Welcome to the Second Quarter, Gentle Readers!
I am wondering how on earth I am welcoming April… no fooling! This year seems to be moving at a pace slightly faster than warp speed… sigh.
However, my Blog Calendar tells me that today is the day for my Currently Check In! I am excited to be documenting my year in this way. This feels better to me than the monthly review… which, for me, felt like Blog Overkill. For me it feels better to check-in with a current list that allows me to see what I am doing now and where I was with the hope of perhaps holding myself accountable for things that “fall off my radar” for whatever reason.
Decreasing: Stashes… of all sorts. I spent some time at the end of March going through my “Yarn Closet”… reorganizing and, yes, removing a good portion of The Stash. It felt good. I also went through some “unpacked boxes” left overs from my move from Michigan almost 10 years ago…Yeah, I should have just tossed those boxes but I went through them. Thanks to one of those boxes I have a new set of pjs and I will soon have another pair completed! But most of the stuff I unearthed is gone… or is waiting to be donated. Some time ago I started a box for each of my kids and then promptly (conveniently?) forgot about them. But those boxes are back on my radar and I am going to spend this quarter working on getting them filled (which I hope will empty more boxes!)
Increasing: Play Time! Thanks to Karen Abend’s Sketchbook Revival, I have been spending some time each day practicing not being perfect. Playing. Coloring outside the lines. Trying new things. Contemplating creativity. And it has been so much fun! This is a thing that I want to keep on doing… because it is such a great release! Because it is so much fun! And because I am inspiring myself.
Anticipating: Spring. Really. Mother Nature has teased us with some hints of spring but I fear that we are going to go from Winter to Summer… wham, bam. Boo, because I like the in-between seasons… spring and fall. A gradual easing into what is coming next…but I might need to disavow myself of that wish this year. Sigh. Instead, I am looking forward to April Poetry and an April Trip to Erie… things that I can be sure of! Ha! And speaking of April Poetry – you will find Kym, Bonny, Sarah, and myself sharing our love of poetry on Thursday’s this month!
Meanwhile, in the oven: Yes, I am still mixing up a “Tub of Dough” roughly every 20 days…and baking baguettes, boules, and lots of pizza! I just love the ease and simplicity of 5-Minute Bread… This was absolutely one of the best things I am continuing from the start of the year. I hope to figure out focaccia this quarter…I have a recipe, I just need to make the time to make the recipe!
The Bandwagon Knitting Ban: Yes, that is right… In January I jumped on the bandwagon to knit a Musselburgh Hat… and… it was a failure on a number of levels. First… my yarn was too fine… so my hat might have fit a shrunken head. Second… Bandwagon Knitting. Yeah, sometimes it works… but, for me, it has not worked for a long time. I end up with a thing I won’t use or wear. So yep, I have A Bandwagon Knitting Ban… for the foreseeable future.
Projects for Success: This idea really resonates with me. But what is it… well, for me, it is making things I love…and wear often….again. Sort of like a Uniform Wardrobe…pieces that wear and play well with the other wardrobe staples. In that frame of mind… I started another Tegna, this time with a warm weather yarn. I also want to knit another Fall/Winter Marsa Alum. (Ravelry Link) I also plan on sewing another Esme Tunic… in a summery linen. I am also contemplating knitting another Ranunculus, (Ravelry Link) most likely not out of linen yarn this time… but I don’t have any idea on what yarn I want to use, but I am thinking about it… lots.
Reading: My reading life is so much better this year. I stopped reading for a “number” and started reading more spur of the moment reads. These little changes have really inspired me! And the books I am reading are staying with me longer… which might be the best change ever. Sometimes small changes make a huge difference in the quality of ones life. That is certainly true for me and reading this year!
And there you have a snapshot of my currents… Have a great weekend everyone and I will see you all back here on Monday!
Greetings Unraveler’s and Happy Wednesday!
I have been very productive since we last talked! I spent some time going through my stash… and I culled quite a few things. So now when I look in my “Yarn Cupboard” I can clearly see what is there, and it has been separated (once again) into categories… sock, not sock, and lace weight… and in the sorting I had unearthed some yarns I completely forgot I had! Which was perfect because I needed to cast on something that would qualify as a “mindless knit” … and what is more mindless than a sock (at least before the heel flap portion! Ha!) Enter this discontinued Meilenweit Mega Boots yarn and I have started a sock for Steve. I cast on last night…I am using my own sock recipe, but have changed up the ribbing a bit. Hopefully it works! Ha! Anyways, I am still working my way through the cuff… so yes, I have miles to go.
