Monday, February 28, 2022

Productive Weekending

Though it went by too quickly, as it always does, the weekend was a good one. We all caught up on sleep after a not-so-great last week, the sun was out, and we had few things on our schedule, which provided us all with some time to rest and recharge. My mother came home on Saturday afternoon (she's staying a few weeks to get my parents' taxes ready and then will fly back to Florida with us girls in a few weeks), so we had dinner with her on Saturday. And of course there was a lot of knitting. Take at look at my Shifty!

It took me a good hour and a half yesterday to complete the tubular bind-off on the hem, but it was so worth it! I ended up knitting only an inch and a half of the ribbing at the bottom, partly because I wanted to ensure that I saved enough of that skein of yarn for the sleeves and partly because I felt that the body was long enough (and I tried it on to make sure and can confirm that fact!). After I finished the hem, I wove in all my ends on the body before I started the first sleeve. If you look closely, you'll see that I have both sleeves on needles; I'm going to work the sleeves concurrently so that I can be sure they match and that they match the sequence of where I used each skein of yarn in the body as closely as possible. On the first sleeve, I've finished up using my first contrast color and have a handful of rounds remaining on the first background color. When I finish those and join in my second background color, I'll pause on the first sleeve and start the second. It's not an especially fast process, but the rounds are certainly much shorter on the sleeves compared to the body, so I think they will move quickly.

I know I've said it was a good weekend, but of course it was hard to watch the news about what's happening in Ukraine. My grandfather came to the United States from Kyiv more than a century ago, back when it was still part of Russian (and still under the rule of the czar), but we still feel a family connection. It is encouraging to see so much support around the world for the Ukrainian people, and we're hoping that cooler heads and wiser minds will prevail.

Friday, February 25, 2022

So What's Next?

Friday is finally here (I kept thinking it was Friday yesterday, so I guess I was a little impatient for it to come!), and next week we flip the calendars ahead to March. I don't typically let the calendar dictate what I make, but I am thinking about what to make next for two reasons. The first is that yesterday I got to the ribbing of the body of my Shifty, and though I still have the two sleeves to knit after that, it feels like a major part of this project is done.

I've moved my progress keeper up to the start of the ribbing because 1x1 ribbing on several hundred stitches and 2.5 mm needles is enough to kill your will to live if you can't see that you're making progress. I've done about half an inch at this point, which means I have another inch and a half to go before I do a tubular bind-off. That all might or might not happen today, but the body for sure will be done this weekend and I'll get a start on the sleeves. I plan to make the sleeves match the body as much as possible by using the same skeins for the same number of rounds, though obviously due to the nature of handspun, they're not going to look exactly the same. I'm contemplating doing the sleeves in tandem, on two sets of needles, so that I can work each section on each sleeve without having to worry about remembering numbers of rounds.

The other reason I am thinking about what to make next is because another make-along starts March 1. If you're a regular reader, then you know that I love having the motivation of a make-along to get me to finish things. For several years, Lisa of Fibernymph Dye Works (a personal friend and a dyer whose yarn I love to use) has been sponsoring a yearlong make-along with a different theme, and this year's event is called the Make It Your Own Make-along, or MIYO MAL. For each two-month period (March/April, May/June, August/September, and October/November), participants pick a theme for their projects and then make whatever they want. I've declared my theme to be "work from pre-2022 stash" for at least this first quarter; while I'm not forbidding myself from buying yarn this year, I'm really trying hard not to and instead to use up the very plentiful supplies of yarn I already have. One new project I'm definitely going to be starting is a corner-to-corner crocheted chevron blanket for Rainbow using some sportweight acrylic yarn that was handed down to me a couple of years ago by my mother. Rainbow selected these colors:

The white will alternate with the pink and the green in different strips and then be sewn up together to form chevrons.

The other thing I'm contemplating casting on (if you can believe it!) is another May(be) Queen, in a larger size so it will definitely fit me, using this FDW Ridgetop (non-superwash) Fingering that I think I bought a year ago:

This lovely burnt orange, which I've been more and more drawn to lately, is appropriately named Ember. It's an entirely different yarn from what I used for the first one and is definitely more crisp and rustic, but I think it would look nice nonetheless. Also, now that I've knit the sweater once, I'm more familiar with the pattern and can make some adjustments to some areas that I wasn't entirely happy with the first time around. I likely wouldn't be able to wear this until next fall, but that would give me something to look forward to. Thoughts? Opinions? Do you think I've lost my mind? Actually, don't answer that -- I'm pretty sure I already know the answer!

