Posts for : January 2016

F is for . . . 2

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter “F”—as in, finished object, forests, and famous walkers.

Here’s the finished object.

Travel Shawl blocking

The Travel Shawl is off the needles! It was a great knit. I’ll say more about it later when I get some better photos, but the bottom line is that this was fun to work on and should be fun to wear. Here it is soaking.

Travel Shawl Soaking

And here it is on Rasta. I had to keep saying his name to get him to open his eyes. The shawl was like a sleeping potion. From the minute I put it over him, all he wanted to do was snuggle in and take a nap.

Rasta in Travel Shawl

Now I’m back to knitting Geek-A-Long squares. The current one is Sonic the Hedgehog. I’ll post a picture of it next time.

But moving on with the letter F, there was a shockingly wonderful article about forests in The New York Times yesterday. It’s about a German forest ranger named Peter Wohlleben who has written a book called The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate — Discoveries From a Secret World. Here’s the gist of it:

. . . trees in the forest are social beings. They can count, learn and remember; nurse sick neighbors; warn each other of danger by sending electrical signals across a fungal network known as the “Wood Wide Web”; and, for reasons unknown, keep the ancient stumps of long-felled companions alive for centuries by feeding them a sugar solution through their roots.

I thought the “Wood Wide Web” bit might be a joke, but it’s not. It’s the popular name for what scientists call the mycorrhizal network, a web of fungal connections that links trees beneath the soil. This makes so much sense to me. I can’t wait to learn more. An English translation of the book is scheduled to be published in September.

Winter Trees

And finally in the land of F — famous walkers. I came across this fun BBC article on walking the other day. Like the article on forests, it addresses something I’ve always felt was true and important but that doesn’t get talked about very much, the benefits of “purposeless walking.” It makes so much sense that a lot of great thinkers and artists were avid walkers. The article lists a number of them and describes some of the ways in which they found walking “just to walk” so valuable. Give it a look if you’re at all interested in this sort of thing.

Before I wrap up, I should note that the idea of stringing together a series of unrelated-in-the-big-picture-but-connected-in-my-world things with a letter comes from Barefoot Rooster, who used to do it all the time . . . back when she blogged. Sigh. I miss you, Barefoot Rooster.

Deep beneath the cover of another perfect wonder where it’s so white as snow . . . 2

Snow Day web

We were snowed in for a couple of days over the weekend. It hardly ever gets so snowy and icy that we can’t get out, but Jonas was intense while it lasted.

The raised beds were completely buried by the time the snow finished falling.

Snow Chickens web

The chickens refused to come out of their coop for a day and a half.

We took a short walk on Saturday during a break in the weather.

Snow Bees web Color web

We even used my Louet Victoria box for a make-shift sled.

Louet Sled weg

Mostly, though, we stayed inside and watched.

Augie web

And read.

Textiles web

And knitted.

Squares web

These are the squares I’ve knit on my Geek-A-Long blanket so far.

I’m still getting a big kick out of double knitting, but I took a little break to finish up my Travel Shawl. The only thing left is the border, but since I’m up to around 500 stitches at this point, it’s taking awhile to finish each round.

Snow Knitting web

How’s the weather where you are?

4:30 a.m. 2

It’s rare that I can’t sleep. I have my challenges, but getting a good night’s sleep has never been one of them. Perhaps that’s the reason I didn’t know about all the things that go on at 4:30 in the morning. One thing is that owls have conversations outside my bedroom window. Really, back and forth, varying intonation, the whole nine yards.

Another is that 4 to 5ish is apparently when all the northern knitters post on Instagram. During my sleepless night this weekend, I thought I’d peruse some inspiring knitting photos, and every time I clicked on one to find out more, there were lots of words I didn’t recognize with letters with little round circles on top. Finland, Norway, Sweden. That’s who’s on Instagram in the middle of the night.

