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Archive for September, 2021

Like many people, I could do with more exercise, and I struggle to work it into my life on a consistent basis.

A friend of mine suggested recently that I should just take a walk around the block first thing in the morning. I could always do more later, but I would be starting the day with some fresh air in my lungs. Sounds easy enough, right?

The view as a I start walking down my street

While I enjoy early mornings, I am not much of a morning person. I don’t wake up and pop right out of bed, ready to face the day. If I wake up to lovely music on the radio and feeling snuggly and comfortable in bed, I am not keen to change the situation, and if I do get myself upright in short order, it takes a while before I feel like getting dressed and really starting the day.

This bumblebee is more industrious than I am in the morning.

It took three days between advice and action, and the first action did not bode well. The temperature was not too hot, but it was quite humid. Exhaust plus humidity equals dank air which is not particularly pleasant to breathe. I did make it through a short loop through the neighborhood, and I have managed to do the same thing every day since. Today marks eight days in a row.

All sorts of flowers, wild and cultivated, grow along my route.

The key is to not think about it too much. I get up, put on appropriate clothing, have a drink of water if I think about it, pick up a house key, and walk out the door. I don’t take music or my phone. I don’t wear any sort of device which tracks where I am going or how many steps I take or how far I go or what my heart rate is or how many calories I am burning or compares one day to another. I don’t know how far or how fast. Sometimes more and sometimes less, varying the route according to the morning’s whim. I just walk.

There’s a river to my left as I walk this path.

While I am not sure how much it is helping overall (it has only been eight days), it has not been difficult. As the song says, I just put one foot in front of the other.

I was worried that it would be difficult to motivate myself without music or that the brain weasels would detract from the salubrious effects of these morning perambulations. If I feel as if anxious thoughts are taking over, I can sing a song in my head — make my own music. I pay attention to where I am going and what is around me.

A feather

Yesterday I took a second walk with my phone so that I could take some pictures. I would like to take more pictures, especially of some of the houses I pass, but carrying a camera gets in the way of the simplicity of the endeavor, and folks might not care for their homes being photographed by a random person strolling through the neighborhood, so I am going to wait and see on that idea.

Maybe I will give it some thought on tomorrow’s walk.

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Monogamous knitting has never been my strong suit. Although I do get projects finished (eventually and occasionally quickly), I am more of a *squirrel!* knitter. I am easily distracted by some new project or yarn or idea or even by a reminder of a previous possible project. Sometimes I rapidly work through the knitting and then fail on the finishing.

Sock Pile

For example, my coping mechanism for the first several months of this year was knitting socks. I would cast on, knit, bind off, and move on to the next — whether the mate of the pair or a whole new pair — without stopping to weave in ends, wash, and block the previous item. As a result, when I decided to finally finish all of those socks so that I could wear them, I had a pile of twelve pairs of socks.

These days I am trying to focus a bit more … with somewhat limited success.

I have finished the striped socks mentioned in the previous post and started a second pair. I would like to get a third pair of a different variation either finished or well underway by October 1st so that I am ready to start with my marvelous minis from Dragon Hoard Yarn. I was feeling all focused and motivated when the distractions started (resumed might be a better word since this is not an uncommon occurrence).

First came the snow socks. There is a yarn line called Regia which produces lovely self-striping and self-patterning sock yarn, usually fingering weight, sometimes sport weight. The fine folks at Spinning Yarns in Dover, New Hampshire, sent me an e-mail to let me know that this year Regia is offering worsted weight, self-patterning sock yarn in five different “snow” colors. Worsted weight. Self-patterning. Sock yarn. Sign me up. I couldn’t get myself out the door fast enough.

Snow sock in progress

As an added bonus, the skeins are 150 grams rather than a more standard 100 grams, so with a little supplementation from my stash, I should be able to get two pairs of socks out of a single skein. I cast on as soon as I got home, and it’s going well so far. One sock is finished, and I am well on my way with the second.