Hope you have a good and relaxing weekend!

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Unraveled, Week 8/2022

It's already Wednesday again? And it's the last Wednesday in February? Egads! Time to link up with Kat and the Unravelers and to talk about making and reading.

Thankfully there has not been any unraveling here, but there has been a lot of knitting. I've been pretty monogamous with my Shifty and have added quite a lot to the body (a good 3 inches past where I placed a progress keeper on Sunday to mark where I started adding length to the body past where the pattern told me to start the ribbing). Yesterday I realized that I didn't have that much of the body left and if I wanted to use the last two colors I'd spun, I should probably add them in now.

I know this looks a bit washed out; it's still quite overcast here after it rained for most of the day yesterday. Here is a closeup of the bottom so you can actually see the color changes:

At first I was a bit annoyed that the background change was so abrupt, but I suppose that's the nature of working with handspun, and with this pattern, there's really not an easy way to blend in the change. I can live with it, and to be honest, I had a similar line when I switched to the second background color, so at least there's some consistency there. I've got about 34 rounds to knit before I start the hem ribbing, so depending on how busy I am today, it's not out of the question that I may get to the ribbing before the day is done.

Reading has been good this week, if not quite as prolific as last week. I've finished two books, both of them good reads.

I'd put What Storm, What Thunder on hold at the library following Mary's recommendation, and it's on the long list for the Aspen Words Literary Prize (the short list will be announced Friday; I've already read six of the books on the long list and have two others on my TBR list, so I'm interested to see what makes the cut). This book tells the story of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti from the point of view of people of various ages and social positions, giving a full picture of the total impact of the tragedy. I found it a bit slow to start but more and more compelling as I got deeper into it, and it broke my heart several times. My only complaint is that I could have used a Kreyol glossary (I made do with Google). I gave it 4 stars.

I've been wanting to read Know My Name since it came out and really wanted to listen to the author read it, so I've had it tagged "to read" on my Libby app and was waiting for a time when there was no wait. I finally had that opportunity last week and did not want to stop listening, even though at times I felt I had to because it was so emotionally overwhelming. Chances are you've heard about Chanel Miller's story, even if you only knew her as Emily Doe from her now-viral victim impact statement. Her full memoir is just as powerful as that piece and gives the full picture of just how much her assault impacted her life -- and just how poorly she was treated by the system. I'd recommend everyone read this book (though with the caveat that it does describe in graphic detail a sexual assault and its aftermath). I gave it 5 stars.

Currently I'm reading Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy's Guide to the Constitution, which I requested from NetGalley following Kat's recommendation, and still occasionally dipping into Braiding Sweetgrass. After a flurry of library holds, I'm enjoying a bit of calm and am hoping to tackle some of the books on my physical TBR stack.

What are you working on and reading this week?

Monday, February 21, 2022

Growth in 2022: February

I cannot believe how quickly this month has gone by, even if it is a shorter month. I know that technically we still have a week left, but I'm sure it'll fly, too, besides which Carolyn is hosting our monthly One Little Word link-up this week.

Growth made itself known in an unexpected way this month. You know that old saying, "You're only as old as you feel"? In the past week or so, I've been reminded by my actual age. I frequently feel like I'm still in my 20s and am not yet a responsible adult. Yet my body occasionally likes to remind me that I'm actually middle-aged. Last week, I wasn't paying enough attention to what I was doing and slid down some of our steps. It could have been much worse: The steps I slid down were just the three that go to a landing, and because there's a 180-degree turn to the rest of the flight, I stopped there. I didn't hit my head. But I did land on the corner of a step on my back, and I was in a lot of pain when it happened. I was able to drive myself to the urgent care center (which is just around the corner from our house), where they took x-rays and determined that nothing was broken and I had just given myself a bad bruise. I was still able to go for my daily walk that day, in fact, though I was certainly a little slower and had to be careful about how I moved. And it's been getting better every day, though I still get a twinge when I do things like sneeze (isn't that a joy of aging, when you can hurt yourself from sneezing?).

