat on his commute home from work. I mentioned spinning and spindles several times. He selected these books on his own and did a great job. My daughter sent me a subscription to an online writing project called StoryWorth. Every week I'll receive a prompt to write a personal/family story. I think she has a hand in choosing the writing prompts. At the end of the subscription, the stories are bound into a hard copy book. This should be fun. 

Now I am off to repair squirrel damage to a newly planted pot of herbs. Why can't they eat out of the compost bin? I don't begrudge the starling her nest but those squirrels are a royal pain in the tush. Then I'll take a walk and stash dive for a new project with a looser gauge. Stay tuned. 

Ravelry Link 

Antler Mittens

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Favorite Sheep

This chilly morning finds me wrapped in a favorite alpaca shawl and wearing wool socks. These sixty degree days make good walking weather. The Lily of the Valley will bloom in time for Mother's Day. The iris in our yard have sent up tall stalks with buds. Other iris scattered around the neighborhood are blooming. Late last week, I put out an Oriole feeder but haven't had any takers. I might have been just a smidge too late. I'll leave it out for another week or two.

Unraveled Wednesday with Kat and friends finds my projects still in the pink. Evenings I knit on the Falling Waters Shawl. I am knitting the border and hope to finish it this coming week. I enjoyed the simple stitch pattern combined with garter stitch. After blocking, this shawl will be a generous size. The shade of vintage rose is a rich interesting color. Likely I'll be wearing it with a white shirt and black or khaki pants, maybe to the Farmer's Market. The Markets here are open with spacing. Masks are still required in our county although that may be changing. I have always enjoyed the smaller Sunday market and remember it was less crowded after 12:30 p.m. so maybe in a few weeks I'll venture out with a mask. 

I continue to spin with spindles. Little by little I become more proficient. Spinning is new enough that when I set the spindle in motion and concentrate on drawing out the fiber, the rest of the world melts away. I often play instrumental music with nature sounds. My current favorite album is Forest Cello by Dan Gibson's Solitudes. 

Sarah mentioned on a Zoom spinning call that Polworth is one of her favorite fibers to spin. On that recommendation, I ordered a small bit of it - pink. I am enjoying the soft but wooly feel of the fiber. I am also now eating my words with more than one spinning project going at a time. While singles of one project rest on the spindles before plying, I work on another. This way I am not without a spinning project. I continue to enjoy the Cormo and the Merino/Flax/Tussah Silk Blend. Right now the blend is more challenging to spin. I am hoping as I gain skill, I can do justice to that beautiful blend.

I am in between books. I was sorry to come to the end of This Golden Fleece. The history of knitting in the UK was great bedtime reading. I enjoyed the details of political and social influences on knitting and the wool industry. Rutter wrote a long chapter about the Shetland Wool Week and the Shetland Islands that was great armchair traveling. One of Norah's favorite books, Where is the Green Sheep?  by Mem Fox is on the table for FaceTime reading. "Sheepy"was the first book she requested at bedtime. A girl who likes sheep and chooses favorites, the slide sheep and the bed sheep, is a girl after my own heart. The best news of all is we have plans to visit and I can't wait. All of us, except the kids, are vaccinated so we are going to risk traveling. Once we arrive, we have no other plans then just being together.

Wishing you a good week and a Happy Mother's Day. 

Ravelry Link

Falling Water Shawl

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Late April News

Warm and cool April days have been the norm, yesterday near 90 degrees and today a high of 63 degrees. I walked two  mornings, my usual summer routine, to avoid 80 degree weather. My husband worked on the garden plot and raised bed, preparing the soil and reframing the vegetable plot with new timbers. I might have complained that it was growing ever smaller with grass encroaching into the edges. Now I will have to do my part and start planting. Our last frost date is around Mother's Day so it's time to make a list. 

In the meantime, the lilacs are blooming. They are my favorite Spring flowers. My grandparents had three or four large lilac bushes in their and my Granddad always picked a large bouquet of lavender and white lilacs. He added a few red tulips before carrying it into Gram. The University of Nebraska East Campus has a lilac arboretum. I haven't walked through it for three or four years so I hope to get there this season.

