Six hours in the car, chit-chatting with friends..... on our way to (and back from...) the Ironweed Nursery (second visit in one week). More native Kentucky plants for our garden club's Monarch Way Station project at Whitehaven, the local interstate rest stop. Of course these socks are going to be finished.
I didn't even know that I was playing the famous game of yarn-ball-chicken until the last few yards popped out of my knitting bag.
This time I lost.
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My book this week is Ian Rankin's Bleeding Hearts. We're heading to Scotland in a couple weeks so I thought it would be nice to get to know Great Britain's leading crime writer. Rankin is known for his Inspector Rebus character, but I managed to chose one of a shelf-full of choices that wasn't. This one is still a page-turning thriller about an assassin who thinks he was set-up on his latest 'hit', and goes about putting things right. I still have time to read some more Alexander McCall Smith, Kate Atkinson, and JK Rowlings before we leave. One of them undoubtedly will have authored the winner of my 'airplane-book-of-the-trip' contest. (I'm sure they are all waiting with bated breath to add THAT honor to their resume.)
(Somewhere I read that they all live in the same neighborhood of Edinburgh! Surely, that can't be true!?!)
Bleacher sitting is putting a crimp into my plan for a blissful stretch of monogamous knitting on the Tokyo Shawl. The shawl is too big, too hot, and the yarn too delicate to subject it to the dust, dirt, and heat of the ball fields.
The Berries and Branches beret was finished last week, and par for the course, I wasn't armed with a new thought-through project when it was time to dash out the door for this week's double-header. (How did I get two kids to all their practices and games and homework and dinner and laundry when I can't get myself out the door to just plop myself in the stands before the first pitch? I'm lucky to get there before the first inning is over.....and yes. The grands notice if I'm late.)
So, I grabbed two skeins of Dale Baby Ull and a couple needles. And just started knitting. I think the hat turned out pretty cute, so I'm sharing it here. It's also on my Ravelry page here.
A friend passed along a little stack of books a couple weeks ago...all deemed worth a read, she said. I immediately plunged in to Go Set a Watchman, and liked it a lot. Lots of people have already commented on it, so I'll leave it at that. Also in the pile was Ann Patchett's State of Wonder. I read that. I think. Scientists in the Amazon, right? I was on an Ann Patchett 'kick' a while ago. Bel Canto is one of my favorite of all favorite books. Loved Run. Magician's Assistant...a good read. I know I read State of Wonder. (Didn't I?)
To make an ongoing story short(er) and succint....nothing about this wonderful book is stimulating me to remember what happens next, but nothing comes as a surprise except the fact that I truly did not remember how beautifully it is written. I can only vaguely guess at what is next, marvel that I had forgotten such poignant parts of the storyline, relish the details. In other words, I guess I'm having the proverbial 'senior' experience. I could tell you, yes..I read this before, and yes...I really liked it. Now, I'm rereading it and loving it as if this was the first and only time I set eyes on it.
I wonder (am I having my own State of Wonder?) if that's also why I can put down my Tokyo Shawl for a day, and pick it up again with the same love with which I cast on? (now that's a scary thought.)
In the upper part of the picture are some plain vanilla man-socks that keep me company during the CandyMan's baseball games. (If you follow me on Instagram---I'm woolythyme1---you have already seen these and have watched the progress.) He plays two games back-to-back (the punishment joy of being on both the JV and Varsity teams) sometimes three times a week. Hubby should have a drawer-full of new socks and my daughter should have her mitered square blanket finished by the end of the season.
Once upon a time there was an island in the Philippines called Caohagan. It was a tropical paradise, but poor. Fishing was the main industry. And then....along came Junko Yoshikowa, wife of Katsuhiko Sakiyama who purchased the island in 1986. And life changed forever. In 1996 she started teaching the native peoples the fine art of quilting.
They interpreted what they learned, refined what they learned, and developed what is now a 'cottage industry' that provides more than 1/3 of the island's income. One year after those first 'lessons', the first Caohagan quilt was invited to the International Quilt Exhibition in Yokohama, Japan.
In 2009, a quilt was accepted into the permanent collection of the International Quilt Study Center at the University of Nebraska.
In 2012 a quilt was shown at the International Quilt Exhibition in Nantes, France.
The reputation of these talented folk artists was secured.
Of the 600 permanent residents, over 100 of them are quilters. And I met 4 of them this week at the National Quilt Museum where they are stitching among their quilts hanging on display in the exhibit entitled---A Small Miracle of a Southern Island...the Quilts of Caohagan Island.
The motifs reflect island life....huts, fish, lush vegetation, tropical fruits all done in bright, happy, crayon box colors.
The patterns are all cut freehand, hand appliqued, embroidered, and hand quilted, using no frame.
