Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Wednesdays are for reading (Reincarnation Blues)

I'm reading Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore.


It's another ARC from the good people at NetGalley. It came up on Robin Hobb's feed, and she hasn't steered me wrong yet.
Here's the description: 
 What if you could live forever—but without your one true love? Reincarnation Blues is the story of a man who has been reincarnated nearly 10,000 times, in search of the secret to immortality so that he can be with his beloved, the incarnation of Death. Neil Gaiman meets Kurt Vonnegut in this darkly whimsical, hilariously profound, and wildly imaginative comedy of the secrets of life and love. Transporting us from ancient India to outer space to Renaissance Italy to the present day, is a journey through time, space, and the human heart.

 I'm about halfway through, and really enjoying it. It reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Fiveexcept it makes a little more sense. It's a book that requires suspension of disbelief, but I have had absolutely no problem just going with some of the absurd aspects of the premise, because it is really well written. i'm really looking forward to going home tonight, curling up with this book and finding out what happens next.

Matchy, matchy, matchyness

The other day I mentioned that I have a new splint for my broken finger. It's black. When I got it I asked if I could have another colour. Remember my bright blue hand brace? I was hoping for hot pink this time. My finger therapist said “no. this is Melbourne, almost everybody asks for black.” So I got a Darth Vadar black finger splint.
 

Continuing the theme, I got my nails done to match. Because everything must be matchy in my life. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Finished: Ardmore Jumper

As I mentioned, I finished Leon's Ardmonre jumper and we're really happy with it!
It looks fantastic, and it fits really well from the front:

The back has a tiny bit of flare at the hem, which improved with blocking, but is a slight flaw, which I cannot work out how to fix. If I'd known earlier I would have made the back a tiny bit longer than the front, or thrown in some short rows, but, well, hindsight is 20/20 and for this one I actually just followed the pattern. Maybe it's because of Leon's well developed shoudlers and tiny waist?

I love the yarn - Blue Moon Fiber Arts Woobu. The bamboo gives it a silky shine and the semi solid dye is just wonderful. I've got enough left over for a jumper for me, I'm going to make Romi Hill's Manzanita.
here's a photo of Princess Daisy helping with the blocking:

But back to the point on hand: Leon, looking handsome in his handsome new jumper:



  

Friday, August 11, 2017

A knitting and a finger update

You know how I love everything to be matchy matchy – when I bought the Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarn that I used for Leon’s Ardmore, I bought a matching skein of sock yarn in the same colour – Meet brown, Joe. They look a little different because they are dyed on different bases, but they are the same colour:



I finished the jumper this week, it’s blocking now and we’ll do a photoshoot on the weekend. I cast on a matching pair of socks – I’m using the Ardmore pattern transcribed onto a 68 stitch sock.  This is such fun, although it has progressed slowly this week, partly because it is quite cabled:

But look how the cables pop in the Socks That Rock! Mainly they have been slow because we’ve been out every night this week. I saw my finger therapist this week and he gave me a new splint:



I’m seeing him again in two weeks. Hopefully I’ll be done with the splint by then. I want to finish a project at the same time as I get free of this splint, because it’s probably affecting my tension. I asked my hand therapist if I could take the splint off to cast on – I tried to explain how the long tail cast on is difficult without being able to use my fourth finger. He gave me a blank look, and then said “no”. Well he took about six sentences to do so, but the summary was no. At least the new brace holds my finger in perfect knitting position.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Wednesdays are for reading (Beauty and the Moustache)



Katie came across this book somewhere (I really should ask here where)  and put it on Instagram. Knitting, romance and free? Yes please. This is the fourth book in the Knitting in the City series, and the prequel to the Winston Brothers series. Normally I would not read a series out of order, but it was listed as a standalone, so I “bought” it.

And I loved it. This might be best romance book I have ever read. The characters are delightful, the love feels real and the process of getting there feels believable. And she cuts out of the sex scenes, which is the way I like it - close the door, I know what they are doing in there, I don't need a blow by blow description thank you very much.
While story is told is told in first person from the point of view of Ashley the main character, there is a whole cast of supporting characters – a knitting group of friends, and her brothers, and the landscape itself, that give the book vibrancy and texture.
While there is some mention of knitting, which made me smile, knitting is not the focus of the book - in fact, I never found out what Ashley was knitting. I did keep wondering though.
 

