Posts for : November 2015

Weekending . . . 2

Do you know about the Scrap Yarn Sock Advent Calendar? I’ve been waiting for this year’s knit along ever since I realized I’d just missed it last year. Every day, starting December 1st, you get instructions for that day’s stripe. By the end of Advent, you have a pair of colorful, fun stripey socks! I can hardly wait!

I think all my crocheting lately has been about the COLOR!!

Squares 4

I’ve been crocheting colorful squares during reading.

Squares 2

I’ve been crocheting colorful squares during movie watching.

Squares 3

I’ve basically been living with a crochet hook in my hand!

When it occurred to me that the Scrap Yarn Advent Sock was on the horizon, I realized I’d let my Travel Shawl languish. My plan now is to try to finish it by the time the sock knit along starts on December 1st. I’ve got about three and a half repeats of the main pattern left to do, plus the border. I’m not sure I’ll make it, but I’m going to give it a good try.

Wedding knitting

The Travel Shawl deadline has proven invigorating. That, a little visiting, and a nice long walk are on the agenda for today.

I took this on yesterday’s walk. It’s one of our local woodpecker hangouts.

Woodpecker tree

What are you up to this weekend?

Otherwise 1

Blanket Squares

 

A post on the Brain Pickings Facebook page started me thinking about Jane Kenyon earlier this week. Her poem “Otherwise” gets in my head from time to time and stays there. I find the truth of it both wonderful and awful.

 

Otherwise

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

—Jane Kenyon

 

On this Thanksgiving eve, my wish for all of us is that we have the capacity to recognize and embrace the wonderful things that are. It could so easily be otherwise.

Friends in High Places 4

My dear friend Cari has written a funny, thought provoking, inspiring, makes-you-want-to-pull-up-your-britches-and-do-something-amazing account of her trip to see the fiber arts exhibit at the Bellefonte Museum in Pennsylvania this weekend. A piece of her artwork figured prominently in the show, and this was something that turned her inside out in all sorts of ways and ultimately left her ready for more. It’s the best blog post I’ve read in a long time. Be sure to  check it out, and when you do, notice the awesome Thin Edge of the Wedge scarf she’s wearing in the photo. Handknits in action, baby!

Things around here are moving along. Saturday was errand day which always includes a fun lunch:

Crochetl lunch

And a visit with Miss Kitty at the feed store:

Lucy

We found out this time that her name is actually Lucy. Apparently, the best place for feed store kitties in the winter is in the middle of the dog bed display. Makes sense to me.

Christmas gift knitting is probably going to start soon, but for now I’m indulging myself with crochet squares in every color of yarn I can dig out of my stash. I find the holidays kind of hard—good in many ways, but a bit stressful and sad too—so this is proving highly therapeutic.

I’ve also been going for walks. Paul and Blade and Dulce and I went on a nice hike up the mountain one day last week.

Walk 2

And yesterday Blade and I wandered over to the little cemetery that’s not too far from our house.

Cemetery rev

Walk 1

And last night there was seed bread.

Seed cake

Now I’m off to yoga. Wishing you peace and love, my friends. Thanks for stopping by.

Crochet Potion 4

Hello, Friends — I’m still here. Feels like the world is upside down these days. In our corner we’ve had sick chickens and a burst well pipe on the list of worries. This is going on behind my house right now.

Well

Even the weather is strange. We’re having wind gusts up to 50 mph. We spent most of the morning retrieving all the things that blew down the mountain during the night.

In the middle of the crazy, there has been this rose, blooming outside the vet’s office, in November.

Rose

And there has been knitting, of course—mostly on the Travel Shawl—and also crocheting. 

Dinner and Crochet

I’m thinking of a blanket.

Yarn 1

Yarn 2

For now, it’s back to work. Gotta make some money so we can pay the vet and the well guys. Hope you are all well out there and that even during the crazy you’re finding a little time to do the things you love.

Flatlining 2

I may be brain dead. I can’t think of a single interesting thing to say. Here are some pictures.

