Monday Poetry | 12.27.21

Monday Poetry | 12.27.21

Happy Birthday to me! Today begins my 61st year! 61 years brings lots of retrospection and thinking about birthdays of long ago. When I was a child, it almost always seemed to snow on my birthday and I loved it so much! I have also been thinking about Christmas Vacation birthdays. That’s right…one of the benefits of having your birthday 2 days after Christmas is that you never have school… but that is one of the detriments as well. Sometimes it would have been nice to be in school on my birthday… and even better, it would have been so fun having a snow day!

I won’t see any snow today (it’s pouring down rain…sigh) but thankfully Billy Collins can conjure up a Snow Day for me!

I hope you all enjoy a bit of a Snow Day today (even if there is no physical snow!) I will see you back here tomorrow with an update on my word!


Snow Day

BY BILLY COLLINS

Today we woke up to a revolution of snow,
its white flag waving over everything,
the landscape vanished,
not a single mouse to punctuate the blankness,
and beyond these windows

the government buildings smothered,
schools and libraries buried, the post office lost
under the noiseless drift,
the paths of trains softly blocked,
the world fallen under this falling.

In a while, I will put on some boots
and step out like someone walking in water,
and the dog will porpoise through the drifts,
and I will shake a laden branch
sending a cold shower down on us both.

But for now I am a willing prisoner in this house,
a sympathizer with the anarchic cause of snow.
I will make a pot of tea
and listen to the plastic radio on the counter,
as glad as anyone to hear the news

that the Kiddie Corner School is closed,
the Ding-Dong School, closed.
the All Aboard Children’s School, closed,
the Hi-Ho Nursery School, closed,
along with—some will be delighted to hear—

the Toadstool School, the Little School,
Little Sparrows Nursery School,
Little Stars Pre-School, Peas-and-Carrots Day School
the Tom Thumb Child Center, all closed,
and—clap your hands—the Peanuts Play School.

So this is where the children hide all day,
These are the nests where they letter and draw,
where they put on their bright miniature jackets,
all darting and climbing and sliding,
all but the few girls whispering by the fence.

And now I am listening hard
in the grandiose silence of the snow,
trying to hear what those three girls are plotting,
what riot is afoot,
which small queen is about to be brought down.

Billy Collins, “Snow Day” from Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (New York: Random House, 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Billy Collins. Reprinted with the permission of Sll/Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.22.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.22.21

(Sorry this post is so late but I entirely forgot to get a photo yesterday while it was light out!)

I have a finished hat and am working towards a finished second sock!

However, this week I thought I’d answer the question that Jane had about knitting with a strand of mohair… and does the choice of mohair matter! (Hint… the mohair of today is not your grandmother’s mohair!)

I have knit lots with mohair… from an entire shawl with just mohair – which I will never do again – to many things with a strand of yarn held together with a strand of mohair. It is the loveliest addition you can give to your knitting!

But!!! Not all mohair has been created equally. And the choice you make can either make your project sing or not. I hope to share my thoughts on some of the mohairs out there.

I think the first mohair I ever saw (and bought like it was candy!) was Rowan Kidsilk Haze. Yes, the colors are incredible and it feels wonderful when you hold the skein. But… in a knitting application by itself it is scratchy and really not fabulous to knit with (those mohair horror stories you have heard about… I am pretty sure the culprit was Kidsilk Haze.) Add to that… I don’t think it is worth the price for the yardage you don’t get.

I have tried several “indie” dyer’s mohairs and, like Kidsilk Haze, looks and feel can be deceiving. For example, recently, I knit a hat with some mohair (Wobble Gobble Kidmo) that I got from Wool & Honey in Michigan. Yes the color and hand were great but the finished product has almost no halo (which if you are going to strand mohair along with yarn you want the halo to be noticeable!) But the yardage is excellent and I have more than half the skein of the Wobble Gobble left so I am going to try it with some handspun to see if that makes any difference at all (so stay tuned!!)

I have been recently seeing quite a few brushed alpaca yarns and I picked up a skein of Little Fox Nuages and it is a lovely “strand along” yarn. It is a little bit thicker than mohair and has some intense halo! Perfect for the hat I finished this week!

But… my hands down favorite is Floof from Fibernymph Dyeworks. It is excellent yardage and it is silky soft in the skein *and* in the knitted garment. I carried this along in a sweater that I wear all.the.time. Seriously. Most mornings I get up and pull it on over my jammies. It is next to skin soft and so warm and cozy. And the halo. Well… it is just so great! Yes, there has been a minute amount of pilling but I am not sure if this is because of the mohair or the merino lace yarn I carried it along with it. However, Floof is absolutely a yarn I would buy again! Especially if I was going to knit something where I wanted the halo to be noticeable. And yes… I would absolutely use this to knit another sweater!

And there you have my mohair advice FWIW! As always, I welcome your questions and will happily share my very opinionated thoughts!

The reading this week was so so good! (So good it caused a bit of reading induced insomnia!) Just two finishes but they were so good!

The Lincoln HighwayThe Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A book about a journey, but not where you think it is going to go. I listened to it and I loved the narration… hearing each character share their thoughts was wonderful.

Towles has crafted some incredibly interesting characters and then weaves them into such an intriguing story. I was drawn along to see if wrongs could be righted and if wounds could be healed. I loved the twists and turns and I was surprised more than once! (But really, I just plain loved Billy!)

