Monday, July 31, 2023

Embrace in 2023: July

I'm a little in shock to look at the calendar and realize that today is the last day of July; it's been a whirlwind of a month! But as it's the last Monday of the month, that means it's time to check in with my One Little Word. Thanks, as always, to Carolyn for hosting our monthly link-ups.

If you know me in person, you will know that I'm a shy introvert who generally steers clear of large gatherings of people. That tendency has only increased in the COVID years, and for good reason. But I also recognize that it's not healthy (emotionally, at least) to isolate all the time, so this past month, I've embraced being around others, in large part thanks to attending SSK.

I think it helped a lot that this was not my first time attending the event. I was really nervous the first time around because I didn't know anyone, and I didn't know how friendly and welcoming people would be. This time around, I knew that I would be fine sitting down with a table full of strangers (which I tried to do as much as possible in order to meet new people). There were some people I did tend to seek out, but I made an effort to talk to new people, and I'm so glad I did. As I mentioned in my wrap-up post, I met some amazing people from across the country and around the world, and that would not have happened had I stuck to my introvert tendencies. Was it exhausting? Of course, but contrary to my usual experiences, I felt pleasantly tired rather than drained at the end of the day. I suppose the moral of the story is that while resisting my normal tendencies can be a bit uncomfortable, there's a lot to be gained from embracing the circumstances.

And then when I got back, I quite literally embraced this cutie, who will be three months old tomorrow!

Friday, July 28, 2023

Winding Down

The problem with a trip that includes a weekend is that I don't get a weekend at the end of it to recover, so it's been a long, tiring week! And the oppressive heat (we're suppose to hit a heat index at or near 100º F this afternoon) does not help things -- I'm feeling very thankful for air conditioning and cool drinks this week!

Yesterday was an especially long day, though thankfully not because of work. My daily morning meeting got cancelled, likely because two of my coworkers were off, so I was able to get out for my walk a little earlier. Then I went to donate blood (I hit the two-gallon mark yesterday!) and ended up having to take a second shower afterward because I got so sweaty walking there and back. It was a bit surreal because the room where the drive was being held was the same room where my wedding reception was held.

This building used to be a private social club, started by Jewish Pittsburghers when they weren't permitted to join other clubs, but with dwindling memberships, it closed a number of years ago and the university I work for bought the building. I'm glad the building has been preserved, but it's still weird for me to think of it; that balcony and the stairs in the back corner are where the Mister and I made our grand entrance.

Crafting is continuing here despite the heat. I've started the third (and final) square of my test knit for Shana, which is simple but so clever!

After this square is knit, there will be an I-cord edging added around the top edge and loop handles created. I'm hoping I'll be able to finish this up in the next couple of days.

On tap for today, workload permitting, is plying these singles, which I finished up last night:

When I split up this fiber, I simply folded the length of top in thirds and broke it apart at the folds, so I didn't do any sort of planning for the colors to match up, so I'm quite curious to see how the finished yarn looks. With any luck, I'll be able to ply the full skein this afternoon.

I'll leave you for today with two amazing stories from my trip to Nashville:

  • I told you about my trip to Parnassus Books, but I did not tell you the dramatic story of what happened afterward. When we finished shopping, we had a bit of a wait for our Uber (traffic in Nashville is ridiculous!), so we went around the corner to a cute donut shop for a snack and a drink. Our Uber came and took us back to the conference center, and I went to my room to FaceTime with Mo. I was showing her my purchases from the outing (I bought a skein of yarn at Haus of Yarn) when I realized I did not have the bag from Parnassus! I panicked, and as soon as I got off the phone with her, I called the donut shop, thinking I'd left the bag there. But they said there was no bag, so then I realized I must've left it in the Uber. I texted my friend Laura, who'd been the one to order the Uber, and she called our driver and left him a voicemail. I figured it was a lost cause and I'd have to go back to the store to replace my purchases the next day. Then, about half an hour later, she texted to let me know that she'd heard from the driver, who had my bag and was bringing it back! I went out to meet him and thanked him profusely, but he brushed it off as if it was nothing. Three cheers for amazing Uber drivers!
  • The biggest draw of attending an event like SSK for me is meeting other crafters from all over. I told you earlier this week about meeting some lovely knitters from other countries, but I also met wonderful people from much closer. On Saturday afternoon, I was knitting upstairs in the main building (the market was open to the general public by then, so I was avoiding the crowds) and chatting with some other attendees, including a mother and daughter pair who had been in my spinning class the previous day. The daughter is entering her senior year of high school, so another attendee, who has worked in college advising in some capacity, came to talk to them about schools they might want to look into. Somehow it came up that this woman is originally from Pittsburgh, so I asked her where, specifically. It turns out that she not only grew up in my neighborhood, she lived around the corner from my childhood house! What's more, she also grew up attending the synagogue where we belong and (are you ready for this?) graduated from the same independent all-girls' school that I did and that Mo goes to now! How is that for an amazing coincidence?!

