Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Summer Delights

A welcome rain fell last night. Today the sun shines on a humid day. As I walked my morning route, a gentleman told me he had a half-inch in his rain gauge. Sometimes I think I should walk somewhere else but then I would miss brief exchanges with familiar faces. We don't know each other's names but we wish each other good mornings and exchange a few words or just wave and smile. Eighteen months ago, one home experienced a fire that caused extensive damage. Last week one of the owners, a woman, was on the sidewalk after collecting her mail. I told her we'd been watching the progress of repairs and were glad they were back in their home. We chatted a few minutes about the rose bushes that line her sidewalk. These simple social courtesies make the world feel a little more civilized. 

This last Wednesday in July, I join Kat and the Unravelers to post about making and reading. These days I have more projects on the needles than usual. The little baby sweater is finished and sent on its way. I rarely knit newborn size but this one is bigger than I expected. Luckily, babies grow before we know it. It will fit eventually. The adult sweater I'm knitting needs four more inches of stockinette before I begin the ribbing. Last night I turned the heel on this first sock. Blue Lagoon is the name of the colorway, a delightful idea on a summer day. 

I cast on a shawl in my favorite shape. I had two half skeins and one partial skein left from a set I bought and used for another shawl project. Of course I didn't have enough for another shawl so I ordered a skein to go with the leftovers. This often happens. In an attempt to use leftover yarn, I buy more to go with it. It's no wonder the stash bins never empty. Do any of you do the same thing?

I am listening to the memoir, The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Well. The book is well written and the audio narrator does a good job. The story of a young girl and her sister as refugees during the Rwandan massacre and eventual immigration to the United States is not a feel good rags-to-riches story. Instead it's a hard story about the hell of war, the value of small kindnesses, and the strength of human spirit. Chapters alternate between Wamariya's time in Africa and what happens to her after arrival in Chicago. It's also the story of how one young woman makes sense of her experiences. The book would be eye-opening for anyone helping refugees arriving in a first-world country. It's worth reading.  

I am reading Cultivating Delight: A Natural History of my Garden by Diane Ackerman. I ordered a used copy and the cover jacket is very pretty. Ackerman writes nonfiction well, exploring ideas in depth. This is a book for the senses with beautiful descriptions of plants, trees, and critters. Written in 2001, some ideas seem a bit dated environmentally but it's a pleasant summer read. I've just begun. Kym wrote a post about her library, including her bookmark collection. In that spirit, I photographed the bookmark I'm using in this book. Given to me long ago by a good friend, the bookmark reads: "Fine friends, good books, hot chocolate . . . When one has these, one has a rich life."

My garden isn't nearly as spectacular as Ackerman's but last night I picked a little bouquet that delights me. The bread and butter pickles, made from our garden cucumbers, also delight me - or they will in the months to come. 

What delights are you finding this week?

Ravelry Links

Baby Sweater

Summer Socks

Cosmic Girl Shawl


Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Home Again

I did not write a post last week as we were with family in Minnesota. Each summer my sister and brother-in-law invite us to visit at their lake home in the northwoods. My brother and niece who live in Montana joined us. We enjoyed being together and enjoyed the area. My sister and I spent happy hours knitting and chatting on the screened in porch. I helped her make a batch of peach jam. We worked a jigsaw puzzle with my niece who is college bound this fall. A couple of afternoons I sat on the dock while my niece paddle-boarded or kayaked. We each experienced a few bittersweet moments as we remembered other visits with John, the brother who passed away last September. 

One afternoon my husband and I went into town. He browsed the big hardware store and read while I went to the Serenity Now Yarn and Alpaca Shop. The owner of the store and her husband also own an alpaca farm. The shop sells commercial yarn as well as fiber and yarn from their animals. They also sell spinning wheels. I had arranged to take a lesson on spinning. Esther spent two hours with me. I spun and plied this little ball of beginner yarn. The cream colored fiber is cormo and the soft brown is the owner's alpaca. She sells Kromski Spinning Wheels so I tried a Kromski Fantasia and a Kromski Sonata Wheel. One thing different from the lesson I took in March was time spent spinning with already spun yarn to get the feel of yarn/fiber going through my fingers and on to the wheel. Esther was very kind and patient. I throughly enjoyed the lesson and came away thinking I could eventually master spinning on a wheel. The spinning adventure continues. 

