Tag Archive | reading

Reading or Knitting?

Back in January, I decided my focus word this year would be “Balance”. I wanted to find balance between buying yarn and fixing my house, maintain a good work/home life balance, maybe try to find a balance between being healthy and eating food I like (that one’s been a slow starter). But now I’m struggling from a lack of balance between my favorite hobbies, knitting and reading. I love both but knitting has been taking precedence for the last few years, and it seems to be getting worse. I kind of miss books.

Thankfully, I have reached a point where I am able to read while knitting, but there are caveats: it has to be an ebook, and the knitting has to be very simple. So I’ve been reading and knitting over my lunch breaks for a while, and that’s good. But it’s not the same. I miss physical books. I tried doing both yesterday.

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It didn’t work. I struggled to keep the pages open and flat, and it took longer to turn the pages, disrupting the flow of my knitting. Trying to combine the two meant neither of them were satisfying. What did I do? I finished the sock, of course.

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After that, I worked a little bit on a cowl, and only then did I feel like I’d gotten enough knitting to be able to take a break for some reading. It’s not even that I feel obligated to knit; I WANT to knit. If I don’t get some knitting in my day, I’m sad. But I need to work on this balance, because I’ve got three library books that I’m eager to read!

How do you balance your time when you’ve got two things you really want to do?

Not much knitting

What do I write about when I have nothing concrete to share? I have finished no socks this week, though I have one that is close and will be done either today or tomorrow. I have a beautiful finished shawl, but it’s currently blocking and is not ready for its close-up. I can show you progress photos; they do hint at what a stunner this one will be.

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The pattern is the Chevrione Shawl and I enjoyed the knit, once I got used to the lace pattern. It was still a pattern I had to focus on, so if the TV was on, I could only pay half-attention to it. I used as much of my Done Roving Frolicking Feet Mini Gradients as I could and got through the pattern as written. I think it will be gorgeous!

Oh, I know why I’m lacking in FOs: we had to rebuild part of our fence! Remember we had that huge limb come down? Well, it took two sections of fence with it, and with that large gap we had to go back to putting the dogs on chains. If you’ve done that before, you know what a hassle it is. They get tangled in each other and around things, they forget they have it and run too far and get yanked back, and I don’t trust them out there by themselves for very long, lest they somehow pull the anchors out of the dirt. So the husband and I worked quickly and had the fence repaired with two nights’ work. We felt very tired clever afterward. And the dogs (Grace especially) were delighted.

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Strangely enough, I’ve been reading a lot this week, which also might account for the lack of FOs. I finished The Secret Place by Tana French, which is a gripping, tense thriller that I couldn’t put down, and I’m in the middle of The Mermaid’s Daughter by Ann Claycomb which I don’t want to put down, but is so good I don’t want to finish it, so I’m trying to ration myself. It’s got folklore, intrigue, mermaids (of course), opera, and Ireland, and so far it’s both dark and beautiful.

One more fun little thing: my knitter friend at work is a new pen addict, so I took her to The Pen Place over lunch break last week. I can’t go to the pen store without buying something of course. Look at my new pretty purple Parker pen!

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Here’s hoping I have more fun knitting to show you next time!

Save me, knitting

OMG guys, Christmas is coming. I woke up at 5:30 this morning and for some reason it hit me that Christmas is just a little over a month away and I am so far from being ready that it’s not even funny. I haven’t even had the brainpower to start thinking about it. I have no idea what my kids want, let alone what the nieces and nephews want. I don’t even know what *I* want. (That’s not true. I want yarn and time to knit. That would be plenty.) So there’s a ton of shopping to do, plus decorating, and we have A LOT of decorations. I know, they don’t all need to be put out, but I do love having the house decorated. I’m feeling overwhelmed by it today. I think I got spoiled the last few years, when I wasn’t working and I had time/mental energy to put toward this kind of stuff. It’s a little different now. I have to readjust. I think I’ll make a list. Maybe two lists. That always helps.

Let’s try to refocus and think of happier things: I have a FO! I finished my second Color Block Wrap yesterday and wove in the ends this morning and I LOVE it.

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For as big as this is, it is a super fast knit. It took me about a month, and I am not a monogamous knitter. This was mostly lunch break/ kids’ concerts knitting. Here’s the project page if you want details. I’m so glad I went down a needle size; I love the denser drape. This will get a lot of use this winter.

