WIPWed #113: New on the Needles

Thanks for all the congratulations and commiserations on my last post! It’s lovely to hear the experiences of mothers who have been there, done that, seen some crazy things, and gotten through to the other side. I’m still intending to write about the holiday gifts I made and the yarn I acquired, but the days keep slipping by and here we are at Wednesday Thursday already, so day-late WIPs it is.

Christmas Katniss Socks:

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BMFA Tigger Targhee in Gnome for the Holidays. Click for project page.

The Katniss socks have been my main WIP lately. The cables are fun to work and show up pretty well even in this variegated yarn. What’s been really fun, though, is trying out the brand new Tigger Targhee yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Tina named it ‘Tigger’ since it is an exceptionally bouncy yarn. It’s so bouncy because its construction is fairly unique in the sock yarn market: it’s an 8-ply cabled yarn, made from 4 plies of 2-ply yarn that have been overtwisted and then plied together. All that ply twist means it has lots of spring!

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Comparison of Socks That Rock LW (left) and Tigger Targhee (right).

This photo shows Socks That Rock LW and Tigger Targhee, side-by-side. STR is a traditional 3-ply yarn that also has lots of spring. Both yarns are roughly the same heavy fingering weight, so you can imagine how incredibly thin the 8 plies of TT must be. The colors on TT look a little more muted to my eye, likely because all of the twists break up the way light reflects. I’m looking forward to seeing how they feel when I wear them. Anyway, there’s your dorky yarn deconstruction for the day.

Skunky Fidra:

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Verdant Gryphon Odyssey, colorway Atomic Skunk. Click for project page.

Continuing my recent hat streak, I’ve barely just begun the new bulky weight hat pattern from Gudrun Johnston, Fidra. It’s so pretty! So fluffy! Must have! I’m also still working on my Speckled Sockhead but that lives at the office so I have no recent photos.

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My reading of late.

Two books have occupied my attention lately, one just for fun and the other for research. Mindy Kaling is hilarious (which should not surprise me since she wrote for The Office) and I love her current show The Mindy Project. Her book of memoir-like short essays and stories is quick and fun to read, highly recommend. The Baby Bargains book is essentially a resource where people did all the market research for me already, and just tell me what is best to buy. The authors base it on their own experience as well as feedback from thousands of their blog readers. It’s like reading all of the Amazon reviews for every product I could ever need all at once, without having to sort through the shitty ones that just say “this shipped very fast ” (DUH, IT’S AMAZON). It also clues you in on how to cut corners, stick to a budget, avoid expensive pitfalls, etc. I used their Bridal Bargains book during wedding planning and it saved a lot of sanity.

That’s it from me today! Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday.

 

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WIPWed #109: On the Move (sort of)

SO MANY THINGS are happening at Chez Woolen Diversions and one of those things is moving. UGH. We’re only moving a few towns over (to a nicer place with lower rent… whoa!) but it’s still a gigantic, major pain. So I’ve been keeping the knitting super simple lately. I’ve even sorted through all the yarn and WIPs and separated out anything I think I might need over the next month in case the rest of the stash gets buried under moving boxes. Like these:

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Can you spot Darwin?

Onto less disheartening things, like knitting!

Berrylicious Socks:

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BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight, colorway Berrylicious. Click for project page.

These socks are chugging along. I’m near the toe on one, mid-foot on the other. Not much else to see here…

Rotted Days:

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Handspun and a singles yarn I bought at a festival. Click for project page.

A combination of a long car ride and seeing everybody working on their Stephen West MKAL projects all over instagram (#thedoodler), is what inspired me to pick up my Dotted Rays shawl again. Now that I’ve got the hang of the short rows and don’t have to refer to the written-out-line-by-line pattern much anymore, I’m enjoying this garter stitch knit. I think it’ll be lovely once it’s done, and I’m still enamored of my yarn combination. Great use for handspun! I’m really liking the look of all those Doodler shawls, too, so I’ll probably cast one on someday. I’m staunchly anti-mystery-knit-along, though, so I’ll be waiting until I see everybody else’s finished products before I commit. Also, can we take a second to boggle over the fact that there are already 2,955 projects for that pattern?! At $6 a pop, and assuming that each shawl was a separate sale, Mr. West made over $17,700 in about a week or so. I think I’d faint with joy if I ever saw that much money flooding in instantaneously. Good for him.