Rye soda bread:

Rye Soda Bread

This was amazing! I looked at a couple of recipes and then just ended up winging it. It’s basically plain old soda bread with rye flour. It was exceptional.

Ratatouille with a fried egg:

Ratatouille

I used this recipe, and I will definitely be using it again. If you like eggplant, make this. Really. It’s savory and filling in all the right ways.

Ripples:

Ripple Recon

I might be fantasizing about a ripple afghan. Who knows why . . .

And no pictures for this, but I’m reading The Historian. What a book! As soon as I hit “post,” I’m diving back in.

And blogs! I’ve added several new knitting blogs to my daily reads list. I’m still getting to know these bloggers, but so far I’m liking what I’ve found. Check ‘em out!

Hopefully, brain activity will resume at Casa Knit Potion soon. I’ll keep you posted.

Wrapping Up 4

Not a lot to report today. I finished up a pair of stripey socks last night.

Capacitor 1

Dulce did a careful inspection and said they were satisfactory.

Capacitor 2

I’ve also been knitting on the Travel Shawl. Here’s a little section of the middle. It’s not going to look like much until I can get it off the needles and spread it out, but I like the pattern a lot.

Travel Shawl

The knitting has all happened on breaks from paper grading this weekend. The course I’m teaching this term is fairly small, but even with just a handful of students, there have been a couple who have blown my mind. One student is a disabled veteran with brain trauma. Just before I met with him earlier this week, he’d learned he has three tumors on his spine. This student has been working hard, harder than most because of the particular challenges he faces. And now he’s got this devastating diagnosis to make sense of. I asked him if he wanted to take an incomplete in the course and come back to it once he’s got his medical situation figured out, and he told me no—he needs the course to move forward with a plan he has for working with other disabled vets, and he doesn’t want to quit just because he’s got turmoil happening in his own life. Wow.

Another student is stationed in Korea where he does his Army thing and bides his time. And gardens. I was going through responses to last week’s discussion questions and happened upon his account of why the Army “isn’t all that bad.” He explains that he has on-post housing with a garden. He loves this garden and talks about it as “an incredible ecosystem with all of life’s greatest drama from death and deceit, to passion and incredible devotion.” He talks about how he witnesses “complex emotional concepts physically happening” right there in his little plot of earth. He worries about pollution. He follows the life cycle of grass hoppers. Absolutely fascinating.

Teaching composition can be tedious at times, but students like these make it worth it.

Hope you’ve had a good weekend where you are. I’m about ready to wrap mine up with a glass of wine, some Travel Shawl knitting, and this week’s episode of Homeland. Lola’s got a crush on Mandy Patinkin, so we can’t be late tuning in.

Lola

Handspun Mitts 2

Remember that Hello Yarn club fiber I spun during Spinzilla? I think I mentioned that I wanted to knit a pair of fingerless mitts with it. Well, here they are!

Handspun Mitts 6 web Handspun Mitts 9 web

I REALLY love them.

The pattern is Easy Peasy Fingerless Mitts by Jennifer Casa. It’s wonderful in its simplicity. Basically, you just knit a tube and then add an afterthought thumb. Voilà! Super cute mitts!

Paul took the pics for me, and we both laughed when this bee started buzzing around. At first, we were waiting for him to buzz away, but he just kept hanging out. This pic ended up being my favorite of all the ones we got. I’ve actually made it my profile picture on Instagram, so if you see a mitt and bee pic over there, it might be me.

Handspun Mitts 3 web

Last night, I worked on a stripey sock while we watched the Baylor Bears do their thing. They’d been ranked #2 in the country until two weeks ago when the quarterback fractured his neck. Last week was a by week, so this week was the first week out with the new guy. He is a freshman, and he played like he’d been doing it forever. When the announcer mentioned that he was 19 years old, I just about shot cider through my nose. 19?????? Can you even drive when you’re 19? Kidding, but still . . . 19?

