Tuesday, December 20, 2011

these halls are DECKED! :)

Keith and I are only at our apartment for another night before packing up (again) and heading north for Christmas, but I finally got around to taking pictures of our tree and decorations with his camera. (Well, technically, I made him take them.) They aren't the best pictures, but at least they exist!

I am glad to be going home for Christmas, but it also seems a little sad that our home will be all decked out and lonely during most of the actual Christmas season. Maybe these decorations will stick around for a bit longer than Epiphany. :)




Our Fontanini Nativity. There are shepherds on the right, where you can't see them; on the left are the musicians (the Little Drummer Boy, a bagpiper, and some other sort of piped instrument that may or may not actually exist). Baby Jesus isn't in the manger yet.




Our mantel, decked out with trimmed branches from the Christmas tree, and extra strand of lights, and two mini stockings. :) You can't really see in this picture, but the stocking on the left says "Casey's First Christmas," because that was a possible name for Keith before he was born, and a sort-of nickname because his initials are KC.

Our TV doesn't usually live in the fireplace, but we've rearranged things to accomodate the tree. When we had friends over for caroling, we played a video of a fireplace on the screen. ;)



The Christmas tree! We don't have a tree skirt yet, or a star for the top, but we have plenty of ornaments--some of mine, some of Keith's, and some that we've started collecting together. And ... it looks really, really crooked in this picture. I don't think it actually leans that much in person. (Maybe it does ...)

Speaking of pictures ... some long-distance friends (who are also pregnant) have been bugging me, so I want to take a "bump" picture sometime soon ... maybe in my (maternity) Christmas dress! :) Probably at my parents' place; but maybe here. :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Hat!

So, my camera has officially died. I mean, it still turns on and focuses and everything; it just doesn't take pictures anymore. I push the shutter button and everything goes blank.

Which means that the only picture I have to share with you today is a very, very crappy cell phone picture.

I lost my beautiful purple Meret--the first thing I ever knit myself--and had no other hat. So I knit myself a Brambles instead, out of lovely teal Berroco Ultra Alpaca. Right now it's blocking over a plate, and I'm starting to doubt that it will be dry in time for Christmas caroling tomorrow night. Maybe if I put it on a radiator? I almost didn't block it for this very reason--it fit like a beanie rather than a beret, but it was functional--but I decided that 24+ hours should be more than enough time for it to dry. That was before I came home, 3 hours after blocking it, to find it still soaking wet. Sigh.

As for reading: I just finished Stephane Pearl-McPhee's new book, which was of course awesome, and am returning to The Voice of the River, which I neglected in favor of funny essays about knitting. I love this book a lot, but I have realized (and should have known) that it is NOT the sort of book you can put down for a week without feeling a little lost when you pick it back up again. The narrative is too loose and meandering, shifting characters even within chapters. I love it, though.

Right now the apartment is all decorated for Christmas, which makes me happy. I will try and remember to ask my husband for his camera so I can take pictures. :)

Linking up with Ginny at small things.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Off I go ...

Fortified with tea and cookies, I embark on my revisionary quest.

It isn't due til Monday, but I'm hoping to finish it by Saturday so I don't have to worry about it on Sunday. (Gaudete Sunday. Geez. Advent is so short, and I always feel so unprepared!)

So I may be a bit rare around these parts, but believe me, I am reading all the blog posts that pop up on my Google Reader. Obsessively. :) That's what happens when I have work to procrastinate ...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

what words can do

You remember Uncle Roy on his knees, hammer in his hand, mouth full of nails--a man bending to do his work, calm at last, strangely grateful--a father humbled by hurt, building a ramp for his fifteen-year-old son's wheelchair. [...] He let the hammer speak: one word at a time, one word over and over.

Sweet Mary Mother of God slit the man's violet scar to slip her own bright heart inside him. She took his in return, pierced and still bleeding. Enough, she said. Let me love you. She's not afraid of grief. You think I don't know? Tulanie's pain has lifted Roy's rage out of him.

(from The Voice of the River, by Melanie Rae Thon)

(Roy is a veteran (Vietnam?) who was sent home after being wounded, and whose wife left him because of the anger he carried after his experience; his son, Tulanie, was paralyzed waist-down in an accident.)

This novel is half fiction, half poetry. I was a little scared to read it, after In This Light, which was often too dark and gritty for my tastes.

Not that I can't read fiction that acknowledges darkness; not that I need happy endings. But I want to feel that I am seeing the darkness of what's human and broken as God sees it: not through eyes of despair or resignation, but redemption. And this book ... this book. I wish I could write it.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bleh.

Today I was going to:

-do laundry
-finish a draft of the book review due Monday
-write a grad student email (still must do that ...)
-grade ALL THE STUFF
-and, ambitiously, get started on my revision due in two weeks. (This would never have actually happened, but.)


Instead this is what I did:

-ate breakfast
-sat at table and felt tired and sick
-lost breakfast
-went back to bed
-got up and ate some pasta
-sat around and did nothing until posting here.


Seriously, I am more than halfway through this pregnancy, haven't felt nauseous for weeks, and now morning sickness?? Sigh. I can't complain much, since I my first trimester was easier than it was for other women I know. But it's so frustrating, and I just can't seem to get enough sleep, and it makes me feel like a bum.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Our Advent


Over Thanksgiving, I gathered up the Christmas ornaments I had left at my parents' house, and my mom also sent me home with some of my grandmother's. So Keith and I are ready to decorate our first Christmas tree. I'm really hoping that we get one before the end of the week. My family always set up trees late--sometimes not til Christmas Eve--and kept it up a while afterwards; but since Keith and I won't be here over Christmas or New Year's, we'd like to decorate early so we can enjoy it during Advent.

I love the idea of entering fully into the Liturgical year at home through family traditions and decorations, and my wish list for Advent is growing: an Advent wreath and candles, a Jesse tree, a manger that waits for the Christ Child under the tree. But I'm realizing these will be things that Keith and I gather year by year (especially things like the Jess tree, which can wait until we have kids).

One thing we do have is a Nativity set. When I was confirmed I received a lot of Fontanini figurines, and although my collection is a bit lopsided (I have one wise man, unless you count the giant Balthazar that stands a good two inches taller than all the other people), I remembered to pack it up and bring it back down with us last week. (I remember religious stores used to have crazy displays for these, on par with those railroads some people set up in their basements. The entire city of Bethlehem, buildings and hills populated by people and animals, and off in a quiet corner--the stable.)

