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October 2006

Feckless Friday

Television: Dr Who premieres tonight (at least in the USA) at 8pm on the Sci Fi Channel with The Christmas Special (which I have been assured is crucial) followed by another episode. I still don't see how Ten can possibly replace Niiiiiiiiiiine in my heart, but I'll give him a go. Heroes premiere is repeated at 7pm, if you didn't catch it Monday night. Or Tuesday night. Or ........geez. In the days of VCR's, TiVo etc, they repeat shows much more than they ever did back when you really NEEDED them to repeat them. And there're fewer episodes a season. Bah.

Knitting: Okay, I got bored with EZ's engineering delights and cast this on, in honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day. Blog_pix_067

I idiotically did not look at the picture - just the chart - and so mine is white background, black skulls. Which is fine, I suppose, but I'd think a black mitten would look better in the long run. Anyway, it was a fun quick knit. I managed to almost finish one with a wicked migraine, which is more than I can say for EZ.

I'm not very happy with the cast on edge - it flares. I used the cable cast on because that's my fave, but probably cast it on too loosely. At this point, it's a whatever, but it still bothers me. A little.

Here's a meme I found on Theresa's site who found it on Grumperina's site that' I'm lifting:

Ten Knitterly Things You Didn't Know About Me (Maybe):

1. I taught myself to knit out of an old knitting book and Vogue's Knitting while I was living up in Mendocino County in a cabin in the woods ten years ago.

2. I'd always wanted to learn how to knit. I used to work down the street from The Knitting Basket on Piedmont Ave (it's moved to Montclair) and I would wander in and pet the yarns but flee like demons were chasing me if anyone actually offered to teach me. No idea why.

3. I used to knit Western style but switched to continental and I'm not sure how or why.

4. I can't knit purl western style to save my soul nowadays. It's so awkward.

5. My purl stitches are tighter than my knit stitches.

6. Gauge swatches are a huge waste of time for gauge but are lifesavers when it comes to practicing new stitch patterns or seeing how the yarn behaves.

7. The terms Western, Eastern, English, Continental and Combination knitting confused me no end for ages. But then again, left and right confuses me.

8. I was a wee bit snobbish about dishcloths, until I knit one. Now I want to knit dozens and it's annoying me that I don't have enough yet to toss out my storebought ones.

9. I organized my stash and now I can't find anything.

10. My favorite place to knit is laying in bed with the TV on and a book and the pattern balanced precariously in my lap with Hezekiah cutting off the circulation in a leg.

East_coast_123 From the National Portrait Gallery in DC in honor of Chaos' 3rd birthday (yesterday). Poor baby is a sickie. Get better, Chaos!

Random Wednesday

Memes: At last, I'm doing KSD's meme.  I can't believe I haven't posted all week, I've been busy and I'm still not going to finish 6 pairs of mittens by Sunday, especially if I have to work, which I do. Oh, my life. One tragedy after another.

1. One book that changed your life: That changed my life? No idea. Probably the first non fiction book I read of my own volition in the 6th grade when my punishment was no fiction. Bless my mother for that one. It has opened up doors and windows and vistas that are unimaginable.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:  Geez, probably everything in my library prior to 1995 (and then the buying power overwhelmed the reading time). Cinderella Factor. Loose Change. Jack Higgins novels.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: I'm beginning to think I'd take Mysteries of Udolpho. Wait, want? One?

4. One book that made you laugh: Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods. I was reading it while waiting for my doctor and I was laughing like a loon when he walked in. Whoops.

5. One book that made you cry: One? Any reasonably sad - and for that matter, happy book can do that.

6. One book that you wish had been written: The definitive book I could take on a deserted island.
7. One book that you wish had never been written: I'm trying to think of the names of books I have flung across the room. Undoubtedly romance novels. I can't read 'em, mostly.

8. One book you’re currently reading: Mysteries of Udolpho! This could be an ongoing thing.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: The Tower of Babel.

