Tag Archives: knitting

Optimists Die First

12 Apr

I picked up Optimists Die First  by Susin Nielsen because of the promise of knitting. There wasn’t as much as I’d hoped, but it certainly got a mention in a few places.

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Publisher’s Summary:  Beware: Life ahead.

Although I enjoyed this book, I didn’t find it as compelling as The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen or We Are All Made of Molecules but it was still a pretty good read.

Of hats and other hand knits

12 Dec

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This book, A Hat for Mrs. Goldman, by Michelle Edwards sums up why I knit; why all knitters knit.  It’s subtitle is A Story About Knitting and Love. It is sort of predictable, but that doesn’t diminish the beauty and truth of the story it tells.

Publisher’s Summary: Mrs. Goldman always knits hats for everyone in the neighborhood, and Sophia, who thinks knitting is too hard, helps by making the pom-poms. But now winter is here, and Mrs. Goldman herself doesn’t have a hat—she’s too busy making hats for everyone else! It’s up to Sophia to buckle down and knit a hat for Mrs. Goldman. But try as Sophia might, the hat turns out lumpy, the stitches aren’t even, and there are holes where there shouldn’t be holes. Sophia is devastated until she gets an idea that will make Mrs. Goldman’s hat the most wonderful of all. Readers both young and old will relate to Sophia’s frustrations, as well as her delight in making something special for someone she loves.

It even includes a simple hat pattern in the back…with a pompom!

I am currently knitting a hat in a style I wouldn’t have chosen. It’s for the PussyHat Project.

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The Pussyhat Project aims to provide the people of the January 21, 2017 “Women’s March on Washington D.C. a means to make a unique collective visual statement which will help activists be better heard” and “provide people who cannot physically be on the National Mall a way to represent themselves and support women’s rights”.

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On Wednesday, I am meeting the counselor from my old school at a yarn shop. She keeps chickens and refers to her birds as “the girls”. When I saw this pattern in the Winter 2016 edition of Knitty, I contacted her and offered to make it for her.

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If you are a knitter and know a chicken lover, you can access the pattern for free HERE.

My friends, this is why knitters knit.

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My take on Black Friday

25 Nov

Driving home from a delicious Thanksgiving meal last night, I passed a noticed all the empty parking lots and thought How nice, people are home enjoying each others company. Then, I drove past a Target. Illusion shattered.

I do not enjoy shopping on a regular day. Needless to say, I will not be joining the throngs of happy shoppers out looking for deals. My holiday gifts are ready. I’ve finished my holiday knitting and purchased the books that will be given. Allow me to smugly say that everything was purchased through independently owned shops.

My Black Friday will consist of three things:

  1. Poor Lucy has her annual vet appointment today. Because of timing this always seems to fall on the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving. Poor baby. She will get her bordatella and rabies shots. Most dogs get the bordatella through the nose, but Lucy, feisty girl that she is, always fights it so she gets hers subcutaneously. She is also due for a heart worm recheck. She’s never had heart worm and heart worm never existed this side of the Rockies, but it has arrived in Oregon. If you have a dog, be sure you test and tae appropriate precautions. I suspect, once we are home, she will spend most of the day asleep. She doesn;t really enjoy vet visits, even Dr. Klau is very gentle.Lucy_Nose
  2. I will spend much of my day knitting. I am knitting a scarf with two yarns from my stash and one of them is black. This is an easy pattern that alternates two yarns for a lovely effect.img_2269
  3. I will finish reading The Star-Touched Queen  by Roshani Chokshi.

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Publisher’s Summary:Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets — thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.

I hope your Black Friday will be as enjoyable as mine (after I get home from the vet).

 

 

 

Llamas, alpacas and goats, oh my!

27 Sep

Saturday dawned early. Although a morning person I struggled. We’d had Back To School Night on Wednesday, and it felt as though it had been followed by two Fridays. Getting up and functioning seemed nigh on impossible, and yet, I forced myself to the coffee maker. It was the day of the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival!

