Friday, September 30, 2022

Getting Back on Track

Happy last day of September, all! I can't believe how quickly this month has gone by or how we seem to be hurtling toward the end of the year, so I'm trying to savor this last day of the month.

After not doing such a great job of it in recent months, I am back to trying to tackle my Southern Cross Fibre club backlog. I continue to receive a shipment of fiber each month, so if I'm going to make my SCF stash any smaller, that means I need to work on spinning up more than what I acquire. So I started with a quick-and-dirty spin of a prize I received at some unknown point in the past (I did not note the date on the bag, which I really should do going forward) of Eider wool in two colors. Eider is a coarser wool that comes from a sheep bred both for meat and fleece, so I would not call it next-to-skin soft. It does seem like it would be durable, though. I simply spun each color onto its own bobbin, wound the singles off on my ball winder, and then plied from both ends. After washing and drying, it looks to be about sport weight.

I'm quite pleased with how consistent these skeins seem to have turned out, despite the fact that I was spinning in a hurry and not paying particularly close attention. The purple is 52 g and approximately 171.5 yards and the green is 63 g and approximately 186 yards, so both in the neighborhood of about 3 yards per gram. I don't have any particular plans for these but am happy to have them done!

Up next, I'm planning to use up three shipments in one project in the form of a combo spin.

L-R: Poisoned Apple on Bond, Posy on Bond, Blazing Skies on Rambouillet

All three of these colorways have shades of red/pink, orange, and purple (I'm not sure why the one on the far left looks brown; trust me that it is purple!), so I thought they'd make a natural combination. In theory, I could spin each bit of fiber onto its own bobbin and ply them together, but I'd like to have a more blended quantity of yarn that I could maybe use for a sweater, so I'm going to split each colorway up into much smaller bits and then mix all the bits together. I will be sure to document the process and share it as I go! I hope to at least split up the fiber today, and given that we're supposed to get the remnants of Ian in the form of rain this weekend, chances are good I'll get started on the spinning.

Finally, I'll leave you this Friday with a bit of joy -- we grew an actual cantaloupe!

It was small and didn't have much flavor (I cut it up and put it in the fridge, hoping it might sweeten a bit), but I'm still pretty chuffed that we managed to grow one. There are more on the vine, but with the weather getting colder, I'm not sure they have enough time to ripen. Still, now we know we can grow melons, and we'll try again next year.

I hope your weekend is wonderful!

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Unraveled, Week 39/2022

Every week I think that Wednesday sneaks up on me, but this week it feels like it even more because I took Monday off. But here we are again, and it's time for the weekly link-up with Kat and the Unravelers.

As it is the last week (really, the last few days) of September, I've been in a finish-it-up mood. First, I finished some socks that I started way back at the very beginning of summer. I'll forever think of them as COVID socks, because I finished up the first one when I was stuck in the den while the Mister was isolating in our bedroom.

Pattern: Roaring Twenties Socks (Ravelry link) by Nicole Simmons
Yarn: Fibernymph Dye Works Sunshine (100% superwash merino) in Peacock
Needles: US 0 (2.0 mm), magic loop
Started/Completed: June 20/September 26

I knit only the first sock of the pair initially because it was a test knit and I only had to complete the one. And as you can tell from looking at the pattern, the stitch design is quite elaborate and requires a lot of attention, so when I finished that first sock, I needed a break. But I really did want the finished pair, so I set myself a goal of finishing them this month -- and really I completed them just in time for the start of hand-knit sock weather!

The yarn I used for these isn't one I'd normally use for socks, but it was a semisolid that I already had on hand that would work well for the test. I have a feeling these aren't going to be worn all that often because they're rather fancy, and I do have a fair amount left of the skein (I used just 66 g for both socks) should I need to do some darning in the future.

