Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. — Nelson Mandela
It is Black History Month and in these days of an outrageous number of people wanting far too many books removed from libraries, I thought a good place to start this month is with books!
So I did a bit of Googling to see if I could expand my recommendations of books to include in your February reading and I found several great lists (that even included the books I have read!) I am sharing ones that I loved, ones that have been on my radar, as well as some that were not until I discovered them this week! I hope you find something you’d like to include in your February!
- Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 by Ibram X. Kendi
- The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X by Les Payne and Tamara Payne
- Deacon King Kong by James McBride
- Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
- The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
- Between the World and Me by Ta–Nehisi Coates
- The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah–Jones
- (and if you have children…) The 1619 Project: Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah–Jones
- Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
- (Double digits… double books?) Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents and The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
- How The Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith (and if you are looking for a second Clint Smith book pick up Counting Descent... his poetry is wonderful!)
- You Don’t Know us Negroes and Other Essays by Zora Neale Hurston (I read Their Eyes Were Watching God and loved it so I am excited to read her collection of essays that was published posthumously)
Now I am off to do some super-secret test knitting for my favorite knitting designer. Which means my Base 12 Hitchhiker and the February Gnome will be gathering some dust… sigh. But I have a very short time frame to finish the Test Knitting… very short. Oy! My yarn arrived late yesterday so you know what’s next… Let the Swatching Begin! Haha! I am hopeful that the Knitting Gauge Gods will be smiling on the process…. my fingers are crossed!
That is almost all I have for this week aside from this wee tiny post script for all you Wordle fans… it seems that all good things must come to an end…okay so maybe Wordle is not ending but soon it will no longer be free. This closing paragraph to the article might be the most brilliant thing I have read all week:
I’ve learned my lesson. Don’t get attached. I’m staying lower than lo-fi with my games from now on. A brilliant friend of mine — he’s nine — plays a variant called “Wordle in Your Head.” He thinks of a five-letter word, and you guess. He replies with your progress: green, gray, gray, yellow, gray. So far, he hasn’t charged a dime.
Yep… World in Your Head with a nine year old sounds like the best thing ever… unless I can convince a certain six year old I know to try!
Have a great weekend all! I will see you all back here on Monday!
Today I have a bunch of random things to share and I am making them fit TGIF. I think it works.
And so let’s get started!
Last year, I mentioned that I had some socks in need of some mending… well, the number has grown since then. How is it possible that all.the.socks. are wearing out all at once? It is boggling my mind to be sure! And, ironically, this arrived in my email the same week the latest sock become “holy” … a darning “class”? Okay. I am in! And the same day a darning mushroom was on sale on Amazon and it seemed inevitable. It is being delivered to my house today (along with some darning needles). I have 4 pairs of socks in need of heel repair and I am determined that I will learn how to do this and have the end result be four *comfortably* wearable pairs of socks! (and then I can fix the uncomfortably repaired pair!)
A Healing of the Heels is in order!
Speaking of uncomfortable…it needs to get real, Gentle Readers. Very real. Uncomfortably real… this is our year to be uncomfortable. I lowered my reading goal this year… for a reason. I wanted to spend more time reading things that made me uncomfortable. Things that will help me see beyond my white privilege. Things that will help me better understand what the BiPOC community experiences on a daily basis. Things that will make me uncomfortable…
This thread by Nikole Hannah-Jones. It opened my eyes. It shocked me. And yes, it now has me wanting to find all of MLK’s writings that I have never, ever read and get uncomfortable! (and to have some wearable reinforcement…I have asked Steve to get me this for V-day instead of flowers)
In (my worry corner):
The past 3 weeks have been rough. My son’s girlfriend started the COVID Train… she was exposed and then, sadly, came down with it. Which meant, of course, that my son got it. (She was quite sick, he had a slightly milder case) and yesterday another family member let me know they now have COVID. (It’s my sister who is not boosted… who is living in group housing… and is now in isolation… which I don’t think is good for her at anytime, but right now, I think it’s especially bad.) I realize it is but a matter of time… so to speak… until we all have it with numbers skyrocketing. But my worry level is off the charts… (add to all this there was a tragic accident on Monday at my son-in-law’s place of employment … a boat … and I am really needing for my people to be close enough that I can see them, hold them, and feed them…)
This week it was all about occupying my mind… so I wound the Base 12 yarn and cast on that Hitchhiker. I also wound so many skeins of yarn… enough to fill a HUGE knitting bag… and started Gnome One in the Year of Gnomes. It is a pattern I purchased but never knit! Welcome to the start of ADVENTure Gnome! I have started on the hat and I am loving how this looks… now to figure out the ball at the top of the hat! LOL
A Worry Hitchhiker seems so appropriate but coupled with the silliness of Gnome Knitting… there is a bit of balance.