Thank you to Kat for hosting Unraveled Wednesday. My knitting is much the same but I'm enjoying it. Last night I sewed buttons on the little cardi and took an outdoor photo for a better color representation. Although I knit to gauge, this sweater is an inch shy of the 2 - 4T size. It is small so will be a gift for another little person some day. Now I have an excuse to knit another little sweater for my granddaughter. 

I'm enjoying the Falling Water Shawl as it grows. Four more repeats remain before adding the border. I'm knitting on the second sock. I took it with me to see my sister, niece, and great niece last week. What a lovely lovely time we had catching up - in person - without masks. On the way home, I got a little extra time on the sock while waiting for a low tire to be checked. Knitting - don't leave home without it. 

Last night I read the end of Clap When You Land. What a remarkable story about many things but especially about forgiveness. The strong female characters, young and old are great role models for a YA novel. The format of a novel written in verse is intriguing. I might request an audio copy in order to hear the rhythm of Acevedo's writing. The colors in the sock remind me I also listened to Miss Benson's Beetle. What a hoot. If you need some lighter reading and a few smiles, I suggest Miss Benson's madcap journey half-way around the world. 

This afternoon I'm off to ponder my garden while doing a few chores and then walk. Have a good week. 



Wednesday, April 21, 2021

April Light

April evening light is so sweet. The flowering trees reflect the soft and bright whites and pinks. The greens are still new and daylight lasts longer. The temperatures have been chilly and on Monday snow fell but the trees seem to have weathered the cold. I started washing winter woolens but paused as I am wearing them. I enjoy a cool Spring so a few more walks with mittens and hat is welcome. Warmth is in the forecast.

Today I am back to a Wednesday post with
Kat and the Unravelers. I finished one wild and crazy sock. (This is about as wild and crazy as I get.) The pattern I began with called for two extra plain rows at the top of the heel flap. I blindly followed the pattern, knit the extra rows, heel flap, heel turn, gusset and a few inches down the foot. When I tried the sock on, the heel was too big. I ripped it out and reknit it with my usual thirty rows of heel flap. Much better. That's the joy of knitting your own socks, making them to fit. I finished the sock and cast on the second. The stripes/colors won't match but I didn't expect them to do so. 

I knit a little cardi/shrug for my granddaughter. I knit to gauge but it looks small to me. She is petite so it might fit. If not, it can be for someone else. Also Little Miss Firecracker is a girl with a mind and voice of her own. As her oldest brother says, "she is kind of picky about her clothes right now." She might not want to wear it. The yarn, Bebe Cotsoy, is from deep stash and no longer being sold which is too bad. It's a nice washable cotton blend yarn for babies and toddlers. I finished it before I had time to take a photo of the cast on. It was a nice break from my current shawl. 

I am reading
This Golden Fleece: A Journey Through Britain's Knitting History. Esther Rutter knits her way around Britain while exploring the history and culture of her country. Any fiber history interests me and this is no exception. Some of the British vocabulary isn't familiar but as I read on, context brings the meaning into focus. I just began to read Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo. This YA book is written in verse. The story is told in two voices of half-sisters, one in the Dominican Republic and the other in New York City, who lose their father in an airline crash. When I was looking for books to suggest in our book group, I found an online video of the author discussing her graduate school experience and this book and was intrigued. I think we will have a good discussion. I am listening to the latest Maisie Dobbs mystery, The Consequences of Fear by Jacqueline Winspear. Dobbs and the familiar characters are living through World War 2. I know this series isn't for everyone but I enjoy it. A light mystery is good for evening knitting and listening.  

I hope your socks fit and the April light shines on the street where you live. 

Ravelry Links

Spring Socks 

Little Cardi   - pattern Sedona Rose

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

April Poetry

This April the brighter sunshine highlights the colors and markings of the birds. The starling's subtle teal and black gleams in the light. The robin's orange breast contrasts sharply with the grays of his head and wings. Two winters ago, I watched a downy woodpecker ladder up the tree. Her movement held a certain rhythm:  ta dum'  ta dum'  ta dum.' It reminded me of a line in a poem. 