I have a Tegna that I knit some years ago out of mohair-silk. I love the sweater and it is the perfect layering sweater. I can wear it over a tunic or with pants. It is just such a versatile sweater I wanted another one that I could wear in the warm weather months… and had been looking at yarns for it when I unearthed 11 skeins of Elsbeth Lavold Hempathy. I swatched… and got gauge! I know! I love Hempathy… it is the easiest care yarn for summer. It does not stretch out when you wear it, and it washes up beautifully in the washing machine. And, I test drove my swatch in the dryer and my gauge did not change! So I cast on a new Tegna as well. (This is currently not a mindless knit thanks to the tricky but oh so lovely lace edging at the bottom.)
Finally, I have a successful finish to my Agnes Pajamas… yes, the button holes are done! I watched several videos and made some good notes. I have a Bernina machine that is 30+ years old…. and it still is going strong. I have long since lost the manual, so button holes are kind of a nebulous thing. They are not entirely automatic, but they are semi-automatic… sort of… anyways, I did several test button holes to get the size right and, more importantly, to get all the steps that I needed to do coordinated. And then I did the button holes on my pjs and they were a success! Wooo! All I needed to add were 5 vintage buttons from my Nana’s button box and Voilà! My new favorite PJ’s!
On my agenda today is to get another set of pjs pinned out and cut so they are ready for me to sew… yes, they are that good!
The reading this week was a mixed bag. But they can’t all be 5-star books, right?
House of Spies by Daniel Silva
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I had originally marked this a 4-star read, but since have backed it down to 3… this was not my favorite Allon story and I am wondering if this series has outlived its life.
Gabriel is now “The Chief” of The Office… and I am not sure if this is a good fit for him. Gabriel is not even in the story until almost a third of the way into the book.
In previous books, the stories seemed to have a “reality” thread that ran through them… but this book just seemed to have ditched any thread of reality and headed off into the “this can never, ever happen” waters… and I had a hard time with that…so many things seemed so far fetched.
I will give this series another shot… but if that is more of this, then I am likely done with this series. Your milage may vary though!
Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read and loved Braiding Sweetgrass and could not imagine anything topping that, much less an entire book devoted to mosses… yet here I am telling you now that I am fascinated by mosses, I am suddenly seeing them everywhere I go, and I am wondering what else I can learn about them!
Yet, this book is not just a scientific tome about mosses… nope. RWK, in her amazing way, shares the story of mosses in a way that is so interesting. I feel like she has woven a little moss basket, tucked me in and carried me to a magical place. She is an amazing story teller, she brings the reader into her magical world… and honestly, I never want to leave that place.
If you want to learn about mosses, this book is a great place to start, but if you really just want to experience a(nother) slice of RWK’s life… read this book. She is a master. I highly recommend!
I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Oof, this book! A friend described it as a mindf*ck, and is it ever. After reading it, I am not sure what is real and what is not… and I think that was Watkins intention.
I have one great take away though… she left me questioning if the better mother is the one who thinks she is failing… or the one who is the “perfect mother”… my gosh, it made me stop and think (for days now) and my feeling…well of course it is the mother who thinks she is a failure. Every.single.time.
The stories about her dad though… oh my, they made me wildly uncomfortable.
Sometimes though… you just have to read the wildly uncomfortable… (still, I could only give this 2-stars because of that wildly uncomfortable-ness… it was almost too much)
And that is all I have for today! As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!
We need much less than we think we need. ―
This month I have contemplated full from a different perspective… rather than comparing it to emptiness, I considered contentment.
And Maya is so very correct… I need much less than I think I need.
The Less is More concept is a foreign one to me because… being a True American…I always want the next best thing. Rather than being content with the overabundance that I have, I am quickly distracted to that next thing… (Hello to all my fellow Band Wagon Jumpers!)
So this month I slowed down, I thought more, and I waited longer to make impulse decisions.
Perhaps Pandemic Living had already set my feet on the path to slowing down and thinking about decisions. Yet, I still jumped on a Band Wagon or two recently… and lived to regret doing so. And that was after thinking about that decision for a number of days. So I increased the wait time… drastically. And low and behold… the urge eventually passed for almost all the things that I thought I desperately needed.
