Thursday, July 31, 2008


No knitting last weekend - I was camping! I suppose knitting would have come in handy during the thunderstorm, but it somehow feels wrong to bring a project on such a rustic trip with so much potential dirt and wetness. My copy of How To Knit in the Woods hasn't arrived yet, so maybe once it does I'll change my mind.

Willard Brook State Forest is a small, but quite lovely park.

There is a brook, as you might expect:

And wildlife:

And a cute little covered bridge:

See how happy we were to be out in nature:

I wish we had gotten a picture of our spacious campsite or the cute little frogs we found, but there's always next time.

(I know this post is veering off topic, but I'm sure you didn't want to see yet another picture of that damn sweater.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"When I think of Queen I can remember my whole life"

Freddie & Me: A Coming-of-age (Bohemian) Rhapsody by Mike Dawson: a review

I think that Mike Dawson and I are kindred spirits. We both name Queen as our favorite band and have been listening to them since childhood. We both borrowed their tapes from our older brothers (His brother is named Andrew; mine is David, but his middle name is Andrew. Coincidence?) He sang Bohemian Rhapsody a cappella in a talent show; I sang it karaoke at a librarian cocktail party. Neither of us got to see Queen in concert while Freddie Mercury was alive, but we both remember what we were doing when we heard he died.

This graphic novel is not just about Queen, but about growing up and how linked our favorite music is to our personal lives and our memories. It reminded me of listening to Queen on 8-track in my brother's bedroom, and of buying their Greatest Hits album, the first cassette I ever bought. It reminded me of the moment I found out that Freddie Mercury died, when I was a freshman in college watching the news with my roommate who had no idea who he even was. He also reminded me of so many great songs I haven't listened to recently enough. Excuse me while I go update my ipod.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Out of a possible 100 points, I got...


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Poor (Failure)

Take the test!

So I don't want to get up early to make breakfast, and I drink and swear and walk around the house in socks. So what? I have many fine qualities as well.

I am extremely grateful that it's not the 1930's.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Summer Knitting Goals

As you may or may not know, Ravelympics 2008 is almost upon us! If you aren't a Ravelry member, here's the gist: cast on for a project during the Opening Ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Beijing and finish before the flame goes out.

I've signed up with Team Bloc 11 and I'll be participating in WIP Wrestling, the one exception to the above cast-on rule. In this event, one tries to finish as many languishing knitting projects as possible during that time. My goal is to complete the Lace Ribbon Scarf I cast on for way back on May 16th. I've made some progress since then, but not much and not recently. I think I can finish it in 17 days if I really work at it. (And if I have time, maybe I'll even go back and finish the Blythe coat from last year! Oooh!)

My non-Olympic goal is to finish the back of St. Enda by the end of August. Although I just finished the front last week, I already have a healthy start on the back. That will give me September to do one sleeve, and October to do the other. In November I'll just seam it up and finish the neck, and it will be ready to wear by the time the snow falls. Easy peasy!

Why do I feel like Bridget Jones convincing herself she can pull together a dinner party for 12 people in an hour with 6 missing ingredients?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Little Stalker

The last book I read by Jennifer Belle was Going Down, a novel about a woman turning tricks to pay her way through college. It was satisfying in that chick lit way, fun and funny, fast-paced, and a little silly. I missed her next book, High Maintenance, though I think I'll go back and read that one now. 2007's Little Stalker surprised me; Belle's writing has really come into it's own.

Rebekah Kettle has been obsessed with the films of Arthur Weeman since she was a child, attending the 10am showing of each one on opening day and always sitting in the same seat. This appears to be the only stable consistant aspect of her life. Her family is disjointed, and her love life unsuccessful. She wrote a successful novel years ago, but has been unable to follow it up. Rebekah befriends an elderly woman named Mrs Williams and soon discovers that from Mrs. Williams' apartment, she can see into Arthur Weeman's window. She begins writing him letters as 13-year-old Thalia, and spies on him to find that he is taking her comments and suggestions to heart, until their lives intersect in a way that neither of them could have predicted.

Rebekah is a fantastically imperfect character, neurotic, stubborn, and witty. Belle has crafted a story that rises far above her first novel. I love chick lit, but this isn't it - this is just great fiction from an author who has sadly been overlooked.


In other female author news, Jennifer Weiner has been profiled in the July 2008 issue of Current Biography. You can read it here. It seems that In Her Shoes is not the last of her books to be made into a movie and, even more excitingly, Weiner has signed a contract to develop and produce shows for ABC! Anyway, it's a great article about one of my favorite writers, so you should totally check it out.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sweater front is done!

And it only took me three months! I will need to pick up the pace if I'm going to reach my goal of having this done in time for Eric to wear it this winter.

I haven't blocked it yet or woven in the ends (as you can see) but I may do so soon, before assembling, so that I can be sure of the measurements and because it will dry more quickly if it's just one layer.

I had some concerns with the fit, due to gauge and the wishful thinking of the intended recipient in terms of what size he wears, but it seems like it's right on target. Also, in the original pattern the bottom hem is done in the honeycomb pattern which I changed because I didn't like it. Now I'm losing faith in that decision, but it's too late to change it. I think it'll be ok though - I'm sure you didn't see the picture and exclaim "What the HELL was she thinking with that bottom hem??" Please tell me you didn't.

Goal: finish the back by the end of August!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

July: Independence

A review of Lord of the Flies by William Golding

A group of British schoolboys are stranded on an island, presumably after a plane crash, and in their struggle to organize some sort of society, they instead break into factions leading to violence and death. Kind of like Lost. This fits the Book a Month theme of independence very well, as it is a rather harsh coming-of-age story of young boys who suddenly must survive on their own. Thinking of the month's theme, one cannot help compare them to a newly-forming nation made up of unruly, misguided people.

What this book lacked was context. There was a discussion among the boys about being saved in which someone mentioned a bomb and how nobody was around to save them. Were they on the plane because of the war? Were they escaping from something? Was a school trip? Why did it crash? And who were they before this happened? Not knowing anything about their background, they are all blank slates on the island.

In the notes, I read that Golding intended the story to be entirely symbolic. He wanted to show that the individual is what determines the direction of society, regardless of what sorts of organizations or governments are in place. The boys on the island were a microcosm of what was going on in the world - in the midst of their war they are saved in the end by a sailor with the Royal Navy who was involved in a larger war. Golding asks "But who will save him?" While this commentary adds some depth and context to the book, I can't help but be disappointed by any novel which requires reading author comments or other criticism to have an idea of what it is actually about. Without that, it's still a decent story, but rather two-dimensional.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

New Sock

I'm still plugging away on St. Enda and the Lace Ribbon Scarf, but neither of those are good social knitting projects. I needed something to take to knitting group that I won't screw up while trying to hold up my end of a conversation.

This was going to be two socks knit at once on two circs, since the yardage was stingy and I had to buy two skeins, and I've been wanting to try that technique for a while. I think I was almost finished casting on when I decided to rip it out and cast on for just one sock. A sock is great for knitting group not just because it's uncomplicated, but also because it's portable. But if I have to take two socks instead of one, and two skeins of yarn instead of one, it's not quite so portable. I'm actually pretty sure I won't like the technique, but I'd like to prove it to myself. Maybe next time.

This is the first yarn I've used from the trip to Webs back in May. It's Artyarns Ultramerino and it's so soft and vibrant and wonderful and I almost didn't buy it. I decided to pass, but then talked about it all through lunch and finally, under intense peer pressure, went back to the store and bought it. Thank goodness for enablers!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A bit o' cute

Just because.