Wednesday, February 15, 2017

a new publication--in Vancouver!



My article has gone live on the Vancouver Independent website!
Eight Rungs of Tzedakah

Check it out, it has good pictures. :)

--By the way, if you live in Winnipeg and this looks familiar to you, that's because it ran here in Winnipeg in our local Jewish newspaper....with a different title.

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Thump Thump Mitts

Happy Valentine's Day!!

The new Thump Thump Mittens are now available on Ravelry!  (and will be available on Love Knitting in a day or two...)

On Ravelry, this pattern is 50% off until the end of Valentine's Day.  It expires Feb. 14th at midnight (CT, US & Canada). No coupon necessary.

This is for that excited 'thump thump' when you start a new project!

Also, textured in the way that I imagine the striations of the heart muscle...and just in time for a mid-winter treat, too!

 My grandmother and mother taught me the back side of my work should be just as tidy as the front...and here's a snowy mitt photo to prove it. :)

These are knit with two skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter.  Any aran or worsted weight wool will be great, but this yarn was a very nice treat!

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Wednesday, February 08, 2017

the February knitlove

 It's cold out in Winnipeg, folks.  Today it's bobbing around the -35 or -40 windchill mark, and I am wearing insulated pants and three layers on top: long sleeve shirt, cashmere turtleneck, and handknit wool sweater.  Wool socks, too.  My house does pretty well in the heat department, but it's 100 years old and lacks substantial insulation in the walls.  So, if I stand too close to a wall in this weather, the cold seeps out of it...and into me.

Energy seeps right out of me when I need to be outside in this weather, so I bundle up and aim to stay in whenever I can.  Yesterday was a big day here--a day off kindergarten for both twins to go with me on a tour of our new school for next year AND go to the dentist.  It was a lot of excitment, outdoor time and work for me, the Mommy!

Today, we are back to the regular routine.  During a phone call, I rolled two beautiful balls of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter that I purchased over a year ago.  Yesterday, in the middle of the errands, I saw my handspun, handknit pair of Hole Inside Mitts was shredding in the thumbs, where they are under pressure as I take the mitts on and off to seatbelt car seats.  I can mend them, sure, but maybe it's time for a new pair of mitts.  I need some distraction and cheer, so I got out this gorgeous new yarn for a February pick me up.

I've also begun a version of a Barn Sweater  by Carrie Bostick Hoge, and, I admit, it's going slowly.  I am not on automatic pilot when it comes to top-down sweaters.  I like to knit patterns by others so I can learn, but right now, my time is so limited that it is hard.  I have to actually read instructions, and the directions sort of blur in front of me between 9-10 at night, when I have time to knit!  I hope soon to get my groove on that one. I find this designer's work really beautiful and I really enjoyed knitting her Portland Pullover, which I am wearing today.

In my own work, I've had a bit of a stall out.  Lots of things came up, all at once, in our lives, and I fell behind.  Usually, I write and design behind the scenes and then announce, "TA-DA!" when something has gone live or been published.  I'm trying something new...showing you what's going on behind the curtain.  Here's the thing.  When I announced that my book, From the Outside In, was live, I had quite a few sales all at once.  That was great, and now that my mom, my dad, my in-laws, and a couple of friends have copies (no kidding!), things are slow...  I wrote a press release, and I'm working on some other promotion techniques, but honestly, I am no marketing wiz yet!

  So, if you like my blog/writing and would consider checking out my book, I'd be grateful...but I'd be especially grateful if you told someone else about the book, or gave it as a gift, or wanted to review it on Amazon.  There, I've done my plug!

 Please help me out, because I've gotten behind, what with the Lyme disease, the kid viruses, and -25 temps!  Do you have ideas about where to promote the book?  Do tell. :)

I'm also in the midst of writing up a new design.  I was really impressed by the knit speed and success of the Stopover pullover, as I am a fan of all things Icelandic wool.  However, I also thought it would be super to have something a bit more versatile in my wardrobe.  Something solid, maybe.  I also wanted to play with a handkerchief hem, and a few other details.  Here are a couple of the outtakes from our very quick photo session outside.  (Note cold looking model -me-and snow!)

This is knit up on size 10(6mm) needles, and goes fast.  It's cozy and goes well with either skirt or pants...and my working title for it is "ZOOP!"  (as in, the sound your zipper makes when you pull it up fast...!)

 Interested in this design?  Please sign up on mailing list (it's in the right hand sidebar here) or on my Rav group so you can hear when the pattern is ready.  I'm offering this preview in hopes that you'll find it tempting...

My size, which is firmly in the middle of the pack, only used about 6 skeins of Istex Lett Lopi, though I will recommend 7 to be on the safe side.  That's not a lot of yarn or expense for a brand new winter sweater!  I cannot wait until I have the pattern totally written up so that I can start wearing this sample regularly.  It's cozy, and I could use some more of that 'hygge' these days.

Wishing you all the best,
Joanne

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

A good book



You know how it is when you've read a good book, and it's done?  I feel lonely for the imaginary world I've just left.

I recently listened to the audio version of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald. It was so good that I wanted to know more!  I wanted to read everything this author had ever written.  Alas, it's the only book of hers that is available in English.  I've almost convinced myself that I need to concentrate and try another of her books in French...in my free time. (Laugh here! My free time generally involves me falling asleep in 30 seconds flat...)