Another thing I finished up this weekend was the last of the big bag of HipStrings batts from this year's Tour de Fleece. You may remember that this is what they looked like all together:

When I originally laid them out like this, I noticed two general groupings of color families, and I put those together for the two bigger skeins that I spun earlier. But the two at the bottom -- the ones that look a little brown, a little red, a little purple -- didn't really fit so well, so I decided to spin them on their own. I spun both onto one bobbin, wound the singles off into a center-pull ball, and plied from both ends to create this little skein of about 150 yards of light fingering weight:

The camera unfortunately doesn't do a great job of capturing all the depth in the color, but perhaps if you click to make the photo larger, you'll be able to see some of it. Jill is extremely talented in putting together colors and fibers with such dimension to them -- my only complaint about this bag of batts is that I have no idea what was in them! I know there was wool and silk, and I suspect some flax as well, but I don't know any specifics. It doesn't really matter, in the end.

I've also been finishing up in my reading life. After only one book done last week, this week I've finished three.

Continuing in my Booker Prize short list reading, I finished The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, which may not yet be out in the United States (I ordered a hardback from Blackwell's -- I couldn't resist that beautiful cover!). This is a hard book to read in many respects. To begin with, the title character is dead when the book opens; the title refers to the seven days following his death in which he is trying to figure out how he died and whether his death can have some impact on the world he left behind. It's also a story that's set in Sri Lanka in 1989, a place that has been ravaged by civil war between multiple factions and that shows little sign of reaching a peaceful resolution. I really did not know much about this period in the country, so my ignorance added to my difficulty in making sense of the story at times. But I stuck with it, and it was worth it. In my opinion, there's a big payoff in the last 50 or so pages of the book, when everything finally seems to come together. I'm not quite done with my short list reading, but this would be my pick to win the prize. I gave it 4 stars.

The Trees was yet another Booker short list read. This is a biting satire in which white Southerners, all descendants of those who committed lynchings and all presented as stereotypical "rednecks," are found brutally murdered alongside the body of an unknown Black man who appears to have been dead a long time. The initial murders in Mississippi are soon being investigated by two Black special agents of the Mississippi Board of Investigation and, soon, a Black FBI agent. And soon the murders spread to other parts of the country, triggering an outrageous reaction from white Americans. It's clear that what's happening is a bit of retributive justice for the lynchings of Black Americans over the centuries, but there's a supernatural element at play as well. As satire, the book works quite well, and yes, it is way over the top. But my main complaint is that I think the author got so deep into writing what some might call a revenge fantasy that he never really explains some key aspects of what's happening, and I finished the book feeling a little unsatisfied. I can't say I enjoyed the book so much as appreciated it, though, and I ended up giving it 4 stars.

Finally, I was inspired by Kat to do a reread. I'd read Olive Kitteridge on paper back in 2020, and at the time, I thought it was a story just about her and was confused when I got to a new chapter and realized instead that it was a collection of short stories. After enjoying other Elizabeth Strout books on audio, I decided to listen to it this time, and I did enjoy it more on my second read. Whether it was the different format that improved the experience or just knowing what to expect I can't say for sure, but I did get the humor more this time, and I'm looking forward to listening to Olive, Again once I'm ready for a new audiobook. I upped my initial rating of 3 stars to 4 stars for my reread.

I'm currently reading the last book of the Booker Prize short list, Glory. I've only read a bit the last two evenings before bed and am finding it a bit slow, but I haven't even made it 50 pages in. I am committed to finishing it, though, especially because I bought a hard copy, but there are already things that are annoying me about it. I reserve the right to change my mind, of course. When I finish it, I will have read nine of the 13 books on the long list, and I have two more of them on hold at the library (and eventually I'd like to read the last two). I didn't set out to read the entire long list, but it looks like it will happen eventually! And I think it's worth noting that so far I have liked all but one of the books, so it's been well worth my time.

What are you making and reading this week?

Monday, September 26, 2022

Growth in 2022: September


Today feels like a very appropriate day for my monthly check-in with my One Little Word. It's not only the last Monday of the month, it's also the first day of the new Jewish year, 5783. Rosh Hashanah started at sundown last night, and we'll be leaving soon for synagogue. It's a happy time of year, but the next ten days are also a serious time, because it's said that in the time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur it's determined who will live and who will die in the year ahead, and so traditionally it's a time to examine how we are living and how we treat others, to ask forgiveness of those who have wronged, and to atone for any sins we've committed in the past year.

