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Category Archives: Reading

I am still looking at the yarn and baby hat pattern I set aside weeks ago. Somehow, I am just not motivated to attempt the redesign, or knitting it the way the directions state. Nor am I aching to unfold the loom for any great projects, because then it would be in the way of all things.

I think spring restlessness is setting in, about a week early. The cleaning has begun. I dumped a box of books at the used bookstore (they refused the other full box so that will be donated somewhere). I have another pile of papers to send through the shredder. I’m sure a bag of clothes will head to Goodwill soon.

And yet I seem to keep acquiring yarn, with no plan how to use it. Okay, I’m sure none of you ever do that. Buy yarn you might not use, purchase books you might never read. And I’ve discovered that Tuesday Morning is both 1) a yarn store and 2) a book store. Things I should not know, if I want to keep the clutter to a minimum and the yarn stash from exploding.

Current Book: Just started Then Again by Diane Keaton. This might end up being too deep and thought-provoking for me right now. No, I’m serious. It is an autobiography, but also a biography of her mother and all of her lost dreams, recorded in collaged journals over decades. Keaton Sr. even continued making these journals through her 15 years of Alzheimer’s, when some days all she could do was write one word or just a string of random numbers.

I need to plan to read something very very very funny right after I finish that book.

Current DVD: Big Bang Theory, Season Three, picked up today at the library; Some Kind of Wonderful, because I haven’t seen it in a very long time; Adventures of Mark Twain (claymation) because it contains a short version of Diary of Adam and Eve’s Diary, which are two of my favorite Twain stories.

“Restlessness and discontent are the first necessities of progress.” – Thomas Alva Edison

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Completed another cap, once again to the sounds of club mix and Tallis. This one is technically a Cap for the Troops, even though that program has been disbanded. A colleague’s son tried in vain to find a job, and when he couldn’t, he ended up joining the military. She is proud but terrified, so I poured lots of good thoughts into the hat as I knit it. Rustic Wool, Queensland Collection.

Cap for Troop

Be Safe, Be Safe

Spent four hours yesterday reading You Need Help Charlie Brown. In french (Ca Ne Va Pas, Charlie Brown). Because I’m feeling the need to try to actually learn something useful, like another language. Not sure how useful it is that I now know the Great Pumpkin is la Grande Citrouille in french. Struggling to read through those, I was reminded of how much deep though Charles Schultz put into those “simple” cartoons. Don’t believe me? Re-read some of them for yourself.

“You cannot open a book without learning something.” – Confucius

Unfortunately, another chemo cap is called for. I’ve mentioned before how I wish there was no need of these anymore, right?

The trick this time around is that the recipient is Chinese, so I’m a bit flummoxed on the color choices. After taking a quick read through some Chinese color sites, the obvious choices would have been aqua blue-green (health) or green (purity). Trouble is, in Chinese culture the giving of a green hat indicates infidelity. Yikes. So I settled on purple (joy and happiness; hopefully geared towards feeling better), because that seemed like the only choice.

Head Huggers Rolled Brim

Chemo Cap

Head Hugger

Knit on size 6s using Malabrigo Silky Wool in Light Hyacinth (No. 420). Randomly, I’ve discovered that knitting to a dance mix really speeds up the process!

Went to the yarn shop Monday, forgetting that they’re closed Mondays. Ran into another knitter who needed help learning how to purl. Spent 5 minutes teaching her how and pointing her towards www.knittinghelp.com. Tiny sense of accomplishment for the day. What a mensch as my friend B would say.

Current Book: Last of the Gaslight Mysteries by Thompson

Current DVDs: First season of Big Bang Theory

Current Audiobook: Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed

Current Music: Other than the club mix for knitting, listening to my latest indulgence, Tallis Latin Church Music by the Taverner Consort

“Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles and an immature mind.” — Alex Karras

I bring you the sparkly Cthulhu fingerless gloves. Because really, when you’re thinking of a malevolent entity (or god, depending upon your viewpoint), don’t you think sparkly? Black Panda Silk sock yarn and multicolored glass beads (Purple Iris set from Orr’s Trading Post if you’re curious).

Okay, you’re now wondering if the picture link is broken. Guess which crafter forgot to take a picture of the fabulous final product?

