Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Settling in

So my book dilemma has evened out. I picked up Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear. It is the third book in the Maisie Dobbs series. I am starting to think that this will be one of my favorite series. It is set in England during the thirties. You know how I love my books set in England.

The other book that followed me home from the library was The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. I've been wanting to read this series for a while now. It is quite popular and many of the book titles just call to me. Plus Adriene recommended it so it bumped up on the read list. The pacing and the way the story is told is different from other detective books I've been reading. I like it but it did take a bit for me to settle in and understand the storytelling is faster and slower at the same time. The cases are smaller and easily resolved, but each is moving us towards getting to know the characters.

I'm also starting to think about my travel knitting. You know since I knit my Color Affection shawl already. Once you find the right yarn it is hard to ignore a project. So I am thinking some socks would be good knitting. But then again I always think socks are good knitting.

Since I finished up my purse socks the other day I have been fighting the urge to cast on something new. So far I'm being very noble and concentrating on finishing two pairs of socks that are on the needles for D. Here I was thinking I was such a good wife because his knitting on the needles out numbered my knitting on the needles, but then I finished my knitting first. Turns out knitting is not all that useable while it is still on the needles, well to a non-knitter anyways.

And lastly D and I are considering tent camping at Rhinebeck this year. Are we crazy? I am still questioning that thought process. Of course the first time we went camping after we were married, it was in Maine in September. I worried and worried and that turned out just fine. As long as you don't count every time I woke up when Shifty Eddie the raccoon came strolling by our tent in the middle of the night. Now would be the time to point out that raccoons are nocturnal. Seems like he strolled by every five minutes.

I will have to lock the yarn in the car at Rhinebeck. I don't want Shifty Eddie's cousin, Rambling Rita making off with my new alpaca. You know those guys have Rhinebeck weekend circled on their calendars too. How else do they stay toasty in the winter?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A tale of two socks

Have you ever had yarn just call to you? You know the color is just perfect and you've never seen something like it? I fell in love with Bittersweet Woolery's Terrible Lizard yarn a few years ago.

It made some beautiful socks if I do say so myself. I really love that almost fluorescent green in there. Plus it knit without pooling or any other funky color things going on.

Then at Rhinebeck that same year I bought my first (and only) skein of Miss Babs in Maple Surrender. See how the skeins look nothing alike?

Well except for the green, brown, rusty red colors. How was I to know?

At knitting group this last weekend I finished my Maple Surrender socks. Pretty aren't they?

The heel is nice and jazzy too.

I just happened to be wearing my Terrible Lizard socks that day. When I tried on one of my new socks next to one of my old socks...

OK on the grass they don't look as similar as the did inside, but I sure do understand that feeling of deja vu while I was knitting on these.

Don't worry I won't mix them up and I won't love one less. We have a must love wool rule at our house.

Monday, July 29, 2013


We were sitting in the doctor's office today talking to a nurse when D pointed out his socks. Made from this yarn. So you know they are noticeable.

Her reply was that they must be hot. Now every time I get this comment I try to gently educate people. Wool breathes, you've heard of Smartwool? Similar thing warm in the winter, no sweaty feet in the summer. Now granted I have cold feet but really I wear my wool socks all year long. I do tend to change the thickness a bit, but wool all the way baby! (Am I weird?)

Later D says this to me, I don't wear a wedding ring, I wear your socks. With these sock I thee wed. 

I love that man, he makes me smile. Plus he makes a good spokesmodel too.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Thanks to my other Mom

Let me tell you a story. D and I met while we were in high school, which of course means that we were both still living with our parents. D's Mom was a very successful Avon lady. Avon's Presidential club awarded porcelain figurines of Mrs. Albee, the first Avon lady. This was before it was even Avon.

She displayed the figurines on a corner shelf in the living room. I found this to be a rather bold plan since she had two rambunctious boys living in the house. However D's mom is a very intelligent and practical lady, there were some unspoken, nonspecific threats as to consequences if a Mrs Albee met a broken fate. 

A few years after we were married Mom said she was thinking of getting rid of her collection. I hemmed,  I hawed, I asked D if he would ask his mom for my favorite. Nameless threats will do something to a boy, he told me I could ask her myself. You see he never really loved Mrs Albee as I did. 

