My Adventures in Knitting, truly my Yarn-escape!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Yarns: Tempestry Kits In for Katahdin and "The First Conspiracy"


     Wow, am I excited!  I agreed to do two Tempestries (a crafted tapestry that depicts daily temperatures in an area for a specific year) for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Northern Maine.  It's a National Park that was fought for and signed into existence 2016 by Obama.  I'm doing its founding year 2016 and 1916.  This is for The National Parks Tempestry Project and a good resource to ask questions about Tempestries is the Facebook group - The Tempestry Project.

     Meanwhile, my son since 2014 (when he started at an Ecology college in Maine, College of the Atlantic) he has been doing several different adventures in the area of Katahdin.  I've heard moose stories and canoeing and camping stories.  And one story about him running many miles to connect with the small bus picking his group up (he was the group leader and there was flooding closing the bridge that the small bus should have crossed).  My son also led with another student a week-long hike on The Wilderness Trail (end of the AT) that ends at Mt. Katahdin.

      And another time he learned about poling up a river, and portage (carrying the canoe across dry spots to the next waterway) from an older Senior Citizen who graduated from COA when I was young.  These are old skills she had, in turn, learned from an older person, so it was literally passed down over a hundred years from when used to transport goods.  My son is an amazing story teller and I always look forward to his tales.  So I feel a certain bond to this place even though I live in Colorado. (Article by Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waterways - "Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument protects rich human history")

     Got my kit yesterday and of course, I was reading the instructions into late at night.  I'm opting for garter stitch to do mine (linen stitch in #10 needles is the other option) because I love meditative knits, simplicity is always my preferred choice.  I also prefer a smaller needle size and since I'll be at it for a while #7 sounded my cup of tea!  Excited, nervous.  Oh, and I have a skein of Wool of Andes yarn so I'm working out my nerves on a swatch.  Hope to dig into my colors today!  Each color represents a different temperature and there are little beads to represent precipitation.  What fun! 

     I'm still reading and listening to a variety of books about the American Revolution.  I try to keep my Audible books, about 3 of them on around the same battle.  Sounds silly but I liken it to a picture on a see-thru plastic.  And each book gives me a more detailed layer to the picture.  Most agree, but they add different details.  One book is more social history, another warfare, another biographical.  This site helped me decide on my books -"THE 100 BEST AMERICAN REVOLUTION BOOKS OF ALL TIME".

     So a girl has to unwind sometime with something fun right?  A lighter book perhaps?  I've tried.  Everything is boring compared to the Revolution.  I enjoyed "Queenie", but I itched to get back to my books.  OK, so I compromised, I started "The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington " by Brad Meltzer, an author who I've enjoyed his fiction before.  This is a historical account and he's done a ton of research into an attempt on Washington's life that little was known about.  It was vaguely mentioned in one of my books.  But Meltzer fleshed out the "Secret Plot to Kill George Washington".  It reads like a mystery unraveled and intrigue awaits and secrets divulged.  Good fun reading (and you learn a bit too).

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Scrappy Shawl and Finished "Queenie"

I still continue working on my Scrappy Shawl as I read. 


“[B]rilliant, timely, funny, heartbreaking.” —Jojo Moyes, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You

      "Queenie" by Candice Carty-WilliamsI loved it and yet it was hard at times to slog through but I couldn't stop because I loved her, Queenie's character.  I feel like I became friends with Queenie immediately as you open the book.  Queenie is a British black Jamaican journalist juggling two world's, if not three.  The white world and black but also her old world Jamaican grandparent's expectations.  She goes through a horrible break up with a man she expected to marry and have children with.  She flings herself into a long string of one-night sexcapades to escape.  Her chatter with her friends ends up being a needed humor break from the bleakness of what she is experiencing and it's a continual spiral downward.  But her voice, her conversations, and insights keep it lighter and compulsive reading.  You want to know how she comes out of this.  Will she?  The book also is a brilliant inside look at what it feels like to be black in her situation.  A creative thoughtful social treatise in itself.  

     I'm also reading some books for a class I'm taking in a professor's home.  He teaches the class on Islam, and we're starting with the Israeli/Palestinian dispute.  He is an Arab Christian and I look forward to his perspective.  It's mainly a challenging perspective to current Christian American thought.  "Whose Land? Whose Promise?: What Christians Are Not Being Told about Israel and the Palestinians. "

     And for St. Patrick's Day I baked half of a Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake in an 8" cake pan and covered it with a  Dark Chocolate Ganache of 1/2 cup heated Heavy Whipping Cream (in the microwave, carefully for a min. or more till hot) and 2/3 cp. Double Dark Ghiradelli Chocolate Chips added after.  Let sit for 3 mins. and whip till smooth (opt. add a dash of Jameson's Whiskey).   I have done the whole recipe above before and it is heavenly.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Scrappy Shawl, Tempestries and "Queenie"

      I'm trying to sort out my knitting so I have only 3 projects going.  I'm incorrigible when it comes to starting projects!  But I've got it down to the Scrappy Shawl, the Boiled Fingerless Gloves I'm still working on for my son, and an Owl.  Sometimes I'm a slow poke and I don't get things done as fast as I'd like but in a few weeks, I'll be getting a very special project National Parks Tempestry Kit for two years.  I want to finish some of my projects to clear the way to work on this.

A Tempestry shows the temperature day by day for a particular year.

When set side by side yearly temperature differences can be seen. If you do several decades to a hundred years apart you are going to see Climate Change!

The National Parks Tempestry Project is having volunteers pick a National Park and do 2 Tempestries.  One is 2016, the centennial of the National Parks and an earlier date (which should be the founding of your park but mine was started in 2016, so we're using weather data from the nearest town in 1916).

