Feb 26, 2009
Last weekend we were in NY again. This time it was for my brothers wedding which was held on my grandmother's birthday. So I gave my grandfather his socks. Perfect symmetry.
It was quite a push to get them done in time. I actually finished the toe on the second sock and wove in the ends while sitting at the hotel pool on Saturday before the wedding. Whew!
The pattern was Harris Tweed by Ali Green (Rav link) and it's very well written. It's not the most exciting thing in the world - actually the patterning is nice and subtle - but that's what makes it perfect for man socks. For a guy I want texture without lacyness or craziness. The pattern on this sock gives it a really nice puckered effect that I find inviting and the heeel... oh that eye of partridge heel gets me every time. I love how it mixes up the colors and looks like a work of pointillism. Love that!
I also love the yarn I used for these socks. Bruce had chosen 2 skeins of Claudia in a color called Leopard as a gift for me last Summer when he was in NYC. It was probably intended as a bit of a self-serving gift since I suspect he was hoping I'd turn it into socks for him. He loves my grandfather though and I'm sure he's just as happy to see these go to him.
Feb 25, 2009
This has been a really good week so far. Not only have I finished 4 knits in the space of a week but I received the Kreativ Blogger award from Julie and Cursing Mama. They made my day!
With this award comes a responsibility to pass it on to other bloggers. There are so many great blogs out there, it's really hard to choose. These are a few that make me smile and inspire me.
1. Copy the award to your site.
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.
4. Link to those on your blog.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominated. (if they don't see this before you get that far)
Here are my nominees in no particular order.
1. Carole Knits
2. One Crazy Fiber Lady
4. Spinnerella's Attic
5. Keyboard Biologist Knits
6. Sock Pron
7. Intrepid Fiber Wizard
I'll leave you with a peek at one of the things that's on my needles right now.
Yes, it's hubbo's Entrelac Scarf. Thankfully he's the kind of guy who's very open colorwise so the pink won't bother him at all. The Noro Kureyon was fun but I am totally loving the Silk Garden. Gorgeous AND soft! Swoon.
Feb 24, 2009
Last week as I packed for our NY trip I pondered the projects to take with me and declared that 2 of them would be done by the time I returned home on Sunday. Happily I rocked it out and by the time we pulled in to the driveway I had hit my goal - just barely.
The last of the three projects I wanted to complete last week was this pair of fingerless gloves for Stinkerbelle. She chose the yarn for them, a skein of Scarlet Fleece Painted Merino, well over a year ago and it had been marinating in the stash ever since. It turned out to be a very nice yarn that was perfectly suited to this project. It created a very pleasing fabric that was soft but solid. And I love the many shades of blue and purple. They give just enough interest without obscuring the pattern at all. You can easily see the difference between the stockinette on one side of the ripple and the seed stitch on the other.
The pattern was the Nalu Mitts by Leila Raabe (Rav link). It was so well written and presented nicely in a clear and easy to follow format. Just perfect. No complaints at all.
So the real test of a project is - does the recipient like it? Happily that is a resounding yes. Stinkette was so thrilled with her new fingerless gloves that she cheerfully cooperated with me when I wanted to take pictures yesterday morning. Not only that but she hasn't taken them off since I handed them over to her. She's even sleeping with them on. I call that a huge success.
Feb 23, 2009
People often ask how my brother is and I always say the same thing - interesting. Generally speaking it's true. He's done lot's of unusual things over the years. In high school he dyed his hair with Kool-Aid. That should've been a hint. Since then he's sky dived and scuba dived. He went to Punxsutawney to see the groundhog and spent many weekends jaunting off to places like Spain, Paris and Sweden with no real plans, just a backpack and aplane ticket. Like I said, he's always up to something interesting.
A few years ago he went to South Korea to teach English to Korean kids and met Misun. Three years ago they went down to the American Embassy in South Korea, signed on the dotted line and came back to the US married. But that wasn't interesting enough.
Since then Misun has converted to Judaism and together they had a little girl named Manhattan (now that's interesting). On Saturday night they had a very interesting wedding that combined elements of American and Korean culture in a Jewish ceremony. Just in case it wasn't interesting enough, they held it in a Russian(?) hall. Very interesting indeed!
My daughter's were in the bridal party. No good pictures of DQ yet but here is Stinkette and her cousin "S". Most of the evening my Stinky wore her new shawl with the dress but I had camnesia and got not pictures of the ensemble. It was pretty funny though because she wore the triangular shaped shawl upside down and every which way during the night.
Interesting or not - the evening was lovely. We ate and drank (some more than others) and visited well into the night.
We wish them all the best!
