Tag Archives: nablopomo

Brown Sheep

Or:

How I fell in love with yarn

I started working with yarn in childhood. My mom taught me how to crochet when I was maybe 6 or 8. She tried teaching me to knit, but I struggled with it. I tried several times to teach myself before I finally figured it out. But that’s not what this story is about.

See, I was working with yarn before I fell in love with it. Maybe this is because I grew up in the 1980s, when practically all you could find was acrylic. I knew there was yarn beyond Red Heart Super Saver, but I didn’t know much. And what I knew was still acrylic, I believe.

My involvement in fiber arts ebbed and flowed over the years. I picked it back up in earnest in college.

And then, after getting married, we happened upon a small yarn shop. I went in and was inexorably drawn to the wall of luscious color. That wall contained Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride yarns. Skeins of worsted and bulky weight singles that were incredibly soft to the touch and with a lovely halo. Wool, with a bit of mohair. So soft! So warm.

Yarn from Brown Sheep

Part of my stash of Brown Sheep yarn.

That was it. I was in love.

I bought a few skeins, made a scarf or two. And then three and four and more.

I didn’t hurt that this yarn is milled right here in Nebraska, purchased from shepherds, mostly in the United States. They even reuse 70-90 percent of their daily waste water (dyeing is a water-intensive endeavor).

As I’ve spent more time knitting and crocheting, I’ve come to love the Brown Sheep yarns even more. I’m a huge fan of Lanaloft (the same type of singles yarn but without the mohair) and Nature Spun (which is 100 percent wool, plied yarn).

Brown Sheep yarns are reliable and soft, yes. I also really love the luminous quality of the dyeing, too. The yarn has life, vitality. They make other yarn look flat, dull and boring.

Some day I’ll get out to Mitchell and tour the mill.

Have you worked with Brown Sheep yarn and fiber? Do you have a local-to-you yarn company?

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First Thanksgiving

Hope you had a great, meaningful, Thanksgiving 2012! (And happy long weekend.)

Happy Thanksgiving

from my family to yours!

(circa 2001 or 2002)

For all its greatness (trust me — I am the last man on earth to sell it short), the created order cries out for futher greatness still. The most splendid dinner, the most exquisite food, the most gratifying company, arouse more appetites than they satisfy. They do not slake man’s thirst for being; they whet it beyond all bounds. Dogs eat to give their bodies rest; man dines and sets his heart in motion. All tastes fade, of course, but not the taste for greatness they inspire; each love escapes us, but not the longing it provokes for a better convivium, a higher session. We embrace the world in all its glorious solidity, yet it struggles in our very arms, declares itself a pilgrim world, and, through the lattices and windows of its nature, discloses cities more desirable still.

You indict me, no doubt, as an incurable romantic. I plead guilty without contest. I see no other explanation of what we are about. Why do we marry, why take friends and lovers, why give ourselves to music, painting, chemistry, or cooking? Out of simple delight in the resident goodness of creation, of course; but out of more than that, too. Half of earth’s gorgeousness lies hidden in the glimpsed city it longs to become. For all its rooted loveliness, the world has no continuing city here; it is an outlandish place, a foreign home, a session in via to a better version of itself — and it is our glory to see it so and thirst until Jerusalem comes home at last. We were given appetites, not to consume the world and forget it, but to taste its goodness and hunger to make it great.

from chapter 16 of The Supper of the Lamb by Robert Farrar Capon, via Pete Peterson at The Rabbit Room

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Knitting in the dark

Word Lily knitsI started these socks as we were on a 7-hour (one-way) road trip. I knew I’d have the chance to get a bunch of knitting in, and I wanted something small and mindless but not too quick to finish. Simple socks it is (Rav project page)!

On that one trip (there and back), I nearly finished the first sock.

The skein (Patons Kroy Socks Stripes) for the second sock had a knot and a color change that completely messed up the progression (you can see it at the top of the sock on the right of the photo), which bugged me but I just went with it.