Katahdin Rock Lauren Danilek

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Northern Maine

     I choose Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, a vast expanse of land of 87,563 acres, that my son while in college canoed and camped in the area.  The land was donated for a National Park, fought against by some locals and the Maine Governor.  Then Obama created a monument to preserve the land.  It was on the list to be shrunk down last year but survived that assault.  For the Big park that could, I'll knit and hopefully get there one day to see it.  I can still see the mama Moose and calf my son described, a wild area preserved is such a gift.  And for locals concerned about losing trees for industry an NPR report says that for every dollar spent on a National Monuments $4 are reaped in the local towns from tourism. (A NOTE: If interested in a National Tempestry Kit you can see if a local group that supports your National Park will fund the project, but then they will keep the Tempestry, mine is to be gifted to my son.)

For more info. on Tempestries:
The Tempestry Project (A FB Group, more info.)
Ravelry Resistance Knitters a group on Craftivist Projects

     I'm still reading on the American Revolution and listening to several books.  I try to keep up to the same battle in each book, switching around to keep them all going on a similar topic.  This way I get diverse viewpoints and I get the details down into my head more.  I'm up to the Battle of Saratoga, October 1777 and I've covered The Battles of Trenton and Princeton about 4 times and each time is a bit different with different details.  I grew up in Princeton, NJ and for college went to Saratoga, NY, and settled where old Saratoga was after college.  I was living at the foot of a hill with the Saratoga Battle Monument on it.  It was my daily walk up the high hill to it and Benedict Arnold's empty niche faces away from you as you walk up to it, the other three spaces on each side are filled with a statue of a general who helped win the Saratoga Battle.

     I started reading "Queenie" a book I got through Book of the Month club which gets books ahead of publication (it comes out March 19th and it's supposed to be a big hit for this year).  A new writer's voice and unique writing, I'm looking forward to this (I found I miss disappearing into a book, the history of the Revolutionary war to me is riveting, but not exactly a calm let's-disappear-into-a-book experience).  Reading the front page excerpt that was given to us by BOTM I had to know what in the world was happening?  I also liked the writing style.  To me the prose is everything.  At this point all I know it's about a 25 yr. old British Jamaican woman straddling two worlds as a journalist and young black woman.  But I think I'm going to like it.  Goodreads: "Queenie"

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Yarns: Stuffed Animals for Children of Asylum Seekers and "Washington: A Life"


     I took the leap and created a new group on Ravelry called: "Resistance Knitters".  It is a place to compile Craftivist projects already existing and to brainstorm for new ideas of Craftivism to meet a myriad of causes.  I ask you to come on by and introduce yourself and tell us what is your most pressing cause(s) on your heart right now.  Do you have ideas of Craftism projects to meet this need or shall we brainstorm together to find solutions?  Ideas can range from charity knits to creating items that bring a needed focus to a cause (like the pink Pussyhats).

     One project we're working on is creating stuffed animals of animals and insects (like butterflies) that are threatened by the building of the Wall.  Then we want to give these cuddly creatures to children of asylum seekers waiting at the border or in asylum cities.  And we now have a connection to the founder and executive director of Sueños Sin Fronteras (Dreams Without Borders) who gives aid to asylum seekers at the border.  While they could use some cold weather items for asylum cities in the North where they also help, we decided that making stuffed animals would be an all-weather activity that can bring comfort to scared children.  Clutching an animal that is also soon to be homeless gives you a buddy that understands where you are at (when young my stuffed animals were very much alive).  Empathy from your soft friend.  If you want to join this endeavor join our new group "Resistance Knitters" on Ravelry and check out the discussion threads.  We have one thread for explaining the project in more detail and how to get a ship to address (it's a private shipping address so we ask you to PM a person), one thread for knitting patterns for animals and one for crochet.  The animals created are threatened by the Wall being built, not necessarily endangered, so a field mouse could be done.

To get an immediate idea of what is now happening at our border to threaten these creatures' habitat check out these Facebook sites: "No Border Wall""Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge" and "National Butterfly Center".   More info - The Border Wall and the Rio Grande.

The Ferruginous Pygmy Owl

Pattern - Owl

     And that takes me to my knitting project.  I'm knitting these adorable owls and to make them like the above Ferruginous Pygmy Owl.  I'm using a mottled looking brown yarn in Lions Wool-Ease Thick & Quick called Barley and size #15 double pointed needles (Amazon - #15 Needles).  For a Screech Owl, I'll switch to the color Fossil.  The eyes are still something I need to work out, these owls have yellow eyes.  There are some great button eyes on photos of this owl but I want it kid friendly.  The pattern calls for needle felting and I'm not familiar with that and not sure how permanent that would be.  Playing with the idea of felt disks white and yellow (and hot gluing them) and satin stitch yarn centers.  We shall see.

      I'm still pursuing my study of the American Revolution from all angles and I love biographies.  I'm in the middle of "Valiant Ambition" by Nathanial Philbrick.  A book about Washington and Benedict Arnold.  I was reading it on Kindle and up pops a sample of the audio on the bottom.  I knew I'd be sunk if I just listened!  Yes, I caved.  The voice is marvelous.  The book itself is massively exciting and detailed in certain battles the other authors haven't matched.  So, because felt I was in need of a book to hold and read, I grabbed the Ron Chernow book I got last week from Amazon in paperback (I think it weighs 2 lbs. even in paper!) "Washington: A Life".  My excitement for the book ratcheted as soon as I read the back and several pages at the front of reviews.  I believe I'm in for an amazing read!

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