Wednesday, December 31, 2008

don't let the door hit you on the way out

Inspired by my blogless friend, Christine to organize a bit - I have frogged. I feel liberated.

My creation
from these.... to these....

I frogged an Estonian sock that was too baggy, a Chevron scarf that was too tedious, and a february baby sweater that I lost track of (and the yarn was too special to give away).

I also finished a couple of quick projects since Christmas..

last projects

A Turn a Square hat to match some mitts and a Thermis Cowl. I love the hat - I had to make it after seeing Sheepishone's. I am not sure about the cowl - only because I think the yarn may not have been the perfect choice. But I have gotten some nice feedback, so maybe I am wrong.

And I have squeezed in one last book...


The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie Farrell. I chose it because it was short-ish. I enjoyed it. There were some twists and turns that kept things interesting - it probably could have been longer.

I am glad to see 2008 come to a close. It has been positively crazy busy at work, and I am starting getting ornery about it. I will be glad for a new leaf. And a new project.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Those Who Save Us


I read this book in 24 hours, it was that good to me. First, I must preface by warning you that I am a history buff - more specifically, I feel kind of religious in my quest for information about World War II, particularly the Third Reich, the concentration camps and survivors. My need to learn more ebbs and flows because I find it exhausting, it is so solemn... the deaths of young soldiers, the jews being led to painful and senseless death, the helplessness of the population against the tyranny, the hate. It can keep me up at night a bit, like 1 am this morning for example pouring over this book.

My yearn to learn more started for me in college when I took a semester long class about the Holocaust. My professor was jewish and his father a survivor of Aushwitz, an accidental survivor actually. His father came from L.A. to talk to us with his choppy German accent - I was positively thralled. Interestingly, a classmate's grandfather was in the SS, imagine? A semester of crying in every class and really getting into the shoes of every person - wow. So this started it. Today Band of Brothers is on until 10pm, my Tivo is working overtime. I've seen it eleventy times, but each there is something new. I think I may need to dig a little more into some of Stephen Ambrose's novels this year - add some depth to my reading list. But again, I'll have to sip them, because too much somehow weighs on me - I get too involved. And in the dire strait of our current economy - nothing seems impossible. Anyways, stepping off of the soapbox. em.

Here is a good synopsis of the book. It is historical fiction that lends persepctive to the German citizens and possibly some of the real sacrifices they made. I often forget this perspective. The book is told in two seperate times, divided by chapter - World War II for the mother character, while the daughter character is told in the late 90's. The effect of the war on them, clues as to why they are now the way they are, how they have perhaps misunderstood one another. A debut novel for Jenna Blum, loved it.

I won't go on and on about second book, but I finished The Magician's Assiant by Ann Patchett on Christmas Eve, and enjoyed that one too for different reasons. The characters had some depth for me, "can't judge a book by it's cover" stuff. My favorite quote "Where we are born is the worst kind of crapshoot". Well, aint that the truth.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Post-Christmas!

I have declared today a holiday from the holidays. A lounge-in-your-jammies-all-day, if you like, day. Christmas was wonderful but after the bustle relaxing is pretty fine too. I can blog about a couple of gifts now that they are safely gifted.

My sister laid some heavy hints on my about needing some fingerless mitts, and lime green please. I knit her a pair of Evangelines a little longer than the wrist length but shorter than the elbow length. I think they are just right. I knit them during at least three episodes of True Blood, so I have aptly named them Sookie's Evangelines - a little vampire in every stitch, I'd say. They are lettuce Malabrigo - so yummy and squishy - but I think they may pill some, I'll wait for a review.


I also made my mom a little something - I saw the Poinsettia pattern from the winter Knitty and it spoke to me. When Anne Hanson and Kim from The Woolen Rabbit team up - gosh, it's always a winner. The sample looks like a snug fit about the neck, so I went up a needle size and to the large - and while it might have turned out a bit baggier than I wanted - it looks pretty sweet under a nice black wool jacket. And I love how it lays around the shoulders. It was a relatively quick knit - I worked at it for several nights. The Opulence yarn was yummy, I rarely use silk - this was a treat. And I think I have enough left for one for myself, em.


Lastly, this is what I got for Christmas...


We have been talking about in investing in one - for me for the music and podcasts, since I had no idea what it could do, and for my husband to load movies onto for when he travels abroad. So far today I have watched two episodes of True Blood on it My usually-more-practical-than-thoughtful husband downloaded the entire series! I can watch Bill Compton at work, in the car, in bed, omg. That theme song is so darned catchy. Then I surfed the internet, commented on blogs and drained too much time on Bejeweled. This could be bad. But for now - wow, I'm feeling techno...

coming soon - I have actually read a couple of books that I'd like to pass on!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

snow days


Tis the season in Wisconsin for the fluffy stuff that makes me white knuckle my way to work...I went in later Friday after waiting for the plow to come through. As much as I am not fond of driving in it - I do enjoy "snow days" at work - it is a little slimmer staff-wise, but we have fun, go out to lunch and feel like survivors or something. Silly huh? Today is a balmy 8 below zero. brrr...

