Wrapping up a Couple Favorites

I’ve been kind of slacking on my reading lately, yet new books keep making their way into my house somehow. It was time to finish up a couple that I have been invested in for almost a year.

First to hit the finished pile was Not All Princes Are Fearless. It‘s the third in the Pax Arcana series by Elliott James. Every time I try to really explain these books, I get all tripped up. I get geeky about it. I love the variety of cultures and mythos it draws into the story. I love the intelligence and pop culture references (some of which show my age). It has humor, action, internalized drama, mystery, and some romance. Not the normal romance though, the messy and satisfying love and trust kind. And John Charming is the kind of character that really draws you in. Basically, it’s a little bit of everything I love and the perfect escape book.

I don’t tend to keep the covers. I’m not exactly sure why, but they really bother me.

Next up is one of my favorite books right now. Seriously. Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman is the best dose of hope for our world right now. I feel so vindicated by this book, and so much less lonely or fearful. I have always believed in the good of humanity and the possibility of a better future when we trust that goodness in others. I love the way Bregman writes and his honesty about his own doubts. I think it took me so long to get through because I didn’t want it to end. I highly recommend checking this book and his other one out, Utopia for Realists, which I read a few years ago after watching an interview with Bregman about the book.

I am thoroughly enjoying the fact that my taste in books is broadening more and more the older I get. I am also realizing that I read so much fantasy in my youth because I did so much factual reading in school. I’m all about finding that balancing point. Happy reading!

A Tale of Two Sweaters

I’m finally making some progress on the Secret Sweater. Even with all the chores I’ve been getting done around the house. We have a lot going on right now, so I decided to put most of my knitting away and just focus on two projects. Little does my husband know, this is actually my primary project right now.

I’m becoming fairly familiar with the pattern and it’s rhythm. The cable sections keep it from getting monotonous, while the plain knitting sections keep me moving along quickly. I’ve got about 5 to 6 inches before I separate the back and front and set up the arm holes. It’s exciting.

And this is my latest project, a Nod to Wonder Woman. I’m mashing up a few patterns for this one as well. I found one in a magazine for the stitch count and used the same knit 2, purl 2 ribbing. Then picked out the yarn over, slip slip knit from a stitch guide book to add a little character to the plain stripes.

This one is for me. I thought it might be fun to work on a sweater for each of us at the same time. I do have plans for a cable sweater, but I wanted something a bit effortless to make at the moment. It balances out the more complicated piece.

Dinner Was a Disaster

Well, cooking dinner last night was an interesting affair. I had it all planned out in my head. It was going to be perfect and it is sort of one of my fallback recipes when we’re low on food and energy. Easy peasy, right? Oh my goodness am I good at making a mess of things.

First, I made the cornbread muffins. I put the mix in the bowl and the eggs and then realized we’re out of milk. No problem. I’ve got canned milk. I open it up and it doesn’t look right. I check the date and it’s two years too old. Check the other cans. Same. But wait, my mom left almond milk that she uses when she’s here. Pulled that out and it was frozen because the fridge is a bit empty and and it was in the back, where things freeze. Great. I’m using water.

Into the oven in their little silicone muffin tray they went. Ok. Now the casserole stew. I dumped some frozen mixed veggies into the buttered casserole dish, then the canned chicken, and then I opened the soup thinking it was odd that it was a pull tab, to find condensed chicken noodle soup. We’re out of cream of chicken soup and only one small can of cream of mushroom sat in the pantry. I really dislike mushrooms. I only buy it for green bean casserole for Thanksgiving and I still mix in cream of chicken soup too. Ok, so then I opened the canned yams and debated using the water from the can in the casserole. If you can guess what I did, then you know what a disaster that was. At least I checked the dates on these cans. Two were a year off!

To top it all off, I was so frazzled by all the mishaps that I didn’t add any seasoning to the dish. Not even salt and pepper! I did add cheese towards the end to try to help save the dish, but not even cheese could help at this point. It was edible. It wasn’t completely awful. But I knew what it could have been and I was disappointed. At least the pre-packaged oatmeal chocolate chip cookies worked out. The girls even had a few for breakfast. And I made sure to get milk and cream of chicken soup this morning. The big cans.

Snow Outside Means Knitting Inside

I have so much to do today and this snow is making me want to just curl up and knit. The area I live in is not known for its snow removal abilities and most people have vehicles that don’t mind the snow. My car, however, hates the cold and gets mad whenever I try to take her out in this.

First section. Pattern called diagonal couching. Looks like pebbles to me and stands for the earth element.

I did accomplish quite a bit yesterday, even with the kids. They weren’t the most helpful, there was some arguing, but they did help. We sorted through clothes and I’m proud of how much they were willing to get rid of. I filled the dishwasher a few times and they unloaded it each time. We managed to get the dinning room a little more presentable as well.

This is a Drawn-Leaf pattern and represents the air element. The breeze through the trees.

I also really need to call a dentist for my oldest. She broke her tooth again, only its much worse this time. We took her in to get it fixed, but they can’t do anything until after she’s gone to a specialist. The only two places in our network are at least 2-3 hours away. Maybe more. I am not looking forward to that drive. I’ve also been trying to have my husband handle this, but with his work schedule, it’s up to me. Which is kind of the point of my schedule. I just really don’t like dentists. Not dentists as people, just the whole thing. I’ve had a lot of work done over the years and will have more in the future and it all sucks.

The final section is almost done. Called Openwork Clusters it makes me think of sandy beaches and represents the fire element.

