Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Knitting and Kindness

Two weeks ago I heard the cicadas rasp away at their summer swan song. The chorus begins later than usual. When my grandfather heard them he would say, "six weeks until the first frost." Born in 1899 and raised on a farm in south central Nebraska, he could step outdoors, smell the air, look at the position of the leaves on a tree, and/or gaze at the horizon, watch the birds, and predict the weather. After he finished his gardening chores, he would pull an old metal lawn chair into the shade of an elm and enjoy an hour to himself. The heat didn't bother him. I can't say the same. I look forward to fall. Today is again miserably hot and humid. I may have ordered a skein of autumn colored sock yarn to encourage the season. 

In the meantime, I cast on three projects. I bought a front-zip sweatshirt as a birthday gift for my great niece. A small family birthday party for a toddler was just what I needed last week. To spend time with young parents and their children gives me hope for the world. At any rate, the sweatshirt was the same size as the sweater I intend to knit for Norah. I measured it for chest circumference and then found the size/chest measurement in Ann Budd's Handy Book of Top-Down Raglans in the correct gauge. I cast on a more reasonable number stitches than my last attempt. I plan to use the pocket instructions from the Cricket pattern. 

While I was figuring out what to do with the yarn for Norah's sweater, I cast on a pair of socks in a pattern called Couplet. This was the second pattern I tried with this yarn.  I am pleased with this pattern/yarn combination.

I cast on a long scarf in the pattern Fractal Danger. The pattern by Hitchhiker designer Martina Behm, feels like a cousin to the Hitchhiker. The yarn, Rustic Fingering from Neighborhood Fiber Company, a non superwash single ply merino has a lovely hand. The owner of that company often gives a percentage of her sales to non-profits so I bought the yarn to support her business. Knitting and kindness are my weapons of choice. Although I might resort to tomatoes soon. I have sauced and frozen probably more than enough to get us through to next summer's harvest. 

I finished listening to Band of Sisters. Once I got past the snarky behavior of the women (it got old), I appreciated it as another untold story about women. I wish I'd found the author's note before I began. Reading forward, I am going to look for those notes before reading a book. Listening to the chapters about these young women evacuating French refugees from oncoming German forces with the news of Afghanistan in the background was very eery. 

I ordered a copy of The Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris. A number of years ago the Oxford Junior Dictionary eliminated forty words having to do with nature and replaced them with words like broadband, blog, and cut-and-paste. This author and artist responded by creating a beautiful book of poetry and art depicting words like acorn, bluebell, adder, dandelion, fern, heron, kingfisher, newt, otter, willow, and more. Each word has three double-page spreads. The first uses the letters, line drawings, and negative space to announce the name of the poem, the second is the poem with a beautiful illustration on the adjoining page, and then the third is another gorgeous visual depiction of the word. This same author and illustrator created a second book, The Lost Spells. I look forward to sitting down with my grandchildren and looking at this book. Negative space intrigues me. The space around knitted stitches creates an eyelet or lace design. I also love the space around words and lines in poetry. The simplicity of the poems and artwork in this book is elegant. 

I'm late today because Blogger wouldn't let me insert photos but linking to Kat and the Unravelers. I think they will still have me.  Let's practice more kindness. 

Ravelry Links

Norah's Sweater

Couplet Socks

Fractal Danger


  1. We can always use more kindness!
    Who doesn't love a cast-on party! Actually, I've had far too many of them, so I'm trying to finish some UFOs and cast-on fewer new projects.
    I love the yarn for your sock. I knit a pair of mitts from a Bonnie Sennott pattern, and they came out really well.

  2. I am liking all the yarn you've chosen for your newest projects. Fractal will be so pretty - I like that her patterns are mathmatical in nature...really appeals to me. Certainly we need more kindness. Like you, I am longing for Fall.

  3. I do remember how hot and humid Nebraska can get in the summer. Falls in your area are beautiful, though. I love all your knitting projects and your book ideas. Hope the week continues to go well for you. See you again soon. :-)

  4. More kindness is definitely the order if the day. It seems an awful lot of people have forgotten how to be kind.

  5. Hmm, our cicadas started their deafening chorus this past week, so I'm wondering if that means our first frost will come at the beginning of October. I'm not rushing it, but I would like a break from the steaminess that won't leave.

    I'm glad to hear you've got a new plan that's working for Norah's sweater. And more kindness is greatly needed in the world right now.

  6. What a beautiful, thoughtful post, Jane. So much good stuff in there. (Except for the hot and steamy weather, which we have here, too. But somehow I think it might be even hotter and steamier in Nebraska . . . ) Our cicadas have just begun to hum here, too. I'm going to start preparing myself for a late fall. I am so intrigued by The Lost Words! It sounds like such a lovely book. I think I need to look for a copy myself. (And, as a painter, I am always a Major Fan of negative space. Just as important, really, as "positive space" -- and a lot more mysterious.) XO

  7. The cicadas steady drone fills the void left by the quieting of the birdsong. Although, I prefer the birdsong, the cicadas seem to be the harbingers of fall, so I am welcoming them... I am with Sarah, this humidity is just oppressive.

    Beautiful knitting!

  8. My grandfather used to say the same thing. He lived in Ohio, and I was wondering if it would hold true for MD and NJ. I like how you've adapted Norah's sweater, your pink socks, and that lovely Fractal Danger. I am going to take a look at Neighborhood Fiber Co. and Lost Words. Keep on with the knitting and kindness; you do them both so well (with tomatoes for backup).

  9. I must admit that I envy your continuing summer. Fall begins right on schedule every year the Monday after fair, which was this past Monday. I love autumn, so that wouldn’t be bad except for the fact that it is short here and just lied straight into our frigid winters.

    I remember those words being removed from the Oxford dictionary. And what you mentioned here reminds me that I think the reason they stated for removing them and inserting the others is precisely backwards. We shouldn’t have words in the dictionary that kids already know and are familiar with, the words that should be in there, if they have to make a choice, should be the ones that they don’t know.

  10. ahhh... I just love how reading a post about starting three projects can still make me feel centered and grounded. It's your voice I'm sure. The news today has upset the little bit of equilibrium I managed to achieve. maybe I just need to cast on a pair of socks?!

  11. I like the idea of a firs frost six weeks away! the cicadas are deafening here at the new house because we are closer to the wood's edge. I don't mind. love the projects especially the hitchhiker related one, she is a wonderful designer.

  12. Fracta1 is so beautiful. I am working on socks too!
    The crickets outside at night are singing a sweet song. A1 said they are not cicadas. They have many Cicada's in Ok1ahoma. IT is hot hot hot here. But that's August. I take time on the porch, then come in for a bit.