Monday, October 31, 2022

Growth in 2022: October

Happy Halloween! I know I say this all the time, but it really does feel like time speeds up as we approach the end of the year. Perhaps it's something to do with the days getting shorter or the increase in activities that starts in the fall, but it seems like just last week we were celebrating the High Holy Days, which fell at the end of September/beginning of October. And now here we are, at the very last day of the month yet again.

It's not only the last day of the month, it's also the last Monday, which means it's time for my monthly One Little Word check-in and link-up with Carolyn.

Another sign that we're approaching the end of the year is that it's getting increasingly difficult to come up with a new facet of how I've had Growth in the past month. I really had to think a lot about it this weekend (which, sadly, I had plenty of time to do, because Rainbow came down with some sort of sinus/respiratory virus on Saturday, so we canceled some plans and laid low for much of it). I know that I've been doing a lot of good work on myself this year: I've expanded my viewpoints and learned new things through my reading, I've taken on more responsibility and embraced the moments of "adulting," and I've made more of an effort to be kind to myself and take care of myself by making healthy choices. I know that I'm a work in progress and always will be, so I don't consider the growth to be done, but all the same it can be a challenge to look at my word in a new way every month!

Finally yesterday afternoon, as I was looking at my to-do list, I realized that using such a list is something that has happened a lot recently. With the everyday school schedule, work meetings, board/executive committee/committee meetings for the synagogue, social events, and planning for the bat mitzvah, there is a lot going on our lives, so I rely a lot on technology like our shared family calendar to help me keep everything straight. I also know enough about myself to know that I can't count on my brain to remember to do things, so I have frequently been making a daily to-do list to make sure things that need to get done aren't forgotten. Sometimes items don't get completed for several days simply because I've run out of time on any given day; sometimes I take advantage of a quiet work day and have everything crossed off by the time I have to pick Rainbow off at school. The big thing here is I've recognized that this is a system that works for me and helps me not procrastinate (intentionally or not) by forgetting things I need to do. There are so many digital tools out there that are touted as lifesavers, but for me, I like a piece of paper and a pen -- there's nothing quite as satisfying as crossing an item off the list!

(By the way? One thing I've crossed off my list today is publishing my new sock pattern. You'll find it on Ravelry and Payhip, if you're interested.)

Friday, October 28, 2022

Winding Down

Even though it hasn't been a particularly busy week, at least as far as work is concerned, it feels like it's been a long one, so I was happy to wake up this morning and remember that it's Friday. I'm ready for a more normal weekend -- last weekend wasn't too busy, but being away from the house kind of upset my normal routine. This weekend we have a Halloween party at my brother and sister-in-law's tomorrow evening and then plans to have dinner with some friends on Sunday.

High on my list of things I want to work on this weekend is the mini skein cowl, which is almost halfway done:

I'm on color three of five and have finalized the colorwork pattern, so it's just a matter of sitting down and knitting. This has been something I've really only worked on while watching TV (I can't really read and do colorwork), and as I have been reading a lot this week, it hasn't gotten a ton of attention.

Also on tap for this weekend is finalizing my new sock pattern! I heard back from my tech editor yesterday and made the necessary corrections and clarifications, so now I just need to take some final photos and do all the admin work to get it ready to be published. Look for that on Monday (I really wanted to get out a sock pattern in October/Socktober, so that's my last chance).

I'll leave you with a shot of one of the houses in the neighborhood that I pass every day on my exercise route. The people who live in this house have been adding to their skeletons every year, and this display is a bit less elaborate than I've seen in past years, but they've been doing some sort of construction project this year, so I'll give them a pass. I'd encourage you to click on the photo to embiggen it so you can all the skellys in a bit more detail.

I hope you have a wonderful final weekend of October, and I'll see you back here on Monday with my One Little Word reflection.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday, Week 43/2022

The number up there for the week of the year is getting awfully big -- I don't know where this year is going! Soon we'll have turned the clocks back and it will be dark earlier and the days will be getting shorter, truly my least favorite part of the year, but the upside to the increased time inside is that it's prime knitting season, both for doing it and for wearing what I've knit. We've had several days of warmer weather, but today a front is coming through that I think will allow me to comfortably wear lighter sweaters again.