What this little mishap has taught me is that although I am someone who is regularly physically active and who is taking steps to ensure that I am capable of doing everything I want to physically as I get older, aging is not something I can ignore. I may be more fit and flexible than others my age, but I'm working with a 40-year-old body that doesn't recover as fast as it used to. And as I get older, there is the possibility that a fall could do some serious damage, so perhaps I need to be a little more careful about things like going down the steps. I guess you could say my growth this month has been in the form of better self-awareness and in learning to be more gentle with myself. It can be a hard lesson to learn, but I'm glad that learned it this way rather than through something more serious!

How has your One Little Word shown up this month?

Sunday, February 20, 2022

The State of the Spinning (and the Spinning Stash)

It's been quite a while since I published a Spinning Sunday post; since making the switch to thrice-weekly posts during the week, I've found I've needed the weekend to come up with more content, but seeing as this coming week will include a One Little Word update, I though I could sneak in a little spinning chatter today.

One of my goals from last year was to spin up a lot of my spinning stash, and I did do that. But I also haven't stopped my fiber club, which means there's always a bag of fiber coming in every month. That was part of the impetus for the big combo spin, and I expect that combining multiple colorways for a larger project is going to be more commonplace in my spinning practice. But before I embark on another big spinning project, I thought I should probably finish up the last one. I did finish up all of the main yarn for the matching mom-and-daughter sweaters, but I also wanted to spin for the contrast for the colorwork (as a reminder, the planned patterns are Garland and Little Garland -- both links go to Ravelry). It made sense to me, given how much color went into the combo spin, to spin up a contrast skein in an undyed, natural color. I have a bag of Ross Farm Florida Cracker roving somewhere in my stash that I'd planned to use but could not for the life of me find it, so instead I'm spinning up some smaller amounts from Ross Farm -- two 2 oz. bags of fawn-colored CVM and an almost 2 oz. bag of slightly darker brown Romney. The yarn will be marled but should be pretty subtle. I've started with one of the bags of CVM:

This fiber is true roving, and it's minimally processed, so there's still a fair bit of VM in it. I am pulling out larger nepps and clumps of stuff as I spin, but because it's roving and not combed top, the yarn is naturally going to have a little bit of texture to it, but I think that will only add to the charm.

As for the fiber stash, I just updated the last five months of the Southern Cross Fibre club shipments, all of which are beautiful. Here are the last four from 2021:

Clockwise from top left: Boo! on Comeback Wool, Coastline on Bond, Blazing Skies on Rambouillet, and Plumage on Shetland

The most recent shipment (for January) arrived late last week after the USPS lost track of it in the system. Fortunately, Australia Post was kind enough to send me an email letting me know it had been delivered.

This one is called Amethyst on South African Superfine Merino, so you can imagine how soft it feels. I am very excited about all of these shipments and the gorgeous colors, and I'm hoping knowing that they're all waiting to be spun is good motivation to finish up this last skein for the sweater project!

Friday, February 18, 2022

Starting an Extra-long Weekend

All day so far I've been a bit confused about what day it is. I know that's a pretty typical pandemic experience, but today it's because I'm taking the day off (as well as Monday) in order to spend some extra time with Rainbow while she's off from school -- it's the end of the trimester, so the teachers are getting a couple of days to do their grades and reports. This morning we went to Costco to stock up on quite a few things, and this evening my brother, sister-in-law, and dog-nephew will be joining us for dinner, so we'll be baking challah and cooking dinner later this afternoon.

One thing that I hope to spend some serious time with over the long weekend is my Shifty pullover. I've added several dozen rounds, but working in slip-stitch pattern with fingering weight yarn means that it doesn't add up to much.

I think the colors are getting more subtle and dark in the current pairing of yarns, and every time I try to take a photo, it gets blown out. So I'm sorry that this picture is so dark, but at least you get a fairly accurate representation of the color.

Later today, I'm hoping to slide half the stitches onto a spare needle so that I can try on the sweater. I want to make sure the fit is okay, especially after what happened with my last sweater project, but I also want to get a better sense of how much more length I need to add to the body.

I hope you get to have some extra relaxation time this weekend!

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Unraveled, Week 7/2022

Good morning and happy Wednesday! Despite having a troubling dream right before getting up this morning (I was back in school, although it was online, and I was late for class!), I'm happy to welcome another check-in with Kat and the Unravelers to catch up on making and reading.

