Monday, January 28, 2019

New Pattern: The Poet Dreams of the Mountain


I don't remember the first time I read Mary Oliver. She's one of those poets that, for me, feels like she's always been present in my life. I do remember rediscovering her several years ago: finding one of her books on the library shelves as I scoured the poetry section, remembering that there was something familiar and beautiful about her work, and taking the book home.

I devoured it in one sitting.



Mary was one of the first poets I turned to when I decided to start writing seriously a few years ago, but it turns out she's been more of an influence in other parts of my life. Notice beauty. Embrace simplicity. Walk gently. Take the time to be still. 

Growing up, I spent part of every summer in the mountains. They are a second home for me, and reading Mary's words about the mountains feels like being back on granite ledges, shaded by pines and gazing out across toward Imp Face. 


“The Poet Dreams of the Mountain” by Mary Oliver

Sometimes I grow weary of the days with all their fits and starts. 
I want to climb some old grey mountain, slowly taking 
The rest of my life to do it, resting often, sleeping 
Under the pines or, above them, on the unclothed rocks. 
I want to see how many stars are still in the sky 
That we have smothered for years now, forgiving it all, 
And peaceful, knowing the last thing there is to know. 
All that urgency! Not what the earth is about! 
How silent the trees, their poetry being of themselves only. 
I want to take slow steps, and think appropriate thoughts. 
In ten thousand years, maybe, a piece of the mountain will fall.

The Poet Dreams of the Mountain is worked sideways in 1x1 rib and a ribbed lace pattern. Knit in bulky-weight yarn, this shawl knits up quick, so you have time to get back outside to the mountains, the plains, or even just the dog park.

Lace pattern is both charted and written out.

The Poet Dreams of the Mountain is now available on Ravelry, and is 20% off through Wednesday, January 30th. 


Friday, January 25, 2019

Breakthroughs


Sometimes, designing feels easy. Last week I conceptualized, knit, and wrote a pattern in four days. This was an outlier, and will almost certainly never be repeated.

On Wednesday, I made a breakthrough on a shawl concept I've been working on for over two years. Certainly, most of my patterns don't take me quite this long to figure out, but I've been struggling with this one for a long time, and I was really worried that I'd never figure out the right way to turn this idea in my head into an actual, tangible object.

It's moments like this when I really love designing. I love puzzles, and this feels like finally figuring out a particularly challenging one, and it's so satisfying.

Plus, it doesn't hurt that this means I finally get to knit up this super dreamy yarn.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Most of a Body


I got so much knitting done on this sweater sample over the weekend. I'd wanted to get to the bottom ribbing, and I'm still an inch and a half away from that, but I still powered through it. Of course, it helped that I had a three-day weekend, and that I was home sick yesterday coming down from a bit of overnight hyperglycemia, but I still feel like a knitting CHAMP.

My hope is to bind off the body by the weekend. My brother has a show choir competition on Saturday, and I think I'd like to bring the Linney that was supposed to be my NaKniSweMo project, before it got set aside so I could reknit Delwyn. Right now, Linney is only a couple inches of ribbing, so it's nice and portable and should be easy to work on in the auditorium.

Over the weekend I finished both The Nordic Theory of Everything and Get Well Soon. I've started Miracle Cure and Finding Sisu, and I'm really enjoying both of them right now. I still have quite the stack of library books in my apartment, but hopefully I can keep chipping away at it and get my to-be-read pile down to a more manageable level!

Linking up with Crafting On

Friday, January 18, 2019

Weekend Planning


For some reason this week has been exhausting, and I'm really looking forward to having a three-day weekend. Tonight I'm going to my mum's, and I'll help her with a pair of mittens she's knitting and a quilt she's sewing, and I'll snuggle the dogs, and we'll eat pizza, and it will be delightful.

I've been wanting to go on a nature walk for a while now, and I'm kicking myself for not going last weekend when it was gorgeous out. This weekend is supposed to get well below zero and we're supposed to get snow as well, so I'm planning on putting in some movies and hunkering down with warm beverages and knits. I'm well into the leg of my first Ex Nine sock now, and I have the pattern memorized, so it's easy to pick up and put down in small moments I find throughout the day. I'm really loving how these are knitting up so far, and it will be great to add a new pair of socks to my drawer.

