Thursday, July 31, 2008
Pattern: Gothic Spire, by Cookie A.
Yarn: Regia 4-fadig. 75% superwash wool, 25% Polyamide
Yarn Source: Uptown Yarns, Courtenay, and The Wool Shoppe, Parksville
Yarn Cost: $24
Needles: 2.5mm Susan Bates circular, 100 cm long, for magic loop
Tension: 9.5 sts/inch in stockinette
Cast on: May 2007
Bound off: July 31, 2008
Notes: I loved this pattern when I first saw it but I don't know that I care for it as much now. It's complicated to look at and my eye finds it hard to decipher the design. That being said, the socks are nice and long, comfortable, stretchy and warm. I am finding them a bit roomy - I originally cast them on for someone else, so used the largest size. I'd prefer them tighter, but that's what the dryer is for, no?
I must admit I wouldn't make these again. They are impressive and pretty, but the yarn wrapping bit is a bit much. This is what you have to do: slip next four stitches onto cable needle. Wrap working yarn twice [or four times, depending] around the four stitches. Knit the held stitches. It's a right pain. You can't get around the required cable needle - there's no way to do the wrapping without holding the stitches on a separate needle. Very time-consuming.
But it's nice to have another pair of socks in the drawer - and red ones, no less.
So I'll keep 'em.
Dave, I should have included washing instructions with my first post. As a person who wears wool and dresses my children in it, I sometimes forget that not everybody is willing, or will remember, to use unusual care in washing.
To answer the question in your comment, BOO is made of wool, silk, and mohair. Though it won't need cleaning often (wool self-cleans) it will be dry clean or "hand wash cold lay flat to dry". If it's put in the washing machine it will felt, which means irreversibly shrinking to doll size.
Here are the washing instructions for each design in the yarn called for:
1. Reid - knit in Patons Grace 100% mercerised cotton, yarn cost approximately $25 Hand wash lukewarm, lay flat to dry.
2. Boo - knit in Noro Silk Garden 45% silk 45% mohair, 10% wool, yarn cost approximately $70 Dry clean, or handwash cold with care, lay flat to dry.
3. Pinwheel - knit in Elann's Peruvian Highland 100% wool, yarn cost $20 Hand wash cold, dry flat. (Note: I found out the yarn cost - not $45, as I had estimated, but around $20.)
4. Drifting - knit in DK weight superwash wool, yarn cost approximately $50 Machine wash cold, lay flat to dry.
5.Secret Garden - knit in Alice Starmore Hebridean 3-ply 100% wool, yarn cost approximately $70 Hand wash, lay flat to dry.
So don't let it bring you down - I'll take care of it.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Thanks for your input on the last post, and would you believe we got over 200 votes? I'm shocked, even though it WAS possible to vote twice. That's still a lot of people.
So far Boo is in the lead, but Joe and Dave haven't made a final decision yet...do you need more possibilities, guys? Because I can come up with more...and now that I know you want "girly", I can certainly deliver that.
For my part, I loved it. I loved the meditative nature of the task, though my results were fairly imperfect:
Today is Messy Tuesday, so here is my laundry pile from camping on the weekend:
Edit: I forgot to show you a picture of Piper, who has grown a lot in the last few months. Isn't he cute?
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
What an incredibly interesting book. It reads like a fable or a legend - the story of a South American girl, neglected by her noble parents and raised by her own African slaves. She is bitten by a rabid dog, and is subsequently believed to be possessed with a demon. She is taken to a convent for help, and immured in the strange, hostile, Catholic mixture of religion and superstition. The young ascetic priest, sent to the convent to prepare her for exorcism, falls prey to her magnetic beauty. The pair fall in love, and plan to escape together from the convent before the exorcism can take place.
This is a strange story. It's full of the kind of weird, miraculous occurrences that one feels could only take place in South America....or maybe in the Caribbean. There are voodoo rituals, animal sacrifices, plagues, odd languishing fevers, plants behaving in peculiar ways. There is an uneasy sense of wonder, a desire for it to be true and a fear that it might be. The characters are fascinating, but I wasn't sure why I was so attracted to them - was it because they were well-drawn, with a kind of reality that catches the interest? or is it the sensation you feel when you're driving past the scene of an accident and you're pretty sure you just saw a body bag?