Both knitting projects are excellent diversions because they require me to keep track of something physical… in other words, they are not mindless knits!
I also was shocked to find that Stacy Abrams book, While Justice Sleeps, was available on Overdrive so I downloaded it. And yes… it is lovely to have breathing space between reads to be able to read something totally unexpected!
And that is all I have for this week! Have a great weekend and stay warm if you are in the path of this bitter cold!
See you all back here on Monday!
A big question for me right now is garden or no garden? Last year the only thing that did well were the beans. Tomatoes and peppers were epic failures with very low production and really not worth the effort. Also, another question I am contemplating is do I want to maintain a vegetable garden by myself? When I add in all the flower beds which I currently care for solo – it all seems a bit much and Steve’s gardening interest has waned to a negative number. Perhaps a good work around would be to have a couple of tomato plants in containers that I could easily manage by myself.
I am also thinking about a Michigan trip! I think this will be another solo visit as well. I am that a mid-March visit will soon be in the works!
Listening and Watching and Reading
I recently finished Conversations with RBG and then I noted that On the Basis of Sex was streaming on television. I think the two work well together – some of the conversations RBG had with Jeffrey Rosen included a couple of the cases in the movie. I highly recommend both the book and the movie!
In my ears right now is the Pulitzer prize winning The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman, narrated by Wanda McCaddon. Wanda is a favorite narrator of mine and this book is so fascinating!
I have a lovely stack of books from the library to get through – however, I cannot read and do color work or do cables, so perhaps I need to start something with miles of stockinette! (**Perhaps the sock below is just the ticket!)
The Miles of Stockinette Pile
I also discovered that listening to NPR’s Up First is a wonderful way to start my day. I have not found success with any other podcast listening – but maybe this is enough.
On my “want to read list” is A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende (which will be released tomorrow) and I heard this interview on Sunday and my desire for this book increased. This one I might need to buy as the library has one copy with a very long wait list!
Speaking of knitting, I have a plethora of projects in various stages – my current fascination though is my Pheasant Pullover which I started on Saturday! There is no greater joy than stranded color work – truly, if you have not tried, you should! I am almost finished with the first chart!
I love this colorwork – the colors are just brilliant together!
Even the inside looks beautiful!
I also finished a sock and… wait for it… I have started its mate**! What??? I know, it is a true cause for celebration! I LOVE how the heel fits in this sock! And, I love how it allows the striping to continue down the foot in a more harmonious way – especially if you are a clog wearer like I am! I need to figure out a better fitting toe though…
I *almost* managed to start Sock Two in the same place as Sock One
Sewing and Learning and Wearing
Today is the day I am going to attempt to lay out an Esme Tunic in which the plaids match! I have watched and rewatched this video a number of times and am mentally ready to tackle the tricky bits. Fingers crossed that this is successful, because an Esme Tunic is my “go to” thing to wear right now. Warm, comfortable, works with or without a sweater, with leggings or jeans! I would like a couple more in my wardrobe, so I need to figure this out!
I need to make a Pietra muslin so I can adjust the rise and fit if need be so that I can make a pair of black corduroy pants!
These things are on my list for this week and I am talking about them here to make sure they get started!
