Tag Archive | autumn

Keep warm and well-fed

Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” James 2:15-16

Our neighbor has hit a bit of a rough patch. Actually, his rough “patch” has lasted a couple of years and so far there’s no real end in sight. Man, we know how that goes. Do we ever. With the memory of our own rough patch in the not-so-distant past, we’ve been doing what we can to help out Mr. S. He has some specific dietary needs and not a lot of extra cash, so I try to make him a good, warm dinner at least once a week, knowing that most of the time he just kind of snacks on stuff or eats whatever he can find on sale. As the weather started turning this month, I became concerned that he might not be all that warm. Let’s just say that his accommodations leave something to be desired. And you know what? It stinks to wake up in the morning and be so frozen that you can’t bear to leave your bed and start the day.

These thoughts happened to coincide with the nearby grocery/department store having a small bin of yarn marked at 50% off clearance prices. Oh boy, you know I can’t resist that! I got three balls of Lion Brand “Amazing.” It’s a 53% wool/47% acrylic blend and for a “cheap” yarn, it really does feel amazing. I got it in the manly colorway of “Rainforest” — a mix of greens and browns.

First, I crocheted Mr. S a hat. There are a billion and one hat patterns out there, which should make it easy to find a suitable one, but sometimes it’s just overwhelming. I searched for a little while and then landed on this one: Carmel by Drops Design. It is single crocheted in the back loops all the way around to give it some texture.

IMG_5836

Close-up of the texture. The color isn't coming through right in the photo, though.

Close-up of the texture. The color isn’t coming through right in the photo, though.

For the gloves, I knew I wanted to make them fingerless so that Mr. S could enjoy the warmth, but still use his computer or phone, write, whatever. All those things that it’s nice to have fingertips for. There aren’t as many patterns for these as there are for hats, but there are still plenty to choose from. A lot of them, however, are awfully girly looking. Which is great if the future wearer is a girl. But my intended recipient is a man. Who works in construction. I wanted to be careful that there was no apparent sissiness. This pattern — Fingerless or Not — worked out great. The instructions were easy to follow and working the individual fingers was not as tricky as it seemed it would be. Mr. Gren was kind enough to model for us.

Backs

Backs

Palms

Palms

Creepy crawly hands

Creepy crawly hands

I put the hat and gloves in a paper sack, tied it with a ribbon and wrote “Happy Autumn” on it and left it where I knew Mr. S would find it when he got home. The next day, Mr. Gren received an email from him giving us an update on how he was doing — he was feeling pretty beaten up after some painful interactions with a loved one in his life, on top of the current financial stresses. Finding my little gift was a welcome pick-me-up. He said, “No one has ever knitted anything for me before. I will cherish them.” We’ll forgive him for confusing knitting and crochet and get to the heart of the sentiment: more than just warming his head and hands, my hat and gloves reminded him that not all is despair, he is worthy of care and love and someone recognized that.

So why am I telling you all this? Not to toot my own horn. Open your eyes to needs around you, especially as the weather is getting colder heading into winter. Make a warm meal for someone; volunteer at a homeless shelter; use your talents and abilities to bring a bright spot to someone’s otherwise dismal day. Go on, I challenge you.

Autumn day

Today’s post (which was actually supposed to have been last Wednesday’s post) is taking awhile. Numerous interruptions, various other commitments, and I have come to terms with the fact that it’s not going to be ready for today. So, in order to prove that I am still alive and not taking another unannounced hiatus, I took some pictures of autumnal type things around the yard.

One of three scraggly old apple trees

One of three scraggly old apple trees

Moss and ferns growing on the branches of the apple tree

Moss and ferns growing on the branches of the apple tree

Just a few of the many, many oak leaves in our yard

Just a few of the many, many oak leaves in our yard

Acorn on the patio

Acorn on the patio

See you later this week!

