Every Day Good

Every Day Good

There is so much going on every day and not all of it good. So, every day I try very hard to have something good to focus on, I thought I’d share a bit of that with you!

Watching: The eclipse! Even though in Pittsburgh we only got a partial eclipse – it was spectacular even with some cloud cover. The changes to the light were stunning. You will be happy to know that our household listened to the directions of not looking at the sun to prevent retinal damage. This was not the case for everyone… Perhaps this should be a test for competency? And, as for the digital watching: Game of Thrones (of course!) and Endeavor! I also watched the finale of Broadchurch and honestly, I was a little disappointed. But, I won’t say any more than that for all those who have yet to watch it.

Stitching: Every single day and I am really pleased with how August is unfolding. Really pleased! I also went and got some button craft thread and my hope is that I will soon turn this pile of tee shirts into my first AC garment.

Reading: and listening like a maniac as I chase down my cover all! I am just 2 squares away and have about 18 hours of listening to do. I am eager to get them done because Beach Music by Pat Conroy just came off hold for me at the library! I am also reading the Essays of E.B. White on my Kindle and I have both books by Laurie Colwin (Home Cooking and More Home Cooking). I am almost done with Home Cooking – I should have it completed this week. This has really been the most spectacular summer for reading. Ever.

Picking: Tomatoes…so many tomatoes. That picture above is from this morning! I know, you are all probably sick of hearing about tomatoes, but this year, the volume of large tomatoes has been really quite spectacular. In past years, I have been happy with the dozen we have picked, but this year has had a bumper crop with no signs of production slowing down! Also, raspberries… I picked enough again this morning to make a batch of jam. I know these are such awful problems to have. Spending time in my garden is really the best time, I would not trade it for anything – even with the bunnies decimating our beans! There should be a “not picking” category perhaps, because outside of the handful of zucchini we picked at the beginning of the season, it has not been a good year for them at all. We have picked a sum total of zero since then and it does not look like that will change. I am not sure why they are having such a bad year, but my neighbor is not having any success with his squash plants this year either.

Eating: Tomatoes from my garden! Every.single.day! And, for those things we aren’t growing: sweet corn, peaches, and an incredible variety of peppers! August is the month where I am quite certain I could become a vegetarian.

Looking forward to: Our trip to Michigan! We finalized the dates and have our Airbnb reservation all set. It is the one thing that is really giving me something to look forward to! Why? Because…

Dreading: The end of August. The arrival of Labor Day. The return of dark mornings. Having to turn lights on at night earlier. This summer I have really tried to not “wish ahead” but rather spend more time in the moment enjoying. This has been an eye-opening practice – I am much happier with each day and I am worrying less about tomorrow, or next month, or next year. September, you can just wait your turn – there is lots of August left!

Celebrating: Sherman’s 5th Birthday on Saturday! Every day I am so incredibly thankful for him. He is a bright spot in our day.

That is a slice of what is good in my life right now; how about you? What’s good in your life?

Eclipsing Monday

Eclipsing Monday

It was a fly by weekend here but lots got done. Unfortunately, the sweater was not one of the things on the “done” list! I am through the sleeve divide however, and the knitting is going a bit quicker now. With some quality knitting time, this should not be on my needles too much longer!

However, today my list has little room for knitting.

My list today includes the plethora of tomatoes that have taken over the house, some raspberry jam as well. As is Pilates and a walk and mixed in with those things are a few other more “mundane” tasks as well.

Oh, and I also have some eclipse viewing to do as well!

Hope your Monday is full of good things!

Sweater in Four Days, Part II

Sweater in Four Days, Part II

This weekend I a #NekiaKAL participant and when Monday comes it is my hope that I will be well on my way to having a new sweater for my fall wardrobe! And, if I am really productive, I will be done on Monday but, I have my doubts that will happen. However, with no sleeve’s to knit perhaps this is doable! FYI, in all honesty, I did begin yesterday afternoon. I was not sure about the starting directions and I had some undivided time so I sat down to begin working on it. I only had to rip back once, lol. Perhaps the rainy weekend will afford me some extra knitting time, we shall see! Anyways, stay tuned for an update on Monday!


