Friday, April 28, 2023

It Got Me, Too

I know several of you have had issues in the past week or so with Blogger not sending you comments by email. I had this issue several months ago but managed to fix it when I discovered that my email had disappeared from the appropriate field in the comment notification settings, but that wasn't the case this time. I tried deleting my email address and adding it again, but that didn't fix it. So I've posted about the issue in the Blogger Community in the hopes of getting some answer; so far the only response hasn't been helpful, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that someone who knows how to fix the issue will see it. Bonny has found a workaround that seems to help some (posting a comment and checking the box to be notified of other comments), but it's not a permanent solution. So please bear with me as I reply to your comments -- I do appreciate every comment that's left on the blog and try to reply to all of them, but Blogger really isn't making that easy these days! [EDIT: I don't want to jinx anything, but it looks like it might be fixed!]

It is a very soggy day here in Western Pennsylvania, which means I'm not going to get in a run today (I'll run in light rain, but not this!). It'll be a good day to stay in with my knitting -- in between work, of course -- and that looks to be the case for the weekend as well. All that is to say that I hope you can excuse my photos today because there's no natural light to be had today.

My Shoulder Season is finally starting to look like a real sweater now that I have joined the two shoulder pieces and started on the back. I've also started alternating skeins, so now there's a bit of detangling to do every two rows. But at least I am at a fairly mindless point (a long stretch of garter stitch) that I can do while doing something else.

Yesterday I also made a lot of progress on my sister-in-law's socks -- I'm almost to the heel of the first one!

I'm doing my usual vanilla sock recipe for these, but I did a tubular cast-on and 1x1 ribbed cuff to change things up a bit. The yarn is Fibernymph Dye Works Bounce in the colorway Cuddletime, a tea-inspired colorway from a club that I'd forgotten I even had. They're not my colors but will suit my sister-in-law quite well. And I expect even more progress will be made on this sock today while I work and this evening, when we're going to Rainbow's school Fine Arts Festival. She'll be performing with the choir at the beginning and end of the event, but there will be a lot of time waiting in between -- a perfect situation for sock knitting!

Tomorrow I'll be up early to go get my annual mammogram. I discovered last year that Saturday appointments are a lot faster because, as there's no radiologist there on the weekend, they send you home right after taking your images. It does mean having to wait until Monday morning to get scans read and results sent to you, but I can deal with that if it means less time sitting in a hospital hallway in a gown. It does mean the potential to have to go back for a follow-up, but that's something that I've had to deal with since I started getting mammograms because I have dense breast tissue. I'm going in for an MRI in a couple months at my doctor's recommendation, too. This is just your reminder to make sure you get your needed check-ups and screenings done!

Have a great weekend, and see you back here on Monday!

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Poetry in April: A Poem in Your Pocket

It's the final Thursday in National Poetry Month, and today Bonny, Kat, Kym, and I are sharing poems that are short and sweet -- just a little taste of poetry you could carry in your pocket. For today's selection, I turned to a lovely little volume that Kym sent me a couple of years ago: How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope. I keep this little book on my nightstand so I can flip through it when I need a pick-me-up. All the poems in it are relatively short, but I picked one of the shorter ones to share today.

by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Hope has holes
in its pockets.
It leaves little
crumb trails
so that we,
when anxious,
can follow it.
Hope's secret:
it doesn't know
its destination--
it knows only
that all roads
begin with one
foot in front
of the other.

You can learn more about the poet here, and don't forget to visit Kym, Kat, and Bonny today as well. Thanks for sharing another month of poetry with us!

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Unraveled, Week 17/2023

Goodness, this week is rushing by! It's been a busy one and doesn't show any sign of slowing down, so I'm going to try to get this post up as fast as possible. It's Wednesday, which means that it's time for my weekly link-up with Kat and the Unravelers.

I've continued my finishing spree this week and completed my oldest lingering WIP, a pair of ankle socks that I'd started back in January. I'm delighted with how they turned out and have been encouraged to publish the pattern, so it looks like that's what I'll be doing next in my design time.