Today (and other Wednesdays) Kat greets her readers as "gentle unravelers." I love her greeting. The world benefits from gentle makers. At any rate, I am happy to be back, writing in this space. I didn't take many photos or read blogs while I was away. I'm slowly catching up and finding it takes me longer to rest from traveling than it used to. Oh - age. 

At any rate, our trip to Minnesota made for good knitting time. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't knit away the miles. I almost finished the baby sweater in Minnesota. I did knit the last few rows of the second sleeve after I got home. Somehow my count on the decorative stitches was off and after knitting those rows three times, I decided to sort that out at home. Now the sweater needs a spa treatment, ends woven in, and buttons but it will be ready before the intended recipient arrives in August. On the ride home, 525 miles, I worked on a new pair of socks.  

While away I read Garlic, Mint, and Sweet Basil by Jean-Claude Izzo, a little book of essays that I purchased at the Watermark Books and Cafe in Wichita, Kansas. We usually stop there on our Texas trips. This independent bookstore is a gem and I sometimes purchase a book I wouldn't find at Barnes and Noble. In this book, Izzo wrote about the cities around the Mediterranean Sea. The three very short pieces that make up the title were the best. I found his opinion that the cities around all sides of the Mediterranean should be viewed as one community and not separated into European, African, Middle East locations interesting. He wrote a little about the commonalities between the cities. Some of the book was a bit esoteric and not to my liking. The book was also translated from French which also changes a reading experience. 

I hope your making and reading is treating you well. I look forward to catching up with this blog community. 

Ravelry Links

Baby Sweater

Summer Socks

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Tomato Growing Weather

Hot humid days and evenings arrive early this July. Evening temperatures stay in the mid-80's. My Granddad used to call hot days with very warm nights "tomato growing weather." Indeed my tomato patch is thriving. This is good because the basil is waiting. When we leave town, a neighbor and I trade watering chores. I also knit baby sweaters for her grandchildren. It's a fair trade and she tends a large garden so is knowledgeable about watering. I also use drip hoses which makes watering easier and more efficient. 

Today is Unraveled Wednesday with Kat and company. I'm not sure how I came to be knitting two sweaters in the summer but here they are on my knitting needles. As the news unravels, I am glad I can knit. I am working away at a bin of very nice stash yarn. I bought the yarn for this sweater in the early days of the Pandemic. Remember those days? They feel like forever ago and just yesterday. Over the weekend, I put the sleeve stitches on waste yarn and knit another inch of the body. Then I tried it on for the moment of truth. Lo and behold the sweater fits so if I don't get too warm with a sweater in my lap, I have lots of round and round knitting ahead. I made this pattern a year ago in a different yarn and will have two completely different sweaters. 

I cast on a baby sweater for the soon-to-be granddaughter of my neighbor. I had yarn leftover from a cardigan I knit for Norah so I'm using it for this pattern. I have knit this little sweater in both fingering and sport weight. Since this is DK yarn, I'm knitting the newborn size knowing it will be bigger and hopefully fit the baby by the time she needs a sweater. She will be born in Minnesota so a heavier cozy sweater makes sense to me. 

I read a book leftover from our trip, The Lost Apothecary. The title was on the March 2022 Indie Next List. The story features three women from two different times, each at a crossroads in her life. I found the novel to be slightly below average. Some of the plot twists were unrealistic and read like a melodrama. My summer reading feels odd this year. The craziness of the world effects what I want to read, not too heavy but not too fluffy either. I have a stack of library holds that aren't yet available to me so maybe I'll read some tried and true authors. 

As we step into July, may your making keep you good company and your garden thrive.

Ravelry Links


Yoked Baby Sweater

It's a jungle out there - but a good one.