Imperfect Projects and People


This week I definitely suffered from startitis. I originally planned to cast on another Linto Creek cowl, but Sabrina, a member of the podcast's Ravelry group, kept posting all the beautiful hats she knit on Instagram. I've wanted to knit the Francie Nolan Tam from Literary Knits for some time now, so I started that instead.  (Francie Nolan is the main character in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, one of my all time favorite books.)

I used some Berroco Abode I had in stash; teal is my favorite color, and this bright yarn will look great with my read hair!

I also cast on a winter cowl in yarn I found on clearance at JoAnn's. I try very hard not to be a yarn snob; I've been known to use acrylic on occasion (gasp!). That said, this yarn is Big Twist Natural, 80% acrylic and 20% wool, has perfect fall colors and matched a gray GAP fall coat I bought less than an hour before discovering this yarn. Originally $6.99/skein, I got 4 skeins for 6 dollars! (Go to Joann's and get some. I'll wait.)

I'm doing an Instagram challenge with the hashtag #craftyblisschallenge, and one of the challenges is "Trying Something New". The pattern for this cowl was on the back of the tag wrapped around the yarn. I love this broken fishermen's rib stitch and haven't learned a new stitch in awhile.

Unfortunately, I've developed a bad habit with regard to patterns: I read them then think I know a "better way". I don't know a better way, and I need to learn that the pattern designer is a designer for a reason! This pattern started with 73 stitches cast on size 13 needles. I decided to do a provisional cast on so I could do a 3 needle bind off when it was complete instead of sewing the ends together (it's not knit in the round). Three hours later, I realize that you don't sew the bottom edges together so that provisional cast on was worthless!

I really didn't want to frog all that work, so I pulled out the scrap yarn to see what the edge looked like. It's loose and will lay flat which I think I'll like in such a large cowl since I am my own little furnace these days and don't like to be too bundled up.  Stay tuned to see if my decision is a wise one!


In book news, I started Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People by Nadia Bolz-Weber late last week and cannot recommend it enough! Karen of the Kitching Stitching podcast recommended it to me through Goodreads, and I'm so glad she did!

I really want to talk about this book once I finish it on the podcast in November, so I'll just say that Bolz-Weber's flavor of Christianity is much like mine. We both have a serious problem with comfortable Christians buying in to the "left behind" mentality. Jesus moved among the fringe of His society, and I truly believe that if he showed up today, we'd find him in a rescue mission in Asbury Park not a mission-style mansion in Beverly Hills. This book is a series of essays on Pastor Bolz-Weber's interactions with an entire rainbow of people (some with tattoos, most with wild hair, a few with ironic hipster glasses, and one corporate vice president).

If that's where you're coming from, you may want to find that book at your library - that's what I did! (If that's not your thing, totally cool, we don't judge.) If you're interested in hearing my complete review, please check out my next podcast. I plan to record in the next week or so. It's available on iTunes and other podcast streaming sites as well as well as this website!

I also attended the Dodge Poetry Festival with 12 students and one other teacher in Newark, NJ, this past Friday. This event is free to high school students, and the entire day is spent listening to poets read their poems, discuss their craft, talk to fans, and then go eat food truck food. Perfect day, right?

Every year, I discover a new poet, and this year, I discovered Tanya Olsen. She was one of the 3 poets who read/spoke during our first session, and she was also on the Poetry and Pride panel. We always close out the day with that session, and this year didn't disappoint. I bought her book of poems at the pop-up bookstore and have been enjoying them over the past few days. Her poem "Rose Goes to Sunday School in the New World" is an incredible exploration of the honesty of young children, and there are 2 poems from the point of view of Jonah (he of whale fame). Her book is available on Amazon if you're interested.

Today I'm joining The Really Crafty Link Party.  On Tuesday's, I join Nicole at the Keep Calm Craft On link party.  On Wednesdays, I participate in the Yarn Along on Ginny Sheller's blog. Please join us either by contributing a link to your fibery work in progress and current read and / or by checking out the posts to the link parties.  You may find your next book or project waiting for you!

All the Yarn and a Book Review

The last two weeks were even more insane than the regular insanity that is my life. If you are new to the blog, not only am I a public school teacher, but I went to RHINEBECK!!!!! (always all caps, never enough exclamation points). What I did not anticipate was all of the work that precedes a weekend away, and all of the work that follows. The Dodge Poetry Festival was this past Friday which added some extra excitement to the post RHINEBECK!!!!! (told ya) hangover.

I took another Handbrake cowl project on the trip, my second for the Cancer Awareness KAL going on in the podcast Ravelry group. This version was knit using a pink wool and mohair blend a friend purchased in Vermont a few summers ago. A quick knit, I finished this one yesterday.

I'm gifting this one to a mutual friend who has done the Avon 39 mile Breast Cancer Walk in NYC in the past and plans to do it again next year. She deserves it!

While at the festival, we stayed in a lovely house in Hyde Park arranged by Leanne Coppola of Arrow Acres Farm:

I met one of my FAVORITE podcasters, Eric Lutz of the Sticks + Twine podcast. He is even more kind and gracious in person.

I have terrible hat hair but don't care, met Eric!

