Thursday, July 25, 2013

On Bucket Lists, the Meaning of Contentment, and Daydreaming

This is a portion of what was a knit and crochet projects list
I, at one point, wanted to work through. Epic fail.
I recently watched the Rob Reiner-directed movie Bucket List. Released in late 2007/early 2008, it focuses on two cancer patients (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) and their adventures attempting to cross off experiences on a list of must-do's before they die.
I did not see this movie in the theater when it was originally released; however,"bucket list" is now in the popular vernacular because of it. The basic concept isn't really all that new - philosophers have been interested in the good life, and how to achieve it, since the beginning of time. Long before Rob Reiner's take on it, I used to carry a list of 10 things I wanted to do before I died. I also had written mine on lined, yellow paper, just like Morgan Freeman's character did in his hospital bed (there's just something so, I don't know, official, about a yellow, lined pad of paper). Some of the things on my list I've accomplished; some I now have no desire to see to completion; others I'll probably still complete. I think this is rather de rigeur, as my point of view has changed over time.
On the Bucket List's dvd, there's an extra segment from the movie's writer, Justin Zackham, about the how and why of bucket lists, and his concept of why someone creates such a list in the first place: because they are not content. I could not disagree more with this. Crossing things off my list isn't about contentment - if it were, then I'd be in some serious hot water, since regrets can't be undone minus a magic djinni, and undoing them definitely isn't on my list. I think we must all live with at least some level of regret. I can learn from my mistakes, live with greater knowledge and awareness, but regrets are inevitable and make contentment possible.
And that has very little to do with a bucket list.
While I didn't speak with him, I'm pretty certain this
South African wasn't thinking about a bucket list while
he was attempting to catch something to eat that day.
Additionally, I think most people in western, industrialized nations are already fairly content, although capitalism would have us believe otherwise. Actual bucket lists are uniquely the product of relatively well-educated, well-fed, well-housed and clothed individuals who have the time on their hands to actually daydream about such things. And let me state for the record: I'm one of those well-educated, well-fed, well-housed and clothed individuals. Thank goodness for daydreaming! Imagination leads to curiosity, and deep curiosity will hold me in good stead for, like, well, as long as I'm living this life.

And no bucket list for this man, just a wish to have a
hospital closer than three hours away (and yes, I did ask).
Finally, a confession (well, ok, two confessions): I actually lost my bucket list several years ago, and I'm not all that upset about it. My recent foray with knit and crochet "bucket" lists has shown me that I am not, at this point, a good list person. Lists are limiting. And lists lead inevitably to comparisons, which leads to my other confession: I was actually fairly pleased that some things that made it onto the movie characters' list I had already experienced, no list required. And of course I shouldn't have felt all warm and fuzzy about that, but there you have it.

Which is another reason why no more bucket list for me.

If you had to create a bucket list, what might make the cut?

Friday, July 19, 2013

This Week's Fiber Post Has Gone to the Animals ...

... more specifically, George Bailey, since I have been in the process of finishing up several projects that I am not at liberty to discuss.
I must say, though, he has mastered the art of sunbathing. I, on the other hand, would be a fool to follow in his pawsteps (not to mention I'd need to be a contortion artist of the highest sort).

I will say, generally, I've seen a lot of wonderful handspun yarn over the last few weeks (thank you, Tour de Fleece spinners). I've also seen the beginnings of the Fall 2013 designs - most notably Rowan (with its book number 54), as well as the first few fall books from Berroco.
If these are any indication, knitters are in for a grand fall filled with wonderfully textured, deeply colored designs, not to mention tinged with bling (can anyone say Rowan Kidsilk Haze Glamour?).

If you've seen anything that's grabbed your fiber fancy over the last few weeks, I'd love to hear about it, so feel free to leave a comment below - after you've been over to Adrea's blog Wisdom Begins in Wonder and left your own fibery footprint.

And for everyone in the eastern U.S. - stay cool!

Friday, July 12, 2013

WIPville Update

Well, my fiber friends, another Friday is unfailingly here. I have been a busy gal, but not everything I've been working on I can share with you ... you understand, right?
However, I can share with you my progress on my very own One If by Hook Cardi, and I must say I am pretty pleased with myself:

The back, the initial image is part of the front.

This worked up in, like, no time flat. I am really loving this color combination ... for fall. Yes, fall, people (cause you know those summer Fridays are flying past us). The cardi will feel more fall-like once I get the neckband and front button/hole bands on. I am loving how the LB Amazing (in the violets colorway) is looking - very muted, but with enough color change to be interesting (see the below photo for a better shot of the edging). 

