Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home. — Edith Sitwell
Sometimes English is, well, so lacking. Other languages have words that are just so more descriptive of conveying something deeper. Gemütlichkeit is one of those words – it is sort of the German equivalent of Hygge. The word reminds me of the feeling that would wash over me when I went to my Nana’s house: cozy and inviting, there was always something good to eat, it was full of love and listening ears – a safe, warm, welcoming place! And with those thoughts in mind, gemütlichkeit seems the perfect word for where I want to go on Friday’s… at least for the winter season!
It feels like we are racing into winter with these dark, cold days. It is so easy to wish the season away, longing for sunnier, warmer weather. But perhaps in the wishing the season away, I am missing the quiet, dark beauty that is unfolding around me.
So welcome to Gemütlichkeit for Friday’s! Grab a cuppa and let’s get started!
First, perhaps you are wondering how to pronounce gemütlichkeit… wonder no longer:
Yes, it’s a mouthful, but say it a few times and it really rolls off your tongue!
How about some knitting? I might be heading off to Ravelry shortly to see what *other* slippers I might find. I am on the “edge” of admitting defeat with these babies. I have knit one slipper unsuccessfully twice! I am giving it one more try this morning using German short-rows instead of the prescribed W&T method with the hopes that in doing that the gemütlichkeit will radiate from these slippers and the stitches will be knit with love rather than the frustration and bad language that filled previous two attempts!
I am a year around wool-knitter, but this time of year it is especially nice to fill your lap with some cozy knitting. And, in case you are looking for some cozy knitting to fill your lap with I found some things on Ravelry that scream cozy! First up, an “oldie” but so much goodness: Anne Hanson’s Cluaranach! I have knit Cluraranach and it is my go-to winter wrap. Bonus points for filling your lap quickly as this really is an easy and fast knit!
Next up are a few things that have been on my radar for a while! Love Note, Savage Heart Cardigan, and Felix (or Felix Cardigan). A lap full of a cardigan is the coziest thing ever – and these are some quick, cozy knits! The gemütlichkeit practically oozes from these beauties, amirite?
A couple of years ago, I put up fairy lights in January to help those dark winter nights. But last year I left them up – little bits of light certainly help ease the dark winter nights and they are also nice on warm summer nights! I have a strand of them on the mantle, but my favorite way I am using them is in this pitcher! It is the nicest “light” and gives off the coziest glow. For the holidays I have added a few Christmas baubles.
It can become challenging to keep Friday Night Snacks from feeling rote so when I saw this recipe in a Smitten Kitchen email I thought it would be the perfect wintry addition! I love the idea of serving them warm as well – the perfect cozy addition to our Friday table!
Finally, for all of us who *don’t* wash our hair every day – the morning bed head blues can be challenging – no? I have tried dozens of tips and tricks but this little twitter thread yesterday was a new one! I gave it a trial run last night and this morning my bed head blues were somehow transformed into an ode to joy! I am going to give this a few more tries to validate the results – but holy cow peeps! It was exactly as the tweeter described – “a shield against the next 8 hours…It’s like pressing pause on your hair…”
I wish you all a weekend full of Gemütlichkeit and I will you back here on Monday!
I hope this week does not find you frantically knitting objects that you cannot share on your blog. Sadly, for me… that is my life in knitting right now so you get a bit the fluffy goodness that is my languishing Evening Dew Cardigan.
Those pesky socks are finished and have had their soak and are laying carefully to dry.
However, I mentioned on Monday that my dear son mentioned something over the weekend and then Kym was kind enough to save me from spending a couple of hours searching on Ravelry for the perfect item. She wins the award this week of the most helpful link…ever! This morning I am tossing the stash to find something I can use to knit those slippers! I think 2 strands of worsted weight yarn equal bulky…correct? If that is true, then I will be settling in this afternoon to see how far I can get on a pair of those babies!
Now on to reading:
First finish is The Echo Maker by Richard Powers (of The Overstory fame). This book was suggested to me via Overdrive as he is the December speaker for Pittsburgh’s Ten Evenings event. I loved The Overstory and gladly downloaded the audio book. This is a fascinating story in a similar multi-pronged way, yet very different from The Overstory – it is a longer book (20 hours of listening time) but the story keeps you engaged. Without giving anything away, it tells a story about traumatic brain injury from a variety of perspectives. 4-stars and if you liked The Overstory for its depth and details – you will enjoy The Echo Maker. (Also, it happens in Nebraska – so if you live there, you will find it very familiar!)
Second finish was a book I won on a Goodreads give away! In the Shadow of Power, book 7 in the Sandhamn Mystery series. I enjoyed it – yet another murder on Sandhamn. A very fun read! 3-stars.
Now, in case you are looking for some things to fill up your reading queue – the book lists have stared! NPR’s Book Concierge list has so many good things and has some things I have added to my list! I love that it is searchable by category and with 350+ books, it will have something for everyone!