Many thanks, as always, to Kat for hosting the weekly link-up of Unravelers -- even from on vacation this week!

You all had some good guesses as to what I was knitting for Rainbow's costume, despite the fact that I didn't have much to show. Here's the completed piece, though I'm not sure it'll be much more helpful:

She made the rest of her costume, but I told her I could help with this piece, which was basically designed on the fly. I used some leftover Berrocco Vintage from stash that just happened to be the right color. Here's the big reveal:

She's an old-fashioned gumball machine! The only part that's missing here is a piece she made with the place to put in a quarter and the knob that you'd turn to get the gumball out. She came up with this idea on her own and put most of it together herself. The "gumballs" are pompoms that she hot-glued onto the t-shirt. Pretty clever, don't you think? I still haven't figured out what I'm going to be for my brother's Halloween party; he gives us a hard time if we don't dress up, and I'm not sure I can top last year's costume. Easy and funny costume ideas are welcome!

After winding that set of mini skeins and taking them with me over the weekend, I didn't actually end up casting on until Monday night. I don't have much to show at this point, but I have at least started!

I've also been spinning this week, and yesterday afternoon I finished up the first bobbin of singles for my combo spin:

What I lack in knitting this week I can more than make up for with my reading -- it's been a great week for books, with four finishes!

After nine(!) months on my nightstand, I finally finished Braiding Sweetgrass, and I feel the need to clarify that the reason it wasn't finished for so long wasn't anything to do with the quality of the book or my enjoyment of it; rather, this is a book that is nonfiction and doesn't have an overarching narrative, so it was very easy to read a chapter or two every now and then and to dip into it in between other books. But I loved it. I learned so much about ecology and Indigenous traditions and general respect for the land. It made me wish I could be one of Robin Wall Kimmerer's students, and I now know exactly how deserving she is of a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant. I gave this a very enthusiastic 5 stars!

Over the weekend, when I was in need of a new audiobook, I borrowed one that Mary had just recommended. Dinosaurs just came out and amazingly was available on Hoopla, which meant no wait necessary. It was a fast listen, too (it's about 6 hours long, if I remember correctly). There isn't anything terribly exciting that happens in this story, but it is a lovely story about unexpected kindness and found family that I thought was really lovely. The title refers to birds, which are said to be descended from dinosaurs, and the title of each chapter refers to a different kind of bird and has some relevance to what happens in that chapter. I quite enjoyed this and would recommend it. I gave it 4 stars.

Back before the Booker Prize winner was announced and a couple of us were discussing Treacle Walker, Mary mentioned that it reminded her of The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I borrowed it via Hoopla right after finishing Dinosaurs and listened to it over two days. I had not read any Neil Gaiman before, but I know that he's loved by a lot of readers, so I really wanted to like this book. I found it very inventive and well written, but I suspect he's not the writer for me. My main issue is not the supernatural element of the story but rather that things are never fully explained, and I like to have the details. It was still an interesting listen (the author narrates it), and I gave it 3 stars.

Finally, after a long wait at the library, I finally got to read Sea of Tranquility and positively flew through it (I think I spent maybe three hours reading). Had I started reading earlier in the day on Monday, in fact, I probably could have read it in one sitting. This book features some of the characters who appeared in The Glass Hotel, but it's not necessary to have read it first. This book, in my opinion, showcases what Emily St. John Mandel is so skilled at doing as a writer: telling multiple stories in multiple time lines that seem unrelated and then bringing them together in a satisfying way. This newest book has a bit more science fiction that her two previous works (the only other two of hers I've read), and that's not typically a genre I read, but I still really enjoyed it. I gave it 4 stars.

