The Calm Factor

The Calm Factor

Is it just me, or does this week seem to be moving along at warp speed?

This week I need an extra measure of calm and I was certain that if I tried to work on Rock the Lobster, there would be some ripping back…

So, I cast on A Pussy Hat by another name… and completed it the same day.

Then I wound, by hand, a skein of Miss Babs Deep Sea Jellyfish Yowza that I had been saving for a “rainy day” – it took a good bit of time.

But finally, I cast on another Honey cowl – this time using Kay Gardiner’s recipe for an extra 40 stitches (so I cast on 260 stitches rather than 220).

I started knitting and discovered that I had twisted the cast on row, so I had this Moebius thing going on. Yep, you guessed it – RRRIIIPPPPPP!

I cast on again – this time more successfully. On the fourth time of knitting a Honey Cowl – it is like sitting down with an old friend – comfortable, calming, and soothing. Just what I need this week!

On the reading front I finished The Nix yesterday and I loved it! I know it is too early to be saying anything about favorite books read this year, but I will tell you this – it is on the top ten list for favorite books ever. Yes. It is that good. It is chock full of so many good things – so many! And, I love how Nathan Hill tied all those things together! I highly recommend this book – really. It is a must read, imo.

I am still reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt – I really love her writing; however, I am still undecided about her slate of characters in this novel because they are decidedly unlikable. Now, that does not mean I am saying I do not like the story – because I do like it very much. Are you confused? I hope not, because it is very good and I am hoping that one of the characters manages to redeem themselves before the end of the story.

That is all I have for this Wednesday, where as usual I am joining Ginny in her Yarn Along.

What are you knitting or reading this week to get through?

A tiny post script on the conundrum of smelly vs. not smelly paper whites (or narcissus). Apparently there are indeed a couple of varieties that have low-smell or no-smell. More information can be found here and here. In other words, avoid the Ziva variety.

Triumvirate of New

Triumvirate of New

  • New Year Ö
  • New Project Ö
  • New Book Ö

Knitting progresses on Rob Roy. It is slow going right now, as I have not found a flow to the cables yet – nor have I memorised the symbols! Plus I ran into a bit of a conundrum with the chart on round three but Mary came to the rescue and it has flowed smoothly since.

I love the texture these cowls have!

I ended 2016 with 2 additional projects completed – Project Peace and Singing Beach. And, 2017 has it’s first item in the completion column – my first PussyHat is complete. I will be casting on another to share and I think I am going to give Laura Nelkin’s mods a go!

New book underway – Moonglow A Novel by Michael Chabon.

And, in its first few days the New Year is perking along nicely!

What are you reading and knitting in the New Year?

Joining Ginny and her Yarn Along.

Doing Something!

Doing Something!

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something. – Neil Gaiman

When I look back on my goals for 2016, I had some winners and I also had some losers:

My goal to stitch daily fell by the wayside and a large part of why it did was because I did not give myself permission to make mistakes. I wanted my stitching to be perfect without acknowledging that this is a new craft and as with all new things – there is a learning curve, and making mistakes is part of that process. It is certainly true that I am my own worst enemy with my inner drive for perfection – and if it can’t be perfect, then I won’t do it. But, this year I am going to work on that and give myself permission to make mistakes, to learn, to make new things, to push myself, and GROW! I will also move beyond my desire to only present what is perfect and share the process – mistakes and all.

Thanks to Honoré, I spent some time at the end of 2016 rethinking my daily schedule/routine. I have reworked it allowing for a few moments each day to learn something new about stitching and to implement what I have learned. As the year progresses, I will have a collage of stitches that will reflect a daily snapshot similar to Bonnie Sennott’s journey and by this time next year, I will have completed a grand stitching journey where, I am hoping, there is visible growth and immense pride in my mistakes and accomplishments!

Organization also got left behind in the dust of “doing other things” – I blocked out Marie Kondo’s calls to focus and I am paying for that in spades as 2017 starts. Again, Neil Gaiman gives a gentle invitation to live, to push myself, and to change myself – and this is an invite I am going to embrace wholeheartedly!

2017 will be my year for being more organized in so many things. But, one main organization task will be to give some semblance of order to my digital and physical photos. This is something I have procrastinated about far too long and I am ready to get to work on this!

I want to continue in my desire to weigh less and to move more! I did well in 2016, but I still have a long journey to go – and after basking in Holiday Cheer for a good portion of December – this month I will focus on getting back on track.

I also want to use more of my handspun yarn, so this will mean doing more intentional spinning. I look forward to spending time sampling and planning for projects rather than just spinning with no plan in mind!