I hope you're staying cool if the extreme heat has hit your area, and I hope you have a great weekend! I will be back on Monday for my monthly One Little Word check-in.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Unraveled, Week 30/2023

Happy hump day, friends! This week has felt weird, what with my return home on Sunday afternoon; I kept thinking it was already Wednesday yesterday. But today is the day, and it's time to link up with Kat and the Unravelers!

Despite being at a knitting retreat for several days, I actually did not get all that much knitting done while I was away -- too busy talking and having fun, I suppose! Here's the current status of my WIPs:

I added maybe a section and a half to my Mas Vida Shawl, but I'm still not quite to halfway through my yarn (it's the type of shawl where you increase until you've used about half your yarn and then start decreasing). The sock you see here was cast on in the car on the way to the airport at the beginning of my trip; I finished the toe on Sunday evening at home. This pair is for my mother and is being knit in Fibernymph Dye Works Bounce (I know you're shocked) in the colorway Cosmic. The color isn't quite accurate here -- I'm already noticing that the light isn't as bright in the mornings, sob -- but the good news is that I started the second sock and it looks like the stripes will match up pretty darn closely.

Last night I started a new project, a cute modular bag that I'm test knitting for Shana in three colors of Knit Picks Dishie (I actually had to steal a couple of skeins from Mo!).

The colors are way off here; they're suppose to be a coral and a honeydew green.

I had signed up for this project before I left for my trip, but I'm extra excited about it now that I've actually met Shana in person and gotten to know her a little better. It turns out that she's originally from the same area of suburban Detroit where my aunt and uncle live!

In addition to not getting a lot of knitting done while I was away, my reading also wasn't plentiful, though that was partly because of technical difficulties with the Hoopla app. I've been having issues where it signs me out of the app and then doesn't recognize my username and password, and the only way to fix it seems to be to reset my password. I've gotten in touch with Hoopla about the issue and they're investigating it, but there was nothing I could do when this glitch happened while I was on the plane. As a result of the issue, I have only finished one book since last week, and that is largely due to the reading I've done since I've been home.

The translation of The Postcard just recently came out, so I was excited to find it on Hoopla. This is a book about WWII and the Holocaust in France and about uncovering the truth about family when many forces have conspired to hide it. I'm still not completely sure if this book is meant to be fiction, but it's certainly quite autobiographical. Anne is trying to discover who sent a postcard with the names of four family members who were all killed in the Holocaust and why it was sent, and in the process of investigating this mystery, she uncovers the history of the two generations of her family who came before her. She also reveals a lot about the complicated involvement of France and the French in WWII. There are some heartbreaking details of what happened to Jews in France but also some heartwarming stories of those who fought in the resistance. I gave it 4 stars.

When Hoopla crapped out on me on my return trip home (despite having worked while I was waiting to board my flight in the airport), I started Poverty, by America, which I'd bought not too long ago when it was a daily Kindle deal because the author is part of the upcoming speaker series. I haven't gotten too far in it but have already highlighted quite a lot. It's nice to be reading some nonfiction for a change, even if it's quite devastating nonfiction.

What are you making and reading this week?

Monday, July 24, 2023

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Good morning, friends! I fully intended to post on Friday, but the honest truth is that I was too busy having fun. And even this morning I'm still processing it all, so I'm going to keep my wrap-up post fairly brief. Suffice it to say that I was having such a good time that I often forgot to take photos. I met some amazing people, including crafters from all across the United States and Canada and as far away as Ireland, England, and Iceland (I had some great conversations with Magnea and Heiða from Iceland about politics and language and what things are like in their country). I came home with great memories and some new friends -- and some new stuff for the stash, of course. So here are some highlights.