Although no one knows for sure, poetry probably originated in the oral tradition of epics. Long stories were learned and repeated. Rhyme and rhythm helped storytellers or traveling troubadours memorize the words. When I have enough of a poem on a page, I read it aloud to hear the rhythm. Often with reading, I change a word without even knowing that it needed to be changed. Poetry is made from many moving parts but some kind of rhythm is critical. A break or change in the rhythm of a poem often signals the reader that something interesting is going to happen. In A Poetry Handbook, Mary Oliver wrote that "rhythm underlies everything."

Rhythm is pleasurable and soothing. Rhythmic rocking soothes babies and small children. Watch a woman with a cranky baby, even it is not her own. Her first instinct is to cradle the child while swaying side to side. The quiet or exuberant rhymes of children't books, like Goodnight Moon or Green Eggs and Ham become favorites of preschoolers and older children. Rhyming and rhythmical text help lay a foundation for language and literacy skills.  

Paul Valery said, "A poem is never finished, only abandoned." I worked on this little poem for quite some time. It began with a little downy woodpecker who made her way up the trunk of the birch outside my window. It is ready to be abandoned. 

Be Still and Wait *

Be still and wait

    walk into stillness

    pause with the wind.

Collect and gather

    honor stream, leaves, roots,

    junco, moss, and birch.

Sing a circle

    unravel a song

    follow one drop of rain.

Spin from the stars

    weave as a spider

    leave a strand undone.

Wait long in the center.

    Echo the downy

    begin again.

*Copyright Jane A. Wolfe, 2021

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

April Showers

After a string of gloriously warm and windy days, rain fell last night. Rain on the roof is so peaceful. Today is gray and damp with more April showers on the way. Some ornamental trees in the neighborhood bloom but ours will bloom later. Buds on the linden and birch just begin to send out green tips but the Japanese Lilac tree has leafed out. The crisp new greens are invigorating. Why do I so rarely choose green yarn? I don't know. Sometimes, like now, I look at my knitting and notice the projects are all the same color family. 

I am linking with Kat and the Unravelers and am happy to report no unraveling. Monday evening the wind died down so we carried our leftover Easter brunch dinner to the deck. No jackets were required. After we finished, I knit a few rows on this sock - outdoors. What a nice evening. The sock is coming along. The pattern has a diagonal line beginning at the instep and crossing the top of the foot. Someday I will follow this pattern as written. Well maybe I'll follow the pattern. Why make promises I may not keep? The broken rib has a nice rhythm and the diagonal would show better in a tonal or solid colored yarn. 

I'm also knitting the Falling Water Shawl. The designer, Bonnie Sennott writes a nice pattern. The side panel of texture keeps the knitting from becoming too monotonous. The colorway, Columbine, has more of a rose tint then shows in this photo. It resembles the color of the flower but also the lighter colored breasts of the house finches that frequent the feeder outside my window. 

I am reading Wanderers: A History of Women Walking by Kerri Andrews. I am just into the second chapter but am not wowed by this book. Andrews lives and works in the UK so of course, that is her orientation. Of the ten women writers profiled, eight lived or live in the UK. Anias Nin was born (to Cuban parents) in France, and Cheryl Strayed is American. I realize the scope of non-fiction work has to be limited but I think this book could be much richer if more women of color had been included.  Juliann posted about reading books about walking and we had a short conversation about how, in many places, the US is not set up for walking and that the Brits seem to have more appreciation and history of walking. Perhaps this influenced this author as she researched her book. At any rate, I'm going to read more of the book before I abandon it. 

What are you knitting this week? 

Ravelry Links

Spring Socks 

Falling Water Shawl

I should have removed the dish towel from the counter but I didn't so instead of still life you get real life; flowers against a homey background. 

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Unraveled Wednesday

This morning a bright yellow goldfinch sang in the birch. His molt to spring and summer colors is almost complete. A winter junco hopped around the feeder in the backyard. I imagine he will leave soon. This last day in March is breezy and brisk but the yards and weeds are green. The Easter Sunday forecast is for eighty degrees.  

