Monthly Archives: July 2011

Chinese Restaurants and Stash

I am a notebook girl.  I carry a small one everywhere.  Sometimes it is a moleskin.  More often it is a diary style book I picked up for three dollars or less in the clearance aisle of Target.  When I fill these books up with my random thoughts

 and notes to myself, I stick them in a drawer in my home filing cabinet and break out a new one.  I love breaking out a new one.  I have a stack of empties.

Most of the time my notebooks are filled with scrawl, and badly rendered designs.  Lately my oldest has also added his name over and over and over again, filling the margins with his outsized tilting Kindergarten letters.  Any future daughter in law happening across these books in a hundred years when she helps the boys clean out our house will surely take them as proof of what was obvious to her all along.  Her mother in law was a nut.  A nice nut (I hope).  But a nut none the less.

Still every once in a while in the haphazard notes of a very busy woman, there appears a small glint of genius.  Okay not genius.  Call it translatable whimsy.  Such is the case with my latest knitting project.

About a year ago the guys and I went to a local Chinese Restaurant.  We don’t go out much for Chinese around here, so I think we’d been to this particular restaurant maybe once before.  They had a red and gold lattice up that I really liked, and jotted down in the note book.

At the time I was working on lace projects, and I tried to make it lace.  It didn’t work out.  The swatches were all just, well, ugly.  So I didn’t take it any farther.  Really, nobody wants an ugly lace design.

Then four or five months ago, I went to a stash busting sale down at Gate City Yarns in Greensboro.  At that sale I bought, among other things, one hank of Cascade 220 in a shade of green I can only call pea pod, and a hank of Louet Riverstone in purple.  Both for a dollar.  The two have been hanging out in my stash together ever since.  Friendly.  Happy.

While I was working on Bill’s hat last month I had a brilliant idea.  Fair Isle could work for the lattice pattern, where lace had not.   So I set to work and came up with my Chinese Restaurant Mitts.  I am so pleased!  Sure, if I make another pair, I’ll be reworking the thumb gussets a little.  All in all I’m thrilled, and very bright.  I can’t wait to wear them out and about.

October is on the way!!!  

Not Even A King

Currently on Loan from the Library:


Other Books I’m Reading:

I’m considering my options.

I ended up returning a bunch of books to the library today without actually reading three of them.  This is very sad to me, and I will surely have to check out at least two of them at another time.  However, the Library computer system is having a meltdown this week.  As it happens I am deeply addicted to having the Library computer system on line.  I can order things in from other places.  I can have exact change on those occasions when I owe money.  I can make sure I don’t have overdue books, because I always lose the little slips they print out for me.  It’s just thrown my world off.  Okay, not my world.  My reading habits.   

The book that I did manage to finish this week was The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell.  I came to Cornwell’s work because I like Vikings and happened across the first book of his Saxon Chronicles at the library.  That series turned out to be everything I think is missing in most historical fiction.  So I read on to his Grail Quest series too.  Don’t roll your eyes.  I know the Holy Grail has been done to death.  Cornwell’s Grail Quest is so far from what I would have expected from a Grail based series that I read them all in about a week and a half.  

After that, there was no way that I couldn’t move on to The Arthur Books.  Although I swore off Arthur years ago after a crazy month during which I read The Once and Future King, The Mists of Avalon, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, back to back, I couldn’t help myself.  Nor was I disappointed.  Cornwell has stripped the Arthur legands back to their root in away that could leave modern readers confused.  There are no knights in shining armor, no round table, and if you can believe it, Arthur is not a king.  

Conrwell, sets his books in the late 400’s.  After Rome has left the isle, but before the Viking expansion into the area which started in the late 700’s.  Many of the familiar players in the story have been recast, or taken from the oldest versions of the legand.   The narrator, is one of Arthur’s knights in retirement as a monk.  His name is Derfel.  Arthur is now a Warlord, the illegitimate son of Uther.  Arthur is sworn to protect the throne of his nephew Mordred.  Mordred, Uther’s grandson, and legitimate heir, is a baby born on stormy winter night, with a club foot, and a displeasing personality.  Lancelot while still there too, is now cast as a cowardly mamma’s boy, who lies to look good in battle.  Guinevere is more huntress than princess.  Morgan is more hag than woman.  And Nimue, the Lady of the Lake, is less Lady, and more half mad priestess.  Meanwhile, Merlin, always a staple of other works, is absent for a full 90% of the book.  Still, it is a deeply enjoyable read, full of dry humor, and well, battles.  

I will say that much of what I enjoy about Cornwell’s writing may be what other people would not like.  These are not books where the historically named rogue woos his historically named lady fair.  These are not books where the author tries to stay true to the facts we know, but ends up wandering in to speculation or supposedly well hidden scandal.  These are not books about how women are the real power behind the stupid stupid men in their lives.  Cornwell’s books are unabashedly bloody, battle filled, and harsh.  No one comes out well, and most people end violently.  A Cornwell book is more likely to have a description of a severed head than it is to have heaving bosoms.  

They are very testosteroni reads and should be avoided by sensitive readers.  

Still, I think they are smart, well written, and more accurate than we’d like to think most of the time.  

Enjoyability:   Very Enjoyable.  I give The Winter King  five stars.  

Where to read this book:  Anywhere.  Just be careful.  It may cause you to be short with people who interrupt you during the exciting parts.  

Further reading:  I was hoping to move on to the next book in the series, Enemy of God.  But since the library is still all widdershins I guess I’ll have to find something around here.  I’d love some suggestions too.  What has everyone been reading lately?

The Finisher

I go through periods where I can’t cast on too many projects.  Then I run out of needles in the right sizes and realize that I’ve over extended.   This doesn’t stop me from mentally queuing up dozens of projects that I have the yarn to create.   There are two in the mental que right now, as well as two on the needles still.  One with a deadline.  Then there are other weeks when I get tired of the mess on my desk and decide that I am going to start getting things off the needles.  Not that they’ll be put to use right a way.  Wool in July is rarely a good idea.   On the other hand, if we get a sudden cold snap, I like to be prepared.

Off the needles this week we have a pair of baby projects that I’d been working on.  A baby hat in 128 Superwash, and a baby vest in Crystal Palace Cotton Flamme.  I thinking they came out super cute.  I’d been trying to use up some of my leftovers.  The 128 had already made one baby hat, and I still have like a toddler slipper worth left.  If anyone needs it.  I really like most Cascade Yarn offerings.  The 128 Superwash is no exception.

Crystal Palace is another story altogether.  I got the Cotton Flamme on deep discount a couple years ago.  I was new enough to higher end yarn at the time to not realize there was a reason the shop was willing to sell ten skien bags of the stuff at 1$ a skein.  The yarn was discontinued.  I understand why.  It’s a mercerized cotton.  Which is normally nice.  But this particular yarn is lumpy, and sort of s snot to work with if you aren’t used to it.  Since I bought two bags of the stuff, I am now used to it.  It wears well.  It washes well.  One of  Giddy’s favorite blankets is made of the stuff. I can’t wait to get the last couple of skeins out of my stash.  If anyone has pattern suggestions I am listening.

I’ve also tried and like working with Crystal Palace Bamboozled.  But their Bunny Hop makes my hands itch so bad that I have two skeins in baby blue in my stash that I can’t even look at.

In other finishing news, I decided to clean out some red wool I’d had hanging out in my stash forever.

So now I have this lovely shawl.  Can’t wait for fall.  In about six months.

I should go finish some other things now.  Like……the dishes.  Very exciting.

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