Finishing these meant only one WIP left on the needles (my Birch Pullover), and I don't function well with just one project, so I had to start something new. I was planning to start another sweater, but I also needed something smaller that would move a little faster, so I started -- and finished -- a quick project.

Side Hustle Cuffs by Shana Cohen, size medium
Yarn: Fibernymph Dye Works Confetti Tweed DK in Bright Ocean (blue) and Electric Purple, 113 yds. total
Needles: US 5 (3.75 mm)
Started/Completed: April 22/April 24

As you can see from the photo, I got creative with the pattern on the second mitt (on the right) and did some extra rows in the contrast color. These were a fast, easy, and fun knit, and I can definitely see myself making some more -- particularly as Rainbow immediately stole these, despite the fact that she probably needs the smaller size!

I cast on two additional projects on Monday after finishing these, one a pair of socks for my sister-in-law for her first Mother's Day (no photo yet because I haven't even finished the cuff) and the other that second sweater. The sweater in question is Shoulder Season, another Shana Cohen pattern. Appropriately, it starts with the shoulders:

The pattern calls for knitting the shoulders in a contrasting color, but I'm doing mine in the same yarn I'm using for the rest of it -- Stranded Dyeworks merino/nylon in the SSK-themed colorway Four Two Two Four. I have three skeins of it but should only need two for this sweater, in theory.

Because work has been busy, my reading time has been diminished, so I've only finished two books in the past week. They were both good reads, though.

Birnam Wood just came out last month and I was on a long library hold list, so I was quite surprised when I got a notification from Libby that it was ready for me. I've heard this book described as an eco-thriller, whatever that is, and I'd say it's hard to categorize. The plot involves a group that plants crops in public places, sometimes illegally, to sell and distribute; a recently knighted pest control services business owner who has been recognized for conservation efforts and who owns a farm near the site of a recent landslide in a national park; and a billionaire technology businessman who wants to buy the farm, allegedly to install a survivalist bunker on the land. I know that sounds very weird, and it is. I'd say this book is about 375 pages of (very well-written) character study and about 50 pages of heart-pounding action. This is not a book that will appeal to everyone (Vera, definitely not you!), and even though I found it to be very unsettling -- which I think is kind of the point -- I gave it 4 stars.

Mary mentioned to me last week that she'd found all or nearly all of Ann Patchett's books were available on Hoopla, which was great news because I've been wanting to read more of her backlist -- particularly as I'm hoping to visit her bookstore when I'm in Nashville this summer. One title I've wanted to read for a long time is Truth & Beauty, her memoir about her friendship with fellow writer Lucy Grealy. A bonus is that the audiobook is read by the author! I really enjoyed this one and plan to listen to Grealy's memoir (which is also available on Hoopla!) when I'm ready for my next audiobook. I gave this one 4 stars as well.

I'm currently actively reading Stone Blind, which is fun and fast and would be going a lot faster if I wasn't reading primarily before bed, when lately I've had trouble keeping my eyes open. I was excited to see the announcement of the Women's Prize for Fiction shortlist this morning. I have already read the two longest titles on the list and have copies of two others, and this morning I ordered Pod from Blackwell's and purchased a Kindle copy of Fire Rush so I can read all the titles that made the cut. I still plan to read Wandering Souls as well, even though it did not make it to the shortlist.

What are you making and reading this week? Are you reading for the Women's Prize and do you have any thoughts about the titles that made the cut?

Monday, April 24, 2023

Embrace in 2023: April

I can hardly believe that it's already the last week of April. It's been a very busy month, and it's absolutely flown by. Of course, the constant ups and downs in the weather (and the subsequent changing back and forth between heating and air conditioning) aren't helping with the sense of confusion of what time of year it is. But it is indeed the last Monday of the month, which means it's time to check in on my One Little Word. Thanks, as always, to Carolyn for hosting our monthly link-up!

If you haven't figured it out by now, I am the type of person who greatly values and relies on predictability and routine. I like to plan things ahead of time and to know what to expect. But that hasn't always been possible this month. Things have changed at the last minute, things have been rescheduled, and I've had to make last-minute adjustments more than once. So this month I've really had to embrace flexibility. I've had to adjust my plans on the fly, move things around, and try not to get frustrated when I can't do something or have to put it off until later. In the past, this would have caused me a lot of anxiety, but I guess I'm getting better at accepting this as the new normal because I've been okay with it. I don't necessarily like it, but I am dealing with it without too much trouble. I guess I'm proof that an old (well, middle-aged) dog can learn some new tricks and we are all a work in progress.

