Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday.

I've spent most of today right here, drinking tea, snuggling Holly and alternately knitting and listening to The Immortalists (on my phone, which I had to pick up for the photo) with reading pages from To the North (which thanks to some actual daytime reading time has captured my attention ... but not enough to totally set aside the knitting and listening!) ... there might've even been a quick cat nap :-)
also listening to The Immortalists ... on my phone, which I had to pick up to take this photo
because yesterday afternoon/evening looked like this!



I spent an hour at Katie's with my two favorite kiddos before picking up Sara. The three of us had a wonderful dinner out. I can't remember the last time it was just the three of us. for dinner. or I got home at 10pm after an evening out!
observant readers might note that I'm wearing a new sweater ... hopefully to be revealed later this week!
Thankfully there has been no unraveling on my latest project - a black cardigan! This is the second time I've knit Fine Sand (another one of Heidi Kirrmaier's wonderful designs), so it's helpful that the pattern is familiar. I don't even really need to look at the knitting except on every 6th row; that's when those pretty lifted increases happen. And that, my friends, is the secret to knitting black yarn - don't look!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Book Report | January.

When I last shared here about books and reading, I wasn't feeling very optimistic. Now nearly a full month into the new year, things are definitely looking up. For starters, I finished ten more books and all were  better than those first two:
2018 books shelved here
In fact, Sing, Unburied, Sing was amazing (my first - and only, so far - 5-star rating); I read this on my kindle and flew through the last half (one thing I do love about reading vs. listening is that it's certainly faster).

Then I discovered a new-to-me series where Sherlock Holmes is a woman named Charlotte Holmes. Some reviews give away a few more of the delightful character twists that aren't revealed until late in the first book; suffice it say I gasped in pleasant surprise more than once. I binged through the first one, A Study in Scarlett Women (audio from Overdrive) and promptly purchased the second (A Conspiracy in Belgravia). Completely worth it! and my only book purchase so far this year.

The only goal I set for 2018 reading was to buy fewer books. I've made a solid start:

I'm also tracking book format:

I expect those percentages to even out some, but with all the knitting and treadmill time ... maybe notπŸ˜‰

I downloaded The Immortalists on audio this morning and expect that to be my first February finish. It's early still, but it looks like February is off to a great reading start!

How has your 2018 reading been so far? any surprises?


Monday, January 29, 2018

Weekending.

Turns out finishing that test knit involved a little lot more time than I thought it would. But my work on it is now done ... and hopefully some concentrated fan action will yield a real FO by morning. The knitting kept me away from the computer for most of the weekend (and yikes, I feel like I've been gone for weeks, not just days - can't wait to read your blogs and find out what's been happening!) and this morning I felt like it had kept me away from more than just that ... until I looked at my photo stream. Oh yeah, there was more than just test knitting!

I don't have photo evidence for all of it, but now I remember there was clothes shopping (for me!), finishing up The Night Manager (oh my goodness, we loved it!), miles on the treadmill, a quick visit with my mom (which even involved a little bit of furniture assembly, but no power tools ;-), a nice FaceTime catchup with Diane, knitting with Deena,
#ParallelogramKAL - mine's in front and Deena's is in the back ... since this photo, she's made a lot more progress and I have not!
walks with Holly (in the rain ... happy to report the sun is shining now!), and

a leisurely birthday brunch with my favorite in-town girl.

I've started another deadline knitting project (more on that Wednesday), but I'm not thinking this one will be quite as consuming as the last one. Hopefully....

Happy Monday! did you capture something good with your camera this weekend?

Friday, January 26, 2018

Amaryllis Watch | Week Nine.

We have blooms - lots and lots of blooms!! Here's what that one basket of bulbs looks like today

 with waterlogue's natural filter, which rendered those gorgeous blooms most "naturally"
and a close up of that far right bloom

seriously stunning. and also not as dark as last week's buds suggested.

I've kept up my daily photos, (still) amazed at the pace of growth. and change.
top left is Saturday, bottom right is yesterday - the big photo is from Tuesday
Also delighted to see the evidence of so much sunshine in my west-facing study. The clouds are moving in and we're supposed to have a wet weekend. These photos are a wonderful reminder that the sun still shines. and there are lots more blooms in the wings!

Happy Friday and best wishes for a wonderful weekend! I'm ready for a break from football, but now golf is a Big Deal around here (and Marc is anxiously tracking Tiger). Good thing I have knitting (that test knit has been consuming much of my time - one more sleeve and it will be done ... stay tuned!)

