Happy Holidays!

20131228_D7000-794.jpg

Hello friends & family!

I’m wishing you the best this holiday season, things like books to read, fires in fireplaces, and good, long, satisfying conversations (maybe over mulled wine?).

This year one of the holiday things I’m determined to do is to enjoy Chicago, dressed in its festive trim and decked out with fresh, falling (falling?) snow.

Yes, yes, I’m hoping for snow!

Cheers everyone!

Amy

This just in...

A half hour ago, my friend Tish texted this image to me:

TDC_winterinparadise.jpg

“Found this in Elin Hilderbrand’s brand new book,” she texts. It’s on p. 43 in Hilderbrand’s Winter in Paradise.

Hey — what? That sounds like my picture book!

9780316435512.jpg

And if it is my book, the next question is this: where exactly is Floyd falling asleep page-wise? Or what’s on page 6 of The Dirty Cowboy? It depends on how you count the pages, but it could be the bathing page. It’s a great page with a sort of natural pause. And honestly, isn’t everyone ready for sleep after a good long bath? I like this Floyd.

I recommend finding yourself a copy of The Dirty Cowboy to see it. It’s quite a page! The book was illustrated by Adam Rex, who does funny gloriously well.

Anyway, that’s pretty fun!

Knitting hats & writing stories

IMG_3907.jpg

Revision in hats and writing is more similar than I thought!

SO: I’m trying to learn how to knit berets. The one above is my latest. With this one, I was experimenting with combining colors, trying to figure out which combinations work. In the end, I’m not completely satisfied with it, but I like that light blue and the red-purple. I also liked the fuchsia-ish red with the pine green at the top. Yeah, I think when I look at those color combinations, and then I smile. Those are good, I think.

My previous experiments are in the photo below:

3berets9_13_18.jpg

The orange hat was my first try at knitting a beret. As a beret, it failed! It’s baggy, so baggy that it flops off your head. But I learned!

What did you learn? you ask. Well, the shape of a beret. Also, I learned spots where I need to be careful to stick to the pattern, and that I didn’t particularly like that pattern. I learned what size needles I need to use and where to use them — because I’m not a standard knitter. I knit loose and with two hands at once. Also, one of my hands knits tighter than the other. So while I don’t have an orange hat to wear, what I do have is knowledge of a pattern and needles and some color ideas…

This led me to the next hat — the gray and orange-patterned one. I love that one. It’s even a wearable hat! But the yarn is made from Herdwick Sheep wool. (Yes, Beatrix Potter’s preferred sheep!) But Potter’s Herdwicks are so scratchy you could sand wood with their wool — which is yes, what you could do with the hat I’ve made (and which is why Herdwick wool tends to be used for rugs.) Anyway, I don’t mind scratchy wool, so I’m going to try wearing it this winter. It’s a hat for me.

But this is not a hat you could give as a gift.

The Herdwick hat led to the speckled hat. It’s softer wool and using a yarn that changed colors. I thought this was going to be wonderful because I wouldn’t have to choose color changes and color combinations. It would be a surprise! But it turned out that the yarn changed colors so quickly that what you got was a speckled hat. Still cute, and it works as a beret. So hey — a cute practice hat. …

And the thing is, these knitting experiments seem very similar to how I approach my writing. I try things. I find out what I like and I keep those parts. The parts that I utterly do not like get thrown out. And the parts that are working in some manner but aren’t right in totality, I question and think about and consider. I do more experiments and see if I can make them ‘sing.’

‘Singing’ is hardly a technical term, but I know it when I hear it. I’m sure you know it too, right?

So! My next experiment beret will be done using a yarn that changes colors much more slowly. I think that will work much, much better. And then after that? I’m thinking about choosing my own colors again — just to see if I can do it.

Happy reading, writing and knitting everyone!

Amy

P.S. I am hard at work on another writing project and I’m enjoying myself!