Sweet Sheep news:

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Sweet Sheep goat milk soap in Chamomile Bergamot

I’ve been hard at work filling some wholesale orders and re-stocking the shop. I’ve added Chamomile Bergamot sheep-shaped goat milk soap, as well as a few sold-out lotion bar scents, such as Cinnamon Chai, Winter Gardenia, Orange Rosemary, Lavender, and Lemon Cake (to name a few). I was supposed to vend this weekend at the Mount Hope Farmer’s Market, but unfortunately, I pulled a muscle in my back that is currently spasming like crazy and has had me flat-on-my-back and out of work for a couple of days, so I’m taking the weekend to recover. (Back spasms hurt like whoa guys.) But, Rhode Islanders take solace: you can now check out Sweet Sheep lotion bars and soaps in person at The Mermaid’s Purl, a great little yarn shop in Wickford! Woohoo!

As for reading, I’m working on The Long War, the second book in a series co-written by Terry Pratchett (one of my epic literary loves) and Stephen Baxter. It’s about humans developing the ability to sort of ‘step’ sideways into millions upon millions of similar-but-different Earths. It’s a super cool concept and I love the (completely fantastical, obviously) idea that there are Earths out there that haven’t been ravaged by us, or that experienced different climactic events, or were not hit by asteroids and still have dinosaurs, or for some reason are populated entirely by butterflies. As an ecologist, it’s a fascinating thought experiment.

Anyways, linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday, and now  I’m off to rest this back. Oy.

WIPWed #107: Hat Land

Both of my active WIPs at the moment are hats, and I kind of love it. It’s easy to forget how delightfully quick and deliciously simple hats are to knit, even the ones with a bit of patterning. There were years when I knit hat after hat after hat for holiday gifts, as they really make perfect gifts. This year, I feel like knitting hat after hat after hat for me. #selfishknitter

Norby & Pease:

WIPWed 107: Hat Land | Woolen Diversions

Brooklyn Tweed Loft in Sweatshirt and Black Trillium Fibres Pebble Sock in Pease. Click for project page.

Even though Katy’s idea was a grand one, I decided to just stick with repeating the lightest color in the gradient to solve my dilemma. I think if I incorporate a couple of rows of the color into the crown decreases, too, it’ll look totally intentional. I’m glad I didn’t rip all the way back to the brim, but I’m having a wee bit of nervousness that the hat might be too tight. I removed a repeat of stitches because the brim seemed huge when I originally cast on, and I fear that I might in fact regret that. Only time and a good blocking will tell…

Antlers for Dad:

WIPWed #107: Hat Land

Madelinetosh Vintage, colorway Charcoal. Click for project page.

My dad is not very big on knitwear. He’s always hot, perpetually wears short sleeves, and would totally feel like he was being choked if he wore a scarf or a cowl, he cannot even handle crew-necked shirts. He’s missing some hair up top, though, so he does wear the one hat I knit for him 5 years ago. Recently he mentioned in an offhand way, “You know, I could use another hat”, so another hat he is getting. The problem is that I’m trying to hurry up and finish ASAP since his birthday is Friday and I think it would make a nice surprise. The pattern is Antler Hat by TinCanKnits and the yarn is Madelinetosh Vintage in Charcoal. Would you believe this is only my second time using a Madelinetosh yarn, and my first time using this worsted weight Merino? I LOVE IT. It’s such a nice base! I wasn’t super duper impressed with the sock yarn I’ve used in the past (I like a bouncy 3-ply for socks, theirs is a standard, drapey 2-ply) but this base is really nice. I’m hoping the hat blocks out a bit as I’ve also become worried that it’s going to be too small… stupid cables pulling in the fabric. We’ll see, my dad’s head is pretty small, so it could all work out fine.

