Knitting as Meditation

Lately, when I wake up, I grab a cup of coffee and I sit down with my knitting.


I don't check my email.

I don't look at the news.

I don't even refer to my plan for the day.

Or my to-do list.

I just sit and knit.

(I do feed the dogs first, though.  Because that's how we roll here.)


I find that knitting in the morning is a perfect way to center myself and prepare for the day ahead.

Except when I'm knitting a complicated pattern (lace or tricky cables, for example, or anything involving a lot of counting), I find knitting to be a form of meditation.  The stitches on the needle are much like . . . rosary beads or mala beads . . . one after the other after the other.  Matched with my breathing.  Letting my mind quiet.  Calling for a peaceful heart.

(With the added bonus of watching a sweater emerge right under my fingertips.)

I am participating in Project Peace again this year, although I've decided not to cast on for the actual project this time.  Instead, I'm continuing with my current sweater project.  I am following along with the daily peace prompts -- but knitting my own project instead.  Someday I may knit the actual pattern for this year's Project Peace (I did purchase it) -- but not right now.

What AM I knitting?


This sweater.  I'm much further along now than I was when I took this photo outside.  But it shows the actual color of my yarn - and the texture - much better.  Now that I've divided out the sleeves, the knitting is going much quicker.


Maybe I'll have a new sweater before spring . . . 

Whatever the timing, I'm enjoying my morning knitting-as-meditation!


See what other knitters are up to today over at Kat's!

Unraveled . . . in a big way


By the time you read this post, I'll be headed off . . .to a 3-day Alabama Chanin workshop in Florence, Alabama with Vicki.  (Plus a bonus visit to Nashville.  Stay tuned!)

I haven't knit a stitch this week, but I have been stitching.  I've been working hard to try to wrap up an Alabama Chanin project to take with me.


And while it's ALMOST done . . . it's not actually done.  (I still need to sew on the snaps down the front.)  So I'm planning to cram it in my suitcase and maybe work on the finishing touches while I'm down there. 

What is it, you ask?

Why, it's a new pattern from Alabama Chanin . . . the car coat.

I have some bad photos to show you.  Photos I took myself.  In the bathroom.  After the sun went down.  In a black garment.  (Just so you won't have high expectations here.)


I wanted to use a contrast lining - sort of like the one in the pattern link (above).  In fact, I wanted to use JUST that contrast lining - from Alabama Chanin.  Until I found out it sells for $50/yard.  And I needed 3 yards.  So.  No.  I visited my local fabric store instead and found the herringbone knit you see above.  Only $9/yard!  A bit wild - and definitely not of the same quality as AC - but sort of fun.


While the design is a basic boxy jacket (with intense bat wing action), the actual sewing was a bit more demanding than other AC things I've made.  Partly because there is a collar and a facing, which just ramps everything up a notch -- but also because the sewing instructions are a bit . . . vague.  (Let's just say it's a good thing I've done a lot of collars and facings before.)

For this project, I did some of the stitching (seams; hem) by machine, and did the topstitching by hand. 


The verdict is . . . I like it!  I'm planning to pack it - along with the snaps and my sewing supplies - to finish it up in Alabama.  Maybe I'll even talk Vicki into helping me take better photos (that don't have my toilet in the background) (just sayin').

As for reading?  Who's got time for reading!?? 


Today's post is part of Unraveled Wednesdays.  To read more Unraveled posts, hop over to Kat's!




Only the Beginning


(And I'm not talking about NaBloPoMo, which does, indeed, begin today.)

I almost hate to even post this photo, but here we go . . . 


You see, I've only just gotten past the short row section of the neckline of this sweater.  Which means . . . I've got a whole lot more knitting to do here.  (In other words, you're going to get really sick really soon of seeing this sweater-in-progress.)

So we'll just move on to books.  

(But first, I do want to just mention that this is a really fabulous harvest-gold-y color of yarn -- Joyful from Briar Rose Fibers -- as lovely to knit with as it is to look at.)

Okay.  Back to books.

I'm still listening to The Weight of Ink, although way past the half-way point of this quite long book.  It's excellent, and I wish I could listen to it all day long.  I did take a bit of a break from it over the weekend to listen to Sebastian Barry's latest - Days Without End.  (Because Overdrive will Wait for No Reader!)  I really loved Days Without End.  In fact, I pretty much DID listen to it all day long.  In print, I'm still reading Lisette's List (which, although quite good, just can't hold a candle to either of the other two).  I must pick up my pace, though.  Because Overdrive.  And that Waiting-for-No-Reader thing.  Y'know?

