In December, as I began thinking about my word for this year… one of the things that I also spent some time contemplating was this blog. I thought long and hard about its future and I determined that I still had things to share, contributions to make, and, especially, the connections I have made here over the years! But, this blog does not write itself and that means that I have to make an actual effort to… well… create content to post here!
I have sort of mapped out a plan of post topics to help me “jump start” my creativity and so this First Friday it begins!
I will be doing quarterly “Currently” posts as a check in with myself… what am I doing. (or most importantly…what am I not doing and what should I be doing!)
Unpacking: My word! January is always such a fun month to spend looking at all the possibilities a word has and in the unpacking of the word, I always always find things I did not previously consider about the word. And I just love writing down definitions, writing down the “stream of words” that come to my mind as I unpack the word. Good things for January! It is the one month that I really like being at my desk!
Planning: Some January sewing! I think this is the *second* winter that has passed since I determined that I’d like a pair of corduroy pants… (THIS is exactly what these posts are going to help me do… be more accountable on the things I “talk” about wanting to get done! HA) Anyways… I simply love Sew House Seven’s Free Range Slacks and I plan on getting the pattern cut out this weekend so I am ready to start sewing on Monday! I also really need a couple of “nicer” sweat shirt-style shirts. I have had the Cosmos Sweatshirt pattern for a while now and I have these two lovely pieces of French Terry from Blackbird Fabrics. FOMU (that’s Fear Of Messing Up) has stymied me however. But I did not buy the fabric to just look at it! So I am breaking out from the fear and at least getting them washed and dried today! Then I will plan my next steps… I have not sewn knits is so long. (but thankfully Sewing YouTube has dozens of helpful videos!)
Shaking up: Friday Happy Hours! Boy, have they felt stale as the year ended. So I have been spent a little bit of time finding some new recipes and ideas to “spruce them up” a bit! Phase One starts tonight with a something freshly baked… stay tuned! (And I will be posting an update on IG! What??? LOL)
Speaking of Baking: In November I began making a “bucket” of dough and have been using Zoë François/Jeff Hertzberg 5-minute bread recipe. It keeps is the fridge for 2 weeks and makes it so simple to just pull out a bit of dough to make a loaf of very good bread! I expect this to continue as the dough can be used for pizza as well! It is nice having home made pizza every other week! (A favorite of ours is one with a chicken breast that I have previously cooked and shredded, some artichoke hearts, a drizzle of olive oil and some parmesan cheese!)
Watching: Call the Midwife and loving every second of it! (I also watched the first episode of Around the World in 80-days with DAVID TENNANT… so far, so good…and DAVID TENNANT!) These have been my “companions” while I have been spinning… and they are such very good company!
Spinning… with a plan in mind: I started a “sweater spin” last year and it sort of lost its sparkle. I love the fiber but the sweater part of the spinning has been the issue I think. So I changed the sweater plan… drastically! I knit Romi’s Morinne sweater (Rav link) some years ago and I love the design and fit so much… but the yarn I knit it with… not so much. It pills horribly and now after some years of wear it really looks like hell. This change in sweater has spurred on my spinning… as has the excitement of opening a little bit of fiber each day from Hipstrings Base12 Advent spin… which I thought was just spinning with no plan until yesterday… I think that this will make a lovely Hitchhiker (and I am sure that I will have more than enough yarn to knit a generous one!)
Bandwagon Knitting: I know that I said I was NOT doing any bandwagon knitting this year… but I should know better than to every say never… because on Wednesday night I jumped on the Musselburgh Wagon and began that fiddly little cast on. I am not through all the increases yet so I have not quite gotten to the “mindless knitting” portion of the hat… but soon!
And there you have the things that are currently filling the minutes of my days! What about you? Tell me one thing that you are really excited about!
Have a great weekend everyone and I will see you all back here on Monday!
Are beautifully overcast and almost chilly enough to need a sweater!
This morning it feels like a switch has been turned off as August ushered in some much cooler nights. This paired with the now noticeably darker mornings and earlier darker evenings brings the knowledge that summer is not here to stay.
(Outside of my gardening woes) It has been the most glorious summer I can remember in quite some time. The pace at which I have been savoring summer has been perfect. I am not rushing to the “next thing” and while I am very disappointed in my gardens lack of productivity… my attitude of “it is what it is” is helping ease that disappointment. One thing I love is puttering in the garden in the early morning hours and productivity or not, that is where I like to be.
The outside time has brought another treat this summer… I have been enjoying the antics of a pair of Hairy Woodpecker’s brood of chicks and their unceasing demands for “more food…NOW”! Watching their parents fill the hungry mouths has been a delight!