I'm currently reading The Round House, the next book up for discussion in the Erdrich-along. I'm roughly 75 pages in and plan to focus on it so I can be done in plenty of time for our discussion next weekend. I will likely also start an ebook soon; in addition to a nonfiction title I have from NetGalley, I've also added quite a few titles to my Kindle library thanks to following Erika on Instagram.

What are you making and reading this week?

Monday, October 24, 2022

Weekending with the Pupper

Monday again -- how quickly it always seems to arrive! Rainbow and I spent the weekend puppy-sitting my brother and sister-in-law's dog while they were out of town for a wedding. We did this once before earlier in the year, but it was so frigid that weekend that it wasn't much fun. This time around, we had gorgeous fall weather that made it actually pleasurable to go out for walks. I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but they live up the street from the house where my brother and I grew up, so it was fun to walk around the old neighborhood. Leo also entertained us and came up to make sure we were awake both mornings. He cracked us up with this funny face as well:

Before the weekend with Leo, though, I had a lovely day off on Friday. The weather was spectacular, and after a good run in the morning, I picked Rainbow up at school at 11, and then after lunch, the Mister joined us to go out to the farm. We came home with one big pumpkin for the front stoop and a couple of mini pumpkins for interior decoration, a quart of apple cider, a half peck of several varieties of apples, an apple pie, and some fresh apple cider donuts (we each had one in the parking lot before we got back into the car to come home). The donuts and pie have all been consumed, and a couple of the apples have been enjoyed. We haven't yet decided if we'll carve the pumpkin, but I happened to see this video over the weekend and think it's genius!

When I wasn't out walking the dog over the weekend, I spent the time knitting and watching TV with Rainbow. We watched some baking shows (Is It Cake? and Nailed It!) as well as the original Hocus Pocus before starting the new one because Rainbow had seen bits and pieces over the years but not the full movie. She had a scrappy crochet project and I had my knit projects, and quite a lot was accomplished.

First, I finished my socks:

I'm delighted with how they turned out, and the pattern is currently with my tech editor, so these will soon be out in the world as a pattern everyone can make. I didn't try to make the stripes match because of how long the repeat was, which is a good thing, because there wasn't too much yarn leftover. But what was left was immediately put to use in another scrappy charity hat:

One of my friends on Ravelry is collecting hats for a children's cancer center, so I'm planning to send this and the other similar hats I've made, plus any more I can finish this week, on to her. This hat used close to 300 yards of leftover Fibernymph Dye Works Bounce in various colorways held triple. I cast on Saturday and finished it Sunday morning, so it was just about instant gratification. Rainbow also mentioned that she'd be happy to work on one, provided I cast on and do the ribbing and crown decreases and put it on a 16" needle (I worked the body of this one magic loop, which she hasn't mastered yet).

I did not manage to start the project with the mini skeins, but that will be cast on very soon. Right now, though, I'm sneaking in a quick knit that will be part of Rainbow's Halloween costume, the rest of which she's made herself.


Any guesses? All should be done and ready to be revealed by Wednesday.

Have a good start to your week!

Friday, October 21, 2022

How Many Projects Is Too Many?

Happy Friday, friends! I have taken the day off from work, but it's going to be a busy day anyway. Rainbow is done with school at 11 this morning (it's the last day of her standardized testing), and I'm going to attempt to squeeze in a run and a shower before I have to pick her up. The Mister is working from home this morning so that after lunch the three of us can drive out to a local farm/orchard to pick up a pumpkin, apples, and fall treats. We have to be back by 3 so he can attend a meeting, and I'm going to do some cleaning and laundry that I'd normally do over the weekend because Rainbow and I will be spending the weekend at my brother and sister-in-law's to puppysit while they're away. Despite the fact that they live only about a mile from us and we could conceivably go back and forth from their house to ours, I feel a bit like I need to pack All The Things to take with us. We're likely going to be doing a lot of sitting around watching TV and crafting, so of course I am agonizing over what knitting to take -- again, even though if I ran out of stuff to work on, I could swing by our house at any point. It's silly, really, but this is how my brain works!