For me, it's yet another time to focus on myself and to check in with how I am living my life -- specifically, to focus on whether I am living my life the way I want, in a way that helps others and that sets a good example. And I firmly believe that an important way to life a good, rewarding life is to make sure that I'm always learning and stretching myself. And that's where growth comes in.

In previous months, I've focused on areas of personal growth like acceptance of my body, personal responsibility, and emotional maturity. This month, I've been thinking a lot about growth in terms of intellectual development -- growing my mind, learning new things, taking on different perspectives. And one of the primary ways I do that is through my reading. There is not a day that goes by that I am not grateful for the wide variety of things I can learn and feel and explore through my reading. There is so much history that I don't know about because of where and when I grew up, and I am working at filling those holes in my knowledge through what I choose to read. I am making a conscious choice to read "hard" books -- those with troubling subjects and hard truths -- in order to expand my awareness. And I am very lucky to have quite a few friends who enjoy reading these kind of books as well and can make good recommendations.

Thanks to Carolyn for hosting our monthly link-up and for giving me the nudge every month to reflect!

Friday, September 23, 2022

Like Flipping a Switch

It's Friday(!) and the first full day of autumn, my favorite season. I've been waiting for cooler weather and crisper air, but it seems Mother Nature has taken it to the extreme: When we got up this morning, it was 42 F outside! Considering that's a decent temperature for a winter day here, I'm not feeling too enthusiastic. It is supposed to warm up to the low 60s, though, and I'm not feeling too bad about the fact that I have some work to do first thing this morning and need to postpone my run until mid-morning.

I'm finishing up the week with a finished skein of handspun, though final yardage has not yet been calculated because it's still a bit damp (I skeined and washed it last night). I'm delighted with it, though.

This is a traditional three-ply spun from more of the "bits and bobs" HipStrings batts from this year's Tour de Fleece. This skein used all the green and blue batts in my bag, and I spun them in a gradient-ish fashion from lightest to darkest. You can see there's a fair amount of color in there from bits of silk, a dimension I just love. I'll have full details once the skein is dry and I have specs.

I got some new yarn this week but I didn't buy it -- and what's better than new yarn but free new yarn? This arrived Wednesday, right in the middle of a fairly boring conference call:

This was a prize from the Unraveling podcast, hosted by Pam and Greg. Every month they do a random drawing from their monthly chat thread, and in August, I was the lucky chatter whose post was picked! The podcast is sponsored by Knitcrate, so my prize was one of the previous shipments. This is URU.Yarn Asher, a chainette sport weight that's a blend of cotton, linen, Lyocell (rayon), and nylon, in the colorway Cucumber. It feels soft and silky, not unlike the Lindy Chain I just used in my last sweater! I've already decided to use this to knit myself a Rift (Ravelry link) with it; I have plenty of yarn for the smallest size, which is conveniently the right size for me.

Today, once work and run are complete, will be an easy day. I'm taking the afternoon off because we have a cupcake tasting for the bat mitzvah scheduled this afternoon, but because that's not until after school, I will have a few hours to read, knit, spin, or nap, depending on what mood strikes me. I hope you enjoy the first weekend of autumn, and inspired by Katie, I'll leave you with this late bloom on one of our hydrangeas:

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Unraveled, Week 38/2022

Wednesday again, already? Does anyone else feel like the days are going faster as we get further into the year? It's a good thing I have this day in the middle of every week to pause and link up with Kat and the Unravelers!

Now that my sweater is finished, my main goal for the rest of this month is to finish up this sock:

As I think you can tell from all the twisted stitches and cabling, this is not a quick knit. I got through the first one as fast as I did mainly because I was stuck in a room when the Mister had COVID and I was anxious about him, so I channeled that anxiety into my knitting. I think I should be able to get this done in this last bit of September, though, and I'm looking forward to having a fancy new pair of socks to wear once the temperatures drop.

