Sunday, January 7, 2018

Waking Up In January

January is the giant of months. Partly because it seems to begin after Christmas and go on for ever; but also because it can strike blows that disorganize one's life, and transform the familiar, welcoming garden into a strange black-and-white Brueghel world. -- Dorothy Hammond Innes, Home is My Garden
I realized a couple of days ago that I clean forgot about writing a blogpost last weekend. These holidays really throw me off. Part of the problem was that we flew back from Winnipeg to Vancouver Island last Saturday, then New Year's Eve was the next day, and then the next thing I knew, I woke up on the couch and looked around and decided it was a good idea to make some vegetable soup. Yes, that's what a New Year's party looks like around here. Par-tay.

I had another week at home and took advantage of it by treating myself to a few vintage treasures I'd been admiring, like this beautiful tin. I could not stop thinking about it, and when I found that it was still available this week, I decided it belonged in my home. I think it was originally a chocolate or toffee box, but I have yet to decide what should go in there. I might put some of my special pens in it, or maybe line it with some fabric and put some jewelry in it... not really sure. For now, it lives on the ledge by the stairs for me to stop and admire each time I go up or down:

I also decided it was time to buy this book from the second-hand bookshop. It's a reproduction of Edith Holden's sketchbook from 1906. She worked as an illustrator, and as all artists do, she kept a sketchbook of her musings. It looked familiar to me when I saw it earlier this week. I remember seeing something like it in a Chapters a few years ago, and I regretted not buying a copy then. As soon as I saw this one, I thought I'd better not miss the opportunity:

I'm always so enchanted by people's sketchbooks. I keep buying some of my own, but I'm not in the habit of doing anything with them. Perhaps, if I was prone to making New Year's Resolutions, that might be one of them. For now, I think I'll treat myself to looking through a year of this lady's sketchbook as inspiration:

And then, of course, there's the knitting. I finished this cowl early last week. It's a very simple pattern called Copilot, and it is a lovely pattern to make use of variegated yarn. It took me a few tries to get it done because I thought I'd be creative and try to make the centre section slant the other direction, but it turns out that my slip-slip-knit stitches really don't lie as flat as my k2tog stitches, and the result looked so awkward that, even though I was nearly at the end, I decided to rip back all the way to the start of the second section to work all of the stitches at k2tog, just like the original pattern was written. Sometimes, my adventurous knitting-nature gets the better of me:

The ripping-out phase wasn't finished then, though. Just as I was reaching the last two rows before bind-off, I realized I was going to run out. I ripped back and did one fewer eyelet row and worked to the last garter stitch section... only to find out I was going to run out before the end of the section. I ripped back again and decided I'd do one fewer garter stitch row... and I STILL was going to run out, with about 40 stitches left in the bind-off. That was when I put the project in the time-out corner while I fumed for a few minutes. Finally, I got up and hunted out some scrap yarn that mostly matched and completed the bind-off with it. I dont think you can tell at all:

Incidentally, this is one of the skeins of yarn I bought the day I broke my foot two summers ago. Maybe it was destined to be difficult to work with. I'm glad to say that it was worth it. I'm loving this cowl:

Meanwhile, I'm working on yet another cowl, this time in with this alpaca/merino/cashmere blend... and I've already ripped it out three times. Maybe this is the theme of the year: I'm going to have to do things over and over until I learn. Oddly, that sounds like every, single year of my knitting life.

I've decided not to have any resolutions this year, because I've decided not to believe that I have so many things that need "fixing. Instead, have a few "commitments" to this year:

  1. Eat protein and vegetables at every meal.
  2. Move a little every day... yes, even if it's raining or it's -28 degrees in Winnipeg.
  3. Take three deep breaths before I get out of the car to go into the office.
  4. Never read the comments to YouTube, Facebook, or indeed anything posted on the internet. Life's too short to give airtime to trolls.
I have to say: that last one is the toughest. I think it's because we think we're connecting to people when we leave or read comments, and so I yearn to read them, but it usually means I end up feeling sad or frustrated by people's negativity. And right now, I really feel like I need protection from any of that kind of energy.

It's raining here on the Island this week, which is good and not-so-good in its own way, but I'm looking forward to a change of scenery later this week. I won't say where I'm going, because that will mean I will HAVE to pay attention and write a post about it. So... until then, have a great week!


Marsha said...

I’m a big fan of #4–so much so that for the past couple of years I’ve been using the Chrome extension called “Shut Up,” which automatically hides all comments on a webpage unless I click a button in my toolbar to toggle them on. Talk about a sanity saver!

Marsha said...

About #4: this will save your sanity: It hides all comments on a webpage unless you toggle them on. I've been using this for a couple of years, and it is my favorite Chrome extension. (My second favorite is the one that replaces all images of Trump with photos of kittens.)

AdrieneJ said...

That is very useful information!