Sometimes Monday… | 5.17.21

Sometimes Monday… | 5.17.21

…is a respite from The Very, Very, Incredibly Busy Weekend.

It was full. So full.

My weekend started with some al Fresco-soak in the sunshine-sip a couple of beers dining. Yes, sunshine!! Temperatures that were well above freezing! Gosh, it felt so good and was the perfect way to welcome the weekend!

Saturday we headed out to find some asparagus (we didn’t) and get plants for both the flower containers and the vegetable garden (we got a few…sigh). Our local vegetable/garden center was a huge disappointment. A huge, gigantic disappointment. They had plants… lots of the same kind of plants. Perfect if you want pink petunias in every container. Less than perfect if that was not the look you were going for. Oh… and there was not one single impatien. So… on my list this week is to get out to another greenhouse for some variety for our shaded patio!

The remainder of the weekend we spent working on some major changes to the current garden beds. We lost a couple of shrubs over the winter, which has given us the opportunity to rework a couple of garden beds. Plus I have a few things that needed dividing… and once we started, we just kept on going… until we were about ready to fall over on Sunday afternoon! (and no, we did not finish, but the remaining little garden beds just need a wee bit of weeding. Oh, and we need so.much.mulch…ugh)

So that brings me to Monday… my take a big breath and ease into a busy week day. On the top of my list is to give myself a little rescue manicure this morning. (a desperately needed manicure thanks to the weekend!)

And the only other thing on my list today is to put together a bag for tomorrow when I am helping at the polls for our election. It is an entirely local election for us this time and so it won’t be busy… (how sad is that!) I need to have some things to knit and some things to read so I need to get that sorted today.

I hope your Monday will be amazing no matter how many things you have on your list. I will see you back here on Wednesday (albeit a little later than usual) for some Unraveling!

 

TGIF (etc) | 5.14.21

TGIF (etc) | 5.14.21

It feels like I have not done one of these posts in ages and so I thought that it would be a wonderful way to end the week:

(bookish) Thinking —

I managed to print out not one, but two Summer Book Bingo cards. I know… what is wrong with me! But there is a method to my madness, I like the squares for the most part of both cards so I have been thinking about potential books that would work. The winning card will be the one that has the most books “pre-filled” before Memorial Day Weekend arrives! I have not felt any urgency to get this done because it barely feels like May outside… it feels more like March! But, I digress…one thing I think would be riotously fun is the idea that Mary suggested of “square swapping”! She asked me earlier in the week if I had my card printed out (I didn’t then, but I do now!) and I have been pondering what square I might like to swap with her. I am thinking that it might make sense to trade her my “Modern Mrs. Darcy” square from Card One… but I don’t know what she might like to get rid of. Mary!! I am hoping you will weigh in here and we can do a bit of swapping! If you want to swap a square with me… let me know what you are offering!

 

(friendly) Goodwill —

Over the past couple of weeks, the kindness of “strangers” has really been the tide that is lifting my boat. Small things that were so unexpected and yet they made such an impact on me. A little book of poetry from Kym to thank me for participating in Poetry Month with her. I have been reading a poem or two a day with my morning meditation time and it has quickly become the bright spot of my morning! A little knitting “kit” from Jane (that she made!) really was the perfect thing… I had been contemplating getting something so when this arrived it just seemed like Jane had read my mind and put together exactly what I had been thinking about. A couple of weeks ago Vera was doing a bit of a “destash” of her amazing stitching patterns so imagine my surprise with the plethora that arrived this week! Plus some bits of lovely linen and threads! Ladies, your little gifts have truly wowed me! Your kindness and generosity are incredible and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

 

(ducks) In a row —

My first step in sewing a few new pieces (from new patterns) for my wardrobe is to make muslins. But!! Before even that can happen I need to trace off the patterns onto tracing paper, and get everything ready to cut out the pieces. Recently, someone told me that tracing patterns was their least favorite thing, but I want to tell you all that it is the most important step of the entire process. Is it fun? Yes, I think so! It is the first place that I make alterations even before I start sewing. I can alter inseam length, rise, and sleeve length – things I know I always make adjustments on. Tracing patterns off also allows you to blend sizes! All those steps takes some time, but it also means a much better outcome (even for a lowly muslin!) So I hope to carve out some time today to begin the the tracing process. Hopefully I will get everything traced off so I can sit down and begin the “great cut out” later today. On a side note, I saw a color blocked version of this and I am also tossing the fabric stash to see if I have any fabrics that might coordinate together to try one!