10. Now tag five people: So not tagging anyone. Chicken! But I would love to read everyone's list.

Television: CSI-NY and Project Runway both on at 10pm tonight! Argh. New episodes.

Bones at 8pm. Jericho was kind of a mess. I'll probably be watching the season one DVD of Project Runway.


The Elizabeth Zimmerman Surprise Mittens:

This is a mitten? okay. I can see it.......I think.

East_coast_156 East_coast_161 East_coast_166 East_coast_169 Oh,

The grafting of the...hand of the mitten.                    And the mitten minus the wrist & cuff.

The finished mittens!

Ha. You think these are finished? Way too much seaming. Her "Blind Follower" instructions are a little vague in the beginning when I could have used a wee bit more direction until the pattern emerged, the "wee" part being needing the count for the "other" rows. It's hard to purl the purls when you can't really see them. But other than that? Pretty easy. I'm thinking that my thumb and her thumb are going to look differently, hers seem to be a bit more shaped as pictured in the book. We'll see. I'm using Elann's Peruvian Wool. I'm thinking about lightly felting them.

Think I should knit a gauge swatch for Mary Tudor? Should I finish any UFO's first? Seam the mittens?

Random Wednesday

Montreal_dc_042_1 This is what I want for my birthday next year, just in case someone wants to pick it up early. Somewhere in Montreal, on Sherbrooke, I think. (Oops, the keyboard is too noisy and the little princess hopped down and is staring balefully at me. Into every life a little rain must fall.)

Speaking of rain falling, my parents left for Budapest yesterday, the day after the riots. Joy. US television is dreadful in reporting news that happens outside, say a 45 mile radius of the television station. They don't even report the weather in Canada or South America, much less another continent. I've got to get a radio in the house and listen to NPR. Although - Fox News was the only cable news station I found that covered more than Iraq. What does that say?

Aquisition: And this was what was waiting for me at the Post Office:

Mmip_260_2 Mmip_261_2

The Yarn Pack for Alice Starmore's Tudor Roses Mary Tudor (how's that for nomenclature?) courtesy of She Ewe Knits. Oh my! Now I have to finish up my mittens for the 2006 Mitten Challenge, The Retro Cardi (anyone out there know how to make a crocheted button covers?), Its Jacket, Elizabeth I, the Log Cabin Blanket..........not to mention the older WIP's and the current ones I forgot. Good gravy.

Knitting: Does that look like a mitten to you? Me either. Elizabeth Zimmerman's Surprise Mitten pattern from Handspun, Handknit. She's got instructions for Knitting Theorists and Blind Followers but as you can see from the yellow legal pad, it wasn't quite explicit enough for this blind follower. Once I worked it out on paper (and got a few rows in enough to discern the pattern) it makes more sense and it's a lot easier to follow her Knitting Theorist instructions. In theory.

Mmip_263_1 Mmip_264_2

Television: Tonight is the Dreadful Choice Night. Bones at 8pm or Jericho? CSI-NY at 10pm or Project Runway? (Okay, CSI-NY gets taped and probably watched Real Time. It's the season premiere! PR airs again. And again. Jeffrey will undoubtedly win again and I'll have to throw my TV set through a window.)

Rip_autumn_challenge_3 RIP Challenge: Still slogging through Mysteries of Udolpho. Emily is an idiot. Ann Radcliffe has spent half the book setting up "dreadful" things that aren't dreadful at all, or only barely alluded to. It's driving me nuts. I'ms switching Dr. Zhivago for Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen on my list, Nothanger Abbey is supposed to be a send up of Udolpho. At this point, I can't wait.

Another thing I can't wait for - I got my copy of Kage Baker's new Company novel, The Machine's Child yesterday. If I was farther in my RIP challenge, I'd rip into it right away, but I haven't even finished my first book! Call the waaa'ambulance. It's a great series, I can't wait to see how it all ends.

