Thursday, December 09, 2010

Check it out - it's a blog post!

This has been a rebuilding year. I'm very open about my recovery from depression (which is ongoing), but that's not really what I wanted this blog to be about. It's meant to be a journal of my hobbies. This year, my primary hobby has been recovering from depression. I kept up the knitting-related posts because they gave a sense of normalcy, and there was something satisfying about documenting something positive, even if it was just a cute top I'd knitted. Cooking and writing are very difficult for me during periods of depression, and I've mainly documented my reading on LibraryThing and On My Bookshelf, so content-wise, once I went off knitting a few months ago, there simply wasn't any 'there' there. I am still not back to writing, though with an adjusted dosage of meds, I am now hopeful that I will be, at some point. My reading has been sporadic this year. For about half the year, I mainly re-read old, comforting favorites or genre novels that wouldn't have any emotionally wrenching surprises. This year, I looked at my LibraryThing entries for 2010, and I'm nowhere near even 100 books, which is odd for me, as I am generally somewhere close to 100-200. Books took longer for me to get through, and I would occasionally have difficulty with emotional content that was upsetting and put my book aside in favor of other activities. I was also sleeping a lot more, napping whenever I could. I am still in treatment, and I expect to be for some time, but a glimmer of interest in blogging popped back up around Thanksgiving. I found myself, for the first time in months, thinking, "I can't wait to finish this and get it on the blog." Anyway, rambling over. Onto the knitting.

What derailed my knitting was a colossal failure in a custom-sized top for my sister-in-law. It was based on Ballet Camisole with some measurements tweaked for a good fit. I used Knitpicks Simply Cotton, which I find quite nice to work with. I was pleased with how the size-tweaking was going, and happy knitting it...until the end, when I noticed a couple of flaws. I am just now taking it out to see if it's as bad as I remember, and how I can fix it.

I finished it, folded it, and set it aside...and didn't pick up a new project for ages. Finally, I pulled out some of my special-occasion yarn stash, a skein of Handmaiden Sea Silk I'd gotten for my birthday. I wanted to make a scarf, but without the least bit of inspiration, I decided to simply cast on for a narrower Lace Ribbon Scarf. I can do it without looking at the pattern, so it's great purse knitting, and while it may not be the best pattern to show off the Seasilk, well, at least I was knitting something. And when it occurred to me that the color is, shall we say, not suited to my complexion, I realized it's spot-on for my mother-in-law's coloring. Voila! Christmas present.

Meanwhile, I picked up some handspun, handdyed yarn in a rainbow of colors from a neighbor. (This is her etsy shop! Gorgeous, plant-dyed, yummy yarns!) Well, Lilah picked it out, for a new hat and scarf for this winter. Super quick project. Basic ribbed scarf, basic ribbed hat knit in the round.

Since I couldn't knit the Lace Ribbon in front of my MIL, I pulled out a skein of Malabrigo Sock in gorgeous blues and greens and cast on a Branching Out. I've knitted several of these for gifts. It's a fun, simple pattern, and it's lovely. And I hadn't yet made one for myself!

We went shopping at the yarn store near my MIL's house over Thanksgiving (a lovely spot called Fiddlehead Yarns in case you're ever in Kenosha, Wisconsin), and Lilah picked out some Noro Taiyo and asked me to make her a blanket. Again, not wanting to do anything over-complicated that would be set aside and never finished, I started a diagonal blanket in stockinette with a garter edging. Very, very simple, but then, Noro doesn't need much in the way of texture or pattern. The colors speak for themselves. Lilah's very pleased with it so far.

Reading: I'm slowly adding to On My Bookshelf. There's one emotionally difficult literary novel (a quite excellent one, FALL ASLEEP FORGETTING by Georgeann Packard) that has taken me half the year to review. I've been lucky at how understanding the authors and publishers with whom I've established reviewing (and personal) relationships have been as I say yet again, "I'm behind on the book blog...I don't have time to review that..."

Writing: Absolutely nothing in a while, following a period of not-very-productive attempts.

Cooking: Again, not much of note here. I didn't even make my vegetable stock for the freezer this winter, instead relying on Rapunzel's vegetable stock cubes. I did make a nice tweak of classic (read: Quaker box recipe) oatmeal cookies by replacing cinnamon with cardamom and raisins with dried cherries. I added chopped pecans for a bit of crunch and to round out the flavors, and I loved them. I started musing about a cranberry-orange zest version, maybe apricot and almond, and Matt said, "Stop messing with my oatmeal cookies!" But playing with perfectly good recipes is a symptom of mental health for me :)

So, that was a blog post! Will there be more? Who knows? As my recovery progresses, I'm hopeful I'll have more to share.