I also have a new cast-on. I had to go to the LYS last weekend to get yarn for an Etsy order, and I knew I was getting some money for a previous custom order, so I splurged on a gorgeous skein of Anzula Cricket in Charcoal. I’ve been wanting a black cowl for myself for a while. It took a bit of searching but I decided on the Saltfleet Cowl pattern, and I’m calling mine the Black Diamond cowl.

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The Anzula is a treat to knit with, that’s for sure. Soft but not limp, not splitty at all, great stitch definition, and there’s enough color variation that it’s not like knitting with black yarn at all. I’m loving this project.

And since I finished my previous mindless knitting project (the Color Block), I pulled out a project that’s been in hibernation for a long time. I got the set of gradient purple yarns (Knit Picks Palette) for Christmas two years ago and cast on Purl Soho’s Gradient Cowl. It’s pretty, but boring, so I work on it for a little while and then tuck it away again. I’m now over halfway through, I’m a faster knitter than I was two years ago, and I have a lot more time for mindless knitting. (Unfortunately that means I have much less time for complicated knitting, but hey, it’s a trade-off. I gotta find the silver lining where I can.) Anyway, I took this with me last night when I went to an author event and made good progress.

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What author, you ask? None other than Rainbow Rowell, super-talented author of Eleanor & Park, Fangirl and Landline! She’s so fun to listen to; she’s funny and smart and snarky and honest and I just love her. I mean, look how cute she is:

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Oh, and I found other knitters there too! There were two of them sitting right in front of me–I recognized a handknit hat on one, and a handknit shawl on the other. They noticed me knitting during the break, and we chatted a bit, and then during the second half, one of them pulled out her knitting too. I love to encourage knitting in public!

Okay, this was a fun interlude but I’m afraid I must re-enter the scary world of holiday prep. We’re hosting Thanksgiving this year so cleaning must happen today, and I’m definitely not doing it all myself so I’ll be dragging some unhappy helpers into the mix. Wish me luck!

A wee bit of purple

Where did my knitting time go?? I think my body is still adjusting to this new schedule, because by the time I’m home from work and done with dinner, I’m exhausted. I knit a few rows and my eyes are drooping, and I’m usually in bed with lights out by 10. I got so spoiled the last few years that my body is struggling with this new “wake up at 5:30 in the morning” thing. As a result, I have very little knitting to show off this week. I’ve been working on the Secret Beach Scarf and I made it through the second contrasting color and onto the third. And it’s my favorite: the purple!

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I’m on the homestretch now, just need to get the purple section to 18″ and then it’ll be DONE and I can cast on something new with no guilt.

I did get to meet the knitting group at work and they seem to be a lovely group of people, very welcoming and funny and irreverent, as the best people are. They meet twice a week over lunch break so I should start getting a little more knitting time. Yesterday I took lunch out onto the patio and had some solo knitting time. It was lovely to have that little respite in the middle of the day.

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The other thing I’ve been doing is reading. Lots of my favorite authors have new books out, and I’ve finished Elin Hilderbrand’s Here’s to Us and Emily Giffin’s First Comes Love and I’m almost done with Allison Winn Scotch’s In Twenty Years. Coming up I have Sarah Pekkanen’s new book, but first I want to re-read Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell before the first book club meeting. (Haha, I’ve never been in a book club before, so this will be interesting!)

The puppies are not a fan of my new schedule, and are so so excited to see me when I get home. My first job is always to sit down and cuddle with them for a while, otherwise they just follow me around and jump on me.

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That’s it, that’s my week. Hopefully next week I’ll have more knitting to include!

Awesome Project Bag

No knitting photos to share today, sadly. I didn’t make it to the green stripes in the Marcelle Wrap (though I only have 10 rows left before I get there) so there’s not much to show. Instead, I’ll show you what I got in the mail.IMG_6169Isn’t that AWESOME??? I love Lionel Richie, and my husband’s text tone is a snippet from “Hello”. I first saw it in another knitter’s photo on Instagram, and of course I asked about it. I checked out The Yarn Stories, where she’d gotten it, and it was sold out. Thank goodness I’m on Instagram frequently, because the other day they posted they’d gotten restocked and there was ONE left. I was on the stationary bike exercising, but you can bet I went online and ordered that puppy while I was pedaling away. I’m delighted with it. It’s bigger than I was expecting, heavy and durable, and will hold at least a couple of projects. Now, I just checked and their website says they have ONE left, so if you want one, move fast!

