Welcome Winter

Welcome Winter

I saw this poem on Saturday and have been pondering Wendell Berry’s words ever since:

To Know the Dark
To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

This winter season may you find that the dark blooms and sings for you as well!

Photo by Egor Kamelev from Pexels

Gemütlichkeit for Friday | 12.20.19

Gemütlichkeit for Friday | 12.20.19

Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection. — Winston Churchill

As I write this post, I am watching the gentle fall of snowflakes out my “office” window. Occasionally, the wind swirls them as if my neighborhood is a huge snow globe and as the wind subsides, the flakes swirl lazily until they return to gently float from the grey sky. I am wearing a warm, woolly sweater and I have hand knit socks on my feet while I sip a steaming hot cup of coffee. Life is indeed so very good – I have way more than I need. We do not have money struggles and our big debate is how we should “cut the cable cord” next year – we are fortunate beyond belief.

I have my Christmas gifts wrapped and under the tree. I have done all the baking I intend on doing this year. And, I am really looking forward to Steve being home a couple of extra days for the next two weeks – thanks to the holidays!

AND!! I have selected my word for next year – or rather, I think it selected me!

I am fortunate to return to my “regular knitting because I finished my holiday making with time to spare! Yes, I have settled back into my Evening Dew Cardigan! Each row brings me closer to needing my second ball of mohair silk, which I carefully wound yesterday. There is something quite reflective about hand winding a skein of yarn – you can’t rush it, there is no pause to go do something else – it requires your presence as you wind the yarn into a ball.

Perhaps one of these patterns will inspire you to to wind up some yarn and do some “selfish” knitting for yourself over the coming days! Added bonus, these things are **free** – at least for the next few days!

Isabell Kraemer’s Leni dropped this week and it is a gift from her to us through December 31! From Isabell: “Let me shout out a big THANK YOU for your love, your ongoing support, your trust, your understanding, your patience…for being by my side on this journey…hope you enjoy this little hat pattern!

Kelbourne Woolens December Hat – a free pattern knit up with their Germantown yarn which includes some intricate cabling!

Elizabeth Elliott’s Improvised Stripey Hat a pattern she has worked out for any gauge – designed to use up yarn scraps!

That is all I have for this week – I hope that your weekend is full of wonderful reflection! Happy Hanukkah to my friends who will begin celebrating on Sunday!

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.18.19

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.18.19

Perhaps a little Christmas music to get things rolling?

Because Christmas insanity continues around these parts. I did manage to get mittens finished, and they will be on their way to Michigan later today! And today my making will all be about baking! Bring on the cookies! I have all the ingredients to make some dark chocolate ginger cookies (similar to these that Kym posted last week!)

Nothing beats the smell of baking cookies and it is the perfect reward for finishing those mittens!

I have been making some plans for my January Making and it includes some sewing! I have some corduroy that will become Pietra Pants. And, I have a stack of flannel that will become a couple of Esme Tunics from Lotta Jansdotter’s Everyday Style and a Uniform Tunic!

Now, how about a bit of a reading update!

In the finished column:

Once More We Saw Stars – this was a hard book to listen to, but I think it might have been harder to read. Can sharing a tragedy help with grief? I don’t know but I hope it did for these parents. 3-stars.

Nine Elms – this is Robert Bryndza’s latest book and the first in the Kate Marshall series. It did not disappoint – and although you know ‘who did it’ it does not detract from the story. It is a page turner and I recommend. 4-stars.

Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth by Rachel Maddow. This was a deep, heavy listen – although it was read by the author and that made it seem a bit like an extremely extensive open to her show. There is so much to think about in this book, and as you can image – none of it is good. I think it was a bit too long – it could have been edited a bit more, imo. 3-stars.

I also listened to The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe! Which I loved as much as I did when I read it ages ago with my kids. 4-stars for this perfect pre-Christmas read!

Finally, John Boyne shared this stack of books by Irish authors! I have read a good number of the books in this stack and I have added those I have not to my list to read!

That is all I have for today, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!

*** A quick bit of housekeeping for the next two Wednesday’s. I will post as usual on Christmas Day (although it might be later in the day and might include some holiday gift knitting updates) and on New Year’s Day – New Year’s Day will include my 2019 reading update! However, do not feel pressure to join in!


