Friday, February 19, 2016

Poisonwood Bible RAL - Week 3 Discussion

The artwork above is from a collection of paintings in an exhibition that opened in June 2015: 53 Echoes of Zaire. The theme of the exhibition centers on the casual brutality that plagued the people of Congo at the hand of Belgian nationals.


I hit a wall with the Revelation and Bel and the Serpent sections. I admit it. It seemed the family's situation went from bad to worse and the plot dragged on. But much changed quickly in Exodus...what did you think?

1. Did you feel the same way about the previous sections? What inspired you to keep reading?

2. Rachel Price Axelroot. Were you surprised? Discuss.

3. What bothered you most about this section?

4. Which character was your favorite?

5. Talk about Anatole.

In addition to the book, I gained a great deal of perspective from additional reading. It is very interesting to me to learn the true extent of the situation in Congo while the Price family remained largely unaware/unaffected.

The Congo Crisis of 1960-1964 : wikipedia
United Nations Operations in the Congo: link

Reading Schedule:

Feb 1-7: Genesis, Revelation
Feb 8-14: Judges, Bel and the Serpent
Feb 15-21: Exodus (changed)
Feb 22-29: Song of the Three Children, The Eyes in the Trees

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Yarn Spree

I generally never buy yarn except for a super special project or at a big box store with a half off coupon. Most of my really lovely yarns have been bargain bin buys from my LYS in Morgantown or given to me as gifts. This yarn purchase was quite the exciting splurge for me.

Watch the podcast all about it here: 


Dream Bird Shawl
Mens Heavy Mittens (this pattern isn't working well for me so I am winging it and taking notes)


Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Raven
Knit Picks Chroma Fingering in Red Velvet, Weather Vane, and Fog Bank
Cascade 220 Heather and Shire
Lettlopi in Oatmeal and Chocolate
Cascade Heritage Paints Sock in Cherry Berry (discontinued but click here for color)

Stay tuned for more on what's on my needles and my FOs in the next podcast! Until then, catch up with me on Instagram (MrsDymacek) and Ravelry (Bobanda).

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Yarn Along - Grumpity Grump

I'm in foul humor this morning...

I'm on day 28 of 21 on my bathroom remodel project and I'm ready for the workmen to be out of my hair. I am thankful for the bathrooms - they are going to be stunning - but I think Julian and I are both a little fed up with living out of boxes (closets are involved in the remodel, too) and sharing the teeny downstairs bathroom.

What's more, I feel like there is no privacy to be had and I never realized how much I need a little bit of alone time. Not ten minutes after Julian leaves for work in the morning the workmen are here. Their cell phones ring non-stop and I feel like they are looking at my mess. In our old house, we had three bathrooms, so no stranger or guest was ever in our bathroom and now with only having one functioning bathroom, the workmen use it, too.  I don't like that they can see my toothbrush. My soap. My bathrobe.

Tile went in yesterday, grout today, so the end is in sight. I am just weary. I suppose we are all allowed a weary day or two now and again.


I am knitting Men's Heavy Mittens for a friend in our bird club using Cascade 220 in Shire and Lettlopi in Chocolate. The Poisonwood Bible RAL drags on - I don't think any of us are keen on finishing the book but it must turn around at some point, right? For so many people to who say "Oh, I loved that book?"

Linking up with Ginny @ Yarn Along.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Poisonwood Bible RAL - Week 2 Discussion

Uff-tah! What a week!

Has anyone enjoyed these two books? Sure, the writing is great but the story is a bitter pill to swallow.

During this week, Independence has come to the Congo and sickness has come to the Price household. Our eyes have been opened to see the motivation behind Nathan's piety and the veil has been lifted to show the class disparity in Congo's cities, as well as Axelrood's corruption. We have gone deeper into the superstitious faith of the Congolese people and we have touched on sacred rituals including body modification, scarification and mutilation that are still practiced, albeit illegally, today.

1. Does having more information about Nathan's past make you feel differently about him? About Orleanna?

2. Has your preference of character changed since week one's discussion?

3. What do you think Kingsolver is trying to accomplish by having the girls confuse their vocabulary and idioms so frequently?

4. What's the significance of Brother Fowles's visit?

5. List a few of your favorite quotes or lines from this section.

If you haven't, take a chance to go back and look at last week's discussion. I really enjoyed everyone's input.

Reading Schedule:

Feb 1-7: Genesis, Revelation
Feb 8-14: Judges, Bel and the Serpent
Feb 15-21: Exodus, Song of the Three Children
Feb 22-20: The Eyes in the Trees

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mess Nest

My nest is a mess and I'm having guests. Say that three times fast. So now you know how my morning is going.

I was hoping to reveal the numerous {read downright greedy} yarn orders I placed last week but the postal service hasn't given me the pleasure of receiving them yet. But it has been a fun knitty week anyway.

We have tinkered with the spinning wheel we bought on Craigslist for $15 and have had surprisingly positive results. It takes quite the knack to get things going, which I gather can be the way with many spinning wheels. Julian says that even if we don't use it long term, it was worth his $15 to have a full scale model for the one he's going to build me. Then he cracks the joke about reinventing the wheel.

On Monday, I mailed those sweet mini balls of worsted wool to Kate @ Bluestocking for her scrappy hexie afghan. In return she mailed some two skeins of Kroy Sock in the same colorway that I've been needing to accompany my one. Along with them came this super sweet birdhouse place marker that I am tempted to wear Dottie-Angel-style as a charm in the button hole of my diaphanous mohair cardigan. And about that cardigan...

