Monday, July 10, 2017

summer knitting update

Goal: finish 6 in-progress knits before school starts

Here's what I found in my project bags:

folded sweater top
Looks like I started the sleeves, but didn't get very far. After the sleeves are knit, they are joined with the body (this is a bottom-up project).

bonney top
I think I just need to bind off and seam shoulders.

entangled vines cardigan
This one is washed and blocked, just needs buttons.

twigs & willows cardigan
I decided that I need to restart sleeves with correct measurements. I'm worried that they are going to be too tight, as is. It's kind of hard to tell, since they will be seamed. But my gut says to reassess, so I'm going to reassess. I would hate to finish this and not be able to wear it.

This was a quick knit. I have the front & back complete, just need to seam it, and do a little neck and sleeve edging.

force awakens hat 
I got stuck when I needed to transfer from circulars to double-points, since I didn't have the correct size on hand. I've since purchased the correct needles. And now it's summer, so this has been on the back burner. I'd love to finish in time for fall gifting (this is going to my dear cousin Valerie who lives overseas now).

color affection shawl
This one is off the needles but needs to be blocked.

cypress top - frogged
I gave up. I know this is a gorgeous knit, as I've seen a sample, but I just don't have the patience. I'll find something else to do with the pretty yarn.

Some socks that are almost finished:
Yep, these are my very first socks. This is why I now knit two-at-a-time!
L-to-R: So Long 2016, Monuments & Blossoms, Dark Side stripes

Still in the queue:

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Knit Goals for 2017

I'm going to take my friend Laura's advice about knitting, which is: knit whatever I want during the school year (includes starting as many projects as I'd like) and use the summer to focus on finishing knits. I think it's great advice, so that's what I'm going to do. I have enough sock yarn stashed that I can attempt to knit a pair each month. I've been thinking of alternating my variegated with solid yarn, so that I can do a simple vanilla pair one month, and a pattern the next. But I'm not going to hold myself to that. If I want to knit vanilla socks for the rest of this school year, that's fine too.

These are the knits that are either currently on the needles, or close to starting soon:
  • folded sweater top
  • bonney top (need to bind off and seam shoulders)
  • color affection shawl
  • cypress top
  • entangled vines cardigan (washed and blocked - needs buttons)
  • twigs & willows cardigan (need to restart sleeves with correct measurements)
  • lambing mitts - have yarn, not started
  • very close talking hat - ordered yarn, not started
  • force awakens hat - have yarn, not started
  • baable hat - have yarn, not started
By the end of the summer break, I hope to have at least 6 of those knits finished.

So, to sum up, my goals are:
  1. knit 12 pairs of socks in 2017
  2. finish at least 6 in-progress knits during the summer break

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Book Goals for 2017

In the spirit of this post, I'd like to be more thoughtful as I plan my reading year. Here's what I have so far:

January (a book about immigration)
  • In The Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero

February (a book about Jewish people)
  • The Two Family House: A Novel by Lynda Cohen Loigman

March (speculative fiction by a writer of color)
  • 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

April (a book by a trans author)
  • A Queer and Pleasant Danger by Kate Bornstein

May (a book translated to English)
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

June (a feminist book by a woman of color)
  • Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution by Mona Eltahawy

July (a narrative around #BlackLivesMatter by a black author)
  • They Can't Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America's Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowery

August (a book about Islam)
  • Does My Head Look Big In This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah

September (a book about Latinx people)
  • Oye What I'm Gonna Tell You by Cecilia Rodríguez Milanés

October (American history from the perspective of a marginalized group)
  • Homegoing: A Novel by Yaa Gyasi

November (policing and incarceration)
  • Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World by Baz Dreisinger

December (a book set in the Middle East)
  • Alif the Unseen by G Willow Wilson

I'm also planning on finishing as many of my school's "Bulldogs Read" books as I can. I read two over winter break, bringing my total to nine so far this school year. I love being able to talk to kids about books, and since many kids at my school read at least one Bulldogs Read book, it opens up conversations.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

best books of 2015

Isn't it funny how intentions go by the wayside every time, and yet we still manage to be surprised when they do? I started this year full of optimism and goals. One of those goals was to read 52 books - a feat I managed in 2013 but not 2014. And if I didn't make it to 52 books, surely I would surpass 2014's book count of 32. And yet, here I am having read 31 books this year. In all fairness, this has been a very tough year for me full of excessive amounts of mostly work-related stress. But even amid all of that, I have some very fond book-related memories. Mainly reading books aloud in the car with Joe on our summer roadtrip. We read The Circle by Dave Eggers, The Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer, and most of Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris. Below is a list of some of my favorites from 2015.

Recipes & Cooking
  • An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Alder
  • Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen by Heidi Swanson
  • Wintersweet: Seasonal Desserts to Warm the Home by Tammy Donroe Inman - This book was beautiful to look at and perfectly organized by main ingredient (apples, pears, etc).
  • The Winter Pony by Iain Lawrence - This book was so sad! Told from a pony's point of view, this book chronicles the Scott expedition to the South Pole.
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
  • The Circle by Dave Eggers
  • The Martian by Andy Weir

YA Fiction
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
  • Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel by Megan Morrison

  • The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
  • Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman - I intended to buy this beautiful book for my niece and nephew this Christmas, but ended up going with a couple other books as it wasn't available at my local book store. Next year, though...
  • Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat - A funny/sad story about an ecologist turned environmentalist who lives for a time among the wolves of northern Canada.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

keep on keeping on

What's New?
We took new kitty back to the no-kill shelter that we adopted him from. It was a very hard thing to do, but it was the right thing to do. While sweet and loving towards us, he was totally uninterested in our other cat Athena. She tried to play with him, snuggle with him, and groom him... but he wasn't interested. The whole reason we adopted him was to provide a kitty friend for Athena. On top of that he also had food issues. Not needs special food issues. We can do that. But I've starved before so now I think food will always be scarce no matter how often or how much my people feed me issues. It was too much.