Last week I got an email from the ladies from an awesome project called “RESIST in a Box” asking if I would share some information here on my blog and I thought that considering what has been going on over the past 210 days; yes, absolutely! I asked them to send me some more information and, they did! They have volunteer knitters who are helping with the project and today I would like to share what Marcia Rogers shared with me:

Edyie Stika

Edyie Stika from Iowa City, Iowa, embodies the very definition of resistance.  She is a mentor to many, a business woman, an inventor, a caretaker and a friend to all activists in her community!   Edyie has owned The Knitting Shoppe in Iowa City for over 30 years.  It is a hub and center for thoughtful discussions and creativity.   Each year she dedicates her product and space to crank out many free winter hats for youth in Iowa City called Caps for Kids. Edyie and her shop were instrumental in being a conduit for women seeking Pink Pussyhats, making hats, and distributing hats for the Women’s March in January.  I approached Edyie and told her my idea for RESIST in a Box and asked for her help in designing a pattern of a miniature Pink Pussyhat!  I wanted to do something that paid tribute to the women who inspired us all and gave us hope and empowerment last January!  Originally, I said to Edyie,” Let’s make a key chain!” So, as we fiddled with this new pattern and how to attach it to a key chain, suddenly Edyie burst into giggles and this idea was born instead….

Pink Pussyhat Finger Puppets!

The one in your box has extra yarn connected to it so you can attach it to your key chain, your rear-view mirror or just keep it upright on your desk!  Enjoy its many uses.  I encourage you all to follow Edyie as we tell more stories about her and about other knitters helping this project.  Her shop is just beautiful and it is located at 2141 Muscatine Ave. Iowa City, IA 52240 

The Knitting Shoppe

From that simple day of asking Edyie to help me design a pattern, I have now met many women who came forward to help knit these small hats for RESIST in a Box. Their stories of resistance are worth sharing and you will hear about more of them in future posts!

Thank you, EDYIE, dear friend and my inspiration…and to all of you reading today, my appreciation.

Keep up the #RESIST!
Marcia Rogers
RESIST in a Box

https://resistinabox.com/

RESIST in a Box

And, a huge thanks to Marcia and Arin for sharing this with me!!


Now, how about some links!

  • Staying with the #RESIST theme… Holding Hope Kerchief
  • Sweetpea…the perfect sweater to extend the months of summer well into the fall!
  • Sikuli Shawl combines some very interesting techniques into a really striking shawl!
  • Aeque (Latin for equally) I mean really, Latin and knitting and mini-skeins? This is the perfect combination!
  • Småstein and Pyla – international tiny people knits!

That is all I have this week! Have a great weekend! (Oh, and get some knitting in would you?)

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Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

This week’s Think Write Thursday topic is to tell us what you do when you find yourself with an abundance of tomatoes because ’tis the season!

Ode to Tomatoes by Pablo Neruda

the street filled with tomatoes, midday, summer,
light is halved like a tomato, its juice runs through the streets.
in December, unabated, the tomato invades the kitchen, it enters at lunchtime,
takes its ease on countertops, among glasses, butter dishes, blue saltcellars.
it sheds its own light, benign majesty.
unfortunately, we must murder it: the knife sinks into living flesh,
red viscera a cool sun, profound, inexhaustible, populates the salads of Chile,
happily, it is wed to the clear onion, and to celebrate the union we pour oil,
essential child of the olive, onto its halved hemispheres,
pepper adds its fragrance, salt, its magnetism;
it is the wedding of the day, parsley hoists its flag,
potatoes bubble vigorously, the aroma of the roast knocks at the door,
it’s time! come on! and, on the table, at the midpoint of summer, the tomato,
star of earth, recurrent and fertile star, displays its convolutions,
its canals, its remarkable amplitude and abundance, no pit, no husk,
no leaves or thorns, the tomato offers its gift of fiery color and cool completeness.

It is my favorite time of the year, that moment when the garden is overflowing with ripe tomatoes and the point of tomatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is upon us! My love for tomatoes matches Pablo Neruda’s…it is indeed time!

