All the good reads

All the good reads

This week I hit the good reads bonanza – I finished Michael Chabon’s Moonglow and started two excellent books – in my ears is Nathan Hill’s The Nix (which I am LOVING!!) and the other excellent book I started this week is Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, which I am reading via Overdrive on my iPad.

So much good reading! So.much!

I enjoyed Moonglow – I laughed, I cried, and really loved this journey through the memories of a grandparent. I highly recommend this book and gave it 4 stars.

Knitting has also been on the very good level – post-holiday crunch knitting is all completed and I have got back to Rock the Lobster to get this finished. Sleeve one was completed on Monday and yesterday I managed to get a good start on sleeve two. It is at the perfect point right now, just mindless knitting – no counting yet, no remembering to decrease.

I also finished swatching for an upcoming project and I really love how this process can take me in an entirely different direction than was the original plan. I think this is where I have learned how to “make a swatch lie to me” to “get gauge” to knit a project – I have more than once done this and the end result was a sweater that did not fill well and I really did not like very much. I have discovered that if you look at swatching in a different way, you have better success. What gauge makes the best fabric? That was the “aha” moment for me – getting a fabric I like. I will be starting a new sweater as soon as I have Rock the Lobster done and I am excited about that which is just the perfect incentive to finish this up! Can I also say that I am in love with this yarn – Sheepspot CVM which will be coming soon. It is light and airy in feel, yet it will be a hard-wearing fabric. I have been giving these swatches some good abrasion and they are holding up well, are not stretching out, and have good structure without being heavy – and NO PILLING!! I know, I am seriously in love with this yarn!

I would have picked up Rob Roy last night, but the lure of The Secret History won over knitting (yes, it is that good!) The hat has been in a bit of a time out because of pattern confusion, however, I only have one pattern repeat to complete and although Mary shared there was more confusion on the crown decreases, she graciously shared her pattern notes here if you are knitting along. This hat is for Steve and I would like to get it done before we get more cold weather so I hope to finish this up today.

That is all I have for today and, as always, I am joining Ginny’s Yarn Along where you will find plenty of knitting and reading inspiration!

In which we give thanks for wool

In which we give thanks for wool

When winter arrives in Pittsburgh, it arrives with a vengeance. I was greeted this morning with the stellar temperature of 8 whole degrees. (although they are forecasting for it to be well into the 50’s by next Thursday so this cold will be short-lived – which is just insanely crazy and if I was not already coming down with something, you know I would by this time next week!)

But, when it gets this cold – I am so thankful for wool! And, as my slippers from last year have a hole in one heel and I have not tried to darn/mend it yet – I cast on a new pair of my “go to” slipper yesterday. I have one done and am onto the second – it should be done shortly and my feet will be so happy.

Once that slipper is done, I will be working on swatching for a sweater. I have some incredible CVM yarn from Sheepspot and this will be something work related (I mean really, how great is it having a job that requires you to knit!!) Anyways, I have two sweater ideas that I think might work for this yarn – the first is a simple cardigan from Yellowcosmo and the second is Kathleen Dames latest knit along sweater – Basic Cable. I will be swatching for both this afternoon and we will see which swatch wins! Either way, you will find an article about my swatching journey later this month on the Sheepspot blog.

Last month, Caffeine Girl Creates asked me about the size of my Peace Cowl and I wanted to share with all of you my thoughts on how the finished cowl wears. My cowl ended up 8″ x 68″ – so it is BIG! I went up a needle size because my handspun was a bit thicker than fingering weight and I did not want a dense, heavy fabric. Would I want this cowl this big if I were knitting it out of a worsted spun yarn? No, I do not think I would, so I might reduce it a few inches, however in my woolen spun Columbia, I simply LOVE it! It is light but so incredibly warm! I put it on yesterday morning and I wore it all day long. For not having a project in mind when I spun the fiber up, I’d say this was an excellent match of yarn and pattern!

I have some Dorset Down handspun that I was trying to use in another project which has been languishing on the needles as it is not a good match for a couple of reasons – my spinning was not very uniform and I am not sure I have enough yardage to complete the project. However, I think it might work well in the Peace Cowl pattern, so you can look for that to be repurposed in the coming month as well.

Now how about some links?

Tomorrow is Saint Distaff’s Day! So, if you have not used your spinning wheel in the New Year (or in a while…) this is the perfect opportunity to do so!

I am completely smitten with Selbu Norway. (And Selbu Mittens too!)

The OA and The Oa – I love them both!

Field Guide No. 2 is coming!

Water

Alien Trail

If 2017 is your year to try double knitting the Om Shanti Cowl is the perfect little project!

I love these Night Creatures Mittens!

That is all I have for this first week in January – I am off to have a bit of hot tea and to finish those slippers! See you back here on Monday!

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 in Review

A Year in Review

Borrowing an idea from Vicki to wind down these last days of December, here is my Blog Year in Review!

January opened the door for a Year of Gratitude.

February 1st started the Bang out a Stopover phenomenon – 35 hours later, a sweater was born.

March started with a fun 10 on Tuesday!

April was all springtime and flowers. Boy, does that look good this morning!

Started with a what am I doing right now post and the iced coffee is a pleasant reminder of warmer days!

June began with a mystery – Kirsten Kapur’s Mystery Knit Along that is!

July kicked off the Tour de Fleece and I had a plan. Bonus because some of this frenzied spinning is bringing peaceful knitting!

I think the best thing all year happened in August! We went to see Hillary when she came to Pittsburgh to campaign.

September started off with a bit of sweater surgery to make a no longer fitting sweater fit.

October started with the end of our vacation in Michigan, which provided a good number of photos for the remainder of the month!

Sigla

November ushered my second successful participation in NaBloPoMo2016 and my 30 days of posting began with an almost completed Sigla!

Think Write Thursday’s was born in 2016 and the December first TWT post was a welcome letter to the month.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Reading and Knitting for Peace

Reading and Knitting for Peace

I am making progress on the Christmas Request knitting. I have one more sock to finish, and perhaps another pair of slippers – depending on how the sock moves along!

I am also knitting my four repeats daily for Project Peace – and I am really enjoying it. From daily Peace posts to the knitting meditation – there is a noticeable change in the atmosphere at Casa del KatKnits!

I got a nice surprise this week from the Sheepspot Breed Club – Southdown! I have never spun (or knit, for that matter!) with this fiber and I am eager to give it a try! The colors this month were also interesting. Is it yellow? Or green? As you can see, others had the same question! Jillian has a great article in the new Knitty on color blending that I am going to try with the multi-color braid. And, yes – this fiber seems to be saying “card me”!!

My reading has stagnated a bit I am sad to say! I have yet to finish Burial Rites, which hardly seems possible with the insomnia I have had this week! However, I have about 75 pages to go and I hope to have this finished today!

The library just emailed me that a book I had on hold was available, so I have that to look forward to as well but, I am not certain this will help my insomnia!

However, this was the best find all week. Thank you, NPR, for this incredible list! So many books I have not read, but I was happy to see several I had read on this list! But, my “to read” list has grown exponentially! Perhaps, 2017 will be the Year of Good Books (and little else)!

I am also contemplating what knits I need to finish – and there is a list of them – as well as what knits I want to start in 2017. Mapping out the New Year is always a good plan!

What do you want to knit or read in the New Year?

Linking up with Ginny’s Yarn Along, where you will find plenty of well-read knitters!

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