In garden news, I finally cleaned up my raised beds for winter, planted two types of garlic, and scattered some nitrogen-fixing seeds on top. I'm hoping the cover crop seeds grow, but I realized I started them very late in the growing season. I know there are rules and guidelines for gardening that, if followed, would make my gardening experience more successful. But the realities of life often get in the way of following those rules and guidelines.

In kitchen news, I've started cleaning out and reorganizing my pantry cabinet. I had tried to use some plastic bulk food containers for rice and grains but they just didn't work. They didn't stack well, and they always just seemed awkward. So I've decided to donate them and use what I have: glass canning jars. They are plentiful, inexpensive (I buy most of mine at Goodwill), easy to clean and I just like the way they look. I added simple labels and grouped foods by type. Now all my dried fruit are on the same shelf, all the grains are on the same shelf, etc. I still have more to clean out and organize. Seeing progress so far helps to motivate me to keep it clean.

Currently Reading
  • The Martian by Andy Weir

On the Needles
I've started seaming my Wood Hollow Vest. It's a slow process for me, since I don't have a ton of seaming experience and I want to get it right.

I've worked a bit on my Bonny top while on the bus. It's a great bus knit - simple and easy to pick up and put down.

I started knitting Gramps for my nephew Xander. It's going to be tight, since I'm a little short on yarn, but with some creativity I think I can make it work. I've already divided for the sleeves, so now it looks like a sweater instead of a blob.

Looking Forward To
  1. getting together with friends for food & games

Sunday, October 18, 2015

a calm and stormy weekend

The calm...
Walked around Alki Saturday with Kristi and took these pictures. It had been weeks since we'd last seen each other, and we were terribly overdue for our weekend walks. After spending time with Kristi I Skyped with my parents (also terribly overdue). I find it's very refreshing and comforting getting advice from my parents. They are so far removed geographically that they don't get pulled into any drama. At the same time, they allow me to hear my inner voice as they advocate for what's best for me, all without any pressure to take their advice. I have amazing parents.

The stormy...
I ran a bunch of errands early Sunday. Arriving home with arms full of groceries, new kitty slipped out the front door and took off! Athena and Boomer only made it outside a couple times, and they promptly turned right back around and came back inside. Not so with new kitty, who is still without a name (although we're getting closer).

I spent an hour chasing him around the houses on my street, trying to scoop him up. At one point he crawled up inside the hood of a neighbor's car. They were on their way out, new baby in tow, and graciously popped their hood so I could retrieve my cat. But he escaped from under the car and took off again! Then he ended up inside the hood of another neighbor's car!

My upstairs neighbor (who has her own cats and had been helping me chase him this whole time) helped me barricade around the car so he couldn't slip out again. Once the barricade was in place, I knocked on yet another neighbor's door and asked him to pop the hood of his car. Sure enough, new kitty was crouched inside and my neighbor reached in and grabbed him!

I thought I'd never catch him, and he'd either disappear entirely or I would be forced to watch him get run over on the nearby busy street. I now fully understand the silly name he came with: Zoom.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Sunrise on my way to work (safely stopped at a stop-sign).

My Wood Hollow Vest washed and blocked.

More sunrise, although a different day. The sky has been amazing this week.

What's New?
We adopted a cat this weekend! He's long and lanky and sweet. Athena does not know what to think about him yet. We've installed 3 baby gates, one on top of the other, in order to create a see-through barrier. That way they (and by "they" I really mean Athena) can stare at each other without fear of touching. I think he is completely ready to bond with her, but she is definitely not too sure about the whole situation.

Currently Reading
So many library books checked out to me right now, but so little time to read!
  • Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat - I am sharing bits and pieces of this story with my Advisory class. Our school mascot is the wolf, and they have enjoyed hearing about the wolves.
  • Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman - This book is beautiful! I've put it on a possible present list for my niece and nephews.
  • Corvus: a Life with Birds by Esther Woolfson - This is currently my before bed book. This author often quotes and references the next book on my list, to no one's surprise.
  • Mind of the Raven by Bernd Heinrich - I've put this down for now in favor of Corvus.
  • Confession of a Buddhist Atheist by Stephen Batchelor - I haven't started this one yet, but I intended it to be a bus read.

On (& off) the Needles
You can see the current state of my Wood Hollow Vest in the picture above. It's been washed and blocked, ready for seaming. After seaming, it'll get a neck band and arm bands. Almost there...

My bus knit is the Bonny top from Tin Can Knits. It's 11 inches of stockinette stitch before the top pattern gets interesting. I'm about 3 inches in right now.

I've also started Zuzu's Petals, which is a cowl, using a beautiful fall-inspired Malabrigo.

And last but not least... I started a sweater pattern for my youngest nephew Xander awhile back, but I found I wasn't loving the way it was turning out. After visiting the Tin Can Knits booth at Knit City this past weekend, I decided to frog the sweater and knit the Gramps pattern instead.

Looking Forward To
  1. giving new kitty a name