Other hat patterns I’m deluding myself that I will knit soon (a.k.a. lusting after):

So many hats, so little time, amIright?!

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Current reading.

As for reading, I’m enjoying Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman. I like these memoir-style stories about motherhood and parenting in general. I think there’s a lot to be learned from other people’s experiences and styles of thinking, even if it’s learning what not to do or how not to be a neurotic mess. Whenever I become a parent, I feel like it’ll be these kinds of personal stories that will prove more useful and comforting than trying to follow a specific school of thought on parenting styles. Do you have any favorite books on motherhood or parenting that you found particularly enlightening?

Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday.

Five Things Friday

I am determined not to let another week go by with just a single, lonely blog post. However, I have not had time to take many photos this week; thus, today will be a list of random things with photos ganked from my Instagram.

1 – I have reached the waist decreases on my Rhinebeck sweater, and I have no idea what to do about them! I am modifying the pattern because I wanted more room in the hips but less room in the bust, so I thought decreasing about 3 inches for the waist and then increasing back out one inch for the bust might work for my measurements… BUT the fabric is an all-over ribbing/cable texture, so I am having trouble figuring out decrease placement that will allow for increasing back to a smaller stitch count than I began with, but still keep the pattern intact. WHY MUST I GET FANCY WITH THESE THINGS, HMMM?

ALL THE LIP BALMZ.

2 – My house has been an absolute mess for the last week or so as I’ve been nonstop making lotion bars and lip balms for a wholesale order and the fast-approaching Squam Art Fair. (September 19th in New Hampshire, will I see you?!) The Fiasco and I will be stickering and shrink-wrapping 150 lip balms tonight while watching The Cider House Rules on Netflix. Is that an exciting Friday night, or what?

3 – I have a very full head of fairly fine texture, wavy-curly hair that can be quite difficult to manage. I’ve been using Deva Curl products for a while now because their more natural, moisturizing, sulfate-free ingredients are supposed to be much better for curly hair and I really do like the shampoo and conditioner. Their styling products are nice, too, but I find they make my hair too ‘gunky’ the next day, and I only shampoo every other day so that’s not ideal. Anyway, they have a training program for stylists that teaches them to cut curly hair while dry so it flatters curly hair’s natural texture. I found one such stylist at a fancy city salon in Providence and I’m going to get a haircut tomorrow. I’ve been so bored with my hair and just generally unhappy with recent haircuts, so this is quite exciting for me. (It’s my blog, and I can naval-gaze if I want to!) Have any curly-headed ladies had luck with such haircuts?

HELP! FROZEN! AH!

4 – This morning, my Kindle screen tragically and strangely froze… just in the bottom left hand quadrant of screen. WHAT THE HECK AM I SUPPOSED TO DO ABOUT THIS? HOW WILL I LIVE?!?!?! I am quite distressed. How am I supposed to get my John Irving on with a screen like that?! What is happening? What should I do????

5 – This Sunday, my spinner’s guild is hosting a sock-yarn-spinning class taught by Amy King of Spunky Eclectic, who also teaches a Foundations of Spinning class on Craftsy and will be teaching lots of spinning-related classes at Rhinebeck. I am beyond excited about this. I haven’t had a proper spinning session since Tour de Fleece in July, and it’s high time I get back into it. I will be sure to report back with details on the class.

That’s all I have for you this Friday. Happy weekend, everyone!

WIPWed #103: It Has Begun

This August might go down in my personal history as the Busiest of All Time. Between trips, conferences, work deadlines, Sweet Sheep orders, and now my old car breaking down (again), schedule coordination has become a delicate and barely-balanced art form around here. I might manage to get through it all intact, but things will be a little touch-and-go, especially since I feel like summer is speeding by before I’ve even had a chance to enjoy it! But enough whining, onto some knitting.

Berrylicious Socks:

WIPWed #103: It Has Begun | Woolen Diversions

BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight, colorway Berrylicious. Click for project page.