I have made 2 batches of jam thus far and will make a third batch later this week – sadly, this is the only way Steve will eat tomatoes. For me however, there is nothing that compares to the taste of fresh tomatoes. My favorite lunch is a bowl of tomatoes sprinkled with salt and some freshly cracked pepper then drizzled with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Simple and so delicious. Breakfast? A bit of cottage cheese and more tomatoes – the breakfast of the gardener! And, I can always find room on my dinner plate for some beautiful red tomato slices! And, the gardener’s snack? Sun-warmed tomatoes fresh off the vine are summer’s best candy!

And, if there are more tomatoes than I can eat – I can always find someone who is happy with the gift of a fresh tomato or two!

If you want to see what others are doing with all their tomatoes, you will find them here. If you would like to join Carole and me for Think Write Thursday’s, you can sign up here!

Unraveled Wednesday, August 16

Unraveled Wednesday, August 16

I spent some time swatching over the past couple of weeks and while one swatch was not successful for what I intended it for, it did match perfectly the gauge of the Angelina Pullover. I know. It was a sign from the Knitty gods that I needed to knit that sweater! So, I am! And, really quite happily. Top down sweaters might be my favorite to knit, but really Interweave Knits – your directions are sorely lacking. Apparently, they think everyone knows what an Old Norwegian Cast on is (I did not know, but when I Googled it all suggestions came up for the German Twisted Cast on, so that is what I did.) Also, the charts… perhaps you could make them just a tiny bit smaller so that they are even less readable, especially for that segment of the population that is over 50…even with bi-focals I cannot see the charts! I am thankful for the library where I checked this magazine out on my iPad so I can “zoom in” to read them. The only other issue I have is that “key” to the stitches is there for the cables, but not for anything else and you must go to a website to see the key. If I paid for this magazine, I would be less than happy. Other than all that it is an easily memorize-able cable chart. Thank goodness for that small favor… also, sizing starts at 47 (I am not quite sure if that is with the 14 inches of ease or not…but again, top down is easy to modify!)

However, still wanting to knit Nekia I was back at the drawing board on a yarn. I pulled out some yarns and remembered that I had swatched most of them for an Amy Herzog class I took and would you believe that I had a swatch that was almost the exact gauge!! The Knitty gods are really loving me this week! So, I will cast on Nekia on Friday and hopefully will have it done on Monday. I am knitting with Brown Sheep Top of the Lamb Sports weight yarn that is EONS old in my stash. But, I think the color will be better and – almost spot on gauge is just crazy! I have tried a bunch of times to knit this yarn into something, but it just never quite right, so it was nice to have it finally work for something!

On Friday, I started Laura Aylor’s Sand Ripples and finished clue #1. So far, so good… I have a curious little square and I am anxiously awaiting clue #2 this week!

AND… because I don’t have enough to knit right now, I also started Close to You for a charity auction in October, easy peasy pattern and I should have this done quickly.

Now, how about a book update! No cover all yet… I did finish a book this week (but it is not for a Bingo square) I had been on a LONG waiting list at the library for Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings. I gave it 4-stars and I really enjoyed it tremendously.

I am a little more than halfway through Still Waters and I still don’t know who “did it” and I am still enjoying it tremendously!

I am back to listening to The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and have about 18 hours to go (yes, it is LONG, but I am thoroughly enjoying it!) and then I will finish my card out with A Room with a View. It has indeed been an amazing summer of reading.

There you have it… no unraveling, lots of knitting, and even some good reading! But, what about you?

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All things (not) being equal

All things (not) being equal

If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. John F. Kennedy

I would like to say I had a great weekend, however, the events that took place in Charlottesville loom like the dark grey skies that greeted my Monday morning. But, Friday’s Happy Hour was much improved by the calzones I made that were inspired by Bonny!

Saturday, we stopped to see our friend at the Farmer’s Market and he had more peaches which I will be turning into peach jam this morning. We picked volumes of tomatoes and raspberries from the garden that will soon become jams as well!

My list will keep me in the kitchen for most of the morning, which is not a bad way to spend a Monday in which you are trying to make sense out of senselessness.

And, I will leave you with this bit of goodness that Steve sent me this morning.

A Case of Cast-On-Itis (or Welcome Charlotte!)

A Case of Cast-On-Itis (or Welcome Charlotte!)

