Me Doing Whatever I Want, All the Time

socks

Starting the new year in a quiet way. The weather has been cold even for New England, and I’ve been spending as much time as possible indoors knitting and reading. Above, my first pair of socks in far too long. Glad to have brought back the tradition of knitting myself a pair of new year socks. I love that even though it’s been years, and I thought I couldn’t remember my basic sock recipe, my hands went into autopilot and these plain vanilla socks (in a self-striping Regia yarn) practically fell right out of them. Perhaps this is the beginning of another sock streak.

It may or may not be worth noting that when knitting simple socks for myself, I like 60 stitches on size 1 needles, starting with a ribbed cuff, working down the leg to a slipped stitch heel flap, gusset, and kitchener stitch toe. Though when yarn quantity is a concern, I like a toe-up sock with accent toe and heel colors. For what it’s worth.

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So far this year I’ve read one book that made me cry (Anders Nilsen’s The End, from which the panel above was taken) and have been leisurely reading through one book that makes me blush (D.H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow).

As much as I normally love winter, I won’t complain when this cold snap ends. When the weather keeps me from wanting to make a trip to the library, you know it’s finally just a little too cold.

The Very End of 2013

A few photos from my trip to Sitka, Alaska, where I spent the last days of 2013 with my little brother. I haven’t uploaded photos from my real camera, but I suppose these phone photos give enough of an idea of how misty and gray and beautiful it is there.

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Having only a few hours of twilight-y light each day meant a few hours of hiking or exploring the island, and many more hours of relaxing with my brother in the evenings, making dinners, drinking coffee, and watching movies and knitting. Dark mornings meant reading in bed for a few hours until it got light enough outside that I felt like I should venture out. I can’t remember the last time I actually did only leisure activities for more than a day, much less five or six in a row. And now I am so excited to throw myself back into normal life. Right now that looks like reading, knitting, half marathon training, catching up with friends, and some new work challenges. I’ve got my new 2014 planner (the same moleskine one I’ve used every year since I can remember, because I am a creature of habit to an unhealthy extent, but with a red cover this year, because I am acting like a person who embraces change). Let’s see how it goes!

(I should also add that I have one final book recommendation from 2013: Howard Norman’s I Hate to Leave This Beautiful PlaceThe last book I read before the end of the year, and one I’ll undoubtedly pick up again. I am often disappointed by memoirs, but this is a true exception.)

Embracing Imperfection

A lot of my recent knitting has been secret and not very blogable. But I did finish my Bridgewater shawl recently, after almost a full year of casually knitting on it.

bridgewater

I love how spongey the Wollmeise Lace-Garn garter stitch feels, and even though I live in a consistent neutral palette, this bright red-orange color is really speaking to me on some weird level. I had actually considered making this a gift for my mother, who loves and looks very beautiful in bright colors, but then, somehow, I ran out of Wollmeise. 1740 yards to a skein and still, somehow this happened:

bridgewater

I knit those last few inches of lace edging in burgundy Brown Sheep laceweight wool. We’ll call that an accent color. It doesn’t show when the shawl is folded up and worn, but I still wouldn’t want to give a gift with a funny patch of a different color. So maybe it’s time that I embrace the occasional colorful garment, imperfect as it may be.

Which is nice, because I still have three more of those hefty Lace-Garn skeins to work up, ideally into more smooshy garter stitch shawls, I think.

Here’s Some Proof

I do still knit. See?

I am normally a fan of the headless knitting shot, but hey, here is even a picture with my face in it. You can tell that I am a bona fide working lady now because I am wearing not only my glasses, but a wrist watch. Pretty legit, right?

Anyway, this knitting is nothing fancy, but I have been wanting to use this madelinetosh tosh merino light for the better part of a year. The color is Calligraphy, and I would be okay with almost everything I own being this weird pinkish gray. A perfect neutral. The stitch is from the madeline tosh honey cowl pattern, although I kind of went rogue with gauge and dimension. But that’s the nice thing about a cowl or scarf pattern, I suppose. I’d recommend this stitch motif for any slightly variegated yarn.

Amazingly, I have a other finished projects to share now as well, but I’ll save ’em for another day.

Oh also, for my bookish friends, I joined Goodreads. Now that I have time to read again, I will maybe start to keep track of things in a more organized manner. Let’s be friends so I can steal your book suggestions. Or just suggest new books to me in some other format. I could use it.

So Far

Although work is keeping me very busy (in a good way), I am still enjoying much more free time than I have been used to for the past two years. The best part so far is having time for reading books again.

Even time to reread old favorites without feeling like I should be doing something else with my time instead.

And there is even time left over for some lazy knitting.

Though I do need to spend some time resuming the long-term job hunt, it is definitely nice right now to read and knit and explore Salzburg. And very nice to be in a work setting that gives me so much to learn and think about, which I will certainly have to share soon.

And Guerrilla Libraries

And what more can you say about books? They’re the greatest things ever, and everyone should have more.

I know I’ve mentioned my love of tiny unconventional libraries before, but I will never stop talking about this subject. Read this really inspiring story about New York City’s phone booth libraries.

And while you’re at it, check out some of my other favorite tiny libraries and library-like structures:

Clinton County’s Book Booth (also in an old phone booth!)

Little Free Library

SPREAD Pop-Up Libraries

The Uni (of course)

 

The Uni Project

If I’ve been a bit silent here, it’s because I’ve flung myself full-force back into the school year. A year into my education, with just one left to go, I’ve been able to really begin to form a more clear picture of the professional issues I care about most, and what I want to be doing in terms of work a year from now. What I really care about is access (archival and otherwise).  I’ve always enjoyed reference work, ever since my wee-librarian days at the Carnegie Library microfilm desk. But I am especially excited to be involved in a project that I feel takes the elements of reference that I love and pushes them several steps further.

The Uni Project, that “portable reading room for public space” I have been incessantly telling my friends about for the past nine months, launched last Sunday, September 11 at the New Amsterdam Market in Manhattan.

 

And yesterday, Sunday, September 18, we set up in conjunction with the Brooklyn Public Library at the Brooklyn Book Festival.

It was really incredible to see the Uni in action after months of brainstorming and anticipation. I loved seeing it take on different configurations and adapt to two different settings with such success, and I can’t wait to see where it will go next.

Although not a “library,” by any strict definition, the Uni is a perfect embodiment of why I went back to school to get my MLIS.  Regardless with the nature of the resources I end up working with in the future, this project has been such a valuable reminder that we preserve, catalog, digitize and maintain our materials in order to enrich the lives of the people who access them.

I highly recommend taking some time to browse the Uni website (and perhaps to donate some of your books as well…)