I shared a cab from the airport with three other knitters and one gnome:

L-R: Siri from Colorado, Sarah (the gnome lady), me, and Laura from Michigan

I contributed to the baby pool of fiber minis and brought home a bulging bag of them:

I took two fabulous classes, one on finishing details on toys:

and one on playing with color in spinning:

There was pattern twinning:

L-R: Amy Beth (aka The Fat Squirrel), Emily, and me in our Recalibrates

There was gnome gathering:

There were trips off campus to an LYS:

and to a bookstore on my bucket list:

And of course there were acquisitions at the market as well as a couple of door prizes. I know you all really want to know what I came home with, so here's the haul (and yes, I did need to check my bag on the way home and use a tote bag as my carry-on because it wouldn't all fit in the suitcase).

Click to embiggen!

On the left are bags of fiber from the minis swap (top) and from my spinning class. At the top are the two books I came home with from Parnassus, both signed (sadly Ann Patchett was not at the shop that day; she'd gone to Alabama for a book festival). I also preordered Tom Lake, which will be signed and personalized and sent to me after it comes out. The bags -- books for me, cats for Mo -- are from Fat Squirrel Fibers. The fiber on the right is from the two door prizes I won, Charollais from Into the Whirled and a set of two batts from Bricolage Studios. And the yarn, from left to right: a set of minis from Camellia Fiber Company, a skein of sock yarn from Old Rusted Chair (purchased at Haus of Yarn), a skein of Targhee sock yarn from Woolens and Nosh in the show colorway, a skein of Targhee sock yarn from String Theory Yarn Company (from the goodie bag), two skeins of linen/silk fingering from Miss Babs, a skein of sock yarn in the show colorway (called Dolly!) from Geektastic Fibers, and two skeins of fingering from Stranded Dyeworks.

Non-yarny things: a rope bowl from StarKnits, a lotion stick and lip balm from Tuft Woolens, and a set of sheep stitch markers and earrings from Twin Mountain Handcrafts (the other notions were all from the goodie bag, which was the big canvas tote they're sitting on; the other bag was handed out heading into the marketplace).

And the two little things I forgot in the other photos -- a mini bucket bag from StarKnits (to hang on my wheel and hold things like oil) and the bumper sticker they gave me at Parnassus. I also bought a sticker at Parnassus featuring Ann Patchett's dog Sparky, but it's already on my laptop cover.

I expect I'm going to be playing catch-up all week from a very busy weekend, but I regret nothing. It was an amazing trip! I certainly hope I get to do it again sooner than six years!

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Unraveled, Week 29/2023

At last, it's finally the day I get to leave on my trip! But first, a quick check-in with Kat and the Unravelers!

I finally finished Mo's socks last night; a lot of work came in the last two days, keeping me busy during work hours, and then I had to pack. But all is good, and these are now with their new owner.

Although I usually try to match socks when I'm knitting with self-striping yarn, but I wasn't going to with this yarn because of the long striping pattern. However, I just so happened to finish the first sock in precisely the right place to start the second sock at the same point in the sequence. Don't you just love it when things work out like that?

I'm taking another skein of Fibernymph Dye Works with me to knit socks for my mother for a holiday gift (yes, I am planning ahead!):

The colorway is called Cosmic!

In spite of not having much time the past couple of days for reading for pleasure, I have managed to finish another four books since this time last week!

When Katie raved about The Garden of Evening Mists and mentioned that it was a daily deal in the Kindle store, I knew I had to buy it and read it right away. And I was not disappointed. This book deals with a lesser-known theater of WWII and brings attention to the atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers in what is today Malaysia. But it also brings a humanity to the circumstances of war and has a lot to say about the many complications of being in a multicultural society where there are so many competing interests. Not only is the story compelling (and heartbreaking, I admit), but the writing is simply gorgeous. I really enjoyed this one and highly recommend it! It's more than a decade old, so you may be able to find it more easily from your library. I gave it 5 stars.

No sooner had I finished that book than my library hold on Yellowface came through from the library -- and boy oh boy, was that a wild ride! I plowed through it in about 24 hours. As the title implies, this is a book that addresses race and racism as well as our assumptions about someone based on their race (or what we believe their race to be). But it also deals with the very cruel world of book publishing, and from what I've heard, the world that's portrayed in this book isn't far from the truth. This is a very different world from Babel, Kuang's last book, but it's every bit as intriguing. Like Babel, though, there are plenty of elements of the plot and the characters that will leave a bad taste in your mouth -- and that's kind of the point, I think. I gave it 4 stars.