I'm on the foot of my sock and will be working on it in the car today, so I expect it'll be done very soon. Yesterday I wound up a set of mini skeins that I'm planning to use for a new design sample -- a cowl version of the hat I finished last week, with some minor modifications. The set (which I bought from Murky Depths Dyeworks back in 2020 during what would have been Rhinebeck weekend) has a three-skein gradient in gray along with a saturated blue and deep pink. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my post yesterday, in which I asked for opinions on which order to use the skeins in. These were the four options:

I think I've settled on the bottom right; it seems to be the choice of most people who've voted their opinion on IG, and it was also the arrangement I originally thought to use, but then I second-guessed myself.

I will likely also be taking some fingering weight leftovers to make some scrappy charity hats (holding two or three strands together), and I'm toying with the idea of taking yarn to start a new sweater. But we will only be "away" for two days, and there will be time spent walking the dog, eating, reading, and sleeping. How much knitting can I really get done? Be sure to stop back here on Monday to find out.

Hope you have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday, Week 42/2022

Good morning from what feels like winter here in Western Pennsylvania! We've had a cold front from Canada pass through the past two days, and when Rainbow and I had to leave the house at 7 a.m. yesterday to go to an early orthodontist appointment, she said that it felt like the middle of winter rather than fall -- and she wasn't wrong. There are some snowflakes in the area today (though it looks like we'll mostly see drizzle), but we'll be back to the upper 60s and low 70s by the weekend. In the meantime, I'm happy to have all the woollies on me.

It's Wednesday, which means it's time for the weekly link-up with Kat and the Unravelers.

Since finishing the hat, my focus has shifted to finishing up the socks. I did manage to get the pattern written up and laid out, and it was sent to my tech editor yesterday; she's pretty busy right now but promised she'd squeeze it in next week. I'll need a finished pair to take final photos, and I'm getting there!

It's a bit hard to see (the light is absolute crap here this morning), but I am partway through the heel on the second sock, and once I get past the heel the rest of the sock will fly.

I have also finally started my combo spin and about halfway through the singles on the first bobbin. The lighting issue here is compounded that this particular section of fiber is rather dark, but a least you can get a sense for the current state of the bobbin.

Reading has been pretty good this week! I've finished two books.

I'd tagged The Netanyahus as "to read" on Libby when Kym raved about it, but when Mary mentioned that she'd listened to it, I found it was available on Hoopla (which means no waiting!). It was really delightful on audio, as both the beginning and end of each chapter have some mood-setting music and there are some audio effects scattered here and there. There is a lot packed into this relatively short book, including quite of a lot of esoteric scholarship, but there's also a lot of slapstick comedy. You don't need to be Jewish to enjoy it, but if you are, you'll recognize and get a lot of the cultural humor. This is one I might have to reread with my eyes someday to fully appreciate. I gave it 4 stars.

I also finally finished Booth yesterday afternoon; it took me much longer than I would have expected not because I didn't like it but because thinks kept coming up every time I tried to sit down and read it. I found this to be a really fascinating read, having only a slight awareness of perhaps the most famous (infamous?) Booth, John Wilkes, but none at all about his family. And the rest of the family is really the focus of this novel, which is very much grounded in historical fact but does take some liberties with details about the characters about whom less is known. I found it to be a really interesting study of family dynamics set against a backdrop of difficult times in the country, and I was a little surprised that John Wilkes Booth is, until the very end, a relatively minor character. I also found it very interesting how, in the author's note, she mentioned that in an age of mass shootings, we often don't think about how one person's heinous actions affect the members of their family, and she drew some interesting comparisons between the views of Abraham Lincoln as a tyrant and the Civil War as a perilous time in our democracy and more recent events in this country. I wouldn't say I loved this book, but I found it fascinating and worth the read. I gave it 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.

I have two books I am very eager to start, but first I am focused on finally finishing Braiding Sweetgrass!

What are you making and reading this week?