Montreal! and DC


Montreal_dc_027 The only yarn store I saw the whole trip. Miles of mall in Montreal though! I had no idea it was such a shopping mecca. I think I walked more there than in the museums of the Smithsonian in DC and that's saying something. (This is not to imply that this is the only yarn store on the East Coast. I just wimped out on walking any farther than I had to. My feet were/are killing me.

Probably the only time I looked out the window. You know, planes are really high up in the sky. Montreal_dc_008_1

A more secure way of viewing the landscape .....


Montreal_dc_089 from the top of St Joseph's Oratorary in Montreal................

I have lots of pictures of statues and buildings but I think three total of the three people I was with. And a couple of those might be shots of their backs as I was taking pictures of something else.......


Finally! In Washington DC, at a museum that escapes me because we went through eleventy thousand of them, an exhibit with some actual real life interest content. 

Oh, and I have to say thank you to Jennifer who agreed, in the event of my almost certain demise, to hold a contest for my yarn. Wouldn't that be great though? I mean, not the certain demise part, but it does give your yarn a nice home. OTOH, it does lend an interesting conundrum to a contest. She's dead! And we get her yarn! If only we __________  (fill in the blank). Should I be sad? Is that discontinued Rowan?

And a big thank you to Abigail who sent this so it was waiting for me at home: Montreal_dc_134 Montreal_dc_136

Did you see all that?  Peaches and Creme yarn, Shepherds worsted from Lorna's Laces in Bold Red (it is a nice bold red and not as orangey-red as it looks onscreen, although I like orangey red too), a spiral garter stitch washcloth! A photo book, a pink loofah, an inflatable bath pillow, peppermint tea, and a headwrap. Oh, the bliss. I was on my way to a long soak as it was. But wait!

Montreal_dc_137 I completely missed this at first.  Oh. My. Pomegranate Soothing Bath Soak, Pomegranate Relaxing Cleansing Bar, Pomegranate Moisturizing Body was lovely. L-O-V-E-L-Y.

Nice August Birthday swag, eh? Awesome. Thank you so much, Abigail! (and I'm in her Chocolate Swap too. Yum!)

In knitting news, I booked on my Moll Shawl. I have no idea why I was having so much trouble with it, but as I was flying to Denver, desperately keeping the plane in the air by sheer will, I pulled it out, took out all the stitchmarkers and........started knitting it. It was easy. I must have done six inches and that's with Misti Alapaca, definitely a small gauge yarn.

No problems AT ALL with Airport Security carrying the Moll Shawl in my purse along with short blunt scissors, a crochet hook, a size 4 dpn (those are handy), and a short blunt needle (tapestry? crewel?) that I brought just in case I had to surrender the knitting needles and thread the shawl onto waste yarn. But I did not. In fact, the worst thing that happened in the airports (Oakland, Denver, Pierre Trudeau, Dulles & O'Hare) was at Dulles on my way home when some poor guy who just had bypass surgery had heart palpitations and was eventually taxied back to the gate to get off the plane.

I was maybe not quite as sympathetic as I might have otherwise been, considering he held us up from taking off for an hour and a half and I ended up in the center seat of a plane ride that turned out to be 8 and half hours long.

At least it wasn't walking.


Well_read_cat I'm going on vacation! Naturally I have considered all the possible (and impossible and unlikely and improbable) things that will happen so that I'm a nervous wreck. What fun! I usually enjoy vacation more in retrospect.

The buttonholes continue to look horrid, but then again, I haven't done anything to them yet.


Now I'm marooned on Sleeve Island with a sieve rather than sleeve. I've ripped out approximately 8 feet on the one sleeve [gnashing of teeth]. It's not as if I'm trying to be perfect either, the uneven gauge is barely giving me pause, but shorting the increases and then later on, dropping a stitch at the side [why do I keep doing that? Why?] and not discovering it for 3 hundred feet........I had to rip. And I'm leaving Sunday! Early Sunday. In fact, practically Saturday.

Mmip_256 This is what I'm knitting and that is what I'm knitting it out of.

