Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Unraveled, Week 38/2021

It appears in publicly rejoicing in getting caught up at work, I jinxed myself. I was thinking about how I wanted to spend my day while I was out on my walk yesterday, assuming it would be another quiet one, and I came home to discover a giant project had landed in my inbox while I was out. So I'm not saying anything the next time I get caught up, and I'm quickly posting this to join with Kat and the Unravelers today.

Very little knitting happened yesterday, but I did manage to finish my hat last night:

Obviously it very badly needs to be blocked so that it looks more like a hat and less like a deflated hot air balloon, but it's done and another ~180 yards are used up from my stash.

Reading has picked up just a little bit, I think mainly because I've been reading some library books that have been faster to get through. I finished two in the past week:

I've been working my way through Claire Fuller's back list, and my penultimate read was Swimming Lessons. I enjoyed her writing and the fact that part of the story is told through letters that have been placed in books (and the fact that the book each letter is placed in is noted and seems to be related to the content of each letter). But I found the story a little hard to follow and felt that the ending was a bit too ambiguous for me. I think that seems to be a common thing for Fuller, and while in the case of Unsettled Ground it felt appropriate, here it was just frustrating to me. I gave it 3 stars.

Shortly after I finished Swimming Lessons, I was surprised to get A Town Called Solace from my library holds a couple of weeks earlier than I was expecting it. It was on the Booker Prize long list and had a bit of a wait, but I was delighted to get it just when I was ready for a new book. This one is set in a tiny northern Ontario town in the mid-1970s and is told from the point of view of three people whose lives are interconnected, a 7-year-old girl whose teenage sister has gone missing, a 70-something-year-old woman who lives next door and is dying, and a mid-30s man going through a divorce who has inherited the woman's house and has a strange connection to her from earlier in their lives. The story is emotional but beautiful and well told. I gave it 4 stars.

I am hoping to be able to get through the new pile of work in a reasonable amount of time so that I can start a new library book (likely the last Claire Fuller novel I have left to read, Bitter Orange) and get back to my crafting. Today, in addition to bringing the arrival of fall, my favorite season, is also the Mister's birthday, so we'll be having a celebratory dinner tonight with my brother- and sister-in-law and nephew.

Seeing as I'll be otherwise occupied today, I'd love to hear what you're reading and crafting so I can live vicariously through you!

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

A Moment of Calm, at Last

Good morning, friends. I am happy to report that after several weeks, I finally caught up at work yesterday. Things could get busy again at any moment, but at least for several hours, it was quiet and I could read and spin and knit for a bit. I am hoping it stays quiet this week.

We had a beautiful weekend here, and I tried to spend as much of it as I could outside. We even had dinner outside three evenings in a row (and it seems that the mosquitos enjoyed a dinner of my ankles as well). That means that there wasn't quite as much knitting, but as we're supposed to get a front coming through tomorrow bringing lots of rain and much cooler temperatures, the time to stay holed up with my knitting is coming.

I know that I really should be working on my Shifty pullover, but instead I cast on a new project -- at least it's a small one! I'd like to knit up a couple of charity hats before the end of the month, and I still had my leftovers from my Radiate sweater -- including an entire skein of the darkest color of the blue gradient -- in a bag next to by bed, so I decided to use some of them up in the first hat. The deep ribbing took a while, but I've already started the crown decreases and will likely finish the hat by the end of the day.

I'm using my Emblematic pattern (Ravelry link | Payhip link), which I have not knit since I completed the initial samples, and it's been fun to revisit it.

I have also made some progress on my sister-in-law's socks and am approaching the toe on the first of the pair:

As I get closer to finishing this first sock, I'm already having an internal debate about whether or not I want to make the second to match or just have the stripes line up even if they don't match in color. Input is welcome!

