knitting, reading

11. Adventures in Yarn Farming

I suspect that everyone who does fiber stuff at some point daydreams about having a sheep farm of their own. I was effectively vaccinated against this desire by reading a lot of James Herriot as a youngling–the cover has fallen off my copy of All Things Bright and Beautiful–but even I occasionally wonder how it would be. This book is designed for that audience: people who know something about yarn, but not a ton about where it comes from.

It isn’t a manual on livestock care, or a how-to-craft guide, but a sort of lively small-scale memoir with admixtures. Think Animal, Vegetable, Miracle with fewer pretensions, maybe. Ms. Parry’s farm is a business, and she makes no bones about how things like the summer’s hay yield factor into her herd’s management, and how critical it is to keep track of each individual sheep’s lineage and wool characteristics, and the earthier aspects of animal care.

The book is handsomely made, feels lovely in the hands, and is beautifully illustrated (although the photos are, frustratingly, not captioned). As a bonus, while it guides you through the yearly round of a sheep farmer’s life in Western Massachusetts, it provides detailed instructions for a number of dyeing and knitting projects that are, alas, well beyond my skill level.

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I borrowed this book from a friend who picked it up at the Boston Farm & Fiber Festival a couple years back. (I believe I bought some yarn from the author, which I also believe is still in my stash somewhere. As one does.) It’s a nice one to curl up with of an evening and lazily turn a few pages, day-dreaming of a pastoral life in between vignettes and doses of hard-earned sheep knowledge.

knitting, life, writing

The Week in Pictures

  1. Reached the halfway point on this scarf (finally). Hoping to finish it this month.
  2. Printed out half-assed draft of the next project. I’m about 1/3 through reviewing it.
  3. I’ve been playing with a daily visual journal. Some days it’s hard to find anything to draw; other days my teen and about-to-be-teen stand in the living room T-posing at each other while I try to stop laughing.

knitting, life, monthly updates, writing

October Wrap-Up

Someday the time distortion effect will ease up, right? I’m looking at my calendar and thinking, There’s no way that was only three weeks ago, what the hell? But here we are, the last day of October (also a full moon, also Halloween of course), so it’s time to consider the month.

In terms of this blog’s focus, the most important thing about October is that I wrote 22k words of the new book. I have decided to try for another NaNo win, which if successful should get me through the bulk of the first draft, with the goal of finishing it by the end of the year. In purely physical terms, this is do-able; we’re not going anywhere this month, we’re not hosting any gatherings, I don’t have a commute right now, and my new job is not crushing me with tasks or boredom. I have the time; it’s down to whether I can muster the focus to keep putting words together.

No word yet from my first batch of queries. I’m going to give them another couple of weeks before I send out a few more. So much for the writing category. Should I be explicit about my goals here? The 2023 plan is all about concrete goals. I shorthand it as “writing” but the actual goal is “get paid for creative work.” Keeping that in mind is supposed to be a motivator.

In other areas, “save for a house” has taken a hit due to major progress in “don’t hate my living space” — this was expected, and worth it. However, being ten weeks into the plan and seeing no progress in that goal is frustrating. We do have a full month of budget information to work with based on my new paycheck now, so I have set myself some small, actionable targets for the month based around that.

My day job feels like it’s coasting right now, and that won’t do in the long term, but November is no time to plan any major activity in that zone. It’s only been two months; I lucked out beyond hope with this change; it’s okay to just enjoy that for a while. I am keeping an eye on my general satisfaction level there, and come December will put together some 2021 targets.

And then there’s the fifth zone, which still doesn’t have a name or a chart because it’s generally about being at home in my body and at peace in my mind. “Lose 20 pounds” is a goal, but it’s not the goal, and I don’t want to mix up forest and trees here; I don’t know whether or not losing weight will make a difference to how I feel day to day. Meditating does seem to be helpful, but it doesn’t have an end date. Maybe I could set “establish these habits” as a goal for a few months, see if that goes anywhere.

I’m still knitting, in between all of this other stuff.

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I finished both of these cowls in October. The top one is snug and warm and a very quick knit. The bottom one has been languishing since last winter, and I am very glad to see the back of it; its a finer yarn than I’ve ever worked with before and took forever. Loosely draped, it’s nice to wear indoors on a chilly day; doubled, it’s cozy for walking outside. I even put together a queue of projects that should get me through the winter.

It’s been a good month.

garden, knitting, life, reading

Are We Still Counting Days?

There’s an asterisk in my journal next to the day they started opening things back up in Massachusetts. I don’t feel confident about this process at all, and nothing in our household is going to change for the time being. Caseloads have been shrinking locally, but there are so many variables at work, I doubt that anyone has solid ground to predict farther than a couple of days out. For the time being, I continue to count.

Continue reading “Are We Still Counting Days?”