Friday Thoughts | 9.13.19

Friday Thoughts | 9.13.19

Nine months into 2019 and we have our first Friday the 13th of the year…(and there is only one more in December). We have rain in the forecast for tomorrow but I am hoping that the skies will allow for some Harvest Moon viewing! The moon was spectacular last night! I took a small break from debate watching/knitting to head outside to watch it rise!

Friday has arrived and my list is not complete. But, there were some very good accomplishments and an unexpected outing with a friend!

I also put my Reagan on two needles so you can see the progress I made this week! I have 8-ish more inches of lace to knit before the bottom band. I think it is moving along nicely. And, though I have not memorized the 12-row lace chart, I have worked out 4-row sections so I think the lace knitting will go a bit quicker now.

Things completed:
  • 5-days of Pilates – it felt so good to be back to my mat, but it was so hard! Gah, no more skipping this routine because starting again is not easy!
  • 3-days where I managed to squeeze in a walk – I would like to be walking every single day, but my gradual easing in is not creating any residual pain in my ankle at all! Next week my plan is to walk 3 days again but begin to walk longer distances!
  • Rose pants, completed! (and yes, I found the missing elastic after I purchased more elastic!)
Things uncompleted:
  • Zadie Jumpsuit – after a long discussion with a “sewing” knitter on Tuesday night – I am going to hold off sewing the more expensive fabric until I have made a much less expensive muslin to work out the pattern kinks. My weekend list includes finding some fabric to make the muslin.
  • Genevieve’s reindeer costume parts – although I did pull out fabric for the ears, I need to find some yarn (preferably in my stash) that might work for “leggings” so stay tuned!
Unexpected things:
  • I went to Sewickley with a girlfriend on Wednesday! We had lunch and wandered around the town, including a stop at Sewickley Yarns! I was good and did not buy any yarn! Although, I did get some fiber wash and put my name on the list for the final issue of Laine Magazine, which will be in sometime in mid-October. This will facilitate another trip to Sewickley, which is a very good thing!
Things that crossed my radar this week:
  • This sweater popped up on Ravelry this week and oh my… lovely! I am not a fan of knitting cables, but this sweater just might change my mind about that!
  • Romi also posted that this beauty is coming next week. I just LOVE the colors of the yarns and the stitch pattern:

That is all I have for this week. We have a few things we want to get done this weekend, but the list is not overwhelming! I hope you all have a good weekend and I will see you back here on Monday!

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.11.19

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.11.19

September Unraveling is going well… and with no unraveling to date! I have indeed finished Reagan’s sleeves and have begun the lace work, although the sweater looks like a great grey blob right now! As I write this, I am completed the first repeat of the pattern and am well into another repeat with approximately 12 inches more to go! I am really happy with this sweater and think that this will absolutely be a much better use of the yarn. The lace pattern seems like it will be easy to memorize and once I have gotten through another repeat, I hope that I will not have to look at the pattern for each row.

I am *this*close* to finishing my Rose pants, and they would be done already but I could not find elastic for the waistband anywhere.in.this.house! I know I bought elastic but who knows where I put it…so I need to head to JoAnn’s to pick up some more. (Which means I am guaranteed to find that missing elastic no later than Friday! LOL)

The reads this week were varied and so interesting!

I wanted to re-read The Handmaid’s Tale before The Testaments was released and I did! Last time I listened to Claire Danes read it, this time I read it. It is curious that different things stood out to me in the re-reading of the story. I enjoyed it more than the first time and found that sometimes a re-read is the best thing ever!

I also listened to Madeline Albright’s Fascism: A Warning. Wow. Brilliant! Simply brilliant. I wrote a more detailed review here, but I highly recommend this book!

I found myself with a bit of a gap in my library wait list, so I did some digging to see what was available and found two fascinating books by random chance!

First, I found Paul Auster’s Report from the Interior, read by the him. This book was unexpected, brilliant, I felt some crazy connections and *being of a certain age* I loved it. I need more Paul Auster books in my queue, so I have plugged a few more titles of his!

Next in my searching I found Mitz, The Marmoset of Bloomsbury by Sigrid Nunez – I had read The Friend by the same author and thought the concept of this very short book was worth a try. It is a small slice of the life of Leonard and Virginia Woolf and their marmoset, Mitz. Funny, sad, quite interesting, and not at all a bad way to spend a few hours.

That’s all I have for this week – what about you? What are you making and reading this week?

