Thursday, November 09, 2006
Totally Joe by James Howe. Joe was one of the Misfits in the earlier book by Howe (also highly recommended!) and here he gets to tell his own story in an "alphabiography." This is cute - heartwarming - touching - the story of a young gay boy who still thinks kissing someone is an icky mess, but wants to have a boyfriend. A wonderful growing-up-gay book.
Seven Spiders Spinning by Gregory Maguire. This is his first Hamlet, Vermont story, set in a school with the wonderful Miss Earth as teacher. I liked a lot of things about the book but I found the spiders sort of extraneous and I didn't like their fate. However Miss Earth and the Tattletales and the Copycats are great companions. I plan to read at least one more in the series (the next is Six Haunted Hairdos.)
St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell. Wonderfully weird short stories. I realized I'd read one of the stories in the New Yorker some issues ago. The title story was absolutely the best. I don't often read adult literary fiction but this had enough fantasy elements for me to really enjoy it.
Monday, November 06, 2006
My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding
This anthology has stories by a couple of authors I really like (Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine) and others that I didn't know that well. Harris's and Butcher's stories were set in worlds that I've come to know well from their novels. Caine used a world that I didn't recognize from the Weather Wardens series, but her tale had a nice sting in it. Spellbound by L.A. Banks was another unexpected joy. That said, I think that the Elvis story by P.N. Elrod was really wonderful!
The Iron Tower by Dennis McKiernan
I heard of an early series by Dennis McKiernan that was either very derivative of Tolkien or else (in some other stories) was written by request from the publishers who wanted a Tolkien sequel. I found the trilogy in one paperbound volume in the library basement and tried the first one, The Dark Tide. It wasn't terrible but there were so many similarities to Tolkien that I just wasn't that interested in reading the rest of it. I did skim the next two books to make sure that the Darkness was conquered but I won't look for more in the series.
November 2, 2006
Devilish by Maureen Johnson.
A cute twist on the popularity story, with a serious note to it. Unpopular Alison would sell her soul to be popular - literally. Can her best friend Jane save her? There's definitely a dark side to this one along with a great friendship story.
November 3, 2006
Mary's Meadow And Other Tales of Fields and Flowers, by Juliana Horatia Ewing.
I've wanted to read this ever since reading the Golden Name Day series by Jennie Lindquist. In it the girls read Mary's Meadow and decide to emulate Mary and her family by planting flowers on the roadsides for travelers to enjoy. It's really a sweet Victorian story and there are funny bits as well! The other tales were not as good as MM but still worth reading (for free too!)
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Frindle by Andrew Clements. It's a wonderful middle-grade book, with humor, good grownups, great rewards, and as a bonus, excellent illustrations.
Check it out!
Saturday, September 16, 2006
I'm also trying (again) Charlene Schurch's Class Sock to try and grasp the heel flap kind of heel. So far there's about an inch of ribbing (only 2 more to go, then the heel, it's a tiny sock.)
Lunch has arrived - tomato sandwiches on sourdough toast with Hellmann's mayo and a Tab - and the Yankees game is on so that's all for now. Can't wait to see Stephanie aka the Yarn Harlot at my local Barnes & Noble tonight!
Monday, September 11, 2006
autumn, blue sky days because that's what 9/11 was like. And today,
on the anniversary, the weather is identical. It's the kind of day
that makes you glad to be alive - cool (it's about 60F right now),
crisp - not too humid - with a hint of fall in the air but still warm
from summer. And I hate it.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
This is my third finished pair of socks - they're Grumperina's Jaywalker pattern, done in Regia Jubilee Sock, London colorway superwash wool/nylon. I finished them this spring, for my sister's birthday, then mislaid them. When they turned up again I thought I'd better send them off right away, but wanted a picture first. This is the pair where the toes turned out rather oddly (sorry!) and encouraged me to start making toe-up socks instead. Some people's Jaywalkers have ended up quite tight but these seem to be ok. Perhaps there's more stretch in this yarn. I knit both pairs sort of ongoing, one from the center pull end, the other from the outer end.
More knitting news - Mardi Gras Sock 1 is done! I ended up buying another skein of CLaudia's Purple Earth yarn to have as a spare. It's a different dye lot and though the colors are the same, the amount of each color is not (a lot more purple and dark blue in the new skein.) So - Sock 1 has Skein 1A for most of the foot and leg, and some of skein 1B to finish the leg. Sock 2, which has been started, has Skein 2 for the foot, I will switch to skein 1B probably for the heel and definitely for the leg.
And even more - the Lacy Prairie Shawl is almost done. I am knitting the top garter stitch border rows now. NO MORE PATTERN!!!