Instead of filling up with more things, this month I focused on being Full of Contentment. I spent some time with March Madness. I sewed… and worked on liking the necessary process required to get to the point of sewing. I read some unexpected books thanks to not having an entirely full Book Queue which allows me to do some “spur of the moment” reading. I gave my self permission to let go of perfection and played with water colors… and loved every imperfect second of it! I pulled out yarn from my stash and cast on for a summer sweater that I had been contemplating *buying yarn to knit*! And there was even a healthy dose of Bonus Contentment when I got gauge… The Knitting Gods were smiling! I put contentment in my Daily Gratitude Journal… more than once. It is a good reminder that more is not better… and contentment is exactly enough!
I am really loving this process of looking at what full means and I am eager to continue this journey in April!
A huge thanks to Carolyn for hosting us this month! See you all back here on Wednesday!
I have said this many times, that there seems to be enough room in the world for mediocre men, but not for mediocre women, and we really have to work very, very hard. — Madeleine Albright
Dearest Madam Secretary,
The news of your passing took me by surprise this week because, somehow, I was of the mindset that you would be here forever… If only. I have such incredible memories of you… starting with your becoming Madam Secretary. My goodness, that was such a note worthy event. You were The First (but absolutely not the last!) You were such an incredible breaker of glass ceilings and you were most certainly not mediocre! But my greatest joy ever was listening to you read your book, Fascism: A Warning… I imagined that what you shared must be similar to what your students heard in your classes, and perhaps… what other leaders heard when you spoke to them. You are leaving a void that will take many to fill but fortunately, you have inspired so many others and my hope is that those many others will rise up and fill that void in magnificent ways. I promise you that your memory is a blessing to so many. May you rest in power.
With Deepest Sympathies,
A Devoted Fan
Honorable Judge Brown Jackson,
I wanted to take a moment to send you my thoughts on The Senate Confirmation Hearing…aka Your Week In Hell. I am so very sorry that out of the hundreds of judgements that you have delivered, some…the mediocre…only focused on a very small handful. Do not fear, we all saw that they were doing there… Sadly, Irony died a very long time ago. The adage of glass houses seems to be most appropriate here, but they are blind and deaf to that. Sadly, the mediocre are never mute… and for a very brief moment I erroneously felt a bit of woman-ship with you. Many of us have been in meetings where we were interrupted…continuously… so please, forgive my white privilege in even momentarily thinking what I (and many other white women) experienced was in any way similar, it was not…at all. I also want to thank Cory Booker for showing us all so beautifully how to have someones back. And yet through the entire debacle, you maintained such incredible composure! You are a shining example for all of us! I am so eager for your confirmation to the Supreme Court. Your presence there is long overdue…and I, for one, am so glad you persevered. You are the best of all of us!
A Joy-Full and Inspired American
Have a great weekend everyone, I will see you all back here on Monday with my word update!
We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. — George Bernard Shaw
I have a completed pair of socks! Yay! Thanks to Vera for clueing me in to this sock pattern. It is free, well written, and a joy to knit! (Bonus… the fit is fab!)
I am contemplating my next pair of socks… and I saw these socks (Ravelry link) and have been thinking about them… lots. I have lots of sock yarn left overs, but I have not yet considered how many I have that will work well together.
I also have been doing some creative playing! Kym sent me an email for Sketchbook Revival… two weeks of inspiration (and it is free!) It started on Monday, I had time to sit down and watch the first video on Tuesday… and so I started. I have not painted anything creatively in eons… and I know next to nothing about watercolors… but gosh was Day One fun! I plan to doodle a bit more today and then settle in and watch Day Two’s video.
A quiet reading week for me… just one finish:
Flights by Olga Tokarczuk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I wasn’t in a hurry. I never have to be in any particular place at any particular time. Let time watch me, not me it.
Whew! This is a book in which you must pay attention… closely. The subtleties are extraordinary, and they are a very important undercurrent of this book.
The story felt very disjointed to me, at times, abrupt endings. Moving on to abrupt topics. Abruptly leaving those topics… and yet… Tokarczuk returned to each thing that felt disjointed… eventually. But once I really started actively listening, I began to notice the subtleties that changed my understanding of what was going on.
All that being said, this is not an easy listen… because you have to really think… hard… often. That makes it not a “calgon take me away read”… but all that aside… The writing is really beautiful. The translation is excellent. And stepping outside of my “reading comfort zone” to consider a challenging read is a very, very good thing.
I heartily recommend… but your milage may vary.
That is all for me today… I am off to do some watercolor doodling! What fun thing are you going to do today?
As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!