Finally, I set a challenging reading goal for this year and I look forward to working through my “want to read list” as I hope to exceed my goal!

Here is to a year of pushing myself, changing myself, changing my world, and doing things!

Happy New Year, everyone!

A Year of Reading (with a side of knitting!)

A Year of Reading (with a side of knitting!)

First up – an update on my Christmas Bulb-a-thon:  Paperwhites are going gangbusters while the Amaryllis is going nowhere? The bloom and two leaves shriveled up and fell off. The remaining leaves have greened up some, but there is no new growth at all. I am not hopeful that this will be successful, but it has been a learning experience. Now, I am cheering on those Paperwhites, despite the smell that I have been warned about! LOL

Now, on to the reading of the post!! 2016 was a fantastic year for reading at Casa del KatKnits!

I finished 54 books this year and thanks to Summer Book Bingo, I stepped out of my “reading comfort zone” and read some books I would have not normally picked up – but did and I loved them! I might be able to get one more book read this year, rounding out the number at 55. I just got The Nix from the library, but it is unlikely that I can finish it before the New Year – we shall see!

Of the 54 books I read this year, some stand out still in my mind. To Kill a Mockingbird, The Paris Architect, A Man Called Ove, The Book Thief, and The Underground Railroad made a tremendous impact on me and I have thought about them all many times since I have read them.

I read books that made me yearn to visit other places – The Year of Living Danishly, and James Rebanks tales of his sheep and his land in England were excellent books to give you a different perspective on life on this planet.

I became enamored with Inspector Gamache and Three Pines as I worked through mysteries with him. And, Inspector Gamache is the perfect companion for my love of Nordic Noir novels – I filled my shelf with a good number of Scandinavian mysteries.

All this reading has inspired me to really step up my goal for 2017 and I have a well-stocked reading list to get me started!

The knitting this week saw the finish of gift socks, and the start of the first of two Rob Roy hats. My swatching has begun – in the form of the band of the hat. My gauge varies dramatically from flat knitting to in the round knitting, so this is the best way for me to swatch!

I also have almost finished my Peace Cowl.

2017 will be the year of the sweater – I have a couple in process that will be back in active knitting rotation now that the Christmas knitting is over!! And, there are plans for a couple more to be cast on in soon! I will be swatching this gorgeous Sheepspot CVM as soon as I get it wound into a ball! Yes, lots of knitting to usher in the New Year!

How did your year of reading and knitting end?

As always, I am linking up with Ginny’s Yarn Along, where you can find knitting and reading inspiration!

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Peaceful Knitting and Reading

Peaceful Knitting and Reading

21 days of Peace Knitting have brought me to the bind off and, as you can see, I am going to do the suggested i-cord bind off. It is by no means a quick bind off, but I am enjoying the pace of this knitting tremendously – I will continue the bind off in the peaceful fashion that the cowl has been knit. Stay tuned for the matching i-cord on the bottom of the cowl. I am not sure how peaceful picking up 318 stitches will be, but I will let you know!

I really love the texture of this cowl!

I also FINALLY bought Slow Stitching, and WOW! I am almost finished reading it and my head is FILLED with ideas on how to incorporate this into my life. This is especially exciting because I did not do well with my resolution to stitch daily last year, however 2017 will bring a renewed purpose with stitching into my days. I hope to incorporate many of the techniques talked about in the book – I am really inspired and will spend some time between Christmas and New Year gathering things that I have in the house to begin this exploration.

David of Southern Cross Fibres has always been an inspiration as well, and when I saw this posted on his Instagram feed earlier this week I had a bit of an ah-ha moment!

I am excited to start this new journey in the New Year.

My reading this year has been nothing short of phenomenal. There are two people who significantly improved my reading this year – Carole and Bonny! Carole inspired me to join Summer Book Bingo and Bonny is always reading something interesting which inspires me to add another book to my “I want to read this” list on Goodreads. A huge thanks to both of them!

I began and finished Behind Closed Doors on Saturday (it is amazing what an electrical outage will do for your reading!!) and was excited to get an email from the library that Michael Chabon’s Moonglow is ready for me to pick up! This year I have read 52 books and with any luck I will be able to get that to 55 before year end!

Jeffrey Brown of PBS Newshour released a compilation of 31 books that you should add to your holiday reading list. There were several books that I will be adding to my want to read list for 2017. So many books, so little time.

As always, I am linking up with Ginny’s Yarn Along. Happy Wednesday everyone!

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