So farI've just set up the stable, the (empty) manger, and Mary and Joseph. This was because I felt lazy at the time, but I've decided to add the figurines one at a time, as a sort of Advent calendar. (I tried to take a picture, but it seems my camera has finally gasped its last.) Keith pointed out that yes, Jesus isn't here yet; but technically, neither are Mary and Joseph, so they shouldn't be in the stable either. I suppose I could have them travel around the room with a donkey until they reach the stable on Christmas Eve. But ... no. I won't. :-P

And as we are, of course, awaiting the arrival of our own little baby (although not until well after Christmas!), it adds something extra special to this Advent. Caitlin called me out in my last post--we got our ultrasound yesterday, which means we now know the gender! I'm happy to inform you all that we are having a little boy!

It's something of an adjustment, actually, because we've been thinking of the baby as a girl and calling him "she" for a while now! It means I have to save the pretty baby sweater patterns I've been looking at for a later pregnancy ... and now start gathering handsome ones. :) But we are pretty thrilled!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Comfort Knitting

Today, I am exceedingly tired, having risen early for an appointment that was much earlier than I would've preferred. It doesn't help that it's a grey day, which isn't exactly ideal for picture-taking, either; but I still have a photo for the yarn along.


It's a green fuzzy blanket! I don't think you can tell from the picture, but it's knit in a feather and fan lace pattern. This is my comfort knitting: it's soft and cuddly, it's easy enough to do while reading, so both the product and the process are comforting. I need some comfort knitting to get through the rest of this semester. (And I imagine that this blanket will take me a ways into next semester, also; I have ten balls of the yarn and am currently on the third.)

The book is from the library, and it's one I've been looking forward to reading for a while. I have to be honest: when I started reading it, I was a tad disappointed. This has nothing to do with the quality of the book, but rather with it being a different kind of book than I expected; which in turn has to do with my being in an MFA program and having a lot of exposure to Creative Nonfiction. I absolutely love the concept--knitting designers sharing stories about family members who played a role in shaping their creativity; using knitting as a link between generations. Larissa Brown does a good job of recreating these stories from interviews with the knitters themselves, and now that I'm into the book, I'm enjoying it and highly recommend it.

I also completed the first of a pair of socks last week, and I must say I'm pretty proud of it. It's a lizard sock for Keith's birthday. But alas, I don't know where he put it, so no pictures.

And now, I am off to take a nap ...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Yarn (and coffee) at the end of a long day ...


For this week's yarn along I haven't much on the needles. But I do have finished objects!


(Sorry for the crappy picture: it is rainy and dark outside, and darker in our apartment.)

All the Baby Surprise Jacket needs is to be sewn up and have the ends woven in, and then I'll have to pick out some buttons. :) And I finished my Honeymoon Socks (finally!).Again, just some ends that need weaving.

And on the reading front, I finished Shadow Theater, which I found a little confusing at times (lots of names to keep track of), but enjoyed. No new books from the library yet, as I was pretty focused on completing a short story for workshop last week and over the weekend.

Today I am knitting a hexipuff from the honeymoon yarn. But most of my day, so far, was spent running around trying to find the lost and found where my purse had been turned in. Once I got there everyone was nice and helpful, and I even bumped into the bus driver who had found it for me; but it was a very rainy day, and I was tired and frustrated, and it ate up all my time. Blarg.

Although I do have to get working on some school stuff, today I am going to take it easy and concentrate on things like laundry and various other housekeeping things that will make me feel good about myself and accomplished and save this day from being wasted.

On the bright side: As a reward to myself for finding my purse and surviving and all that, I stopped by Anthropologie and poked around for a bit. Pretty things. :) (I did, of course, scoff thoroughly at the simple bulky-weight knit hat that cost $58. Anthro, there is a yarn store down the street.) They had lovely peacock lampshades that I lusted after.

Then I went across the parking lot and bought what I honestly believe was the best mocha of my life from Coffee Tree Roasters. For real. I don't think I can ever go back to Starbucks again.

As I pulled out of the parking lot, I thought I wouldn't mind a job at Anthropologie, working amongst so many pretties with (I assume) an employee discount.

And then I realized.

I will probably never work a retail job again. At least, not in the foreseeable future. Not with babies to take care of who will grow into children to homeschool.

It was kind of an odd realization, but it made me happy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Four Angles of Tuesday

1. I left my purse on the bus today. Luckily the driver was headed back to the garage shortly after my stop, and the Port Authority managed to track him (and my purse) down, and it should be waiting for me at lost and found. Eesh.

2. I was asked today, for the first time ever, if I was pregnant. (Well, okay, not the first time; but for the first time because I *looked* pregnant.) This made me happy. :)

3. Flannery O'Connor is an amazing woman. Proof: "Writing is like giving birth to a piano sideways. Anyone who perseveres is either talented or nuts." For those of you who have to deal with me/listen to me weep and moan on bad days, just remember I'm giving birth to a piano. Sideways. (Not sure if writing a manuscript prepares one for real labor, or real labor prepares one for writing. I'll get back to you on this in five months.)

4. Today is a soft and velvety fall day and it is wonderful. And my husband gave me money to sustain myself before class since I am without my wallet. So I can't really complain all that much I guess.

Back to grading.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Desultory Bits (and a contest)

So I am not one of those people that shares their wishlists on their blog or Facebook page ... but. Knitpicks has a contest. And I want to enter it. And so, for those who care to click the link, I share with you:


(At least I think that will be my wishlist if you click on it.)

In other news, I have discovered that if I do one load a day on my days home, I can keep the laundry beast in check. It's an empowering discovery.

In other other news, apparently a bridge between our apartment and school is being Occupied on Tuesday. I have ambiguous feelings about this, but I imagine that a demonstration by the natives of this little community is going to be vastly different than those by people in, say, Oakland, CA, or NYC, or various other cities where the protests are avenues for behavior I can't condone no matter the cause.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Casting On and Off

I did quite a bit of knitting last week, but between doctor's appointments and story-writing and general busyness, I never got around to posting for Ginny's yarn along. But I am back today!