(Weeks One - SixWeek Seven, Week Eight)

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Three on Thursday | A Birthday Throwback.

In the past few months, two albums of photos from Katie's early years have - most happily! - come into my possession. When Katie moved into a home of her own, I gave her the two albums I'd compiled (thankfully, I still have all of Sara's photos ... but of course, they're not in an album. second child and all that πŸ˜‰). So this past year, I was almost giddy to acquire two new-to-me albums from those years - one from my mom and one from my mother-in-law. Last night, I finally paged through both. cover to cover. I had in mind a post for today (because birthdays!) and I was not disappointed. And because it's Three on Thursday, I have three photos to share:

If you did the math on Wednesday, you might've realized that my sister was 19 when Katie was born. She'd turned 20 by the time she visited us in March (her college spring break!) to meet Katie for the first time. I'm pretty sure this is the first photo of the two of them together. Karen still has that same beautiful smile! (also note the hoop sitting next to her - she's good with a needle and thread.)

The only activity I remember from that visit is that I had a baby shower to attend - work friends ... and introducing Katie. Of course I wanted her to wear the ruffled tights with the ruffled dress. Well, the ruffles on the tights were coming loose.

Yep, here's Karen with needle and thread (and oh my goodness, I hope Katie is asleep!!!!?)

And we're ready for show and tell!
I carried a copy of this photo in my wallet for years. That pair of scissors foreground left was cropped from my wallet copy, but here, it's a nice reminder of the story - and photo - that came right before it! (and yes, I knit the sweater vest I'm wearing!)

Three cheers for old photos ... and photos that tell stories!  Happy Thursday!

Head on over to Carole's to read more ToT stories.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday.

No unraveling to share this week *knocks on wood*! With Bodie finished, all of my sweater attention is going to Footprints. and that kind of attention brings progress. This morning I finished the body 
and started the first sleeve. Heidi has designed this one with a few retro details that I love - the mock turtleneck (which is kind of hard to see in my photo - it's 5" of ribbing that gets folded in half to the inside and stitched down) and trim body shaping (we decreased about 2" from the bust to the hem). The fit is perfect!  I'm planning 3/4 sleeves - a nod to the linen/silk fiber content for a transitional piece and maybe running short on yarn - and after a couple of hours knitting with friends this afternoon, that first sleeve is almost 1/3 done. 

Parallelogram Scarf is not nearly so far along. and good thing it's an entertaining knit because it's also a very ... slow ... knit. 
One of my favorite features is that the color changes happen on the 4th stitch. So the chain of color changes isn't at the edge. Cool, huh?

My reading is even more varied than the knitting.
That top one is on audio. I started it yesterday and still have about seven hours to go but it's delightful. The other three are all real books, which means slow for me. But I'm enjoying them all - for very different reasons. More to come once I finish them.

So now back to knitting. and listening. 

and looking forward to reading about what you're unraveling over at Kat's.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Currents | January.

It's been way too long since I wrote a currents post; I'm definitely saying "yes" to this kind of documentation!

from this morning's journal time
Saying Yes to optimism.

Loving all the amaryllis! (special shout outs to my sister Karen, sister-in-law Lydia, Margene and Kym)

Remembering my dad

Planning for Month of Letters. If you'd like to be my pen pal, please let me know in the comments!

Eating leftovers. and not complaining!

Drinking 19 Crimes. I opened a bottle last night and found a new-to-me cork - #7! (if you're following along, that means I only need three more - 3, 10 and 12 - to have all 19.)

Watching Night Manager with Marc (we watched the first two Saturday and he's promised me #3 this evening) and Grace & Frankie with my knitting (I'm three episodes into season 4 and enjoying it just as much as the first three).

Listening to the wind chimes sing on the front porch.

Needing to find six five liturgists for our Gifts of Women service in March (yay! I saw one of my "nominees" this afternoon and she said yes!)

Wanting to nail down my 18 for 2018 (thanks, Kym and Carole, for the inspiration!)

Looking forward to seeing Sara twice this spring. Her next assignment starts next week - and it's in Atlanta! She has two trips here planned over the next three months (and it's really nice that her customer is in Vinings - close to Katie, too).

Enjoying spending time with mom and helping her get settled. I imagine we'll be  simply "ladies who lunch" (and don't have bank errands before and multiple trips to Office Depot, followed by a bit of handyman-ing after) by the time spring comes πŸ˜€.

Learning about Eleanor Roosevelt. My Friday morning small group is reading Eleanor: A Spiritual Biography. What a remarkable woman!