I told you I probably wouldn't get through the summer without reading the last Maisie Dobbs book, and really I didn't make it much more than another week. A Sunlit Weapon takes place about 10 months after the last book, in the fall of 1942. The Americans have finally entered the war, and their ranks have swelled in England as the Allies combine their efforts to defeat Hitler. Maisie accepts a case that involves both the death of an aviatrix and a Black American soldier whose white countryman has gone missing, leaving him under suspicion. At the same time, Maisie is focused on events within her own family and feeling the conflict between her personal life and her career. I'm fairly certain this is the last book in the series, and though I would have loved for Maisie to see the end of WWII, I think everything wrapped up in a very satisfying way in this last book. I gave it 4 stars.

Finally, in preparation for Ann Patchett's new book, which comes out next month, I sat down and read Our Town on Saturday afternoon when I had the house to myself for a few hours. I had never read or seen it before, though I knew the basic gist of the story somehow. I was hoping to find an audio version, as I think plays are better when they're performed, but came up empty on both Libby and Hoopla, so reading with my eyes it was. I may see if there's a performance I can watch online somewhere. This was an easy read but not terribly exciting for me; I gave it 3 stars.

I pulled out Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone the last several nights before bed and read maybe a couple dozen pages; I hadn't cracked it since we were in Florida in March, and I'd clearly forgotten what was going on. Perhaps when I get back from my trip, I will buckle down and try to get through the rest of it (approximately 580 more pages). I am not dragging that tome with me, though, and am sticking with ebooks for my vacation reading. I've got The Postcard downloaded and ready for my flights today, not to mention a very full Kindle library if I get through it quickly.

That's all for me for now -- I'm off to try to get a run in before I have to leave for the airport! I hope you're having a good week and will try to keep up with everyone, but obviously I'm going to be rather busy the next several days. I promise a full report of the retreat when I'm back!

Monday, July 17, 2023

Kicking Off a Busy Week

Good morning! Today is the start of a big week for me. I'm leaving Wednesday for SSK, and I still have a ton to do to get ready to leave. Packing is the most important, and that's going to be an extra challenge because I'm trying to go with only a carry-on suitcase because I've got a connection on the way to Nashville and am paranoid about the airline losing my luggage. It's been a long time since I've flown anywhere but Florida, where I have options if my luggage is lost or misplaced, but I definitely don't want to get stuck without my stuff. (I do have a direct flight on the way back and plan to take a tote bag with me so that I end up coming home with more than what will fit in my suitcase, I can check that bag and carry the tote on the plane.)

I did manage to ply that skein of handspun on Friday, and I ended up with about 389 yards of two-ply yarn. It's wildly inconsistent, as I was really fighting with the high silk content the whole time I was spinning it, but that's okay -- it's still pretty!

In real life, it's a bit darker than it appears here, but no amount of fiddling with the photo could give me a more accurate representation.

I have started a new spin, though it certainly won't get finished before I leave. This is Turtle on Polwarth from July 2021 (now the oldest SCF fiber in my stash), and this is the first thing I thought of when looking at the colors:

I can't say for sure that David was thinking of Crush from Finding Nemo when he dyed this fiber, but I think the colors are a perfect match! I'm spinning another traditional three-ply that I'm hoping will be fingering weight; I'm spinning singles that are pretty much the same diameter as my Tokyo singles were, but Polwarth is notorious for poofing up when it's washed, so I expect my yardage will be significantly less.

While I'll continue to spin a bit every day in keeping with Tour de Fleece, my main priority right now is knitting. I have some homework to do for my toy class, and I also want to finish up these socks for Mo before I leave:

I worked on these quite a bit yesterday -- I was just at the beginning of the gusset decreases when I picked them up yesterday -- and I think if I really focus on them, I can easily knock them out before I leave. I'm hoping I can actually finish them today, but that very much depends on work today.

