Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Yarn Along: All Buttoned Up

This week, I powered through both A Dance with Dragons and the problematic part of the little tweedy sweater. In the end it was completely obvious and I have no idea why it took me so long to execute it properly.  
When you have to throw your knitting down constantly, keeping track of exactly where you are in the pattern can be almost impossible.  I've gotten so much better at reading my knitting in general, but sometimes I just have to admit that a certain pattern needs a little more attention.  I started marking each row off with a pen, which I haven't done in a while, and it definitely helped me get out of the rut.  These tiny brass coils pins that I found at ImagiKnit in San Francisco have been great for marking increases and decreases so I can tell at a glance how many I've done.  Now I just have to figure out how to keep track of all my DPNs
This week I got a chance to pick out buttons for both this sweater and another that I made for this baby.  I'm not completely convinced that these little leather ones will be very practical, but they were the best I could find. I'll take a look through my button jar to be sure before I sew them on. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Next up...

I've prepped this gorgeous BFL top (Lisa Souza's Sourball) into little nests to make the spinning easier.  It'll be the first fiber I spin on Zuzu.  I got it at Rhinebeck 2013. It's unlikely I'll make it there this year, though I haven't entirely given up hope. So I want to enjoy all of the fiber I've gotten there in the past in the meantime. Maybe if I spin it all up, this baby will come sooner so we can both be fully recovered by October!

Meet Zuzu!

I blogged about why I named her Zuzu over at Weave in the Ends.  Check it out!  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bigger on the inside

I have 280 yards of this handspun and can't seem to shake the idea that it should become something for either Lucy or my son, whose arrival is imminent.  Anyone have any ideas?  I've been looking at helloyarn's projects for inspiration.  Her flickr stream is also amazing.  This yarn makes me so pumped for fall!

Yarn Along: Knotty Knitting

My knitting hasn't been very well-behaved lately.  I've got my heart set on bringing this baby home from the hospital in a wee envelope, a very clever pattern constructed rather unusually.  I completely understand how to make it, but my fingers have betrayed me twice.  I'll unabashedly blame it on pregnancy brain.  So I've frogged back and am resolutely plunging ahead yet again.  

The yarn is delicious--a chocolate tweedy blend of alpaca and yak that is completely decadent, with its bits of sari silk.  It is just what tweed ought to be.  And just saying the name--yakapaca--makes me happy.  I'm knitting it quite densely and hoping that will help make the finished sweater a bit more practical--well, as practical as a newborn tweedy pullover can be.  And it certainly makes the reknitting slightly less arduous, though the yarn is beginning to show signs of fatigue in that particular spot.

I've also been slogging away at A Dance with Dragons lately.  I have both the audiobook and the ebook versions, which helps somewhat.  I've also just picked up a set of headphones so that I can listen and knit before bed.  Pete is usually reading some theological book and I don't like to disturb him with my lowbrow selection.
Have you heard of this newfangled whispersync technology?  If you buy both the Kindle and Audible versions of a book, you can use them interchangeably and it will update each version so you never have to hunt for where you left off again.  I haven't tried it yet because I have a nook, but it seems like witchcraft to me.  I am forever scrolling or fast-forwarding.  It would be so amazing to make it all automatic.  Maybe one day it will be a more universal feature and include library ebooks, no matter what the format.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


My midwife recently told me that vegetables should fill about 70% of my plate at lunch and dinner. Tonight it was easy.  The corn, zucchini, and green beans were from the farmer's market/roadside produce stands. So much bounty this time of year.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Yarn Along: Spinning Away

This week has flown by.  We spent it visiting my sister Emily and her family. I lugged my Louet S-10 spinning wheel down, hoping I'd have a little time to tune it up and finish the last batch of singles I had started on it.  

I have been saving up to buy a new wheel for quite some time. When my sister's favorite local yarn shop closed, the owner put a Schact Ladybug floor model up for sale. We were so sad to lose that shop, but I loved the thought of having a piece of it to keep.  I arranged to pick it up on this trip, and leave behind the S-10 for Sugar Plum to learn on. 