And guess what. They have Moomins. Do you know about the Moomins? According to the official Moomin Facebook page:

The Moomins are the central characters in a series of books and a comic strip by Swedish-Finn illustrator and writer Tove Jansson, originally published in Swedish by Schildts in Finland. They are a family of trolls who are white and roundish, with large snouts that make them resemble hippopotamuses. The carefree and adventurous family live in their house in Moominvalley, in the forests of Finland, though in the past their temporary residences have included a lighthouse and a theatre.

The picture at the top of this post was the gateway image. The Moomin tucked into its cozy little bed, next to the KNITTING, was too much. I was hooked. I followed the #kinttersofinstagram #moomin #mumin trail right down the rabbit hole. I found the image above in majasmanufaktur’s Instagram feed.

Here’s one with knitting and a Moomin book:

 

A photo posted by @kdrouge on

 

Here’s an actual knitting Moomin!

 

A photo posted by Anja (@madamefux) on

 

And how about this?

 

 
 

A photo posted by Tone-Lise (@toneliseknits) onNov 5, 2015 at 10:34am PST

 

And this one with the little Moomin stitch markers:

 

A photo posted by Ekens Garn (@ekensgarn) on

 

And one last one:

 

 

A photo posted by @nilsencarol onJun 9, 2015 at 3:44am PDT

 

I lied. One more:

 

A photo posted by @teeverliebt on

 

I’m thinking 4:30 a.m. isn’t so bad after all.

Knitting and Erranding 12

So I didn’t win the 1.6 billion dollar Powerball jackpot. Shoot. I had big plans. I took heart when I heard that one of the winners was from Chino Hills, CA. That’s where my cousin lives. I sent her a message. She didn’t win either.

I’m finding solace in the Geek-A-Long.

Pong Knitting web

Here’s my first finished square.

Mario Kart 1

The tablet on the right gives an idea of the size.

I’m almost embarrassed by how much fun I’m having with this. I’m knitting along, doing my thing, and then I turn the piece over, and wow! The colors have switched places! Magic!!

Mario Kart 2

The whole dimensionality thing is pretty neat too. Just by knitting and slipping, you can make a tube or a pouch. Or a pocket! I love pockets. Here’s Augie playing with a tiny little test pocket. He thinks it’s his, so I guess it is. Not sure what he’s going to keep in it.

Augie and Pocket web

Today was errand day which meant we got to visit Miss Lucy at the feed store.

Lucy

To keep things somewhat knitting related, here’s a handknits-in-action shot.

Handknits in Action

This is my 28thirty cardigan. It’s easily my most worn sweater. The weather was cold and wet today and got worse as it wore on. Having a handknit sweater on made me feel fortified against the elements. Paul actually said without any prompting from me that it seemed like “wearing a hug.” That. He’s next in line for a sweater.

Here’s what the weather was like. That’s my current double knit square in the corner.

Weather

Here’s a better picture of the square.

Pong in car

It’s Pong! I actually remember my dad coming home with the first version of Pong a million years ago and setting it up on the TV for us. We loved it. Had we only known what today’s video games would be like! Ha!

Speaking of interesting pastimes, I’ve been meaning to mention an article that appeared in The Wall Street Journal just before Christmas. It’s about people who love to untangle tangled yarn. Apparently, this is a thing—as in, there are a lot of people who do it, and they actively compete for the most tangled of the tangled messes. The worst cases end up being mailed from person to person around the globe, each detangler making as much progress as she can and then mailing it on to the next person. I feel no kinship whatsoever with these people, but it’s strangely comforting to think they’re out there.

The other piece of knitting news I’ve been meaning to pass along is that the Mason-Dixon Knitting ladies have come out with a knitting coloring book!! This feels like a big deal. Doesn’t it? Release the mouse, Cari. I’ve already ordered one for each of us. 😉

Don’t Ask, Walk! 0

No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. There may be countless trails and bridges and demigods who would gladly carry you across; but only at the price of pawning and forgoing yourself. There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!