I've decided to take just two projects with me on the trip, mainly in the interest of space. I have another skein of sock yarn wound and ready to go (the socks will be for my mother), and I'm going to take my Mas Vida shawl, as I want to finish it by the end of the month. I'm also planning on taking a Turkish spindle with me so I can continue my TdF spinning, along with some fiber to split up and share -- Jillian Moreno did a fiber swap of sorts last year involving a blow-up kiddie pool and fiber minis, and it's happening again this year (basically you bring up to 8 oz. of fiber to contribute, all the fiber is split up into little bits and mixed in the pool, and you get to take out as much as you put in).

That's it for me for today. I'll be back on Wednesday before I leave -- please keep your fingers crossed that I have no travel delays!

Friday, July 14, 2023

TGIF, Indeed

Happy Friday, friends. It's been a weird week here. My boss was off on Wednesday, which made it feel like a vacation day to me, and a couple of normal meetings were canceled, so my usual schedule was off. Then yesterday I went to get a breast MRI (per the new screening recommendations for those with dense tissue) right smack in the middle of the day, which meant a late lunch and a further disruption to the usual schedule. But we've made it to the end of the week, and today should be a typical day -- whatever that is these days!

Tour de Fleece is continuing, and I'm continuing to rack up the skeins. After spinning my most recent club shipment, I dug out the oldest one still in my house -- Weathered from December 2020 on 50/50 South African fine/mulberry silk. The colors weren't my favorite, which is why it's sat it my stash for so long. I decided to do a quick-and-dirty spin -- all on one bobbin, then wind it into a center-pull ball and ply from both ends. I split it in half lengthwise just to make it easier to draft, in theory, but struggled a lot with it because of that high silk content. Still, I have a full bobbin:

Provided work cooperates, I'll be plying it later today (considering I spun all the singles in just a little more than a day, I think plying in one day is a reasonable expectation).

I did sneak in a little sock knitting on Wednesday evening during my board meeting, and I'm now at the last stripe of leg before I start the heel flap on the second sock.

It would be great to finish this pair up before I leave on my trip next week so I can start a new pair to take with me. I'm actually probably going to only take sock knitting with me, as I think that will be the best kind of knitting for doing while socializing and will take up the least amount of space in my luggage (I'm hoping to go with just a carry-on on the way there, as I have a connection and don't want to end up with lost luggage).

I know I've mentioned my trip before, but in exchanging some emails with Carolyn yesterday, it occurred to me that I might not have given specifics. I'm headed to SSK -- formally the Super Summer Knitogether -- in Nashville. This is my second time going (I first attended back in 2017), and I'm very happy to be headed back. I'll be taking two classes, one on finishing knit toys with Sarah Schirra (of all things gnome fame) and one on color handling in spinning with Jillian Moreno, and also hope to take a trip to Parnassus Books while I'm in town. I'll be flying to Nashville on Wednesday (with a connection in Chicago) and coming home on Sunday. I'm sure I'll be pretty tired when I get home, both from the travel and the extroverting, but I'm really looking forward to it nonetheless. I will be taking my computer with me, but I don't know how much time I'll be spending online.

That's all she wrote for today. Hope you have a great end to your week and some wonderful things to look forward to this weekend!

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Unraveled, Week 28/2023

Happy hump day, friends! I did not sleep especially well last night, but my boss is out today, which means it's likely to be quiet at work (and if I need to take a little cat nap, I totally can).

It's Wednesday, which means it's time for my weekly link-up with Kat and the Unravelers. As you would expect, there has been more spinning!

I finished plying and skeining this most recent spin yesterday, and I am utterly in love with how it turned out! This is Tokyo on organic merino from Southern Cross Fibre (you can see what the original fiber looked like here, because I was so excited to spin it that I neglected to take a photo of the fiber before I tore into it). I did a traditional three ply and simply split the fiber into three pieces widthwise, with no color management at all. I was trying to spin fairly fine singles, and I knew I'd likely end up with a light fingering weight when I plied, but I expected that the merino would floof up a bit when I washed it. You can imagine my shock when I measured the skein and did some calculations this morning and discovered that I have approximately 523 yards of yarn in this skein!

While this was soaking last night, I did a little bit of knitting on my Mas Vida shawl, but it doesn't look much different from the last time you saw it. I've got a board Zoom meeting tonight, so the current pair of socks will get a little attention.

After finishing only one book for last week's post, I've got four finishes for this week!