Feb 20, 2009
Feb 19, 2009
Feb 17, 2009
I took a quiz yesterday and I totally take exception with the result. I am many things (and I'll admit to most of them) but not a book snob... I think. I certainly don't have any illusions about being one of the literati. I'd say that a better description of my reading habits is balanced, by which I mean that I lean heavily towards mysteries but that I try to balance with more enriching reading experiences.
|What Kind of Reader Are You? |
Your Result: Book Snob
You like to think you're one of the literati, but actually you're just a snob who can read. You read mostly for the social credit you can get out of it.
|Literate Good Citizen|
|What Kind of Reader Are You?Quiz Created on GoToQuiz|
Here's a meme I saw on Cursing Mama's blog. It ties in with The Big Read (an event sponsored by the NEA), and a study that found that the average American has only read 6 of the books on the following list.
Here's the chanllenge -
Bold the books you have already read
Italicize the books you intend to read
Notes in parentheses next to note-worthy titles.
1) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
2) The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
3) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte ( I started it and I'll finish someday)
4) Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
5) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
6) The Bible
7) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
8 ) Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell
9) His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
10) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
11) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (but I've mostly forgotten it and ought to read it again)
12) Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
13) Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
14) Complete Works of Shakespeare
15) Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
16) The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
17) Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
18 ) Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
19) The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
20) Middlemarch by George Eliot
21) Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
22) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
23) Bleak House by Charles Dickens
24) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
25) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
26) Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
27) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 ) Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
29) Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
30) The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
31) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
32) David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
33) Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
34) Emma by Jane Austen (I started it but got distracted)
35) Persuasion by Jane Austen
36) The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis
37) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
38 ) Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres
39) Memories of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
40) Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
41) Animal Farm by George Orwell
42) The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
43) One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44) A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Irving
45) The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
46) Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
47) Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
48 ) The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
49) Lord of the Flies by William Golding
50) Atonement by Ian McEwan
51) Life of Pi by Yann Martel
52) Dune by Frank Herbert
53) Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
54) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
55) A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
56) The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57) A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
58 ) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
59) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
60) Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (In High School)
62) Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
63) The Secret History by Donna Tartt
64) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
65) Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
66) On The Road by Jack Kerouac
67) Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
68 ) Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
69) Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
70) Moby Dick by Herman Melville
71) Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
72) Dracula by Bram Stoker
73) The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
74) Notes From A Small Island by Bill Bryson
75) Ulysses by James Joyce
76) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
77) Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
78 ) Germinal by Emile Zola
79) Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
80) Possession by AS Byatt
81) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
82) Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
83) The Color Purple by Alice Walker
84) The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
85) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
86) A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
87) Charlotte's Web by EB White
88 ) The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom
89) Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90) The Faraway Tree Collection by Enid Blyton
91) Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
92) The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93) The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
94) Watership Down by Richard Adams
95) A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
96) A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
97) The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 ) Hamlet by William Shakespeare
99) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
100) Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
By their standards, I'm not an average reader but that's to be expected since I'm a librarian by trade. However, like many others, I'm wondering at the choices on this list. While most of the inclusions are obvious and valid, some of the omissions are glaring. Where's the Hemingway? What about some Edith Wharton? How can Toni Morrison's Beloved not make the list?
As an avid reader and the parent of 2 book lovers I have to say that lists of books like this are mostly besides the point. What I'm about to say is going to eliminate all credibility I have when I forbid DQ to read what I deem "bodice rippers" but... I think that the value in literature lies mostly with individual readers. I'll grant you that I find her trashy romances and vampire books mostly garbage but it's what she likes. When I was her age my teachers had a very negative view of the Stephen King books that I favored but I read them anyway. The point is that we read regularly.
I do think that reading the classics is valuable but, especially today when so much is electronic and all about instant gratification, reading is a skill that needs regular excercise. It builds vocabulary and connects us with the past and other cultures. Just read something, anything. See what a book snob I am!
By the way, if you're the type of person who takes recommendations from book snobs, here's one. Try Mudbound by Hillary Jordan, a book I read last fall. Set in Mississippi in the 1940's this novel tells a story of racism and rural isolation beautifully through the eyes of a narrator that shifts from one chapter to the next. Laura McAllan is an educated city girl who reluctantly follows her husband to a very rural farm where she tries to raise her daughters in an environment that is totally foreign to her and lacking all the comforts of home. Her husband's brother comes to stay with them while he makes adjustments of his own, having just returned from the war. They both develop relationships with members of the Jackson family, black sharecroppers on their farm that lead all of the characters to tragedy.
It is as absorbing and affecting as it is tragic. It was amazing to me that the author could be as convincing in the chapters told through the voice of Laura as she was in those told through the voice of her husband Henry, and members of the sharecropping family - Florence, Hap and Ronsel. This is the kind of book I love, one that stays with you long after it's over.
Last year my girls and I celebrated President's Day by visiting George Wshington's Mount Vernon. This year we had a bit of company as we explored landmarks from the life of another president... Abraham Lincoln.