While I am still trying to focus on my Shifty as my main project, I've been a bit distracted by new things. The sweater doesn't require a ton of attention, but it needs enough that I can't read with my eyes and knit on it at the same time. So I felt like I needed to start a new, smaller project that I could work on while reading and that would be suitable for on-the-go crafting (not that there's very much of that these days). For about a year, I've had a mini skein set from Marianated Yarns that she dyed to match the amazing colors so many women wore to the inauguration last year. I've had a design idea for it for several months now, and yesterday I finally got myself off my butt and started it.

The set had a total of eight minis, but because I'm planning to use one after the other, in order, and I didn't want a ton of ends to weave in, I used a Russian join to connect them as I wound them. That meant that I had to take a little extra time to wind up with one cake of yarn, but I look at it as spending time now to save time later. This will be a brioche cowl with some easy increases. Even if I decide not to turn it into an actual pattern, it'll be a cowl that I will wear and enjoy.

And yes, that is Bernie on my stitch marker. Marian was selling them at the same time as the mini set as a fundraiser for a local food bank, and I couldn't resist.

Remember how I had no finished reads to share last week? I'm more than making up for that this week with four books finished.

Like Mary, I have a goal of becoming a Maggie O'Farrell completist this year, so I thought it only made sense to go back to where it all started and read her first published novel, After You'd Gone. In what I've come to recognize as her signature style, this book jumps around in time and perspective, giving you snippets of the larger story that all come together at the very end. It was difficult at first to get a grip on this, not because of the writing but because the format of the ebook I got from the library (it was only available through the Libby app itself, not as a Kindle ebook) -- often when the narrative changed in time or perspective, there was no visual indication of it, meaning that it looked like just one paragraph ending and another beginning. Once I got past that, I found it to be the writing that I've come to know and love from O'Farrell. I gave it 4 stars.

My next finish was my very first book from NetGalley, which I finally signed up for last month. I was intrigued by the description of Great or Nothing, a more modern retelling of Little Women in which the March sisters are navigating the difficulties of World War II and their grief over the death of Beth just before the book opens. A book written by multiple authors can sometimes feel disjointed, but it works quite well in this case because each author is responsible for the voice of one of the sisters. And though Beth has died before the book starts, her voice is still heard in the form of poems between chapters, almost as if Beth is watching her sisters from beyond the grave and offering them encouragement. I really liked how this book felt faithful to the original story but also took the characters in some new directions that felt appropriate to the more recent past. I received this ARC from NetGalley and Delacourte in return for an honest review, and I do recommend it! I believe it's classified as a YA book, but I really enjoyed it and also feel like it's one that Rainbow might like as well. It comes out next month, if you're interested. I gave it 4 stars.

I heard about Assembly from Mary a few weeks ago and listened to it in its entirety on Sunday afternoon (it's only about 2 hours long). Wow. This is a really powerful debut novel that says quite a lot in a very small number of pages about racism, sexism, and other Really Big Issues. There is so much, in fact, that I've since put the ebook on hold at the library so that I can reread it with my eyes a bit more slowly to fully appreciate everything it has to say. There isn't a lot of plot in this novel; rather, it's more of a character study of the unnamed Black women at its center and how utterly challenging and exhausting it can be to exist and try to succeed as a Black woman in today's society. Though it's set in England, I imagine it's very applicable to the United States as well. I gave it 4 stars.

Finally, I finished What Strange Paradise, which I know many of you have already read. It feels strange to say that I enjoyed reading such a sad book, but the writing was truly beautiful and the story ripped my heart out. I don't think anyone goes into this book expecting a happy ending, but I'm not sure I expected to be quite as devastated. I think this is a very necessary read for anyone who feels numbed by all the suffering in the world and doesn't want to lose their sense of the humanity of all people, and it would make an excellent book club or book group read because I think it would make for a great discussion. I gave it 4 stars as well.

I'm currently actively reading two books from the library: I'm almost halfway through What Storm, What Thunder, and yesterday I started listening to Know My Name, which I've long had tagged "to read" on my library app and finally managed to borrow when there was no wait. I suppose I'm in a phase of very serious reading at the moment and will need something lighthearted soon.

What are you making and reading this week?

Monday, February 14, 2022

Showing Love with Wool

It's a snowy Valentine's Day here in Pittsburgh. After unseasonably warm temperatures on Friday (which we're supposed to see again midweek), we were back into single digits when we got up this morning, so I guess winter isn't done with us just yet.