I did a bit of research and found that they were not worth quite as much as they were in my mind. So I worked up my courage and placed a call. I offered to buy my favorite but Mom said she would give it to me, did I want any of the other ones?

I give you my favorite Mrs Albee, 1986. 
All dressed up for the ball.

Look at that dress can you imagine?

1986 was the 100 year anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. Her pamphlet is from the 1886 dedication.

The seams and lace detail are delicately painted on. 

I received her as a Christmas present, I think. I know have four figurines and some were Christmas presents. She is safely tucked away in our china cabinet. Which is one of the last places my boys like to play near. She should be safe for a while now.

Friday, July 26, 2013

How long?

How long do you give a book to draw you in before you give up on it? I for some reason never used to give myself permission to quit on a book. If I started it, I finished it, no matter if it took years and I hated every minute of it.

In the past few years I have granted permission to quit, rather than torture myself and all those around me that have to hear about how much I hate it. Maybe I did not give myself permission but just followed the advice of my tortured soulmate. "If you hate it so much why don't you stop?"

I never knew I could stop. I don't think of myself as a quitter so therefore I don't quit...anything. Yeah I may need to continue to work on that, but I am much better now. (Ask me how long it took me to get through college. No don't ask! It would have been different if I had chosen something more suited to my talents. That is my story.)

Anyways back to my question, how long do you typically give a book before you decide it is not for you? I've heard people say 50 or 100 pages but that seems pretty long. Let's face it I would be invested in the story and need to know how it ends. Even if it ends badly in my opinion. A hundred pages is close to 1/3 of many of my books.

For all my summer sleuthing from a couple of weeks ago I am not falling in love with any stories right now. Maybe that is part of it too, I'm starting fresh in almost every method I use; Kindle, audio and paper. Is my reading suffering from startitis? Too many characters being introduced in everything I'm reading?

All I can tell you is that I am at the library, I have a couple of book pickup lines on the tip of my tongue. Hey book, do you have a map in you, because I can see myself getting lost in your pages. Book, your words on a page, you're what they call FINE PRINT!

Do you think either one of those will work, or should I just bring my library card?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Welcome to the world

There is now a new Prince George of Cambridge. I must admit that I wanted a girl so she could enjoy being the next in line regardless of brother status. Guess that rule will wait out generation or so.

Welcome to the world little prince. I hope you do good things for many people, find happiness yourself, and enjoy all the world has to offer.

As Spock would say; Live Long and Prosper.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Happiness and Joy

The shawl that will not be photographed is done. It is still not photographed because it still needs ends woven in but the knitting is done.

I tried it on last night with bits of yarn hanging off and Whoa Baby, I think I am in love. All I can say is that Rhinebeck better be cold enough for me to need a sweater and a big honking shawl too. Oh wait a minute I am trying to talk D into tent camping with me that weekend. How about cool enough to enjoy a fire but warm enough that water does not freeze in the tent. What am I thinking? I married an Eagle Scout, we don't keep anything that smells like food in the tent, except for us tasty midwesterners.

I am also a bit of a goober too because I was thrilled that I started the shawl on June 16th and managed to finish it on July 16th. I can finish a big project in a month. Of course one of D's sweaters proved this a couple of years ago too. But it is nice to know me fingers are not losing any quickness.

Now by my count I have three semi-active socks on the needles, I should think about applying my finger nimbleness to them rather than casting on something new. There are a couple of other projects that have marinated quite long enough too. But let's not turn this into a guilt post. I have a lovely new shawl that I've dreamed about creating for months. Life is good.

I am off to weave in some ends.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Summer sleuthing

I am on a summer reading kick. I believe that I used to do the same thing when I was in school. I could not wait for summer so I could start reading all the things I was denied during the school year. Now really I was not denied since I was a fast reader, but for some odd reason I've always resented time spent on homework. It must be the procrastinator bug in me. I could never enjoy things with homework looming over me, and since I was a procrastinator, homework was usually done last minute. Thus the perpetual looming of it.