My only regret is that I didn’t start at the beginning of the series. True, the book makes sense by itself, but you meet Ashley’s friends and their partners, who are the subject of the previous books. The moment I finished this book I bought the first in the series, and I’m so excited that there are loads of books by Penny Reid for me to catch up on - 7 Knitting in the City Books, and 6 Winston Brothers - to be both excited and exact!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Just like old times

Kris is knitting a Miller's Daughter shawl, and I've been utterly obsessed with it from the moment I saw it. The pattern is written for laceweight, but I wanted to make it in fingering, because I'm still scarred by my last laceweight knitting. Also, I want the extra warmth. I decided I wanted something with cashmere in it, and so, on Friday night, I bought some Wollmeise Blend:

It's three of these colours, I'll show you which when they arrive. The shawl mainly uses two colours, with just a tiny bit of the third. I bought three so I can choose when they get here. 

Remember when Wollmeise was really hard to buy? They would do updates on Friday nights, Melbourne time, and I'd sit down after a boozy dinner and do my shopping. Well, it felt like that on Friday night, glass of red wine in hand, beautiful colours on my screen to choose from. I'm really looking forward to this yarn.

And this feels like a suitable time to do a stashcount: 13,695 meters.
Record lows, and doing well. Although I do suddenly want to buy ALL THE THINGS, so I will have to proceed with caution if I don't want to end up back where where I started. 


Friday, August 4, 2017

Whisky and knitting

My Ardmore jumper is motoring along nicely. I’m moving down the second sleeve. It’s been a pleasant kind of knit.
Last weekend I went to the hairdresser, and Leon said he would mosey on to the fancy whisky shop. I asked him to buy some Ardmore whisky, because I thought, given the club, it was appropriate to match my whisky to my knitting.


Although let’s face it, even without the club I would have thought it was funny.

So, Leon went to the fancy whisky shop, where he did not find Ardmore, but he did buy a delicious bottle of Ardberg. They he went to the normal bottle shop across the road and found the Ardmore, and bought that too.

The outcome being, I’m making a marvellous jumper and have a couple more bottles of wonderful whisky. Kate Davie's Inspired by Islay club just keeps on giving.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Wednesdays are for reading (Nice jewish Boys)

I just finished Nice Jewish Boys by Sarah L. Young, which was another NetGalley book. This book was really frustrating. It felt like a lecture on how to be nice to your gay son even if you are a bit of a republican homophobe. I was reading highlights out to Leon , and he asked if the person writing it had ever been a teenage boy. I ask if she had ever met a gay teenager.


The two main characters cry ALL THE TIME. Avishai  is meant to be depressed, so that makes sense, but Noah is meant to be over six foot tall and masculine. And he also cries all the time.
There is an utterly cringe worthy scene where they explain to his father – who is a US Congressman, no less that “if you call anyone … a name that you would feel in any way offended or insulted being called, then my expert advice to you would be to think twice before calling them that."  Yep, don’t call your kid queer. I’m just nitpicking, because the premise of the book is great  - two teenage boys who attend a Jewish private school come out. But it’s written in a really melodramatic, overwrought manner.
When I finished the book I discovered that it was written for NaNoWriMo when the author was 15, which explained a lot. I would absolutely recommend that she keeps writing, under all the melodrama I think she showed a strong, confident authorial voice.   

Monday, July 31, 2017

Do I, or don't I?

Today I stumbled across this:
Yes, Blue Moon Fiber Arts, my favourite dyer, is doing something with sending different kinds of yarn, and colours and information. I am sorely tempted. I haven't been a member of a yarn club since 2014 (as a side note, I miss Cookie A). I've had a lot of fun with pattern subscriptions from Romi Hill and Kate Davies, but right now I've got nothing coming, in either by snail mail or by email. And it is fun to have something to look forward to each month. The introductory price lasts until the 15th of August... anyone else want to join me?

Sunday, July 30, 2017

More than one way to skin a cat

Last Monday, at Richmond Knitters, Katie mentioned she was expanding her BeeKeepers Quilt, because "it wasn't big enough":
Katie's photo. Look how pretty that is!
I wondered if she wanted some Left Over Sock Yarn. She said "sure, but only if you keep some and work on your sock blanket".

Katie said she wanted "garden colours". I still don't know what that means, but I grabbed 400 grams of pretty colours, and put them in a zip lock bag, and now they are freed to be part of something beautiful.