I've done a bit of sewing recently, too. Rainbow was the impetus for us to stop using paper napkins a while back, though I've still been using them in her lunch. When we went to Michaels last weekend to fill her kitchen cotton needs, she also spotted a bundle of fat quarters of quilter's cotton featuring some sloth prints that she had to have (have I mentioned she has long been obsessed with sloths?), and she asked me to make her some smaller cloth napkins to take in her lunchbox. I did some very basic sewing to whip up five of them over the weekend:

With the exception of the dark blue print on the left, these all have different fabric on each side. They were dead easy to make -- cut out two squares, hold them together with right sides facing and stitch around the edges (leaving a gap on one side), trim the corners, turn them inside out through the gap, press, and top stitch. Are they perfect? No. But they are very functional and very cute, and Rainbow is delighted with them. The fabric cost maybe $12 for five fat quarters, and I think I spent less than two hours measuring, cutting, and sewing. Not bad!

Reading has been a little slower this week; I've only finished one book.

I once again was in need of an audiobook to keep me company while I was exercising and cleaning over the weekend, and luckily the next book I had to read in the Maisie Dobbs series was available with no wait. As the title suggests, Among the Mad deals largely with mental health issues, and they are central to both the case Maisie is pulled into and the the lives of some of the series' peripheral characters. This book takes place at the very end of 1931 and the very beginning of 1932, and there are still echoes of the first World War being felt, even as the rumbling of what will turn into the second are beginning. I enjoyed this a lot and can see that Maisie is likely headed toward less work with the police and more work with intelligence. I gave it 4 stars.

I am still reading The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, though I'm at least more than halfway through. I also now officially own the two other books that I have left to read on the Booker short list, Glory and The Trees. I've got a long weekend coming up (Rosh Hashanah starts Sunday evening), and I hope to make some headway on that list because I'd really like to have all the finalists read by the time the award winner is announced on October 17 -- and there are other books I'd like to read soon, too, like the copy of The Marriage Portrait I picked up at my local bookstore over the weekend!

What are you making and reading this week?

Monday, September 19, 2022

A True Everyday Sweater

I promised you a real FO post, and here it is -- I love this sweater so much!

Pattern: Quotidian Tee by Kerri Blumer, size 34" with short sleeves, A-line body, and mid-hip length
Yarn: Knit Picks Lindy Chain in Serrano, 4.84 skeins (871 yds./797 m)
Needles: US 3/3.25 mm
Started/Completed: August 17/September 15

I'm so glad I got a chance to preview-knit this pattern for Kerri; when I saw her version on Instagram, I knew it was a pattern I had to knit. As the name suggests, this is truly an everyday sweater. The pattern has so many options (seriously -- click over to her website and scroll down to read all the different options!) that even though it seems like a basic tee, it can be customized in so many ways. I knew I was going to use a summery yarn for this, so I chose options that would make a comfy warm-weather tee: short sleeves and an A-line body for a relaxed fit. And "relaxed" is truly how I felt when I wore this on Saturday (those of you who were on a Zoom with me that afternoon might have noticed I was wearing it!). The pattern is extremely well written and has so many thoughtful details: shaped shoulders that are joined with a three-needle bind-off (so there's no seaming), short-row sleeve cap shaping, twisted ribbing for the edges, and a simple purl round that separates the ribbing from the stockinette. My only modification (if you can even call it that) was to work a slightly different method for some of the short rows, but even if I hadn't been preview-knitting the pattern and thus committed to following it as written, I wouldn't have changed anything.

Clever decreases maintain the twisted ribbing at the V of the neckline

This was my first time knitting with Lindy Chain, a cotton/linen blend, and it will not be my last -- it makes a great warm-weather fabric that feels silky and cool to the touch. Once I got the hang of the join, it was very easy to join in a new skein, too. But it does have a couple of characteristics that frustrated me just a tad. Simply because of the way the yarn is constructed, there are some irregularities that make it a bit thick and thin, and so the fabric has some lumpiness to it, which I think you can see in the photo above. This didn't really bother me except for the fact that some areas where stitches were picked up had a tendency to look a little more stretched out than I think they would with a wool yarn. I found that the areas of the sleeves just to either side of the underarms had some areas that looked like they had holes, so I wove in my ends on the inside to close those up. Also, as you'd expect for something with a linen content, the fabric has a tendency to wrinkle:

Granted, this is what the back looked like after I'd been wearing the tee for most of the day, but you can also see a definite fold line from when it was laid flat to dry when it was blocked. All this means is that my tee might need a little steam before it's worn, particularly if it's been folded in a drawer before, or I just need to not care about wrinkles!

