A New Blog

I have been having such a fantastic time with my Fiction Friday project over the summer that I have decided to start a second blog focussed on writing.  The new blog is called Yarns Woven.  All of my Fiction Friday posts have been transferred to the new blog.  Head on over and follow the blog to receive notifications for new posts of very short and short works of fiction.

Don’t worry, the Thread Forward blog isn’t going anywhere.  It will remain active and focus on the topics of knitting, knitting history, historical knitting patterns and history in general.

I am quite excited about the new blog and this new venture!  I was recently inspired by Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, and her use of this quote by Theodore Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; . . . who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. —Theodore Roosevelt

This is me, walking out into the arena, and daring greatly!

A Year of Canadian History (July’s Post) 

Well, I’m not sure what happened to July but it just flew by!  So here it is, a few days late, the July post for my year long project looking at some of the interesting historical figures who were around at the time of Confederation in 1867 here in Canada.

This month, I have decided to talk about Emily Pauline Johnson (also known as Pauline Johnson or E. Pauline Johnson), a writer and performer who was popular in North America in the late 1800s.  She wrote this lovely poem describing Canada, which I think fits in nicely with my theme for this year’s set of historical posts about Canada:

Crown of her, young Vancouver; crest of her, old Quebec;
Atlantic and far Pacific sweeping her, keel to deck.
North of her, ice and arctics; southward a rival’s stealth;
Aloft, her Empire’s pennant; below, her nation’s wealth.
Daughter of men and markets, bearing within her hold,
Appraised at highest value, cargoes of grain and gold.

(Canada, by Pauline Johnson)

Pauline was the youngest of four daughters of a Mowhawk hereditary clan chief, George Henry Martin Johnson and Emily Susanna Howells Johnson, an English immigrant.  She was born in 1861 at the Six Nations of Grand River, just six years before Confederation. Her Mohawk name was Tekahionwake, which translates to double wampum or double life.  She lived a life that was strongly influenced by both her English and her Mowhawk heritage.


Source:  Collections Canada

Pauline began to write poetry in her teens and continued through her life.  She wrote to support herself financially and toured Canada and the United States for seventeen years, reciting her poetry. She was reported to be very beautiful and had great stage presence, which made her a popular performer.  She was best known later for how she portrayed indigenous culture and I believe she has a unique approach to using the English style of poetry to portray aboriginal beliefs and legends.

And up on the hills against the sky,
A fir tree rocking its lullaby,
Swings, swings,
Its emerald wings,
Swelling the song that my paddle sings.

(Excerpt from The Song My Paddle Sings by Pauline Johnson)

Pauline Johnson died from breast cancer in 1913.  She wrote the following poem after being told that her disease was terminal:

Time and its ally, Dark Disarmament,
Have compassed me about;
Have massed their armies, and on battle bent
My forces put to rout
But though I fight alone, and fall, and die,
Talk terms of Peace?  Not I.

(Biographical Sketch, page xxx, Flint and Feather, by Pauline Johnson)

If Pauline’s writing speaks to you, take a look at her book Flint and Feather, which is available on the Internet Archive.



Knitting at a Snail’s Pace

It’s summer time and my knitting has slowed to a snail’s pace.  It’s either to hot to knit, or there are too many mosquitoes, or it is raining.  I’m tired.  I’m busy.  I’m bored.  I’m really not sure what the problem is but I just can’t seem to pick up the needles as often these days!  Well, I do know one problem that has affected my knitting since the week-end.  Our lovely rescue dog, Olive, loves to lean against me on the couch or lie across my feet while I knit.  But, around midnight on Saturday, she had an up close and personal encounter with a skunk!  I’m sure she deserved to be sprayed – she does love to chase small animals.  But, my word, what a smell.  I have never in my life smelled anything that bad.  Despite many baths, she still has a slight skunk odour and I’m afraid of the smell getting into my knitting!  Another bath or two may set this straight (I hope!).I thought I’d share my WIPs with you and give myself a little reminder of what I have on the go, where the projects stand and maybe get some inspiration.  Accountability works wonders sometimes!  And, who knows, maybe I am making more progress than I think I am (maybe).

WIP #1:  Guild summer challenge Pi shawlStatus:  ❤️  I love this shawl and this challenge and the colours of the yarn.  The hurdle with this is that I am using a book of stitch patterns that is heavy, sticky in hot weather, and awkward to handle.  Maybe you should just photocopy it, you say?  I really should!  

WIP #2:  Find Your Fade ShawlStatus:  ❤️  I am plugging slowly away at this stash buster shawl.  I had a slow down to due an inability (lack of desire) to wind a skein of yarn but I overcame that and have started to do the colour melting into the blue based half of the shawl. I feel like this is one of those projects that will feel like it takes forever and then, suddenly, is finished.  At least, I will remain eternally hopeful.  

WIP #3:  Envelope Status:  ❤️. This project has stalled.  Seriously stalled.  I think partially because of the warm weather, which doesn’t lend itself to holding a large wool project in my lap.  And partly through boredom.  But, that does make this a great social knitting project.  Note to self:  Need to plan a few evening get togethers with knitting friends to make some progress!  I think I am about 2/3 done with the first of two pieces.  And, it is good news, I think, that it is too big to photograph properly!

WIP #4:  Callum TeeStatus:  🤔 I recently got some traction on this project and I think once I do the front and join in the round it will make for some great car, social knitting.  This is my Dr. Who binge watching knitting – I may have to rename my project the TARDIS tee.  The cotton linen blend is perfect for summer knitting!

WIP #5:  Plarn BagStatus:  ❤️  Working with plastic bags does not go well with hot and sticky weather.  I am completely okay with saving this project for cool evenings and air conditioning – or even fall, if need be.  It will no longer inspire guilt when I catch it peering at me out of the  WIP basket.

So there you have it!  My WIP roll call is complete and I am newly inspired and off to knit!

Does anyone else find that their knitting slows down in the summer?