French Friday #51: L’Automne

La rivière s’écoule avec lenteur. Ses eaux
Murmurent, près du bord, aux souches des vieux aulnes
Qui se teignent de sang ; de hauts peupliers jaunes
Sèment leurs feuilles d’or parmi les blonds roseaux.

Le vent léger, qui croise en mobiles réseaux
Ses rides d’argent clair, laisse de sombres zones
Où les arbres, plongeant leurs dômes et leurs cônes,
Tremblent, comme agités par des milliers d’oiseaux.

Par instants se répète un cri grêle de grive,
Et, lancé brusquement des herbes de la rive,
Étincelle un joyau dans l’air limpide et bleu ;

Un chant aigu prolonge une note stridente ;
C’est le martin-pêcheur qui fuit d’une aile ardente
Dans un furtif rayon d’émeraude et de feu.

Jules Breton

The river flows slowly by. Its waters
Murmur, near the bank, to the old alder stumps
Stained with blood; tall yellow poplars
Sow their golden leaves among the blond reeds.

The gentle wind swirls across
Its clear silver ripples, leaving dark areas
Where the trees, dipping their canopies and cones,
Tremble, as though shaken by thousands of birds.

Here and there repeats the shrill cry of the thrush
And, launched briskly from the river grass,
A jewel-like shimmer in the clear blue air;

A piercing song holds a strident note;
It’s the king fisher which flies on an earnest wing
In a fleeting ray of emerald and fire.

To be fair, these pictures are from my river, this morning; not France. But they fit the poem so well!

Foggy morning on the river

A few of the trees are starting to turn. I love the spots of orange highlighted by the green all around. This morning I looked out the window and saw that fog had settled into our little pocket here along the river. It was cool and misty outside and still very quiet when I went out to take the pictures. Perfect fall morning.

Yarn therapy

Fall is my favorite season. The air is not as “crispy” up here in the Pacific Northwest as is usually associated with the season, but still, I like it. And with the change in season, comes a change in my creative mood. Invariably, I turn to yarn when the weather gets cooler. It must be instinctive. There’s still plenty of cold weather sewing I could be — and need to be — doing, but there’s just something comforting about sitting on the couch with a skein of soft yarn and a hook.

Soft yarn, pretty yarn, little ball of fur

A couple of years ago, I went yarn shopping without my brain and bought several skeins of Lion Brand Homespun yarn in Tudor with the intention of crocheting a sweater. My first problem was succumbing to the temptation of Homespun. Any crocheter who has used this stuff will nod along with me when I say: It’s a pain in the butt to work with. I think it was intended for knitters. The second problem was failure to check the dye lot, so I ended up with a bunch of mismatched yarn. Blah.

Yarn on pegs

In my quest to diminish my yarn stash (so I can buy more!), I decided it was time to get rid of this stuff. It’s pretty and soft, just no fun to crochet. Enter: the knitting board! This was my birthday present last year. It’s super cool! For some reason, I have no inclination to learn how to knit with needles, but this board is really fun to use. Not quite as soft and comfy as just curling up on the couch with nothing but yarn and hook, but it does satisfy my need for yarn crafting.

Still requires a hook

I used a rib stitch on this scarf which I’m going to give to a friend. I still have lots more of the yarn left, so I’m going to make a matching scarf in stockinette stitch for her daughter. And if I still have some left, they’ll get hats, too.

Finished scarf with subtle color changes and lots o' fringe.

And in non-crafty news, the time has come for my family to move. We’ll be heading to a little cabin in the woods this Saturday. In other words, it’s going to be a hectic week and I won’t be back until next Monday. In preparation for our move, I checked out “Little House in the Big Woods” by Laura Ingalls Wilder to read to the girls, hoping it will ease some of the anxiety Granota is feeling. Rana already wants to smoke meat in a hollow log. We’ll see about that. But who knows, I’m feeling inspired by the knowledge base that people had to have just to get through a day. That can be a post for another day. But before that, maybe a few “home decor” ventures as we set up in the new place. Until then… have a good week!