Now that you understand my love of summertime, I'll get back to the reading. The other day I was at the library perusing the stacks and decided to pick up a few mysteries since I have been having such a good run of luck with them. (Don't even get me started on The Help I don't think I can talk about that one yet.) I picked up a few first in the series books; Carola Dunn's Manna from Hades  and Isis Crawford's A Catered Murder. What drove me to the library was Kaitlyn Dunnett's Scone Cold Dead, the second book set in Moosetookalook Maine. See there I just love writing Moosetookalook.

Now the titles will make you think that I am obsessed with food books. I must have been a bit peckish when I walked down the mystery aisle. I do like a good cozy mystery. Guess I am just at the food based cozy phase.

Just so you don't worry that I've given up on English ladies solving mysteries I have Patricia Wentworth's Grey Mask going in the car. I've just been introduced to Miss Silver and already I like her. She knits stockings while interviewing the client. She is specifically mentioned to knit in the German style. So no luck with us being BFFs since I knit English. Well that and the whole her being a fictional character thing.

While I was on Goodreads today I noticed someone had challenged themselves to read mysteries set in all 50 states. While I may not find myself taking up the same challenge I did pause to consider where some of my books are set. I of course have my English obsession which are usually London based since everything happens in London, doncha know?

Most recently I've enjoyed Maine, California and Washington DC. My Kindle book is set in Boston so that takes care of Massachusetts. Wow three states and one district, not too shabby. Does watching Magnum PI count for Hawaii?

Anyways my knitting will take over again once I finish the shawl that-does-not-wish-to-be-photographed. Who knew my shawl was such a diva that it would not make an appearance till it was knit? My garter-stitch is getting snootier and snootier with every project. I guess when you don't give a stitch the respect it deserves it will demand it one way or another. I'm just glad it has not turned vindictive.

If you want to see lovely knitting, Adriene has decided what to knit with the swap yarn I sent her. And she is talking about summer berries too. What is not to love?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I never showed you

Well my spinning bug has gone dormant again. It must be that shawl bug beat it into submission along with my will to knit other things. No worries the shawl shall be done soon and my equilibrium will even out.

In other news I forgot to show off my last spinning effort. Remember back in May I was twirling away? Well this is what I have to show for it.

Some lovely bouncy Wen-Rom yarn. I must say plying on a spindle tires me out. I am always worried about fitting all the yarn on the spindle. That is weird I know because I am always worried about running out of yarn when I am knitting. When I spin I worry about having too much yarn.

I would say that I am complex, but I am not, I must just like to worry about yarn. That is the only explanation I can come up with.

So now what to knit with my yarn? First I have to figure out how much I have and wash it, but then what to do? Cup cozy? Hat for Gus? No he would hate that. Wee baby blankie for Gus? He is most definitely not a baby! Wristlets for me to wear at work? I'll have to see how soft it turns out.

Any other ideas? But first the washing.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

What's that?

Yes, I've been distracted lately. Distracted, sucked in, or obsessed you choose. My Color Affection shawl is melting though my fingers. It is going so well that I can not put it down. I can not even put it down long enough to take pictures. If this is what project monogamy feels like, I may just give up polygamy. 

I have found my groove and it looks nothing like a rut from where I am sitting. I love the yarn, the colors, and the simplicity of the pattern. I even have new knitting books to read and all I've done is give them a cursory paging through. I'm sure  they are full of new things for me but I have a serious case of knitting tunnel vision. 

On the flip side I found I can knit this pattern while reading my kindle quite easily one I find the right place to prop it. I don't think my current selection is the best to knit with. Tess Gerritsen's The Surgeon may be a touch too gruesome. It is the first of the Rizzoli and Isles series but I've read that Isles does not show. I like the TV series and I love Angie Harmon as an actress. So I thought I would give the books a try. Plus I think my sister recommended the series. I may not have her tastes exactly but I do like most of it. I know I love talking books with her so here will be one more to hash over. She never quite developed my English romance novel fetish. Hermpft.

So don't worry about me, I'm knitting to my little fingers content. I have started thinking that I need to pick up my Rhinebeck the Second sweater so I have it done by October. But nice thick wool does not sound too good in this weather lately. I may have to bust a move in September when it will be theoretically cooler. Of course I could always wear last year's Rhinebeck since it spent the day in the trunk because it was too hot. 

Anyways my shawl has sent out the siren song, I best get knitting before my fingers start twitching.