I hopped out of bed early this morning to finish plying this yarn--which will be forever linked in my mind with our trip. The colors couldn't be a better match--both for each other and our surroundings.   I spun up two different colorways of BFL/silk (Mukhina and Bigger on the Inside) of Into the Whirled roving that I bought at Rhinebeck 2013, so it is a culmination of lots of happy moments.  A good farewell to my first wheel, which I first used a year ago in this very house.

I haven't had a chance to read much this week, but we've talked a lot about books.  I'm excited to read a few that my sister recommended.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New Blog!

My sister Emily and I have started a new blog!  We plan to share all of our inspirations--from books to movies to art--and how we interpret them in our daily lives.  Expect lots of knitting, of course, but we are not above gifs of Colin Firth fighting over muffins.  You've been warned.  

Monday, August 4, 2014

Reading Habits

Juliana over at Urban Simplicity posted a survey about reading habits.  I couldn't resist.

Do you snack while you read? If so, what is your favorite reading snack? 

I don't really eat while I read, but I do read while I eat.  Let me explain.  It all comes down to what the main activity is.  Breakfast almost requires a book.  But would I get up for a snack while reading? Probably not.  Unless the book in question requires one.  I can't read The Importance of Being Earnest without jumping up to bake muffins.

What is your favourite drink while reading? 

Water.  I guzzle it endlessly.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you? 

Yes, of course.  I feel compelled to.  I was listening to A Room with a View for the first time on a bus and was suddenly overcome with a need to underline absolutely every line.  Luckily, I spotted a used bookstore out the window.  I leaped off the bus and found a tattered copy of it almost immediately, then spent an hour waiting for the next bus and marking it up happily.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open? 

Bookmarks.  Can't abide to see a book splayed open by anyone else and will snatch it up and stick a scrap of paper in it.

Fiction, non-fiction, or both? 

Fiction, mainly, with a healthy dose of knitting, sewing, birthing, and cook books, especially if they read like memoirs or poetry.  See Elizabeth Zimmermann, Ina May Gaskin, and Tamar Adler.

Are you the kind of person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere? 

If left to my own devices, I'll finish the chapter.  But I have a two-year-old, so…

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you? 

I'm sure I've done it once or twice, but am more likely to start ranting and raving to Pete.  Poor man.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away? 

Yes, which is one of my favorite things about e-readers.

What are you currently reading? 

A Dance with Dragons, The Importance of Being Earnest, A Midwife's Story, and Women and Men in the Early Church: the Full Views of St. John Chrysostom.

What is the last book you bought? 

The e-book version of A Dance with Dragons.  I try as much as possible to borrow e-books from the library, especially if I don't intend to reread them, but this one is so ginormous that I'd never be able to finish it before the loan expired.

Are you the type of person that reads one book at a time, or can you read more than one? 

Now more than ever, I find I need a little variety.  Something lighthearted, perhaps an ongoing series, and maybe an inspiring craft book to peruse at odd moments.  I'm trying hard to add something spiritual to the mix.

Do you have a favourite time/place to read? 

Lucy's nap time and before falling asleep.  Almost always lying down.  Oh, and I got tons of reading done while nursing.  It kept me patient.

Do you prefer series books or stand-alones? 

There is something so reassuring about knowing what I'll be reading next.  It cuts out that terrible mourning period after finishing a really great book, where I aimlessly wander around wondering what to do with myself.  Once I'm done with A Song of Ice and Fire, I'll probably let Outlander fill the void.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over? 

I worked at a used bookstore for a while and found myself snapping up copies of An English Patient and Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe to give away to anyone who would listen.  I've enabled a few close friends by getting them copies of various works by Jane Austen after converting them with the miniseries.  And to anyone craving more Austen after reading it all, I suggest Elizabeth Gaskell after someone did the same for me.  Oh, and everyone knows The Brothers Karamazov is a must-read, but they all seem to get stuck in the middle.  I just encourage them to power through the interrogation scene and reassure them that it will be worth it to get to the bit about the children.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author's last name, etc.)

Of all things, by nationality of the author.  Of course there are the plays, the poetry, the knitting/sewing/spinning books.  But all the Russians seem to just belong together--there are quite a lot of them, after all.  And Reading Lolita in Tehran bridges the gap between Nabokov and Persepolis so tidily.  Austen and the Brontes rub shoulders.  You get the idea.
Images are of my soft sculpture bookbed, which features the poem "Variation on the Word Sleep" by Margaret Atwood.