The BSJ looks about the same as it did two weeks ago, although I added a few rows. However, I have (finally) cast on the mate of my first Honeymoon Sock, and I have cast off my brother's birthday present.


For those who want to see the finished present, you'll have to head over to the Ravelry page. :)

I've also been kniting hexipuffs! I am enjoying these little things! It gives me a chance to work with these beautiful yarns again, and they are so quick and easy and lovable. They're made of leftover bits from my Haruni, my Annis, my cowl, and the light green one was knit of a strand of the Annis yarn and Kidsilk Haze (from my bridesmaid shawls) held together.


The book is Shadow Theater by Fiona Cheong, who is the chair of my manuscript committee. For whatever reason, I haven't actually read anything published by the members of my committee until now, so it's about time I did so!

Thanks to all of you who gave congratulations on my last yarn along post! I know I didn't respond to everyone because I got so busy, but I really appreciate it, and it makes me happy to be able to share our joy with others.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Quickening

I've been waiting to feel my baby move for the past few weeks. Yes, it was kind of early, but you always hear stories about women who felt their first flutters at 14 weeks, so I paid attention! Every now and then I would pause whatever I was doing (usually typing ...) and think, was that the baby? My conclusion was usually no, it wasn't the baby--just gas, or some other bodily function.

But last week--week 16--I felt the baby move.

It wasn't at all like a fluttering, the way my cousin (and many people on the internet) described it. It wasn't at all like gas. It wasn't like "popcorn popping" (thanks again, internet!). It was like a poke from the inside, a small (but not too gentle!) prodding.

I was laying on my back on the couch, with my laptop on my stomach (a position that it later occurred to me wasn't the best for baby), and there it was, clear and pretty much unmistakable. And I've been feeling it just about every day since. Sometimes it's the poking, other times it's a broader sort of pressure I assume is the baby's head or rear.

It's always beautiful.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Present Moment

As I drove past a Catholic church on my way to visit a friend on Wednesday (after hearing our baby's heartbeat for the second time that morning!), I crossed myself as usual, and then added the prayer, "Lord, please help me to live in the present moment."

My friend is a stay-at-home Mom to two beautiful little boys--my godson, who is 19 months, and his little 6-7 month-old brother. We talked about how motherhood makes you live in the present moment--can practically force you to do so, just as parenthood (in some ways) can force you to be selfless in ways that being married without kids doesn't. (Don't feel like getting up in the middle of the night to feed the baby? Well, you don't have all that much choice!)

And I realized (again) that I am in a pretty funny place right now. I want that so badly--that present-moment lifestyle of taking care of a little one. It's what I've always wanted for my life, to be a mother (and to write), and I guess not many people have their childhood wishes fulfilled so clearly. But living in the present moment isn't something I'm called to do five or six months from now; it's something I'm called to do--well, now, in the present. And it's very difficult.

I keep finding myself wishing that I was on the other side of this graduate degree, that grad school was over. Even more often, I find myself wishing, simply, that it was next semester, that the process of drafting my manuscript was over and I could simply focus on revision, which to me right now seems like a distant and peaceful dream. (Oh, I know revision will be tough. But the stories will already all exist in some state or other, and believe me, that's a big deal.)

I have to struggle sometimes not to be jealous of my friends who aren't in school, not because I have some romanticized idea of their lives, but because I am at this weird in-between spot where I *can't* make dinner for my husband half the time (we usually cook together, which is nice too), or keep up with the laundry and the dishes and the dusting, much as I want to, because even though I am home three weekdays out of five ... I am grading, and reading and writing for class, and working on my manuscript.

My present moment right now is overwhelming. It is, in fact, a place where I am mightily struggling with discouragement about myself. But it is where I am. It's where God wants me to be, and more importantly, it is where He is. A funny sort of in-between place it might be, with my future tangible in the very poking, stirring feelings of my baby moving around inside of me; but I know I am here for a reason, and if that reason is to bear the fruit God wills, I must live within His reality. (In fact, there is very little that has taught me as much about the operation of God's will in my life as grad school, from the very moment I chose to go. And I know He has so much more to show me if I rest in Him, in this present.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm Back (plus one!)

There are currently many needles occupied in this apartment. (There's probably some sort of ratio for that--how many knitting projects are underway vs how much academic work I should be doing. But we won't get into that!)

On one pair of them is a lacy scarf for myself knit from the delicious Tart colorway in Madeleine Tosh lace. I. Love. This. Red. It is amazing. But the pattern is a very slow knit.


Another is a Christmas project for my brother. (I don't think he reads this blog? But if he does: Anthony, STOP READING.) It's that odd grey thing with the blue bumps, which Doctor Who fans might be able to recognize as the beginnings of a dalek. This is my first experience with bobbles, and I must say that I don't like the amount of time they take to knit. I much prefer nupps, which are made over the course of two rows rather than knit all at once. But I'm more than halfway through the bobble rows, so.

Last but not least ... I am knitting a Baby Surprise Jacket.


Yes--we are awaiting the arrival of a new little member of our family into the world next April. This little person is already such a part of our lives! We heard his or her heartbeat several weeks ago, and in several more weeks we will get to see him or her for the first time on ultrasound (and hopefully find out whether it's a him or a her!). Until then, my mother is knitting a white baby blanket, and I am using what I hope are fairly gender-neutral colors for this jacket, although Keith likes to point out the pink stripes in there. (There's also blue!) But he is already convinced (and has me halfway convinced!) that it's a girl. We will see! :)

I don't think I'd ever wear one of those shirts that says "I'm so crafty I make people!" It seems a bit too flippant. But I must admit, it's nice to know on days when I'm tired and get zero work done that my body, at least, is doing some hard work on some important stuff. ;)

(I apologize for the horrible quality of these photos. It is a grey and drippy day here in Pittsburgh, and my camera is throwing tempertantrums when I try to use anything other than the automatic settings.)

Joining up with Ginny's wonderful yarn along!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Beekeeper's Quilt

I'm hoping to participate in a Yarn Along this Wednesday. I have been knitting--I completed that cowl I mentioned I was going to make, cast on a scarf, and am going to cast on some Christmas knitting later today.