I am particularly pleased with how the wool is working up - tweedy, nicely textured, and with a little more structure than the cotton I used in the summer sample. Of course, this hasn't been blocked yet, and I expect the yarn to bloom nicely, as it did in the previous cowl project in which I used some of it.

See how the tweedy flecks in the yarn
coordinate nicely with the LB Amazing?

I must also give a shout-out to Vivian over at Bits and Pieces - I know I'm going to be a little short on yarn for the sleeves, and she has very kindly agreed to see if she can locate what remaining yarn she has left in her stash. For those of you who might not remember: I actually won this yarn from Vivian last year. I am super thrilled that I can use it for this cardigan - and I get to celebrate her blogiversary (or at least remember she had one!) every time I see the sweater.

I do hope you find the time to make it over to Wisdom Begins in Wonder and check out what's going on with her Tour De France, er, Fleece, spinning.

A test cooking update: Remember I wrote about a trifle recipe test last September? Well, Cook's Illustrated (from America's Test Kitchen) has published it in their July/August 2013 edition (and theirs definitely looks better than mine). There is a linky online, but I think you'll be rather disappointed, since they want everyone to subscribe. Nevertheless, you can see that they really do publish what they send us to test. 

Happy weekend, everyone!

Doesn't Mother Nature just nail it all the time?
What great texture and color palette.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

And the Winner Is ...

... the random number generator chose number 1, so Katherine the Great, a/k/a Katie Metzroth is the lucky recipient of some Universal Yarn and a copy of the summer edition of Crochet! Magazine. Yippee!!!! Please contact me, Katie, so I can coordinate getting your prize to you.

I am elbow-deep in WIPs, so I'll have more to say on Friday. :)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Living in WIPville

My attempt at evoking the
U.S. flag. Sophisticated in
a simple way - yeah, I'm
sticking with that.
Happy Fee-Fi(ber)-F.O. Friday. I do hope everyone in the U.S. had a great July 4th. I celebrated my independence yesterday ... from all things electronic. No internet. No computer. Aaahhh, bliss.
Actually, I cooked up a storm and worked on various projects. Since I've got two join-a-longs going in my Ravelry group, I thought it was a good idea to work on those projects (although they weren't the only projects I tackled yesterday). Here's what my to-be-gifted-at-the-holidays Le Bateau Shawl is currently looking like (at right).
I'm about half-way through the initial increase section. Slow and steady progress on this is just fine and I'm enjoying the Fyberspates lace dyed specially for the Royal Wedding - what an amazingly deep, yet vibrant blue. Oh, and of course, it haz sparklez. That join-a-long winds down at the end of July (and I've already completed three cowls as part of it), so I'm in a good place to finish this right on time along with the others working on the pattern. If you'd like to join us, do feel free.
I've also picked out yarn for two cardigans I'm making (for me!) in my WIPs and Cardis join-a-long (which will be ongoing through Labor Day - the beginning of September here in the U.S.):

This will become a One if By Hook Cardi - hey, Vivan at
Bits 'n Pieces, see something familiar here?

And this mess will eventually be a Two if By
Sticks cardi. Of course, George had to poke
his curious nose in the frame.

And, combined with the publishing projects on which I'm working, as well as the two Enveloped Cowls that are in progress (I'm so behind with these thank you projects!), I am officially a sticks-and-hook-wielding fool at the moment.

I have one other little gift to help everyone celebrate July 4th - I've got a copy of the summer edition of Crochet! Magazine (which includes my La Peinture blanket pattern) + 3 skeins of Universal Yarn's Classic Worsted (80% acrylic/20% wool) to get someone started on their very own La Peinture. While certainly not as grand as Universal's entire blanket kit they recently gave away on their Facebook page, this is just my little way spreading the La Peinture love.

Yes, this nifty little package could be yours.

So, here's the info: just leave a comment here between now and Monday, July 8th, telling us what color palette you think would look super cool for your own La Peinture blanket. Then, on Tuesday, I'll pick a random winner from all of the comments and send you the magazine and yarn. Easy ... and sweet!

Now definitely shoot over to Wisdom Begins in Wonder and see what fibery mischief she's getting into this independence day weekend.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

May Independence and Good Food Reign

"Life without liberty is like a body without spirit."
    Kahlil Gibran                      

There's a lot of independence for which to be grateful this July 4th. Celebrate and enjoy!