As I link with Kat and the Unravelers today, I can report one finished throw, one frogged shawl, one reknit mitt, and a new cast on. It was a wild knitting week complete with second Covid shots. We experienced eighteen hours of mild side effects and then they were gone. I was ever so grateful for the slight headache, body aches, and chills. I put on warm woolens, curled up in a quilt, and read. I also knit on the lavender mitts which wasn't a great idea. Somehow I shifted one cable on the right hand mitt. I didn't notice it until I was knitting the last two rows of ribbing across the palm.  I ripped it out and reknit it a day or so later.   

These look better on hands but my photographer wasn't available. 

The finished Scrappy Habitation Throw is the most crooked square I have ever knit. I wet blocked it to 56 inches square. The process required crawling around on the floor with lots of measuring and adjusting of pins. All fingering weight scraps are not the same and that was probably part of problem. The beginning corner was knit from a Koigu yarn that is heavier than the sock yarn at the ending corner.  I also think the weight of the blanket contributed to the looser gauge in the last corner. The scraps you see are what remains. I still have ten million ends to weave in, well maybe five million as I started using the clasp-weft join mid throw. I rather like weaving ends in, making a project tidy and finished, which tells you something about me. 

I frogged the red shawl. The previously sorted out spine looked great but one side had an extra stitch. I considered decreasing the extra stitch but decided against it. The thought of starting over right now didn't spark joy. I love the red shade in the yarn. Maybe next fall or near the holidays knitting a red shawl will be just the thing. I love that yarn doesn't spoil over time.

I cast on a new pair of socks. I wanted to knit on something bright. The fiber content is 75% wool and 25% nylon so these will be wooly socks. I hope washing softens them a little. Right now, the fabric feels a little crunchy. It is an experiment.

I continue to read The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine and enjoy it. I found a used copy of Woodswoman I: Living Alone in the Adirondack Wilderness by Anne LaBastille. The nonfiction about the Adirondack back country is great armchair traveling. I am not a rugged outdoors woman but it is fun to read about one. Vera recommended this author to me and I'm glad she did. If you like nature writing you might like this book. 

To those celebrating, Happy Easter. Happy last day of March and Happy Spring.

Ravelry Links

Lavender Mitts

Scrappy Habitation Throw

Spring Socks

Trader Joe' Daffodils - please excuse the kitchen sink


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

March's Season

March is the hinge between winter and spring. One day I'm shivering in my winter coat and hat and two days later the sun warms my shoulders clad in a light sweater. The wind roars and then settles into a gentle breeze, sometimes in the same day. The temperatures rise and fall and then rise again. Snow follows sleet and then turns to rain. The cranes fly. They stop in the Platte River Valley to rest and feed before resuming their journey. Light, not temperature, guides their transition between southern and northern habitats.

This March feels like a season of transition between pandemic living to whatever lifestyle comes next. Vaccination, although it brings a sense of relief, doesn't erase all of my low level Covid anxiety. Covid-19 is a still a nasty disease and uncertainty remains. While the disease touched our extended families, everyone has recovered. It could have been otherwise. Vaccination does not erase the loss of life, health, or livelihood experienced by so many. Still, the news about vaccine efficacy is encouraging. I am hopeful that vaccinated and masked we can travel soon. More than anything I want to see my family, near and far.

Like Spring, this season of transition will bring ups and downs. Standing on a soapbox looking out at the green creeping into the landscape, I choose cautious thoughtful hope. One way or another travel protocols, routines, friendships, and milestone celebrations will rearrange themselves. While I follow the CDC guidelines, I work on kindness, respect, and grace to move through this transition. In the meantime, the daffodils out back might bloom today. Two weeks from today, another vaccinated friend and I will meet (not in a coffee shop) for a cup of tea and long catch-up. 

Ever so gently, placing one foot in front of the other, I find my way. I wish the same for you. Safe travels. Namaste. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Spinning into Spring

Spring continues to blow in with plenty of rain. Sunday I saw a flock of cedar waxwings in a neighborhood tree. Daffodils begin to bloom in our neighborhood but not yet in our yard. The tulips are up. Yesterday we ducked out for a walk after the rain stopped and noticed green at the tips of some leaf buds. Slowly but surely color returns to the landscape. This year it is especially welcome. 