Before I go, I have to tell you about how I spent the last hour of my work day yesterday. I have long wanted to go to our local speaker series that features noted authors, but previously they were in person, usually on a weekday evening, making it very difficult for me to swing. This year, however, the series is online, with a possible option to switch to in person in the new year if circumstances allow, but the online option will remain. There's a speaker each month, and the series sends out a link to an unlisted YouTube video of the event that you can view for up to a week afterward. Yesterday it kicked off with Brit Bennett, who was amazing! It was such a treat to listen to her talk about her process of writing The Vanishing Half as well as how she's grown as a writer from her first book to her second. I can't wait for the rest of the series, either -- the only writer I'm not familiar with/haven't read anything by is Lawrence Wright, and it's very possible that I'll want to after hearing him speak. I am really happy with my decision to buy a ticket to this series, even though it felt like a bit of a splurge at the time. I figure that it works out to less than what I'd pay for a book by each author and much less than what I've likely saved by reading their books from the library instead of buying them. And haven't we learned from the past 18 months that we have to savor what life offers us any time we can?

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Not for Lack of Wanting

Although I had hoped to get a lot of spinning done over the past week, it was yet another crazy week in terms of work. I certainly could have used the stress relief of spinning, and I kept wanting to do it, so my lack of progress is only because I just haven't had the time. Maybe this week will be better? I've gotten through a couple more bundles of fiber, and the amount of singles on the bobbin has grown.

My August club shipment showed up this week, and in an interesting twist, it would have been perfect for this spin:

The colorway is called Gran Cenote (after the place of the same name in Mexico), and it's on Falkland fiber. At least it's in my comfort zone, even if I can't use it for my current combo spin!

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Unraveled, Week 37/2021

Wednesday already? It's been quite a week, and frankly I am ready for things to calm down. I have a fairly short post to join up with Kat and the Unravelers this week because sadly there hasn't been much crafting or reading. I sent off a 46-page document at the end of the workday yesterday, and I'm hoping for a bit of calm today -- and I hope I haven't just jinxed myself!

I only managed to squeeze in about 35 minutes of knitting time on my Shifty last night, so it doesn't look much different from yesterday. I did, however, make some very good progress on the sock during last night's Read With Us Zoom -- the heel and gusset are complete!

(Don't worry; the socks will be washed before they're given to their recipient!)

Reading has been slow for obvious reasons, and I've finished only one book in the last week. Luckily it was a good one!

I'd had The Jane Austen Society tagged "to read" on Libby for several months, and I didn't hesitate to borrow it over the weekend when I was looking for a new audiobook to listen to while walking and cleaning and saw that there was no wait. The audio is read by Richard Armitage, and he does a wonderful job of doing different voices and accents of all the characters, which was a big help for me in keeping the many people straight. If you love Jane Austen and haven't read this yet, I highly recommend it -- it's pure delight! I gave it 4 stars.

I am still reading Jane Eyre and I also started (but didn't get very far along in) Claire Fuller's Swimming Lessons -- I am trying to be a Claire Fuller completist this year! If work doesn't get in the way, I'll be reading that today.

I will likely take tomorrow off from the blog, as it's Yom Kippur and I'll be fasting (which means I probably won't be too coherent). I still want to hear what you're working on and reading this week, though!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Keeping Me from My Knitting

Good morning! It's shaping up to be another busy work week, with yet another big and urgent work project keeping me away from my knitting time (don't you hate when that happens?). I thought I would get a bunch done over the weekend, but we ended up spending a lot of time outside because the weather was so spectacular. I know these days are limited, so I'm trying to enjoy then while we can. On Saturday afternoon, we finally convinced Rainbow to go for a bike ride -- a shortish one. We did a trail along Pittsburgh's North Shore, along the Allegheny River to the Point and a little farther past that by the stadiums and the Carnegie Science Center. She's usually the one to complain when we ride, but she was all smiles this time:

Because of the aforementioned work, I haven't gotten much knitting done, but I have managed to put in some rounds on a sock (something I can do a little of while reading for work) and have gotten to the heel flap:

I really like these colors!