Now I only have about 400 grams of LOSY! I don't guarantee I will actually work on my blanket, although I did knit a square the other night.

Friday, July 28, 2017

It’s not Bendigo, but…

As you know I don’t go to Bendigo this year. I was a bit sad, but mainly happy, because I am working hard to get my stash down, and that would not have been fun at the wool show.



One thing I was really sad about it that each year there is a produce tent, and I usually buy Pud Balls. This year I missed out. And then today at work I went downstairs to get my normal ten am coffee and for reasons I never found out, there was a little market downstairs selling olive oil and wine and PUD BALLS!



I’m so happy. Hopefully I bought enough to last until Bendigo 2018.


The packets at the bottom are rocky road and some sort of chocolate popcorn thing. YUM.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Wednesdays are for books (One Last Thing Before I go)



This week I’m reading One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper.  I’ve read most of his other books, and this book is in the same vein as his previous novels; books about dysfunctional families, men who have not lived to their maximum potential and the funny/sad things that happen to them. Each book is different, but they are all on this theme – I recommend reading them all, but not reading them all in a row.


I chose to read this now because I wanted something a bit lighter –I guess I’d call his books contemporary fiction – pleasant, interesting, well written. This book is no exception.
And if this week's entry seems a bit bland, that's because, despite enjoying this book I find myself without all that much to say about it. I guess some books I just read for pleasure, and that's all there is to say about it.

Well, that was unexpected

On Thursday I swatched for my next project –Kate Davies’ Ardmore jumper. I’m using the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Woobu that I bought pretty much exactly a year ago




It comes in giant 500 meter hanks, which make the biggest balls ever!

I swatched: not to Kate Davies Instructions, which involved working 12.5 cm flat stocking stitch, then the 18 row cable chart. Twice.

Swatches lie at the best of times. Testing your in the round gauge by knitting flat is approximate at best  I knit a little flat square of stocking stitch, I got gauge, and that will have to do.


I had Friday off work, and I cast on. I casually knit through the weekend – relaxing at home, brunch with friends. It was a lovely relaxed and relaxing weekend. And then I found myself here:


Dividing for the underarms.

I did not expect that to come by quite so soon. And now I embark on the more challenging aspects of this lovely sweater: cables. And knitting flat, which means purling back. It's been a long time between purls!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Epic - and done

I finished the Village Sweater Wrap late last week, and took photos today. i had all sorts of plans to go down to the park, or take photos in my buildings courtyard, but then it was raining very enthusiastically, so we did them on my marvelous balcony. 

It's a rather odd garment:

I think I like it, but I'm not sure how I'm going to wear it. Probably in summer, over a plain dress.

It is meant to be reversible, but I knew from the beginning that I wanted to wear it with the burgundy side up, and the blue at the bottom: not like this:

The only change i made the the pattern was knitting the sleeves flat. No way was I doing that garter stitch in the round, particularity after my first attempt.

It took me two and a half months of mainly monogamous knitting to finish this, although I was surprised when I reviewed things that I had also knit a pair of slippers, a pair of sneakerliners, a cowl and a pair of mitts. So I guess not nearly as monogamous as I thought. 

I feel like I finally learnt a kind of patience, and got a rhythm going. Although as soon as I finished it, I started to plan to knit all the things. Overall it was a very satisfying knit, if frustrating at times. I'm happy I made it, and very interested to see how much wear it ends up getting.  





Thursday, July 20, 2017

LOSY hat fun

I don't do a lot of charity knitting, but I do give to KOGO - when your husband gets a new winter set each year, the old ones have to go somewhere, and they are usually in perfect condition. After I finished the Village sweater wrap I wanted to knit something quick, easy and fun. Something I didn't have to think about at all. So I knit a LOSY  hat:

60 grams of left over sock wool, held double, changing colours when the previous one runs out. So much fun.

Then, when I went to put it in the box where both my gifts and my darning live, I discovered that there were a few pairs of Leon's socks to fix. 


I've got the day off work today - the hospital wanted to operate on my finger, but I got a second opinion who said "absolutely not" so I took the day off anyway, just to relax a little after a fairly stressful week, and now I'm going cast on my next big project, a jumper for Leon. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Wednesdays are for books (Court of Lions)

I've decided that numbering these posts is silly, and I'm going to start naming them after the book I'm reading. Which is still Jane Johnson's Court of Lions. Which is not a negative reflection on the book, it's a good read which I look forward to sitting down with at every opportunity. It is exciting and romantic and suspenseful and lovely.