I think the true mark of a good pattern is the feeling that you could knit it again, and this is absolutely one I would and probably will knit again! I think my next one will be in wool or a wool blend, and I very likely will choose a different body style and/or sleeve length. My time to wear this first one is probably limited, but I have a feeling it will be coming with me to Florida in December and will get a ton of wear next summer!

Friday, September 16, 2022

An FO for Friday

I had hoped I'd have some modeled sweaters to share with you today, but it turns out that when the house is cool, it takes a bit longer for a cotton/linen sweater to dry. But my sweater is officially done!

I'm well aware that this is a particularly bad photo of it -- the light isn't great and there are still some visible wrinkles -- but it's at least proof that it's complete. I believe Kerri is planning to release the pattern today, so I finished just in time! I should note that I wasn't required to finish the sweater before the pattern was published, but it did work out that way, which makes me unreasonably happy. Of course I'll be sharing all the details when I do a proper FO post, likely on Monday, but I can tell you that the fit on this is perfect and I would not be surprised if I knit another one of these.

The garden isn't quite an FO yet, as we have several cantaloupes getting bigger by the day (and the first one getting ever closer to being ripe), some tiny bell peppers, and a handful of green tomatoes. I'm sorry to say that the squash I shared last week didn't last -- I found it on the ground, off the vine, the day after I posted it. But this week I found two more with blooming flowers, and so far they're still attached.

This afternoon Rainbow and I are going to get COVID boosters and flu shots (the Mister will get his on a later date so that we don't have an entire household of miserable people if we have aftereffects), and we have a quiet weekend ahead. I am hoping to make it to the bookstore to pick up Maggie O'Farrell's latest book (something I wanted to do last weekend but didn't get around to), and I'm going to try to spend as much time outside as I can to enjoy the good weather while it lasts. I hope you also get a beautiful weekend to enjoy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Unraveled, Week 37/2022

We've made it to Wednesday, dear readers, and in my neck of the woods, it's finally starting to feel like fall -- it's currently 58F outside! The weather this week is just about perfect, and I am enjoying my time outside immensely (even the slightly more intense run I did yesterday). As per usual, this morning I'm linking up with Kat and the Unravelers and here to share an update on knitting and reading.

Thanks to some quieter days at work (which I feel like I've earned after some very busy days the past couple of weeks), I am getting very close to having another finished sweater!

I finished up the back and joined the shoulder seams on Monday evening, and I started and completed the first sleeve yesterday. These sleeves are knit using short rows, and because I'm doing short sleeves, once the short rows are complete, I'm nearly done with them (there are about ten rounds of knitting before the ribbed cuff is worked). I picked up the stitches for the second sleeve before I set the project down for the night, so starting on the short rows on that one is atop my to-do list for the day. I think the second sleeve will be faster than the first because I now know what I'm doing and also will have my needle arranged so that things are slightly less fiddly. The collar will be the final bit, and it's only about eight rounds of knitting, so I think it will be pretty fast. And it looks like the weather is going to be perfect for wearing this over the weekend!

Reading has been (mostly) very good this past week, with four finishes.

Sharks in the Time of Saviors
had been on my radar for a couple of years, but I finally got the kick to read it when Mary mentioned she'd just finished it on our Zoom a couple of weekends ago. It was perfect timing because I was in need of a new audiobook to listen to while walking/running and my library had it available with no wait. I have no doubt it was just as powerful a read on the page as it was in the ears, but I really appreciated the multiple narrators who knew how to pronounce the Hawaiian words/terms and who made the story really come alive. This is a sad family story with a bit of magical realism, and though it made my heart ache a bit, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I gave it 4 stars.