Currently | 12.16.19

Currently | 12.16.19

I have so enjoyed reading the flurry of “Current Updates” in the blogisphere, I thought I would join in and share a little slice of my world as 2019 winds down. I was surprised to see that I had not done one of these updates since June! It makes me smile to see where I was on the first day of summer – especially since we will welcome winter on Saturday! Okay, maybe someone will be up to welcome it at 11:19 PM EST but I promise you, I will be tucked into my cozy, warm bed!

Contemplating:

My word for next year! Focus has been so very good that part of me wants to “stay in the zone” for 2020, but I think I can drill into it a bit – take what I have learned through focus and apply it specifically into areas of my life that focus has shown to have issues. I am thinking about purpose/purposeful and intention/intentional.

Watching:

Un Village Français, courtesy of my library. I am just in season one, but it is fascinating to watch life just after German occupation in 1941 in the village of Villeneuve. I know I say this all the time, but I truly adore my library and the vast number of options I have to watch, read, and listen!

Reading:

Speaking of reading, I do not know where the recommendation came from – but I am reading One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow by Olivia Hawker. I love when a book sucks you in from the very first paragraph! I am about 1/3 of the way in and enjoying it tremendously – it might even be causing me to stay up just a wee bit later to read “just one more chapter”!

Savoring:

These December days – we are halfway through the month, with the best half yet to come! And, I am spending them enjoying all the subtleties of the season! The lights, the music, and especially those moments of unexpected good will in curious places – like the grocery store!

Knitting:

Yes, we got a dusting of snow overnight! WOO!!

Crazily, I have some delusion that I can finish a pair of mittens to match this headband that I knit over the weekend. Yes – I translated the pattern and figured out how to double-knit – now I am feverishly knitting a pair of matching mittens. If I can get these done today – I can make one more trip to the post office tomorrow and they *might* make it to Michigan in time for Christmas! If all that fails – then I can add them to whatever we send Vivi for Valentine’s Day!

Planning:

Some selfish making in January! All this gift knitting will be done, and I have plans to do some sewing – including a Day of Pinning and Cutting Out All The Things in the week between Christmas and New Year!

There you have what’s current in my life! What about you? What’s your favorite current thing?

Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels

Gemütlichkeit for Friday | 12.20.19

Gemütlichkeit for Friday | 12.13.19

Winter is not a season, it’s a celebration. – Anamika Mishra

That is most certainly true…at least at my house in December! I do so love December – even the greyest of days are soothed by the lights on our tree. And that theory was put to the test this week as we had several days of grey, wet skies. The December’s of my childhood were full of grey, snowy days courtesy of the Lake Effect Snow Machine that is Lake Michigan! It’s a true fact that grey, snowy days are brighter than grey, rainy days – also snowy days often brought snow days with a day off from school! I remember celebrating snow days and sledding and making angels in the snow. Simple pleasures that are no longer part of my life, but perhaps they should be! This week the best I could do would be to make “mud angels” in our very soggy back yard thanks to all the rain we have had. Somehow mud angels do not carry the same joyful celebration that snow angels do, and I am so hoping for a white Christmas (which is a rare thing in Pittsburgh!)

Yet, even with this lack of wintry weather, there are things to celebrate. My almost daily walks in the neighborhood are marked by the warmth of the neighbors I meet on those walks! There are lots of dog walkers in my neighborhood, but two are stand outs! Allie – a very friendly Golden Retriever, always runs to greet me with such great joy! Then there is Lady Clementine, a Bull Mastiff, named for Winston Churchill’s wife…I am not kidding you (and honestly, I really wish I was their next-door neighbor!) Anyways, Lady Clementine reminds me of an incredibly oversized Pug and her greetings include some wonderfully wet, sloppy kisses! These neighbors and their dogs make walking – even in the coldest weather – a thing to celebrate!