This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage is Ann Patchett's first essay collection, published a decade ago. It felt a bit different from her more recent collection in that it is a compilation of essays and articles that were first published elsewhere. Being a little older, it didn't hit me quite the way These Precious Days did as a whole, but it's still quite good and a really great way to learn more about one of my favorite writers. There's an essay about her aging grandmother that really touched me and a couple of pieces related to a challenge to one of her books that felt timely. And finishing this book means I've now read everything she's written to date, so I'm ready for her next book to come out next month. I gave it 4 stars.

I'm sure I'm one of the last people to read Lessons in Chemistry -- though perhaps not, given how long the wait was to get a copy from the library. It's a book that's been much talked about, and I've heard mixed reviews, so I figured I needed to read it for myself. Having done so, I understand the buzz. Is it fine literature? No. Is the writing wonderful? Not especially. Is it entertaining and satisfying? Absolutely. I found the story and characters to be completely unrealistic and caricature-ish, but it was a fun and fluffy break from some of my serious reads. The most realistic parts of this book are the endless misogyny and sexism that the female characters face, and sadly it's clear that not much has changed since the 1950s. I gave it 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.

Over the weekend, I listened to the 16th book in the Maisie Dobbs series, The Consequences of Fear. This installment takes place in the fall of 1941 and finds Maisie getting further involved in Britain's secret espionage operations. As she is balancing her government work and her personal work as an investigator, she is also dealing with changes in her personal life and facing some big decisions. This book was just as enjoyable as the previous ones, and I can't believe I have only one book left in the series! I expect I'll be ready to listen to it by tomorrow, when I should be caught up on podcasts and ready for a new audiobook. I gave this one 4 stars.

The one dud of the week was Portrait of an Unknown Lady, which I picked up on a whim from the sale rack at my local independent bookstore. I didn't really know what to expect when I started it, other than that it had to do with the art world. I really enjoyed the first 40-50 pages, but from there I got really confused about what the book was supposed to be about and where the plot was going. I think it didn't help that I know nothing about the Argentinian/South America art world, either, because all the artist names that are dropped throughout the book were completely unknown to me. I can appreciate that the format of the book was a little unconventional, but I can't say I really enjoyed the whole thing. I gave it 2 stars.

Today I'm hoping to finish up The Garden of Evening Mists, which I have been loving the past couple of days. I also just got Yellowface from the library this morning, so that's up next! I've got to pick out what to spin next so I have something to keep me company while I do all this reading!

What are you making and reading this week?

Monday, July 10, 2023

It Always Goes Too Quickly

I will not lie -- it was hard to wake up this morning! Monday morning always comes around too fast, doesn't it? It was a relaxing weekend, but it went by faster than I hoped for, as always. Fortunately, it had a lot of good things in it. There was spinning (hoping to finish up the third bobbin of singles today):

There was knitting while getting together with my mahjong group for our first in-person meeting since February 2020:

And there was time spent snuggling and making funny faces at my increasingly squishy nephew, who is now starting to smile at us (though I didn't manage to capture it on camera):

Today it's back to the regular schedule, and I'm hoping it's a quiet day. Here's hoping your week is off to a good start!

Friday, July 07, 2023

Knitalong Update

TGIF, friends! Every morning this week, right after I've turned off my alarm, my first thoughts have been related to figuring out what day it is. It's been hard this week with the holiday in the middle, so I'm very glad to have a weekend ahead to reset.

I've been so focused on spinning lately that I haven't mentioned the little knitalong that Mo and I have been doing (and if I'm completely honest, I haven't been working on it much myself!). Mo has been doing a great job of working on her shawl, and she's needed less help the further she gets on it. She was actually ahead of me for a while, but I worked on mine last night and caught up.

I'm really enjoying this knit and finding it to be really intuitive. I think it's a good challenge for Mo, and she's rising to meet it. This is the first pattern she's actually ever made; her previous knit projects were basic hats and cowls that didn't require a pattern because she had me to help her through the tricky parts. So she's learning to read instructions and also has learned things like make 1 increases and yarnovers for this pattern. I think it's a big confidence boost for her -- and it's certainly making me proud to see her work on this on her own after we did the initial repeats side by side!

Spinning is continuing, of course. My combo spin was finally dry enough to twist up and take photos yesterday, and I have about 1,100 yards to work with.