In the meantime, I stumbled across a pattern called The Beekeeper's Quilt on Ravelry. At first I thought, "Cool, another way to use yarn scraps." I love the idea of scrappy things coming together into something lovely, but I would worry about it looking nice in the end--does this green left over from Keith's socks *really* look nice alongside the dusty-pink-carnelian from my cowl? I'd be tempted to go out and buy new yarn to make sure the colors looked well together, and that totally defeats the purpose.

But when I started browsing the project gallery, I really fell in love with this pattern, and now I'm convinced I must knit it someday. Probably next year, during the summer.

One of the reasons I love it--wouldn't this be a great project for people to work on as a group and then give to someone? A friend who is grieving a loss, or celebrating a new child, or going through any time of either celebration or sadness--how cool would it be to receive a blanket like this, knit by the hands of many friends? People could just use yarn from their stash, or buy new yarn cheaply; I'm betting it's not that difficult, so that knitters at any level could do it; and though gauge would be pretty important so that the hexagons all fit together in the end, it seems like coordinating such a project wouldn't be that difficult!

I love the portability of it as a project. I also love how some people adapted the pattern to make cushions for wooden chairs, or pillows.

But what really sold me was the designs that some people added, either in the knitting itself or embroidered afterwards. Bees (of course!), foxes, owls, sheep, beads, flowers, hearts, constellations, argyle ... I love the whimsy behind this; I love the "I spy" sort of quality it would give the finished project, and I'm sure kids would LOVE having a blanket like this where they could find all the little treasures. And how cool would it be to knit one of these for every child's first birthday? (Okay, I may be getting a little ambitious here, but think about it: one hexagon per day, then stitch em all together and you've got a birthday blanket!)

So that is how I've spent the past twenty minutes or so--browsing through the gallery for inspiration. I may spend another twenty minutes doing so. But I needed to take a sharing-break. :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Squirrel Tales

Today my husband tried to feed our psycho flea-infested squirrel.

We know he's flea infested because he walks around itching himself all the time. Also, we strongly suspect that he might have been the reason *I* had fleas in this apartment all summer. (It was awful--I was the only thing in here they had to eat, and my legs looked like I had some sort of disease.)

We know he's psycho because he tries to get into the apartment, we think because he wants food. Twice now we caught him clinging to the window screens looking in--straight at us, no less. The little bugger has no fear.



He also makes a lot of noise. I never knew that squirrels made noise until I lived in my last apartment and a bunch of them were chasing each other around during mating season ... but seriously, it's a rasping, shrieking noise that sounds like something dying a horribly painful death. Not at ALL something I would have imagined for them.

Now, I do not say any of this because I hate squirrels. I like them. I like their tails. I think they're cute. But when Keith and I got out of the car this afternoon and the squirrel started following us towards our porch, I scurried inside pretty quickly.

And Keith got a slice of bread and went to feed him.

Apparently, however, this squirrel is too good for our bread. He didn't want any. I'm not sure what he thinks he'll find in the apartment if he doesn't like our food, but there you go.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I know I've not been blogging ...

Unfortunately, this isn't exactly a sign of increased productivity in non-blogging responsibilities. Or at least the two things aren't related. In fact, I think blogging more often would help me be more productive, simply because it would help me be more structured. Kind of like praying more regularly. Something that ought to be done for its own sake, but happens to produce all sorts of other good effects.


Anyway.


Because it is autumn (YAY!), and because I recently discovered this pattern and knew it must be made in brown, I am ordering some Knit Picks yarn in the colorway Spice, which I have long, long hankered after. I also got distracted by Sherry, and might just order some of that too. Maybe. (Hey. It's my birthday. At least, it will be. Soon.)


And I did it: I frogged the nausea shawl. The yarn has been rewound into a tidy pink yarn-cake and awaits its new destiny as ... something else. I don't know. However, I do know that the darker yarn is soon to become a lacy cowl. Even now, sitting here in the kitchen with the windows cracked open, I get little shivers down my spine from the cool air. It is time for fall knitting.

Also in my list of knitting goals this fall/winter:

-Christmas gifts. So far, this equals two things; but that list might get longer.
-A sweater. I really want to make one!
-A shawl for my friend, Nicole.
-Mittens, because I also want to learn to make these.
-Socks. My second sock, of course; but I wouldn't mind being one of those knitters who's able to whip socks out in a few days as gifts.
-Christmas stockings for me and Keith?
-And a scarf, because I've never actually made one, ever. (Except for little scarves for my beanie babies when I was lots younger, but those don't count.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's Still Wednesday!! (aka a yarn along)

Although I cannot post about my current WIP just now, I realized that I never updated about the status of my Honeymoon Socks. Or sock.

Yes, I finished the first one, and yes, I am apparently suffering from Second Sock Syndrome.

You'll notice the cuff is not six inches long, because I do not have that sort of patience.

This is the first sock I have made for myself (second pair of socks ever), and I am pleased with it. However, I have some worry about the way handknit socks look on my wide toes. Maybe it is this particular kind of toe? Or maybe I am just being really vain about my feet?

As you can see, the ends still need to be woven in, but plenty of time for that.

In the meantime, I actually sat down and wrote today. This is very good. The story I was writing, not as good. It's just sort of meandering around inside a grocery store in a very disjointed manner. We'll see if we can fix that by the weekend.

Linking up with Ginny.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Coffee

Today I had coffee--just a little bit, enough to fill the bottom of a styrofoam cup--and it was so good.

I haven't been drinking coffee lately, for various reasons. Last time I went to the store to buy some I ended up with a bag of decaf (what?!), which is still sitting in my fridge, untouched for the past month or so.

But just that little bit this afternoon. Ah. So simple, so wonderful.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tentative Returning


Wow. It's been more than a month since I've participated in a yarn along. I'm afraid that this is because I haven't really been knitting.

I think this is because of a combination of reasons. Quite possibly I just need a break after all that wedding knitting. I've also been very fatigued lately and have had trouble finding the motivation to start anything. And though I did cast on a shawl last month, the color--which I started out loving--started to really bother me, almost to the point of nausea.


Yes, I'm serious. The color of this yarn made me queasy. It's kind of dumb.

For the longest time this shawl has been buried in the basket, in accord with the "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" theory. Today I finally unburied it, and found that my mental image of it was worse than the reality. I haven't decided what it's fate will be yet. I love the pattern, and am thinking that I should probably choose a color I know I'll always love to make it. But the thought of frogging this does not make me happy.