The weekend was fairly calm, and that meant getting a number of things done, among them a new pair of socks for Rainbow:

At her pediatrician appointment on Friday, we learned that she's grown almost three inches in the last year, so I made these with just a bit of extra length so that she wouldn't outgrow them instantaneously. Though you can't see from the photo, they're shorter socks (two inches of ribbing and an inch of stockinette for the leg only), and I used my new heel at her request. The yarn is Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock, a superwash BFL/nylon base that felt pretty sturdy as I knit. I won this skein in a giveaway a number of years ago and have been saving it ever since, and she has been so enthusiastic about the colors that it was absolutely the right time to use it.

Speaking of enthusiastic, I officially gave her the sweater and she insisted on wearing it on Saturday. I don't think she took it off until it was time to change for bed, which is saying a lot for a kid who runs warm.

We don't really make a big deal about Valentine's Day in this house -- we exchange cards and sometimes small gifts and enjoy some treats -- but I really can't think of a better way to show this girl how much I love her than to cover her in wool. And she gives me no better gift than accepting my hand-knit gifts with excitement and wearing them.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Out of Hibernation

Happy almost weekend, friends! I'm very happy to see this week come to an end, as it's been a long one. I had three meetings yesterday, including a two-and-a-half-hour board meeting yesterday evening, so I'm feeling a lot like crawling into bed and staying there for a good long while.

Thank you for all the compliments on my May(be) Queen! I decided yesterday that it really suited Rainbow best and told her last night that she could have it if she wanted it. She was ecstatic, which tells me I made the right decision. Perhaps one day I'll knit another for myself in the correct size -- I do have a sweater's quantity of a semisolid burnt orange in the stash that would do for it, but I'm not making any decisions just yet, partly because I still have a sweater for me on the needles. Have you forgotten? It's my handspun Shifty:

I pulled this out on Wednesday night and knit about four rounds on it, but I want to give it more attention now. According to the pattern, I have about 58 rounds left to knit before the hem, but I'm fairly certain I'm going to be lengthening the body, as a cropped sweater isn't ideal for me. I also have plenty of yarn -- I've only just joined the second background color and have a third still to use if I need to. There is still quite a bit of knitting to do on this sweater, but it's a much simpler pattern than the last one, and I'm going to try to get it finished while the weather is still cool enough to wear it.

For more immediate gratification, I have a pair of socks for Rainbow that I cast on last Friday. She wanted a pair using my new heel, and I couldn't say no to that request! As an indication of just how much knitting can get done during meetings, I will tell you that at the beginning of yesterday, the sock that's in progress was only about half an inch of cuff.

I know it does help that they are shortie/ankle socks but Rainbow's feet are now 8 inches around and 9 inches long, so these are pretty much adult-sized socks at this point! I don't think any of you will be surprised that she's recently gone through a growth spurt; she has her annual check-up at the pediatrician this afternoon, and we'll see just how much she's grown since last year, when she was a bit underweight and undersized. I'm fairly confident she'll be back on track and close to average.

Later this morning I'm going to donate blood with the Red Cross, so I'm using this as an opportunity to remind you that blood supplies in the United States are critically low and to ask you to please go donate if you're able! I have been trying to donate every 2-3 months for the past couple of years because  I am not a medical professional and it's a very easy way to save someone's life. If you need extra motivation, the Red Cross is currently offering a $10 Amazon gift card to everyone who donates this month (and you're also free to refuse it and give that gift back to the Red Cross if it's not your thing).

I am hoping for a low-key weekend with lots of knitting while watching the Olympics. I hope it's a good one for you!

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Unraveled, Week 6/2022

It's already Wednesday again! Time to join Kat and the Unravelers with a making and reading update -- and as far as the making goes, it's been a big week.

On Sunday afternoon, I had another Zoom board meeting. Thankfully this one lasted only 2 hours and 20 minutes -- still longer than I'd like, but much more reasonable than the 4-hour meeting of the week before. I made good use of my time in this meeting: While the majority of my fellow board members felt compelled to express their opinions over and over again, I worked on my sweater. And by Sunday evening, I'd finished it! I blocked it yesterday, and today it was dry and ready to be tried on.

