Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Yarn along, after a long absence

(Sick of these arm warmers yet? I am. There's just been no time or energy or motivation for crochet lately, and when I let a project languish too long, I tend to lose interest.)

My family's been dealt a terrible blow recently, and I'm having a hard time thinking about anything else. Blogging about anything seems trivial in the face of it. And yet, life does go on, and I want to spend part of it focusing on the positive.

In that light, I wanted to return for the yarn along, which I've missed.

I'm reading a wonderful new book. I was lucky enough to be able to hear Jodi read from it this week, accompanied by Ellen (the songwriter for the included CD soundtrack). Jodi Picoult cracks me up (when I see her in person), and all her books make me want to block off a day just to read. But the theme of this one, of course, is near and dear to my family's life, and so I was particularly thrilled to be able to see her this time. I love how, whatever issue she's addressing, she can make you feel sympathetic to characters on both sides (doubt it'll happen this time, but you never know...). The signing line was long and super-efficient at this reading, but I managed to tell her "thank you--if anyone can change minds, you can." She said "I hope so." Me, too.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Well. I kind of fell off the face of the blogging earth, didn't I? I knew I was really off when I missed the Yarn Along, twice. (Love the Yarn Along.) I don't know what got into me, but maybe the green I'm seeing all around will help bring back whatever I've lost.

Snowdrops in the receeding snow.

The vintage St. Patrick's Day cards I hung in my kitchen:

And best of all, a package in the mail (not green, though its contents were):

I won!

Thank you, Bley, for your beautiful work and your generosity!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Yarn Along 16

Work has stalled on my arm warmers, until I can get to the store for a new hook. And I'm still reading The Book Thief (no fault of the book, just of my too-busy life). But mostly, of course, I'm reading picture books. This week's favorites are two vintage Little Golden Books.

Most-read is The Monster at the End of this Book, both by me to the kids, and by the kids themselves. Here's part of what I wrote to their parents today about it:

Do you remember The Monster at the End of this Book? It’s a 1970s Little Golden Book about Grover—and is probably the only t.v.-tie-in book you’ll ever see in this house. But it’s such a great one, it deserves its solitary existence here. We’ve been reading it a lot this week. On the first reading, some of the kids worried it might be too scary (there’s a monster at the end, you know). But once the older kids start laughing, the younger kids edge closer to find out why, and soon we’re past that first reading and on to the pleas for “again!” (If you’re not familiar with it, Grover is worried because the title page said there’d be a monster at the end of the book. He does everything he can to stop us from turning pages to get there. But it turns out it’s just him!) Of course, the kids love it because it’s very funny. And it’s fun to keep turning pages that have been tied shut or bricked over, creating havoc and panic for Grover. I love it for those reasons, too. But I also have a secret teacher-y love for it. Do you see the giant text as Grover yells? And the speech bubbles? And colored lettering? It all draws children’s attention to the text, and keeps it there as they read the book themselves. Big text tells them to yell. Tiny text tells them to whisper. And they’re looking at it all as they “read” the quickly-familiar words, nudging them one step closer on their path toward reading. And read it they do, over and over. I caught everyone “reading” this book to themselves or to a friend at various times today: “I’m going to tie this page up so you can’t turn the page.” “You turned another page!”

And then there's The New Baby (or Baby Dear). Mother cares for her new baby, while new-big-sister cares for her new doll. Totally sweet. I have been so inspired as I read this one over and over by the clothes! There's the cutest green bonnet with embroidered flowers that I think I must make for Lucy. And the striped dress has me thinking about a men's shirt I could transform...

There's lots more yarn-along inspiration at Ginny's blog.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sometimes, there just aren't any pretty pics to post

Remember those arm warmers I was making for myself? Stalled, due to this situation:

(Toddler+lovely bamboo crochet hook left down too low=disaster. The photo's not great, but that hook is snapped right in half. Note that it's the only hook I had in that size.)

Oh, and last week's batch of syrup? Looks like this:

(Not your usual pretty blog pic, is it?)