I think, though, that I will soon be ready to knit again. In fact, I'm considering casting on a Pretty Thing in the next couple of days to see if I can't jump-start the process, and give my hands something to do.

Not that I haven't lots of things to do, mind you. The list is increasing exponentially as the semester progresses. But if I'm going to procrastinate, I'd like it to be fruitful and enjoyable.

Reading has also been slow around here--I started reading Stephen R. Lawhead's Patrick and got a little more than halfway through before I finally couldn't stand it anymore. The only thing I've been reading with consistency is The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus Ligouri, which is beautiful. On the one hand, I can't believe I haven't started this book before, considering how long I've owned it. But on the other, I'm glad I'm reading it now.

Friday, September 2, 2011

without feeling courage


"Let us not believe that we can love without suffering, and without suffering a great deal. It is our human nature that suffers, our poor God-given human nature which, however, is so precious, that Jesus came on purpose to our earth to clothe Himself with it. Let us suffer without bitterness, that is, without feeling courage. Jesus suffered with sadness. Could we say that a soul was suffering if it did not experience sadness? And could we then claim that we are suffering generously, nobly ... Celine ... what an illusion that would be!"

--St Therese of Lisieux

I kept trying to think of ways to explain why this quote is so beautiful to me, what it means for me ... but anything I can say about Therese's words would just seem ridiculous in comparison.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Just a Little Whinging, That's All

Tomorrow I get to meet a classroom-full of this semester's Intro to Fiction students. I am excited--or would be, if I didn't feel so disorganized.

I feel a little bit like I'm sliding into this semester sideways. I have all my materials to teach the first class (thank you summer course!), and yet somehow I still feel so unprepared. I am only taking one class myself, and so my own course load will be quite manageable; but. But.

Somehow I know--predict--fear--that this will be a semester where I am continually scrambling to keep up and get things done on time. Including my manuscript. Especially my manuscript.

66 pages of new fiction to write, and then revisions. Can I manage this?

As I type that question, I realize the answer is actually "yes."

So breathe deep, and enjoy it before it's gone forever.

[I will try not to post too many complaints about grad school. Promise. Just I am staring at this huge mountain I have to climb this year and it is overwhelming.]

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Settling

This evening I am making dinner for my husband.

Often we cook dinner together--which is quite nice and romantic--but there is something so wifely about having things in the works for him when he comes home, and I know it will be harder for me to do once the semester gets started and the homework, teaching, and writing pile up.

Overall, this has been a good day. Except for a trip to the library, I have crossed everything off of my to-do list: household chores, preparation for class, even writing. (Not enough writing, perhaps; it never feels like enough. Ah, deadlines. Ah, bad habits.)

I wonder how things will change once classes begin again on Monday? I am relishing this last week of simply being--being with Keith, being home in the apartment--but I am also starting to look forward to the structure the school year brings. Sort of. Part of me is over this whole grad school thing; now that I'm married, it can feel more than ever like a hump to get over before "life" starts. (A HUGE hump with a very scary deadline, I might add!)

But that isn't true, of course. My life is here and now. And really, I am so grateful for it--every part of it. Grad school included.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Not Quite a Yarn Along


I certainly have things to post about for Ginny's yarn along--I cast off one honeymoon sock, cast on a shawl, and I could even take a picture of my stash stacked all prettily in the bookcase. (We have our books unpacked now. It feels quite homey.)

But to be honest, I don't feel up to digging out the camera and chasing the light and snapping and uploading and so on. I feel like going back to bed. Which I might do after grabbing a bite to eat. Or I might just rouse myself and head to the Social Security office to get my name changed officially, or call a friend to go out for coffee or something, in the hopes that doing something would give me a little more energy. We'll see.

(Note: as evidenced by the lateness of this post, I did, in fact, get out and about today with my dear friend Evangeline. Yay!)

But I will tell you one thing: I've been itching to make my first sweater, and I have just the yarn for it.


I bought it at Pittsburgh's Handmade Arcade--local wool, yay! It's sport weight, and I have 3 lovely skeins of it. The question is, what sweater to make? I've had my eye on Deco for a while, but now I'm not so sure. Does anyone have neat ideas for a sweater that an extremely adventurous sweater newbie could handle?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Honeymoon Socks :)

Phew! It's been a few weeks since I last participated in a yarn along--I haven't had the time to blog or knit. Not that I'm complaining. :) Keith and I spent last week on the shores of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. It was pretty rainy half the time, but that's okay. It was still a beautiful honeymoon.

I brought along some yarn for a pair of socks, only to decide that the pattern didn't suit the variegated colorway I'd chosen. So of course I had to buy some new yarn at a store in Halifax. I cast on the same socks in the new yarn while waiting in the airport for the flight back to Pittsburgh.


And yesterday I finally checked out the sequel to the Mazerunner from the library. It's taking me a bit to remember who the characters were and what they did in the last book, which I read back in December/January, but I'm getting there.

Lots to do--I'm hoping to get the kitchen completely unpacked today, and Keith has requested iced tea (his first such husbandly request!), and I have ... um ... a lot of writing to do. Gulp. Please pray for me, if you are so inclined.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

first days of wedded bliss

Keith and I leave bright and early for Nova Scotia tomorrow, and we are just now getting around to packing.This week has been spent sleeping and settling in to our new apartment, and we're both really grateful to have gotten the rest before the honeymoon! Plus it's almost like having two honeymoons: our first week as newlyweds, and our week of travel.

Our professional pictures haven't arrived yet, but Facebook album by Facebook album, pictures are being uploaded to the internet. So before we head out, here is one of my favorite guest photos from the wedding.



God bless. :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yarning Excitedly Along

Permit me a moment of exuberance*:

This is my LAST YARN ALONG AS A SINGLE WOMAN!

So it is only fitting that I blocked my wedding shawl last night, just in time for this post.

(In other words, if your name is Keith and you are reading this, I recommend that you stop. Although Keith has confessed that whenever he sees a blog post of mine about yarn or knitting, he doesn't really read it anyway.)

Blocking is the only knitting-related thing I've been doing lately; everything is off the needles. Which is a good thing. It is a cloudy day here, but I managed to enlist my dad to snap a few photos.