Monday, October 17, 2022

Savoring the Color

In a "normal" year (whatever that is), I'd be in a car coming back from Rhinebeck today. But obviously I didn't go to Rhinebeck this year, and as much as I missed it, I don't regret the decision to skip it. I certainly didn't need to buy any yarn or fiber, but I was sad to miss out on seeing friends and seeing all the knitwear. The trees in my neighborhood decided to cheer me up by putting out their best color, and we had gorgeous blue skies both days.

I didn't do a lot of sitting around this weekend, in part because I spent time outside to enjoy the beautiful weather while it lasted, but I did manage to find time to finish up the hat I started last week:

Because this was knit top down, I was able to try it on as I went, and it seemed long enough once I finished up the last round of orange, so I finished it off with the blue. I haven't yet blocked it (which is why it looks a little wonky still), but I'm very happy with it, and it's been added to the pile of charity hats. I'm really pleased with the stitch pattern, too, so expect to see it again! I have my eye on a set of mini skeins in my stash that I think will work perfectly with the pattern in a cowl.

I'm still working on the mate to my latest sock, and I've got a draft of the pattern written up (I'm just waiting to hear back from my tech editor to make sure she's available before I put the layout together). And I also finally started my combo spin yesterday, using a mix of three colorways from Southern Cross Fibre:


This will be an interesting week here. Rainbow has standardized testing at school starting on Wednesday, and she's done at noon Wednesday and Thursday and at 11 a.m. on Friday. I decided to take Friday off so we can hang out, and provided the weather holds out, we're planning to make a trip out to a local farm to pick up apples, a pumpkin, and maybe some other fall goodies (thanks for the nudge to do that, Kym!).

I've got an alarm set for this afternoon for the Booker Prize announcement. Will you be tuning in? What's your choice to win?

Friday, October 14, 2022

A Mixed Bag of a Week

Phew, finally it is Friday! I'm not sure why, but this week has felt very long, so I'm happy to see the end of it. Perhaps it's the weather -- as I type this, it's 39F outside, and I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for going out for a run. Weather like this is always problematic because I start off cold and want to wear extra layers but very quickly warm up and then have to deal with those layers I no longer need. Even more unnerving is the fact that there's (whispers) snow in the forecast for next Tuesday. I know in some places that's not surprising, but if it materializes, it will apparently tie the record for the earliest snowfall here; we usually don't see our first measurable snow until some time in November or even December.

But enough about the weather -- this is a knitting blog! I finally made some real progress this week, namely in sitting down to do the necessary math to figure out all the grading for my sock pattern, and that meant I could finish up the first sock:

The next item on my to-do list is to take all the notes I've scribbled on scraps of paper and turn them into an actual pattern. I'm hoping that can get done this weekend.

I've also made a little bit of progress on the hat, which was just a crown the last time you saw it. Now it has some colorwork!

These are the happy parts of the week, but there were some not-so-happy parts as well. Do you remember last October, when I discovered some moth damage among our winter accessories? It seems I did not learn my lesson, because I made a rather disgusting discovery this week. Some time ago I'd reshuffled my sweater drawer and set aside a handful of sweaters that I didn't really wear anymore. I put them in the corner of our den temporarily -- or so I thought, but apparently I just forgot about them. And I think you know where this is going. When I pulled them out earlier in the week, I saw the telltale signs of moth damage, so they all went into the tub. Fortunately most of them appeared to have made it out okay, but one of them -- my first handspun sweater -- appeared to have been the primary target. I'm not surprised, because it was a very wooly wool, and in truth it was in the pile because I never wore it because it was itchy. It was spun from wool that was free to me and not very high quality, stuff I'd never spin today. It was also more than a decade old, and my tastes have changed since then. Given all these factors, when I pulled it out of the bath and saw how bad it was, I just tossed it into the dryer. I figured that because it was destined for the trash anyway, I had nothing to lose. Amazingly, even felted, I can still get it on, but it's still incredibly itchy. And now I can see just how much it was munched on.

I put a white piece of fabric inside so you can see the holes better.