(al) Fresco —

It has been such an incredibly shitty spring… cold (I mean we had frost three times this week, for crying out loud), rainy, cloudy… just really miserable weather. My furnace still is running in the mornings that is how cold it is has been! But today we are supposed to get almost to 70° and the sun is shining!! We are going to head out for a little outside dining on the lovely patio at our local brewery… pizza and beer for lunch sounds like the perfect way to begin the weekend! I might have to wear a sweater, but the sun is shining and there is not a single cloud in the sky!

(etc)

I am including this lovely little poem by Jack Ridl which comes from the book Kym sent – How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope. This little poem has migrated to my pocket – it is a lovely reminder to enjoy the simple things, which seems incredibly important this morning after yesterdays “freedom from masks” announcement. I have some “brain retraining” work to do before I feel comfortable with that whole idea, but I am reminding myself that I trust the science… especially the science of the effectiveness of the vaccines – even against the variants that are floating around.

After Spending the Morning Baking Bread

Our cat lies across the stove’s front burners,
right leg hanging over the oven door. He
is looking into the pantry where his bowl
sits full on the counter. His smaller dish,
the one for his splash of cream, sits empty.
Say yes to wanting to be this cat. Say
yes to wanting to lie across the leftover
warmth, letting it rise into your soft belly,
spreading into every twitch of whisker, twist
of fur and cell, through the Mobius strip
of your bloodstream. You won’t know
you will die. You won’t know the mice
do not exist for you. If a lap is empty and
warm, you will land on it, feel an unsteady
hand along your back, fingers scratching
behind your ear. You will purr.


That is all I have for this week! I hope you all have an amazing Friday and an even better weekend! I will see you all back here on Monday!

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.12.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.12.21

Try new things, step out of your comfort zone, take risks, do things in ways you’ve never done them before, ask for help, surround yourself with self-actualized people, become obsessed with the fact that you have one go–round on this planet as the you that is you, and realize how precious and important it is not to squander that. — Jen Sincero

Lots has happened in the making department since last week. I have become a bit obsessed with spinning and practicing the things I learned in my spinning classes. I have taken classes before but have never really just sat down and kept doing the things I learned… it was helpful that the classes were recorded so I could go back and watch parts of them over. It was helpful to rewatch techniques to reinforce them in my head and in my hands and feet!

But, lest you think I am a slacker…I am happy to report that I almost have everything crossed off of my Monday List and I have carved out a bit of “making time” as well! I have done a wee bit of knitting on the Marled Purl Strings, not much… but some! I have 5 repeats of the body to go to bind off… and then Sleeve Island! I am contemplating shorter sleeves on this Purl Strings…we shall see. Yarn amounts might dictate that is all that can happen and I am just preparing myself for the likelihood, lol.

My big finish this week though is handspun yarn!

This is the “Chickadee Mixed BFL” from Fibernymph Dye Works. Gosh, I am so excited about this yarn! I spun the red contrast before my spinning classes and the brown yarn after, and boy… the difference is striking! The red yarn is a bit heavier than the brown… a true 3-ply light fingering weight sock yarn! My yardage is excellent as well, pre-washing I have 470-ish yards. I expect it to bloom slightly when finished, so I will loose a tiny bit of yardage, but I will have more than enough to knit a pair of socks!

I am working on spinning some new yarn from fiber from another local source, HipStrings. It is one of their special blends (Shetland, Manx Loaghton, Flax, and Silk) and the color way is “Housefinch” – I am thinking this will have some amazing drape once knit up and I am hoping to have enough for a small shawl. Stay tuned!

Also… I may have jumped on a mystery KAL Bandwagon. Okay, I did…lol. I really feel like doing some “timed” knitting! This should be the incentive I need to get my Purl Strings finished before June 9th! Ha!

There was so much good reading again this week! Yay for audiobooks as a most excellent companion for unpleasant tasks! Ha!

The Book of Lost NamesThe Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another book about WWII, the Holocaust, and the French resistance. The story is engaging even if the ending is somewhat predictable. I liked the Resistance story, I don’t know how factual that portion of the story was, but I hope it was.