Saturday, August 19, 2006
My afternoon has been spent (while watching the Yankees/Red Sox game)in assembling all these barrettes. I embroider them on perforated plastic for a good firm base, then glue the backs on. I'm fussy about the backs, my favorites are labeled "Made in France" and I have to go into Manhattan to get them, usually at Metalliferous. I have a bag of 12 dozen which I thought would last for awhile - except that I discovered that they're all the wrong size, slightly bigger than I use (the ends are visible beyond the stitching which I don't like.) The size that works is 3 1/4" (80 mm) and my stash is of course 3 7/8 (97 mm).
However I had enough to finish off quite a few that had been waiting. This one is a new Anchor pearl cotton with metallics. Some of the other threads are Eterna silk twist and Caron Watercolours.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
If there is Yankees yarn, can the Mets yarn be far behind? I'm winding the wool up (it arrived today from Dave) in preparation for knitting Mets socks for a friend's brother. Orange and blue isn't my favorite color combination but Dave made a thing of beauty out of it. I'm figuring another pair of toe-up socks with ribbing, very manly.
I'm knitting the Monthly Dishcloth KAL - this is my second project. You get 10 lines of pattern in email every day for 5-6 days. I thought I would have to wait (I wanted a solid and a variegated cotton yarn, and I only had variegated) but my yarn order from Smiley's Yarns arrived today. I can't believe the prices - so cheap! I got: 5 skeins of Bernat Handicrafter; 4 skeins of Lily Cotton Elite; 3 skeins of an interesting yarn called Filatura Lanorota Circus - it's a very soft blend of 85% cotton, 15% acrylic, very brightly variegated - I'm thinking washcloths, too soft for dishes; and SOCK YARN. Cervinia Calzetteria, 70% wool, 30% nylon, machine washable - 2 each in multi-blues, multi-turquoise, solid red and solid denimy heather - for $2.50 each. Five dollars for a pair of wool self-striping socks. I am having a hard time not going back to order more and more and more...
Monday, August 14, 2006
The nice part about this piece is that it's composed of many distinct motifs so I can get the satisfaction of finishing one part at a time. After I looked closely at the chart I decided to go wild and use even more greens so I've added some Old Willow and Crescent Colors threads, as well as some Atalie threads that were just sitting around in a box. The fabric is one of Wichelt's new hand-dyes, Chai Tea Jobelan - it's a pale green with some pale brown mottling. I do have to use my portable light so it's not that easy to pick it up and stitch.
We gathered for a road trip to Connecticut on a beautiful Saturday morning (who said "the only trouble with mornings is that they come so early?") Our stops included Sudberry House's annual (and final) garage sale where we loaded up on frames, boxes, and other wooden objects to display needlework. Then we proceeded to Yarns Down Under, a really fine (and well concealed) yarn store where sock yarn was found in abundance (I got some Schaefer Anne, some Regia Bamboo, and some Step with jojoba oil.) We ended up at a former LNS owner's place, where she generously offered us a sale on her inventory. The result - here's the trunk!
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
This shawl is showing me how much my concentration slips. In past rows I have missed yarn overs; I have dropped stitches; I have knitted 4 instead of 3 in the pattern. And yet at the time I felt like I was paying attention! Of course the longer the row gets, the easier it is for my mind to slip away for just a second also.
This is the Lacy Prairie Shawl from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls. I have never had so much trouble knitting something! I think it's because it's lace - and every stitch matters. It's a really simple pattern, there are only 3 pattern rows (alternating with knit rows), and it's kicking my butt. I started with 215 stitches. It had been awhile, and I began knitting pattern row one (which, apart from the edges, is a Double decrease (slip 2, knit 1, pass 2 slipped sts over), k3; repeated to edge etc. I got to the edge and was one stitch short.
I unknitted the row (I'm getting very good at this and the yarn is quite heavy) and counted again - 215 stitches. Great. Then I realized that I was on the wrong side and I wasn't in the pattern row, I should have been just knitting. (I had to mark the right side because it's not very obvious.) So I knit a row. 215 sts. I did row 1 of the pattern - 214 sts, 1 short.
This has happened over and over with this shawl. It's such an easy pattern, I don't understand why it's being such a problem for me. It is emphasizing something that I don't like about lace knitting though - it's very fussy. You can't really add or subtract stitches as needed the way you can with stockinette or ribbing etc. I have 30 more pattern rows to go (up to 275 stitches) and I really want to finish this.