I plan to cut off the buttons so I can reuse them and then either toss it whole into the trash or, if I have the energy for it, cut it up and toss the bits into the garden as mulch.

I'm really hoping this doesn't become an annual October thing, but consider this another PSA: Pull out your knits regular to inspect them, wash them frequently (moths are attracted to the smell of dirty wool), and don't leave them out where they are prime targets! I'm pretty sure that these are still the same moths (well, their descendants) that were in the infested fleece from a couple of years ago, and I may never be free from them, so it's all about mitigation here. I consider myself pretty lucky that the sweater that was eaten wasn't a favorite, and I'm also trying to have a general attitude toward my knits that there is nothing that can't be made again if it's beyond repair. Yarn, after all, is biodegradable, so nothing made from it will last long term. Also, this is my hobby and something that brings me joy, so if the worst that happens is that I have to reknit a sweater, how bad can life be?

Here's hoping the weekend brings more joy for all of us!

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday, Week 41/2022

Fall color has arrived here in my neck of the woods, and we've been blessed with some perfect fall weather and gorgeous blue skies to show off the changing leaves. We're supposed to have some storms moving through tonight and tomorrow, and I'm hoping that I don't see all these leaves on the ground afterwards.

It's Wednesday today, which means it's time for my weekly check in with Kat and the Unravelers. I started off the week with a small finished object, the hat to go with the baby sweater:

The pattern for this is From Where You Were Plucked, which I've also made to go with the Newborn Vertebrae the last two times I knit it. I used just a bit less than 100 yards and followed the pattern as written -- and as written, you actually knit something that looks like this:

I think it's an indication of Rainbow's increasing maturity that she giggled when she saw this -- and perhaps it's an indication of my continued immaturity that I still giggle at it! Fortunately when that long tube is tied into a knot, it becomes incredibly cute.

After I finished the hat, I started another one that will likely be a charity hat but will also be my entry for this month's challenge for the Down Cellar Studio Pigskin Party. Entries have to use at least three colors, so I'm using some scraps of Fibernymph Dye Works Traveler (sport weight) to knit a top-down hat with some colorwork.

I have finished the crown increases, so pretty soon I'll be adding in the first contrast color.

Reading has been a bit slower this past week, and my finishes have been all on audio!

First, I finally got Nightcrawling from my library holds after a fairly long wait. I put it on hold back when the Booker long list was first released, so that gives you an idea. I will say that I enjoyed this book, in the sense that I was impressed by the writing, but it covers a lot of difficult topics and will be hard for many readers, so read the summary before you pick it up if you are concerned it may upset you. This debut novel -- begun when the author was 17! -- addresses what can happen when a young person loses their entire support system and the heartbreaking choices they have to make when faced with the very real needs of feeding and housing themself. I thought the narrator did an excellent job of capturing the emotion of the main character, and though I read some reviews that criticized the writing, I thought it was impressive for such a young writer. I gave it 4 stars overall, though I did find it hard to listen to at times. This is not an especially pleasurable read, but I felt it was one that was important to finish.

The other book I finished this past week was Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, which I'd been listening to via the Craftlit podcast for about six months. I won't say this was my favorite Twain and I found it rather slow (though listening to only two or three chapters at a time will certainly exacerbate that), but it was an interesting and informative read. I gave it 3 stars.

I am currently reading Booth, which was another book I put on hold at the library way back when and finally got on Sunday. I've been hoping to devote a good chunk of time to it, but that time hasn't yet materialized, so I'm only about 120 pages in. I also still have Braiding Sweetgrass on my nightstand, and I'm determined to finish the last 100-ish pages I have left before I allow myself to start The Marriage Portrait!

How about you -- what are you making and reading this week?

Monday, October 10, 2022

A Full Weekend

Happy Monday, friends! It's a strange start to the week here because Rainbow is home today (it's a teacher in-service day), so it feels a little more relaxed because although I had to get up at the normal time for work, I didn't have to drag her out of bed or rush her to eat breakfast or get dressed. It'll be nice to have her around today, though, especially as she's likely to spend a large portion of the day crocheting in the same room where I'm working.

