Thursday, October 20, 2011

the things life throws at you

If you'll all remember, a few weeks back I made a rather public (well, as "public" as this blog is!) declaration to finish my dew drops shawl in time for rhinebeck this year.

I, um, ran into some trouble, and other distractions.

First there was the Shaken Baby awareness campaign, and the knit group was making hats, so I jumped on board and made a few. Sadly, I do not knit as fast as the other ladies, and as it was I was going to have to do 6-8 rows of the shawl every day to finish it on time (we're talking thousands of stitches). So, the shawl got put aside for a week. On the upside I found the cutest crochet hat pattern on Ravelry. The Djevellue hat is supposedly a traditional German/Norwegian design, and it's little peaked cap is just darling.

I also made a big mistake and got scared and had to wait until I could go to the yarn store. I needed emotional and technical support while I actually removed those stitches from the needle and tried to re-knit them the way they were supposed to go, or at least into a way that wouldn't show in the final product.

I learned the value of a lifeline.

Long story short, my dew drops shawl has not been abandoned, just put on hold.

I did, however, start this last night after receiving news that a family friend was receiving hospice care.

This is the Beloved Shawl, a Debbie Stoller/Red Heart pattern I also found courtesy of the wonderful library that is Ravelry. As a lace motif, the pattern is fairly simple and extremely charming. As a pattern, it sucks. Usually I am not this harsh on patterns, because I find that knitting something that isn't to my taste doesn't mean it is done poorly. This time, however, I found the combination of vague directions, instructions that didn't match the picture that was shown, and, admittedly, a few desing elements I would have preferred done otherwise to be enough to sway my opinion. After I worked out the kinks, though (and charted a ton), it promises to be a beautiful shawl, and I hope it's recipient (the wife of the ill friend) will find much comfort in it.

Friday, October 14, 2011


I've never had a hot-buttered rum.

Until tonight. Sooooo good.

I found this recipe Single Cup Hot Buttered Rum Recipe for single-serving hot buttered rum and here's what I'm gonna do with it (besides drink it, which I'm doing right now, which is making spelling verry interesting):

sub 2 tablespoons vanilla non-dairy creamer for the ice cream,
increase the water to 2/3 cup,
put the dry ingredients (everything but rum, butter, and water) in a baby food jar,
decorate, and package with a cinnamon stick and a mini-bottle of cap'n morgans.

I'll tie directions onto the jar ribbon and give them to friends for Christmas (adult friends of course. In fact, I don't think I know anyone under the age of 21).

Oh, I think I may need to have some more. My head cold suddenly feels much better.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Languishing in Kniturgatory

This, my friends, is a proud moment. This is the moment I get to show you my first adult-sized sweater!

However, my pride is a bit dampened due to the fact that this (almost) finished sweater has been sitting in a bin, in my yarn cabinet, in the basement, for, oh, 5 or 6 months. That's right, all I had to do was weave in the ends and sew on the buttons, and the poor sweater sat there, dejected and unloved, for all that time.

Today I said no more(!) and finished it at the weekly s&b. I'll tell you, there's nothing as encouraging as finishing a project in a room full of knitters. They love it, and they help you feel proud that you made this thing with your own hands and some pointy sticks.

And, just in time for the actual holiday, I semi-made a Halloween wreath! I started with the basic foam, painstakingly tied and glued fabric strips all around, and decorated it with some craft-store bought embellishments. I wish I could get a good shot of the colors, they're super bright! Enjoy.

Did I mention I have arachnaphobia?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Hat Trick of Book Reviews

Up first tonight: Gulliver's Travels

I have to admit I did not finish this book. It is true that this is an older book, a classic really, and therefore the prose, vocabulary, and syntax is a bit antiquated. Imagine if I wrote this entire post like I did the last sentence. It was, frankly, exhausting.

I couldn't get more than a few pages read at a time, but I do want to return to the book some day. Synopses of the book mark it as the epitome of sarcasm for its time, rife with moral studies and parodies of famous characters. Without annotations (or a degree in European history), it is nigh impossible to recognize these historical figures amidst the fictional.

I want to give the Jack Black movie a go, but I would hate to embark on that adventure without having the classic under my belt. So, I will return. Sometime when I have more patience, and perhaps have wikipedia handy as well. Overall, 2.5/5.

Next on the roster: The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing

One sentence of this book led me to snatch it off the $1 rack at our local half-price book store: Generous-hearted and wickedly insightful, The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing maps the progress of Jane Rosenal as she sets out on a personal and spirited expedition through the perilous terrain of sex, love, and relationships, and the treacherous waters of the workplace.

The first few chapters/narratives played out beautifully, capturing Jane's teenage ideas on love, as well as those of her early and mid-late twenties. And I agree, the book up to this point was wickedly insightful, personal, and spirited (to mimic the review). I started to lose it around the middle of the book, though. There was a random chapter about another family who happen to live below Jane, and that story line comes in with a bang, incites your interest, then disappears. Then the perspective shifts to a second-person narration, than finally we're back with Jane, (though the second-person narrative is about her as well) which is where we finally come to the "hunting and fishing" reference.

As far as plot and all the story lines wrapping up, I was satisfied with the ending, though my personal preference would have been to allow the narratives and Banks's story telling to stand on its own, without mucking around in extraneous plot lines or shifts in perspective. Overall, 3/5.

Finally, Crazy Aunt Purl's Drunk, Divorced & Covered in Cat Hair.

Perhaps I am a bit baised, as I, while not drunk, am in fact divorced and covered in cat hair on a regular basis. I will say that this book is a success because it is relatable and moving on both a wide scale and for a small niche audience.

Will knitting divorcees with cats find this book relatable? Absolutely. That being said, even if you're not the feline-lover, or someone who plays with sticks and strings, are you still going to find the book moving? I can't say for you, personally, but I think so. The book is well crafted, funny, touching, and is incredibly human.

Is it an epic landmark in literature? Probably not, but if you're going through a divorce, or know someone who is, this book just may well hit a chord, make you cry, make you laugh, and make you want to do something to better your life. Overall, 4.25/5.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Proof of Progress

It's late. I'll let the yarn speak for itself.

I'm still in love with the yarn, and I never thought I'd say this, but I almost miss the mindless stockinette.