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


Make it Monday | 9.9.19

Make it Monday | 9.9.19

The “list-free” weekend was truly restful – although, on Sunday we did get some much needed yard work done! We did a bit of culling of the dying plants from the pots on the patio – the coleus was getting pretty leggy and were dropping leaves thanks to the spate of cool nights we have had. I would like to get a couple of mums for the fall but I won’t have time this week – maybe next week that will happen. But for right now the impatiens remain the star of the waning days of summer – they are just magnificent! The remaining vegetable plants in the garden have also headed to the compost pile. I have made a somewhat detailed list of garden successes as well as failures. August’s hot humid days did my basil in – perhaps assisted by my overzealous watering.

On Saturday night as we were looking for something to watch on television and we discovered that there is a new season of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix…produced by Netflix. There are 2 episodes up currently, with a new one coming each week until the end of October! Only Paul remains from the original shows, but I thought it was still most enjoyable!

But, it’s Monday and this is what my list looks like this week:

This is the September inspiration from The Balanced Life and these words are exactly what I need as I head back to my Pilates mat this week. As Kym has shared many times over the past few months – you can go from one who avoided exercise to one who finds something so very worthwhile in it! I really want to be in the latter group and I am going to make moving and exercise my focus this month!

 

This week, I have just the inspiration necessary to bring me back to the mat… stay tuned for my Friday check-in to see how I did! Add to that, my daily walks and moving my body is getting back into focus! I am so disappointed at how easy it was for me to lose this essential habit! I have put these words in several prominent places and hopefully they will continue to inspire my movement this month!

I have a wee bit of sewing to finish! One pair of Rose pants and a Zadie Jumpsuit have been patiently waiting for me to get back to them. Which will happen this week because there is no baking or preserving to distract me!

My daughter added a couple of things to my list yesterday with a request for some “Halloween costume” help – so I need to look up some cable patterns to knit a tiny pair of leggings and see if I can pick up some flannel fat quarters to make some “reindeer ears” so Vivi can be a little reindeer for Halloween!

My final goal for the week is to begin the lace portion of my Reagan! I am ever so close to finishing the sleeves and hope to have some lace progress to share with you on Wednesday!

What’s on your list for the week? I hope that you can make the most of your Monday and start your week off wonderfully! See you all back here on Wednesday with a knitting and reading update!

Friday Thoughts | 9.6.19

Friday Thoughts | 9.6.19

I have been spending a good bit of time thinking about how to reinvigorate me as I contemplate my blog. I keep circling back to the less is sometimes so much more concept as I have contemplated this space. I know that we all have a finite number of minutes during the week and frankly, time spent on a computer or digital device sucks a great number of those minutes from our lives each day – so do you really need one more blog post to read every day? Truthfully, I just don’t have anything edifying to say every day! I don’t have a million fun little anecdotes to share nor have I gone to any exciting places to fill you all with travel envy! As you can see in my monthly “looking back” posts – we are truly homebodies and are most comfortable in our home. But finally – and perhaps most importantly – the tipping point to these blog changes is a result of my word – focus – this year. That word is having such a dramatic impact on my life as I have spent the year working through how to focus on my life, my days, and the things I do!

I do so love TGIF posts, but lately I have found them to feel a bit rote at times. So, Friday’s are going to take on a bit of a different theme here at AsKatKnits. I am going to use them to share things that will close out the week – my week, and usher in the weekend.

This week brought lots of changes – visually and physically:

I eased back into walking. My ankle has been feeling better, not perfect – but better enough to take modified walks.

I picked the last of the raspberries on Wednesday morning and made the final bit of raspberry jam for the year.

Signs of a fading summer are everywhere – the green of the trees is fading, and some of the leaves are beginning to dry and curl. The burning bushes in my front yard are beginning to show signs of the coming color around the edges of some of the leaves. I wish I could say that the grass is showing signs of slowing its growth pace, but as yet, that has not happened. Even the skies look different in these waning days of summer.

The Farmer’s Market is also slowly changing as fall fruits and vegetables are beginning to show up!

And, amidst all of these gradually changing things, I am spending my days welcoming these tiny changes – being aware of them – and reveling in them. And, those three things have helped me appreciate, and stay focused on the immediate rather than wishing for what comes next.

Yet, to tell you that I am not thinking about “that next thing” would not quite be true. Last month Joji published this pattern and I have not been able to get it out of my mind. It has filled my creative thoughts as I ponder what I have in my stash that might work. It is also keeping me focused on finishing Reagan so I can cast on sans guilt! I also don’t have Morinne Short and Sweet out of my system yet and have plans to knit another one this fall!

All in all, I feel very accomplished as this week draws to a close – which is just what I need to welcome a “list free” weekend! I hope your weekend list has little on it as well! Have a great weekend and I will see you all back here on Monday!