The yarn is Riata from Brooks Farm Yarns - silk, wool and mohair in the Water Lilies colorway.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
I attended a meeting of the Metrostitchers at Cynthia's new apartment. Many pictures were taken including lots of objects in progress. Here are Joan's finishes:
Barbara's working on a Celtic Knot pattern:
Rosie has a huge sampler:
Here's Theresa's piece - which ended in a Happy Dance today!
And here is one of mine - the Eyelet Tee from with the addition of a knitted lace border.
I also had a happy dance - the Monthly Dishcloth Knit-Along, done in Knitpicks Shine Worsted, which I gave to Cynthia for a housewarming present. It makes a lovely soft washcloth.
And we mustn't forget the friendly Curry (who climbed shelves, looked at yarn with yearning, and ended up on the sofa for the attention he was due.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
I'm going to a couple of crafting group meetings this weekend and felt the need to have another sock to work on. The Mardi Gras sock is almost up to the heel. In fact, I turned the heel and then tried it on but it was a little bit too short, enough to be uncomfortable, so I ripped it back to the foot and am knitting it a bit longer. But if I knit a lot at these meetings I'll need to turn the heel. And interestingly enough I'll have to decide which side of the sock to make the instep. Here are the choices - I call one Mardi Gras Purple and the other Mardi Gras Gold. I'm leaning toward the purple at the moment.
Now the short row heel (or toe) isn't hard. It just requires concentration and I check off each wrapped stitch as I go, so it's not a great thing for group crafting. So last night I started the second Yankees sock - here are a couple of pictures of the short row toe completed and ready for mindless knitting (it helps to have big feet, you get more mindless knitting time!)
I took some pictures last night and couldn't believe how blurry they were. This morning I tried again, and they wouldn't download to the computer. There was a message saying that the batteries were too low. So I've replaced them (for the first time) and the pictures look great. I wonder if the batteries were the problem.
Everybody stay cool and have a great weekend!
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Finally I've finished the first Yankee sock (it got misplaced for a bit, and the heat had me knitting nothing but cotton.) Today I did a little bit of k2p2 ribbing for the cuff and bound off using Elizabeth Zimmerman's stretchy bindoff. And it is nice and stretchy. I can hardly wait to start the second sock (have to find the waste yarn first though.) These will be lovely and warm come winter (oh please I am so tired of summer!)
Sunday, July 30, 2006
I took Friday off (yay for summer three-day weekends!) and we went to the beach. This is a little tiny unofficial beach behind a rest stop off the Belt Parkway in south-coastal Brooklyn. Of course the sock went too as did the camera, so here's a photo of the Yankees sock. The leg has turned into spiral rib which was quite a lot of fun to knit! Viv is kindly holding up the sock
I have some vaguely beachy pictures to post as well (but really, if you've seen one beach...) The big kite is someone's parasail but there was hardly enough breeze to pull him along. We did see him moving once but mostly he was just standing or crouching in the water.
You can tell it's a Brooklyn beach because, although we did see a seagull and a tern, the birds on the beach in this picture are Rock Doves aka pigeons.
And yes, that's me in the hat and sunglasses holding the sock!
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
The Yankees yarn was created by Dave at my request. I wanted a yarn that was navy blue and white, like the Yankees pinstripes, with very little carryover of light blue etc. In spite of living only a block from Fenway Park (or so), Dave came up with this marvelous yarn. I am knitting the sock as a toe-up from Wendy's pattern, and I turned the (short row) heel on Sunday morning. I decided to do the leg in a 2x2 rib for that athletic look!
Monday, July 24, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
The second sock I call the Mardi Gras sock - it's Claudia's Purple Earth colorway that I got at Maryland Sheep and Wool. It was this yarn that inspired me to learn a toe-up sock because the balls of wool looked rather small and I was worried about running out if I did a top-down sock. (I started calling it the Mardi Gras sock because it has the colors of Carnival, purple, green and gold, and because I worked on it in New Orleans at the convention in June.) Again, I feel that the foot is up to the ankle but the measurement is short. This sock is on Brittany 1.5s (I don't have a problem with them breaking btw.)
My third project is a cotton top using Second Hand Cotton in Atlantis. I made the Eyelet Tee from Knit One Crochet Too and liked it very much with a few minor changes (like, make it longer than 21"!) I started this top with Feather and Fan (4 repeats) which gives it a nice lacy border and that lovely scalloped hem. Now it' s just stockinette for miles.
Pictures of all these will follow when I can get my photographer set up.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
This is my first post in a blog that I hope to use for my crafting adventures, photographs, etc. Right now I'm mostly knitting with a few forays back into counted cross stitch and beading.
The picture is a close-up of the afghan that my sister and I made, in separate squares, in separate states.