Friday Brain Dump | 3.26.21

Friday Brain Dump | 3.26.21

After 100 days of Hope I struggled a bit to figure out what to post today. So I decided to just empty my brain and write.

It was a week of ups and downs. On the upside…as my snowdrops faded, the forsythia started to bloom! On the down side COVID has struck close to home. And while it is not in my house (that I know of), it is just too darned close for comfort and any plans I had for the weekend have been reduced to just staying home.

I thought I had a plan for my Daytripper Cardigan but as I colored, it was nice, but just not exciting. So I colored more. And still more. But finally, I left the plan and tried something different. And then I tried something even more different and the excitement grew! There is some real magic in finding the correct gauge AND the best colors for a project! Now, I just need to make a new “color” chart and I can cast on!

Out with the dark grey and the beiges, in with purple, raspberry, and a spring green!

While I am not trying to make the months go faster, I am excited for April because April is National Poetry Month!  And this April will be the 25th Anniversary! I am so ready! I have a stack of “new to me” poetry books! I am really looking forward to immersing myself in poetry all month long. I am late to the joy of poetry. I read some poetry in school, but just did not “get it” although I had a grandfather who had memorized poetry and shared it often. I liked listening to him recite poetry but I did not really fall in love with poetry until I read Kym’s blog as she shared poetry during National Poetry Month! This April, I am going to join her and Bonny as we each share poetry with you all!

I am so excited about all these books!

I had been really hoping to go get a hair cut soon-ish. However, the Close Encounter of the COVID kind plus this has put that on a back burner for the foreseeable future. However, I did do a little online therapy at Ulta and I can tell you that this is some awesome lip color! Also, these foot treatments and this hair treatment are the perfect things for a mini-spa day at home! (also, I have been watching Messy Bun tutorials on YouTube and while I am not 100% hair-styling proficient – I am trying to get better, but does it really matter in Pandemic Living?)

That is all I have for this week, I will be back on Monday to share an update on my word! Have a good weekend all!


Unraveled Wednesday | 3.24.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.24.21

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. — Samuel Beckett

This quote is my mantra for knitting this week. Yes, I have tried. Yes, I have failed. Yes, I tried again. Yes, I failed again. My attempts are not always better, but I still keep trying…as you can see from my foibles this week!

The foot looks long because it is!

This sock… sigh. I started once, but the pooling and looseness of the fabric meant I ripped it out and started over. Second start was fine until I got to the heel. Can I just say that counting really matters in knitting and if you are 3 stitches off on heel placement… well, it matters! lol So, that got ripped back and knit again. I kept wondering why it was “off center” but never sat down and counted. (Also, knitting while Zooming with the Exhuberant Jillian is a great way to make lots of mistakes, just saying.) Anyways, I ripped that back Monday morning and started the heel again… counting correctly this time! Then I got to the portion where I can start the cuff ribbing … and started until I realized that in order for this shortie sock to fit well, I will need some short rows on the heel side of the cuff, sigh. That meant a bit of tinking back the couple of rows of ribbing I had done to raise the back cuff. AND!! At long last sock ONE is done! Hopefully I took good notes so I can do the second one with no ripping back and just some speedy knitting! (That birthday is fast approaching!)

The faded blue sweater body with the charcoal grey button bands!

My initial color thoughts… I need 5 colors.

Although, maybe I did not pick great hues…

At some point today I am going to be doing some coloring to determine colors for my Daytripper Cardigan! I have the body and the collar/button band colors decided… I just have to figure out the remaining 5 colors… wish me luck! (Or at least lots of fun coloring!)

The reading this week was so good! (and I am almost finished with another Gabriel Allon mystery!! So, I mean it when I say SO GOOD!)

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed AmericaThe Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The tale of two stories, expertly woven together! I knew that Chicago had a World’s Fair but I knew little beyond that. I never knew that Chicago was called the White City nor all the fascinating details around the fair construction. This book is a history lover’s dream… I learned so many things I just had no clue about! Add to that this intertwined story of a string of disappearances and murders that happened and you have a mystery that unfolds with the fair. I highly recommend listening to this book… and the ending where the author shares how he went about gathering the information he used to write the story! Thank goodness for libraries!

SummerwaterSummerwater by Sarah Moss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The task of writing about the sometimes ugly side of humanity cannot be an easy task… however, Sarah Moss does so and she does so so well that you just can’t stop reading. I saw myself in her writing, and so many people I know there as well. This book made me stop and think. It made me nod my head in agreement and consider the way that people, by nature, just irritate each other! The writing is just so beautiful and the humanity so real. I highly recommend this brilliant little story!

That’s all I have for today… what about you? Is your knitting always successful? If not, do you keep trying?