Since these socks are so darn simple, they’ve been progressing at a rapid clip. That strange stripe of pooling in the middle of the leg is because my dear kitty Darwin took it upon himself to chomp through my yarn, so the color progression got out of whack when I spliced it back together. It gives the sock some extra personality, I guess?

Black Tea Hat:

This hat is finished (yay!) but you won’t see it until Friday as it is currently blocking and awaiting photos. 🙂

Grimm Green Stout:

WIPWed #103: It Has Begun | Woolen Diversions

BMFA Twisted, colorway Grimm’s Green. Click for project page.

Ooooooooh yes, folks, IT HAS BEGUN! You’re looking at two pocket liners and and 249 stitches of 1×1 ribbing for the bottom hem of my Rhinebeck sweater. The ribbing is progressing at a glacial pace, but I’m hoping the whole thing picks up a bit when the main stitch pattern starts or else I’m never going to make it. (Courage!)

Spinning:

A few weeks ago, I stress-impulse-purchased a gorgeous Galaxy batt from Yarnshine, on Etsy. The batt contains “celestial Bombyx Silk and Silk Noil blended into malachite and agean Bamboo, teal Soffsilk (mulberry silk), Black BFL, and Black Merino all accented by gorgeous, silvery Yak/Silk top” which was just plain irresistible to me, and it’s so lovely in person. Denise uses the same eco-conscious packaging that I do (yay!) and she included a little rolag that I happily spun up into a chain-plied sample. I haven’t washed the sample yet so it will probably plump up a bit more, but I’m not sure yet if I’ll do a 2-ply or 3-ply for the final yarn. I’d love to use the yarn for something like a Hitchhiker or Libby’s new Industry shawl. How would you spin it?

Sweet Sheep:

soaps

Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe handmade soap

If you’ve been looking for some handmade soap, I’ve recently added a bunch to the shop! There are sheep-shaped goat milk soaps available in Chipotle Caramel, Lavender, and Lemon Cake, as well as layered whipped goat milk and honey soap in Coconut Lime and Orange Cream, and a fun Tropical Surprise soap scented with French Mango that contains embedded pieces of the Coconut Lime soap.

As for reading, I’ve been steadily working my way through the Tiffany Aching YA Discworld sub-series written by Terry Pratchett. I’m now on the last one, I Shall Wear Midnight, and I have to say, his YA books are just as genius as his ‘adult’ ones, perhaps even moreso because he translates really complex ‘grownup’ world concerns with a certain simple elegance that I really appreciate. I’m so sorry he’s gone, but I’m so happy his words will always be around. They’re a wonderful legacy to his incredible brain.

Hope your weeks are going well! Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday.

WIPWed #102: Still Settling Back In

The rest of the conference I was attending last week was great, I even got to briefly visit the National Aquarium in Baltimore (highly recommend!). However, I did arrive home slightly worse for the wear. I’ve had some low-level cold symptoms since deplaning (love that word) and I also injured my foot pretty badly with all the walking around I did at the conference. The top of the arch of my foot has been painful and swollen for well over a week, but the swelling has been going down thanks to lots of icing and resting. I’ve had a  slower settling-back-into-things than I would have liked, but sometimes, you just have to take a break! Taking it easy has lead to a bit more knitting, so that’s good.

Black Tea:

WIPWed #102: Settling In | Woolen Diversions

Plucky Knitter Bello fingering held double. Click for project page.

My Black Tea hat looks nearly the same as last week because I had missed a cable crossing several rows back and spent too much time attempting to fix it by laddering down until I just gave in and frogged back a repeat. One does not always have the patience for tricky fixes!

Berrylicious Socks:

WIPWed #102: Settling Back In | Woolen Diversions

BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight, colorway Berrylicious. Click for project page.

These socks also tried my patience this week. I attempted Smokestack Socks and Hermione’s Everyday Socks to no avail – the yarn was just too variegated to look good in either pattern. I finally settled on a simple repeat of alternating knit rounds with rounds of *k3, p1*. Slightly more fun than plain ribbing, but not distracted at all by the colorway pooling and striping. They make for good meeting socks, at any rate.