How about YOU?  What are you reading?  And what are you raveling/unraveling these days?


Today's post is part of Unraveled Wednesdays.  See what other bloggers are talking about over at Kat's.  
(And welcome to NaBloPoMo.)

A Re-Raveling Tale

Several years ago, I knit a cardigan (this one) using Brooklyn Tweed Shelter.  It wasn't fancy.  Just a regular old throw-it-on kind of cardigan.  As in . . . throw-it-on over your pajamas when it's chilly in the house in the morning.  Or throw-it-on to go wander in the garden on a fall afternoon.  Or to walk the dogs.  You know.  That kind of cardigan.

But, while Shelter is a lovely yarn -- rustic, light, warm, comfortable -- it breaks easily.  And I had made the mistake of seaming with it.  When I went to throw-it-on last fall, I noticed several holes in the seams where the Shelter had just given out.


So I did what I often do with mending projects:  I folded it up and stuck it on a chair in my guest room.

To fix.


(And let's just say there was no throwing-this-on last year at all.)  

As the weather started turning cooler last week, I decided I didn't want to go another season without this cardigan.  I broke down and got out my mending-tools.


And set to work.


And in less than 30 minutes . . . 


we were back in business!

Let the throwing-it-on commence.


(And just in time.  Because it is suddenly cardigan season.)

As for what I'm reading?  In print, I have Lisette's List by Susan Vreeland (my latest book group selection, and - surprise - I'm really enjoying it).  In my ears, I have The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish . . . and it is excellent!  It's quite long (almost 600 pages/24 hours), but well worth the investment of time.


Today's post is part of Unraveled Wednesdays.  Head over to Kat's to see what everyone else has to say!

Unraveling on a Wednesday

Knitting continues to be kind of sporadic around here.  I mean . . . I knit a little nearly every day, but most days it's very little.  There are so many other things to do!  

I'm still busy out in the garden, for example.  Because the weather still allows it -- and there really is no frost in sight at this point.  So, hey!  Let's do some transplanting, huh?  And let's use those "bonus rocks" (from the re-built retaining wall) to create the garden border I've always wanted.  And while we're at it, let's get a head start on moving the garden path before winter!  (So full of ideas. . . )


(I suppose someday winter will just . . . arrive.  And catch me off guard.  But for now?  Dig in!)

All of that . . . prelude . . . should serve as a warning that I've got nothin' much to share with you in the unraveled department this week.  Just another shot of my slightly-longer arrows project.


As for reading, I just finished listening to Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo.  (The audio version is wonderful because the narrator's Nigerian accent just adds to the reading experience.)  I'd been waiting for that one on Overdrive for months and months, so I had to put my current Audible read - Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss - on temporary hold (because I can listen anytime. . . ).  I'm not sure I'll get back to it anytime soon, though, because I can see I'm next-in-line for another Overdrive audiobook!  (Deadlines always win.)

And then this arrived yesterday . . . 


When I first heard that a new Mary Oliver poetry anthology would be available this fall, I thought I'd put it on my Christmas wish list this year.  But then, as summer progressed, I decided I need Mary Oliver and I need her NOW.  So I pre-ordered.  It arrived yesterday and I am thrilled!

How about YOU?  What are you knitting working on and reading?


Check in with the rest of the "unravelers" over at Kat's!

Rain Delay

Late last night I finished the first of my arrow "wings."  Since it was already dark, I planned to take a photo this morning to use in today's post.

But.  Oh my goodness.  It finally RAINED here!  (First time in months.)

So, after a bit of a rain delay, here you go.


As for reading, this week I'm sticking with poetry . . . a bit of Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry to settle my soul.

How about you?  What are you stitching and reading this week?


Check out what other bloggers are knitting and reading over at Kat's.

Ready-Aim-Fire: An Unraveled Post

I'm happily knitting away on my "arrows" project . . . 


After a summer of knitting that included lace and mosaic and beads and all the attention and counting that kind of knitting entails, I'm just thrilled to be working on a projet that is free-form and open-ended and not restricted in any way at all.  (It's kind of like knitting dishcloths, but with much nicer yarn.)

