I had to leave this Harvest cardigan at home during our trip to Colorado, but before we left I got a lot done! It’s going quickly – I’m almost to the bottom and then will just have the sleeves to finish.
I’m reading Murder on the Orient Express, my first Agatha Christie novel. As part of getting ready for our trip, I loaded a ton of library books onto my Kindle. That way no matter how long we’re stuck somewhere, I have enough to read without having to carry anything heavy. I’m sold! On our trip, I also read As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley, Run by Ann Patchett, and Upstairs at the White House by J.B. West. And I finished The Prodigal You Love by Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble, which was sitting unfinished with just part of the last chapter to go. Lots of reading!
I’m getting started on a selfish knitting project and it’s time for serious sweater swatching. For small or non-garment items I often just start and use that as a swatch (I’m lazy!), but sweaters require the proper swatching and washing and blocking and measuring. Time consuming, but I know worth it. I’m hoping my gauge will work out and I can start on a Harvest cardigan.
One of my reading goals for 2016 is to reread more of my favorite books after almost two years of only reading books for the first time. So I’m rereading Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin, which is an interesting read about habits and types of people. I pretty much love any book that categorizes people so this is right up my alley.
The Killer of Little Shepherds is about a serial killer and the start of forensic science in France. I read The Poisoner’s Handbook last year which is a very similar book about the birth of forensic science in America, so it’s been interesting to compare them.
I’m knitting some Paddle fingerless mitts as a Christmas present for my granddad. I’m using some stash yarn I’ve had for a long time: Swish DK in Persimmon Heather and Grain Heather. I knit the whole thing on size 3 DPNs since switching to the recommended size 5 made a) a very loose fabric and b) a giant mitt, even for a man. I’m much happier with the results on the smaller needles.
I started reading Ready Player One last night on Gavin’s recommendation. He recently finished the audiobook, but I wasn’t convinced until I saw Modern Mrs. Darcy’s post on books she had to be talked into reading, which included Ready Player One. So I put it on hold at the library and here we are. So far I am really enjoying it!
I often joke with Gavin that he would be happy if I never knit him anything but grey hats. Well, here’s #5.
I’m knitting a Graffiti Hat for him, size large, using two shades of Knit Picks Swish Worsted: Cobblestone Heather and Dove Heather. The first hat I ever knit Gavin was in this darker shade of Swish. I had him go on a scavenger hunt for it in my apartment in Wisconsin. That hat was lost many years ago, and I never got a proper photo of it, but it’s part of my memories of our long-distance times.
I won this pattern as a knit-a-long (KAL) prize from the Designed in Canada group on ravelry. So far, I’m really enjoying knitting it. I think watching those cables stretch themselves over the stripes is going to be addicting. I’m going to post it in the new Colorwork KALs group, whose first KAL is anything with stripes. This certainly fits the bill!
I started Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie this week. I’m really enjoying it and find it to be very thought-provoking. It’s not quite as compelling a read as Me Before You by Jojo Moyes which I finished earlier this week (and hated the end of…) but is still definitely a book I can’t wait to read more of.
I got to the end of the heel increases on his socks and found that they were MUCH too large for his feet, so some frogging is in my future. Boo. At least they’re great TV knitting and easily read. Gavin requested a princess sole (reverse stockinette) on this pair and I wasn’t quite sure how to handle the toe. I left it as normal, so they look a little funny when they’re not on his feet. Oh well.
I’m loving the twisted stitches without using a cable needle on my socks though, at least now that I’ve found my rhythm! They’re quite a fun knit, with enough action to be interesting and enough plain knit stitches to not make me throw them down in disgust: a rare combination indeed.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog is quietly funny and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I recently finished The Elephant Keepers’ Children so I’m apparently on a kick of reading translated books with a teen narrator and bizarre parents.
After painting our living room and all of our house’s hallways on Saturday and Sunday, I found myself without any library books checked out. As part of getting the house back in shape, I rearranged our main bookshelf to be in color order, which is something I had done in my room in high school (before it was cool!) and enjoyed. Going through the books reminded me of some I hadn’t read in a long time, like Heidi.