I also stumbled across this gem on NPR’s Facebook page. It is a worthy listen!
Finally – Bonny, Carole, and Kym announced the new Read With Us book yesterday! Think about joining us to discuss in February next year!
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I have come to regard November as the older, harder man’s October. I appreciate the early darkness and cooler temperatures. It puts my mind in a different place than October. It is a month for a quieter, slightly more subdued celebration of summer’s death as winter tightens its grip. — Henry Rollins
Henry Rollins certainly has November pegged! This month saw the most dramatic changes, I think. From colored leaves to bare trees. From gently warming days to repeated frosts. And, rain… a colder wintry rain, no longer the warm rains of summer and early fall! There was one day (the 6th) that the photos were so spectacular, I could not pick just one! It was a month that in looking back upon, there was much to be full of gratitude for, which if you asked me before this post – I would have been was hard pressed to say there was much to find gratitude in at all! I am profoundly grateful for these images that have helped me refocus.
November in 58 seconds was not bad either!
There was moving my body – indoors and out! There was so much good food and even a bit of snow! I sadly missed one day of video – so you get a double dose of Steve in his Jerome Bettis super-special and amazing jersey… only in Pittsburgh is this such a big deal! (Also, please note that though Steve hates modeling knitwear, he is eager to show off his jersey… just sayin’ lol)
I hope your November was spectacular as well! See you all back here tomorrow for a bit of Unraveling!
Greetings Unravelers! I hope that for a few minutes at least, you can step out of the kitchen and spend a moment or two sharing your dreams of what you could be knitting or reading this week! Once this is posted, it is Pumpkin Pie City for me! Of course, my Pie City is amateur level compared to Carole! However, this year I did make the crust as well as the filling! Small steps, right?
In the realm of making – I never seem to have stagnant times. (However, don’t look too closely at any flat surfaces in my house, dusting almost never wins over making!) This week I finished my second Tsé biníi doo headband. This one with some mystery yarn and some wonderfully fluffy hand spun. The beige yarn is tightly spun, and I am hoping it will bloom *and soften* some in its bath. However, I carried the yarns in such a way that the inside is mostly my hand spun, which is so soft and light. I am going to try and full the inside a bit. I have taken the red headband out for a test walk on Monday and, Unravelers… we have a winner! It is cozy and warm exactly where it needs to be!
Today (when that pie is in the oven) I am going to work on those socks in hopes that I will have soon have a HO** and can start on its mate!
My Evening Dew Cardigan is calling me though… I have roughly 11 inches of the body to go, which if it sounds like a lot of knitting – it is. But if I can get those darned socks done, I can spend some guilt-free time knitting it!
Also, Made by Rae’s Luna pants have been resized (and while I don’t think elastic ankle joggers would even remotely be attractive on me, this hack would!) Anyways, the pattern is on sale and I have added them to my pattern library!
Also… sock knitters, a heads up for you! Did you see Renovare by Jennifer Burke? I know, I am not a sock knitter, but these are gorgeous! (And knit with sport weight yarn, so even more to love!) I got the pattern and plan on these being my “post-holiday” splurge and I’d love it if you’d join me!
Now for the good and the bad of reading this week:
I finished The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates and I loved it. The story is masterfully told as it weaves around the life of Hiram Walker.
I finished Benediction, the final book in the Plainsong Trilogy and loved it also – for very different reasons. The entire trilogy has just been a joy to read, purely for the joy of reading. The writing is straight forward and honest (as in, how most people talk every day). Yet it makes you think. There is good and bad – just how life is. And, yet despite that – life continues. I highly recommend this series!
Finally, I finished The Downstairs Girl which I found to be a bit of a disappointment. It had potential, but never really took off for me.
In the “I could not finish” category: Celine. I could not get into this story at all and gave up about a third of the way in.
And, that is what I have for today – now it is PIE time! I want to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!
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I am joining Juliann and friends to share my word – Focus.
I started the month off strong with Michelle’s Gratitude Week – her reminders were so perfect and in hindsight, it turns out that start was crucial to surviving a very challenged month for me.
I am grateful that my normal focus carried me through the month – being in the moment, focusing on right now and moving. Bad days are infinitely better when you move your body and get outside for a brisk walk. Fresh air really clears out the doldrums and it is hard to do anything but focus on Pilates when you are doing Pilates!
Add to that my usual knitting focus – and making some impromptu gifts really helped as well. I also learned that rhythmic knitting (read mindless stockinette) sometimes allows you to dwell on problems – but seed stitch keeps you focused on those knits and purls and not on worrisome thinking!
And all of those things have helped me to stay in the moment rather than being consumed by worry beyond that moment. And for that I am holding on to those tiny bits of gratitude.