On an unrelated note, today is the start of the trial of the Tree of Life shooter (many news outlets are calling him the "accused shooter," but we all know that he did it). It's going to be a hard time for the families of the victims and the community, so if you can, please send some good thoughts our way.

Friday, April 21, 2023

WIP Evolution

TGIF! It's been a long week, in part because the Mister was away on a work trip until last night, so I had to do school drop-offs as well as pick-ups, making for busier mornings. Rainbow is off from school today (and was yesterday as well) because of parent/teacher conferences, though, so I've got a little reprieve and a little extra time to enjoy my coffee.

This week has been largely about finishing works in progress. First it was my Love Note. Then I turned my attention to that project I can't show you. I finished that yesterday, with a very long tubular bind-off. This time I did it without putting half the stitches on a second needle, so I feel like I improved my skills a bit. I can't share a photo of the whole thing, but I can at least give you this peek at the finished edge:

I'm now down to two active WIPs: my Birch Pullover and the ankle socks I revived last week. I'm on the heel flap of sock number 2, so I expect the latter to be done soon, and we all know that the sweater is going to be a long-term project. The WIP list has gotten so much smaller, in fact, that I felt like I needed to start something new. So yesterday I finally wound some yarn that's been in my stash for a while and started swatching for a new summer sweater.

This is a swatch for Shana Cohen's Shoulder Season, which I'm knitting in Stranded Dyeworks merino/nylon fingering. I bought this yarn years ago; the colorway is called Four Two Two Four -- a reference to the distance between where Jude lived at the time and the Nashville location of the SSK retreat. Though the sweater is show with contrasting shoulder panels, I plan to knit mine all in one color, and it looks like two of the three skeins of yarn I have should be enough. I'm starting this now for this month's SSK knitalong (Shana is the featured designer this month), though I know I won't finish it before the end of the month. Luckily we can finish up WIPs and have them count in June, so I will get started on this now and plan to finish it up then.

We're expecting a beautiful day in the 80s here today, with rain moving in tonight and then a 30-degree drop in temperatures, so after my conference this morning with Rainbow's teachers, I'm going to enjoy it on my run. Here's hoping the weekend makes an early entrance for us all!

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Poetry in April: Feel the Love

April is National Poetry Month, so all this month, Bonny, Kat, Kym, and I are sharing some poetry on Thursdays. This week's theme is love, and while there's a ton of poetry out there related to romantic love, my thoughts turned to a different kind -- that of a parent for their child. I think this sort of love is so unlike any other, especially when it's a mother's love. So today's poem is written by a mother (poet Sharon Olds) for her child, and it captures some of the feelings I have begun to have as my daughter has gotten older.

(for my daughter)

I lie on the beach, watching you
as you lie on the beach, memorizing you
against the time when you will not be with me:
your empurpled lips, swollen in the sun
and smooth as the inner lips of shell;
your biscuit-gold skin, glazed and
faintly pitted like the surface of a biscuit;
the serious knotted twine of your hair.
I have loved you instead of anyone else,
love you as a way of loving no one else,
every separate grain of your body
building the god, as you were built within me,
a sealed world. What if from you lips
I had learned the love of other lips,
from you starred, gummed lashes the love of
other lashes, from your shut, quivering
eyes the love of other eyes,
from you body the bodies,
from your life the lives?
Today I see it is there to be learned from you:
to love what I do not own.

Be sure to visit Kym, Kat, and Bonny today for their selections!

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Unraveled, Week 16/2023

Good morning! It's Wednesday, so that means it's time for my weekly link-up with Kat and the Unravelers -- and this week I have an FO to share! Though I'm afraid you'll have to settle with having Matilda (my dress form) model it, as it's only just dried and I'm not yet in a state for modeling it myself.