While I've been trying to spin up older club shipments, I kept thinking about the most recent one to enter my stash, so I decided that had to go on the wheel next:

This is Tokyo on organic merino, and it is dreamy. I'm spinning a traditional three ply again, and while I'm aiming for fingering, my singles are ending up pretty darn thin, so it's possible it'll be a light fingering -- so much depends on how much the yarn floofs up when it's washed.

We have a fairly low-key weekend planned here. Tonight we are headed to services at our synagogue to welcome our congregation's first-ever cantor. We are very excited that he's joining us, and as a member of the board, I'm excited that I played a role in bringing him here. He's fairly young and originally from Australia, and he has a really beautiful voice. I'm looking forward to that new musical element of our services.

Hope you have a good end to your week and a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 05, 2023

Unraveled, Week 27/2023

I totally get that a holiday that always falls on a certain date is going to move around to different days of the week, but I have to say that having a Tuesday off is really throwing me for a loop when it comes to being aware of what day of the week it is! Yesterday I kept thinking it was the weekend and had to remind myself that it wasn't. At least if it still has to be the middle of the week, it's my favorite blogging day -- time to link up with Kat and the Unravelers!

I am happy to report that I have finally finished plying the green combo spin, ending up with two full bobbins of yarn.

I decided to take a time-lapse video of the process of winding off one of the bobbins into a skein, just for fun. This makes it look so fast and easy, but really this was a 20-30 minute process (please excuse my knee being in the shot for a lot of it):

I washed the skeins last night and they're still a little damp, so I don't have final yardage yet, but at least they're done!

Speaking of finishing, I finished a sock yesterday while we were at my brother- and sister-in-law's for a cookout!

Amazingly, I finished this sock in the precise part of the stripe sequence to make the second sock match. I love it when that happens!

I have done a lot of reading this past week but have only finished one book -- but that's okay, because it was a good one!

Flight Behavior wasn't originally on our list of books for the Kingsolver-along, but when a number of us in the group started reading it, we decided to bump the book that was originally planned to be discussed next and do this one. If you've read any Kingsolver, then you know that most (if not all) of her books have a political message, and this one focuses heavily on the impacts of climate change. The story follows what happens when monarch butterflies inexplicably show up in a small Appalachian town rather than their normal wintering location in Mexico and the conflict between those who want to study and save them and those who don't believe that climate change is real. I can see how some readers would quickly tire of Kingsolver's being on her soapbox, but it's an opinion I happen to agree with. And I think her writing is really spectacular -- not to mention that the family at the heart of the story has a sheep farm, so there's plenty of content about sheep and shearing and yarn as well! I gave it 4 stars.

I'm currently reading my last unread Ann Patchett, her essay collection This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, which I hope to finish today, as well as a slim novel, Portrait of an Unknown Lady. My hold on Lessons in Chemistry finally came up at the library yesterday, so I expect I'll be digging into that soon.

What's keeping you busy this week?

Monday, July 03, 2023

Spinning My Wheels

It took me a minute this morning to remember that it's Monday; having a Tuesday off is a bit weird, and if I were in charge, I would have shut down the office today as well. I expect that many people will be off today and not much will be happening at work, but I do have two meetings this morning.

We had a very wet weekend, with rain and storms on and off. I did manage to get out and walk both days, and it felt a bit like walking through soup because the humidity was so high. I had grand plans of spending Saturday afternoon at my wheel (as Saturday was the first day of the Tour de Fleece) but got caught up in cleaning bathrooms and doing laundry. Still, I managed to finish up the final bobbin of singles for my combo spin yesterday morning:

I spent about three hours total yesterday afternoon and evening plying, and I still have room on the bobbin (and will likely be filling a second bobbin as well!):

I'll be interested to see how much yardage is in the finished skeins. If I assume an average of about 400 yards per bag of fiber, then I should have somewhere in the range of 1,200 yards, but I would not be surprised if I have more than that. I will say that for projects like this, I am very glad to have my Super Skeiner so I don't have to kill my shoulder winding off the yarn using a niddy noddy!

Finally, I wanted to mention that I did manage to publish my sock pattern Friday afternoon, so you can find it on Ravelry and Payhip if you're interested.

If you're celebrating the 4th tomorrow, I hope you have a wonderful holiday! I'm not feeling especially patriotic this year, but I will certainly enjoy a day off from work and a chance to get together with family.