I can't decide if I should feverishly knit it until then and sew it up on the plane, (presuming I can actually finish the one sleeve, much less knit the other one) or pack it away until I get back (I've been feverishly knitting on the, darn thing). I mean, I am going visiting and sightseeing. What if I can't finish it on the plane? Do you think they'll understand if I just sit in there and knit? I'm bringing the Moll Shawl already. I promised her.

Okay, enough obsessing over knitting. It's time for Television!  Stupid A&E, after dragging out NOT showing MI-5 for the last two years is premiering it this Friday. What are the chances the hotel gets A & E? I love MI-5! Even if everyone is dead, practically.


And Jeffrey winning Project Runway again? What a pill. Here's a still of him picking out his fabric with a dress made of what looks like the same material on a mannequin in the background. Mind you, a fairly well sewn one, unlike his but not-so-original, my friend. And thank heaven Vincent is gone. If I had to hear him justify anything ever again with "it turns me on" I might have to take steps.

Uli's dress was gorgeous.

What else? Monarchy with Dr. David Starkey (I noticed the Dr designation last night) on Thursdays. He's ripping through the ages pretty quickly, he went from Aethelred (I think) to Richard the III in an evening.

So have fun this week! Mmip_253 Hezekiah is snoozing away on Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting without tears. Cute, eh?

Mindless Televsion

Did anyone catch Lost Cities on the History Channel last night? Pretty entertaining. Knights Templar at 8pm, Atlantis at 9pm, The Secret Cities of the A Bomb at 10pm and Winston Churchill's Secret Bunker at 10pm although I skipped out around the A-Bomb. Other than trying to make it Eureka or Area 51, it was depressing.

TNT is having The Closer marathon starting at 9am and ending at 10pm tonight after the season finale of the show. I really like this show. Everytime I think to myself, "Oh no, they're not going there, are they?" [groan] - they not only go there, but go there in a way I'm not expecting and managing a fairly decent job of it. Brenda's pregnancy test is a good example. It was in no way a Who's The Daddy plot (which I loathe and despise) and it gave some great character revealing scenes for Fritz, Brenda and Pope. I also like that the detectives get their moments in the sun and aren't just a collection of random stereotypes.

Tomorrow is the Season Premiere of House! Yay! At 8pm luckily, so I can still catch the new epidsode of Eureka on SciFi at 9pm. (I would skip Eureka for House any day of the week, but I do like Eureka. Funny! Quippy! Geeky! Not to mention Henry. What's not to love? )

Bones is back on Wednesdays at 8pm. I missed the premiere last week - what can I say, I discovered Project Runway - so here's hoping that her new boss, Booth's former lover, isn't as hackneyed and horrible as Gibbs former lover and new boss on NCIS was last season. Incidentally, NCIS will not be on the Mindless Viewing radar unless Gibbs is back and in a big way and not as Tony's consultant or some equally lame premise.

Monarchy With David Starkey starts Thursday on PBS. Great kings like Alfred the Great and Canute the Viking established the rites and rituals of kings, the blurb says. David Starkey did a fabulous job on Henry VIII. I'll definitely be watching this even though the History Channel is launching their new series Where Did It Come From at the same time. Of course they are. I think I might be substituting Dissolution for Dr. Zhivago for the RIP Autumn Reading Challenge. (Not entirely completely unrelated to the topic) (Is not).

I think anything titled Fashion House should be a PBS reality show. Just saying.

Friday - SG1 and SG:Atlantis, of course! Even though I hate the Ori and mostly want the Jaffa to die. Henry V with Kenneth Branagh is on PBS at 8pm. I haven't seen that movie since I saw it at the theater and loved it. Speaking of theater, I'll actually be watching the play, The Merchant of Venice, Friday night.

I have no knitting news. I'm not done yet, and darn it, I don't have 5 buttons that I like and that look good on it. I did find a great left slanting decrease over at Nona's. Oh! Probably everyone else has seen Yarndex but I just discovered it looking for more Bouton d'Or the other day. It's great for fooling around with different yarns for different projects, which I'm constantly doing. 