After a night of tossing and turning, I woke this morning to this gargantuan web just outside my back door. And, I mean gargantuan – it is over 3′ in diameter, this was one busy spider overnight! Perhaps, I can borrow some of her mojo and I can join her on my upcoming sleepless nights.** Because I don’t have enough projects in process, today is clue 1 of Laura Aylor’s Sand Ripples MKAL. And, yes, I will be casting on. The first clues are always so deceiving with the amount of time it takes to complete them, amirite? I was asked to knit an item for a charity auction and this might work… I am not sure, I will have to see how the clues progress! But, to be safe, I will be tossing the fingering weight stash today to see if I have something that will work for this (and I am more than certain that I do!)

I did manage to finish something else this month, I completed Knit/Wit’s Kerameia Cowl. It was a bit of gift knitting and has been received by the recipient. I am working on a second cowl from the same yarn that will go in the gift basket. It is a great pattern and if you want to try your hand at color-work, this would be the perfect thing to start with as it is knit with a DK weight yarn. I knit it with Fibernymph Dye Works Bona Fide and I like the yarn despite it being superwash. It is super soft and not at all scratchy, so this should be the perfect thing to have around your neck!

In the caught-up category…I am happy to let you all know that the new washer (and dryer) is so outstanding, I have all the laundry caught up from being washer-less for over a week. I am sure that “new toy” feeling quickly wear off and laundry will go back to its normal status of “ugh, laundry”! Oh, and someone asked what is this amazing silent washer… we got an LG Top-Loading washer and it did not cost an arm and a leg. I know some of you are devotees of a brand I had never heard of. Well, maybe I heard of them, but do not recall ever seeing them in any appliance stores. I grew up in a “Maytag” household – and that washer lasted more than 30 years (no really, it did.) Nothing anymore does, however, but I am hopeful that this washer will last longer than its predecessor!**

Now, enough about my laundry joy and how about some links?

Carole has a new grand baby coming and I have been keeping my eye out for cute baby boy things and this week there were some AWESOME sweaters! Sloane Square and Little Roland… oh my gosh, I love them both… so much!! Although, Mary… you might need to knit these too!

Woman Must Make Her Own Arrows… I am absolutely enthralled by a pattern that says this:

“This is a recipe-in-progress, and you’ll receive instructions for general steps, shaping, several possible stitch patterns, and edging. This is not a line-by-line pattern. You should have a sense of adventure and some strong basic skills, such as knitting top-down triangles, working various increases and decreases, and mostly the ability to make choices based on loosely described steps. It helps to have a knitting friend who may be able to answer questions, and to use free online videos for techniques you want to incorporate.”

Veronika Cardigan (that doesn’t really look like a cardigan but is really beautiful!)

Bibbe… is it a poncho? Or a sweater?

Are you a Twin Peaks fan?

Interweave Knits Fall 2017 has an interesting collection of knits but I especially like the Angelina Pullover

Stroma is written for ANY GAUGE! Wait, wut?

And, finally… if you, like me, have at all been following Julia Farwell Clay’s journey (you can scroll through her IG feed and her progress) with this sweater then you will absolutely love the Eddy Wrap pattern! (I know exactly what yarn I am going to use to knit it, but you can get a kit here!)

That is all I have for this week! Have an amazing Friday everyone and I will see you back here on Monday!! I will leave you with the picture I managed to get with the spider in her web and she is impressive!

**When reality is so insane that literally the only thing I can do is laundry and knit.

Thinks and Things

Thinks and Things

This week, there is no official Think Write Thursday topic however, thinking and writing continue. So today, I am just giving you a random round-up of some of the “thinks” that have become things this week.

I finally had enough cherry tomatoes to make Tomato Jam… well, perhaps it is better to put it this way, I finally had enough cherry tomatoes to eat and make Tomato Jam. The house smelled aMAZing yesterday. Although, the washing machine install guy asked me if I was making apple pie. I kid you not! I said no its tomato jam, and he looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language or had two heads. It was a moment, let me tell you. And, yes… I wanted to shout, “NO JAM FOR YOU”!! Suffice it to say that our Friday Happy Hour will be extra good this week!