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It was a beautiful day for a drive to Canby and things were well under way when I got there. Although I really wanted to look at the various yarns for sale, I decided to begin the day in the animal barns.

As an asthmatic, this can be problematic. I brought my inhaler but had no deed of it; the barns were well ventilated. I decided to start with the sheep, since most of the wool I use comes from sheep. I’m not an expert, but I know a little more about sheep, than I do about other animals.And yet, I saw some new faces.

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And lots of fleece. These were some prize winners and they are a lot softer than they look.

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From the sheep and goats, it was on to the camelids: the alpacas and llamas.

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Even with all my wool knowledge, I was surprised to see angora bunnies and Pygora goats, a cross between pygmy and angora goats.

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I didn’t get a picture of a pygora goat, but I bought a lovely skein of pygora yarn.

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By that point I was feeling hungry, so I went over to the see what the food vendors had to offer. No surprise, lamb was the main item on the menu. I opted for the lamb shank sandwich, which, was excellent and really hit the spot.

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I shared my table, but not my meal, with a young family. They’d just purchased an angora rabbit and the kids were happy to tell me about it. Refreshed and reenergized, I faced the crowds of the marketplace. There were tents outside and two buildings with vendors inside. There was lots of roving,  long and narrow bundles of fiber used to make spun yarn. I am simply a knitter. I don’t spin or crochet (though I am weaving-curious) so I focused on the vendors with yarn. I bought a few things I can’t mention, in case some people are reading, but I also picked up this lovely merino/ silk blend for myself.

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By late afternoon, I was exhausted but content. The sun was at my back as I drove home, casting a lovely glow over the whole day.

 

 

Leave Me Alone!

25 Sep

Knitters have lots of mantras. One of my favorites is One more row. Sometimes it is hard to stop. There is a peace, a rhythm, a compulsion to knitting. Living alone, I can find time t knit. Once Lucy is taken care of, time is mine. This is not true of the main character in Vera Brosgol’s  picture book, appropriately entitled  Leave Me Alone. That’s her mantra.

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Publisher’s Summary:An epic tale about one grandmother, a giant sack of yarn, and her ultimate quest to finish her knitting.

One day, a grandmother shouts, “LEAVE ME ALONE!” and leaves her tiny home and her very big family to journey to the moon and beyond to find peace and quiet to finish her knitting. Along the way, she encounters ravenous bears, obnoxious goats, and even hordes of aliens! But nothing stops grandma from accomplishing her goal—knitting sweaters for her many grandchildren to keep them warm and toasty for the coming winter.

This slyly clever and unexpectedly funny modern folktale by Vera Brosgol is certain to warm even the coldest of hearts.

First let me say, kudos to Vera Brosgol for getting the knitting right. Elizabeth Bird recently published an article about inaccurate depictions of knitting in children’s books.

I read this on Saturday morning, just before heading off to the Oregon Flock and Fibre Festival, which I will write about later this week. I actually dithered about whether to go or not, but reading the book helped me decide to go. Knitting can be solitary, but we need people to knit for and a community to help us learn and grow. So, thanks Vera, for a great book, that helped this 50+ knitter.

 

The End of Summer Tally

28 Aug

Teachers in my district go back to work tomorrow. I’ve essentially been back for most of the last two weeks, but tomorrow is the real deal. It makes today bittersweet. It has been a productive summer.

I rehomed 1 dog.

I knit 1 pair of socks and 4 shawls.

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And, I read or listened to 44 books. Here is the list.

