I would surprise no one by saying there’s been an absurd amount of plain shit going on. Global pandemic, civil rights movements, murder hornets, alien invasion… Wait, that one hasn’t happened yet.
Anyway, you understand what I’m saying.
And in the midst of it all, survival–literal and spiritual–have been at the top of the list. In between sending donations, educating myself, and trying to support as much as I can in as many ways as I can, my life has still maintained its general status quo inside our rural New England bubble. It’s a privilege I’m trying not to take for granted.
Dan mentioned his surprise at the fact that I’ve maintained a consistent knitting routine even in the summer heat–I promise, it’s only because I’ve managed to have a fan blowing directly on myself any day that reaches eighty degrees fahrenheit or above. Otherwise, I would be nothing but a puddle of my own sweat, tears, and tangled yarns. I’ve been trying to branch out more in my recent projects. I’ve tended to knit a lot of socks in the last year or so, and I still knit a lot of them, but I decided this year to try mixing things up a bit. It began with the Find Your Fade shawl by Andrea Mowry, which, while a long process, was an absolutely lovely experience to knit. I feel like I learned some new things and it was possibly one of the most creative projects, I’ve worked on thus far. I followed it up with a set of Piitu mitts by Heidi Alander and the Ripple bralette by Jessie Maed Designs. Next in my queue? Colorwork by way of the Underwing mitts by Erica Heusser. (Note: These all link to the new Ravelry site, so please be aware if you been having accessibility issues.)
I’ve also managed to begin a new, as yet untitled, novel. Horror, young adult contemporary, set at a prep school. (Well, is the 1990s considered contemporary anymore?) I haven’t worked much the past week or two, but I have the most thorough outline I’ve ever produced, and when I do work, I tend to knock out a chapter in only an hour or two. I can say with confidence that I’ve been converted from a pantser to a planner. It’s been fantastic for my morale, and even if I don’t work on it in an obvious sense–i.e., sitting down with my computer and tip-tapping away at the keyboard–I’m spending a good amount of my time thinking about it and working through whatever roadblocks might crop up from time to time.
Naturally, I jumped on the sourdough bandwagon. My original plan was to work my way through Bread Baking for Beginners in a linear fashion, but when just about everyone on Instagram began to do it, I threw my hands up and said, “Fuck it! I’ll give it a go!” I don’t consider any of my first loaves perfect, but I love the feeling of maintaining the starter. I’ve named her Lilith (sorry, nothing cleverly quarantine-themed like so many others have done), and I keep her in the fridge for a weekly feed rather than daily in order to save on flour.
I’ve intentionally forgone a photo of the inner crumb because I’m still not happy with the size or distribution of the air pockets. Right now they tend to be collected towards the top of the loaf, which is fine, I suppose. The flavor is still wonderful and it makes a damn fine grilled cheese. But it’s something I plan to keep working on over time because, well, why not? I love baking bread. Dan especially loves sourdough. It’s a win-win for our house.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy through all of…this. *gestures wildly* But I also know that “normal” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, not if it looks like white supremacy and needless death and social inequity. But my hobbies, trite and inconsequential as they may be, keep me grounded. They keep me going. They keep me centered enough to come back to the fight for bigger and better things for us all.