Hubbo and some out of town guests spent the day touring Ford's Theatre which was just reopened to the public after being refurbished. We all sat in the baalcony and listened to a Park Ranger describe the events leading up to and including Lincoln's assasination. It was really informative and enlightening to hear it as we looked out at the box where he was shot. The ranger described John Wilkes Boothes preparation and his movements that night and how he (and Lincoln) entered the balcony using the same narrow, curved staircase we did. It was very moving.
We also toured part of the Smithsonian Museum of American History and the house where Lincoln died. It was such a great day shared with good friends.
Did you do something special to celebrate President's Day?
Feb 16, 2009
Feb 13, 2009
There were wind advisories in my area yesterday and my neighbor saw the tree leaning when she got home. She called someone to try to take the tree down safely but it fell before he had a chance. There he is in the tree. He'll make the mess disappear by the time I get home today - I hope. Truly I'm just happy that it's in the yard rather than in my living room.
Feb 12, 2009
My needles have been quite busy lately. Much of it is new but I'm trying to finish some UFO's too. The first to be crossed off my list was this chemo cap. The was supposed to be for my S-I-L Toby but sadly I wasn't fast enough and she never even saw it. After she died, I just couldn't look at it so I put it away for quite a while. recent events have me feeling more positive so I took it out and knit all those positive feelings into the hat and we're going to donate it in her name. I hope that it'll bring someone else a bit of comfort.
Feb 11, 2009
Feb 10, 2009
I'm trying so hard to be a selfish knitter and I just can't do it. My Loppem is making progress for sure but so are a bunch of things that are totally not for me.
Here's the start of a Noro scarf for Bruce. He really loved the one I made for my brother so I set out to make one for him in Poems, a yarn I found at Stitches but it just wasn't working for me at all. Very soft but it didn't compare to the Noro at all so when I went to my LYS's anniversary sale last month I picked up some Silk Garden. There wasn't a lot to choose from because apparently a certain striped scarf has created quite a run on Noro. It's ok though because I really do love color 282 which is what I got. It's got some really pink spots but it's also green and nearly black places. Thankfully my husband is very adventurous and he'll wear just about any color.
I took this picture a few days ago and I'm much further into it by now. I still love working this pattern, the Entrelac Scarf by Allison LoCicero and I may even make another one after I finish with this. Once you get the hang of it, it's quite easy with just the right amount of thought required to keep it fun.
This is the start of a pair of fingerless mitts for Stinkerbelle. I promised to make a new pair for her so long ago that I can no longer remember. She loved her Dedos en Fuego but they got a little small and worn out. This time she chose a purpley skein of Scarlet Fleece yarn and asked for something reflecting fire and ice. She drew pictures and I considered them but I just couldn't figure it out. Instead I found a pattern for Nalu Mitts by Leila Raabe which I think she'll like. It's not quite fire and ice but I think that the undulating line down the middle with the moss stitch on one side and stockinette comes close. I may embellish these when I'm done or I may go back to the drawing board with her sketches and come up with something just for her. Right now the focus is on getting a finished product on her hands.
Come to think of it, this just may be the season of Stinkerbelle. There's another little something I started last night that's for her as well. More on that to come.
Feb 9, 2009
Feb 6, 2009
PS. Is it just me or was the big, hugely hyped Grey's/Private Practice crossover thing last night a big dissappointment. There was very little crossover and I feel a little used. How about you?
Feb 5, 2009
Isn't this guy handsome?
The origins of this project go back to last May when we were in Ottawa, Canada for a family wedding. my sister and I took advantage of some quite time to go touring the city and miraculously found a yarn store. While my sister puzzled over how I found it (hint - I never leave home without my Knitter's Shop Finder) and my daughters lamented being sucked into a yarn store once again, my nephew was checking out the fiber. He found a merino/silk blend that was mostly black with blue, red and white streaks and he asked if I could spin it for him. I couldn't possibly say no.
Last fall I spun it up and then plied it with some straight black to increase my mileage and make it more substantial. I paired it with some Plymouth Galway Chunky in a bright red and it was perfect for Thorpe. You can count me among the fans of Kirsten Kapur's patterns. This is my second time knitting one of her patterns and it certainly won't be the last.
On Saturday night the family gathered at my house and I was able to give Jake the hat in person. I was thrilled when he put it on immediately... and wouldn't take it off for the rest of the night. Is there any better reception for a handknit? No way! Not only that but my sister says that he was very careful not to leave it behind when they packed to go home on Sunday. This is a guy I'd knit for any day. And he's cute too!