We had a fun weekend and spent a lot of quality time together. We really enjoyed seeing Frozen on Saturday (being in a huge crowd, not so much) despite hitting some major traffic and having some problems finding a place to park on the way there -- we literally got to our seats at 1:59 p.m. for a 2 p.m. show! I took both of my smaller projects because Friday ended up being busier than anticipated and I was still in the middle of my sock heel, so I figured I could work on that during intermission and pull out the baby hat for knitting in the dark. I very nearly sabotaged myself when I dropped five or six stitches right after the lights went out, but amazingly I got them back on the needle! Here's where both projects stand right now:

As Rainbow pointed out, the hat looks a little ... questionable right now, but that tube at the top gets tied into a knot and becomes adorable. The heel is ready to be turned on the sock, but I paused there yesterday so I could take some notes for the pattern; I know exactly what to do for my size, but I want to be sure I get all the numbers and directions correct for the other sizes as well. I expect that with only two inches left to knit on the top of the hat, it will be finished up today, likely during my team meeting later this morning, so I will then be able to turn all my attention to the sock. It would be great to get this first one finished up this week so I can get a draft of the pattern written up and off to my tech editor!

I hope your week is off to a good start!

Friday, October 07, 2022

FO Friday

Phew, what a week it's been! I know intellectually that it's better to have Yom Kippur fall in the middle of the week rather than on a weekend, but it does disrupt the week quite a bit! Thank you to all of you who sent good thoughts for my fast. I find that it gets easier the older I get, and this year my only ill effect was a bit of caffeine withdrawal/dehydration headache. It was a beautiful day, so after services I went out for a (slow) walk, and we had my parents, my brother, and my sister-in-law over to break the fast. I did have some trouble falling asleep on Wednesday night despite only drinking a small amount of coffee, but by yesterday I was back to normal.

I am finishing the week with a finished object, though it's a tiny one!

Newborn Vertebrae (Ravelry link) by Kelly van Niekerk
Yarn: Fibernymph Dye Works Bounce in Galaxy Cocktail, 0.55 skeins
Needles: US 3 (3.25 mm) and US 1.5 (2.5 mm)
Started/Completed: October 1/October 6

I think this is the third time I've knit this pattern now, and it's always reliable for a very cute, very tiny sweater. Obviously I still need to block this latest one so it doesn't look as wonky, but otherwise I'm happy with it. I did wind off yarn so that I could have the stripes match in the sleeves, but that was my only effort in yarn management. My one tiny modification to the pattern was in how I worked the edge stitches in the body ribbing. In an effort to get those edge to lie a bit flatter, I slipped the first stitch of each row purlwise and worked the next stitch in garter.

It's not something you'd notice unless you looked really closely, but it does seem to prevent that edge from curling under too much.

I've also started the matching hat, but I've put it aside for now to focus on my socks -- Rainbow and I are going to see the stage production of Frozen tomorrow afternoon, so I want to get past the heel so I can knit the foot in the dark!

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Unraveled, Week 40/2022

Despite my best intentions to get this written up ahead of time, it's now after 9 a.m. on Wednesday and I am just getting around to my weekly Unraveled Wednesday post! Thanks as always to Kat for hosting this weekly link-up.

Today is, of course, Yom Kippur, and I slept in until almost 8, so I'm feeling pretty good despite not having had my morning coffee. We'll be leaving soon for services, so I'm putting this together a bit quickly (so forgive me for that!).

I've mainly been working this week on the Newborn Vertebrae for my new nephew, and I'm just about finished with the first sleeve.

I know some of you might be surprised to see me working on DPNs, which I very rarely use. The reason is that the circular needle I was using for the body was too short to comfortably magic loop, and I was too lazy to go looking for a longer one. The DPNs were spotted in a few seconds, so I went with them. They're not my favorite, but I can deal with them for the very short amount of time it takes me to knit these sleeves.