Baylor Kansas

I’ve got to get back to work, but I’ll leave you with a picture of Blade on today’s walk. It’s unseasonably warm, so we’ve been taking every chance we can to get in walks that don’t require too much bundling up.

Blade 2

I’ll be back with some pictures of something—either the Travel Shawl or Gramps—this weekend. Be well! And happy knitting, my friends!

Whatcha Lookin’ At? 0

IDF Soldier Knitting on Bus  Arnie Draiman

 

I came across this incredible photo on Facebook. It was shot by Arnie Draiman, and he was nice enough to give me permission to share it here. This is an Israel Defense Forces soldier knitting on the 74 bus on derech hevron heading towards har homa in Jerusalem. Arnie said that he watched him knitting for several minutes trying to find the right moment to take a photo without distracting him.

There is so much one could say about this image. It’s like a sideways version of the baby on the table. Describe the baby on the table. The artist looks at shape and skin tone; the psychologist notices attachment style; the mother sees an infant that needs to be held; the toddler sees a potential playmate. What you see depends on where you’re coming from.

Bearing this in mind, I’ll just say that one of the things I love about knitting is how it can help me step back and breathe. When things are especially hectic or complicated, choosing to pause and pick up my knitting  can be an act of faith. I can imagine someone’s wondering how in the world sacrificing precious time to knit could help with all the things that already have to be done and decided and addressed and otherwise handled. It’s counterintuitive. But every time, as my hands start making the familiar motions and I start to see the yarn become a stitch and then another and another, I sense an anchor beginning to drop and the rush of the world beginning to level off. It’s a powerful thing. That’s what I see in this photo. 

“I love people who harness themselves . . .” 6

AugieI was enjoying a post on building a handmade wardrobe over at kariebookish.net this morning when I came across the following comment by someone named “jackiemania”:

This is something I’m trying to work on (slowly but surely) too. Last week I was sick and I felt so much better because I had on a hand knit cardigan <3 I once wrote in my blog that wearing something handmade made me feel like I am wearing a talisman against the vagaries of the modern world, and that I’m convinced that objects we make with our own two hands are imbued with integrity, magic, and soul.

Of course, I had to immediately find out more about this person who describes wearing handknits as “a talisman against the vagaries of the modern world” because clearly she is someone who knows what’s what and is out there talking about it.

It turns out that Jackie has two blogs. One of them, jackiemania, is all about books and what she’s been reading. It’s no longer updated regularly, but oh, my goodness . . . if you’re a reader, you absolutely must check it out. She’s spent several years posting about what she was reading at the time, and her comments are seriously interesting. It’s like finding a great knitting blog but about books. You get the feeling that it’s almost as much fun hearing her talk about something she’s read as sitting down with the book yourself. I had to stop myself after ordering the third one of her recommendations on Amazon this morning!

In case you’re wondering, I got The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, and A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I’ll report back.

So anyway, Jackie’s active blog right now is called Life During Wartime Challenge. I need to spend more time with it to really get a sense of what it’s like, but the farewell entry on jackiemania, describes the new blog as having a focus on “sustainability, frugality, making, and doing.” I think the last part of her comment on the kariebookish.net post might be representative:

Finally, I am obsessed with the concept of verum factum: The principle states that truth is verified through creation or invention and not, as per Descartes, through observation: “The criterion and rule of the true is to have made it. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giambattista_Vico#The_verum_factum_principle). So, I feel like you can’t really know something until you try and make it yourself. If I’m interested in something, I want to make it to understand it.

This!!!!!! So much THIS.

And guess what! Jackie has a very active twitter feed where she not only tweets about knitting and books and making things but also posts pictures of extremely cute kitties! And cooking. And trees. . . .

View

On a day when work has been especially worky, it’s nice to have found someone who loves a lot of the same things I do and spends time talking about them online.

Sock 2

The line in the title is from Marge Piercy’s poem, “To Be of Use.” It’s featured in this post at jackiemania.wordpress.com.

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