What I most want to work on right now, though, is my Shifty pullover, which I did finally cast on last week after dithering about the needle size for several days. I ultimately decided to go with the larger needle size and the smaller size in the pattern to account for the difference in gauge. I haven't gotten very far with it (mainly because I haven't had too much time to work on it), but I have at least finished the tedious 1x1 rib of the collar and the short rows to raise the back of the neck, which were a bit more complicated because they also involved joining the second color. It was a bit like wrangling and octopus there for a bit, with two strands of yarn and two sets of needles, but I did it, and now I am working in the round and it's going much faster.

I'm hoping I can finish up this work project today and have more time to work on it so that I can make some visible progress. I've tentatively calling this my Rhinebeck sweater, both because I'm not sure if I can finish it in a month or so and because whether or not Rhinebeck happens still feels like it's up in the air, but I'm going to do my best to finish it by then regardless.

I hope to see some of you on tonight's Read With Us Zoom, and I'll be back tomorrow!

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Mixing Things Up

I had so much fun spinning for my Shifty that I've decided to do it again and clear out some of my older Southern Cross Fibre club shipments at the same time. This time around, I'm mixing them up in a combo spin. Remember the five bags of green-heavy fiber I showed you last week? On Friday afternoon, when I finally caught up with work and found myself with a little downtime, I pulled them all out and split up each colorway into 12 smaller bundles (I divided the fiber into thirds by width and then split each third into quarters by length).

Why 12 of each? Well, I'm trying to get all the singles onto three bobbins, and the math worked out easiest to have 20 little bundles of fiber for each bobbin. In other words, math. I mixed up all the bundles so that I had three piles, with four bundles of each colorway in each pile. The colorways and fiber bases here are (clockwise from top left) Allium on Rambouillet from September 2016, Verdant on Falkland from October 2020, Star Trails on New Zealand Corriedale from September 2018, Grazing on Bond from January of this year, and Dewfall on Falkland from July of 2019.

I've got them all in bags and have started spinning up the first bobbin. The only color management I'm doing is making sure that I don't spin two bundles of the same colorway in a row. I want the color order to be as random as possible so that the five colorways are well and truly mixed up in the finished yarn, and my hope is that all of the yarn comes out more or less greenish, with the blue and brown and cream serving to give some dimension to all the greens. I haven't gotten very far in my spinning (I only just started on Friday, and yesterday I spent most of the day outside, enjoying the absolutely perfect weather), but I am enjoying it. One really nice thing about splitting up the fiber like this is that it feels so easy to sit down and spin up a bundle or two without it feeling like a really big project.

I did have to do a little bit of spinning wheel maintenance when I started this, which you can see blurred in the background. After replacing the elastic that connects the brake band to the wheel several times, I finally had to replace the band itself because the bit of string that was left was no longer long enough -- I'd had to cut it every time I replaced the elastic. On the plus side, the pink Knit Picks Dishie that I used for the replacement is much more cheerful that the boring old white of the original, and I made it extra long so that I don't have to go through that whole process again anytime soon.

Thursday, September 09, 2021

Thursday Funnies

Just a quick post from me today -- I'm joining up with Carole and friends for Three on Thursday with three images that made me laugh. I hope they give you a chuckle as well!

1. I passed these mops leaning against a building to dry on my walk over the weekend and thought they looked like angry faces. When I passed them again, I noticed the sign behind them and had to snap a photo -- they're mop bouncers!

2. Rainbow has been asking for honeydew all summer, but for some reason they've been really hard to find. Finally, on Sunday, the Mister found one, and you might say it's big enough to make up for not having found one earlier in the summer. I was joking with Rainbow as I was about to cut it up that it was as big as a baby, and she snapped this photo of me hamming it up with the melon:

(In case you were wondering, it was bigger than my largest knife and, even after giving Rainbow a big bowl of melon chunks to eat right away, what I cut up filled up three takeout food containers. We only just used up the first one this morning!)

3. I was taking an online survey earlier this week, and it asked me which Pennsylvania metro area I lived in. See if you can find what made me laugh out loud (and here's your reminder that spell check isn't always useful):

I hope you find many reasons to laugh today!