I've also been doing some swatching for my next sweater, with mixed results.

The pattern is Recalibrate, which is designed to be knit at a loose gauge with fingering weight yarn. The swatch at the top was knit on size 7 (4.5 mm) needles and I still have too many stitches per inch. I find the fabric to be terribly sloppy, and I think a garment knit at this gauge would start to stretch out of shape the minute I put it on. The swatch at the bottom was knit on size 4 (3.5 mm) needles, and I like this fabric much better -- it has drape but still has some structure as well -- but the gauge is drastically different from the pattern. So I still have some pondering and maybe some math to do.

I've finished two books in the last week.

Glory was the last book on the Booker Prize short list I still had yet to read, and as my library didn't have it yet, I ended up ordering a copy. This book is an allegorical retelling of the fall of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe in which all the characters are animals. It's an inventive way to tell the story, but I also found that it was completely clear exactly where and when the story was supposed to be set. I'll admit that my knowledge of the country and its political situation is not the greatest, but I did have a general awareness of it. Perhaps if I'd known more I would have enjoyed the book more, but I found it really repetitive and a slog at times. I gave it 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3.

After last week's success with Olive Kitteridge, I listened to the sequel, Olive, Again. Whereas in the first book I found Olive to be a bit of a curmudgeon, I found her endearing in the follow-up, and I loved that even as she was reaching the end of her life, she was finding it possible to examine who she was as a person and decide to change certain aspects of herself she found she didn't like. There were some stories in this collection I didn't care for as much, but overall I really enjoyed my return to Olive's world. I gave it 4 stars.

Currently I'm listening to Nightcrawling from the Booker long list (I'd had it on hold at the library for a long time and finally got it yesterday) and I've also pulled out Braiding Sweetgrass, which has been on my nightstand all year long and I've read a chapter or two here and there. I'd really like to finish it up now.

What are you making and reading this week?

Monday, October 03, 2022

Forced Rejuvenation

Happy Monday! I am coming off a very restful weekend thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Ian making their way to us. It rained for about 3/4 of the weekend, and it was chilly on top of it, so I found myself inside for much of it -- not that I much minded! We all needed some extra sleep and got it thanks to cloudy weather to start both days.

I took advantage of the time indoors to wind yarn for and cast on two new projects. First, a tiny sweater for my new nephew, who is due to arrive next month:

This is the Newborn Vertebrae (Ravelry link), a pattern I've knit several times before, and as you can see, it knits up very quickly. I cast on Saturday and by last night I had knit almost the entire body. As with the previous times I've knit this pattern as a baby gift, I'll be making a hat to match. Someone on Ravelry commented that the colors of the yarn (Fibernymph Dye Works Bounce in the colorway Galaxy Cocktail) look like the colors of Buzz Lightyear, so I may try to find a Buzz onesie or outfit to go with it.

I also started a new pair of socks that will be for me and will also serve as a sample for the pattern I'm writing up for the simultaneous heel flap and gusset method I used in the last pair I knit. I received so many questions about this heel that I thought it made sense to write up the instructions in a pattern (and it will be written toe up as well as cuff down).

The yarn is also FDW Bounce, in a colorway that was the prize for participating in Lisa's Monthly Makes program back in 2019. I really love how there's a variegated stripe in between the other bright colors (can you tell that the gloom this weekend was having an influence on my yarn choices?). Ideally I'd like to have these done on the early side this month so I can get the pattern out before the end of the month, what with it being "Socktober."

I have not started spinning just yet, but I did split up my fiber for my combo spin late on Friday afternoon. I split each length of fiber into fourths horizontally and then split each quarter into four vertical strips. So now I have three bags of little bundles of fiber ready to spin:

I expect spinning will get started very soon and I'll have some in-progress photos to share later this week.

I will be back with another post as usual on Wednesday, but I'll be writing it ahead of time because Wednesday is Yom Kippur and I'll be fasting, so please bear with me if my commenting and responses to comments are a little delayed! I hope you all have a good start to your week.