Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Little Sweater and a Read-Along

I missed my window for filming a podcast this week. The framer/dry-waller is in here now and banging, clanging, thumping all 'round. In case you didn't see last week's video, you can pop over and see that. Check back here if you're interested in the podcast as I may get something put together later this evening.

As soon as I punted the Mirasol Hap'i yarn for this Lion Brand Wool-Ease, this sweater just flew. I learned (sort of) how to use the traveling jogless stripe method to get my stripes in order and lined up on the back. Consistent with many Ravelers' notes, I made up much of the pattern as I went along, just making sure I got the number of stitches right in each place.  Now the sweet little sleeves are going on and I am wondering how to finish the piece. It is 80% acrylic and 20% wool. Do I "kill" it with the iron? Block and pin?

When it is finished I will mail it off to my old Sunday School teacher. It is her daughter with whom I grew up in church and her grandbaby for whom the sweater was knit. The trick is that the momma lives in Vancouver, CA and is coming to visit at the beginning of March so I'm feeling an intense amount of satisfaction for not having to pay international postage and fill out a customs form!

On reading. I am halfway through The Midwife of Hope River. It is a good book about a woman who is helping others and leading a life of servitude to the most depraved of Appalachia but there is an undercurrent to her life that centers on running from her past. It is making me homesick for the mountains of West Virginia and I want to visit my grandmother there soon. When I do I will litter this space with photos of the place where this book is set. I only just learned from my dear friend that the author, Patricia Harman, lives and practices obstetrics in Morgantown, WV - my former home!

I was derailed from The Midwife by a book many Yarn Along-ers are reading, The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks. It is so good. Painfully, woefully, depressingly good. It makes me bitterly homesick for my life on the sheep farm and makes me angry that my home, same as the author's, is so consumed by tourists and retirees that I can not afford to live on the land that was my home. My parents sold the farm, and not for a tidy sum, the year that Julian and I were to be married. They continued to rent the house they had owned for 25 years while the farm's new owner built his gargantuan house on top of our hill, peering down on us minions below. So yes, this book stirs the pot for me.

If you are reading it, or want to, I highly recommend watching the movie Miss Potter. Rebanks discusses Miss Potter's conservation work and this sweet movie (great for kids!) really opened my eyes to her life and work beyond the books. The movie is almost as cheap to buy on Amazon as it is to rent.

Last but not least, we have bought yet another bird ID guide and I am entranced by that book these days even more than the others. The Sibley guide is exhaustive and a good resource for the finer details of birding - when you know you saw a wren but don't know WHICH wren. If you are new to birds and are interested in learning about the very most common ones you'd see on a daily basis, I highly recommend the flash card pack of backyard birds, which you can see in my pictures above.


I'm hosting a read-along of The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver here and on Instagram in the month of February. The book is divided into seven "books" and with 29 days in the month, we will have four days to cover each "book" and one wiggle day to put where you need it. You could also think of it as two "books" per week, thereabouts. I'll be posting some food-for-thought about the book here on the blog each Friday and I do hope you'll join us and chime in.

You can also post about your favorite quotes from the book on Instagram. Please use #poisonwoodbibleRAL so we will all know what's what!

What are you reading and knitting? Join in for show and tell at Yarn Along.


  1. those bird flash cards are so pretty! I'd love to get a set and really learn what bird is what!

  2. i'm a birdie so i love those cards!! such a sweet sweater, i like the pattern!!!

  3. I would love to learn more about birds, but am not sure my eyesight is clear enough ;) My Mike is a great birder and can identify them from a great distance which always amazes me.
    I am so excited to start the RAL, the book in on my night stand just waiting for Monday!

  4. so fun to have interests like bird watching! So sorry about your parent's land.... it's not easy.... books you are reading sound fascinating! and that sweater is so sweet! you are doing a lot!

  5. What a gorgeous sweater! I will have to look for the midwife book. It seems to be a theme I have going at the moment as I just borrowed the Call The Midwife series and a book called Outback Midwife! I love Miss Potter - I own it and can watch it over and over.

  6. I really want to read that book. How sad that land has become so expensive. It shouldn't be that way!

  7. I loved both "Miss Potter" and "The Poisonwood Bible." And those bird flashcards are gorgeous! I'm the kind of person who feels the need to identify every flower, bird, seashell and weird bug I see, and I'm totally intrigued by the flashcard guide!

  8. you're making me want to birdwatch. I can identify the commonly seen ones but then there are the ones that fly off quickly and you wonder, what kind of tail? etc...and I've lost it.

    Love your sweater and the dodging of mailing to Canada. I mailed photobooks of the wedding and the person did NOT have me fill out a customs form because it was under the weight requirements and in a manilla envelope. Sadly not ONE book (out of three) arrived and it's been over two months now. I'm sad about that. I have imaginations that it is sitting in warehouse somewhere.

  9. Amanda, that is such a sweet sweater! I kept meaning to come watch your last week's video but kept forgetting so I'll save that for quiet time this afternoon! I need something happy with my husband going out of town for a few days tonight!
    I loved Miss Potter and always had loved her books but loved them even more after learning about the rest of her life.
    I am nervous about reading Poisonwood but excited for the read along. As we are missionaries living in Native America we see the devastating results generations later of missions done the way it is portrayed in the book because apparently (according to my husband, I haven't read it) it is consistent with how things went down where we live. So I will probably have a lot to say as we go. It will be a heavy heavy read for me.

    1. Understandably, like The Shepherd's Life is for me. I hope it will be gentle to you.