Grimm Green Stout:

WIPWed #102: Still Settling In | Woolen Diversions

BMFA Twisted, colorway Grimm Green. No project page just yet.

Now that I’m back home, I’ve finally had a chance to swatch for what I’m hoping will be my Rhinebeck sweater (but I wouldn’t put money on it or anything, time is flying by). This is a swatch for Chocolate Stout by Thea Coleman. It’s going to be a really fabulous, texture grandpa cardi if I can get the sizing just right. The pattern is simple but fun and I’m completely in love with the colorway!

Sweet Sheep Soaps:

I managed to make a couple of new soaps to add to the shop: Coconut Lime whipped goat milk & aloe layered soap, as well as Chipotle Caramel sheep-shaped goat milk soap. Options in the shop are running kind of low as I’m waiting on some supplies to arrive, but once they do I’ll be busy re-stocking lots of different lotion bar scents and soaps, so hang tight!

And as for reading…

I finished the John Irving book I was reading last week and have since downloaded two more to my kindle: Son of an Elephant and Cider House Rules. First, though, I took a quick detour into the young adult version of Discworld with A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett. I love this little sub-series about Tiffany Aching, a pint-sized witch with lots of little blue friends in the form of the Nac Mac Feegle. I’m currently reading Wintersmith, the third book in the series, and will probably finish off the series with I Shall Wear Midnight before returning to the John Irving books.

How have you all been? I’m looking forward to catching up on all the blogging I missed! Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday.

The Week of Unfinished Business

As predicted, work has been increasingly crazy this month and this week in particular was a killer. It was also my dear Fiasco’s birthday, and while he sadly did not receive his birthday socks finished on time, he did receive a pretty good-looking surprise birthday pie, instead.

Birthday pie!

That pie was something of a comedy of errors. The night I planned to make it, the Fiasco was staying over his brother’s house, so I figured I’d have plenty of time to surprise him… until I was stuck finishing something at work until 9 pm. By the time I ran to the grocery store and got home, it was after 10. Then I couldn’t find the pie pan that I knew we owned (I did, eventually). Then I had to go digging through our camp box in the shed for the French press because I don’t know how to use the coffee pot we keep on the counter (whatever, I’m technology averse) and coffee is the main flavoring. And then, when I went to blend everything together, the fancy smoothie maker I own broke, so I had to transfer the sticky concoction over to a normal blender instead. Suffice it to say, I must really love that guy, because the pie wasn’t finished until the wee hours of the morning and I even cleaned up after myself in the kitchen, which is a rare enough occurrence as it is. (All of that, and the pie wasn’t that great! I thought it was too sweet and the crust stuck to the pan. Oh well, he loved it, and it was the surprise that mattered.) Now, onto the WIPWed post I never quite got to write this week…

Stealth Socks:

The Week of Unfinished Business | Woolen Diversions

BMFA STR HW, colorway Grimm. Click for project page.

These socks are a tad further along than shown here, I plan to buckle down on them this weekend and get them on the Fiasco’s feet ASAP. It should be a little easier to finish them now that I’m not trying to be sneaky about it.

My Favorite Socks Ever:

The Week of Unfinished Business | Woolen Diversions

BMFA STR LW, colorway Gran’s Kitchen. Click for project page.

As one might surmise by observing the kinky yarn, a wee bit of frogging has occurred. I undershot the toes by a few rows so rather than live with slightly-too-small socks, I decided to rip ’em back and have another go. If these are going to be my favorite, I want them to really be my favorite! I promise, though, in the near future I should have something to show other than this same sock pattern over and over again…

TdF BME Mind Bullets:

The Week of Unfinished Business | Woolen Diversions

Bee Mice Elf Merino top, colorway Mind Bullets

Despite a lack of photographic evidence, I am still slowly working on my Tour de Fleece spindle spin. This is the second half of the first ounce, but it’s going!