Pattern: Love Note by Tin Can Knits, size S (41.5 in. bust)
Yarn: Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles (100% Merino) in Potluck (one of a kind?), 1.56 skeins/624 yards, and Fibernymph Dye Works Floof (72% mohair/28% silk) in Toxic Green, 1.3 skeins/596.7 yards
Needles: US 8 (5.0 mm) and US 5 (3.75 mm)
Started/Completed: March 1/April 18

Because I am one of the last people on earth to knit this pattern, I don't need to say much about it. I will readily admit that I was a bit lax in my swatching, so I don't have quite as much positive ease in my finished garment as I should have, but that's just fine because that's what I was aiming for. I ended up following the pattern pretty much exactly, and my only modification (if you can even call it that) was to pick up some extra stitches under the arm when I started the sleeves and decrease them in the first few rounds. This sweater would have been a really fast knit if I'd been monogamous with it, but I'm happy it's done now. I have a strong suspicion that a certain teenager might steal it, and if she does, I won't have a problem with it. I think it might actually look better on her than on me!

I'm definitely on a finishing kick this week and am trying to whittle down my list of WIPs. I'm now down to three: my Birch Pullover (which is last on the priority list), the lightweight version of my latest design, and the ankle socks. The last of these is now more than halfway done; I have finished the first sock and done the cuff of the second. I even took them out for an author event last night:

My local indie bookstore hosted an event last night with V.E. Schwab in conversation with Clare Beams. Admission included a signed paperback copy of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. It was really a great event, and Schwab was so articulate about her writing process in general and the process of writing this book specifically. And I spotted at least two other knitters there!

Speaking of books, I've been spending a lot of time with them in the past week and have finished another four since last Wednesday.

Late last week I was in search of an audiobook to listen to and everything I was interested in had a wait, so I decided to give A Children's Bible a try because I had enjoyed Lydia Millet's more recent Dinosaurs. Unfortunately I didn't have the same experience with this book. I understand what the author was trying to do, but I didn't really like any of the characters and the whole thing left me feeling a bit icky. I was tempted to DNF it, but I had nothing else to listen to at the time and I kept hoping things would wrap up a bit more optimistically, so I kept listening to the end. I gave it 2 stars.

Thankfully that same day I was able to dispel that icky feeling with something much more lighthearted. The Bandit Queens is on the Women's Prize longlist and centers on a group of women in India who are part of a microloan group. The husband of the main character disappeared years ago, and people in the town believe she killed him -- and now some of the other women in the group have decided to enlist her in helping them to kill off their own husbands, and hilarity ensues. Though this is overall a funny book, it does address some very serious issues of sexism, domestic violence, and caste, and it did teach me a bit more about social structures in India. I gave it 4 stars.

Continuing with the Women's Prize reading, I finished Cursed Bread, which Katie was kind enough to send along to me. This is a slim volume of historical fiction inspired by a real-life event in which an entire village in France was poisoned, though the details are still unknown. In this version, also set in a small French village in the early '50s, a mysterious couple moves in and strange things start happening. The book is very well written, but I felt pretty confused the whole time I was reading -- though that may be point, as the ending seems to suggest that the reader shouldn't be sure what is real and what is not. Reading this book was an instance of appreciating the skill of the writer while simultaneously being frustrated because I didn't feel smart enough to understand it fully. I gave it 3 stars. (And if anyone one is interested in reading it, let me know -- I'm happy to pass it along!)

Finally I got a palate cleanser in the form of a book I know many of you have already read and enjoyed: Remarkably Bright Creatures. I listened to this over the course of a few days and enjoyed it all. I think it's a given that some aspects of the plot require a suspension of disbelief, but ultimately it's just a lovely, feel-good story about people with deep wounds finding healing and friendship. I particularly enjoyed the narration of the parts of the story told by Marcellus the octopus; he sounded like such a proper gentleman! If you have not read this yet and need something that's not too difficult or emotionally draining, I recommend it. I gave it 4 stars.

I'm currently taking a little break from my Women's Prize reading to read Birnam Wood, which I got from the library a few days ago. I'm only about 20% in because I've only been reading it a bit before bed, but I think I will make some decent headway in the next several days.

What are you making and reading this week?