Is it just me, or does the dry skin arrive earlier and earlier every year? A couple of weeks ago, I treated myself to a little nail repair kit from OPI, which included a bottle of OPI nail and cuticle oil. I have one question… why has no one told me about this product before now?!? I am pretty sure this might be a wonder product! In addition to moisturizing cuticles it also *prolongs* the life of a simple manicure! I am on day 8 of a regular polish (regular as in I do my nails at home) with nary a chip or any peeling! This makes my nails extra celebratory! Ha!

Reading is a constant thing of joy in my life. I do not know what life would be without books (and I never, ever want to know!) But, December is the month of Book Celebration with all the book lists that are everywhere you look! Maureen Corrigan shares her 2019 Favorites that she deems are ‘unputdownable reads!’ There are quite a few new-to-me titles that made it to my read soon list!

Now, how about some celebratory knitting?

Did you all see Jennifer Steingass’s latest design: Brightfeather? Anything with mohair silk is a celebration to knit as well as to wear! The pattern currently has an automatic 30% discount….so what are you waiting for! (FYI, I have one completed mohair silk sweater and it is simply divine to wear!)

If color work does not make you celebrate, this little sweater with lacework is really lovely!

Amy Christoffers piqued my interest earlier this week with this announcement and I have spent a good bit of time checking Ravelry to see if the pattern was available yet! And it finally dropped late yesterday afternoon. The Pheasant Pullover is gorgeous! I love the deep color work! **AND** it is on sale through Monday!

I have been consuming lots of tea in the past two months, enough that I am contemplating a tea pot. A pot of tea is a quiet celebration – one that wafts its steamy aroma about you – one that reminds you to sit down and savor – one that encourages you to linger in that savoring just a bit longer! But, how to keep that pot of tea warm? Why a Tea Cozy, of course! This was trending on Ravelry yesterday. And this also caught my eye! There will absolutely be some tea cozy in my future knitting plans!

Finally, celebration eats!

Carole, this is for you! I found some “slicing brie” at TJ’s and knew I had seen a recipe on Pinterest that included slicing brie and puff pastry, which I almost always have in my freezer! The original recipe included cranberries and pancetta, but bacon and raspberries were great substitutions! I used frozen raspberries from my garden – and less sugar (I used half what the recipe called for) since raspberries are sweeter than cranberries. I also added the juice from a half a lemon. Raspberries need a little help in the pectin department and that little bit of lemon juice helped thicken the “jam” nicely. This was so yummy as were the leftovers which I reheated for about 20 seconds in the microwave.

That is all I have for this week! I hope your weekend has some celebratory moments!

Unraveled Wednesday 12.11.19

Unraveled Wednesday 12.11.19

We have sadly arrived at the time of the year when getting good photos is challenging at best! We are in the midst of a dreary week sans any sunshine at all, so I apologize in advance for the poor lighting! However, the third time was absolutely the charm for my slipper making scheme. My son does not read my blog, so I am safe sharing them with you all here today! I made one key change to the pattern directions – I swapped out W&T short rows with German short rows with much better results. (And by much better, I mean results with no holes!)

I have breathed a sigh of relief that I finished these and they will be shortly on their way to Michigan! They are not quite dry, but I am hoping they will be in the morning and I can then wrap them up! As a tiny reward for persevering through this challenging pattern, I cast on Renovare socks on Tuesday night! I am using Tuku Sock yarn… oh my. It is so lovely! I am also trying these socks with the “magic loop” method. This is not how I usually knit socks… but I am giving it a try. As you can see – I am still doing the ribbing, but it felt good to cast on something new!

Reading has been good, but slow going and I have 2 finishes this week:

Ann Cleeve’s Cold Earth was very good. The writing was excellent, and this series just gets better with each book. 4-stars.

Alice Hoffman’s The World That We Knew. I loved this book! Every.single.word. Magic, realism, golems, life, and death are all beautifully woven together! This story touched me deeply and there were so many parts that will stay with me for a very, very long time. 5-stars and I highly recommend! (FYI, I listened to the audio version read by Judith Light of One Life to Live fame – there were times that I struggled with listening to “Karen Wolek” read, however I changed the speed and that helped!)

I am at the point that I am looking at my reading challenge and realizing that it is unlikely that I will hit that goal. I don’t know how close I can get, but I am really not sure if that goal even matters.

If you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below and thank you!


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