Based on the amazing Cthulhu Mittens by Diana Stafford

I knit these basically like wrist warmers just longer, so they are the same diameter all along the arm. That makes some parts extra loose, but I figure the tentacles around the wrist area can be fluid for effect. Right?

Not having measured my friend’s arms for this surprise gift, I didn’t want to make these too small through shaping. By doing the traditional provisional cast on, I was able to knit in a separate ball of yarn for one side of the thumbhole (back of the glove basically), then knit the two yarns together once each side of the the thumbhole was bound off. It seemed to make sense at the time. There is probably a better way to do it, but I’m stubborn-enough to want to figure these out on my own.

Current audiobook: On CD 19 of 38 of 1Q84 by Murakami.

Current book: Waiting for the next three Gaslight Mysteries to come in, starting Edison’s Eve : a magical history of the quest for mechanical life

Current DVDs: Pile from library is growing including Harry Potter Finale I and II, Young Victoria, Case Histories (yay Jackson Brodie!), Flight of the Conchords.

“Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn” – H P Lovecraft

Still reeling a bit from the lack of sales at the annual fiber guild. Not sure what direction to take with design, so I haven’t made much of anything lately.

Now of course, deadlines are coming up. I’ve been working on a giant project for 10 years, always putting it aside to do something else. Well, now it is due. Tomorrow night. Because I have put it off for so long I feel I have to finish it now or never. I have to work all day today and tomorrow, and I need to attend a meeting tonight.

(The meeting is so I can put my two cents in about my local government’s poor decision making. Letter to the Editor wasn’t published in time, so I have to show up in person and make my unhappiness known. Hell has no wrath like a woman scorned? Try scorning the taxpayer and trying to get away with it.)

And I need to hand-sew the binding all the way around a king size quilt. By tomorrow night.

Odds on that happening?

Recent reads: Re-read From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Because when you go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, you are required to re-read that book. Moral imperative. Also re-read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Robinson, because you have to read that every Christmas.

Currently reading: Up to book six of the Victoria Thompson Gaslight Mysteries and still enjoying them. She very cleverly wrote them close in time, so even though I’m on book six, only about a year-and-a-half has elapsed in the storyline. At this pace and this historical setting, she can write dozens of these. Smart, very smart.

Currently listening to: Two long-awaited audiobooks came in on hold at the library. 11/22/63 by Stephen King and 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. Clocking in at 30+ hours (King) and 46 hours 46 minutes (Murakami) for your audio listening pleasure.

“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.” – Benjamin Franklin

Yesterday a friend invited me to her house for a group craft day. Bring snacks, show up with your portable art/craft, and share with others. It really was a great way to talk about what we’re working on, learn from others, and spend an afternoon.

Since a couple of them are interested in steampunk, I stopped by Surplus Tool and Commodity in Denver for supplies. Saturday’s haul for $5 and some really dirty hands:

Hardware Store Glory

Upcycling Wonder

Currently reading: Abarat Absolute Midnight by Clive Barker. A warning to those of you who order this book online: this thing weighs a ton. Barker is also a talented painter and many Abarat-related paintings have been included in this volume. The whole thing is printed on shiny art paper, more commonly used with your average coffee table book.

Current audiobook: Continuing the steampunk theme of this post, I’ve just started the audio for Goliath by Westerfeld, performed by Alan Cumming.

“Darkness always had its part to play. Without it, how would we know when we walked in the light?” – Abarat series, Clive Barker

I’ve been using the amazing new Icelandic pattern book to knit wrist warmers for the upcoming sale. Two more sets done, one more set just started on the needles. I cannot believe the sheer number of amazing patterns in this book!

Riesines 9

Icelandic book wins again

I’ve also been continuing the yarn reclaiming and weaving it into new things. Up first a set of large dish towels, formerly known as an unattractive cotton sweater. Bill Cosby has a lot to answer for when it comes to men’s sweaters for the past 20 years.

Upcycled

Upcycled towels

I’ve also finished two silk and cashmere scarves, 100% silk for the warp and 100% cashmere for the weft. The silk provides a nice, solid warp for the softer upcycled yarn that I wouldn’t trust in a warp.