They fit really well (tweaking, ever tweaking that recipe), but of course when I got them finished my husband said he liked these better than the ones he had and would totally wear them. But by then, they fit me, not him. (Also, not nearly enough yarn left to make them bigger.)

During that first day in the car, I put them down when it got too dark to see. But then, maybe 40 minutes later, Paul asked why I’d stopped knitting. He figured since knitting was such a tactile activity, I would be able to knit without benefit of eyesight. Well, I’d heard of people who capably knit simple things in dark movie theaters, so I decided to try it. The results were less than pretty.

See all the snags and awfulness? And that’s after I fixed the really bad stuff

So, I learned that I need to practice being less dependent on my eyes while I’m knitting, while I still have access to light (say, when I’m watching football). I’m not quite there yet, to the point where I can knit beautifully in the dark. Although circular needles would help a lot, instead of using double-pointed needles. I seemed to have trouble at the start of each needle.

And these socks will remind me of that trip, to my sister’s baby shower. (Welcome, baby!)

Ten Rules for Living with My Sister by Ann M. Martin

Word Lily review

Ten Rules for Living with My Sister by Ann M. Martin (Feiwel & Friends, 2011), 240 pages

Summary
Pearl feels like the very uncool little sister, especially compared to the great life Lexie (eighth grade) has — with a boyfriend, tons of friends, great grades — while Pearl’s only boyfriend is the cat, Bitey (the name’s not ironic), and she doesn’t even have her own key to the apartment.

Thoughts
I picked this up because it’s by the Ann M. Martin, the author of the Baby-Sitters’ Club books, and I’d just had a conversation about reading those books and was feeling nostalgic. It also didn’t hurt that I knew it would be a quick read! 🙂

This was a fun story about starting to know yourself and growing up, grasping some self-control. I felt for the character, who was moved ahead in school based on academic testing but perhaps before she was ready for it socially.

The “hand-drawn” lists and charts are a definite plus.

It’s been a bit since I read a middle grade book, but this one felt like it skewed a bit younger than most/some. The protagonist is (just barely) 9 years old.

Rating: 3 stars

Other reviews
Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link and I’ll add it here.

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Camera grab

Camera grab

2013 reading: A growing list

I know we’re not yet *that* close to the end of 2012, but I’m starting to accumulate a list of books to read in 2013.

First on the list are the ones still outstanding from my challenge with Amy from 2 years ago already. Hopefully 2013 will be the year I get the rest of these books read. From that list, still remaining are:

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, both of which I challenged myself with.
I might not actually get to Les Mis this coming year; I’d granted myself grace on that one so far. I’ll still consider myself finished if I don’t get through (or even to) that one at this point. As for The Name of the Rose, I started it this fall, but I didn’t have the capacity to grapple with the thick language at this point. Hopefully next year will be different in that regard.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, which is the only one left of the five that Amy charged me with. I’m definitely planning to read this one in 2013.

Secondly, I really really want to read

Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. There’s a readalong going now, but alas, I not only found it late, but my reading schedule is way too packed for the rest of 2012 to fit in a chunkster like this. So, 2013 it is.

• I’m also toying with the idea of making a project of this Top 100 Picture Books list. It would be a nice way to add structure to my reading with Asa, don’t you think?

And finally (for now),

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I think Amy and I decided this week that we’ll tackle this one in the spring, together. I’ve never read it, so I hope it stands up to reading by an adult, since I’ve seen so many places say this is one you’re really supposed to read when you’re younger.

So, that’s it, so far! Obviously, such things are subject to change, especially when planned this far in advance. Do you have any books you’re planning to read next year? Have you read any of these books? If so, what do you think?

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Tiny details

Maybe she, like me, would have loved the tiny details and the inconveniences even more dearly than the wonders, because they are the things that prove you belong.

This is my first book by French, and I’m loving it so far!

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