My next finish was the next selection for the Erdrich-along, The Plague of Doves. I'll admit that I struggled with this one for a while. For one thing, there are no familiar characters in this book, so I had to try to keep track of a bunch of new names, and that's made doubly hard by the fact that there are so many connections between so many characters. Central to the story (though for most of it in the background) is the mystery of the murder of an entire family save the baby, the vigilante justice that's meted out in reaction to the murder, and the generational trauma that results from these actions. I trusted Erdrich as always to bring the whole story together, and she did -- the answer to the mystery is revealed in the final pages. I gave this 4 stars as well.

In the category of "not so great" reading this week was Treacle Walker, which I wanted to read only because it's on the Booker Prize short list. Katie was kind enough to send me her copy, and I'll be passing it along to someone else. It arrived in the mail on Monday and I sat down and read it in about an hour that afternoon. I'm glad it only took me that long to read because I did not care for it at all. I got the basic gist of the story but spent most of that hour completely confused about what was happening and what people were saying. I suspect some of my difficulty is due to the dialect in which it's written, but I still feel like I need someone smarter than I to explain it to me. I gave it 2 stars.

Finally I finished a book I'd had tagged "to read" on my Libby app after hearing it mentioned on several bookish podcasts. A Place for Us is a saga about a Muslim Indian-American family that deals with the struggles of immigrants and their children to find themselves in a country that sometimes doesn't seem to want them and where their religion often sets them apart. Though it deals specifically with Islam and with the children's grappling with how observant to be, in many ways it's a universal examination of children becoming adults and defining themselves as apart from their families. I listened to this book, which was a good choice (in my opinion) given the many references to Islam and the religious practices of Muslims, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I gave it 4 stars.

I'm currently reading The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida as part of my effort to get through the Booker short list. I've only read a bit the past two evenings, so I'm hoping to find some more sustained time to focus on it.

What are you making and reading this week?

Monday, September 12, 2022

Little Rest, but a Lot of Progress

Good morning, friends! It's always hard to wake up on Monday, but this morning it seemed a bit harder than usual, probably because I did not have an especially restful weekend. That was mainly for good reasons -- we were busy doing fun things! -- but part of me is wishing I slept a little more. Yesterday was a day of rain and general gloominess, so we crammed a lot into Saturday, including a trip to an art fair in a local park (called, appropriately, A Fair in the Park). I came home with what might be my new favorite coffee mug from a local potter:

The leaves are actually indented into the surface, so there's a bit of texture to the mug. The potter also had a lot of beautiful pieces featuring birds -- definitely click over to her site to take a look! She had so many bowls and mugs and vases I would have loved to take home but limited myself to just this one piece.

I had thought that yesterday would be a day to knit and read because of the weather, but Rainbow announced that she really wanted to make a trip to Michaels to pick up more kitchen cotton (isn't that music to every crafting parent's ears when your child wants to go yarn shopping?), so we took a little shopping trip yesterday afternoon. I'm happy to say that she found some yarn that pleased her and I purchased zero skeins for myself, though we also stopped at Marshalls and found some fun stuff, so I didn't come home empty handed. And in spite of all the activity over the weekend -- including a birthday party for my brother-in-law at a brewery on Saturday night -- I still made some serious knitting progress. My Quotidian Tee is finally looking like a real sweater!

Apologies for the terrible photo, but it's still very cloudy here this morning. As you may be able to see, I've completed the fronts and am working on the back. I'm hoping to finish the back today, which will mean all that is left is the (short) sleeves and collar. Kerri is planning to release the pattern this week, and while I don't have to have my version done just yet (she's given us until the end of the month), it would be great if I could finish mine up very soon -- not least because the weather is starting to cool off and I want to wear it before it gets too chilly for a t-shirt!

I'd also hoped to share some progress on the mate to this sock, but after working on it Friday and Saturday evenings and getting ready to transition from the cuff to the leg pattern, it wasn't working and I realized it was because I'd completely misread the instructions. So I frogged and restarted, and as there are only about two rounds of knitting complete, I didn't think it was worth taking another bad photo. 

Okay, time to finish chugging my coffee and get this day started! I hope to see some of you tomorrow evening for the Read With Us discussion of Sorrow and Bliss, and I'll be back with another update on Wednesday.