I think one reason I'm not reading quite as much as usual is I'm listening to Patrick Rothfuss' The Wise Man's FearI've read the book in paper and loved it, and it's even better in audio. it is also 42 hours long, so engaging and very good value for my Audible credit. The only thing is, it's the second in a trilogy that has reached it's ten year anniversary - and there is no release date for the third book, which is rather concerning. 


 I hope you are enjoying what you are reading this week as much as I am!

Technique Tuesday

Recently, Sonia did a Norah Gaughan hat class. When she showed me her sample, I was very impressed with the cast one edge. It looked like a tubular cast on, but it wasn’t. I’ve said before wI love the tubular cast on but sometimes it can be a pain to work, and can be slightly tight. So, when Sonia told me this was a knitted on cast on, I was intrigued. It turns out a knitted on cast on can be done using knits and purls, and it gives a very nice edge.


That's the edge of a hat, in case it wasn't clear
The other nice thing about this technique is, unlike the long tail cast on, I can still work it, even with my broken finger. So that’s a win – it’s pretty and I can actually work it in my current state.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Back Again

We had a fantastic time at the Festival of Voices. There was lots of singing - or in my case listening to other people sing - and drinking and hanging out with friends.  I did pop into the two yarn shops in Salamanca, including one that had lovely hand dyed yarn, but I just couldn't buy anything. I've worked so hard to get my stash down, and I want it to keep going in that direction.
Glee Plus singing at MONA

It was freezing in Hobart, which meant everyone was wearing their best knitwear all the time!

Sheep on the ferry to MONA

And I had time to work on the Village Sweater Wrap. I was good to knit, even with my finger in a splint although doing the long tail cast on was very challenging. I finished the wrap on the aeroplane home. Which seemed very balanced, since I cast it on at the beginning of a very different plane trip,  I'm pretty much unspeakable excited about. I haven't tried it on yet, so here's hoping it looks ok. I'll block it and take photos soon.

The only downside to the weekend was this morning I stacked it on a trail run. Now, in addition to having a broken finger, I've got a very bruised foot. The upside of that is that I'm catching public transport to work tomorrow - more time to knit!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The never ending Village Sweater Wrap

I had a blog post written, about how we were going to Hobart for the weekend, and how it was going to be really fun, and how I might even finish the endless Village Sweater Wrap.

And then I fell over at the gym and broke a finger:

All in all it could have been a lot worse. It was my work gym, and when it happened I went up to a guy a said "this happened" and showed him my twisted finger, and it was bleeding all over the place and all very dramatic. He and his team sorted me out and took me to he hospital.

I can knit, which is a relief, but I might be better off on bigger needles and thicker yarn. It's like this project really doesn't want to be finished.  


Mainly I'm just relieved I can still knit. I might also be able to spin, although I imagine mainly long draw.Have a great weekend, especially if you are going to Bendigo, and I'll catch you up on Sunday.

Wednesdays are for books (VII)

Robin Hob is one of my favourite authors, and the other day she tweeted that she was going to read Court of Lions by Jane Johnson. It sounded really good. This is the blurb:

Kate Fordham, escaping terrible trauma, has fled to the beautiful sunlit city of Granada, the ancient capital of the Moors in Spain, where she is scraping by with an unfulfilling job in a busy bar. One day in the glorious gardens of the Alhambra, once home to Sultan Abu Abdullah Mohammed, also known as Boabdil, Kate finds a scrap of paper hidden in one of the ancient walls. Upon it, in strange symbols, has been inscribed a message from another age. It has lain undiscovered since before the Fall of Granada in 1492, when the city was surrendered to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Born of love, in a time of danger and desperation, the fragment will be the catalyst that changes Kate's life forever.

An epic saga of romance and redemption, Court of Lions brings one of the great hinge-points in human history to life, telling the stories of a modern woman and the last Moorish sultan of Granada, as they both move towards their cataclysmic destinies.

Then Netgalley gave me a copy (thanks Netgalley!) I started it a couple of days ago and I am loving it. It's set in two time periods, and I love both story lines. A bit of mystery, a bit of suspense and most of all really great writing. I'm only about 20% through, and I can't wait to find out what happens.