Friday, December 28, 2012

three knitted presents

. . . which I can finally show you. A hat for Tim, socks for Laura, and a sweater for Hannah.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Now the sun has started to strengthen. Full of hope and resolve, armed with, inspired by Nice Things--a fountain pen; a pleasing bottle of blue-black ink; Shakespeare's poems in two blue, small, Yale edition volumes; a Lifesaver book; a leather tassel for the zipper on a future garment; Colours of Shetland, Kate Davies's new book; a ceramic slip stone for sharpening my needles, scissors, and knives; the carol CD most prominent in my childhood, a box of Moroccan mint tea, new kitchen shears, money to make this most expensive month a little easier--I am quite ready to shed the old year.

I am thinking of next summer's garden. Tim and I will build more raised beds, will buy a real lawnmower, make the yard better than it was before. Next Christmas I will have jars of jam to give away again, next winter on a night like tonight, I will drink tea from mint that I grew and dried. Simpkin will be grown up, safe, sweet, no longer shivering miserably during thunderstorms.

In the meantime, I feel lucky to be weathering this cold, this smothering northern slowness and isolation with Tim. We had quite the year. We'll have to work hard through the rest of the winter. I go back to work at the cafe tomorrow and my classes start on Thursday. I will need to get up early and go to bed late, to save money to stave off the monstrous leech that is Student Loans, to try to keep reading and writing for myself. But I can do it. I have great plans.

2012 passed by in a bit of a daze. Uprooted in March, I seemed to stop growing. Of the goals I made last January, I can take credit only for flossing and growing a garden. But here at the end, I can add that I managed to get straight A's in my first semester back at uni. And we bought a house. I finally banished the acne that has been plaguing me since I was 19. I published poems in three magazines and got paid for my writing for the first time. We rescued a tiny, sad cat. I struggled through my first "real" job interview. I started learning about making my own clothes. I didn't succumb to seasonal depression. I worked while going to school. As always, I am loathe to say that it has been a Good Year. But it certainly could have been worse. I think I am better equipped for next year: I feel stronger and older.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Yesterday, Laura came over to bake gingerbread, watch The Terminator, and sew up a few of these. We used this Purlbee tutorial.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 13, 2012

I am here at my desk eating homemade pea soup. I am here to tell you that the quagmire has been waded.

Monday, I woke up at 5 am. I showered, and by 6 am I was writing the first section of an 8-page final paper, due at 3pm. At 3:30 pm, I walked into class with the 8 pages clutched in my hand, summarized the paper for my class, and was in the campus bar with everyone else by 4 pm. At 4:15, I left. I came home, put on a pot of soup, washed all the dishes, and started assembling and writing commentary for my poetry portfolio, due Tuesday. At 11 pm, I finished. Up at 5 am on Tuesday, I spent the morning catching up on the 100 pages of my rhetoric textbook which I had yet to read. A few minutes before noon, I left for school. I handed in the portfolio, wrote my exam, came home, watched A Charlie Brown Christmas, and fell asleep. Wednesday, I worked at the cafe all day. This morning, I was up at 5 am once again, at school by 7 am, and writing my last exam by 9 am. At 11:30, I was done. I walked 40 minutes across my beloved river valley blasting La Roux through my headphones to meet Tim for espresso, Italian hot chocolate, and fennel biscotti. I'm done.

I cannot tell you how luxurious it feels to be alternating knitting a sweater sleeve with cleaning the apartment. No papers! No tyrannical to-do list! No JSTOR tabs open in my browser! I plan to read unassigned novels and math, bake pfefferkuchenplatzen, knit, work out, decorate the fig tree, practice programming, perhaps construct a paper chain.

(There is a part of me that cuts her hair, pierces various body parts, plans tattoos, swears, wants to be as tough as Lisbeth Salander. There is another part of me that spends her evenings curled up with double-pointed knitting needles and silk-wool blend yarn, bakes gingerbread squirrels, and feels a great affinity with Laura Ingalls.)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Jo March

The way hair-cutting features in literature is quite interesting--usually a symbol of liberation, or insanity, or self-possession after being spurned. It seems to work similarly in real life. If you want to change yourself, or publicize a change, you get a haircut. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Delicious Mail

Remember this plea? Well, after much stalling on my part, the cowls are knitted and ready to graft together. Cat's blue cocoons arrived today, with tea and a postcard:

And last week, there were tea-centric notecards and an embroidered teacup pin from the infinitely talented Em . . . 

All extremely happy. Thanks thanks thanks!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Adventures in Darning



I want to be someone who knows how to fix things as well as make things. Repair has been at the top of my mind for several months now. When a faulty knot (I know, I know) in the sole of one of my striped socks gave way, leaving me with a small hole, I decided it was a good time to follow tomofholland's advice and Darn It!

For my first darn, I think it's not bad. Of course, there's lots of room for improvement. This method of darning, mostly suitable for small holes, is called a Swiss darn (or duplicate stitch), and, theoretically, it can be almost invisible.

I'm also in the process of (more creatively and obviously) repairing a nasty gash in a black cardigan of mine. Perhaps pictures within the next few days. Have a lovely Sunday!