I also hate buttonholes. They look horrible, and I've done about 8000 variations, none of which I thought to photograph for posterity when I was knitting and ripping them out. I finally ended up with some conglomerate of Elizabeth Zimmerman's buttonholes and what I thought her instructions were.

The lovely yarn I bought on sale and making this cardigan out of turns out to be not quite enough. (well, I don't think it's going to be enough, and I want to make the sleeves longer, so I'm almost positive there won't be enough. And there better not be, because I found some - not on sale, naturally, and had it shipped so I'd be able to knit it by Friday. Whoosh. Not so much savings now.)

2006 RIP Autumn Challenge

Rip_autumn_challenge_2 I discovered when I went to visit Amanda's Sunday Book Talk that Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting an RIP Autumn Challenge starting today and ending October 31st. To just directly quote him:

Here’s how the contest works:

Simply join me in this challenge. Post an entry on your blog indicating that you are taking on the Readers Imbibing Peril (R.I.P.) Autumn Challenge.... pick out any 5 books that you want to read that you think meet the very open, broad criteria of being scary, eerie, moody, dripping with atmosphere, gothic, unsettling, etc. and vow to read them....*snip* .... It is simply a way to encourage reading around a specific, though broad, theme to generate discussion. And this is my absolute favorite time of the year so I want to do something to celebrate it.

I'm in. I've been wanting to finish Mysteries of Udolpho for awhile, and this is my impetus. I think I'll take it on the plane with me too.

My Five:

  1. Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
  2. The Strange Death of Mistress Coffin by Robert J Begiebing
  3. The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
  4. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
  5. Blindness by Jose Saramago

I think they all fit  "the very open, broad criteria of being scary, eerie, moody, dripping with atmosphere, gothic, unsettling" in one way or another. Ater betraying my decades of bookwormery by choking in the Summer Reading Challenge/Program - I'm just happy to find out that I wasn't the only one that got competitive (in a good way) or chagrined at losing (in a good way) during it.

And a new blog (new to me); Booking Through Thursday has Book Memes! Which I'm going to do today because Thursday/Sunday. So very close.

What is your favorite kind of reading? Novels? Biographies? Mathematical textbooks? Yes.

What do you like best about your favorite kind of reading?  Reading it.

What keeps you coming back to that kind of book? Following a gripping story? Watching characters develop? Being educated about things and places you didn't know about? Letting your mind relax into someplace completely different? Yes!

Wow, what an easy meme! And what a cop out I took answering it. Next Thurs. Pinky swear. I think I'm too busy conjuring up various pitfall & perils that will undoubtedly befall me when I go on vacation next Sunday. I'm beginning to think that I enjoy vacation best after it's all over.

Saturday SKy

Dscn0057_3   Well. Today is Saturday and there's sky in that picture. But really, I have no idea what date it was taken or where they were. Dad took the picture. Isn't it pretty? I want to go there.

Happy Birthday, Brigitte!

My hands are killing me. I'm making something on size 10 straight needles and I'm used to much smaller circular needles. Once I go back to the mittens, of which I have 4 and a half pairs to go, remind me, it's much, much easier to knit mittens/gloves/socks/any small tubular object with short dpn's. Remind me to start buying them in gross, just in case. I'm dying to make these cabled gloves I saw in an old  Threads magazine.

I almost snapped a set in half because the length was driving me crazy and was only stopped because, well, mostly because I couldn't break them with my bare hands and I would have had to get up. [big sigh].

So! Labor Day weekend! I intend to labor on lounging. Any big plans?

