Wednesday, August 2, 2017

August's quote

"do good work and share it with people"
-Austen Kleon

First saw this in the window of a book store in Dublin four years ago now. I remember storing it away in my mind, like a mantra for the months to come. I still need this reminder all these years later.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Spring Book Report

Over the past few months I've managed to squeeze in quite a bit of reading time, between the cracks of my days and evenings. I've been sharing (most of) the books I'm working my way through over on Instagram under the hashtag #whatruthisreading2017 but I don't tend to share much of what I thought of a book, and a few of the books in those pictures ended up being swapped out for others. 

I'm still working on my goal of reading one fiction and one non-fiction book per month, with an end total of 24 books for this year, and that has been going really well. A few of these have been picks for my book club and I've enjoyed stretching myself and picking up a few titles I might not have otherwise gotten to. So without any more chatter, here's my Spring book report! 

Let's start with the books from that list:

Anne of Green Gables // LM Montgomery
Read this while in Canada this March and it was lovely. Perfect for Spring and perfect for reading while at home. 

As Always Julia // Julia Child & Avis DeVoto
I did enjoy this but I ended up skimming through parts of it. While interesting, it was just very very long and I slogged my way through the second half. I would recommend it if you enjoyed My Life in France but keep in mind that it's a collection of letters and not a memoir...

Lab Girl // Hope Jahren
LOVED this. Easily the best book I've read this year so far.

The Magic of Motherhood // Ashlee Gadd (Coffee & Crumbs)
I really enjoyed this one as well. It's a collection of essays on motherhood written by different women and I found a lot to relate to in these pages.

And here are a few other titles that I managed to read:

A Monster Calls // Patrick Ness
This is YA short fiction and it totally sucked me in. Read it all in one night.

Rebecca // Daphine Du Maurier
Read this for my book club and (although I suggested it) I was a bit skeptical at first. It took me a bit of time to get into it but then I was hooked. It made for a great discussion!

Half of A Yellow Sun // Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie
This one is this month's book club pick and I've not actually finished it yet. Though it's well written I'm struggling a bit, as it's quite heavy reading. I'm definitely learning a ton about Nigerian history that I wasn't aware of before.

At Home in the World // Tsh Oxenreider
Really loved this one. It was perfect summer reading and just a good story. I really related to parts of Tsh's spiritual journey and her thoughts on home as she travelled around the world with her family and even found myself tearing up in a few spots. I did the audio version, which is read by the author, and I'd recommend that for sure.

Got some books currently on my nightstand/coffee table/e reader that I'm super excited about getting to over the next few months. I'll be sure to share a little list soon. What are you guys reading this summer? 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

July's Quote

"knit on with confidence and hope through all crisis."
-Elizabeth Zimmerman

This may seem a bit of a funny quote to pick for this month, particularly because I am not going through any sort of crisis.I am however working on a few creative projects that are taking longer than I had hoped to come together. And this quote is reminding me that the most important thing about creative work sometimes is to just keep going. This is how good work gets done.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Market Bag Make Along

Today I'm so happy to share with you a little project that's got me super excited. Together with my friend Simone (@inkandsoil) I am going to be hosting my very first ever knit-along (well, make-along really since it includes crafts other than knitting). 
We got to talking about how we both wanted to make a bag thought it might be fun to open it up to all you amazing fiber artists who might be interested in doing somethings similar along with us! 

Here are the details:

Start date: July 1st
End date: August 15th

Who: This MAL is open to knitters, crocheters, sewers, weavers and fiber artists who would like to make themselves some sort of market bag. Whether you're in the Northern Hemisphere and (like us) are looking for a lighter weight project for these warmer months, or you're in the Southern Hemisphere and would like to make yourself a bag to USE during the coming warmer months, you are welcome. You can make something in a craft you're already confident in or use this as an opportunity to grow your skills and try something new! I've got a ton of different ideas swirling around in my brain on what kind of bag to make (granny squares! macrame! naturally dyed totes!) and can't wait to get started.

How: This Make-along is going to be taking place almost entirely over on Instagram. We've created the hashtag #marketbagmakealong for you to share your in progress photos, so please do so. Feel free to tag us (@ruthwerwai & @inkandsoil) if you'd like so we're sure to see everyone's projects. Photos of finished objects will need to be posted under the thread #marketbagmakealong by the deadline in order to be eligible for prizes!

Prizes: There will of course be some very lovely and amazing prizes which we'll be sharing about over the weeks to come!

And last but not least, here's a round up of some pattern suggestions if you're looking for inspiration:

Artichoke // Dejeuner // Pomelo // Eyelet Market Tote // Purl Bee Knit Tote

Honeycomb Bag // Sturdy Market Tote // Rich Textures Tote // Crochet Mesh Bag // Linen Market Bag

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What I Know to be True: Part One

At the beginning of April, I started in on the #100dayproject with 100 days of writing. Now, full disclaimer: I definitely fell hard off the bandwagon on this one. I wrote daily for about 40 days and now manage something every two-three days. But still- that's much more than I was doing before and there have been some fun things that have come out of doing this project.

One of those has been this new series that I started sharing on Instagram, which I'm calling What I Know to be True. These are basically just thoughts on things I've learned or what I'm currently working through, shared with some sort of photo that I otherwise probably wouldn't post. It's been a fun challenge and though I always feel a little vulnerable before posting one, the response has been so kind and heartwarming. Today I just wanted to share a little round up of these post here, mostly for documentation's sake. 