I grabbed some knitting books at the library, one of which was Classic Knits by Erika Knight. The pictures are stunning, and some of the patterns are lovely, too.  Said diaphanous cardigan is pictured above, though it has snaps which I actually enjoy but then the birdhouse charm is out the window. First world problems, I know.

I had been looking for a tall, aran weight sock pattern - this book has one. But when I go to the pattern to sort the workings out, it is all very confusing. The socks are apparently knit flat, though that is never said anywhere, and the only finishing notes are to do the right one to match the left and do the left one to match the right. Really? Apparently the reviewers on Amazon had similar feelings and I'm not sure the book is trustworthy for anything more than inspiration.

Lastly, I am on week two of my Poisonwood Bible read-along and I am really loving the book and the accompanying conversation. I do hope I can keep up - it is Wednesday already and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed!

It is also my turn to read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and if I don't start right away I will lose my place in the library queue, so we will see how that goes this week, too. My dear friend says it is the only book in a long while that has caused her to openly weep. Excellent. Just what I need. *sigh* 

I will podcast when the yarn comes in. 

What are you knitting and reading? Join us as we show and tell for Yarn Along

Friday, February 5, 2016

Poisonwood Bible RAL - Week 1 Discussion

Thank you for joining me for the read-along. I am so glad to have people sharing their reading momentum with me to help get me through a great book!

I admit, I had to take a little time this week to learn more about The Democratic Republic of The Congo, a place I learned in school as Zaire. It is a country with unimaginable natural resources including cobalt, tin, uranium, diamonds, copper, gold, and oil. The land is shrouded by tropical rainforest and goods and be shipped to and from the nation's metros via the Congo River, the second largest river in the world.

Congo shares borders with Angola, Rwanda, Burundi, Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville), South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. It's border with Rwanda is considered the most deadly international border in the world.

A land that was well-developed and sophisticated in the 15th century was discovered by Portuguese traders in 1480. In addition to the natural resources of the area, the traders discovered their greatest Kingdom of Kongo commodity: the human slave. In order to displace the existing political system, create anarchy and reap the spoils, the Portuguese started funneling modern weaponry and funds to Kongolese gangs who eventually toppled their home military forces. This started a decline from which the country has never recovered.

We join the Price family there in 1959, the final year of the colonial Belgian Congo where three main facets of society kept order: the state, the missionary, and the private company. From Wikipedia:

"During the 1940s and 1950s, the Congo had extensive urbanisation, and the colonial administration began various development programmes aimed at making the territory into a "model colony". One of the results was the development of a new middle class of Europeanised African "évolués" in the cities. By the 1950s the Congo had a wage labour force twice as large as that in any other African colony."

This increased boom in middle class society caused the pro-independence movement to surge.

1. In what ways is the book as you thought it would be? In what ways is it different?

  •  For re-readers, is there anything you had forgotten since you read it the first time?

2. Which character is your favorite?

3. Which character seems most like yourself, at heart?

4.  Talk about Adah.

5. What parts of our reading have you scratching your head at this point, or make you wish for more development?

6. List three things worth strapping to your body if you were headed for a year in the Congo.

Reading Schedule:

Feb 1-7: Genesis, Revelation
Feb 8-14: Judges, Bel and the Serpent
Feb 15-21: Exodus, Song of the Three Children
Feb 22-20: The Eyes in the Trees

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Amanda Makes - 06 - Moth Probs

nature colors / yarn colors :: finished baby sweater :: sock progress

I am simultaneously delighted by a finished project and lamenting an apparent moth issue. Yay and eek all at once. I am fairly confident the moth problem was confined to our old house because we would have all kinds of buzzing things inside with no recourse because we had 13 ft ceilings. While I don't think I have moths in the house now, I discuss a bit of the aftermath and rehab in the podcast. What do you do to thwart moths?

Also, I've spent too many minutes hours this past week wondering about the proper yarn selection for a project my sister has requested. I kept pouring over the Knit Picks Chroma Fingering colorway selection but rumpling my nose and thinking, all of these colors are so "out there." Why can't I get yarn in good nature colors? Since then, every time I step outdoors I have noticed that nature comes in yarn colors!

Featured Books
The Shepherd’s Life  < Read this book. 

Featured Yarns
KP Chroma Fingering (Weathervane, Fog Bank, Red Velvet)

Featured Patterns

Featured Folks
Ginny's Sheller @ Small Things
Sarah @ LoveSockWool

Monday, February 1, 2016

Monday of doing

It's just the framer/drywall guy and me today - just what I needed after last week's incessant banging and scurrying about of the plumber/electrician and his two apprentices.  Imagine Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty and you've got a good handle on my framer. Last week he sort of ruffled my feathers by telling me that he wouldn't come so early each morning so I'd have a chance to put my face on. This morning, he insisted on helping me make my bed before we covered it with plastic, since we were late to rise and I hadn't gotten it done before he came. I felt pretty embarrassed by the whole thing but he said, "Don't worry about it, you're making the bed, I'm just saving you the trip to the other side."

That and the pretty weather has gotten my Monday started on the right foot. It is 8:56am and 54F outside. I have put the garage-sheltered plants out on the driveway, filled up the bird feeders and pruned the rose bush. The birds are now poking around the flower bed in disgust,  like my pruning has ransacked their place, like they've come home from a fun morning out to find that the dog has chewed the pillows. I am heading back out now to pull some weeds in the herb bed and breath the crisp air of this February thaw.

Happy Monday!