I was a little worried about the color, because when I soaked it last night the water turned bright blue. I absolutely loved working with sweetgeorgia yarn, and the colors are delicious, but now you and I know, dear reader--they bleed. (At least, the colorway "Riptide" bleeds.)

However, the yarn itself seems to have retained its vibrant color. It's greener than in these photos, a beautiful rich teal color. Some of the photos on my Ravely page show it better.

(Edited to add: aren't the nupps BEAUTIFUL? I am so glad I did them! Yippee!)

And yes, I will hopefully upload photos of me wearing it in my wedding dress.
I may not post much til then--nor read, nor knit.

I am getting married!!



*I always thought that exuberance ought to be spelled with an 'h' in it, and for a while did so, to the chagrin of Word's spellchecker.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Four.

There was something a little crazy last Wednesday when we were ten days out from the wedding. The last day of double-digits--what?? And ten, while being a nice round number, is also so small, considering the countdown started at over 200.

Even crazier is that tomorrow it will be three days until I'm married. Three. I can't quite fathom it.

Today I finished seaming the flowers for the tables; my wedding shawl is blocking as I type this; tomorrow I will put together favors.

I talked to my cousin yesterday and she remarked on how I didn't sound very stressed. In general, I'm not--not from moment to moment, although I get stressed very easily when stuff happens, like trying to figure out who's driving what car from church to the reception hall as the bridal party rides in the limo.

There are two things I keep repeating to myself as we pull the last details together.

1. I cannot control everything. Or everyone.

On a conscious level, this is perfectly reasonable to me. But somehow I keep finding myself trying to control things, and getting immensely stressed because there's no way I ever can. Especially when it comes to people.

2. I cannot make everyone happy.

This is kind of related to #1, but it needs to stand on its own because I need to remind myself of it often. So many people are asking for things, either outright or in a more subtle way, without realizing how much extra stress it causes. I can either scramble around and try to make everyone happy, or get angry at them, or ... let it go. I can't carry those things around with me.

All that matters, all that will matter at all come Saturday afternoon, is that I am getting married. To Keith.

Pax.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Something Blue (and teal, too!)

Between wedding-planning and not having a camera, it's been a few weeks since I last participated in a yarn-along with Ginny. But that doesn't mean I haven't been knitting or reading.

On Tuesday I started on the final book of Stephen R. Lawhead's Dragon King Trilogy, The Sword and the Flame. As I mentioned before, my Dad read these to me as bedtime stories, and this is the first time I'm reading them on my own. I'm greatly enjoying them, although I'm moving somewhat slowly due to wedding stuff, including the teal flowers and rehearsal shawl that will (hopefully) all be finished by the 14th.



In the meantime, I have yet to block my wedding shawl or the remaining bridesmaid stoles (although that may change tonight). I did finally end up taking pictures of the second stole, including a crappy one of me modeling that does justice to neither the stole nor myself. But I have uploaded it to the Ravelry project page nonetheless.

The green of the bridesmaid yarn is pretty hard to capture without washing it out, but it really is very pretty. And I am quite happy with my choice to go with the teal for myself.


Looking forward to seeing what others are knitting and reading.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Twelve.


1. Happy fourth of July, everyone. Happy last-holiday-as-a-single-woman, self.

2. This is how I count things. In terms of holidays, of tubes of toothpaste, of how many more times a certain day of the week will come and go. (One more Sunday, two more Tuesdays.) I have five multivitamins remaining in the pill bottle. They won't last me into my marriage.

3. This weekend we have created a seating chart; started the ceremony programs; ordered place cards and favors, all of which will hopefully arrive by the end of next week, or the beginning of the next; had a trial-wedding-hair-run, in my case; filled out the paperwork for the marriage license just before the office closed.

4. This week I will pick up the marriage license on Tuesday; stop by the jewelers at some point with Keith to pick up the rings; fetch my wedding dress and veil on Wednesday.

5. Although we've had several minor mishaps, things nonetheless seem to come together. I just have to keep reminding myself that when I get stressed. I would like every moment of stress to become, instead, excitement for the day that's drawing near, so quickly and so slowly.


6. I have been busy knitting--a rehearsal dinner shawl, because I am crazy, and many many teal flowers for the tables at the reception. (See photos!) None of them have been seamed together yet, so they all have loose threads hanging from them. I need to make at least four a day to finish on time, which is about an hour's worth of work, maybe a little more. I also still have to block several shawls. More on this Wednesday.

7. Keith is growing a beard until the day of the wedding, at which point he will shave it off.

8. I just finished Alice von Hildebrand's By Love Refined: Letters to a Young Bride, and may pick up The Temperament God Gave Your Spouse again this week.

9. One of the aforementioned mishaps was that my makeup artist bailed three weeks before the wedding. I don't want to do my makeup myself, and I don't want to place that responsibility on a friend's shoulders either, so there was a mad scramble to find someone else. This is a story unto itself, but in the end I found a lovely Mary Kay lady with a devotion to St. Therese, so I feel that my favorite saint once again has stepped in and sent beautiful gifts my way.

10. Yesterday Keith and I went to dinner with some friends. Since I am currently living with my parents, this was probably the last time I'll see most of them until after the wedding.

11. The schola is, after all, singing at our wedding. Partly in Latin.

12. I've had a story accepted at the wonderful literary journal Dappled Things. And because it's getting printed after the wedding, it will be published under my married name. :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Blessed

Today was a little stressful, and full of working out various kinks in the wedding-planning works. I felt like I'd spent most of the day on the phone, and when I went back and tallied the amount of time I realized I'd spent six hours talking to various people about various things. Crazy.

But some of those calls were good news. And a few were purely conversational. Among them were chat with my matron of honor, and a conversation with a friend in Michigan who's getting married this Friday. (Sadly, we can't realistically make it to her wedding, so I'm incredibly grateful we got to talk.)

My Michigan friend and I don't often get a chance to talk, but when we do, it's like no time has passed. She's one of those friends I believe I'll be in touch with my entire life, that I feel I can pick up with right where we left off even if we haven't spoken in ages. We were best friends in high school, and even though we've both changed a lot since then, we are still quite a bit alike. Even our emotional states with regard to wedding planning--the way we deal with stress, how and when we experience excitement, what things are surreal--are the same. (There are often many refrains of "I knooow!" when we talk.)