Friday, September 09, 2022

A Long Short Week

Well friends, we have made it to Friday. Even though a four-day week should feel faster than a typical one, this week has seemed to spread out and feel longer than the usual. Even Rainbow mentioned having this feeling despite not having a particularly taxing week. I'm chalking it up to a long weekend last weekend that was kind of gloomy and depressing because of all the rain.

In any case, we're on the cusp of another weekend, and it looks like it'll be at least half nice weather. We're entering that time of year when every day the weather could be glorious or could be terrible, so I might as well get used to it! On the plus side, I am finishing up the week with a pair of finished socks for my sister-in-law:

I washed and blocked them on the sock blockers to make them all neat and tidy, and later today I'll wrap them up so I can give them to my sister-in-law at dinner this evening. Because the stripe sequence in this colorway was rather long, I didn't try to make the socks identical, but I did cast on by starting exactly at the point where the color changed, so the stripes at least line up.

I've had such a response to this heel, with its simultaneous heel "flap" and gusset, that I'm likely going to write it up as a pattern (including, by special request, a toe-up version).

Now that the socks are complete, I've turned back to my Quotidian Tee, which has officially entered that black hole state where I seem to knit and knit and knit but it doesn't seem to grow in length. I'm supposed to work to 17 inches before I split for the fronts and back, and every time I measured it yesterday it was coming up 16.25 inches. I'm hoping to finally escape the black hole today, and maybe soon it will look more like a sweater than a red tube. I've spared you a photo because it really doesn't look much different.

I will, however, share a photo to end this post and share with you some of my excitement from what's happening in the garden. Although things are starting to wind down with some things, we finally have a butternut squash growing!

I have no idea if it will have enough time to grow to the point where we can actually eat it, but I'm delighted that I've at least gotten one squash to grow. That seems to be a theme with a lot of the plants this year, but I've learned a lot of lessons that I'll take with me into planning for next year -- and I'll also be thankful again that my family is not relying on my farming skills to feed us!

I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Unraveled, Week 36/2022

I have checked several times this morning to make sure it's Wednesday (Monday holidays always throw me off!), because that means it's time for my weekly check-in with Kat and the Unravelers!

I utterly failed at getting my sister-in-law's socks done on Monday, and as of this morning, I still have about 1.5 inches of foot and a toe still to knit on the second sock.

I've decided I'm just going to give these to her on Friday as a belated birthday present, and that should be plenty of time to finish the second sock and block them. I'm hoping that I can actually finish this sock today, though work has gotten a bit chaotic again (remember the big project that sucked up my time last week? turns out I got sent copy that wasn't final).

It has not been a super-productive week of reading for me, but I did finish two books.

After recently reading so much Elizabeth Strout, I couldn't resist requesting her next Lucy Barton book, Lucy by the Sea, from Netgalley. I think this may be my favorite book of hers yet, though I don't know if it's this book specifically or the fact that I have now gotten very used to Lucy's voice in my head. In any case, you should know that this is a pandemic book, and if you're not someone who wants to relive the past couple of years, stay away from it. That didn't bother me, though, and I think reliving the experience from Lucy's point of view was, in a way, comforting to me because it all seemed very familiar and relatable. Lucy and her family members are starting to feel like old family friends to me, so it felt natural to want to know how they've experienced the pandemic. I gave it 4 stars.

Just last night I finished Trust, which was on the Booker Prize long list but didn't make it to the short list. This is a strange book. The writing is good, but I'm still a bit confused about some things and about the point of it. This is one I think I'll need to think about for a while and also read some reviews about to fully make sense of. I suspect my wondering about what the "real" story was is sort of the point -- that in presenting several versions of the same story, we readers are supposed to examine what we believe and which narrator we trust to tell us the truth. I think this was worth the read but would hesitate to recommend it to anyone who wasn't already interested in it. I gave it 3 stars.

I'm currently reading The Plague of Doves (still) and have been listening to Sharks in the Time of Saviors, which had been on my TBR list for a couple of years but was recently bumped to the top when Mary mentioned she'd really enjoyed it -- as luck would have it, I needed a new audiobook to listen to and it was available without a wait!

