In two years, I feel like I have become a fairly accomplished crocheter. Complicated projects don’t scare me. I can read my stitches inside-out and upside-down. Learning to knit, for me, is completely different.
For a long time, I was too scared to try, especially intimidated by holding tools in both hands. Plus yarn. The idea still frightens the heck out of me until I actually start moving the yarn around with the tips. I’m not even remotely good at it yet. I can cast on, knit, purl, and awkwardly bind off. If I make even one mistake, I’m totally done and have to frog the whole thing and so I’ve only made swatches thus far. My next goal is to learn to read the knit, pick up a lost stitch, and unravel to a set point.
I am totally a continental knitter, sometimes called left-handed knitting or picking (as opposed to throwing). I think that it’s because I hold the fiber in my left hand when crocheting. If I had switched my yarn-holding hand when attempting to knit, it would have been just one more thing to think about while learning. And, learning I am… now and for quite some time in my future.
I have nearly enough motifs to begin crocheting together Mister Winter, which is Solveig Grimstad’s popular pattern, Flowers in the Snow. I made a mini version of this for my, ahem, cat last year. I really loved the design and decided to make a larger version for my sofa, in colors that remind me of winter in Sweden. I’m pretty firmly set on going with 192 squares. One of my favorite things about this design is that you don’t sew it together. The motifs are crocheted to one another. That said, I’m entirely ready to finish this puppy and get started on something new.
Like, maybe, knitting more than a swatch.
Earlier this month, there was a fire at the Mazomanie Oak Barrens, likely due to an extended drought that began in the spring. The damage was relatively minor, burning an area less than seven acres in size. While it’s a stark view, the DNR already performs prescribed burns in this area to preserve the health of the prairie. When we visited yesterday, the grass was beginning to grow back.
The path, which didn’t burn, can be seen in a photo that I took of my daughter a few years ago.
It might as well be stated that I sense a shift coming on in the way that I write in my journal. Over the last decade, it has happened approximately five clear times. I shifted focus from home and cooking to poetry and photos to personal journaling and photos to home and photos and now to… wherever life takes me. I’m up for the journey. And, as always, I am guided by the following quote.
The deepest thing I know is that I am living and dying at once,
and my conviction is to report that dialogue.
— Stanley Kunitz
Sometimes when I go for a hike, I forget my camera. Despite the initial disappointment, it’s okay. The experience will be just as sweet if I don’t document it, perhaps even sweeter as I’ll only have my memories. I feel as if these months where I haven’t been keeping much of an online journal are like those hikes without photos. I still have a good time and live a full life; I just don’t have a tangible way to share it with others.
A lot in my life has changed, but the transitions have been smooth. My uncle passed away in early July. He lived with my grandma and, therefore, tended to her well-being on a regular basis. She is 89 and now lives on her own for the first time in her life. (She was one of 11 children.) I provide her primary care, visiting morning and evening for a total of three or four hours daily. In June, I never would have thought that I could carve 25 hours out of my week, much less do it while increasing productivity in other areas as well. It is quite unfathomable, yet I’m doing it. I think that it just goes to show that we are capable of so much more than we realize, so it’s good to keep challenging one’s self frequently.
I think that I’ll make a little list of what has been going on in my world this summer:
- Earlier this year, at the age of 20, my daughter finally received her Asperger’s/Autism diagnosis. We’ve long known that this was the case but, like with my own health issues, it was difficult to get someone to listen. This is quite validating and she can now receive services that were unavailable to her before this.
- I pretty much abandoned my garden around the end of June. Like much of the US, Wisconsin was stricken with a severe drought and extreme temperatures this summer. The month of July was absolutely unbearable. I am partial to cold weather as it is, so the heat really bore away at my whole being. In August, the heat broke and we received a fair amount of rain. The strange weather of March through July has affected many harvests in Wisconsin, not the least of which include corn, apples, and grapes. Soon I will pull that which I let go wild. I may plant some fall crops and I might yet hoop a few beds. I’m looking at you, leeks.
- Work has again slowed on the Mister Winter afghan. I crochet circles here and there, but to get my project-completed satisfaction on a regular basis, I have been squeezing in smaller projects. I made three plant hangers, a gazillion coasters, and various bits not quite worthy of an individual mention.
- While I did whip up one medium-sized basket because I was itching to do some weaving, I otherwise haven’t done much in that area. I’m planning to do a few Sauk Indian-inspired baskets for the local historical society, which is pretty exciting and interesting to me. I believe that I’m going to make a birch bark bucket and a sweetgrass basket. We’ll see…
- So many people have cut back on taking photos with their camera and are instead doing phone photos. I am guilty of this as well, yet I’m trying to change that a bit. In the meantime, I can be found on Instagram @sonotcool. One of my favorites there is @heiastrid. Her life is so interesting.
- I have been hiking quite a bit again. It hasn’t been lengthy or strenuous, but easy and beautiful. We hit a lot of Wisconsin’s State Natural Areas. Baxter’s Hollow is a current favorite. We’re out there at least once a week. The photos from the Stones Pocket Road post were taken on the way into that site. That reminds me… I need to purchase Baxter’s Hollow Bird Food this week. Their site is gorgeous and has bird song from its location playing in the background.
- I go to the local historical society about twice a week to archive glass-plate negatives. Although we started in March, we’re only halfway through the collection at this time. Each scan is like opening a birthday present. Hundreds and hundreds of birthday presents. One of them included the school above, Hillside School on Prairie Road near Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin.
Ten years ago today, I officially began to blog.
I had putzed around with Geocities-type sites before that, keeping a journal and sharing photos online, but that first blog really forged a new direction in my life. I can’t even begin to describe the scope of this exercise in sharing. I tried. I opted to keep it simple.
I love this gig, both here and guest blogging. I appreciate all of the folks who have been part of this grand ride.
The other day, I bummed a drop spindle from my friend. I spent most of the day and night spinning, until my thumb and forefinger were raw. It was a great deal of fun. I’m using the method seen in the video Spindle 7 by Susan Forste.
I am not sure if this will become a new hobby or just be a try-it-once sort of thing. I have to admit that I can envision doing this every so often and then crocheting up something super special with the resulting yarn.
In June, I wove the tote of many colors, which I like very much. One day while visiting a friend, she pulled out some kits for making toilet paper holders. While we have no intention of ever putting them in the restroom, they are rather cute and I’m going to find another use for them.
I am itching to weave something new. I have a lot of excess materials and I’ll attempt to whip up something with what I already have on hand.