My matron of honor, meanwhile, is almost the opposite of me in terms of temperament. Where she is extroverted, I am introverted; our flaws and strengths have often been in opposite directions. She draws me out of myself, and I have occasionally calmed her down.

And it's amazing, because God has blessed my life with both of these women as friends. They play such different roles in my life, and yet they are both such a source of joy. Their friendship reminds me to continually count my blessings--because I am surrounded by blessings, overwhelmed by them, if I but open my eyes and look.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Stormy Weather

Storms kinda get a bad rap, you know? Oh, I know that they make a good metaphor for difficulty and darkness, sure. But what about cleansing? The wind that whips your hair, the rain that washes away, the scent of the air after?

I've always loved storms. When I came home this afternoon, the sky was rumbling and there was a wind carrying rain. It motivated me to pull on my sneakers and go for a run (ok, a shortish run, but I was by myself and I'm not in the best shape).

My Facebook status: "Stormy weather: perfect reflection of my state of mind. :) Thoughtful, excited, graced with fullness." That is how I feel, and it was reflected in energy of this weather.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thirty Days

It is my second to last real day in this apartment before I pack up some things and move back with my parents to await the wedding. When I come back—save, maybe, a night here and there if I need to be in the city for some reason—it will be with Keith, and it will not be to this corner bedroom, with its sunny windows and desk in the corner. I am both glad of that, and a little nostalgic.

Right now I am knitting nupps for my bridal shawl, and it isn’t the horrid struggle so many knitters complain of, but a peaceful process. I sit here, all the blinds drawn open, surrounded by trees that wave through the windows, as though I myself am sitting in their branches. There are passing cars and muffled voices, but those tend to fade into the background of my awareness. There is also a chiming from someone’s windcatcher, a series of high, melancholy notes that follow one another sometimes at a distance, sometimes on each other’s heels, and I think I should like to write the story they are telling, the one that pulls at something in my chest and the corners of my eyes.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Detours and other mishaps ...

Sadly, my camera is still in need of batteries, so no new yarnalicious pictures. (Like that word? I'm sure someone has used it before me.)

Just this old one from last week.



To be honest, the shawl doesn't look that much different! Just bigger. I've finished the flower design of the body, and have moved on to the edging, not without a few detours along the way.


Detour 1: I wanted to knit 13 repeats of the flower design to make it a bit bigger. But after reading other people's project notes on Ravelry, I knew it would be a tight squeeze for the amount of yarn I had. And I wasn't about to spend almost $40 on another skein. (Sigh, I wish.) So after the 12th repeat, I gave myself a lifeline and began the 13th, using my mom's food scale to weigh the remaining yarn as I went.

I'm not sure that the food scale was much help, seeing as the space between 40 and 30 grams was about the size of a fingernail. :-P But I chickened out/realized I was being foolish, and so had my first experience of ripping back to a lifeline and picking up all the stitches.


Detour 2: Resigned to having only 12 repeats, I set about knitting the border chart. Nupps were still several rows off, and the pattern was easy to memorize and knit while reading. Until row 5.

That was when things stopped matching the pattern below it in the way I thought it should. But what did I know? Maybe the pattern was supposed to look all random and raggedy at this point, despite the neatly aligned rows of stitches before.

So I kept on knitting, until, halfway through the row, I realized there was no way I had the right number of stitches. So I tinked (unknit stitch by stitch) that half a row. And then the purl row before that. And then the whole row before that, where I had been adding two yarn overs to every chart repeat, resulting in 64 extra stitches. Whoops.


I am now past that point and on my first nupp row, so all is (relatively) well.



As for reading: I am almost finished In the Hall of the Dragon King. Sadly, I have *cough* broken a second Kindle, which means I'm finishing it on my computer screen. Argh. This one wasn't my fault, really. I can't believe it. These things are EXPENSIVE. Sigh.

Anyway, I am off to plan class and pick up a bridesmaid dress and look at wax models of wedding rings and take a dance lesson. Blessings to all and happy yarning along with Ginny!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Yarn Along :)

Unfortunately, it seems that my camera is in need of new batteries. But I managed to grab a few pics before it gave up on me.


The fourth and final bridesmaid stole is cast off. Now it needs blocking--probably not until after this summer course is over next week. Two stoles to block, and then the bridesmaids' gifts are finished! The shawl pins I ordered to go with them were waiting for me when I went home last weekend, so I will have to take pictures of them at some point.

I just finished Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri--it's way overdue at the library, unfortunately--and have started In the Hall of the Dragon King by Stephen R. Lawhead on my Kindle. I know I read this years and years ago, but I've forgotten all of the first book. Actually, I don't think I read it myself--it was my dad who read it to me as a bedtime story. As I read it for myself the first time, I am realizing that this book really shaped the way I wrote my first novel back in high school, though I was basically unaware of it. (No, I never finished the novel, but I got to 150 single space pages. I started rereading it recently. Good times.)

Last but not least ....



.... I have cast on my wedding shawl!



The pattern is Echo Flowers, the yarn sweetgeorgia cashsilk lace in Riptide. Gorgeous .... I'm on the 8th repeat of the body pattern. Not sure if I'll do 12 or 13 total. We'll see when we get there!

(Also cast-off a hat for Japan, but sadly, no pictures.)

Linking up with Ginny.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nothing like ...

a voice beloved and full of love on the other end of the phone to send you to bed happy.

(Unless it's that voice in person.)

Friday, June 3, 2011

I shall not be dismayed ...

... by other knitters' intense dislike of nupps.

For non-knitters (or just non-nuppers), a nupp is when you increase my knitting multiple times into the same stitch--usually making five or seven stitches out of one--and then on the next row you knit or purl all those stitches together. If you have the wrong needles, or your stitches are too tight, or the yarn is slippery, it can be pretty difficult to get all those stitches knit together.

Which is why so many people hate them, including my mother. :) I had a bit of a hard time with them on my Annis, but then I got the hang of them a little ... and no, they didn't look the best, but practice makes perfect, right? And while the Raspberry Dream stole didn't have *nupps*, it did have k7tog which is pretty darn nupp-like--and I had no trouble with it.

So.