Monday, April 17, 2023

Unplanned, but Not Unenjoyable

When I last posted on Friday, I'd been planning for a quiet weekend with a lot of crafting time. That's not quite how it played out, but I am not complaining! After Rainbow slept nearly 12 hours following her school dance (which, obviously, she enjoyed), she wanted to go out and do something, so we went and did a little shopping. Our first stop was Michaels, in part to get some yarn for Rainbow to crochet a corner-to-corner blanket and in part to get some more for my mother, who finished her blanket and announced on Friday night that she needed a new project.

The shopping was fun, but it meant I was away from my projects for much of the afternoon. Somehow I still managed to ply a skein of handspun before going to bed last night (I'd finished the singles Friday night). Here is Low Earth Orbit on Australian Comeback wool, light fingering weight and approximately 469 yards:

I am absolutely delighted with how this came out. I expected it to bloom a little more in the wash, but that's okay. This is the ninth Southern Cross Fibre shipment I've spun this year, so I'm way ahead of schedule to spin a total of 12.

If you can believe it, I didn't do any knitting all weekend until yesterday evening, when I picked up my Love Note. But I have virtually finished the first sleeve -- I just have to bind off!

I plan to do the bind off, weave in the first sleeve's ends, and then pick up for the second today. I have a board meeting this evening (thankfully on Zoom), so I will need something easy to knit on in between taking meeting minutes.

Today's first order of business, however, is getting in my run, which should be nice in today's much cooler weather. Hope your Monday is off to a good start!

Friday, April 14, 2023

WIP Wrangling

Does anyone else feel like this week has stretched on forever? Maybe it's the heat (we've had highs in the 80s F for several days), but I have felt like Friday has been due for a while. Thankfully, it's finally here, and we have a quiet weekend ahead of us. Still, I have a to-do list today, and I'm keen to get on with it, so without further ado, here is the current state of my WIPs:


My focus was on my design sample for several days, but now that it's done, I'm feeling a bit unexcited by my other projects. I've been dabbling a bit on them but not made any significant progress, and that's really frustrating, so I think I'm going to have to start concentrating on one at a time until it's finished. My Love Note is the obvious choice, as it's in need of just a sleeve and a half. The project in the blue sheep back (which I'm hiding because it's essentially a lightweight version of my most recent design) is also close to completion. That first ankle sock just needs a toe, and a second would be pretty fast to knock out. That just leaves my Birch Pullover, which we all know is going to take a while anyway. Not shown in this photo is my current spinning project:

This is all the fiber left to be spun into singles, maybe two yards of combed top or approximately a quarter of what I started with. As I'm spinning my default singles, I don't really need to pay much attention to what my hands are doing while I spin, so it's a good activity to do while reading or watching something.

Today's plans include baking challah for Friday night dinner at my parents', and tonight Rainbow is going to her very first middle school dance (just with friends -- thankfully we aren't at the date stage just yet). The weekend's forecast has rain and scattered thunderstorms in it, so I am going to use that as a good excuse to focus on making progress on one or more of these WIPs. I'm hoping I have something to share with you on Monday.

Have a great weekend, friends!

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Poetry in April: Ada Limón

This week, we are focusing on the poetry of Ada Limón, the current poet laureate of the United States. I was only somewhat familiar with her and her work before, but when Kym proposed that we choose one of her poems this week, I decided to get to know her better by reading her most recent poetry collection. The poem I'm sharing today is from that book.

In the Shadow
The wild pansy shoves its persistent face beneath
    the hackberry's shade, true plum and gold,

with the alternate names: Johnny-jump-up
    heartsease, or my favorite, love-in-idleness.
I bow closer to the new face. I am always superimposing
    a face on flowers, I call the violet moon vinca
the choir, and there are surely eyes in the birdeye speedwall,
    and mouths on the linearleaf snapdragon.
It is what we do in order to care for things, make them
    ourselves, our elders, our beloveds, our unborn.
But perhaps that is a lazy kind of love Why
    can't I just love the flower for being a flower?
How many flowers have I yanked to puppet
    as if it was easy for the world to make flowers?

