What a January so far! We’ve had two sub-zero mornings this week and it has been brisk. I’ve been surviving on warm drinks, settling in with homeschooling each morning, and dreaming about my garden this year. We’ve also been doing more cleaning out/rearranging the basement, which continues to confound me. We’ve only been in this house 8.5 years — where did everything come from? But the week has been full of progress that I can’t wait to share with you.
I’m delighted to share that Agnes is settling in perfectly. I still don’t know if “Agnes” is an appropriate name for the kitty, but I’m going for it either way. She’s been much more willing to come out of the basement and play in the house. And in the last few days, she’s even started jumping into bed with me at night! August has been exceedingly patient with the new kitten and only seems to get upset when she bothers him when he’s sleeping. I call that a win. I’m especially relieved that she’s safe inside given how cold it’s been and how much snow we’re predicted get next week.
STRINGS AND NEEDLES
I’ve sewn on the third row of my Bloom Quilt! I was practically giddy when I brought this upstairs to take a picture. I am in love with the flowers and the bright colors. It is so completely scrappy and that makes me very happy! I adore scrap quilts!
I wish I had my design wall up in the basement because I would have caught one little issue that keeps catching my eye (the repeat of the border print above the last block on the third row). I know I could still rip out the stitches and sew in a different strip, but I’m not sure I want to go through all of that trouble. And I just want to get my sewing space in order to avoid these types of things!!
I finished another quilt top that I don’t think I’ve even blogged about. This has been leader/ender quilt for the last few years and it finally got to the point where it made sense just to finish it. (Here’s a good explanation of Leaders and Enders quilts.) This is super scrappy 1.5″ strips pieced onto 5″ squares. There are 80 squares total that were pieced into pairs, then sets of four to create a diamond shape. Those sets of four were then paired together and then paired again to give me 5 rows. And once those 5 rows were sewn together, then ta-da! A lovely little lap quilt top. It’s now gone into the bin of death — I mean, the bin of to be quilted finished quilt tops. Oh dear. I don’t know how I’m ever going to actually finish anything.
I’m making some progress my cross stitching projects. The fill in on Winter Rose Manor is causing me some grief because I’m off in several places and am just trying to fudge it. Deep breaths. I love how the texture of the fabric changes when large pieces are filled in with stitches. Sometimes I just pet it! And I love that light pink house against the snow filled yard and that pair of cardinals. I cannot wait until I get to all of the roses!
Annie Bayliss is moving slowly but somewhat steadily. When I sit down to stitch in the evening, I pull out this project first, stitch until I finish one piece of thread, rethread the needle and get my next stitch set up, and then put it away. (I learned that method from Lori Holt. It’s how she makes progress on her red samplers by working on them just a little bit every day.) Annie Bayliss is deceptively difficult and includes a lot of over-one stitching, which has me moving along at a more snail-like pace. I think I need a smaller needle for those stitches. My only hope is that I’ll get this done before June, which is when Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee celebration will end. It would lovely to end that season with a framed “God Save The Queen.”
Last Sunday I got a small start on my Sunday Stitch, Consider the Lilies. No picture today because it’s truly just a handful of stitches in a sea of fabric. It requires a massive piece of linen that was difficult navigating around, but I know I’ll come up with tricks and get used to it no time. I’m working my way from the center of the design (the tree) down to the letters. Once I get there, I’ll get the letters stitched all the way across and then begin on the side borders. That will give me a good idea about how wide I need the fabric and then I’ll see if I can trim it down at all. Fingers crossed! I think I’ll give myself four Sundays of work before sharing anything here.
ON MY BOOKSHELF
I’m experimenting with different ways of sharing my reading here on the blog. I’ve been keeping track of all of my reading throughout the week and will simply share what I’ve been dipping into. Some entries will have a lot of thoughts, others just a check-in. Who knows if I’ll do this next week but it’s worth a shot right now!
I was excited when my hold finally came through for The Lincoln Highway. Amor Towles is a must read author for me and A Gentleman in Moscow is one of my all-time favorite books. This one feels more like his first publication, Rules of Civility, and seems to pay homage to Huck Finn, Of Mice and Men, and Ulysses. It’s engrossing and I’ve already copied down several passages in my book journal, which is no easy feat because I’m listening on audio. I think Amor Towles has the snappiest dialogue in town; it’s just fun! I have less than an hour of listening time left so I think I’ll find a few extra chores this evening and see how Towles ties up all of the threads. My husband is not a reader and I rarely buy him books, but this one is going on his birthday list from me. I think this book will suit the tastes of many types of readers.
Love Medicine is the first book in the Erdrich-Along hosted by Mary. I am captivated by the family in this novel and can’t wait to really dig into the story. So far I’m struck by how Erdrich has captured the tension in this family. I’m only about 40 pages into it because I’m reading it very slowly and with my reading journal at my side. I’m also considering tackling a family tree because this is a complicated group of people!
Amy at Hearth Ridge Reflections recommended Bandersnatch to me a while back ago and I’m finally getting started on it. It’s about CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien’s writing group – The Inklings. First of all, that name is enough to get me interested in the group, but knowing the work the authors produced adds to the lure. This book also includes how community makes a writer’s work grow stronger, which I find fascinating. I’m only a few pages into it and can’t wait to keep reading.
And I’m still working my way through Mary Oliver’s Devotions. I’m a little frustrated because many of these poems were included in other collections of hers that I’ve read, so I keep thinking that I’m rereading the same book over and again. And then I remind myself that rereading poetry is encouraged and I’m likely to find new nuggets if I stop the steady stream of complaints running through my head. Let’s see if I can follow my own advice!
And in slightly different book news, The Tournament of Books released the tourney bracket on Discord this week. I can’t find a link other than from Discord itself, so I’ll try to embed the pdf in this post, if you’re interested in printing it out and following along.
(The preview to the file didn’t show up on my end, but if you just click on the text (2022-tob-brackets), you’ll be able to preview the file before choosing to download, just in case you’re wary of what you’re actually downloading to your computer!!)
It is worth joining the Discord channel because they’re encouraging people to upload their completed brackets before the tournament starts and they’ll crown a winner on that platform. And there will be prizes!! I’ve never gotten caught up in the March basketball frenzy, but count me in for the book frenzy!
Okay – this post was much longer than I intended. I’m looking forward to this weekend; it’s going to another cold one and we’re expecting a massive amount of snow on Sunday night and into Monday morning. I’m here for it. There will also be a frigid football game on Saturday night between The Patriots and The Bills and I’m even excited about that. We’re planning to put Swedish Meatballs into the crockpot, cook up a giant pot of mashed potatoes, and drink lots of coffee. I cannot wait! I hope you are able to enjoy this weekend. Any plans? No matter what, please stay safe and cozy!