  1. Half Lost by Sally Green
  2. Somewhere Among by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu
  3.  Flawed by Cecilia Ahern
  4. Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whalen
  5. Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki
  6. The Girl in the Blue Coat  by Monica Hesse
  7. Whisper to Me  by Nick Lake
  8. Save Me a Seat  by Sarah Weeks and its Naradarajan
  9. Ruined by Amy Tintera
  10. Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart
  11. Sea Change  by Frank Viva
  12. An Armadillo in New York by Julie Kraulis
  13. The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner
  14. Some Kind of Happiness  by Claire Legrand
  15. Wishing Day  Laura Myracle
  16. Us  by David Nicholls
  17. Compass South  by Hope Larson
  18. Summerlost by Ally Condie
  19. Princeless by Jeremy Whitley
  20. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hamma
  21. Prudence by Gail Carriger
  22. A Hero of France by Alan Furst
  23. The Crown’s Game  by Evelyn Skye
  24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
  25. Outrun the Moon by Stacy Lee
  26. In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall III
  27. Imperium by Robert Harris
  28. Faith  by Jody Houser
  29. Gena/Finn  by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson
  30. Rocks Fall Everyone Dies by Lindsey Ribar
  31. Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer
  32. The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne
  33. Far From Fair by Elana K. Arnold
  34. The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
  35. Every Single Second by Tricia Springstubb
  36. Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine
  37. Paper Girls vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
  38. The Year of Lear by James Shapiro
  39. Julia Vanishes  by Catherine Egan
  40. Plumdog  by Emma Chichester Clark
  41. Love is My Favorite Thing by Emma Chichester Clark
  42. Changeless by Gail Carriger
  43. Lucky Strikes  by Louis Bayard
  44. I’ll Be There  by Holly Goldberg Sloan

I’m currently knitting convertible gloves. I’ve finished one, but won’t get the second finished before tomorrow. I’m currently reading All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor.

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I won’t finish it before tomorrow, either.

 

 

The thrill of victory…

7 Aug

…the agony of defeat.

Growing up, many a Saturday was spent watching Wide World of Sports. Its opening became  an iconic sports meme for me long before the Internet was flooded with them.

I’ve been thinking about this intro as the Olympics begin.

There are lots of ways spectators can participate without flying to Rio. Knitters can join the Ravellinic Games on Ravelry, where there is only one rule:

The One Rule To Rule Them All: Challenge yourself by starting and finishing one or more projects during the 2016 Summer Olympics.

There are actual events such as the Mitten Medley, WIPs Wrestling, Sock Put and Synchronized Spinning. Although I am madly working on a WIP (Work in Progress) I am not participating in the Ravellinics. Too much pressure to perform.

I am however, reading a sports themed book!

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Publisher’s Summary:

I am Lou Brown:

Social outcast, precocious failure, 5’10” and still growing.

I was on the fast track to the Olympic superstardom.

Now, I’m training boys too cool to talk to me. In a sport I just made up. In a fish tank.

My life has quickly become very weird.

Nat Luurtsema’s YA debut is side-splittingly funny and painfully true to anyone who’s just trying to figure out how they fit into the world.

Goodreads gives a little more detail.

Goodreads Sumary: Lou Brown is one of the fastest swimmers in the county. She’s not boasting, she really is. So things are looking pretty rosy the day of the Olympic time-trials. With her best mate Hannah by her side, Lou lines up by the edge of the pool, snaps her goggles on and bends into her dive…

Everything rests on this race. It’s Lou’s thing.

… or it was. She comes dead last and to top it all off Hannah sails through leaving a totally broken Lou behind.

Starting again is never easy, particularly when you’re the odd-one out in a family of insanely beautiful people and a school full of social groups way too intimidating to join. Where do you go from here? Finding a new thing turns out to be the biggest challenge Lou’s ever faced and opens up a whole new world of underwater somersaults, crazy talent shows, bitchy girls and a great big load of awkward boy chat.

Lou Brown guides us through the utter humiliation of failure with honesty, sass and a keen sense of the ridiculous. This girl will not be beaten.

This book was first published in the UK as Girl out of Water.

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In France, it is Moi et les Aquaboys.

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No matter what language you read it in, this is a funny and poignant novel about what happens after the agony of defeat.

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