So, I think I’ll sit here and finish my coffee and knit. Then I’ll try making that phone call and see if it’s still snowing after that. Maybe I’ll get out of the house for a few errands and make it back in time to get a few things done before I have to go pick up the kids from school. At least today isn’t a snow day. The district has probably gotten a lot of angry emails over the snow days (when there was barely anything on the ground) and requiring the kids to do online school for the day instead of relaxing. Heaven forbid the school year be extended by a few days!

Forgetting Sweaters

I keep forgetting to work on my husband’s secret sweater. I’ve been so focused on finishing the shawl that it doesn’t even dawn on me until after he’s home that I’m not any closer to done with it. To be honest, I’m a bit of a scatter brain, but I like to chalk it up to being a creative genius.

I’m almost back to where I was when I ripped it all out and am so much happier with this pattern. It is much more my husband’s style/personality. The rope cables are fun too and I’m thinking of using them for my sweater. I bought some beautiful wool yarn last year when this whole mess began that has been waiting for the perfect pattern. I want a pullover, but that’s all that’s firm. Everything else is a morphing vision in my head, mixing and matching different patterns and styles.

Thanks to this post, I remembered to work on it today and that tiny ball is now gone. Yay!

Another Late Night

I really should go to bed. It’s late and we are not ready for the morning rush at all. I’m tired and my week is really only beginning, but the silence is just so delicious right now.

Between snow days, vacation days, and the extra day of work for Valentines weekend I have had very little time to charge my battery. So, right now, I’m watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and working on my latest variation of the Sister Shawl.

I do have tomorrow off, and the kids should be going to school, and my husband will be at work, so I should get at least one day to charge back up. I might even take a nice bath for a bit.

The Struggle is Part of the Joy

I’m honestly having a lot of fun knitting these, but at the same time, I wish they were done already. I’m getting sweater fever and would rather be working on the visions in my head. Thankfully, I only have so many needles, so unless I want to put these projects on some scrap yarn, I need to finish these to be able move on. I also know that if I put these away now, I may never regain steam.

The Doctor Who scarf is like a fun counting game. All the color changes keep me motivated to keep going. “Only four more rows and I can add in the next color…Just two more to go…Nope. Still have ten more to go…” It’s pretty easy to take in the car. I only bring the colors I think I’ll need and I’m weaving in the ends every several color changes.

The shawl is really a joy, but the double strand has made it less fluid than it could be to knit. I’m delighted by the familiarity of it, having done it twice now, and am very set on finishing it just as I intended to. I do wish I had chosen larger needles to work with, though.

This is one of my favorite things about knitting. The struggle is part of the joy. Sometimes you toil away at something and eventually realize how unhappy it really makes you, even if it once brought you joy. Pulling all that careful work out and trying again and again until it comes out right can be one of the most rewarding experiences. Falling in and out of love with a garment, working on it and reworking it the whole way through, until, finally, one day you have a beautiful piece of fiber art. That struggle, makes the accomplishment so much grander.

Happy knitting.

Frogged Secret Sweater

I’ve made it this far and I’m ripping it all out. I’m not happy with it. This cable doesn’t really feel right for my husband. So, I thought I’d try this Baroque Cable and was in the process of writing it out from the chart, figuring out the abbreviations that work best for me as I went, but it still didn’t feel right.

So I pulled out the magazine and began looking at the sweater I had originally wanted to make my husband. It is worked in pieces and seamed. I could have figured out how to get it into the round, but the other sweater is already done in the round and I really like the fishermen’s ribbing.

This led me to combining the two patterns. I’m using the cabling pattern of the original idea and the collar, but the ribbing and in the round style from the second one. I’m feeling a lot better about this choice and the ripping out process was pretty painless. It was a lot of yarn and it’s still a bit of a mess with some twisted stitches and such. I’ll sort it tomorrow. At least I know the measurements work, so I didn’t have to cast-on all over again.

Definitely feeling much better about this sweater now.

Another Monday

Back again to Monday. And what a glorious Monday it is! When I walked into the house this morning, after dropping the kids off at school, it struck me all of a sudden. The silence. The beautiful, uninterrupted quiet. I simply stood there for a moment, one hand on the doorknob, the other drifting down from where I hung my keys, and breathed it in.

I’m slowly working my way through my second cup of coffee. My husband gave me this mug many Valentines ago and I think of him every time I use it. It reminds me of our younger years. Days where we didn’t even realize how much energy we had. He was working crazy hours while I was home taking care of a baby. It’s been a wild journey that got us to a late night of filling out class Valentines for three kids the night before they need to be in to let them sit for a few days before they can be handed out during these pandemic times. We got it done.

We also had a pretty smooth morning, even with me oversleeping by 20 minutes. 15 minutes of that is a buffer. With that extra 15, we are usually ready early. Without it, we are scrambling at the last second to get out the door with lots of hollering. Our younger two helped to pack lunches. My oldest actually didn’t need much prodding to get up and get dressed. It got dicey when eating breakfast ran into brushing teeth time and then that ran into putting on shoes and rounding up all the loose ends time. But we did it! Out the door and at school with a few moments to spare.

Now time for some reading and knitting. Maybe I’ll do some cleaning. Maybe I won’t. It’s another crazy Monday for me.

Another Story Shawl

So I’m making a third version of my Sister Shawls, only this one is not a Sister Shawl, but is definitely for someone amazing. I’m using two strands of yarn for this one and am hoping to make it a bit smaller than the last two. This first section turned out beautifully and it was fun working these stitches again.

This Drawn-Leaf section gave me so much grief with the first shawl! But I stuck with it and am especially loving it with the stiffness of this two-strand version. The only hitch is the knit 3 together; six strands of yarn is a lot to pull two strands of yarn through. I am enjoying the familiarity of the pattern, the varied repetition of the stitches. The shifting border makes it really interesting too.