Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Yarn Along - March 19, 2014

This is one reason why it’s taking me so long to finish those brown socks I showed last week – I keep starting new projects!
I made this little soap sack over the weekend. It’s a little pattern I made up, and the yarn, or crochet thread really, is Katia Jaipur. I picked up an oddball at the yarn store, thinking I would use it in some catnip toys, and I have, but it works very well for this purpose too. I’m such a sucker for rainbow colors!

And although I don’t like to do this, I’m reading two books now instead of just one. I had reserved “How to Be a Woman” by Caitlin Moran through the library, so once it arrived, I had to get going on it. I’m alternating evenings with “These Rich Years” and let me tell you – two books could not be more diametrically opposed!

These Rich Years was written in the 1960s, and is a very accurate reflection of the time period and of the age of the authors writing it. How to Be a Woman is current day non-fiction, so it reflects current day morals and also the age of the author writing it. There are descriptions in both books which make me cringe a little, and that makes me wonder – if I’m not satisfied with the feminine role of 40 years ago, or the ultra-feminist role of the present, where then, do I want to be? I’m not sure I have an answer, and I probably would not even think about it had I read each of these books at different times.

In the end I just go back to my knitting, and hug a cat and try not to think about it too much. And start another project…and yarn along with Ginny...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hope Springs Eternal

Last year, I bought a share in a CSA, and enjoyed a variety of fresh veggies, eggs, and mushrooms all summer long. Actually though, it was a little overwhelming toward the end. Part of it was not having the free time when the box arrived to plan out what to make. Some veggies were easy, others took more planning. I did get quite a bit frozen, and that’s been nice this winter. But I ended up wasting some, and that was disappointing.

This year, instead of the CSA, I’m going to try gardening again. Until recently I’ve always had a big garden. Over the years though, I’ve managed to create too much shade in my back yard for a large plot, and had a few bad years, so I cut back to just containers for a while, and last year not even those. But now, I think I’ll make a new garden bed and see what happens.

To that end, yesterday I started the first flat of seeds in the house. Now, most of these are pretty old, so if they don’t germinate I’ve got plenty of time for a plan B. First I sorted all the packets by start dates, and filled a flat with those that take the longest. I planted tomatoes, green peppers, and herbs, including parsley, thyme, rosemary, chives, marjoram, and more. In another two weeks I’ll plant the faster seeds, and in the meantime I’ll sort the flower packets by the same rule, and get some of them going.

If all goes well, I should have nice fresh vegetables to enjoy, and maybe even enough to put some by for winter. If not, well, there’s always the farmer’s market to fall back on!
Rollie contemplating his favorite herbs

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Yarn Along - March 12, 2014

Finally – back on the Yarn Along bandwagon! Joining with Ginny this week, and hoping to catch up with regular blogging after a very long, but very enjoyable winter.

And look – I’m still knitting the SAME SOCK I was knitting back in July! It’s not even the second sock – it’s still the first one! Part of the reason is that I have had numerous commissions to work on, so the personal knitting gets put on the back burner, and when you have as many projects going as I do, some really get neglected.

Another reason is that this pattern, although simple in concept, is just not laid out in a manner where I can pick it up and find my place and catch up. I know what I’m supposed to be doing, but just trying to double check the stitch count, etc. was a confusing chore, and I’d have to start reading from the beginning. Also, I’m not used to following a pattern to make socks, so I’d print out a copy, and then misplace it, and have to print another one. I’m sure I’ve filed many copies of it in with bills, recipes, and trashed it with the junk mail.

Last night I printed yet another copy, STAPLED it together, found my notes in my notebook, went to bed early, and finished the gusset shaping and started the foot. Now that I’m smooth sailing once again, I’m hoping it won’t take a whole year to get these socks finished and off the needles.

The book I started this week is These Rich Years – A Journal of Retirement by Jean and Robert Hersey. I will be eligible to retire in less than four years, and I’m hoping to have all my ducks in a row so I can do it, and start another chapter in my life. This book, written in 1969, is nothing like any of the contemporary information I’ve read about retirement. No how-to’s, or statistics or charts, or new age thinking. Just observations, good advice, simple pleasures, and even a few basic recipes. Here’s a quote from the opening pages, to give you some idea of why I like this book:

There is no feeling in life thus far quite like those first days and weeks when we wakened to realize that Bob didn’t have to be anywhere at nine o’clock. It was October, and we reveled especially in things that happened on weekday mornings. Walking on the beach and around the marshes at low tide, contemplating snowy egrets and eider ducks, gathering armfuls of the last goldenrod, watching gulls soar over the whitecaps and blue, blue water offshore. Undeniably all this could have been equally fine on any Saturday or Sunday, but it has a very particular charm when it occurs on Monday morning at ten and when you are just retired.

I’ve read several of Jean Hersey’s other books, and her quiet, conversational style is so gentle and unassuming. I’m looking forward to this one, another step on the path to a new adventure.