I love just being able to follow a basic recipe . . . while just riffing with color and texture.  This kind of project is very forgiving.  If I don't like what I see, I can just . . . end it.  Try something else.  Grab a different color instead.  Throw in a garter ridge or two.  And if I make a mistake of some sort?  Well, I can just work it into the project and no one will ever be the wiser.

I also like creating such a colorful, bold accessory for myself.  Because I love looking at the bright and the wild . . . but I don't really like wearing it.  Unless it's an accessory!  So perfect, non?

Finally, though, I have always love the symbolism of arrows.  Movement.  Direction.  Strength.  Grace.  Power.  Give me an arrow anytime!

So, basically . . . this is just what I need to knit right now.


As for the reading, I've just started Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (one of my favorite authors) (this one was on the Man Booker long list).  Over the weekend, I finished Autumn by Ali Smith (another of my favorite authors) (this one made the Man Booker short list).  I loved Autumn, although I'll readily admit that it won't be to many readers' tastes (so be warned if you like your books strong on plot with few holes by the end of the book) (just sayin').

How about you?  What are you knitting and reading?


This post is part of Kat's Unraveled Wednesdays.  To read more knitting and reading posts, click here.


The blob . . . it grows.


It really doesn't look like much right now.  But Erin's wedding shawl is coming right along.

I'm knitting carefully . . . because ripping back with lace and super thin lace weight and beads is just Not What I Need right now.  So.  Slow and steady.  Counting constantly.  No wine.  No TV.  No book-listening.  Just focused knitting.

I'm nearing the final lace chart.  But . . . So. Many. Stitches.

In reading, I finished Bear Town over the weekend, and I'm recommending it to everyone I run into (and all of you, too).  Now I'm reading The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso (and I need to really pick up my pace because it's a loan through Overdrive and the deadline fast approaches; I don't want it to disappear mid-read. . . ).  I'm listening to A Line Made by Walking by Sara Baume (and I'm not so sure what I think about it quite yet).

How about YOU?  What are you knitting?  Or reading?  Or both?


Today's post is part of Kat's Unraveled Wednesday group.  Be sure to check out what everyone else is knitting and reading!

No Time for Unraveling

My knitting has been very slow this summer.  A row here; a row there.  Some days, not even a stitch.

I finally finished this earlier this week . . . 

IMG_9035 2

That's Kirsten Kapur's Mystery Shawl 2017 -- in all its unblocked glory.  (I don't have a good place to block up north, and the well water is just kind of . . . well, smelly.  I will block when I get home.)  

And now, I'm working on this blob of lace weight . . .

IMG_9036 2

Because, really.  With less than 3 weeks until a wedding, shouldn't every mother-of-the-bride be working on a lace shawl with beads for her daughter?  (Like the title says, no time for unraveling.)

(If you hear maniacal laughter in the background, just smile and look away.)

Reading continues apace.  I may get a Bingo coverall after all, but it's hard to tell at this point.  Right now, I'm slogging through John Irving's Last Night in Twisted River (we'll just say . . . this one is NOT A Prayer for Owen Meany* - although it's every bit as long -  and leave it at that).  I've also just started Beartown (Fredrik Backman) -- which is, so far, everything you've already heard it is.  (Watch for a Bingo update post tomorrow for a more detailed look at my recent reading.)

How about you?  What are you knitting and reading today?


Today's post is part of Kat's Unravled Wednesdays.  See what everyone else has to say here.


* One of my top-5 favorite books Of All Time.

Slowing Down and Catching Up

My unraveling tale this week comes not from yarn and needles . . . but from pure stupidity.

My own.

Too lazy to change my shoes (and - truth be told - not wanting to put on socks), I decided to walk the dogs yesterday in my trusty Keen sandals.  Now this style of sandal has gotten me through many a long walk (and walking vacations) in the past.  But yesterday?  Not so much.  

I could feel the blister forming on the ball of my foot just at the 1-mile turnaround-point of our walk.  By the time I got back home, it was a doozy.

Talk about unraveled!  (And I get really cranky about injuries that prevent me from moving freely.)


Well, perhaps I'll have more time to just sit for a couple of days while it heals.  Because I've just started this summer's Through the Loops Mystery Shawl, and I have some catching up to do.


There are so many ways to . . . unravel.  Y'know?


Today's post is part of Kat's Unraveled Wednesday.  Head on over to find out what else is unraveling!