I listen to a lot of audio books, because I can remain an avid reader while cooking, doing household chores, mending, knitting, and folding laundry.  I don't have world's greatest concentration while doing it, but it's the best I can do for now....and let me tell you, this book was fabulous.  Definitely better than the best I can do. :)  If you need a book recommendation?  I hope you enjoy this one.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

On making a difference

I was invited to be a guest blogger on Donna Druchunas' blog-- Subversive Knitting!  Want to know more about how knitters and writers can make change?  Here's how it starts...
Today, Joanne Seiff, author of Fiber Gathering and  Knit Green, talks about her newest book, From the Outside In, and on how each of us can make a difference:
Thank you, Donna, for inviting me to post!  I’m thrilled to be here.

Did you ever think about how best you can make a difference in the world?  In our living rooms, most of us treat friends or family to the occasional rant.  I found the rare public “bully pulpit” in a place I didn’t expect....

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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's Health: Hysteria and illness


Here's a link to my latest CBC article--it came out this morning:
Hysteria, medical mysteries, and bias:sometimes unversity helps with life

The brief summary is that although hysteria is no longer a valid medical diagnosis--medical professionals still discount women's illness...and disregard the risks of Lyme disease, which is now prevalent in many places.  I felt relieved that this got published; I hope it brings attention to a real issue of concern.

It was my second "advocacy" post of the week; My current column for the Jewish Post & News is also about how women can make change during times of political unrest.  I related it to Yocheved, Moses, and her handmade, waterproofed baby basket.  My mom knit pussy hats instead...but these were both lawful and powerful, skillful ways of speaking up during a difficult time.

My mom, dad, sister-in-law, and many others marched in Washington, D.C. today, and I am so proud of them and glad that they represented us.  If we can remind the world and the U.S. political powers that be that women's rights are human rights and that women's bodies, health and well-being are human bodies, health and well-being--well, that is a huge and important step.  It's a necessary step, and it seems like one we keep having to mention.  (Oh, Doctor, do you think this could possibly be Lyme?  --I can't tell you frustrated I felt to be dismissed out of hand so often, without being offered any viable solutions for how to get better.)

Winnipeggers had a march here, as they did in Yellowknife, Ottawa, Halifax, Vancouver, Toronto...and in many other places around the world.  We weren't there...because we're still fighting this endless twin stomach bug.  It's lasting forever!

Towards the late afternoon, my husband and one of our twins (the healthier one) decided to go out yarn shopping for Mommy.  They set out through the back gate and faced a woman whose car was absolutely stuck in the deep slushy ruts of snow in our back lane...and blocking our cars' exit.  Our temperatures have gone from frigid to crazy warm for January.  As a result, everything is melting.  It took the Professor an hour of effort to try to get this car out, and finally, another man with a truck came along and pulled her out...it took team work.

Nobody got out to buy a yarn treat, but that was just fine!  I won't be running out any time soon. :)
  It was the thought that counted, and the hope that someday, someone might help me just this way if I were stuck in the snow.  Let's hope so.

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

new sweater for a new year

A week ago, I finally finished knitting the second twin sweater...but the timing was off. Last Friday night, I took care of this guy all night while he fought a terrible stomach bug.  When he finished being completely sick all over three sets of bedding (and was resting on a beach towel, with another towel for a blanket), he was so wan and weak that he spent much of last Saturday in bed.  He wanted to pose for photos, but did not feel up to it.  He said he wanted the photos to look good, "since people knit Mommy's patterns" but I promised him--this is a one-off.  It is specially designed for him.

He wanted a sweater that was "dressy" and described it as "big brown, little white, big white, with dots."  He seemed delighted with how it came out.  He wanted to make sure to show that it was completely reversible, too.

The sweater was knitted on size 6(4mm) needles, in the round.  Three tubes, joined at the yoke, sized to fit a skinny but long limbed five year old.  The yarns were all from stash: Jo Sharp DK wool (white) that I bought in Australia, the tweedy brown is a Rowan DK wool that was given to me, and the darker brown is from Cushendale Woollen mills in Ireland (well-aged stash, we went to Ireland in 2004, I think) but is sold in the US as Blackwater Abbey yarn.  I wasn't sure I'd have enough of any of the colors for a whole sweater, so this worked out well.

Although it has been brutally cold out, both boys made it mostly through a whole week of kindergarten. (Yesterday it was -32F without windchill.  The windchills were something like -46C.  Yeah.  I do not even want to convert these back and forth.  Awful.)

 I knew that the stomach bug was a rough one.  I've been waiting for the other twin to get sick.  Today we rested at home again...and this afternoon/evening, we dealt with round 2, which seems to involve Mommy spending a lot of time in the bathroom with little boys. Ugh.

(The kid wanted a lot of close ups with the sweater, so you could "SEE IT"!)

Then, at bedtime, the guy with the new sweater took a flying leap towards bed and just ripped his toe open.  YUCK.  Blood and a very upset, brave kid.  We bandaged him up, propped it up, and hope things will be better tomorrow.  That would be good...I could do with a better day tomorrow.  I'm hoping we do not skip both dance and our first ice skating lesson...

In between bouts of sickness, we played super twins.  Here are the dudes in action.  I could not resist showing the photo off...it was an amazing game.  (Note Pillow case capes, pipe cleaner/sun glasses, and the superhero boot slippers?!)


PS: Remember to get your copy of my new book if you haven't already!?  Please tell people about it, too...I am going to need help promoting this one while I take care of these super heroes...

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