As for knitting, it’s a new month and I’m participating in a couple of knitalongs that started today so I cast on a couple of new projects! Nothing is at a very exciting point yet, but here’s what I have on the needles.
For Sock Knitters Anonymous‘ October challenge and 52 in 52 Weeks‘ quarterly literary-inspired challenge, I’m knitting Porthos toe-up for Gavin using some self-striping Opal 6-Ply I’ve had for ages. He needs another pair of hand-knit socks and I am hoping this yarn will be super-sturdy.
I also cast on some Animal Crackers using a skein of red Opal Uni for myself. These will be for the same two groups as Porthos, plus SolidSocks‘ red challenge. I know the pattern is intended for men, but I’m just knitting the smallest size on size 0 needles and will likely make a couple more decreases in the gusset.
This is the first sock of a cabled design I’m working on. They’re inspired by the Mississippi river and I think they are a classic style with just a little whimsy for those in the know. I’ll probably also knit a pair for Gavin to model as the pattern would be great for men. Those will likely be brown, you know, like the actual river.
Right now I’m reading A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan. So far it’s the classic tale of a working mom trying to juggle everything, with the added layer of her living in the literary world (enjoyably meta, but it will be dating as time passes). It’s written in a surprisingly lovely style for the genre, similar to Where’d You Go, Bernadette?. I’m looking forward to finishing it.
Well, look at that – I’m done knitting my stocking! I started it on Wednesday and finished knitting it on Saturday, but there’s still a lot of finishing work to be done.
I need to Kitchener the toe, duplicate stitch my name and the green lines into the argyle, and weave in all of the ends.
I have a few tutorials I refer back to frequently, for knitting skills I don’t do often enough to know every step by heart. I like Purl Bee’s duplicate stitch tutorial and Knitty’s tutorial for Kitchener stitch. I really should know the Kitchener stitch by heart, but I always have to remind myself of the sequence one time before flying through the rest of the stitches.
I’m about to start reading this book, The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman, after finishing We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh last night. This is the second Alice Hoffman book I’ve read; the first was The Museum of Extraordinary Things.
Keeping with the Christmas crafting theme, I finally cast on my Christmas stocking. I’m using Knitpicks Wool of the Andes from my stash in Red, Grass, and White, so it should look just like Gavin’s stocking that I finished last year.
Funny story: after knitting Gavin’s stocking, I waited a couple of months and then cast on mine. I made it almost all the way the heel before I decided to listen to my nagging thoughts that this seemed much larger than the one I had knit before and compare them. Which was stupid, because it was much larger. And I had to frog the whole thing, including the stranded colorwork, which is horrible to frog. So here I am, starting again with smaller needles. So far, so good.
As for reading, I’m in the middle of two books. I heard an idea on the The Art of Simple podcast that resonated with me: to only read fiction before bed, for an easier time falling asleep and a better night’s rest. I read some fairly intense nonfiction sometimes (both dark and dry) so I think this will help me get to sleep more quickly and get more out of every book.
These books are both from the library. The Skeleton Crew is pretty good so far (I’m not a fan of the choppiness so many other reviewers have commented on), but Infinite Home is awesome. I am loving the process of getting to know all of the residents of the building, even after recently reading another character-heavy book, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.
It’s pretty clear that everyone loves swatching as much as I do. That is to say, not very much.
Especially because this is my third try to get gauge with this Wool of the Andes Sport. I knit the first very diligently, washed it, measured it, and saw that it was too big. So I went down a needle size and knit a couple of inches before figuring out it was still too big and ripping out. So this is my third swatch with this yarn. Augh!
I have a sneaking suspicion this swatch (on size 2 needles!) is still going to be too big. If it is, I quit. At least for now.
I finally picked up Go Set a Watchman from the library last night. I just finished The Book of Speculation this morning, so I’m all set to start later this evening.