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