I'm still about halfway through The Nordic Theory of Everything, but I haven't touched it the last couple days. The chapter on healthcare was really upsetting and stressful to read, but I still want to finish this book. Hopefully I can power through it one evening this weekend. I've also picked up Get Well Soon this week, which is a delightfully fun book about the history of different diseases, and it's been just the right thing to balance out reading about how many Americans go bankrupt because of medical bills. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Sweater Progress and Scaling Back


Yesterday I finally cast on the underarms and joined the front and back of my Old Harry for the Wayward KAL. It's going to be all stockinette in the round for a while, but I need to take a look at how much yarn I have. I think I might have to make this sweater fully cropped, hitting just below my natural waist, instead of the slight crop that's written in the pattern. Fortunately, I have a few high-waisted skirts that these colors will go great with, so I think a more cropped Old Harry will work great in my wardrobe. The KAL goes through February, so I think I'd like to finish the body by the end of the month so I'll have plenty of time to avoid working on the sleeves.

This week I'm working on my social media involvement. I really love Twitter, and I'm only Facebook friends with people I care about and want to keep in touch with, and I've spent a lot of time curating my social media feeds so that I don't see much abuse or vitriol. But I have civically engaged friends (and I'm so glad I do, and I'm so thankful I have people in my life who care and are involved), and lately it's been hard to see some of the stories they've been sharing. The one that finally got to me was the furloughed government worker who can't afford insulin, which would be upsetting to me at the best of times, but I'm currently in the middle of trying to convince my insurance company to cover my blood sugar testing strips, and it's all a bit too much right now.

I don't know what the right balance is going to be yet. Like I said, I love the friends and communities I'm in touch with on social media, and I don't want to miss out on any of that, but I definitely need to prioritize my own mental well-being right now.



Monday, January 14, 2019

Sockening Time


Good morning, kittens! I hope you all had a restful weekend. I spent most of Saturday working—unfortunately, I don't have anything to show for it other than a big pile of what didn't work, but that's a big part of the creative process, and it's important even if it's kind of a bummer sometimes.

I let myself have Sunday off completely. I started a new book, I took a bath, I baked a coffee cake, and I finally cast on my Ex Nine socks for the Juntos KAL. I've loved these socks ever since Kristen released them, and I had planned to knit them for the Gift Along, but then December was an over-scheduled disaster and I never got them cast on. I've just got the barest start of the cuff so far, but I'm really excited to see how these knit up.

Tap class starts up again this week, so I'm back up to two nights out of the house. I didn't get quite as much sample knitting done over the weekend as I'd hoped, and I'm behind where I wanted to be, but I reworked my progress goal for this week and I still feel pretty good about where I am. I'd love to get this sweater pattern done for February, and that should still be more than doable.

Do you have any fun plans for the week?

Linking up with Crafting On

Friday, January 11, 2019

On Making Goals


Happy Friday! I'm definitely looking forward to the weekend. I have some writing to catch up on, and some sketches and swatches to work through, but I'm really looking forward to taking it slow the next couple days. My Netflix queue has gotten really long over the past couple months, so I definitely want to take some time to settle in with a project and a warm beverage and try to put a dent in that.

My goal for my KAL sweater this week was to join the fronts, and I'm just a few more rows away from reaching that. One of my projects in 2019 is to set reasonable goals for myself. Too often, I try to just plow through things, or I'll tell myself that I need to finish something as quickly as possible. Then I get frustrated when I inevitably need a night off, and I feel unproductive and disappointed. So I'm trying something new.

This week, when I was setting my progress goals, I was a few rows away from finishing the upper back of this sweater, and I decided that getting the fronts picked up and joined was a good goal. Similarly, my goal on my current sample was to join the fronts and the back and get six more inches of the body knit. Once I've hit my goal for the week, I can put the project aside. Nothing is stopping me from going further if I want to, but I've taken the pressure off to keep going until I can't go anymore. So far this seems to be working well for me, and I think it will be really good for me to integrate it and make it a natural practice over the course of the year.

Honestly, I should have started this years ago, and it's amazing how much better I feel since I've started intentionally being gentle with myself as regular practice, and not just when I'm feeling too burnt out to move. I've spent my whole life worrying about not being good enough, or productive enough, or creative enough, or clever enough, and it's a big change for me to say that I'm already enough, and that I don't need to be any more or any less than I already am, and that it's okay to release that pressure. It's not an easy change—my default has always been anxiety, even with meds an therapy, but I think it's a good thing for me to be working on, and I'm really pleased with the progress I'm already seeing.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Easing In


I can't believe it's already Wednesday. It hasn't been the most productive week for me yet—I haven't worked on Old Harry since last week, and I don't think I knit at all yesterday, but I'm a quarter of the way through The Nordic Theory of Everything, and I finally started working on my novel draft again, albeit slowly.