I came across this wonderful bit of insight from Neitzsche in a post on the Brain Pickings blog this week. It had a special resonance because it so perfectly describes a woman I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about. The woman’s name is Fukuko Katsuura, and weaving is her obsession. She is 88 years old. She started weaving at 60.

For decades the world said, “No, Fukuko Katsuura, you do not get to weave.” And she said, “Yes, I will weave.” And despite the restrictions of culture and geography and age and all kinds of other things, she did. She is. I’m making a list of unconventional role models, and she is at the top of it right now. There’s a juicy article about her here with lots of photos and interesting details. Coming across Nietzsche’s words at the same time as I’ve been thinking about her is one of those coincidences that makes me think I should pay attention. I mention it here mainly because the article on Katsuura’s weaving is a fascinating read but also because this idea of living authentically has been on my mind. It’s not easy, is it?

Knitting . . .

Weekend errands included a haircut with a few minutes to knit while I waited my turn.

Hari Salon Knitting

And here’s where I am with my first Geek-A-Long square!

Mario Kart Square

It’s absolutely every bit as fun as I thought it would be. There is something ridiculously satisfying about seeing the image appear in reverse on the opposite side. And the squish is insane. The idea of a whole blanket with this level of squish boggles the mind.

The weather here has been dramatic.

Weather

We’re in for the coldest night of the winter tonight, so I made soup for dinner. I used my new Christmas pot and made Hot and Sour Vegetable. Oh, my goodness. It was very, very good. I used this recipe for inspiration. Definite yum!

Hot and Sour Soup

Despite the way it appears, this is actually enough soup for days. The pot is huge!

Sublimation 5

Elvis

Where to start? (Please ignore Elvis the Rooster for the moment.)

Sometimes I don’t know if I’m fifty or five. I’ve been in an absolute funk for days because yarn I ordered to start my Geek-A-Long blanket seemed to have disappeared in transit. I placed the order at the end of December, knowing it might be a day or two into January before I got it. But you know when it finally showed up? Yesterday! January 6th!

It wasn’t like there weren’t other things to knit. I could have worked on finishing Gramps or the Travel Shawl or cast on something new. I have gorgeous yarn for a sweater for Paul. But those things just wouldn’t do. All I could bring myself to work on were double-knitting swatches while I waited until time to go to the mailbox again and be crushed by no yarn . . . again.

I was a little surprised at my own petulance. It makes me wonder what’s really at stake for me to be so caught up in the idea of a particular project that having to wait felt like torture. Sublimation, for sure. But that’s knitting, right?

The yarn:

Black Yarn

I’ve never been so thrilled by black yarn. It doesn’t look like much, but the second color in every blanket square is black. No black . . . no blanket. 

Here’s the fun part:

Loopy Ewe

I got the colors from The Loopy Ewe, and along with the Cascade I ordered, they sent all these other fun things—sheep calendar, fun Della Q project bag, a little magnifying ruler, a button, candy, and a free skein of Malabrigo(!!!!!). I’m apparently a “Loopy Groupie” now. Not sure what qualified me for that unless it’s the embarrassing amount of money I’ve spent there, but I’m not one to look a yarny gift horse in the mouth, ya know?

Of course, I started my square immediately, and I’m loving it. I realized late last night that I’d made two of what are apparently the most common double-knitting mistakes, a bar and a stitch knit in the wrong color. My first knitting task today will be to work on correcting these things. I don’t even mind since it will be practice for fixing this sort of mistake going forward. 

One of my knitting goals for 2016 is to finish a blanket, something I’ve never done. As soon as my pesky day job is out of the way, I’m on it! Woohoo!!

Sidenote: While waiting for the black yarn, we ushered in the new year with Elvis the Rooster, one of the best gifts EVER (pictured above), and playtime with friends. Happy 2016, dear knitters!

Playing