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.4.19

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.4.19

Let me just say that knitting something for 34-ish inches in stockinette can be quite boring…except when you have 5 seasons of DCI Banks to binge. And, that is partially how I got those 34-ish inches knit quickly! I have now moved on to the sleeves, which I am knitting at.the.same.time and it is moving along nicely. Thus far, I am really loving the start of Reagan!

Pie wrapped in wax-paper freezes beautifully and one little square is the most lovely afternoon treat!

But!! It has not been all knitting, all the time around here! Impending autumn, cooler weather, and an abundance of amazing fruits at the local market are just the thing to get me back into the kitchen! I have been feverishly baking to fill the freezer with some goodies. Sunday, I made an Apple Slab Pie, which turned out stunningly and I highly recommend the recipe. And I also made my tried and oh-so-delicious Bottom Crust Plum Pie from Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts cookbook. On Monday, I made a batch of Pati’s Salsa Verde and Tuesday I made a double batch of Bourbon Peach Hand Pies (with this pie crust). The freezer is on its way to being  replenished, and I still have some apples that I am thinking about what to do with. Perhaps something with puff pastry… hmmm.

Peach Hand Pies… all ready for the oven!

Now, on to the reads!

I managed to finish A Bridge of Clay, Suite Françoise, and The Crossing Places.

I had been on the wait list at the library for A Bridge of Clay for a very long time, and then I saw it was going to be available right about the time that I started War and Peace – so I moved myself back in the queue and I am so glad I did that. This book was one that I did not need to rush though. The story is all about the Dunbar family – and really the Dunbar brothers, especially Clay. I laughed, I cried and cried some more. It was truly an amazing story – and I listened to the audio version, that Markus Zusak read. I highly recommend – 4 stars.

Suite Françoise appeared on my radar thanks again to Carole. I was in luck that it was available at the library. It was a book that I savored – reading a little bit every night. It is a story about the WWII occupation of France. I want to say the story is wonderful, but that might lead you to believe that war occupation is idyllic – which is hardly the case. The writing is wonderful and it kept me wondering what might happen next and how it would unfold. The characters are beautifully developed and the story weaves perfectly between them all. But, for me the most amazing part of this story was the ‘back story’ on the writer – this novel was published 64 years after her death in Auschwitz…and I also highly recommend this book as well – 4 stars. (The movie version is available on Netflix that I might settle in with this week to knit those sleeves!)

Finally – one of you Unraveler’s mentioned The Ruth Galloway Mysteries and I pleasantly raced through The Crossing Places. I enjoyed it and loved how the author lead me along with Ruth as she figured out “who did it” and I have queued up a few more of the mysteries in this series! 4-stars for this first novel!

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


Looking Back | August 2019

Looking Back | August 2019

August, die she must
The autumn winds blow chilly and cold.
April Come She Will, Simon and Garfunkel

If you asked me what I accomplished in August my response would be, ‘not much’. But as I look at these images, it seems I accomplished more than I realized!

There was so much making… pies and jams, sewing, and always knitting! Plus, hours in the gardens (although if you saw them today you’d be doubtful of that!)

Vegetable Garden Productivity was stunningly awful. I never had more tomatoes than I could use and not enough to preserve any for future use. The only tomato plants that had any success at all were the Oxhearts – and even that was a manageable production. As for my flower beds – alas, the deer ravaged them multiple times this month…sigh.

The biggest changes were in light and skies – those August skies were less blue but rather filled with interesting clouds! And, as the August days drew to a close, we felt the first inklings of the change of seasons. Cooler breezes paired with cooler days and nights that  required another blanket on the bed and a sweater for my morning garden excursions.

The video this month was so much fun! There was so much butterfly footage! Including “Butterfly Skirmishes” – which look like a gentle, swirling, fluttering dance…those Swallowtail’s are very territorial, it seems!

And with that, August memories are tucked away.

What about you? What is your favorite August memory?

P.S. If you want to knit a hat or two for Asylum Seekers in NorthEast Asylum Cities – all details about a KAL are here!

TGIF | 8.30.19

TGIF | 8.30.19

This year, I have really tried to be in the moment and enjoy the day at hand, rather than wishing for what comes next. I thought it might make the year feel like it is going slower, ha! I am sitting at my PC this morning wondering how on earth August is over, it is Labor Day weekend, and signs of fall are increasing daily.

Okay, so staying in the moment does not slow down the pace of days – however, it has allowed me to appreciate each day more and each season more fully! I think this might be the best summer of my life, not because I did all kinds of amazing things, but rather because I lived in each moment.