From The Hurting Kind, (c) 2022
You can learn more about Ada Limón here, and be sure to visit Kym, Kat, and Bonny today to read some more of her poetry!

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Unraveled, Week 15/2023

It's Wednesday, and I'm starting the day with an early dentist appointment, so I actually wrote this post on Tuesday evening so I wouldn't be too rushed -- after all, Wednesdays are my favorite blogging days because it means catching up with Kat and the Unravelers!

I've been doing a fair amount of knitting the past couple of days, but I can't show you what I've been working on because it relates to that design submission I had accepted at the end of March. I've got a quick turn on that (the pattern is due at the beginning of May, but I want to get it out of the way ASAP), so I've paused my other projects while I get to that. I have, however, been spinning, and I officially passed the halfway point on my singles on Tuesday.

I've been doing quite a lot of reading the past week, and somehow I finished four books! There's been a heavy focus lately on women authors in general and the Women's Prize for Fiction Longlist specifically.

I ordered a couple of the books from Blackwell's (which is such a great resource for books before they're released in the United States), one of which was Homesick by Jennifer Croft. If her name sounds familiar, you might know her as a translator who has worked with Olga Tokarczuk. I read the "novel" version of this book (there's also a memoir version that was previously released stateside), as that's the version on the Women's Prize list. Though this is categorized as fiction, it's very clearly about Croft and her sister as they were growing up. It's weird and sad but also touching. I understand that in the memoir version there are photos, but this version is all prose. I gave it 4 stars.

Because it's National Poetry Month, I decided to make a point to read more poetry, and last Thursday things were quiet enough for a bit to allow me to sit and read through Ada Limón's most recent collection The Hurting Kind. I've read a few of Limón's poems individually in the past, but reading an entire collection really allows you to get to know a poet, and reading this one left me wanting to get to know her more. I've found that like my favorite poet, Robert Frost, she uses imagery of the natural world as a canvas for her emotions. I expect I will go back and reread this collection several times in addition to exploring her other collections. I gave this one 4 stars.

I had bought Memphis, a buzzy debut novel from last year, when it was a Kindle deal several weeks ago, and I decided to read it given that it's on the Women's Prize list and already in my hands. Before I started reading it, though, Katie filled me in on some of the controversy surrounding the author's behavior in response to criticism of the novel, and it's possible that knowing about that may have influenced my feelings about the book. I found some really beautiful writing and some great characters, but the book did not flow together in a cohesive way, in my opinion. I'm not sure if that's a failure of the writer or the editor, but other way, I found it to be a bit unsatisfying as a result. And I also spotted several grammatical errors, and we all know how I feel about those. I gave it 3 stars.

Finally I listened to an audiobook I'd long had on my TBR list, a nonfiction work that's part true crime and part biography. Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee was not quite what I was expected. The background on the trial referenced in the title makes up more than half the book, and Harper Lee isn't really mentioned until the second half. It was well written and well researched, but didn't really contain anything revelatory about Lee. I will say that I learned more about her and her relationship with Truman Capote, but I felt that the background on the murder case and related life insurance fraud didn't add much. I gave it 3 stars.

Even though I said I wasn't going to try to read the entirety of the Women's Prize Longlist, I expect I will have read quite a few of them before the Shortlist is announced! I had already read three of the titles to start with, finished two more in the last week, and have started two more -- Cursed Bread, which Katie was kind enough to send me after she read it, and The Bandit Queens, which I got as a Kindle deal. After those, I have Trespasses (another Blackwell's purchase) and Stone Blind, which Margene sent me. I just have to hope that the Shortlist contains many of the titles I will have read by then!

In addition to the book, Margene sent me a skein of yarn she thought looked to be to my taste:

She was right -- would you believe I bought a skein of this exact colorway several years ago but had never knit it?! I guess Rainbow and I will have some matching socks in the near future!

Monday, April 10, 2023

A Weekend of Stitching and Sun

I'm not going to lie -- it was not easy to get up this morning! I'm not sure why it is that I will wake up on my own quite early on the weekend but struggle so much on a Monday morning. Thank goodness for coffee!