Now for my real reason for posting:

My two choices for my bridal shawl are the Swallowtail and Echo Flower shawls. Which should I do? (Imagine them in teal. :) )

I want to cast on today or tomorrow but I can't decide ... so I'm gathering opinions.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Not a Yarn-Along

No yarn along today--although I spent a not-insignificant amount of time trying to wind a skein into a ball (and resolving yet again to purchase a yarn swift), and have finally cast off the last bridesmaid stole! YAY!! Pictures to come.

Instead, I picked up one of my bridesmaid's dresses so I can mail it to her in Colorado. On the way back I stopped by a friend's house to visit her and her two babies--one of whom is quite new. And I suppose you can't really call the other a baby any more. He is my godson, and he is most definitely a little boy now, with a strong will of his own! It's great to see him interact with his new little brother--he always wants to touch him, and I think he's starting to learn he has to touch him gently, as opposed to giving him a solid whack on the head. But it's amazing to see his awareness of personhood, even though he's only one year old.

Today Keith and I also met with Father Josh, and then the DJ, and even though I did none of the grading I planned to do ... I am wiped.

So yeah ... no yarn along post.

Anyway, I feel this blog has practically become a knitting blog of late. Not that knitting (or knitting blogs!) are a bad thing, but there are other things I mean to blog about and never get around to. But the yarn along keeps me posting, and that's good. :)

Edited to add: I thought I had a new follower but when I check I discovered that I had managed, somehow, to follow my own blog. Wow. I wonder what that sort of thing says about a person?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yarn Along

Between traveling over the weekend for a wedding, teaching, setting up appointments for wedding stuff, and trying to finish a book review .... I haven't had much knitting time. The stole still has another three repeats to go ... maybe two, if I decide that's long enough.


But I have cast on a hat for Japan using leftover yarn from Keith's socks. I'm using the Swirl Hat pattern, and it's simple and easy to memorize. I even took my knitting on the bus with me for the first time ever yesterday, and I can easily work on this while reading.

Which is good, because I am currently rereading Gina Ochsner's The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight. Last year I sent my cousin a couple of Ochsner's short stories. She hated them. But I absolutely love them, and I love this novel. Because I love it, I agreed to review it for Hot Metal Bridge. But it's been more than a year since I read it ... which means I'm frantically rereading it so that I can write the review sometime over the weekend. Good thing I like this book.



Speaking of Japan and yarn, I recently won a contest over at Knitting Kninja's blog and received a copy of her pattern, Beetle Tracks, and a skein of Madeleine Tosh yarn.

I am quickly falling in love with Madeleine Tosh. I bought my first skein of tosh sock in Nectar (picture :) ) two months ago, and now have a skein of the same yarn in Thyme to coordinate. At some point these will become a Whippoorwill.

The yarn I won is tosh sport in Charcoal. I'm not sure yet whether I'll use it for the Beetle Tracks pattern or something else.

Link
What a gorgeous silvery grey! Very appropriate for a day that dawned on the heels of a thunderstorm, no? I just love Madeleine Tosh's colors. And I love that the yarn is named after her grandmother. Hopefully I'll enjoy knitting with it as much as I enjoy looking at it.

(Linking with Ginny at small things.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gathering the Pieces ...

A week (two weeks?) ago, Keith bought a rosemary plant and some nasturtiums for the back porch. The idea is that the nasturtiums will climb the railing and be all pretty.

They haven't climbed much yet, but they've started blooming. As of today there are two orange flowers and one yellow. I keep meaning to take a picture of them; maybe tomorrow, if it isn't raining.

And the weekend before last we went to Ikea and bought some lights for over the sink, this lampshade (for a lamp that Keith will bring with him when he moves in), and we also ended up adopting another plant. (I collect yarn; Keith collects green and growing things. And we both collect books.)

I really love the lampshade. The last time my mom was here, I told her that it reminded me of a lampshade in my Great-grandma Ivy's house, and she had been thinking the same thing. It's funny, because I don't actually remember Great-grandma's lampshade, in the sense that I have a picture of it in my mind. But I look at this one, sitting on top of the bookshelf, and I have an image--part sight, part feeling--of sitting in her living room looking at it.

Anyway. Things are going well at the apartment; slowly but surely boxes are getting unpacked and belongings set up and furniture moved to its proper place (at least for the time being). The only bad thing is the fleas which I've finally pinned as the culprit for eating me alive for the past three weeks.

Yes, fleas. Ugh. I have NO idea where they came from; I'm glad, I guess, it wasn't bed bugs or mites or something harder to get rid of, because they don't bite ANYONE ELSE except me. But still, it's gross and itchy and a pain in the butt. On Thursday Keith is bringing over a vacuum and we'll sprinkle powder on the carpet and spray the couch etc and hopefully kill the HECK out of them. (In the meantime, my friend Stephanie tells me that they won't bite you if you take vitamin B. I would like this to be true, please.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Finished!

Joining Ginny for the week's yarn along.

I'm grateful that my last yarn along post wasn't deleted in the midst of Blogger's troubles last week; but some of the comments on it were, and I wasn't able to respond to others, which makes me sad. So if you commented on my last post ... know that I read it, and thank you!

I've just been knitting along with this final bridesmaid stole--it's a little less than 2/3 finished, unless I poop out after 8 repeats, which would make it almost 3/4.

I have, however, started blocking the others. Two so far. I've been having a little trouble getting all the pins in before this yarn (Kidsilk Haze) starts drying out, so with the second one I used a spray bottle.

AND I now have blocking wires. Lacing them through the edges is kind of tedious, but it does make it easier to keep them straight, and it lets me pull an entire edge a little further rather than attempt to make the thing wider pin by pin (and hoping they all line up in the end).

I only have the one with me, so photos of the other will come soon, hopefully by next week.

I don't really have good photos of this one either ... but here's what I have. It is the third stole I knit; the pattern is Upstairs.


My attempt to model it in the bathroom. Bleh.


I love how this yarn blocks. It has a beautiful sheen to it, and lightweight as it is, it really is warm. I don't have before-and-after pics (although I have some photos from when I was knitting it here and on Ravelry), but here it is side-by-side with a stole-in-progress to give you an idea.

I really do need to get better pictures of it at some point. And definitely at the wedding, but that's 59 days away. (Not that I'm counting or anything. :) )

As for reading--same as last week, except that I've finished What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us. A book of beautiful short stories; I really enjoyed it.