Thrilled —

This week, I finished and blocked my Morinne Short and Sweet. Oh my… this sweater is poetry. It fits perfectly, the yarn I picked has the perfect amount of drape and fluidity. The construction is brilliant – it is almost like a puzzle! You start and wonder how this will become a sweater and suddenly, before you know it (21 days from cast on to finish!) – you have knit a sweater! I posted more photos yesterday on IG and am making plans to knit another one!

Gathering —

I have been picking what appears to be the final tomatoes, beans, and peppers and that makes me a bit melancholy. I have loved the time I spend each morning in my garden. It has been the perfect place to also gather my thoughts each morning along with the produce and the recent thought gathering is full of blog ideas and fall morning routines. Stay tuned!

Inspired —

I recently read this post and it really resounded with me. I am going to spend some time thinking about how I can unplug myself one day a month – or at least unplug on my terms.

Finishing —

My summer of reading has been magical. I have read some of the most amazing books and if I can finish 2 more books by Monday, I will have read 55 books this summer…That is amazing to write and think about. I think I can do it because I am almost done with Bridge of Clay and more than halfway through Suite Françoise. I would like to thank Mary for hosting Book Bingo because it just might be my favorite part of summer!

That is all I have for this week. Have a great LONG weekend and I will see you all here next week!

Three on Thursday | 8.29.19

Three on Thursday | 8.29.19

Joining Carole today with a Bridget themed post!

Per Bridget:

“There’s a meme going around on Instagram stories, where you name three things that you hate, but everyone else loves.”

And, I am adding her disclaimer as well:

So here are Three Things Everyone Else Loves and I hate*

*(which is to say ‘dislike strongly’ since I don’t want to be lectured about the word ‘hate’ (either)…..)

Thing One —

Instagram Stories. Honestly, I just don’t get them. Why are they so much better than just a regular Instagram post? Perhaps it is the most telling indication of my age coupled with my complete lack of understanding in how (and why!!) to do them. And, please, no offers to give me an Instagram Story lesson…(because that could be thing four!!)

Thing Two —

Chia Seeds. Seriously, is there anything more disgusting on earth? And, why would you ruin perfectly good yogurt with the addition of these nasty little things?

Thing Three — 

Starbucks. Oy, I know! What??? Truly. They have done more for the ruination of coffee than any company I can think of. Truly. But this did make me laugh this morning!

That is all I have for today! See you all back here tomorrow!

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.28.19

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.28.19

Today, I am going to talk about languishing projects… sometimes they languish for a reason, amirite?

This one has been languishing for a L-O-N-G time.

For the longest time I tried and tried to get back to knitting it. Why, I even put it in the basket next to my bed thinking that might spur me to work on it.

It didn’t. And, then it dawns on you why this is a languishing project…. You just don’t want the sweater at all – you won’t wear it, it no longer (or perhaps never) was what you were looking for.

But you bought the yarn – so you must knit it, right?

Nope! You don’t. And, today I am frogging it – guilt free!

Oh, and all that Einband is about to become Reagan – and I could not be happier about it!

Now, my reads this week:

First – after Carole’s review of Days Without End, I was so happy to see it was available from the library. Wow – I loved it! Every single word. It is a painfully poignant story and I have not been able to stop thinking about it. Just go read it! (And, the audio version had a marvelous narrator!) 5-stars

Up next, Big Sky – the fifth book in the Jackson Brodie series. I enjoyed it – tremendously (although it took me a bit to get into it, but once I did, I devoured it!) 4-stars.

What about you? Do you have a languishing project you just need to frog?

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


In Focus

In Focus

I am joining with Juliann and friends to share an update on my word!

Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus. – Alexander Graham Bell

The journey to a more focused life took a dramatic turn this month and I believe I have last month’s lack of focus to thank for this revelation!

I learned that sometime s in order to focus, I need to put blinders on and focus entirely on the thing at hand in order to be successful. It’s not that the other things are not there, but “focused multi-tasking” is truly an oxymoron! Yep, I stopped myself from multi-tasking this month and it made a huge difference in my days!

I accomplished more by being focused. I gained more by being focused. I heard more by being focused.

And, it felt so good!

As I head into the last quarter of the year, I feel like I finally get it, and this is showing in so many things! My daily list is more focused, and I have a new list, an “in waiting list” which is the list where I put things that I want to get done, but not just yet – not today and maybe not tomorrow, and that’s okay! I don’t have to keep thinking about them because they are written down – waiting their turn!

I am so happy for a  very focused August and I am excited to continue what I learned in September!

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