The ending though… I am still asking myself what??? Which I think is a good thing for a book to have… an ending that leaves you wondering! If you deeply loved A Gentleman in Moscow, you might not love this book as much… but it is still very good!

I highly recommend!

The Black Widow (Gabriel Allon, #16)The Black Widow by Daniel Silva
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Just wow. This book! Yikes!

A new team member? A new chief?

Will these things happen? (especially the new chief part… right?)

Each Allon book shows more character development and in this book it was Gabriel’s turn to shine… and shine he did! I find it so hard to put these books down once I start… and I have many a night that I went to bed way to late because I could not stop reading!

I highly recommend this very smart series. Yes, they are character heavy… but they are such incredible characters! I love this series… so much!


Steve has the remainder of the week off… so I will be back on Monday with some poetry! Tuesday I will have my final word update for 2021 AND next Wednesday I will have a bit of a year end knitting/reading recap. The best of the knits and the reads!

Merry Christmas!

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


Monday Poetry | 12.20.21

Monday Poetry | 12.20.21

There are times when hindsight gives a clarity that is astounding… I should have voted with the doctor for stitches rather than voting for no stitches. Her wisdom has been so correct…she gave me two scenarios: One: get stitches, likely lose my nail, but my finger would heal faster…but likely probably with more pain. Two: no stitches, perhaps keep my nail, heal slower, but with less pain… and here I am more than a week in and my finger is still not healed and still not fully functional. My frustration level is moving towards the “off the charts” realm and I am sick of the entire process of healing/cleaning/bandaging/etc. (And while I can sort of type… mainly it is an activity that increases my frustration level!)

If ever there was a need in my life for poetry, it is this morning. And today… I am sharing two poems that I truly love. The first, In the Bleak Midwinter by Christina Rossetti. This poem has always been one of my favorite hymns, but I did not know about Christina or her poetry until I did some research on the poem. Below is a very unique version of the hymn… which is usually sung by a boys choir (and quite beautifully, I might add) but there was something just stunning about this rendition.

And how can one ease into winter without a bit of Robert Frost? This poem sort of sums up my week ahead… I have miles to go before I can be ready for Christmas! lol

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

by ROBERT FROST
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” from The Poetry of Robert Frost, edited by Edward Connery Lathem. Copyright 1923, © 1969 by Henry Holt and Company, Inc., renewed 1951, by Robert Frost. Reprinted with the permission of Henry Holt and Company, LLC.


I will see you all back here on Wednesday with some knitting updates (hopefully!)

Happy Monday all!

Photo by Simon Berger from Pexels

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.15.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.15.21

I wish I could tell you that my making was on fire… but instead I have to tell you that I have mucked up my making but good. Monday afternoon I had a wee accident (okay, maybe not so tiny) with a bread knife… which meant I spent some time in urgent care. The good news… no stitches… the bad news, my finger is not working at all in the way it should. I, however, am following the doctor’s advice… keep the enormous bandage on (until this morning) and keep it dry! (I will spare you any gory details beyond that…but it was plenty of that!)

So… I am short and sweet on typing today because who knew an index finger could be so integral to that task!

But!! I have managed a couple of rounds on a hat… so there’s that!

But no sock knitting. No spinning. And no Gnome-ing!! Boo hoo!

The reading this week though… I went from The Sentence to my current book… The Lincoln Highway. Can a year of reading end in a better way?

Maybe… I got Amanda Gorman’s new poetry collection in the mail and it is so good!

The SentenceThe Sentence by Louise Erdrich
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I never imagine that I can possibly love the latest Erdrich book more than the last (or more than the Master Butcher’s Singing Club, which to date has been my favorite) but then I read The Sentence.

Wow. Brilliant writing! Captivating! Relevant. Timely… and so compelling. I struggled to put it down!

I have just one thing to say… read this book, ASAP!


I hope to be back on Friday…

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


Monday Poetry | 12.13.21

Monday Poetry | 12.13.21

When it seems like the world is collapsing in on itself and bad news is all around, poetry provides a respite that nothing else can.

The bird that came to my mind as I read Mary Oliver’s poem was a Cedar Waxwing with their distinctive white outline around their eyes. (and thanks to Pexel I found a photo to share on a morning as I am fresh out of Cedar Waxwing photos!)

This morning my thoughts are full of all those devastated by the spate of tornadoes that tore across so many states.

I will see you all back here on Wednesday.


White-Eyes

In winter
    all the singing is in
         the tops of the trees
             where the wind-bird
with its white eyes
    shoves and pushes
         among the branches.
             Like any of us
he wants to go to sleep,
    but he’s restless—
         he has an idea,
             and slowly it unfolds
from under his beating wings
    as long as he stays awake.
         But his big, round music, after all,
             is too breathy to last.
So, it’s over.
    In the pine-crown
         he makes his nest,
             he’s done all he can.
I don’t know the name of this bird,
    I only imagine his glittering beak
         tucked in a white wing
             while the clouds—
which he has summoned
    from the north—
         which he has taught
             to be mild, and silent—
thicken, and begin to fall
    into the world below
         like stars, or the feathers
               of some unimaginable bird
that loves us,
    that is asleep now, and silent—
         that has turned itself
             into snow.
Source: Poetry (Poetry Foundation, 2002)

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