What are you making and reading this week? If you've been following the Booker Prize, what do you think about the short list?

Monday, September 05, 2022

When It Doesn't Feel Like Monday

Happy Labor Day! For those of you not in the United States, today is a federal holiday that celebrates organized labor. We are all home today, as schools and most offices are closed. But a long weekend also means that it doesn't really feel like Monday, and that's not really a bad thing.

I don't have too much planned for the day, which is just as well because it's supposed to rain pretty much all day long. Rainbow just left with my father to go downtown for our city's Labor Day parade (one of the biggest in the country), and I'm going to put on a raincoat on go for my walk in a bit. But the big thing I needed to get done today is already crossed off my list: This morning, I published two patterns, my first since early this year.

The Echinacea Hat on the left is actually a re-released. It was published in Knitscene last spring, but the rights have since reverted to me and I've updated it to include an additional size and an optional tubular cast-on. The Echinacea Cowl on the right is brand new and coordinates with the hat. It has an optional tubular cast-on and bind-off and also is slightly wider at the bottom than at the top so that it sits nicely atop the shoulders. You can find both patterns in my Ravelry and Payhip shops, if you're interested.

My main focus for today, other than tackling a pile of laundry, is trying to finish up this pair of socks for my sister-in-law for her birthday tomorrow.

I have about half an inch of leg left to knit before I start the heel, so I think it's doable, particularly as I plan to spend the afternoon reading and knitting. If I can manage it, I'll block them tonight and drop them off tomorrow.

I have to end with a little bit of thankfulness for internet friends. On Saturday, I was surprised to receive a package inside which was this adorable mug rug that Katie quilted for me:

We are just getting into prime hot tea season, and I have a little teapot with a coordinating mug that will rest so perfectly on this little mat. But more than the utility of this little piece, I'm touched by how thoughtful it is. The internet can be a big, scary place sometimes, but it's also been an amazing way to make some wonderful friends!

Friday, September 02, 2022

Friday Fiber Fun: Joining a Chainette Yarn

Hallelujah, it's Friday! It's been a long week, with the Mister on a work trip and school starting, so I'm especially looking forward to a long holiday weekend (that I get to start earlier thanks to my office's closing at 2 p.m. today). Today is also our 15th wedding anniversary, which we're planning to celebrate with dinner out tomorrow.

Today I wanted to share a little photo tutorial of how I've been joining the yarn I'm using for my Quotidian Tee. I cannot take credit for this method, as Mary explained it to me via email, but I know that many people (me included!) learn things best when they're presented visually, so I thought I'd snap a few photos when I came to the next join so I could share. I apologize if these are hard to see, but the yarn is pretty fine; keep in mind that you can click on any photo to make it larger.

The yarn I'm using here is Knit Picks Lindy Chain, which has a chainette-style construction -- think of an I-cord or crochet chain. There are a number of yarns out there with this kind of construction, though they're not all exactly alike. Some are big enough and have enough loops that you can actually graft the ends together, but that's not the case with Lindy Chain. When you pull this yarn apart, you typically get no more than two loops. So the join I'm using is sort of a modified Russian join. To accomplish it, you'll need a couple of needles and a pair of scissors.

The first step is unraveling each end enough to have tails long enough to work with and two loops. What I've done here is put a needle through the two loops on each end, each one pointing a different way, and then threaded the needles with the tail of the opposite skein of yarn.

I pulled the needles through the loops and pulled the tails so that the two yarn ends are snugged up next to each other. Then I pushed the needles through the loops again so that the tails are making a full circle (through the loops of the opposite skein, then through the loops of the skein they are attached to).

The last step is burying the end in the strand of yarn by poking the needle through the strand repeatedly, just like in a typical Russian join. You can see here I've already pulled the needle through on the left and it's still in the yarn on the right.

When the yarn is pulled taut, the join is virtually invisible, and all that's left to do is trim the yarn tails that are sticking out. And that's it! This join is a little fiddly, particularly with a finer yarn, but I've found that it gets a little faster every time I do it.

I hope this is useful for you, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!