I mostly played with yarn and watched TV yesterday, but by nine I was pooped so I retreated to my bed with my new book, a Mother’s Day gift from the girl (paid for with money from her first paycheck!!) and so far I’m loving it. IMG_6170Can’t go wrong with Clara Parkes. My only concert is that it’s too short. I think it will be done too quickly.

Now, today, I must ignore the sniffling/sneezing/coughing and do some errands, for a I can’t take a sick day every day. You can be sure that I will return to my couch and knitting as soon as possible, though. I hope you all have a sunnier, healthier day than I will!

I’m a good girl

You’ll be pleased to know that I stayed focused and got a lot of “must haves” done yesterday! (Or maybe you won’t, but let’s pretend, just for fun.) I made my list of chores for the week and half are already crossed off. Sure, they’re the easier ones, but it’s a start. When I can do that, get a workout in, AND get some work done, that’s a good day. I finished the first pass through the sci-fi book I’m proofreading (it’s the sequel to Mostly Human by Antoinette Houston. I’m not a sci-fi person but I have fun reading these.) and I got a few rows done on the mermaid blanket during Jeopardy! and I even managed to do some fun knitting before bed, starting another set of fingerless gloves. IMG_6084I needed another travel project, and these are perfect.

Now, I need you guys to send me some willpower: I’m going to the yarn store with the mother today. She wants a scarf to go with a certain dress, so we’re going together to pick out a color. I really really need to be good and not come home with extra yarn, so please send good mojo, or juju, or whatever. And tomorrow, I’ll be sure to show what I come with anyway. Sigh.

Here, have a couple of pupdates: IMG_6081Jack follows me around all day long. This is what I have whenever I’m working in my craft room.

IMG_6083And this is why my couches are a wreck. Both of them are in front of big windows, and the puppies have to keep watch whenever possible. I guess I’d rather have happy puppies than pristine couches. (Not sure the husband agrees.)

We had big storms yesterday and last night and this morning everything is bright and shiny and sparkling. Even the power lines have little rainbow droplets. Hope your day is bright too!

The Yarn Harlot Commands

Well, that was an unintentional break from blogging I took this week! I’d been enjoying my habit of almost-every day, but Monday and Tuesday I fell into revising my novel. I was at the end and it was going really well and I just couldn’t pull myself away. Plus, there’s not much to say about that. I was writing, it was fun. But I made it to the end, and the first draft is complete and now it’s been set aside to simmer for a little while.

Tuesday night I got another rejection, the 5th. I also pulled out the manuscript I sent to agents a few years ago, and found all the query letters and responses. I got two requests for fulls, as well as some personal feedback from sample chapters, and the overwhelming theme was “It’s good, but not good enough.” So yesterday I didn’t feel like blogging. Instead I moped and knitted, finding comfort in my yarn. And I finished my Color Block wrap and it’s so marvelous. The tails are even woven in; it just needs blocking.IMG_5630And I know, at least I’ve submitted the books. And the fact that I got the requests, not to mention actual thoughtful notes from agents, should be encouraging. That’s what I’m trying to focus on today. I’d like to think I’m a better writer than I was ten years ago. So that’s the manuscript coming up next. I still love that story. I still think it has potential. Let’s see if I can get it to better than “good enough”.

Here’s something my knitting friends will appreciate: this weekend is the Knitting in the Heartland conference, and the keynote speaker is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. SQUEEE, right?? I bought tickets for me and my Knitting SIL months ago. Then she and her family planned a vacation…the SAME weekend! Whatever. Poor planning, if you ask me, but she didn’t. Anyway, I was thinking about having to drive 45 minutes each way on crazy highways with construction and in the dark (I’m not a fan of those things), and going by myself, and starting to talk myself out of going. I tweeted about it, and this morning, the Yarn Harlot herself had replied to my tweet! IMG_5634There you have it. I have no choice. When the Yarn Harlot says you should go, you should go. So I will go and I will take my knitting and there will be lovely friendly knitters there AND those of us attending the keynote address get to shop from the vendors afterward! I will have plenty to blog about this weekend, that’s for sure.

I’ll probably take my Hitchhiker with me. It’s going more slowly than the previous ones. Maybe I’m finally getting a little tired of the pattern. But yesterday, instead of getting retail therapy at a yarn store, I shopped my stash and found my next project: IMG_5635It’s going to become a Tailwind Shawl; I just need to work out the sequence of the striping before I cast on. With any luck, I’ll have progress to show you tomorrow!