Blogger Ginny over at Small Things has a fun way to share two of my favourite indoor winter activities -- reading and knitting. The idea is to take a single photo of what you're reading and/or knitting right now and share it on your blog. At the bottom of her weekly Yarn Along post, there's one of those Mister Linky's Magical Widgets where you can share your blog post.
I'm still working on Jack's now very overdue birthday socks, but as he's enjoying his dream pillow, I'm not getting too worked up over my tardiness. I'm at the pick-up-the-gusset-stitches stage, so this one should be off the needles in a day or two.
I might have finished before now if I hadn't been distracted by some beautiful wool my dad brought me, or the two cardigan patterns I just downloaded from Madelinetosh (Tea Leaves for mama, Tiny Tea Leaves for Ella), or the mitts I promised Lucas, or what I'd like to knit for this month's Year in Colour project, or...
But first, I'll finish his socks. It's another good life lesson in patience, focus and finishing what you start, even with things get tough/boring/stale or something more exciting comes along. (There's also a lesson in acceptance: a skein of delicious wool and/or an inspiring pattern can throw the most steadfast knitter off course!) Not that I think there's anything wrong with having multiple projects on the go -- knitting diva the Yarn Harlot (aka Stephanie Pearl-McPhee) writes in her book Knitting Rules that socks are a great distraction when she's deep in a sweater pattern. I just know that for me, I'm really good at starting projects but it's very easy for me to lose interest and momentum.
Not so when it comes to reading. When I get hooked on a book, I will burn through the pages with a voracious hunger for what happens next and how the story ends (if it's a happy ending, all the better.) But with Kristin Kimball's book, The Dirty Life: On Food, Farming and Love, I'm trying to slow down and savour each page. It's not easy, because her lyrical writing and compelling story of her intense love affair with a man (who would become her husband) and their farm, drew me in from the first page -- and I'm not one for romance novels. Despite the romantic overtones, she doesn't sugar coat her journey from freelance writer to farmer, either. She writes:
"The people we met kept telling us, with varying degrees of tact, that we'd fail. They said nobody in the area was interested in local or organic food, or even if they were interested, they wouldn't be able to afford it. And if we did find people to buy out food we'd still fail, because the farm was too wet and nothing would grow. And if we managed to grow something and sell it, well, then, it was only a matter of time before we'd fail, farming being farming..."
I get this. I've heard it myself. So I took some solace in this passage:
"When we would talk about our future in private, I would ask Mark [her fiancee, later husband] if he really thought we had a chance. Of course we had a chance, he'd say, and anyway, it didn't really matter if this venture failed. In his view, we were already a success, because we were doing something hard and it was something that mattered to us. You don't measure things like that with words like success or failure, he said. Satisfaction comes from trying hard things and then going on to the next hard thing, regardless of the outcome.What mattered was not whether or not you were moving in a direction you thought was right.
This sounded extremely fishy to me."
I love that last sentence. I see myself as a hybrid of these two people -- full of Zen-inspired possibility and hope at one moment, then skeptical and fearful in another.
I'm only halfway through their story and what I find so compelling is despite their many hardships and setbacks, they keep at it. I know how their story ends -- their ambitious idea to grow everything needed to feed a community worked, and today Essex Farm provides weekly "whole diet" shares to 100 people -- but I'm still looking forward to reading the happy ending.
So what book or books are on your nightstand? What project are you knitting/crocheting/sewing/wood working/creating? If you'd like to, head over to Small Things and share your story with Mister Linky or simply leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!