Choir rehearsals start back up tonight, after four weeks off, and I'm looking forward to that. Dance doesn't start until next week, and handbells won't start for another month or so. As much as I'd like to dive back in, I'm glad that everything's staggered and that I can just ease back into activities. 

Monday, January 7, 2019

Weekending and Sweatering


Happy Monday, kittens! I hope you all had a restful weekend. I finished the jigsaw puzzle I started on New Year's (now I just have to manage to not knock it off the table until I get glue and a frame!) and started a new book. Saturday morning I had to work at the dance studio—the first big delivery of costumes came over winter break, and now everything I own is covered in tutu glitter. (At least I love glitter; I'm very well-suited to dance costuming, it seems.)

I've also been knitting away on a new sweater sample. I've got 24 more rows on the right front before I can join the fronts and back, and I'm hoping to get at least six more rows on the body knit this week. I really love this yarn—I actually bought it for a different sweater idea that didn't pan out, but I'm loving how it's knitting up here so far.

Linking up with Crafting On

Friday, January 4, 2019

Knitalongs and Cakes


I am so ready for the weekend. Because of New Year's, I only had a three-day week in the library, but after taking eleven days off at the end of December, I definitely needed the short week to ease back into things. This weekend my plans are to work on a sweater sample, read one of my library books, and work on my current jigsaw puzzle—The easiest parts are done now, which means a slow slog while I figure out how acres of tan and white fit together.

This is the fourth day of the Wayward KAL, and I'm really enjoying working on my marled Old Harry. This photo is from the other day—I'm actually almost finished with the upper back now. The KAL thread on Ravelry is pretty quiet, but I'm hoping some more of you decide to come on over.

Today is also my diabetes anniversary! It's been ten years since I was diagnosed, and I can't believe I've spent more than a third of my life on insulin. Diabetes is frustrating and expensive, but I'm so lucky to be as healthy as I am. As is my tradition, I'll have cake tonight to mark the anniversary of my diagnosis. The plan was to make a Victoria Sandwich (yes, I rewatched all of GBBO last month), but when I made the sponges last night they...didn't turn out quite like Mary Berry's. I don't think I've ever fucked up a bake quite this badly, and these cakes are the funniest things I've ever seen. I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe!


Fortunately, they're still edible, and not entirely unlike a shortcake or a slightly less-dry shortbread. So instead of Victoria Sandwich, I'll swing by the store after work for strawberries and whipped cream. I'm sure there's some kind of allegory here for diabetes, and how things don't work out as planned, but I'm mostly happy for ten years of cake. Here's to many, many more anniversary cakes in my future.


Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Last Knits of 2018


Happy 2019, friends! I spent my New Year's Day knitting, drinking coffee, watching the new Marie Kondo series on Netflix, and working on a new puzzle. It felt like the perfect way to ease into the new year, and I can't wait to see what this year has in store for all of us (hopefully mostly good things!).


I have just a couple knits to share from last year before I focus completely on this year's knits! I finished my Finn and Fullerton cardigans back in October (!!) but I only just got the buttons sewn on last weekend. I have never claimed not to be lazy.


Anyway, I love my Finn. The color is just about my favorite shade of orange, and I knit it with a bit of positive ease because I wanted a more casual version. I've worn this around my apartment nonstop since I put the buttons on it, and it's going to work great to wear to the library too.


Ravelry Page: Finn
Pattern: Finn by Kat Riddell
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Heritage 150 "5716 Autumn Sunset"


Fullerton was a quick knit, and it's a great sweater. It's heavier than the Finn, but because it's mostly cotton and synthetic, it's much cooler to wear. My apartment's been just above freezing for the past week, but once it warms up some, I'll definitely be wearing this a lot more.


Ravelry Page: Fullerton Cardigan
Pattern: Fullerton Cardigan by Kephren Pritchett
Yarn: Berroco Remix "3971 Cameo Pink"


Finally, we have my mum's xmas present! This ended up being gifted still on the needles (note to self; don't knit giant wraps for xmas when you're also doing a play!) and finished on Monday. I really love Amy's patterns, and this was a lot of fun to knit, even though I was going a little bit mad trying to get it all done as quickly as possible. I love this bright green, and I still have 72g of this yarn left over, so I can squeeze out a pair of matching socks for myself!


Ravelry Page: Whitewater Wrap
Pattern: Whitewater Wrap by Amy van den Laar


Linking up with Yarn Along