TdF TWF Wensleydale:

The Week of Unfinished Business | Woolen Diversions

Three Waters Farm undyed Wensleydale

I haven’t had much time to spin since my triumphant finished skeins earlier in the week, but I did take a second to get my next (and likely last) TdF spin started. This is some undyed Wensleydale, which is a gorgeously silky longwool. I’ve spun Wensleydale before in a pretty gradient, and am aiming to make a coordinating 2-ply yarn to use in a stripey project of some kind. Check out the length of those fibers! Luscious.

And as for reading:

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Natural beauty indulgences.

I was super duper excited when my pre-ordered copy of The Natural Beauty Solution by Mary Helen Leonard arrived in the mail. Mary writes the blog for From Nature With Love, a Connecticut-based soap-making and skin care ingredient supply store that I purchase some of my Sweet Sheep raw materials from. Her recipes are interesting and informative, and the book focuses on making your own skin care products from fresh ingredients. The book is beautifully photographed, too. I likely won’t be able to adapt many of the recipes for sale since they are designed to be kept refrigerated and used within a week, but I am looking forward to experimenting with my own routine! Next, I was inspired to pick up the copy of No More Dirty Looks that’s been in the queue for a while, to learn more about exactly which components of commercial beauty products are so bad for your skin. Turns out, the answer is most of them. Guys, this book is like a ‘scared straight’ program. It’s making me want to chuck out everything I own that isn’t already all-natural, which at this point isn’t much since I buy a good proportion of whatever beauty products I don’t make myself from Lush. The number of carcinogenic and downright damaging ingredients that are in most products, along with the completely bogus industry regulation (9 ingredients are banned from use in US cosmetics… while there are over 1,000 banned in the UK) are pretty intense. It’s a really great read so far and I look forward to going into more detail as I experiment with some replacement products.

Blackberry Sage lotion bar

Blackberry Sage lotion bar

Speaking of natural body care, Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe will be vending at the Meiklem Kiln Works Arts & Wellness Fair TOMORROW, Saturday 7/25 from 10 am – 4 pm in Bozrah, CT. Come say hi, and check out our new summer fragrances, like Blackberry Sage!

Phew! When I don’t write for a while, looks like it all comes out at once. Hope you’re all having good weeks. Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday, despite being a few days delayed.

WIPWed #100: That’s a Nice Round Number

I’ve reached 100 WIP Wednesday posts, woohoo! Now, that’s not 100 weeks in a row or even 100 weeks of knitting, as there has been plenty more knitting than that, but 100 weeks of cataloging my knits in a systematic way, at least! (You can see all WIPWed posts here, if you’d like.) This week, I have spinning and socks.

My Favorite Socks Ever:

My favorite socks are currently in the toe stage of development, which means they’re almost done! I’m going to wear the bejeezus out of these things come fall. Also, I thought I should illustrate how difficult it is for me to get good blog photos sometimes; I have to fight off kitties for space and light (especially the yarn-hungry Darwin) through the entire photo-taking process.

Stealth Socks:

WIPWed #100

BMFA Socks That Rock Heavyweight, colorway Grimm. Click for project page.

The secret stealth socks are progressing, but not nearly fast enough. I’m on the heel flap of both but need to put some serious time into them this week.

TdF Merino Mind Bullets:

WIPWed #100

BeeMiceElf Merino top, colorway Mind Bullets. Click for handspun page.

Even though they are a pain in the butt to wind neatly, my favorite part of Turkish spinning is the fat little turtles of yarn you get when you take the cop off the spindle. That’s only about 0.5 oz of fiber, so I have a bit more to go *eye roll*.

TdF Dusky Greens:

WIPWed #100

Three Waters Farm Falkland, colorway Greens at Dusk. Click for handspun page.

As I am on the Three Waters Farm Tour de Fleece team, I figured it was about time I started in on some Three Waters Farm fiber. In one evening (!) I spun up 1/3 of a braid of Falkland wool in lovely green shades. I’m planning to make a 3-ply yarn to coordinate with the pound of Falkland I spun up when I first got my wheel. Now if I just had more time to spin… Work is going to be insane through the end of the month and the first couple of weeks of August will be busy with a vacation and a conference, so chances are my posts will be a bit spotty until later in August. I will do my best but if I disappear for a while, that’s why!