Wishing Katie (turning 31 on Saturday) and Karen (turning 51 next Tuesday) the happiest of birthdays!

I'll be back tomorrow to talk about knitting and reading. Good thing those updates are weekly!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Weekending.

At first glance, this past weekend might look a lot like the one before it. Netflix, snacks (with wine) in front of the TV, knitting, walks in the park
rewatching the end of Grace & Frankie season 3, ice on the pond, Saturday snacks
blocked lace, #parallelogramKAL (mine is the one at the bottom)
bright blue skies, Sunday snacks and today's sunrise over the pond

...but then there's this!
Bodie is now an FO! Holly snuck a quick snuggle with it Friday evening once it was dry and I got to wear it Saturday! I am in love with this one (in case you can't tell!) ... it fits beautifully and it's the perfect light coat for the typical Atlanta weather this time of year. 

I hope your weekend included a smile-inducing moment or two ... and not only related to the outcomes of yesterday's games!

Happy Monday!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Amaryllis Watch | Week Eight.

This week, the first two buds opened!  I started a daily photo watch the day the snow came ... it's remarkable to me how much can change in 24 hours!

Tuesday

Wednesday
I took this photo while my sister and I had our weekly cocktail hour via FaceTime πŸ˜€
Thursday

and today

Here's a topdown view of that four-blossom bloom. I wonder if the flowers will be so dark?

Waterlogue (and a little bit of photoshop) suggests maybe not!
Streamlined filter
Wishing you a happy Friday and a great weekend - and may your team win on Sunday!!

(Weeks One - Six, Week Seven)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Three on Thursday | About Our Parallelogram KAL.


Vicki and I are hosting a very friendly knit-along for the Parallelogram Scarf from the latest Mason-Dixon Field Guide. In the the spirit of Three on Thursday:

Thing One - We're casting on this coming Saturday, January 20 ... and there's no end date.

Thing Two - Please join us!! Use the tag #ParallelogramKAL on Instagram so we can all follow along.

Thing Three - My yarn is wound (ha, it came that way 😁 - I ordered the Freia Handpaints Kit from Mason-Dixon last November; the gray with purple inside is Vintage and the green with gray inside is Lichen) and I have my needles (surely 100 stitches will fit on those size 5 straights?). I'm not planning to swatch. In other words, I'm ready!

Questions? Please leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer.

For more ToT posts, check out Carole's blog. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday | Snow Day.

Thank goodness I'm not starting this post with a "yep, still" ... we live in Georgia and Snow Days are just not that common (thank goodness).  In the nearly 40 years I've lived here, I remember plenty of days when I'd wake up to brown grass and dry streets although "snow" was forecasted overnight.

Today was not one of them. Marc's office was closed and the few plans I had were cancelled. Hello Snow Day!

We're still practicing what retirement might look like - as in both of us home all day. every day. Thankfully Marc has a construction project at the golf club (just a short walk away) to check up on. and I have Holly who (much to her - and my - chagrin) must be shepherded outside at least three times a day.

We spent the morning with The Weather Channel, two pots of coffee and the treadmill... and I finally found my stride with some knitting this afternoon.
Bodie - this morning
Now one pocket lining down


and one to go. After that, I have to whipstitch those pockets closed, attach them, weave in ends, soak and block. I half-jokingly told my mom we would be seeing spring temperatures soon because I was nearly finished with a winter sweater.

I hope it's true!

Joining in with Kat and friends today and sending plenty of warm Wednesday wishes to all!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tuesdays are for Poetry.

yep, still...

I'd planned a different topic for today, but then on Sunday morning, I heard a few lines from this poem and just had to share it with y'all. For context, here's a photo from Katie's wedding that Sara shared on Instagram
with the caption "Who says they don't dance..."

Obvious evidence to the contrary πŸ˜‰, we don't dance; I've often wished we did.

Every Day We Are Dancers 

It begins with the lewd macarena
each of us performs in the shower,
then the modified twist we are hip to
with that ever-absorbent partner, the towel,

and on to the funky chicken of stepping into underwear,
the shimmy of stretching into hose.
There is no music, none that anyone
can hear, yet no one can escape the boogie.

Outside beneath the disco ball of the Sun
no one is a wallflower, not even the two lugs
in the crosswalk lugging a huge mirror,
one at either end pressing his cheek

into the cheek of his own reflection, arm
extended, hand clasping his own hand in a tango
more about control than passion, one couple
leading himself forward, the other slide-stepping

backwards across the intersection made double
by the infinite burden they shoulder together.
At the entrances of buildings even those afflicted
with two left feet find grace with a stranger

in a revolving door, where, regardless of gender,
we share a pause and glance to communicate
who will lead, who will follow,
close to each other but never quite touching.

