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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Books, Books, Books, Books, & more Books!

Booking Through Thursday

School days, Golden Rule days…. June 21, 2007

Since school is out for the summer (in most places, at least), here’s a school-themed question for the week:
1. Do you have any old school books? Did you keep yours from college? Old textbooks from garage sales? Old workbooks from classes gone by?
2. How about your old notes, exams, papers? Do you save them? Or have they long since gone to the great Locker-in-the-sky?

As an English major, I think I kept almost all the books and novels I acquired as an undergrad, and definitely all those I acquired for my Master’s and for my doctorate so far. The only real drawback is that moving is a MAJOR undertaking! [laughing] I think I was up to nine or ten milk-crates of books that came with me to undergrad each year – just the essentials, mind. Nothing extra or unneeded – at least not to my way of thinking!

I ditched the books on the hard science and the one Calculus class I took [shudder], but I kept many of the business and accounting books. Both came in handy as I helped a small living history museum I was working for set up a double entry book keeping system and begin to make use of standard business reports for financial matters.

The most interesting thing about that school schedule of acquiring books is this: I STILL get an almost uncontrollable urge to buy stacks of books, paper, pens, etc., each August or September. At this point, I’m doing independent research, and don’t need such things, but there you have it. [grin] Each fall, I start to haunt the stationery aisles in stores and to roam the discount book stacks at local stores to fulfill these cravings. I’m sure there’s a twelve-step program out there for this somewhere, but for now, I remain unrepentant. Ah – check back with me after my next move!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Writing Delayed, Knitting Advanced

A quick review will show you that I’ve not made my regular posts in the last week and a half or so. Allergies escalated into more serious troubles, and I’m happy to admit that I vanquished the demon spores – ah – pollen with modern chemistry and a large quantity of salt water. A summer cold and subsequent breathing problems left me with little inclination to write, and much time to knit while I protected my lungs and tried to avoid adding insult to injury. The fact that I was willing to start tossing bones and waving feathers if it would let me take a deep breath was beside the point. I DID NOT actually start chanting in public. And those scraps are Kleenex, not the remnants of voodoo dolls. Seriously. Honest. Oh, crap. I’d have done almost anything to be allowed a full breath. Let’s not talk about it, okay? Summer colds are a rotten way to spend time, but it did give me a chance to get a large quantity of knitting done. [grin] Yes, yes, most things seem to push me in that direction, don’t they? Perhaps this is something I should be concerned about? Nah.

As I was hanging out, listening to The Historian, I managed to get a huge chunk of knitting done on the Provincial Waistcoat.
So. In the next couple of days, I’ll be catching up on half-written posts and back dating them to keep with the line-up. I’ll also be getting pictures of the almost-complete Provincial Waistcoat. It’s all over but the buttons and blocking! It’s a wonderful piece, and I’d recommend it to anyone.

hardback cover of The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova: a dark cover with scrolled lettering

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, 2005, is a lovely read, by the way. Long -- something you know I love -- and a solid addition to the Dracula legends. Great mystery, fun revelations, stunning array of countries represented, a natural for book nerds. I hope she writes another soon! You can find it on Amazon, of course, at, though by now, the paperback is also out, and libraries all over the world have added it to their sections on Dracula.

I’m in dire need of the inspiration to pick up another project. There are plenty to hand, as you know, but I need some motivation. I’ll probably start on a pair of socks, just because I need something in that line to keep my hands busy. Hmmm. I’m also going to Stitches today, one of the local yarn shops, and perhaps the Noro Silk Garden there will inspire me. I haven’t been to a yarn shop in months, and I’ve missed the atmosphere and the lovely yarn to pet!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Do I WHAT?! Peek?

Dessert First

Booking Through Thursday
1. Do you cheat and peek ahead at the end of your books? Or do you resolutely read in sequence, as the author intended?
2. And, if you don’t peek, do you ever feel tempted?

Well, this week’s Booking Through Thursday requires something of an admission. The answer is: “Not any more!” I have been known to cheat and jump to the end of a book, to peak ahead when I was just about to have kitten’s trying to figure out how something would be resolved or IF it would be resolved. Ahem. That was before I knew that ALL romance novels end the same way. [laughing] It had never occurred to me that the hero and heroine HAD to get together in those novels. Not until I was part way through high school! I just couldn’t stand the suspense when it came to love stories.