During odd extra moments, I knit on these lavender mitts. The bottom edge is a little uneven due to the design but they feel great on my hands. Since trying the yarn was the point of this project, I plan to record the stockinette gauge in a notebook and on Ravelry. These will likely go in the gift bag. Many non-knitters are surprised by fingerless mitts and how nice they are during the spring and fall. In the winter, I have a pair at my desk, on my bedside table, on the front seat of my car, and near the corner of the loveseat where I sit to read. I am knitting on the last corner of the scrappy blanket, closing in on the end of that project.  

I continue to spin on spindles. I am almost half-way through a project to spin the white Cormo. I plied another skein yesterday. I was so enchanted with how long the spindle would spin, the skein was over twisted. After tying it off, I gave it a bath (as I always do) and then hung it in the shower to dry with a plastic hanger on the bottom for a little additional weight. The yarn felt pretty good today. 

Spinning, when it is going well is magic. Sometimes it doesn't go well but I love the spindles. Beautiful and balanced spindles are the mark of fine craftsmanship. I read about spindle storage and found a variety of opinions. The consensus is they need to be stored with care not to damage or distort them. We had a small decorative shelf that we weren't using. My husband put hooks under the shelf part so I can now hang four drop spindles from the hooks.  

Reading that drop spindling sometimes bothered my shoulder, Kat sent me a gift of a beautiful supported spindle made by Ann Grout. It is ceramic and in the shape of an acorn. This little spindle spins for a long time. She also included a bit of Hipstrings Fiber. The fiber blend is merino, flax, and Tussah silk. It was just the loveliest of gifts and brightened my day while waiting for winter to end. What a kind thoughtful friend. This little blogging community has been a wonderful surprise.   

Supported spindling requires different fine motor skills so I spent some time practicing on the leftovers of a merino braid. I have lots to learn but am enjoying the journey. Now and then I hear a smattering of information about sheep breeds and wool on podcasts. I decided to get out The Knitter's Book of Wool by Clara Parkes and refresh my memory on the details. 

I am also reading The Doctor's Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine by Janice P. Nimura. This nonfiction is well written. The tenacity of Elizabeth Blackwell is something to admire. Nimura does a nice job not idealizing these two women and shows their human foibles as well as their strengths. A few other titles have come up on my library holds. This is probably a good thing. We are getting second Covid vaccines on Friday and I plan on putting my feet up this weekend. I'm off to make a grocery list that includes soda crackers, ginger ale, and soup ingredients. Best be prepared. In the meantime I am linking with Kat and the Unravelers

I hope color and hope are returning to your landscape this early Spring week.  

Cormo before spinning the skeins above

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Mid- March

Oh March, she is a tease. After a string of warm sunny days, the temperature dropped and the wind blew in sheets of rain. The bright side is rain doesn't have to be scooped and the yards are turning green. This week the maples sport the red fringe that comes before leaves. Even if it is 34 degrees and damp, the year turns toward Spring. Today is gray, damp with no rain in the forecast. After I put some soup in the crockpot, I plan to layer up for a walk in the wind and dripping trees. I'd love to have some children with me to jump in the puddles. 

In the meantime, the knitting continues. I almost skipped posting with Kat and the Unravelers because I have been working mostly on the Habitation Throw and it doesn't look much different than the last time I posted. That is how my knitting goes. One does have to work on a project in order to finish it. Ha! I'm enjoying having it on my lap these chilly evenings. I wonder whether the leftover yarns will stretch to the end of the blanket or if I will need to break into a new skein. If I were to knit this pattern again I would make a two stitch edge and skip the i-cord edging. I am trying to knit it loosely but I have the feeling it's going to restrict the size of the throw. This is the second time I've tried i-cord edging and not been crazy about it. Do you have any thoughts about i-cord edging?

I did figure out the mistake in the spine of the red shawl but haven't knit on it this week. I cast on fingerless mitts in order to have a small non-garter stitch project. Once upon a pandemic, I ordered a few skeins of yarn and one of them was this sport weight from Luna Grey Fiber Arts. This Indie Dyer hails from Colorado which is somewhat local to me. I have also wanted to try this yarn. The Nova Sport is non-superwash merino and it has a nice hand. The yardage in the skein is generous. I can also report that it holds up well to frogging and re-knitting. I knit the cuff from two other patterns for mitts before settling on the Biblioglove pattern on size four needles. My daughter sent the pieces of beach glass to me for Valentines' Day. 