Summer Reading Challenge/Program

The Summer Reading Challenge that Amanda hosted and the Summer Reading Program that Kat hosted have come to an end. Originally  I had a list of books from my To Be Read shelves to read, not that I anticipated actually reading just those, or any of them. Nothing like assigning a book to make me lose all interest in it. This was the original list: (which I've tried to number but there is no reasoning with Typepad)

A Pirate of Exquisite Mind by Diana & Michael Preston
The Queen's Conjuror:The Science and Magic of Dr. Dee by Benjamin Woolley
The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn by Retha Warnicke
Hollow Crown: A History of Britain in the Late Middle Ages by Miri Rubin
Dissolution by C J Sansom
The Wild Irish by Robin Maxwell
Her Majesty's Spymaster by Stephen Budiansky
Intrigue & Treason: The Tudor Court by David Loades
Bess of Hardwick by Mary S. Lovell
The Uncrowned Kings of England by Derek Wilson
London by Edward Rutherfurd

Good Omens, Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett
The Book Nobody Read: Chasing the Revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicus , Owen Gingerich
The Castle of Otranto, Horace Walpole
Captain Alatriste, Arturo Perez-Reverte
News of a Kidnapping, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Argument Culture by Deborah Tannen
River of Time by Igor Novikov
The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language by John McWhorter
1968 by Mark Kurlanksy
The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco
The Strange Death of Mistress Collins by Robert Begiebing
The Blank Slate by Stephen Pinker
The Ice Queen by Ann Hoffman
Children of the Company by Kage Baker
Why Geography Matters by Harm de Blij

I read five books from that list. Hmm.

My goal for both was to read 26 books, two a week and as many as I could from either the Library or my TBR stack.

My actual summer reading consisted of:

  1. Freddy & Fredericka, Helperin, Mark (L) (250 pages)(it's longer but I was reading it when the challenge started.)
  2. Dies the Fire, Stirling, S M (L) (496 pages)
  3. The Glass Castle, Wells, Jeannette (L) (304 pages)
  4. The Last Days of Henry VIII: Conspiracies, Treason & Heresy at the Court of the Dying Tyrant, Hutchinson, Robert (273 pages)
  5. Not a Creature Was Stirring, Haddam, Jane (287 pages)
  6. The Uncrowned Kings of England: The Black History of the Dudleys & the Tudor Throne, Wilson, Derek (405 pages)
  7. The Children of the Company, Baker, Kage (300 pages)
  8. Intrigue & Treason: The Tudor Court 1547-1558, Loades, David (319 pages)
  9. The Friendship Test, Noble, Elizabeth (BC) (L) (437 pages)
  10. The Ice Queen ,Hoffman, Alice (TBR) (211 pages)
  11. The Mason Dixon Line,  Davenport, John C (L) (116 pages)
  12. The Physics of Superheroes, Kakalios, James (L) (365 pages)
  13. A Fold in the Tent of the Sky, Hale, Michael (L) (355 pages)
  14. A River in Time, Novikov, Igor (TBR) (269 pages)
  15. Passage to India, Forster, E M (L) (372 pages)
  16. Making History, Fry, Stephen (L) (380 pages)
  17. Language Visible, Sacks, David (L) (339 pages)
  18. The Gun Seller, Laurie, Hugh (L) (375 pages)
  19. Plague Maker, Downs, Tim (L) (390 pages)
  20. Falls The Shadow, Penman, Sharon Kay (580 pages)
  21. The Loser's Club, Perez, Richard (L) (176 pages)
  22. King Hereafter, Dunnett, Dorothy (L) I'm only on page 315 of 700. Didn't quite make it.

Technically, I started and finished 20 books in the time period allotted for a total of 6,749 pages. Fourteen books were from the library, five from my TBR stacks, 8 were non fiction, 12 were fiction and 2 were Book Club selections. (Only two? Yikes.)

I did not meet my goal of 26 books. Alas. I was kind of surprised at that and was really annoyed that I kept telling myself to "Focus!" all summer. I mean, honestly. Focus? It's summer. Lamp

I did read an awful lot of library books (I love the library. I would be broke without them) and even a few from my TBR shelves.

I have to say, this was a lot of fun. I loved seeing what everyone else was reading.