There is a lot of cruelty and death in this story. At the same time, it's not horrific - the narrative style is quite distant, lending a kind of farsightedness to the book. Reading it, you don't find yourself wondering what happens next, but instead how does it end?
I won't spoil it for you.
Of Love and Other Demons gets:
Given to Others: Yes
Sunday, July 13, 2008
I did some transplanting last month. My best girl was here from Victoria and I took advantage of her amazing arms (she paddles an ocean kayak for a living) to help me acquire two thirty-year-old rhododendrons. These rhodos belonged to my friend Cameron, whose walkway they have encroached on for the last ten years. She and her husband cut them back ruthlessly a couple of times a year, but these monsters will not be put down. Access to their front door was being seriously impeded by these titanic shrubs, so Cameron offered them to me.
She said it anyway. "I think we need a man."
But, manless, we managed it.
Monday, July 07, 2008
This is a very peculiar book. I don't know if it's ever happened to me before but when I finished reading this I thought to myself with a frown, "Huh. Am I going to read this again? Did I like this book? Was it any good? Was it bad? I'm......not sure."
The premise is this. Jasmine's mother is gruesomely murdered, leaving a last message for her teenage daughter, written in her own blood:
Jazz hide forever
The girl goes to ground, trying to evade capture by the sinister Uncles, a group of men who have haunted the edges of her life and her mother's. Jazz stumbles into a hidden world beneath the London Underground, taking refuge in forgotten bomb shelters and finding sanctuary with the ghosts that inhabit the deeps.
The book is equal parts mystery, fantasy, and coming-of-age story. This blending of genres felt a little uncomfortable to me - it felt at times like Stephen King trying to write a historical romance, or maybe Judy Blume trying her hand at a comic strip. I couldn't really put my finger on what it was that left me unsatisfied, but I think I like my fantasy to be fantastical, and I like my murder mystery mundane. In this book, worlds collided.
Many things are very well done indeed. The descriptions of the underworld, while not ponderously written, or terribly complicated, do give an impression of weight and claustrophobia to the reader. A lot of the scenes take place in the tunnels, and I could almost hear the water dripping, see the spectral light of a bare bulb, or smell the staleness in the sealed shelters.
Jazz takes up with a band of child thieves, led by a gentlemanly old scoundrel called Fagan......I mean, Fowler. She is mentored by another boy, Cadge, a roguish pickpocket who teaches her the tricks of his trade. The Dodger - oops, I mean Cadge - trains her well, until she is ready to perform the big heist on the Maylie's.....make that Mayor Bromwell's house.
Sure, it was a little derivative. It didn't bother me too much, however: there's nothing new under the sun. What did bother me was a feeling that the motives, the backstory of the novel, when these are finally brought to light, should have been explored more fully. I can't decide if it's a bad thing or a good thing, to be left wanting more at the end of a novel. This book was 400 pages - I wanted it to be 700. The plot, mostly in ghostly flashback form, really goes back to the 1940's, and it would have been great to have presented this backstory in more detail, and possibly even concurrently to the present-day sequences.
I'll tell you something weird. I saw the weaknesses of this book easily, but I couldn't put it down. I stood at the stove, stirring cheese sauce for my kids' lunch, reading. I took it with me when I biked downtown to meet my friend for coffee, on the off-chance that she'd be late and I could get a chapter in. I sat amidst piles of laundry unfolded, stacks of dishes unwashed, and a lace shawl partially knitted, and read this book to the last page.
Mind the Gap - strange book. Quite grisly - I wouldn't hand it to a tween for a bit of summer reading. It starts off with a shudder of revulsion, goes into quite a long, violence-free pause, then suddenly assaults your inner eye again with macabre sequences of appalling brutality. It's a bit unnerving.
Mind the Gap gets:
Given to Others? Yes - well, loaned...I don't think I'll buy copies as gifts or anything
So, surprisingly, it ends up with a score of
Did I entitle this post "Yo, Bush"? No, I didn't. And did I say "Hey, Georgie"? No, I didn't.
Because we speak respectfully to people here in THIS THING WE CALL A SOCIETY.
That is all: thank you for your attention.
A Canadian who thinks you are a putz but who still refers to you by your proper title.