Mysteries are a genre I’ve only gotten into as an adult, and I’ve not tried jumping ahead in one of those – ‘twould ruin the fun of the genre. Tempted? Oh YES! Sometimes it’s a physical challenge to keep from peeking. I have to put the book down and walk away. But the mysteries aren’t always like the romances, so I don’t always want to know if a character I like is going to be one of the casualties!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Waistcoats and Wacky Dogs

Kala, a red and white husky sittng on the stairs, laughingWhat a week! Kala is home, making everything in life a little more amusing. [grin] She arrived last weekend with some friends who stayed to party for a couple of days before heading back home. Five large dogs and two cats at my place, and what a party it was! Kala and Sally are getting along famously, with good manners and much romping and chasing. Kala, a red and white husky, in profile I tried to get pictures of the romping and chasing, but ended up with multi-colored blurs. So still shots will have to do!

In knitting, many good things have been happening. I’ve finally gotten some pictures to show. The finished lilac Wildefoot socks are comfy and lovely. I’m tickled with both the yarn and the pattern.Sensational Knitted Socks is turning out to be a wonderful resource and an excellent investment. These are knit in the six-stitch repeat "waterfall rib" pattern.
Lilac knee socks on feet to display cabled eyelot pattern My first pair of socks from this book (and my second!) were knit in the four-stitch repeat, "Elongated Corded Rib." I haven’t decided on the next pattern I’ll try, but the red Wildefoot will undoubtedly be turned into something from this pattern book. I'm looking eagerly at the cabled patterns at the moment! I’ve also got several skeins of KP’s Telemark waiting to be used, so it may turn into my first pair of colorwork socks; this book has some interesting patterns in colorwork I haven’t given much thought to yet. More investigating to do! But at the current rate, I'll have worked my way through my summer sock yarns and be back to worsted weight winter socks long before August! I'm finding the patterns and the quick finishes very satisfying.

The work on the Provincial Waistcoat continues. I’m having to rip back to about the point these pictures were taken, losing about an inch or so, because I was thinking “sets” of rows, rather than rows and knit happily along without continuing the decreases for the neckline!
red-orange provincial waistcoat showing about 11 inches of workI’m currently still doing the increases in the back of the bodice while starting the neckline decreases. I think the low neckline is the only reason I considered this vest, as I usually stick to sweaters or jackets alone. But between the neckline and the stitch designs, I was hooked! This Classic Elite yarn is working up beautifully, and I’m very happy with the weight and feel of the piece. I'm hoping to have it finished in the next week so I can move on to my orchid "Bobble Blue" sweater from last summer. This cooler weather we are having would be perfect for it!
red-orange provincal waistcoat showing detailing; cable and crossed stitch sections

Other adventures this past week include my first “Booking Through Thursday” entry, and managing to blister my hands so badly while mowing the yard that I couldn’t use my blind cane for several days – which means I’ve been home entirely too long! Cutting the law is not a normal activity for me, but I wanted to burn off some excess energy, and, well, using the old-fashioned push mower is just plain fun! The blades whirl and send grass clippings flying – I think it’s the similarity to the “popcorn walker” toy that I had as a kid that charms me so much. That toy doubled as a lawn mower, a sweeper, a car, all sorts of things! Anyway, the satisfaction of watching the tall grasses disappear was hypnotizing, and a recent rain had pulled most of the pollen out of the air – so that wasn’t a concern. However, I will be letting the boy next door resume his duties in law care as soon as his school year is over – I’m too much of a wimp to keep this up! And yes, I have heard of work gloves, but you have to be expecting to do “real” work in order to plan ahead and have them in the house! [grin] I’ll be picking some up at the mall tomorrow, just in case.
Red-orange, partially knitted provincial waistcoat and lilac knee socks

Monday, June 04, 2007

Oh god -- WHAT day is it? Monday? Again?

Dalmatian Lancelot with his face buried in the corner of the couchHere too soon, yet another Monday. More Coffee is Definitely Required!

Seriously, it's a gorgeous day here. With the temperature down in the '60's last night, I could sleep with all the windows open, and it's as yet (at 10:00 a.m.) only up to 68, so the day has much promise! Of course, my second cup of coffee, and the fact that, finally, I got pictures of knitting taken yesterday help with that outlook, to be sure. More on the knitting later today, but here is my poetry for Monday.

I've been making my way through The Complete Poems of D. H. Lawrence, 1885–1930, Penguin Classics edition, 1993. Lawrence is yet another of the relatively few 20th Century authors I read regularly. His blunt address of life, death, sex, and the power of the internal life of people ties him to another poet I enjoy, John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester 1647-1680. But more of him next week.

While many of Lawrence's poems are designed to shock an startle people, here is a selection I found very apt to a knitting blog.
This is from the collection Pansies:


Whatever man makes and makes it live
lives because of the life put into it
A yard of India muslin is alive with Hindu life.
And a Navajo woman, weaving her rug in the pattern of her dream
must run the pattern out in a little break at the hem
so that her soul can come out, back to her.

But in the odd pattern, like snake-marks on the sand it leaves its trail.