- Mitch Roberson | Poetry Magazine (via poetryfoundation.org)

...and now I realize, we (all!!) do!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Weekending.

Hello Monday evening! I just wrote Vicki that I'm enjoying my unplugged mornings so much, I'm falling behind with blogging. That was most definitely not my intent, but I must say, being away from the computer has allowed me to make great progress on books and knitting. I've also enjoyed a few long walks in the park, meet ups with friends for coffee (and knitting) and quiet evenings (except for the exciting football games!) Not that you could tell that from the photos I took this past weekend,

but you might - correctly! - conclude it was all good. My 19 Crimes cork collection is now up to 15 corks (I only lack #3, 7, 10 & 12 for a complete set). Two sweaters (Footprints test - upper right - and Bodie - lower left ) are on track for finishing ... and Marc & I ate lots of yummy (and mostly healthy) snacks.

We're even ok with the football results. It's disappointing that the Falcons are done for the season, but honestly, I'm relieved. It's going to be a lot more fun to cheer for the Vikings now that I don't have any other loyalties πŸ˜‰.

Here's to a great week!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Amaryllis Watch | Week Seven.

It's week seven and all three copper stakes are now in use.  I might get to break out the knitting needles after all; each bulb has a second bud!

I think blooms are still a ways off, but I'm starting to see a faint hint of red (or is it just my imagination?)


Today's waterlogue is the Illustration filter. All those wonderful pops of blue are a marked and welcome contrast to the skies outside the window - dull, wet gray.

Wishing y'all a wonderful weekend!

(Weeks One - Six)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Three on Thursday | Hello 2018.

Last fall, when I started thinking about 2018, I realized I wanted something different for this year. I didn't want to choose a word or set a goal for some new (daily?!) practice. Both those things have served me well ... for years*, but this year, I wanted something simpler. Of course I am still me - the one who posts about reading and knitting goals...because she makes them! - so simply "simpler" didn't feel quite right. I played around with a few intentions last week ("use what I have", "embrace simple", "keep moving"), but nothing really came together (and that's really the story behind last week's completely random post!) ...


until Monday evening. My sister shared a Brian Andreas story on Instagram - this story - and I finally saw how all the dots connected. His stories have inspired me for years; I'm happy to embrace another one this year!

So, Hello 2018!

and three things I'm saying yes to this year:

1. unplugged mornings.

2. more time with family and friends.

3. mindfulness (HonorΓ© gave me this journal for my birthday ... I'm now ready to dive in).

What are you saying yes to this year?

Joining in with Carole and friends. Happy (Three on) Thursday!

*I started choosing words in 2007 - yep, eleven years/words! - journey, gratitude, experience, time, focus, shine, grace, choose, present, nourish, light. Since then, I've also embraced a daily photo practice (and now one second videos) and yoga (/pilates) and tried a few others.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Make Nine 2018 | Setting Goals.

Jumping on the #makenine2018 bandwagon (thanks to Kat for the encouragement!) with nine projects I plan to finish this year:


The top row - Bodie, Footprints in the Snow and All the Love - are already on the needles, and I'm planning to finish at least two of them this month.

I've promised myself I won't start another sweater until they're all finished, but I'm going to start the Parallelogram Scarf on January 20. Vicki and I will be knitting along - care to join us?

The five remaining sweaters - Birkin, Archer, Fine Sand, Balise Cardigan and Glaswegian Cardigan - will make a decent dent in my stash. I think they'll also be fun to knit and nice additions to my wardrobe.

So yeah, I have yarn on hand to knit five sweaters (plus another three or four) and several big accessory pieces, not to mention a dozen or so single skeins that could be socks, hats, mitts, cowls or shawls. I like having some stash, but whoa ... this is a bit much for me! I'll definitely be buying less yarn in 2018 :-)

I set my goal in Ravelry to knit 24 projects this year. At this point, I'm not sure what all those projects will be, but I intend most of them come from stash.

Are you setting any knitting goals this year?




Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Tuesdays are for Poetry.


Today

Today I'm flying low and I'm
not saying a word.
I'm letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I'm taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I'm traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.

- Mary Oliver (from A Thousand Mornings)

Monday, January 8, 2018

Sometimes Mondays.

...look like the start of something new!