As for reading, I started a new book:

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Definitely worth the read.

Some of you may have already heard of the Whole30 program, and even if you have, this book is worth reading to better understand the reasons behind it. The idea of the program is to stop eating certain unhealthy foods for 30 days and see how your body feels. Then you reintroduce them and observe any changes, so that you can make well-informed decisions about your diet in the future. I love this idea. The book does a good job of summing up the very complicated and unclear science of how food interacts with your body. Admittedly, the authors overuse analogies waaaaaaaaaaay too much, but the science they describe is pretty sound and clearly explained. They define unhealthy foods as those that do one (or more) of four things: 1- have an addictive or unhealthy psychological effect, 2- unbalance your hormones, 3- disrupt your gut health, and 4- induce an immune system response. For the most part, these foods include all grains, dairy, legumes, and seed oils. It essentially encourages a Paleo-style diet of protein, veggies, and fruit. For people struggling with their health or their weight while eating what seem like healthy foods, giving this program a try might be worth it. I haven’t done it quite yet, but the diet I did last year was very much like it and since I’ve been slowly-but-surely regaining some of the weight I had lost (despite calorie-counting, yoga, weight-lifting, and walking regularly) it’s worth a try to see if it can get my metabolism-related hormones back in balance.

Also, if you’ll allow me a moment on my soapbox, I think people should read this book so that they realize that obesity is a real biological problem. It’s not just mental (put down the fork!) or about willpower (get up off the couch!), it involves overcoming real biochemical challenges (genetics, metabolism, stress, hormones, brain chemicals) as well as societal pressures (restaurants, ads, easy junk food, peers) at every turn. And for some people, it’s a lifelong freaking struggle, despite doing everything right. It’s a legitimate disease and as far as I can tell, it’s one of the few left that people feel justified in openly mocking and belittling. Next time you have unkind thoughts about a fat person, take a beat and remember that there’s a pretty good chance they’re working on it and it’s not all their fault.

Soapbox done, back to your regularly scheduled knitting! Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesdays.

WIPWed #99: Spinning Through

Tour de Fleece is in full swing and I’m doing what I can to participate. I was away celebrating our first wedding anniversary when it began, but I did take my spindle and some fiber to at least make a start. We got back stupidly late Monday night (more like early Tuesday AM) so yesterday was all about catching up with life, but I did manage to get a couple of ounces spun up on my wheel, as well. Needless to say, my knitting progress has slowed with all this spinning going on, but I’m not complaining. Spinning is quite soothing, despite the old wrist injury that I aggravated by using the grip of death on a crazy carnival ride the Fiasco made me do. (Yeah, I blame him for my wrist pain. That’s what marriage is for!)

TdF Merino Mind Bullets:

WIPWed #99: Spinning Through | Woolen Diversions

Bee Mice Elf Merino top, colorway Mind Bullets. Click for handspun page.

This spin is going to take a good long while, but I’m loving it. That Subterranean Woodworks Turkish spindle is one of my absolute favorites. The weight is perfect, the color makes me happy, and it’s a zippy little spinner.

TdF BFL/Silk Singles:

WIPWed #99: Spinning Through | Woolen Diversions

Bee Mice Elf BFL/Silk, colorway Eggplant in Ashes. Click for handspun page.

I spun one braid of these singles before TdF began (left bobbin), but got a decent 2 oz spun last night while I watched more Vampire Diaries (still obsessed!) and made a few batches of lotion bars (Lavender EO has been restocked and a new scent, Smoky Patchouli, has been added to the shop). Fingers crossed that I can speed through the final 2 oz tonight.

Rotted Days:

WIPWed #99: Spinning Through | Woolen Diversions

Actually using my handspun! Click for project page.

Spending 9 hours in the car over the long weekend lead me to resurrect my handspun Dotted Rays shawl. I’m at the point where the short rows take much longer to get through, so there isn’t as much flipping back and forth and I’ve settled into a nice rhythm with it. I’ve nearly finished my first skein of handspun and desperately need to switch to a larger cable so the shawl won’t look like a pile of mush in photos.