One thing growing that has been on “hyper-growth” this year are my herbs… particularly my basil! And while I am sad that Kym is not having the same success… I am thankful that she shared a link for Basil Bombs. That bushy plant is about to get “de-leafed” and my freezer is waiting for those little green treasures. I don’t have an ice cube tray but I think I can make it work with “snack sized” ziplock bags.
One final very good thing from the weekend was an Amazon delivery that has brought things into focus… lol. Yep, I got an Ottlite and have been doing some stitching this weekend. What an incredible difference *seeing* makes! This stitching project is eons old (and I think it might almost qualify as an antique!) But, I made some very good progress yesterday once I got the right distance figured out! This is my “trial run” to see how it goes, and if it goes well… I have my eye on a couple of patterns from Etsy. (namely this and this)
And that is all I have for today… I will see you all back here on Wednesday!
I want to close this week out with a list of Good Things that I thought you might find some of them enrich your days as well. All these things all fit well with my LSD Mantra (Learning to Slow Down) for the summer.
Listening things are probably the best part of my day. Somehow the mundane things of life (think laundry, cleaning the bathroom, and scrubbing floors…) are not so bad with something good in your ears!
I love how Ibram X. Kendi makes me think and his new podcast is full of thought provoking things. The Juneteenth Mixtape is an excellent way to usher in Juneteenth. Listen…really… listen! It is so good.
Last week I shared that I was going to be doing some random, hopefully weekly, bits of art. I got some soft pastels and a little sketch book and so I began. I started first by watching some YouTube videos and so my apple was born. It was done in one sitting… it is not perfect… but it was a start. This week, I did not watch anything and I did not do my drawing in one sitting, rather I spent several days working on it. It is better, I think and I am going to keep going… who knows where this will lead, but I love working with the pastels. I love using my fingers to create, smudge, blend… it just feels so good. I also loved finding that opening the door to the closet of my high school art classes released all sorts of things I have not forgotten! Who knew!! My high school art teacher, Mrs. Boyce, would be so proud of me!
Finally, I spent some time this week thinking about the brilliance of women. I especially am thankful for the woman who figured out how to ease a sleeve into an arm scythe… and the woman who had the “ah-ha” moment that brought understitching facings… they are just the most magical processes! (And for the knitting minded…the woman who figured out paired increases and decreases in knitting… because really, where would knitting be without that bit of genius!)
This week felt like a turning point in a great number of things, but one that was most welcome was the gradual lengthening of the days which really became noticeable to me this week! Since Solstice our daylight has expanded a whopping 34 minutes here in Pittsburgh! That might not seem like much of a turning point, but boy it sure feels like one to me! In addition to the increased minutes of daylight, some other issues I have been struggling with have found turning points on their own. Which is a good reminder that sometimes, whether I do something or not, problems eventually work themselves out – so worry less, Kat!
Although it took much longer than I expected, my finished Esme Tunic put a smile on my face! I have a good start on understanding the concept of what to do to get plaids to match. I have one more tunic to sew, and it will be on my list for next week. This fabric has more “lines” to match, which makes me a bit nervous, but I am going to dig out my walking foot to aide the sewing. AND I am going to do some basting before final seaming! Hello, Bust Darts…I am talking about YOU!
I have spent LOTS of time this week listening to the Senate impeachment proceedings. I have been sort of shocked at articles like this – I mean, Senators, paying attention is actually your job! You all took an oath, and the rules state you must stay in your chairs quietly listening and taking notes! Although, I did love this suggestion and would LOVE to hear the gentle clicking of 100 pairs of knitting needles as they all listen to the House Managers. Speaking of those House Managers – I might be a bit biased – but they have done an incredible job, one and all! However, last nights closing by Adam Schiff was amazing (you can see part of his dynamic speech here): “Right matters. And the truth matters. Otherwise we are lost.” Exactly!!
I am almost done with the second chart of my Pheasant Pullover (see above for dramatically increased knitting times) and hurrah for longer circular needles! I am absolutely in love with the beautiful details and the intricate color variations. At times it seems like I am creating a beautiful Pointillism art piece, each stitch alone is not much – but added together with hundreds of other stitches a wonderfully drawn, and most intricate motif begins to emerge. With each stitch I am singing an ode to the brilliance of Amy Christoffers – I am so in love with this pattern! (I am happy she is such a prolific designer because I have my eyes on Ipswich for a spring cardigan – I love the lace yoke!)
I love how the colors seem to merge into each other!
I am not sure why, but my tensioning is almost effortless with this yarn!
That is all I have for today; I wish you all a wonderful and relaxing weekend! See you all back here next week.
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?