I was delighted to be chosen as a tester for Heidi Kirrmaier's new pattern, Footprints in the Snow.  I'm a huge fan of Heidi's patterns and this one - a simple topdown pullover with a mock turtleneck (here's her Instagram teaser photo) - looks super wearable. I'm using Shibui Linen + Silk Cloud (yay for stash!) and love the idea of a sweater in linen, silk and a touch of mohair for spring ... you know ... eventually!

We have a "winter weather advisory" happening here this morning. Icy rain is supposed to start any minute now. Seems like a great excuse to stay home and knit!

Hope you're all staying warm!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Looking Back | December.

Looking back at December through the lens of my daily photos,
I can't help but smile! Family (who are friends), a few cocktails, a delicious spread of cookies, reading, knitting (and one FO - that lovely bit of pinned out lace on the 23rd is the 2016 Mystery Shawl), plenty of twinkle lights ... and the beginning of this year's amaryllis watch.

My mom gifted each of us super fancy bulbs from Jackson & Perkins. I set mine out on December 1st and have been documenting their progress every Friday since then.

I'm positive I can really see those stalks growing! This week, I threaded the two taller ones through copper stakes (so pretty and practical ... but maybe not quite as charming as the knitting needles I had to use last year πŸ˜‰) and I'm sure the 3rd one will need a stake in the next day or two.
week six
Last year, my two bulbs bloomed about a month apart - one at Christmas and the other later in January. Too soon to tell, but I think this year's bulbs are all on track for January. Stay tuned ... I plan to make this a Friday feature for a few more weeks!
Waterlogued - Streamlined (looking back at last year, I was reminded how much fun these photos were, too)
And whew, I think this is the last looking back post I have to share. The first weekend of 2018 seems like a good time to start looking ahead!

Wishing y'all a wonderful weekend ... stay warm!



Thursday, January 4, 2018

Three on Thursday | Currently.

from today's walk
It's nice to be back with Carole and friends!

We are slowly getting back into the post-holiday swing of things:

1. The Christmas decorations are put away. The two remaining poinsettias (the big ones in the dining room), baskets of glittered pinecones, Frasier Fir candle and mercury glass trees on the mantel are now "winter" decor.

2. Lauren and I braved the park - just for a lap - this afternoon. I know the "feels like 15 degrees" is warm for many of y'all ... but it's not for us! First time ever - the pond has ice cubes!

3. We finished all the leftovers last night. It's been a while since I roasted chicken breasts and washed lettuce. But I'll be doing both those things just as soon as I publish this post!
ice cubes!
Hope your week is going well - and you're staying warm!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

On Reading | Looking Back and Looking Ahead.

Back in October, shortly after finishing book #75, I shared an update on my 2017 reading. I was still working on the 2017 Read Harder challenge and planned to finish the year on a high note with more diversity in author (gender, nationality, POC) and genre. I finished the year with 93 books, but I did not finish the Read Harder challenge, nor did I end on a "diversity high note".

2017 books read shelved here

On a  positive note, two of my favorite books of the year were ones I finished in November - Mary Oliver's Blue Horses and Paul Auster's 4 3 2 1.
2017 Favorites shelved here
Overall, these dozen books represent great reading ... and I think they're pretty diverse in terms of authors, topics and genres. I'm happy with that!

In terms of the goals I set for the year - 30% non-fiction and 50% borrowed - I didn't do so well:



...and then there's the Read Harder challenge. Short stories and comics are just not my thing. I finished Ms. Marvel ("comic with a female superhero") on Monday (yep, already a day late for 2017) and I gave it one star. Here's my review:
"I'm done with comics. I just don't enjoy them. I love the illustrations in children's books, but for anything else, I want my stories with words, not pictures."
The 2018 Read Harder challenge has two more comics. On Monday, I decided not to participate. Yesterday, I finished What She Left Behind, the first selection for this year's neighborhood bookclub. I gave it two stars. Gah, this is not a good start! Hopefully, the other books I'm currently reading will get me back on track
I've decided my only goal for 2018 is to buy fewer books. I have more than a year's worth shelved already and my library is getting better about new releases. (thankfully, both Ms. Marvel and She Left Behind were borrowed.)

And because I'm curious, I'm also going to track book format (audio vs kindle vs real book).

We'll still have Book Bingo this summer (with no squares for comics or short stores πŸ˜‰). More on all of that come spring.

....whew another very long post. If you're still reading, thank you for sticking with me! And do you have any recommendations on a book that would get me out of my early 2018 slump? please share!