As for reading, I am listening to The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. The narrator is excellent. This young adult book is not an easy story but it is important. The main character is a sixteen year old African American teenager who is with a friend when he is shot by a police officer. The consequences of this shooting drive the story. At the same time, the code-switching required of this young woman as she navigates between a white upper class high school and her neighborhood is thought provoking and also part of the story. I look forward to discussing this with my book group. 

Before I drift off to sleep at night, I read from the poetry anthology, Healing The Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection. Some of the poems are familiar and others are new to me. The poets come from all walks of life and cultures. I am enjoying a few each evening. According to the note on the back of the book, this book "urges us . . . to move past the negativity that often fills the airwaves, and to embrace the ordinary moments of kindness and connection that fill our days." Amen.

I wish you a vaccine and moments of kindness this week. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Windy Wednesday

Good morning.  A pair of chickadees cling to a birch branch and then fly.  The wind blows a gale before cooler days return. Rain is in the forecast for the weekend with a pesky snowflake also showing up. The winds of March usher in this transitional season.

Yesterday we took a day trip south to the Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge located in northwest Missouri. We enjoyed the sunshine as we viewed thousands of migrating snow geese and ate a picnic in the car. The wind would have blown the potato chips off our plates and since they were a treat I wasn't taking any chances. We know how to have a good time. 

The area is indeed a refuge for wildlife. Besides the snow geese, we found turtles sunning on logs and walking across the road, a bald eagle near a nest with two heads visible, two sandhill cranes in the wetlands, muskrats swimming, and fifteen swans feeding in a sheltered cove. The visitor's center was closed but a separate building with restrooms was open. Given our ages, I checked on the restroom status ahead of time. Getting out of the house was lovely.

Today I link with Kat and the Unravelers so here is my knitting and reading news. I unearthed my oldest WIP, a Wool Peddler's Shawl, to knit on in the car. I planned to make progress on the garter stitch body in order to get to the more interesting lace section. We were barely out of town when I noticed a mistake in the centered double increase of the spine. I tried to fix it by tinking back to the center and dropping down but wasn't successful. Good thing I had the car project bag with a wash cloth. Before we left the refuge to come home, my husband stopped in the parking lot so I could pull out a couple more rows and put it back on the needles. Somehow I missed the center stitch again so it was back to the wash cloth. This increase along the spine of the shawl is a modification but not new to me. Obviously I haven't used it recently.  I'll work on it again today or tomorrow when I can put it on a table in the daylight. I did get a washcloth out of the trip and finished it just as we arrived home. Whew! I hate not having enough car knitting.

oops - the same mistake twice

This past week I knit on the Habitation Throw and decided I had come to the half-way mark. I'm headed down the decrease section and would like to finish this before it gets too warm to have it on my lap. Time will tell how that plan works. 

I finished the Theoretical socks with yarn to spare. The asymmetrical look pushes me from my comfort zone which is about as much risk I'm willing to take, especially these days. This will not surprise anyone who knows me well and I'm ok with that. The socks will be warm and most of the yarn is gone.

With the socks finished, my projects, including the new shawl cast on last week, are mostly garter stitch. After knitting garter stitch all day yesterday in the car, I think I need to find another small project that is not garter stitch. So much for finishing up the WIP's. Variety in projects keeps me going and what the heck - it is only knitting. 

I read the new novel, The Nature of Fragile Things, because I heard about it somewhere and it was available from my library. The story takes place just before and after the San Francisco Earthquake in the early 1900's. I found it to be an average novel driven by a strong plot. I admired the way three women came together to care for a child but I thought the author took her sweet time arriving at another major theme. Certainly it is readable but I disagree with the four and five star ratings on Goodreads.

I'm off to walk in the wind while I ponder my projects. Stay well. 

Ravelry Links

Wool Peddler's Shawl

Theoretical Winter Socks

Habitation Throw