We had a really nice weekend with some beautiful -- and more seasonable -- weather. Because my office closed early on Friday, I was able to get a couple of chores done early so I didn't have to try to cram them into Saturday morning. Instead, I was able to get out for a walk before Rainbow and I went downtown to see Tina. I put a progress keeper in my sock when we sat down so I could get a sense of how much I knit during the show.

The show ran about two and a half hours, and here's how much sock foot I knit in that time:

Yesterday was another day with clear blue skies and lots of sun, so in addition to taking another walk, I spent time out in the yard, pulling weeds and trimming some dead growth off the hydrangeas. I also ordered some seed-starting trays and new gardening gloves so I can start prepping the garden. I am planning to order a planter to put in the front yard (where we get the most sun) this year for the veggies. I had pretty good luck with my tomatoes and peppers in the front last year except that bunnies kept nibbling them, so the idea is to get them off the ground and out of reach. I'll use the backyard for herbs and things that don't need as much sun.

I also spent some time yesterday at my wheel. I'm almost halfway through my singles and absolutely loving this spin:

It would be amazing if I could finish up this spin this week, but I know it's going to be a busy one, so we'll see.

And with that, I'd best get moving so I can get my run in before my first work meeting of the week. Hope your Monday is off to a good start!

Friday, April 07, 2023


Thank goodness it's Good Friday! I don't have the day off (though my office is closing early today), but Rainbow does, and it's nice to have her around after being alone all day the past week.

We had two really nice Passover Seders this week, the first at my parents' on Wednesday with all the family and the second last night at my brother and sister-in-law's with their next-door neighbors and my parents. It was unusually warm here on Wednesday (I think we hit a high of 85F), and my parents are temporarily without air conditioning after a careless driver drove into their condensers last fall and destroyed them -- they're scheduled to get the replacements installed next week because who would have thought we'd need AC in the first week of April, when it's not so unusual to get a late snowfall? So we were all a bit warm during dinner, especially when eating maztah ball soup!

My knitting projects are continuing to creep along, but yesterday I had to start a new spinning project because it'd been about three weeks, maybe more, since I last sat at my wheel and my fingers were getting twitchy. Naturally I went for a Southern Cross Fibre club shipment -- this is Low Earth Orbit on Comeback wool from June 2022.

I'm doing a pretty straightforward spin of this fiber. I split it in half lengthwise and am spinning the two strips end to end. I'll chain-ply the singles when they're done.

Tomorrow afternoon, Rainbow and I are going to see Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, so I've been pondering what knitting to take (because we all know I can't sit in a seat for almost three hours with no knitting!). I was considering casting on a new charity hat, but then I remembered that I had started a pair of ankle socks for myself at the beginning of the year that I'd largely forgotten, so they should be perfect. I'll just have to focus on finishing up the heel flap and getting through the heel turn and gusset before then.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Happy Easter if you're celebrating!

Thursday, April 06, 2023

Poetry in April: Wonder

I know Thursday is not one of my typical days to post, but it's April, National Poetry Month, and several blogging friends are celebrating it again this year by sharing a poem every Thursday this month.

The theme for this week is "poems about wonder." The subject of wonder always makes me think of nature and how so much happens in the beautiful world around us. And when I think of nature and poetry, I think of Mary Oliver, so I turned to her for this week's selection.

The Other Kingdoms

Consider the other kingdoms. The
trees, for example, with their mellow-sounding
titles: oak, aspen, willow.
Or the snow, for which the peoples of the north
have dozens of words to describe its
different arrivals. Or the creatures, with their
thick fur, their shy and wordless gaze. Their
infallible sense of what their lives
are meant to be. Thus the world
grows rich, grows wild, and you too,
grow rich, grow sweetly wild, as you too
were born to be.

The Truro Bear and Other Adventures, (c) Mary Oliver 2008

Be sure to visit Bonny, Kat, and Kym for more poetry today!

Wednesday, April 05, 2023

Unraveled, Week 14/2023

Happy Wednesday, friends! I've been mixed up about what day of the week it is for the past couple of days (I think because Sunday was so busy with cleaning and laundry and getting caught up on being at home). But I am certain that it's Wednesday today -- which means it's time to link up with Kat and the Unravelers!