Often they are hung over a clothesline to be stitched, but the women working while I was there simply had them bunched up in their laps. When complete, the quilt is washed in the salt water of the island to set the colors, rinsed with plain water, and hung outside in the tropical sun to dry. Each is unique, signed by the artist.
Thank you Melisa. I love mine! I'll cherish it always. (EEP! YES! There were some quilts for sale!!!!!)
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The artists will only be working until the end of this week, but the exhibit will hang until October 13th. This is one not to miss!
It doesn't really matter that you can't see my knitting. Not much has changed since this post. For some strange reason, I've been rather monogamous with this project; haven't even wound a new ball of yarn; haven't been scouring Ravelry or Pinterest for something new to start. (No. I'm not sick. No. I don't have a fever.)
But I have been reading. Finished A Man Called Ove and it was a good read, but nothing compared to Euphoria. Of course, Euphoria won The New England Book Award for Fiction, The Kirkus Prize; it was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award and was voted one of the 10 best books of 2014 by the NY Times Book Review. Set in New Guinea in the 1930s it is the story of three young anthropologists, caught in a love triangle---of their different approaches to the rather new sociological 'science' and of the native people they observed. A very quick read (mainly because I couldn't put it down!) that I know will resonate for quite awhile. It is loosely based on events in the life of Margaret Mead.
If it hadn't been for Euphoria, Tokyo shawl would have been further along, and I would have been further along in my audible book ...The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey. (A companion book to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye according to the author---not a prequel or sequel) I can't quite tell if I really like this book better than Harold Frye, or if I simply like getting to know Queenie (and having a voice to go with her character). Many questions I had about her are answered, and I like remembering the first book as Harold's postcards are received at the hospice center. In any case, while I think The Unlikely Pilgrimage... can stand alone, I think you need to have read the earlier work to appreciate this one, and in some ways you should read this one to appreciate the first. One reviewer remarked on the big 'twist' at the end....I'm not there yet. I can't wait.**
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** Predictably, I couldn't wait, and stayed up way too late to finish it. I couldn't have dreamed of a more satisfying ending. Perfect.
(My shawl still looks the same, even though it's two hours closer to being finished.)
I probably have every book Kaffe Fasset has ever written, including all the quilt books and needlepoint books. Of course, I've never knit or stitched a single thing from them. They are to look at, to drool over, to be inspired from (don't you love all those dangling prepositions?) ...but certainly not to knit. Too hard. Too massive. Too intimidating---all those colors!
And then, in 2003 a kit arrived in my mailbox with my Rowan subscription. (Thank you Ravelry. I'd never have remembered that date!) Kaffe Fasset's tumbling block pillow. (eep!!!!!!!) When I finally got around to actually knitting it, it wasn't so bad.
In fact, it was quite fun (although messy) to knit. But the real fun thing was watching how subtly the colors changed within the blocks. You held two different colors together, and switched those colors with each block segment.
The result was a more subtle, tweedy, shaded look than you could ever have achieved with a single color. It was a technique I was sure to use again.
Finally....along came the Tokyo Shawl, a dozen years later. Here is the same lovely, muted result using a similar technique.
This time a single strand of medium/light alpaca runs throughout the shawl; the color changes are a result of the contrasting Shetland wool, subduing both colors with their mix. To get the intended look, it is (of course) important to use the right color combination in the correct order.
I'm reading A Man Called Ove, one of the suggestions on the 2015 Cape Cod Reading List my friends and I compiled last week. It's cute. It's bittersweet. It's funny. Unlikely friendships....unreliable first impressions....and an irresistible curmudgeon make for a nice book. Certainly not a great book, but an enjoyable read.
The author (Fredrik Backman) is Swedish; When I think Sweden, I think snow. I think cold. I think mittens?! A granddaughter asked for 'flippy mittens', so I guess this is what she had in mind.
I had a rather large ball of an aran weight Peace Fleece something left over from a sweater I knit years ago. There were a few 'me-no- chicken' moments when I doubted the yardage would hold, but plunged ahead anyway, and ended up with a couple teeny balls left over. Not used to knitting with such thick yarn----I forget how quickly the project ends and how little yarn actually gets used.
I used the Pop Top mitten pattern and loved how easily the mittens assembled. (It's sized for children and knit in worsted wt, so I ended up following a smaller size and it appears to have worked just fine.) They should go in the mail tomorrow. (No, it's still 90 degrees. oh how I wish it was 30! But when you are 10 years old, you don't care WHAT you get in the mail, as long as it is a package and has your name on it. And your brother and sisters don't get one.)
I tried this pattern first, using some DK weight. They It (I only made one) looked cute when it was flipped down, but really strange as a mitten. So strange, that I actually threw it away. Didn't even bother to unravel it....just moved on.