Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Shawl continues apace, blissfully

The Wings for Nightbird shawl is starting to take shape, and my six-year-old ball of lace yarn so far seems indefatigable. Of course, it won't look like a beautiful lace shawl* until it's blocked, and that's pretty far in the future, but I've only got about 4 rows until I could make the first big decrease (from 293 to 149). But, since Teresa explicitly advises "If you want a longer and bigger wing you can repeat more rows of chart A," I'm going to keep going for more like 10 rows, or four subway rides.

A few times as the elevated train rumbles through the Bronx and the sunlight streams through the window, it has changed the color of the yarn completely, so that the dull purple mixed with gold turns to bright indigo, almost royal blue. I'm not sure my iPhone can capture it, but I'll try tomorrow.
Besides the warm sun on my shoulder and the relative comfort of knowing I'll be sitting for almost the whole trip home (since I get on so near to the end of the line), I've really been enjoying two audiobooks. They're both so good, yet so different, that I'm torn between them.
The first (in order of Overdrive download), is Charles Duhigg's Smarter, Better, Faster. I was so delighted by the first book of his I read, The Power of Habit, that I copied out some of his tips.
Namely, to have a chance of breaking a bothersome habit, one must carefully note these five factors:
  • Location: Where are you? 
  • Time: What time is it? 
  • Emotional State: What’s your emotional state? 
  • Other People: Who else is around?
  • Immediately Preceding Action: What action preceded the urge?
Since then I've read about a dozen more books on psychology and motivation, and going back to Duhigg's words makes me realize the special and superior quality of his writing.
The other equally compelling work transports me from one of the world's largest cities to a tiny village in rural Quebec inhabited by eccentric runaways from big-city Montreal. In May, a book club friend introduced me to Louise Penny's wonderful Inspector Gamache series with the most recent installment, A Great Reckoning (#12), and I have been filling in the blanks ever since. I disagree with a snippet I saw on Goodreads about needing to go in order--I've been having a grand time filling in gaps, and I'm now in the thick of Book 9, How the Light Gets In, and I'm enjoying having no idea how Gamache and his (former and present) colleagues can turn their dire situation around, yet knowing that they will.
*Best description of the transformative power of blocking I've ever read is in this book, by the one and only Yarn Harlot.

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