The second distraction was a cowl, but at least it did not involve new yarn or a new project. A friend and I had a conversation about Copenhagen Calling (Ravelry link), a cowl pattern designed by Isabell Kraemer. It inspired me to dig out the partially finished one I had languishing in a project bag somewhere. Except that it turned out to be a completely different pattern, although by the same designer.

Beloved Berlin cowl in progress

I started Beloved Berlin (Ravelry link) at least two years ago, and quite possibly three, right about this same time of year. For some reason the approach of Halloween inspires me to knit in related colors more than any other holiday or season. If I want to actually finish the projects in time for the holiday, however, I really should start in July, which I can’t quite bring myself to do.

The good news is that I was farther along in the project than I remembered. The less good news is that it is 352 stitches knit in fingering weight yarn on a size 3 needle, so there was a fair bit of knitting left to do. Each round takes about 20 minutes, and I had about 40 rounds to go, plus the bind off. I have made more progress since this picture was taken, and I am down to 9 rows, so if I don’t get distracted yet again by something else, it could be finished this week.

Once it is finished, perhaps I will go back to an even older Halloween project, a pair of socks which I started before I figured out that I could turn fingering weight yarn into thicker yarn by holding the yarn doubled. Yes, I could pull out the work I have done so far and begin again with my new preferred formula, but I am about halfway through the first sock, and I love how the colors are striping and pooling, so I will continue as is. These socks probably won’t get finished this year either, but they have waited this long, and progress is still progress. The yarn is from Oink Pigments. I think the color is called All Hail the Pumpkin King.

Right. So that list puts me at four active, in progress, projects. I could start in on the sweaters, both in progress and planned, but I will save those for next time. Let’s see if I can finish something first.

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Starting Striped Socks

Despite the fact the the autumnal equinox isn’t due for another two weeks, many people are bemoaning the end of summer. The kids are back to school (ish), the sun is setting earlier, and we will be saying Happy New Year before you know it, but this is my favorite time of year. Fall isn’t here quite yet, but I can feel it coming.

Even though I am an avid knitter year round, September still marks the beginning of Knitting Season and is the harbinger of Sweatah Weathah. While I do have sweater plans, for now I am focused on socks — specifically striped socks.

Five small cakes of yarn -- purple, speckled, orange, black & white, and black & orange
Mini skeins caked and ready to knit

One of my goals this year is to work some of the bundles of mini skeins which I am never sure how to use but can’t seem to resist into projects. In a moment of weakness or enthusiasm (depending on one’s point of view), I ordered a Halloween Advent set from a dyer I have wanted to try for ages. That’s 31 mini skeins headed my way for October 1st. Typing it out loud makes it sound a bit insane. Ah well.

Since I placed my order I have been debating what to make with these treasures because I really want to start on October 1st and work my way through the lot, finishing on Halloween. I struggle with structure and discipline and good habits. I fall hopelessly behind in knitalong events. No sooner do I get my needles into one project than I am distracted by something shiny (or fuzzy) and new.

This time, I have decided, it’s going to work. I am going to start with skein one on day one and work my way through the day’s mini each day, and I am going to make socks. They might be marled. They might be color blocked. They might be striped. The might have a stitch pattern, or they might be plain stockinette. But they will be knit in October, which is also known as Socktober in the knitting world. It’s going to be EPIC!

To that end, I thought a little practice was in order, so I pulled out some Halloween themed mini skeins which I purchased several years ago and have already been wound into cakes. I have two each of two sets (the equivalent of four skeins of yarn). I originally had notions of making knee socks, but I decided to make shorter socks and play with stripes instead. I have knit the first sock and am quite pleased with the results, although I decided to change up the stripe order on the second sock. The orange stripes will be on the foot rather than the leg.

I thought about taking the change further by reversing the purple and the orange completely. Maybe on the next pair.

This is both the fun and the challenge of knitting socks — there are so many possibilities, especially once you find a fit and structure which works for you so that you can just cast on and knit rather than relying on a specific pattern.

The corollary to the Socktober knitting goal is to document the progress with photographs and posts. September is going to be preparation and practice for that goal, too. Stay tuned!

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