 

How the Penguins Saved VeronicaHow the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The unwrapping of one very crotchety octogenarian, Veronica McReedy. What a fun, brilliant, unexpected little book! I laughed, I cried, and I hoped that Mrs. McReedy would find what she did not know she was looking for! A heart-warming story and I highly recommend!

Writers & LoversWriters & Lovers by Lily King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you think that this book just about writers and finding love… you’d be so wrong. It’s so much more. It’s about discovery. It’s about letting go. It’s about persistence. It’s about friendship. And, it’s about life… with all the messy bits. The writing is so good… so very good! I did not want it to end!


That is all I have to share today… what about you? What is your latest obsession??

As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below!


Sometimes Monday… | 5.10.21

Sometimes Monday… | 5.10.21

  • arrives right on schedule despite a weekend of little sleep…courtesy of a returning bout of insomnia.
  • comes with a longer than usual to do list…courtesy of me ignoring things to sit and spin instead for most of last week.
  • shows up despite having done no blog post prep over the weekend (if only that single thing kept Monday’s from arriving, I’d make it a weekly thing! lol)

I’d like to say it was a great weekend but the weather was really horrid here in Pittsburgh. We had to have the heat on because it was so cold and damp in the house. And Mother’s Day had particularly miserable weather, but I did get some “sunny” phone calls.

If you are wondering how cold it was here this weekend, I took the iris photo on Saturday and it is still blooming this morning.

Things I did not do this weekend (or last week for that matter): laundry, kitchen floors, bathroom, thank you note writing, (or blog post writing…sigh.)

So here I am on a dreary, yet dry, Monday – list in one hand, an extra large coffee in the other…and maybe, just maybe, if I can get through that list a reward of an afternoon nap could be mine!

I hope your Monday is less full than mine and that your weekend was amazing!

See you all back here on Wednesday!

 

 

My New Spinning Obsession

My New Spinning Obsession

I had the unbelievable fortune to take not one, but two of the online class offerings from MDSW last week.

My first class, Twist with Maggie Casey, was mind-blowing. For a long time… too long…I have spun the same default yarn. Now, that is not necessarily a bad thing if you always make the same thing… but if you want to make different things, you need to make different yarn.

BFL, Shetland, and Merino

Enter Maggie Casey! I spent 3 hours with her helping me see twist in an entirely different way… and as a result twist and tension have become my new jam! The fibers she sent for her class were just incredible, as you can see!

I loved that she started at our “default” yarn and had us make tiny adjustments from that point. It was dramatic to feel the difference and to see the difference on the bobbin!

And if all that wasn’t enough, I then spent two hours with Judith MacKenzie learning about Columbia Sheep and especially their amazing fleece! I learned about processing wool… washing, carding, flicking, and how amazing fiber makes processing so much easier! (and better quality fiber means better spinning!) Judith sent a gorgeous box of fiber… some washed locks to flick, a batt that I made rolags from, and even some unwashed locks to wash myself! (Have Dawn Dishsoap, will wash fiber! Purists out there…if Dame Judith says Dawn works and I believe her!) This fiber washes up completely white… bright white! And I learned why Columbia wool likes to be dyed! Columbia wool has “dye sites” which is how the fiber draws in dye from the tip and the color is pulled down the fiber in a corkscrew fashion on each strand of fiber (I Googled this to learn more, but I found nothing. However, if Dame Judith says it, I absolutely believe it!) It was also fun to see a familiar face in the virtual class!

On a side note… Columbia Fleece are enormous! If you’d be interested in splitting a fleece with me, let me know! 

Columbia in all forms!

Unwashed locks on the far right…it gets so clean!

Flicked locks… puffs of white that begs to be spun!

These rolags… long draw heaven right there!

I did a bunch of sampling this week and I was inspired to move beyond sampling and use my newly learned techniques to spin up the Chickadee fiber from FiberNymph Dye Works and I am blown away! I have a full bobbin and still have fiber to spin! Three ply sock yarn that is actually sock yarn weight has been achieved! I am so excited and hope to finish the bit of fiber I have to go today and ply next week.

This mixed BFL is going to be gorgeous yarn!

I got the second Backyard Birds shipment this week and the Polwarth/Silk fiber is gorgeous! The Colorway…Blue Jay and I am thinking shawlette currently because I don’t know that I could get a shawls worth of yarn spun, but who knows!

I love the hint of blue in the complimentary color fiber!

And that is all I have for this week! Have a great Mother’s Day weekend and I will see you all back here on Monday!

 

 

 

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