Yes I bought yarn. I bought my first skein of O-Wool in Pearly Mussel:

Robin (a yarn dyer who I interviewed in this podcast) found this color, and it's so unusual, I couldn't resist. I'm going to make another Linto Creek Cowl with this yarn which will most likely be a gift for my ex-MIL - it is very much her style and color.

My impulse buy was some multi-colored stellina yarn from Ellen's Half-Pint Farm. Apparently, this colorway is called Earth's Royalty but I call it Hocus Pocus after my favorite Halloween movie. Leanne took this photo of me being intimate with my new purchase:

I also bought 2 hanks of hand spun / hand dyed yarn from Pucker Brush Farm, a small vendor I always visit first at any fiber festival. One skein is a prize for the November/December KAL in the Ravelry group (info in the last podcast), and one as a gift for Andrea who keeps that Ravelry group going!!

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know I won some wonderful heritage breed yarn from Maria Muscarella (ninjachickens on Instagram) to make her Fleece Flight shawl. (Proceeds from the sale of the pattern go to the Livestock Conservancy.) She also included mini-skeins of the other heritage breeds used in the larger version of the shall, and I fell in LOVE with the deep brown of the Romeldale from Marushka Farms. Luckily, Marushka Farms was in the breed barn so I got a full skein of their yarn (the brown skein in the picture above).

I also got an amazing deal on some wool hand spun / hand dyed yarn from Maple Creek Farm in the Dallas colorway - so apropos considering my family live in the Dallas area! And this hank was 40% off! I scored it for all of $20. The next KAL for the podcast will be the Yellow Roses shawl by Clothesline Designs. I wanted to do a winter weight shawl and know I will wear this all the time in January and February! Here's a pic of that yarn (center):

Since I've been so busy, I really wanted a quiet, Jane Austen kind of book, so I started The Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden this past weekend. This is a simple romance set in a Massachusetts town in the latter 19th century. A family from Romania shows up suddenly and claims possession of the house belonging to a professor and his daughter while they are away for the summer. Of course, the head of the Romanian family is handsome and smart, the professor's daughter a pretty spinster with what I think is dyslexia. Romance ensues with a little mystery for interest.

I've read other books by this author; they are very similar to Julie Klassen's books if you've read any of hers. I just ordered one of Camden's earlier books, Against the Tide from Half Price Books because  I think I'm going to need another book with a simple story and certain outcome if I'm going to make it to Halloween!

Today I'm joining the The Really Crafty Link Party.  On Tuesdays, I join Nicole at the Keep Calm Craft On link party, and on Wednesdays, I participate in the Yarn Along on Ginny Sheller's blog. Please join us either by contributing a link to your fibery work in progress and current read and / or by checking out the posts to the link parties.  You may find your next book or project waiting for you!

All The Pretty Bags

I finished my Harvest Leaf Bag!!! Two weeks past the testing deadline, which if I followed my own grading procedures would mean I failed... but I completed it and I LOVE IT!

I used approximately 4 hanks of Gotland yarn from River Bend Farm in Howell, NJ. Shelley, the shepherdess, is a family friend who I often see at sheep shows. I used Peach Fleece worsted in Marigold and Wild Mustard for the yellow and orange. I bought 2 mini skeins of each color which made it easy to knit double but probably could’ve squeaed by with one of each if I wanted to live dangerously. Carmen’s husband (she designed the bag) made those incredible leather handles that were super easy to put on. 

Speaking of sheep shows, if you are going to Rhinebeck, you can check the bag out in person! I plan to fill this bag with goodness from the show. If you’ve listened to the last podcast episode, you’ll know there’s a giveaway associated with this bag for anyone who spots me at New York Sheep and Wool. Don’t be shy, say hello and you might win the pattern and Gotland wool for the bag!

In book news, I started All the Pretty Things by Edie Wadsworth last night. I rarely buy or read a book based on an author’s recommendation, but Sophie Hudson (she of the Giddy Up, Eunice! fame) couldn’t say enough good things about this book on her Instagram feed recently. I LOVED Giddy Up, Eunice! (you can listen to my review in this podcast), so if Sophie liked Edie’s book, then I figured I would too.

And I do!!
I’m slightly less than 100 pages in, but let me tell you, Edie’s family is colorful to say the least. The book starts out when the author is around 5 years old, and the portion I’ve read brings the reader up to the second grade. From Tennessee, Edie’s family’s version of rural Appalachia makes the characters of Justified look well off, and made me appreciate every little thing I have. Just about every adult in her life except her Mama is an alcoholic, and government cheese is looked on as a luxury.

The first line of the book reads,

I don’t know how old I was the night the trailer burned down -- or if the rumor was true that Daddy was the one that set it on fire.
You're already hooked, right?!?

This morning, I made it up to the point where her father remarries. Her stepmother is a church goer, and Edie’s handed her first Bible soon after meeting Shirley. From what I understand from reviews of the book, the author eventually becomes a doctor and faces the issues of her past with the help of strong Christian faith. I’m not big on memoirs, but this reads like a novel and the language is just beautiful.

I should finish this book by the next blog post, so check back to see if it fulfills all of it’s promise!!

Today, I'm joining the Yarn Along on Ginny Sheller's blogI also participate in  The Really Crafty Link Party along with Nicole at the Keep Calm Craft On link party.  Please join us either by contributing a link to your fibery work in progress and current read and / or by checking out the posts to the link parties. You may find your next book or project waiting for you!