And, yes… let me go on a bit about the new washing machine! It is completely silent… no really, it is! The only sound is that of the water running when the tub fills. I called Steve at work and put him on speaker and said listen to the washer…. He said, I don’t hear anything. I said exactly! I guess you had to be there, but it was a moment of sheer bliss. Trust me!

I took a page from Kym this week and did some deadheading… literally and figuratively. It was an excellent thing to do – my flowers look better and my mind is unburdened in a most pleasant way.

I was tempted by this little sweater and there is a rumor of a “weekend KAL” coming up! Well, swatching has begun. I know… what the heck is wrong with me!?! I am blaming this “cast-on-it is” that I am experiencing on the current state of affairs right now. As in, I must knit all the things before something really upsetting happens!!

Now, I am off to finish that gauge swatch! See you all back here tomorrow!

If you want to participate in Think Write Thursday’s with me and Carole, you can sign up here!

Unraveled Wednesday, August 9

Unraveled Wednesday, August 9

Oh my! The reading has been so very good! So very, very, very good! Really, this might be the second-best summer of reading ever! (What was first? Well, nothing can quite compete with the summer I discovered The Little House books…)

This week I finished 3 books:

  1. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. LOVED! Through and through! I listened to this (excellent narration, btw) and I am so glad I did. The book contains so much detail that I would have skimmed over if reading, but listening – oh my. What an amazing picture Ondaatje paints in this post-WWII story. It is a 5-star book, all the way, filled with the incredible story of Caravaggio, Kip, The English Patient, and Hana – they are all damaged by the war – in visible and invisible ways. If you love WWII history, you will also love this book!
  2. Nutshell: A Novel by Ian McEwan. Fascinating concept and very well written. I gave this book 4-stars.
  3. Dawn by Elie Wiesel. While the writing is excellent, this book was incredibly sad. I was left with one overwhelming thought: Man’s inhumanity to man seems to be a vicious circle. Are we doomed to keep making the same mistakes over and over? I gave this book 4-stars.

I am 3 squares away from a cover all – and it is only August 9!! This makes me insanely happy!!

My current reads are as follows:

  1. I am about halfway through reading Viveca Sten’s Still Waters. So far, so good. And, no…I don’t have a clue who “did it” yet.
  2. In my ears, I began listening to Michael Chabon’s The Adventures of Cavalier and Clay. I am about 2 hours into the 26 hour listen.
  3. Also, a library hold came through so I am also listening to Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings.

Really… so much good reading this summer!

Now, how about a knitting update?

  1. I started Bateau and much to my chagrin the yarn was pooling most impressively. Sooo…. I ripped back to my cast on (thankfully I had only knit about an inch and a half…) and now I am cruising along helical striping. Is the yarn still pooling? Yes, but not so impressively. And, being a bit “blendy” with these skeins is necessary as they are quite different!
  2. I am also working on fingerless mitt #2 – I did manage to get quite a bit done at knitting last night (but the darkness of the mornings now makes early photos a challenge!

What are you reading and making?

 

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Be Still

Be Still

After a few very grey and cool days it appears that the sun is making a return today! (Which is very welcome even if it is not bringing the warm weather with it!) And, this morning the blog is decidedly lacking in subject matter so I thought about just writing in hopes that some brilliance would bubble to the surface.

But, sometimes, the brilliance is silent and I am struck by this month’s theme at The Balanced Sisterhood. It is all focused around meditation, stress relief, and rejuvenation. Meditation has been part of my life for a very long time now, but after all that time being still is not always easy.

I have this month’s print out at my desk where I meditate and write as a visual reminder that being still is okay and more than that, it is necessary. In those moments of stillness there is sometimes tension inside me as the external fights just being still. I am a “doer” – as in I must always be doing something… knitting, reading, stitching, writing, cooking, cleaning, doing. However, when I push those thoughts away and just focus on being still wonderful things can happen. I realize that being still is vital to being active – my thoughts are more ordered and less chaotic and I have less tension and stress in my body. Even just 5 or 10 minutes of stillness is enough to energize and organize my day.

In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you. Deepak Chopra

As in all things, this is a work in progress but, there is progress and that encourages me to keep going! What about you? Do you have a meditation practice?

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