I bet my nephew wore his hat yesterday too because it's been super cold. Just ask DQ and she'll tell you exactly how cold it was yesterday. She forgot her key and got locked out of the house. Because it was so cold (flurries all day) I left work early so she only had to sit out in the cold for 2 hours (it was an hour before I knew she was locked out). Crazy kid! Not only was she not wearing gloves, she was wearing Crocs without socks! By the time I got home her toes were turning deep red. She's fine and we discussed the dangers of frostbite and how socks aren't optional in the winter. The kicker is that there was someone home next door, a girl her age that she used to be friends with who hangs with a different crowd these days. Because this girl had a friend over yesterday DQ wouldn't go and get warm at her house. She's rather freeze with her pride intact! Aren't teen girls fabulous?
Feb 4, 2009
At the party on Sunday DQ debuted her new cashmere wrap. The pattern is Petals by Jeanne Abel that I bought as a kit last fall at the Virginia Fiber Festival at Montpelier.
DQ chose both the pattern and the yarn. The yarn is called Myne and it is super yummy. It feels so good and it held up perfectly well to the frogging. The colors aren't anything that I'd choose since I'm not big on pastels but it was the perfect counterpoint for DQ's dark blue dress.
The pattern offers 2 options for the edge. One is a simple single crochet but the other incorporates beads. In the picture at the left you can just see the beads which are applied in groups of 4 whereever a petal goes off the edge of the wrap. I added bead groups in other spots too when there wasn't a petal for a long stretch so that the pattern continued without interruption. It's a nice touch that also adds just the right amount of weight to this very light piece.
You may recall that my first attempt at this pattern got frogged but don't let that discourage you from trying it. The difficulty that I had was with the gently rounded shaping on the back. It requires stitches to be added at the end of the first rows and sometimes the added stitches come after yarnovers. As you can probably imagine, this gets a little wonky and it's way too easy to screw it up if you're not paying attention.
Once you get past the shaping, this is a very easy piece to knit. It's easily read and even kind of intuitive.
I really don't like working with super fine lace yarn at all and every time I start a new piece I regret it instantly. I don't hate every minute of the knit, I just don't relax as much with it as I do with other things. Fine yarn makes me nervous. The end result is what sucks me back in. It's nearly impossible to look at the light and airy wrap and not crave more.
Feb 3, 2009
I took the day off yesterday to chill out and bask in the post-weekend glow. While I did have a few errands to run, mostly it was a very selfish day.
There are several movies on my must-see list and I saw one of them yesterday. There is something about going out to see a movie when you're supposed to be at work that feels very satisfying in a naughty and indulgent way. Slumdog Millionaire was great and I would recommend it to all of you. Everything about this movie worked for me and there really isn't anything that I would change about it.
Of course I also did a bit of knitting. I finished a hat for my niece and immediately cast on for Loppem (Rav Link) for me. Thus begins a month of selfish knitting. This doesn't mean that I won't knit for anyone else during February but it does mean that I will put myself first. I'd love to try to make some of the things that have been in my queue for a while. I see gloves, mittens, a hat and at least one sweater in my immediate future.
Posted by hillary at 9:46 AM
Feb 2, 2009
Let me start by saying that this was one of the best weekends of my life. Murphy's Law was in full effect but still, it was wonderful. All of the months of planning and obsessing paid off beyond all expectations.
There were water main issues at BOTH venues. One was cleaned up just in time for our day and the other resulted in a detour that was actually a little better for our guests. Lemonade from lemons!
There were sick kids. Both of mine were at the doctor in the days before the event. DQ was on antibiotics but you'd never know because she was awesome. On Saturday she chanted and sang beautifully. I honestly had no idea she had such a great voice but many people commented on it. It was a great surprise.
Stinkerbelle was a little out of sorts because we're actively trying to get her asthma under control but I think that she'll look back on the weekend positively. I hope. It's hard being the little sister of the person being honored.
The highest highs and lowest lows were provided by my grandparents. I was shocked and thrilled beyond words when my grandfather called on Thursday to say that they were definitely coming. I was walking on air all day long. I had totally expected them to say that it was just too much for them. It turns out that it was too much but nothing could stop them.
Friday night they arrived and my grandmother who is very frail passed out at the hotel. I was so worried and Bruce and I followed the ambulance to the hospital where we stayed until my grandfather made us leave.
Saturday morning we were all stressed wondering what would happen. People commented later that DQ looked stressed through the first part of the service and then, suddenly, she didn't. That's because my grandfather my mom and my uncle busted my grandmother out of the hospital (which wanted to hold her longer) and they arrived just in time to hear my girl do her thing.
I could have used a bit less drama but the end result was a fabulous weekend. My grandmother was fine and both of my grandparents were beaming. It was an event they never imagined that they'd be able to attend and they were thrilled to be here. It made my day, month, year... whatever.
I'll probably have more (better) pictures later but these make me smile. At the top are my in-laws dressed as mummies for a game. The second picture is of my grandfather sharing a beer with my niece - kind of.