I go to the library almost weekly to write. Ok sometimes it’s just to have a quiet space to answer emails, but the goal is usually to write. While I’m there I like to peruse the aisles marked “photography” or “art”, or even better yet “textiles”, and I usually find a few books to take home and look through for inspiration. Sometimes it’s a skill I’m interested in, patterns, cooking, that sort of thing. Sometimes it’s color or design. And sometimes I just like to look at interesting pictures.
Today I want to share snippets of one of these books with you and hope it inspires you in some way. Even if you just happen to go wandering down a library aisle or two…
I’ve been trying to write a book for years now. YEARS. And this is my deadline, I’m setting it here and making it known.
I want to have a rough draft of my book done by New Year’s Day.
This feels impossible. I’m 37,855 words in as I write this post and half of that (ha! most of that) feels like crap.
But that’s not the point!
Rough is in the title of a first draft for a very good reason.
My goal is to have it written. To get the story out of my head and onto paper. To finish something that feels impossible. I don’t care if anyone ever reads it (my wonderful late great uncle always said writers write, published or not) and I may finish it and never want to touch or edit the thing again.
Earlier this year, when I was really starting to enjoy knitting and wanting to plan ahead for a few projects, I had the idea to make my mom something for her 70th birthday. Now, I get asked a lot, “Oh could you make me…” or “Could you teach me to make…” and the answer is usually “no.”
Not because I’m a selfish, crotchety person, or not mainly because of that, but because very few are actually worthy of receiving handmade gifts. Making hand made clothes takes so much time and energy and then it needs to be taken care of once you give it away. So please know, the few that get handmade gifts from me are absolutely what I would call knitworthy and no one more so than my own mom.
My mom doesn’t knit but she does needlepoint and she’s been around me knitting enough to appreciate the time that goes into doing a craft beautifully. I wasn’t quite ready to knit a sweater for another human being yet, it feels like there’s a lot that could go wrong there?, but I thought a shawl might be the way to go.
Now, maybe you hear shawl and picture a little white haired lady with lace moon shaped garment draped over her shoulders. No shade to that lady, but shawls can be a whole lot more than that. I decided to go with the Find Your Fade Shawl by Andrea Mowry. I loved how this pattern plays with color and how it’s almost the size of a blanket. You can wear it draped over your shoulders, wrapped around like a scarf, or cozy up with it on a couch. I could just picture my mom bringing this along with her to the opera in Santa Fe and went in search of yarn.
I am still a little intimidated buying yarn, especially online, and was nervous about getting the color choices right. I searched kits for this shawl and found some gorgeous options over at Miss Bab’s. I settled on a blue, periwinkle set and absolutely love how this turned out. I loved working with the kit because you know the colors play nicely together but you can still experiment with placement and the fade itself.
As for knitting, this shawl was not difficult but the size did get a little intimidating. I was working on a deadline with my mom’s birthday coming up and I did get a little stressed that I wouldn’t make it! I love that there are plain garter sections to just mindlessly get lost in and then a fun lace section that was easy to memorize by about the third go around. It’s got me thinking having a shawl or a blanket to slowly work on all the time might be a nice idea in the future.
In the end, actually giving it to my mom was the best part. She immediately understood the love and care that went into every stitch and it looks fantastic on her! I hope she wraps herself up in it for years and celebrations to come!
Goal: I feel like it’s reasonable to say I could have this finished by the end of the month. It’s a simple sweater and you hold the yarn double so it should go fairly quickly. I’d love to wear it with my next project for Thanksgiving.
Goal: This should be a relatively simple sew. I’d like to think it’s the last thing I’m going to sew in this rental house? Fingers crossed. Want it finished earlier in the month so I can get some wear out of it before it gets too cold.
Happy Halloween from Dr. Ellie Sattler and her two T-rexes and a creepy masked light up little boy. We had a trunk or treat this weekend and Sam had a preschool Halloween party on Friday. I tell you what, not much cuter than a room full of preschoolers in Halloween costumes! Today is the big day and I think we might try and get Sam in his costume one more time for a trick or treat downtown event but then drop off the big kids and let them have at it. Sam is interested in the candy, not so much in the actual trick or treating. I have a feeling there will be plenty to share by the end of the night!
Happy Halloween to you whether you are trick or treating, hiding from trick or treaters, or just having a regular Monday!
Give me a dilapidated old house. Preferably falling a part at the seams on a foggy countryside out in the middle of no where. Bonus points for constant damp and cold.
Give me a family secret. Something hidden from the outside world for generations, eating away at the surviving members.
Give me a stranger, a young woman who’s head is usually lost in books, coming into this setting and slowly uncovering the truth and finding her voice along the way.
These are my favorite books, the spooky but not scary gothic novels that work so well this time of year. I recently listened to Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield (side note, Juliet Stevenson is the narrator and she is my favorite narrator on audible and I think probably anything she reads is worth a listen) and while it doesn’t fit the criteria above, it’s very close with a side of magical realism. It’s also what led me to recently read her book The Thirteenth Tale and it checks all the boxes and got me thinking what other spooky reads I feel drawn to this time of year. Here’s a list for you to take to the library.
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters: This author is always good for a spooky read, but I think this book was my favorite of hers. Creepy as hell and entirely engrossing.
The Lake House by Kate Morton: Another great author to fill your gothic needs, I loved it a few years ago and have another one by her on my nightstand to read this month.
What did I miss? Obviously this list is mostly current fiction and they are my most recent reads off the top of my head. Would love to hear what gothic novels, requirement spooky not scary, you curl up with this time of year.
Fabric: I picked up the rayon plaid in the clearance section of Joann and found these great waffle knits in their apparel wear section.
Goal: Finish this month. My daughter informed me she no longer wanted ‘little kid pjs’ (she means matching Hanna Anderson’s and my heart is breaking!) so I thought I would make a cozy, coordinating set for all three.
WIP: Sweater for my Daughter (yes all of these do in fact appear to be for her… what is going on?!)
Goal: My first ever mystery knit along and I’m excited to learn some new skills and enjoy the process. I am starting a week behind but that’s ok, I would just like to stay on top of it and keep up as much as I can!
I’ll check in next month to show what I’m working on and hopefully can sprinkle some finished makes throughout the month here. What’s everyone else working on?
I read this poem recently and can’t stop thinking about it. Joy Harjo is the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States and a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma and if you would like to check out all of her work, here is her official website.
I think my favorite lines from this poem are “If I think behind me, I might break. If I think forward, I lose now.” They have been resonating in my head for weeks and could almost make me cry if I think about them too long. If that’s not a tribute to the power of poetry, I don’t know what is. Please enjoy the poem and tell me what line makes you catch your breath. I hope it carries you through your Monday if nothing else!
Wait.. having read it again I also love “I have found you in the story again.” I’m telling you, it’s a good one!
It is a dark fall day. The earth is slightly damp with rain. I hear a jay. The cry is blue. I have found you in the story again. Is there another word for ‘‘divine’’? I need a song that will keep sky open in my mind. If I think behind me, I might break. If I think forward, I lose now. Forever will be a day like this Strung perfectly on the necklace of days. Slightly overcast Yellow leaves Your jacket hanging in the hallway Next to mine.