Pattern: May(be) Queen by La Maison Rililie, size XS
Yarn: Fibernymph Dye Works Bounce (80% superwash merino/20% nylon), in Runaway, approximately 2.5 skeins
Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm) and US 2.5 (3.0 mm)
Started/Completed: December 19, 2021/February 6, 2022
Mods: rewrote sleeves

This may very well have been the most complicated pattern I've ever knit; the yoke shaping and the body had different instructions for almost every round and included occasional short rows, so I had to pay close attention to what I was doing. My only real modification was to change the sleeves so that they were in plain stockinette and tapered toward the wrist. While I liked the stitch pattern in the original, the belled sleeves are not good for my lifestyle or my tendency to knock things over.

I did choose to make a smaller size than what the recommended ease called for because I wanted a more fitted look, but it ended up a bit smaller than I was expecting. It does fit, though I can't wear it with anything underneath other than undergarments or maybe a tank. I know this doesn't seem like an issue, but I usually wear my sweaters with a long-sleeved tee underneath, both because I run cold and need the extra layer and because I don't like to have to wash my sweaters every time I wear them. The sizing isn't because I didn't swatch or get gauge, because I did. I just apparently picked the wrong size to knit.

Or maybe I was knitting the sweater for someone else and just didn't realize it:

I have to say that I think I like it better on her, a little longer and with a bit of positive ease, and I'm happy to pass it along to her if she'll wear it. She's been wanting me to knit her another sweater, so perhaps if I give her this one, I can get a bit of a grace period on another project. I still have my handspun Shifty to finish up, after all.

Reading has been less productive this week in that I haven't finished anything since last Wednesday, but I'm getting close to finishing a couple of books. First, today (as long as work cooperates) I should finish After You'd Gone, Maggie O'Farrell's first published novel. I'd very much like to become a Maggie O'Farrell completist this year, after this one, I'll have four more books to read to have read all her novels. I am also well into Great or Nothing, a Little Women retelling that I found on NetGalley. It's set during WWII and feels a bit like a guilty pleasure to read, so I'm looking forward to getting back to it.

What are you making and reading this week?

Monday, February 07, 2022

Pattern Release: SOHCAHTOA

It's an exciting day, friends. I'm ready to release my first pattern of 2022! They are the so-called "shark fin" socks whose actual name is SOHCAHTOA.

This new heel method is one that combines two earlier patterns -- Non-Euclidian and CPCTC -- to create a heel that uses the same instructions regardless of whether you're knitting toe up or cuff down. The result is the same and produces near-identical results. Seriously, I knit one sock in this pair each way. Can you tell which is which here?

The pattern includes instructions for both methods, and you can choose whether you want to knit your socks both cuff down, both toe up, or one each way. The heel combines triangular gussets with short rows for good fit and an execution that does not require picking up any stitches at all. I am someone who has a high instep, so short-row heels often fit me poorly, but these fit me perfectly (as they should, considering I designed them with my own feet in mind)!

The pattern has been graded to five foot widths and has been professionally tech edited to ensure that it's correct, complete, and easy to follow. It's also on sale for the first week! You'll find a coupon code to get $1 off the purchase price on the Ravelry and Payhip pages. Oh, and if you're wondering about the funny name, let's just say it's another math reference that you might get if you can remember any trigonometry from high school, and it's explained fully in the pattern.

I am so excited to have these out in the world and hope you love them as much as I do!

Friday, February 04, 2022

Friday Finishes

Ever have one of those days where you turn around and it's 3 in the afternoon? I'm having one of those days today. It started out calm enough -- after rain all day yesterday that was supposed to switch over to freezing rain and then snow, it finally did change last night, right around the time that Rainbow's school decided to close again today. So when I got up this morning, there was no need to rush or get her out of bed, and I was able to savor my coffee while I checked my email. But then I had to start making bread (we're having dinner with my brother and sister-in-law tonight, and I promised I'd make challah) and try to get a walk and shower in before I had to go to a 1 p.m. doctor's appointment (just an annual check-up), and in the midst of that our internet decided to stop working. Suffice it to say that it was not my intention to get this post up so late in the day, but it is what it is.

I have really been on a finishing kick this week and have two of my three main projects wrapped up. First, I finished the last steps of my combo spin -- although I'd finished the plying on Tuesday, I still had to skein and wash it to set the twist and then wait for it to dry to measure it and estimate my yardage. There's a lot of it!