After picking up my Love Note again when we got home and made quick work of the rest of the body. Yesterday I also knit the collar (after spending about half an hour on Monday evening picking out the waste yarn from the provisional cast on -- it turns out that mohair will stick to everything, including cotton, so I had to pull it out a bit at a time rather than just yanking it out). I was a bit worried about whether I could get the collar over my head, despite binding off really loosely, but it was fine.

Further evidence of my lack of selfie skills

I've now started the first sleeve and have gotten about four inches knit. I've decided to knit full-length sleeves, because I figured if it's cold enough that I want to wear a mohair sweater, short sleeves aren't going to cut it. This will be my main focus until it's done, which I don't expect to take very long, though the yarn for my pattern commission arrived earlier in the week and I'm busy swatching at the moment.

I finished two more books before we left Florida (for a total of five books finished -- not bad for less than two weeks!).

At the last Read With Us Zoom, we closed by recommending a book, and Kat raved about the forthcoming No Two Persons. I immediately went to NetGalley to request a copy and was approved the next day. I would call this book a series of interconnected short stories; while some characters pop up a couple of times, each chapter can stand on its own, and each tells the story of an individual with their own struggles who is touched in some way by the power of a book. The book within the book is what ties these stories together (so beautifully illustrated on the cover), and the work as a whole is a beautiful tribute to the power of the written word and its ability to connect people with very different backgrounds. I received an advanced reader's copy of this book from St. Martin's Press and NetGalley in return for an honest review. I gave it 4 stars.

After listening to the recent Novel Pairings episode about it, I decided to reread Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. This is not a new book; I read it the first time in fifth grade for English class, though all I really remembered was that it was how I learned about sharecropping and how it kept people of color in poverty. It was really worthwhile to reread it as an adult who knows more about the history of the time period and in the context of more recent discussions about race and discrimination. Told from the point of view of Cassie, it tells the story of the Logan family, their struggles against racism, and the ongoing challenges to keep the land they own. I'm actually quite amazed that my school assigned it in fifth grade; there are some very scenes in this book that were upsetting to me now, as an adult. But this slim volume has a lot to teach. I gave it 4 stars.

I am currently reading (in addition to the Outlander brick) Homesick, which is on the Women's Prize long list. I've got about 40 pages left to read, so I should finish it today or tomorrow.

Tonight is the start of Passover, so we'll be gathered with family to enjoy a big meal. And today we're supposed to see a high temperature in the mid-80s -- our air conditioning is on and I'll be wearing a t-shirt for my run this morning! I hope it's a good day for you, even if your weather isn't quite as nice.

Monday, April 03, 2023

Dorothy Had It Right

There really is no place like home. My parents' place is Florida is a very comfortable place to stay, but I sleep better in my own bed. We had a very bumpy flight home (and poor Rainbow had a bad bout of motion sickness), but we arrived only 20 minutes late, which is really quite amazing considering the dramatic weather. I really have to hand it to the pilots who landed the plane in gusty wind.

Yesterday was a day for catching up. I had a bathroom to clean and laundry to do, and then I had to take a walk to see what I'd missed in the neighborhood. Spring definitely arrived while we were gone -- here is just a peek at what I saw growing!

The local meteorologist also noted that today is going to be a high pollen day, so I've doubled up on the allergy meds today.

Before we left on Saturday, I did manage to finish the yoke of my Birch Pullover, which was a goal of mine. And it does indeed fit!

It's still going to be a slow knit, but at least now I don't need to keep track of a six-round repeat with increases; everything from here on out is two basic rounds until the body is the right length before I work the ribbing.

I thought it might be a good idea to finish a sweater first, though, particularly as I'm thinking about casting on yet another one, so last night I pulled out my Love Note. Before we'd left, I'd completed the main part of the body, so last night I was ready to work the short rows the make the back a little lower than the front. I completed those and started the body ribbing, which I think I should easily complete today.

I've got a big to-do list this week (mostly stuff that I put off while we were away), and that includes some preparation for Passover, which starts Wednesday evening. Rainbow is off from school on Friday, and I'm hoping my office will give us an early start to the weekend as well. Vacation is definitely over! Here's hoping it's an easy Monday for all of us.