Finding a Rhythm
I have spent a good bit of time this month figuring out how to transition from focus to intentional – and as I did last January, I am looking at all aspects of my life. It has been eye-opening, to say the least. It is amazing what is percolating to the top as I review my daily and weekly routines.
That’s what my world looks like right now, but what about you? What is your favorite current thing?
The weather forecast seems to be attempting to put the kibosh on a glorious welcome to summer:
But I am not going to let the weather stop me from having a good weekend!
In the plus column – I did indeed get my Charity Shawl completed and blocked! Which means I can ease back into my regularly scheduled knitting – which includes my Marsa Alam and a pair of toe-up socks! I have never knit a pair of socks toe-up so this is an entirely new experience for me. I am not sure how I feel about the process compared to my usual sock knitting method, but I will have a better idea once I have gotten to the heel. I am also a bit concerned about the cast off, but hopefully my typical stretchy bind-off will not fail me!
Sewing! I finished my Rose muslin yesterday. I had made some alterations to the pattern – I shortened the length and I knew I would need to shorten the rise but I was unsure exactly how much to shorten it. And even though I did not quite shorten it enough, it is still a wearable muslin! I used some fabric I got at IKEA a couple of years ago. My original plan was to sew a cushion for the window seat at the top of our stairs, but that never happened and so I thought it would work well for a muslin and it did! The pattern directions are well written and very clear. I tried the pleat option and it was surprisingly easy! I think the gathered front looks nice as well so I will get some fabric this weekend to make another pair. I think these would work with fun prints, linen, and even a lightweight denim! AND!! They are super comfortable and I predict these will be the Pants of the Summer!
Gearing up for:
The start of Summer Book Bingo! That’s right – any book finishes beginning tomorrow can count for a square! I am ON the “Made into a TV series” square with the first book of Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley series – A Great Deliverance. I have high hopes for this book as the reviews on Goodreads are stellar! I started it Wednesday night and should easily have it finished this weekend! It is not to late for you to join in as well! Book Bingo makes summer so much more fun!
PatternScout! I love this idea of remaking things and giving them a new life. Also, I really love her pattern suggestions – especially the Burda Knot Front Blouse! And, I truly love her “Monologue” especially this: “This hobby has given me so much confidence…creatively and about my body.” YES, so much yes!!
Fun, fun, fun:
I am going to harvest some rhubarb today and have plans to make a batch of Rhubarb-Thyme Syrup. This will come in handy as an addition to some beginning-of-summer-inspired cocktails this weekend – I am thinking about something new with gin. Stay tuned – I will share the recipe next week!
That’s all I have for this week – have an amazing Memorial Day Weekend and I will see you all back here next week!
The Happiest of Hours
Corned Beef Cooking
Really delicious baking!
and lots of reading!
Notes on a weekend: I do not consider myself a pie baker, but this recipe intrigued me and 8 cups of frozen raspberries from our garden that I had done absolutely nothing with glaring at me every time I opened the freezer. So, out came the raspberries to thaw a bit while I put mixed the pie crust ingredients together on Sunday morning. My raspberry modifications: 4 C raspberries – slightly thawed. 3 Tbsp corn starch (next time I will only use 2 Tbsp), 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla paste, the juice and zest of one lemon. I needed to bake it about 8 minutes longer than the recipe called for.
Oh, and that corned beef… omgosh, it was hands down the best corned beef I have ever made – or eaten! If you have always felt sort of ho-hum about corned beef… try Andrew Z’s recipe. It will turn you into a corned beef fan!!
My quilt top is almost done! As is the back of Deschain – so you know that means I simply had to cast on a new project, lol. This will be the shawl I am donating to and Close to You won the great pattern debate. I wound the yarn while I watched the NCAA selection show (there were cheers for Michigan pulling a #2 seed despite losing the Big Ten Tournament to Michigan State) and the winding continued while we watched the Circus. But, cast on was achieved before I finally turned off the lights and headed to bed.
And, with that – the weekend is just a warm memory and the mundanity of Monday awaits me! How about you? How was your weekend?