My pre-wash estimate ended up being spot on: I have a bit more than 2,300 yards of three-ply fingering weight. This is excellent news, and not just because I now know why it took so long to spin and ply and why it took me an entire afternoon to wind these three skeins. I'd spun this yarn with the Garland sweater in mind, in large part because there's a coordinating kid's sweater called Little Garland and I thought it would be cute for Rainbow and I to have matching sweaters again. Originally I thought they'd be more coordinating than matching and that I'd spin something else for her main color, but I have enough yardage to knit us both sweaters using this yarn as the main color (I'm planning to spin an undyed light wool for the colorwork), even assuming I want to make sizes that give us several inches of positive ease. She's on board with this plan, so the contrast will be the next thing going onto the wheel.

Next, though I'd already gotten corrections back from my tech editor on my new sock pattern and made the adjustments in the pattern, I still had to finish the second sock so I could take pattern photos. I did that yesterday, and Rainbow was kind enough to take some glamour shots for me.

Expect to see this pattern available early next week -- it's ready to go, but there's a lot of admin work to get it ready to be out in the world, and I plan to use the weekend for that.

Finally, while my sweater isn't completely done, it's much closer now that I've finished the first sleeve and started the second:

I even taught myself how to do a tubular bind off in the round for the cuff (it's a bit different from the instructions for doing it when working flat) and wove in my ends on the first sleeve before I started the second. I estimate I've knit about three inches on the second sleeve, and of course the rounds get faster as I work more decreases. As soon as this one is done, I'll be turning my attention to my long-neglected Shifty pullover with the hope of getting it off the needles this month as well.

Now, can I interest anyone in some fresh-baked challah?

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Unraveled, Week 5/2022

In the words of America's weatherman, happy Super Twos-day -- it's 2/2/22! I don't think it surprised anyone that Punxsutawney Phil has predicted another six weeks of winter, particularly with the giant storm that's headed across the country right now. We're supposed to get rain starting tonight, changing to sleet and freezing rain and eventually snow tomorrow. Please, if you would, send some positive travel thoughts the Mister's way? He's headed back home tonight from a work trip, and I'd really like him to get in before the weather turns.

As it's Wednesday, that means it's time for a weekly link-up with Kat and the Unravelers and a chance to talk making and reading.

I am almost finished with the first sleeve of my sweater and have done some sock knitting, but yesterday I decided that I really wanted to focus on finishing up my long-languishing combo spin. It took most of the day and there was some splicing and perhaps even some swearing at the end -- and ultimately some singles left that I just didn't want to deal with anymore -- but I ended the day with three full bobbins of plied yarn:

The one on the far left is the last one I filled, and you can see that the end nearest the WooLee Winder gear was threatening to overflow. I have no idea why the bobbins fill unevenly like that; some have suggested that it's due to the angle of the yarn guide or due to gravity (because my wheel is at a tilt), but it seems to be a fairly common issue. Today I hope to find the time to wind this yarn into skeins and wash it and finally declare this project finished.

I've finished two books in the past week, one of them right before going to bed last night.

I'd been waiting patiently on the library hold list for a long time for Ruth Ozeki's most recent book, The Book of Form and Emptiness, after loving my first experience with her writing last year. This was equally entertaining in terms of sheer wonder at her craft. The story is told in alternating chapters, some of which are told by Benny, the teenager at the center of the story, and most of which are told by a book -- yes, inanimate objects have sentience in this world! The story of Benny is a sad one, but it's beautifully told, and I think what I most appreciated about this book is that it brought a really new and respectful perspective to the idea that some people hear voices, suggesting that what has been labeled a symptom of mental illness might not be the case. I gave this book 4 stars.

My just-before-bed finish was Hell of a Book, this year's National Book Award winner for fiction. I think the overall purpose of this book is an important one -- focusing on how the lives of Black men and boys are so negatively impacted by racism and racist violence -- but I have to admit that I spent much of the time feeling completely confused as to what's going on. Part of that is, I think, intentional. The narrator, the author of a book by the same name as this book, tells us repeatedly that he has "a condition" in which his imagination is so overactive that he sees and hears things that aren't real. I really expected to find clarity at some point, but I never really felt like I got it. I think, though, that this ambiguity would make this an excellent book for a group discussion. I gave it 3 stars.

Up next? Well, I have three titles from NetGalley in my Kindle library, and Braiding Sweetgrass is still sitting patiently on my nightstand.

What are you making and reading this week?