So here are the first 4 posts in the series:

1. Everything is a season. EVERYTHING. I know it feels like you will never sleep through the night again, but this is just not the case. One day these nights of rocking baby back to sleep will end and your arms, much as they ache now will be empty again. Give yourself fully to this time. Savor what you can. You've got an infant who insists on racing towards toddlerhood and you could never stop him if you tried. This is right and good. The seasons are sweet, swift and at times, devastating. Summer's relentless heat eventually burns off into glorious autumn if you just wait long enough. But there's no need to worry about that in the spring. Let me let you in on a little secret: this season, this one right here and now, is the best one, because it's the only one you've got. So take a deep breath mama. Pour yourself that second cup of coffee and soak up the sweet spring sunlight. I know you're tired, but you're doing just fine.

2. Brave isn't always loud. Sometimes of course, it is. Sometimes it's standing on top of the mountain you've just climbed, arms outstretched, sending your ideas out into the world. But sometimes it's the hard and heavy work of plodding along the trail day after day. Showing up when the summit is far FAR from sight, when there are blisters and hunger and even boredom to contend with. Sometimes it's not getting discouraged when others pass you on the way, though they may have started out on their journey much later than you. Because sometimes brave looks like letting yourself work at your own pace. Sometimes brave can even mean backtracking. A wrong turn here or there, a creative venture that just didn't work out. In these moments brave looks like learning from mistakes, like taking a few steps forward and then a bunch of steps back until you reach a place where you can move forward again. Because behind all those heart-pounding-palm-sweating-adrenaline-pumping moments is a lot of work and (more often than not) one heck of a long journey. And there is bravery in the quiet of placing one foot in front of the other.

3. You cannot do it all. 
Last week someone asked me how I managed to stay on top of everything. My first response was obviously to laugh but honestly...? It felt good that I could be mistaken for someone who manages to do it all. Because the truth of course is so much messier. Most days I feel pulled by both my ideas and my responsibilities in a million different directions and sometimes it feels like I’m not doing a good job of much of anything. Somehow it becomes so much easier to focus on the things that I’m NOT doing (or what others are doing) rather than keeping my eyes on the task at hand. There’s a fine line to walk between inspiration and overwhelm. At times it can feel like my to do list and ideas are literally laughing in my face while I fight against the clock and struggle to do some form of deep work before the baby wakes up.
Yesterday during naptime I gave myself permission to drop a few things from my list. One was a new idea for a project that I came up with last week and literally could not stop thinking about. The other is something I’ve been dragging around since the Fall that I’ve just not had the time to get to. The first one I’ve moved to the backburner and the second I just finally let go of. It’s amazing how much better I feel already. Rather than making elaborate schedules and lists, trying to fit everything in, I now have more time to work on the things that really matter- the things I WANT to pursue. It’s just not possible to do ALL THE THINGS and that is more than okay. So pick a few things and stick with them. Do them well.

4. It's rarely too late.
In the last ten years I’ve done and been many things, reinventing myself and reorganizing my life to fit around what I’m currently pursuing: I’ve been an English tutor and then a language student myself. I’ve been a youth worker on the streets of East Vancouver, a part time student with no finished degree, a barista in a coffee shop. I’ve had a brief stint as a (mostly unsuccessful) fundraiser. I’ve played jazz saxophone. I’ve been a closet poet and then a performance poet. I’ve opened an Etsy shop and then closed it again. I’ve started and written three different blogs. I’ve published knitting patterns and made so SO many projects- some that have worked and some that have not. I’m currently in the process of beginning one of my greatest creative journeys yet which, if I stop and think about too much, completely freaks me out.
On the one hand this is all completely discouraging. I look back over the past ten years and see, for the most part, a bunch of started and then abandoned pursuits. But this has been my journey. It’s been scattered- a bit of a patchwork mix and match of different things, but it’s also been a lot of fun. I’ve enjoyed every single one of these seasons and I’ve learned so much from each. It would be amazing to be able to say one day that all these things led me to one perfect thing but I don’t know if that will happen.
What I do know is that it’s rarely too late to give something new a try. All you need is a little courage to start and perhaps, the willingness to be a beginner again.

(you can follow along with this project over on Instagram under the tag #whatruthknowstobetrue) 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

swatch diaries: Quince & Co Owl

Things have been pretty quiet in these parts lately. My knitting has recently been filling in the cracks of my days, taking a backseat to a few other big projects, most of which I'm not quite ready to share about yet. That being said I've got a few lovely projects on the go (though it's taken me ages to finish any...) and I've been working with really amazing yarns, some of which I've only recently discovered.

And so I thought it might be fun to start a little log- a diary of sorts, detailing some of the yarns (and stitch patterns!) I'm working with in the form of swatches. 

Up first I'm sharing about one of my very favorite yarns- Quince and Co Owl. I love all the Quince yarns I've tried but this is by far my favorite. It's a dreamy blend of 50% American wool and 50% New Zealand Alpaca, shown above in the Abyssinian colorway (undyed) and in the top photo in Canyon, a lovely soft shade of pink.

I adore wool/alpaca blends, they're one of my favorite fiber blends to work with. Alpaca is just so soft and lovely but I find on it's own, it creates a fabric that's a little to dense and heavy for my taste. Pair it with good wool and it's just the perfect mix. 

The swatch (shown in progress) in the photo above is chevron layette stitch, with a few moderations made by your's truly. It was originally intended to be a new pattern design, but I just haven't been able to get my ideas to translate to the needles as I was hoping. 

So I think I'm going to turn this lovely yarn into a pair of mittens (yes- always mittens). I'm thinking either the Woodland Tales mittens by Melody of Mandarine's or maybe I'll save it for a pair of WOODS mittens come late Fall this year.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

June's Quote

"Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different?"
-CS Lewis

Been thinking lots about this as my baby turns one! Can't even believe it. 

(photo taken on my due date at the beginning of last June)