Quick tips on weaving with reclaimed yarn:
1) Remember that the yarn has already shrunk once. That means you need to sett and weave things a little tighter in order to get a solid weave. Think twill.
2) I’ve found I need to pull it a little tighter in the weft that usual – just to make sure the ramen parts are all stretched out before I beat things into place.

Even with all the upcycling, I still cannot resist new yarn. Found this alpaca/silk blend at Showers of Flowers.

Showers Alpaca

Yes, even more yarn

Recent audiobooks:
Daemon by Suarez, to make all the sys admins out there happy.

Ready Player One by Cline. A must read for anyone who was a teen in the 80s. It’s a moral imperative. (If you recognize that phrase, you are required to listen to this audiobook. For extra geek points, the audiobook is performed by Wil Wheaton.)

“A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.” – Frank Capra

Make it yourself.

Hunted through multiple grocery stores, Walgreens, and RiteAids trying to find Russell Stover chocolate coconut nests for Easter.

I only managed to find the cookies and cream ones, and quite frankly who wants to eat those? That’s why they’re still sitting on the ravaged easter candy shelves the day before Easter.

Necessity and invention and all that.

1 4oz. bar Giradelli chocolate bar (60% cocoa) melted with 1 T of butter
pile of coconut
handful of jellybellies

Lots of stirring, some sticky moments using the melonballer to make indentations in the tops for the jellybellies, and you have chocolate coconut nests. Put in the fridge to chill.

ChocoNests

Edible Nests

Sitting on the warmed stovetop I have three pans of Hot Cross Buns rising. Last year’s were a disaster, so I’m hoping this recipe from The Pioneer Woman will do the trick. I used cranberries instead of raisins, and plan on adding a little espresso to the icing to make the crosses.

Currently Reading: SugarBaby by Gesine Bullock-Prado. Her first book, Confections of a Closet Master Baker, was great.

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” – Plato

Yesterday’s Edible Books event was filled with tons of great entries, many made by people under the age of 18. And it helped raise money for our local Book Arts League, which does workshops throughout the Denver Metro Area.

After things fell apart, I ended up with two entries. Not great photos, but here goes:

Edible Book

California Job Case

Edible Book II

Gingerbread Tunnel Book

The professional entries, from two local shops, were amazing as usual. Slices and cupcakes from these were sold to benefit the Book Arts League. Indulge Bakery made The Very Hungry Caterpillar, covered in fondant plums, strawberries, ice cream cones, and more.

Edible Book III

Indulge Bakery!

Piece, Love, & Chocolate made a copy of Brillat-Savarin’s masterpiece complete with chocolate tea cups filled with chocolate cake. If you’re in the area, they are having their grand opening April 28th.

Edible Book III

Piece, Love, & Chocolate!

Just finished reading: Cart and Cwidder, Drowned Ammet, and The Spellcoats by Diana Wynne-Jones. Book four of this series, Crown of Dalemark, is waiting for me at the library. The Spellcoats is a great book for weavers, by the way!

Currently Reading: 13 Treasure by Harrison.

Currently Listening To: Little Britches by Moody.

“Taste, which enables us to distinguish all that has a flavor from that which is insipid.” – Brillat-Savarin

A friend has offered me her yarn ball winder, which she has never used and just doesn’t need. As this will be very helpful for the yarn reclamation project, I’m excited about this gift. In exchange, I’m making her some dishtowels. She didn’t ask for anything in return, mind, I just thought it would be nice. First time out with waffle weave and they look pretty good. 5/2 cotton, two shades of green plus natural.

Waffle Weave Towels

Waffle on the Loom

I need to sew a quick line along the bottom with the sewing machine, because I’ve elected not to hem them. They’re hem stitched, but do not have a foldover hem because the 5/2 cotton wasn’t cooperating. Once that stitch is done I can throw these in the wash and see what happens.

Current Audibooks: Just finished Physick by Angie Sage. Now halfway through Airborn by Kenneth Oppel.

Current Book: Just finished The Monstrumologist by Yancey, now a few chapters in to Martin Booth’s Soul Stealer.

Up next: Re-reading some Diana Wynne Jones

“Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.” – Ruth Ann Schabacker