I have been knitting but have none to show - because a nosey sister might peek and another project is blocking right now, though I hope to share it later. Tell me - why is it when Christmas is literally in my sights I think up project after project to make? I somehow get inspired just as the man with the bag is darned near loading the sleigh. I cast on a Turn a Sqaure hat this morning mostly because I can't seem to ever sleep in and was looking at Ravelry - again admiring Sheepishone's herd of these hats - and well - stash busting is a good thing right?

But the good news is - I finished my book goal for 2008. 52 books - well I'm 1/2 way through 53 and I listened to half of one on tape and then read at least two halves of other books this year but couldn't get into them. Unfortunately - I have not read any recently worth recommending, in my humble opinion. I just championed through the first 7 books of the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris which spawned the HBO series True Blood. I have been swept way up into the vampire craze this year but this series had a harlequin-ey feel to it for me and way to many supernatural creeps in it to keep them all straight. I'm sad to report that if the series sticks close to the books - I'll be sorely disappointed in some of the characters I have grown to love - okay, actually some of the characters that keep me up at night thinking like a teenaged boy. It's been low committment joy reading - pure pleasure no depth, which is necessity sometimes. But now I am ready for substance. I have already purchased the first book I plan to savor in 2009...

wally lamb

Wally Lamb is one of my favorite authors. I read him before Oprah suggested him - which somehow makes me feel academic...? Or like a smarty pants at the very least. This Much I Know is True is another door stop sized volume but was worth reading at least three times for me - so I am hoping this one will be a re-do as well. I have not really read any reviews because I love Lamb enough to decide for myself - I'll be sure to report back to you all when I wade through it.

I planning to aim for another 52 (at least) is 2009. I will try to make a button even, though I talked of it earlier this year...anyone want to join me? This might even require another blog, hmmm...(see almost Christmas and I think of more things to do...hee hee!)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

sister-in-law selbu


whew - under the buzzer - I got this done just in the nick of time - actually, it went into the gift box still slightly damp from blocking. I have been toiling away on this guy most of the week - sick to death of it near the end. I think it was just the combination of carrying along two fingering weight yarns and decreasing onto dpns - it was like a mini-wrestling match - thankfully I won the last round. I really like this picture because I can see what the pattern is so clearly now that it is off the needles and flattened - I love it, now.

I will be gifting it today - so I am writing the post now to actually publish it once I am sure it has been outed. I think my sister-in-law will look great in it, she has dark, longish chestnut hair - very beret-appropriate. And she can still yank it over her ears if she would like some wind protection in Chicago. So one knitted gift gifted - one more to wrap, one more to knit - one more to get yarn for (it's ordered from The Woolen Rabbit, I can't wait!) - egads.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

so...what's on your mind?

So what I am wondering is, other than if I can make it to work with all of this snow coming, what kind of holiday drama do you have in your life? Or is it me? I mean, tis the season for joy and giving...isn't it? I warn my criminal offenders each year to beware of the sadness and depression that often creeps in as our responsibilities multiply, the darkness settles earlier every night and families of the extended variety expect more, more, more, more.

I'm totally not a pessimist - I prefer to call myself realistic - prepared, aware, mindful. I am reminded to be real as the holiday approaches and after yesterday came and went with my first family gathering to kick off the season. The old saying "you can't pick your family" aint for nothing. *giggle* If I could just pick who I celebrate with - I would, and most of those people would actually be my family. But there are obligations, it's ineveitable. And it's okay - it is often a good time to reconnect with people, if only for a few hours - but then sometimes I mop my forehead in retrospect and think "glad that's over".

After hearing some post-party commentary from my mom today, I have to share my advice...don't give anyone the power to crap on your holiday - empower yourself to be okay and let whatever you can roll right off of your shoulders while enjoying a favorite cookie, a special ornament, a childhood memory, perhaps a candlelight church service - whatever you do to recharge! Good luck!

one of the cutest reasons I enjoy the holidays...

Okay, I swear - no more soapbox til the new year - there is some secret-ish knitting going on - AND I am on book 52!

Monday, December 01, 2008

from the beginning...


A completed handspun project - using my own first bits. I used Pigeonroof Studios BFL in Chard and Persimmon. I think I got somewhere in the neighborhood of 120 yards per skein. I cast on 175 stitches on #9 and went until I ran out. Just for fun. I wasn't sure what to do with my little-ish skeins but have so been jonesing for a use for my very own handspun. Oh there are little twisties here and there, the twist is "meh" but I am in love with my scarf, because "I made that". I have even cast another little project with some more handspun. It is so fun to knit with.

I have been on hiatus from my wheel since our vacation but this quick little project has me wanting to have a little tryst with my Lendrum soon. I still have some holiday knitting to do - but I really hope me and my "honey" will be spinning into the New Year.

And just to make the desire to spin even more unbearable, I got my first installment of Funky Carolina's Fiber Club - sheesh, fabulous. And then Pigeonroof is opening up her first fiber club ever - (and a sock club and a luminosity project club...) tonight, my fingers and toes are crossed because I might be stalking if I can manage to stay awake.

I'm a bit tired because all of our new snow in Wisconsin had me up in the night worried about driving in it, I'm a snow-driving-pansy. Um, and I have 4-wheel drive - I know, the nerve!