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

Good Things for Monday | 3.22.21

Good Things for Monday | 3.22.21

Each morning I begin my day the same way…before I can just sit with my thoughts I take Sherman out. He is a fine and quiet companion in the early morning… and he does not mind my silence while I listen to The Writer’s Almanac podcast and this morning’s edition was just spectacular. It’s Billy Collins’ 80th birthday today and  if you want to listen to Garrison read a lovely Billy Collins poem you can do that here!

Listening to poetry really is a very good thing to start my day.

Another good thing I listened to this week was this episode of On Being. I think I knew some of these things, but boy did it help to hear someone talk about the stresses we’ve been living with… and how do we re-emerge when this is all over.

The On Being discussion on stress really helped in light of a conversation I had about gauge on Saturday with Sarah and Jane. You might have read about Kym’s gauge struggles so I felt a little déjà vu when I sat down to swatch for the Daytripper Cardigan… a MaryJane Mucklestone design… which, by the way, is the same gauge as 3 other MaryJane Mucklestone sweaters I had previously knit. I got gauge on each of them with absolutely no issues. This time? oh boy. I have a stack of swatches to show how I struggled with it!  First I thought just do some knitty maths and go with my original swatch… good in theory, but the maths and the sizing did not work out for me. End result, while I have not measured my last swatch this morning, pre-washing it was on gauge. That swatch? Knit with a US 11 needle… on the bright side, my sweater will knit up even faster now! So even in struggles as you work your way out good things can be found!

Another good thing was this photo my daughter shared… and I just laughed right out loud!

Vivi, the chicken wrangler!

Finally, buds are appearing on my forsythia and lilac bush in my yard. It makes me smile to see them! Happy Monday everyone! See you all back here on Wednesday!



100 Days of Hope | Week 11

100 Days of Hope | Week 11

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
Emily Dickinson

I am ending this 100 day journey from winter to spring where I started, but with a new understanding of hope.

Hope exists in us, it is always around us, it is whispering to us. And if we sometimes pay attention we discover that like the increasing minutes of light… hope grows more hope!

Perhaps it is easier to be hopeful when your friends and loved ones are getting vaccinated. Truly, I did not realize what a weight I was holding waiting for the vaccination damn to break. Today more than 100 million American’s are either completely vaccinated or are on their way to being completely vaccinated. And while I am sure there are a plethora of idiots like Rand Paul… I will feel less stressed encountering the maskless. (and watching Dr. Fauci take down Mr. Paul just made my day!)

Perhaps it is easier to be hopeful when there is an hour and 37 minutes more daylight than there was on December 21st. But I really enjoyed the gradual changes that happened in the world around me… from a hushed, quiet winter to a spring full of exuberant birdsong! From snow covered ground to snowdrops blooming! From cold winter winds bringing  snow to open windows welcoming the warming winds and spring rains!

Cicadas are the ones that can really teach us about patience and hope! (Also a fun fact…17 years ago there was no iPhone)

Last thing… The New Yorker magazine tweeted this article written by one of my favorite authors, Paul Auster, this morning. He wrote it in 1995… and it is very much read-worthy!

So on this last Friday of winter, I am less despairing and so much more hopeful…and maybe I have put a pencil in my pocket, just in case!

Have an amazing weekend everyone! See you all back here next week!

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.17.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.17.21

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! This is the holiday when you should try and knit with some green yarn (and absolutely not try to drink any green beer!) Sadly, I am doing neither but I am knitting! Ha!

I thought if a knitter had written the Irish blessing it might look something like this:

May the stash yarns finally whisper to you.
May your patterns never curse you.
May yarn chicken never beat you.
May the wisdom of EZ always surround you.
~ An Irish-ish Knitter’s Blessing

The making this week finds me still on Sleeve Island although I am close to departure! I also am in the slog of sock knitting for my evening television watching knitting… just round and round and round and round. It is a wee bit taller today as I knit quite a bit last night, but there are still miles to go before I start heel construction!

I started another Hitchhiker but it is in time out right now while I ponder the beads on the points. I am not sure they are worth the effort as they don’t seem very visible to me. What are your thoughts?

I also began contemplating banging out a Daytripper Cardigan. The pull to do so is strong! And I might have enough yarn in my stash to do so… I know, so it is likely I will do some swatching as soon as I make my departure from Sleeve Island!

The reading has been varied this week. I have just two finishes, (but I am so close on a third!)

Klara and the SunKlara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Oh boy. This story. This story unfolds with in a department store and Klara being selected as a companion for Josie. Klara is fascinating to me… her perception of all around her, and her manners being far superior to the “real people” around her. We discover that Josie is ill and there is an undercurrent to push Josie’s mother and Klara closer together. And soon we discover why and that is where the book kind of derails for me. I felt very uncomfortable thinking about where Kazuo takes us. The writing is good, but the story is unnerving.

84, Charing Cross Road84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is just darling, really… darling is the perfect word to describe it! It is a collection of letters written between a book collector and a book seller and the relationship they forge over the years. It is funny, poignant, and easy to follow (I listened to it). The banter is fun as is thinking about a time when everything wasn’t instant…

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