That’s all I’ve really worked on this week. I’m currently in between books right now, although I’m listening to a really good one (Birthmarked by C.M. O’Brien). It’s about a young girl who is a midwife in a post-climate-change society and there is some kind of drama starting between the ‘advanced’ people who live within the walls of the city, and everyone else on the outside. Not deep into it yet but it’s intriguing so far.

And just for fun, here are some pics from our trip to Maine:

Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesdays.

(And congrats to Alexis of CobCottageCraft, the winner of the Myra cowl pattern from my review post and giveaway. Keep an eye out for my e-mail!)

WIPWed #96: Waxing Poetic

Dear socks, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Your slipped stitches gracefully pop out of a field of blues and greys. Your simple pattern brings me joy and you’ve grown so much in only days. What more could I ask for? When you’re finished, you will amaze.

My Favorite Socks Ever:

WIPWed #96: Waxing Poetic | Woolen Diversions

BMFA Socks That Rock LW, colorway Gran’s Kitchen. Click for project page.

I call that Ode to My Favorite Socks Ever because hot damn, I love these socks. The yarn is from the March kit of the Rockin’ Sock Club and I’m so glad I traded my May skein for another of this colorway because I could knit with this and only this for the rest of my life and not be sad. That aqua is just the right aqua and that grey is just the right grey and I love how it all looks mixed together with white. It took a little trial and error to find a pattern that looked good with the pooling inherent in hand-dyed yarn of short color repeats, but the stitch pattern in Dalekanium did the trick. I am really just using the stitch pattern, knitting my sock top-down with whatever heel and toe I choose. (That free pattern is very similar to the paid Atlantic Current pattern, as well.) The slipped stitches are simple yet effective and I am really loving this knit.

Colinton Cowl:

WIPWed #96: Waxing Poetic | Woolen Diversions

Colinton Australia Lace, colorway Dove. Click for project page.

I’m also madly in love with my mohair laceweight Myra cowl. The mistake I wrote about last week wasn’t too difficult to fix, it actually wasn’t a dropped stitch but a completely wrong row so a little careful tinking got me back on track with minimal fuss. The fabric this yarn is making doesn’t look like much (yet) but it feels absolutely incredible. I think sometimes mohair gets a bad rap and this yarn in particular feels very much like silk. I’m loving it.

I’m also loving the project bag I keep my cowl in. A friend of mine from the spinner’s guild made it for me and I absolutely adore it. She said it was very simple to make, just a couple of squares sewn together cleverly, but I love how it opens up  nice and wide and fits my straight needles easily. Thanks again, Christine!

Finally, I’m totally loving the show I’m watching while I knit my cowl: The Vampire Diaries. The Fiasco can make fun of me all he wants for watching a show about teenage supernaturals (When do shows about high school kids get old, really? Shouldn’t they be old already? High school wasn’t that exciting!) but that man is one sexy vampire and I can watch him all night long. Ahem. Sorry. I just… sigh.

Reading:

I finished Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety and think that it was a really insightful, important read. Yes, a little depressing, but not in the “this can never be fixed!” way, more in the “why do people allow themselves to get bogged down like this?” way. Have hope! Keep trying! Sign petitions! Write your lawmaker! Don’t lose sight of what’s right! I think it was overall a hopeful book, although it’s full of depressing facts and history. Books that open one’s eyes to ‘why’ and ‘how’ of certain realities of society are really important, even if they aren’t an answer in and of themselves.

I came across a blog post with an excerpt from Mother Shock: Loving Every (Other) Minute Of It by Andrea Buchanan. (There’s also a whole Literary Mama blog I just discovered, too. Good break time reading!) The book is a collection of heartfelt/humorous/smart essays written throughout the first 3 years of the author’s daughter’s life. It sets out to chronicle her reaction to motherhood and compares it to culture shock. I thought it was really well done and read the thing in 3 days. Worth it!

Have you read any good books lately? I think it might be time for me to take a break from the motherhood-related books and read something a bit more light-hearted and fictional.

Linking with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesdays.