Category: books

I will call her Ariel

Ariel sweater by Brandy Velten Ariel sweater by Brandy VeltenI’ve been chugging away on my new sweater design. Lots and lots of smocking. As I kept working, the design reminded me a bit of scales. Not icky, fishy scales (sorry fishes, I don’t actually think you are icky at all), but more like the feminine, alluring scales like you would find on a mermaid, you know, if mermaids were an actual thing. And because I’m grew up as young child of the early 90’s, there’s one Disney-inspired mermaid that is very near and dear to my heart. So I think I will call this sweater Ariel and just keep the fairy tale theme that started with my Rapunzel cardigan going.

(When I was growing up I had a pool in my yard. And I have very vivid memories of pretending to be Ariel, the Little Mermaid, and being captured and hoping to be rescued – the whole bit. I also had an Ariel doll who’s hair met its match swimming in that pool constantly. So there’s a not so tiny part of me that is quite fond of wearing an Ariel-inspired sweater around the halls and pretending to be a mermaid again, secretly. Shh. Don’t tell.)

I’ve finished the smocking of the body of the sweater, which ends at the armhole. Now I’ve just got to finish up the back and front and get started on the sleeves. I am going to try seamless set-in sleeves worked from the armhole down. I have convinced myself that grading it will be easier than a sleeve cap, but I haven’t actually done any math yet, so that idea may quickly go out the window.

I have also finished Shadow Scale. I’ve moved on to Prince of Thorns, which I picked up at the used book store. I’m not sure on it right now. I iffy on the writing style and I’m also not entirely sure what is going on. Maybe that is the way it is meant to be… I don’t know. I’ll give it a little more time before I really formulate my opinion.

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

(Guys, I totally thought today was Wednesday, when I do my usual link ups. I didn’t realize I put this up a day late until I was riding the bus home. I blame the Canadian long weekend.)


Half a Crew

2015-01-20 22.10.04 2015-01-20 22.10.53 2015-01-20 22.12.19This week…

Knitting: I finally finished the back of my Crew sweater, which seems like its been on the needles for for-ev-er. This is not a difficult knit, but my inspiration to work rows and rows of plain stockinette comes in bursts and spurts. One such spurt came this last week, when I finished up the top half of the back. So now it can join the front of the sweater in my knitting basket while I work up the inspiration to churn out two sleeves. But the end is in sight, so by the end of the month, I’m hoping this project will be off the needles and in my closet.

Reading: I finished Eleanor & Park early last week. I was in the mood for a more traditional fantasy, so I went through my library Wish List and chose to go with Queen of the Tearling. I feel it is a little slow currently, as the world and characters are established, but hopefully things will pick up a bit more as we get more action in the mix.

Feeling: I’m feeling a little bit overwhelmed as the semester ramps into gear. I feel a bit like there is too much on my plate. I’m a person who prefers to have things under control, put into its specific place and time. I like schedules and predictability. I’m still trying to get my feet under me as I juggle my research load (which seems to increase more and more as my Ph.D. goes on), teaching two courses (one that is brand new to me), taking my last course (in a field I have relatively little experience in). I know I can’t let work/school overload me otherwise I will be pulled too thin and spent. Then I’m good to no one. So I’m working to fit in some down time, me-time, dedicated knitting/reading/relaxing time. And the cold, dark winter is not helping me much, either. The countdown to spring starts now!

Cooking: I got a new, programable crock pot to help remove one thing from my to-do list. I’m exploring all the great, yummy recipes out there and trying to stockpile a reliable list of go-to dishes. What are your favorite crock pot recipes?

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

Here and there

2015-01-14 11.29.062015-01-14 11.23.46 It’s been a busy week as I settle into the new routine of the semester. I’ve managed to sneak in knitting here and there for an hour or two when I get home from work. Slow progress is being made, but at least it is being made. I hope that once I get more into the flow of things, I can fit in a bit more ‘me’ time, but that may be wishful thinking.

This week…

Knitting: I finished up the body of my Northern Neuk sweater and have started on the first sleeve. It’s easy knitting – stockinette in the round – so it’s great for couch knitting when I’m tired from the day. I’m almost done with the first of my January socks, too, almost exactly on schedule for where I need to be if they are going to be finished this month. They only get knit on during my commute, so I may pay a little more attention to them if I fall behind.

Reading: I have about 20 pages left of Eleanor & ParkIt has been such a pleasurable read that I have just breezed through it. The writing is honest and beautiful in its simplicity, that you are just sucked into these characters as their lives become so entwined. I often found myself smiling while reading, eagerly eavesdropping as the characters discovered each other, and by doing so, discovered themselves. I’m not sure what I will pick up next – maybe something more fantastical.

Watching: I’m on a total crime kick lately. I’m really enjoying the current season of The Good Wife, and I’m excited that the second season of Broadchurch has returned (and is already so stressful!). I’m also making my way through the very creepy The Fall on Netflix – it has a bit of a slow build, but it gets under your skin.

As always, linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

Old favorites are good favorites

This week…

Knitting: Progress on the knitting gift list is going well. Last week I checked one Christmas project off the list, so this week I’m casting on another. I’m also making really good progress on the projects I was previously working on – just a few more pattern repeats on the largest project and it will soon be off the needles. It’s looking like I will actually pull this crazy idea off – things will be finished in time to mail to the States for the holidays and all but one item was made with stash yarn.

Reading: After finishing the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series I was suffering from major book drunkenness. You know, that feeling you suffer from when you finish a really good book that you just loved. I missed the world. I missed the characters. I missed it all. I sat staring at my bookshelf fighting with myself over what to start next. When I’m riding the emotional wave of a great book, I often find myself dreading the inevitable disappointment that comes from trying to find a book to fill the void. So I took the chicken’s way out and just went with a series I knew would take me to a place I loved. I haven’t read many of the Harry Potter books in years and years and years, so it’s time it got a reprieve from shelf life for a bit.

Listening: Lately I’ve been loving this new podcast, Serial. It’s a weekly, short podcast that tells a single story throughout the season, but unravels different aspects of the story each week. This season, the podcast’s first, Serial covers the story of a young man who was convicted of killing his high school girlfriend back in the late ’90’s. He’s been in prison every since, but claims he didn’t commit the murder. What makes the story so fascinating is that both has flaws and holes, and Serial is trying to uncover what really happened. It’s a real-life murder mystery that you are trying to solve along with the journalist, and it takes you on different twists and turns as the story is uncovered more each week. Check it out because it’s addicting.

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

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“Bring your knitting to work” day

There are some days at work when parts of my day are just spent waiting. And this waiting can sometimes take up to five hours. Five hours of watching a line of blue dye move through a gel at an excruciatingly slow pace (I shouldn’t complain… 5 hours is better than the 45 I had to wait for some experiments to work). These days are deemed “Bring your knitting to work” day.

I usually bring my knitting with me to work everyday so I have something to work on during my commute. But on “Bring your knitting to work” day, my knitting gets to come out and keep me company in the lab. I can usually read while working on a simple project, so knitting is a good way to keep my hands busy while I try to catch up on reading scientific papers. (Okay, full disclosure – the knitting is a way to try to keep my somewhat sane when reading gems like the one above. Just look at that title! Riveting. It was a real page turner. Are you catching all this sarcasm?)

It’s on these days that knitting keeps this from happening in the lab. Sometimes. After three hours of reading, the remaining two hours are a perfect time to catch some zzz’s when you are the only person in the lab. The lab nap is a scientific rite. You know you’ve made it when you find yourself sleeping in the lab. Just remember to set a timer or all that waiting will have been for naught when your gel run fails (not that this has ever happened to me).

This week:

Knitting: Keen eyed readers may notice that, yes, that is the sleeve for my Pluie cardigan. It’s actually the second sleeve – I’m almost there! If you are suffering from knitted umbrella motif withdrawal after the last few weeks of updates, don’t worry, I’ll have the cardigan finished soon.

Reading: I’m about half way through Days of Blood and Starlight. I also picked up two new books at the used book store: The Twistrose Key and Sea of Shadows which I look forward to starting soon.

Linking up with yarn along and KCCO.

Knitting magic

This week…

Knitting: Sometimes I’m still amazed by what a difference blocking can make on a knitting project, especially with a project like Pluie with lots of color changes.  It’s like a little piece of magic – transforming a manhandled piece of knitting into a smooth and even fabric. Plus it makes me really excited to get this cardigan finished. (Are you tired of looking at it yet, because I’m not tired of working on it) I’m almost done with the two front pieces (the one on the left has been blocked while I’m still chugging away on the piece on the right) …maybe by this time next week it’ll be a finished cardigan (but no promises that all those ends will be woven in by then).

Reading: After sitting there and staring at the choices I had picked out to read last week, I knew what I really wanted to read was the sequel to A Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but I had put it off because I was trying not to buy any new books (I have so so many books sitting in my to-read pile already!). But life’s all about the little pleasures, right? So I just gave in and bought the Days of Blood and Starlight eBook. And it’s just as good as I was hoping it would be. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite series and definitely some of the better books I’ve read this year.

Watching/Listening: I’ve been a fan of “Weird Al” Yankovic since I was little. (It’s a nerd thing.) This week he’s putting out a new album and releasing 8 new music videos, one each day. My favorite so far is for his parody of “Blurred Lines,” titled “Word Crimes.” If you have ever been annoyed with people’s lack of grammatical correctness (that’s a grammatically correct statement, right?), this song is for you!

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

Progress and choices

This week…
Knitting: The back of my Pluie cardigan is almost finished. Unlike my usual habits, I’ve been very knitting faithful to this project and have hardly worked on anything else all week. It’s a challenging knit, and the challenge is just enough to keep me energized and inspired (unlike challenges that just end up frustrating me and get tossed in the ‘to be discovered in the next big stash cleanup years later’ unfinished object bin). I have found I also like working on sweaters in pieces because each piece feels like you’ve accomplished something. It satisfies the cast-on/cast-off fuzzy feeling. But then I look at the back of this thing and see all those ends that have to be woven in and all fuzzy feelings of almost being finished with this piece melt into an overwhelming sense of forth-coming procrastination. I see a long night with a large glass of wine in this cardigan’s (and my) future. A million loose yarn ends aside, I’m loving this knit.
Reading: I just finished my book last night, and I haven’t decided what I want to tackle next. I’ve narrowed it down to three choices, a little bit of fantasy, a little bit of history. I really can’t go wrong with any of the choices. We’ll just see how I feel later on. 
Enjoying: It’s one of my favorite times of the year: when nectarines are cheap and you have afternoon thunderstorms every other day. I can’t believe it’s July already… it feels like summer has just flown by this year. 
Looking forward to: The Toronto International Film Festival! I just bought our TIFF tickets this week. I. Love. TIFF. This year, I went for the package for 20 daytime tickets because Andy and I mostly were seeing afternoon movies the past two years at the festival. That means this year, Andy and I will have 10 movies in two weeks. I can’t wait for the lineup of movies to be released soon! 
Linking up with yarn along & KCCO.

WIP Wednesday: Sweater catch-up

Yes, that is a box of half-knit sweaters. How many can you count? I think there’s six in there (+ one more in my travel knitting bag). Things may have gotten a wee bit out of hand.

But I’m trying to make progress. This week I have dedicated to lowering the number of sweaters in this basket and increasing the number in my closet. Even if it’s just a few rows at a time, it’s an accomplishment.

Knitting: sweaters, sweaters, and sweaters. Making some decent progress on my pink striped cardigan and my spring colorslide pullover. I’ve also been working on my April SKA challenge socks, but we had a bit of a fight earlier in the week that severely set back my progress (toe-up socks aren’t my friends).
Reading: I finished up Cinder last week. I was so apathetic about it in the end, I didn’t even write a review for it on GoodReads. I was in desperate need of a sure-thing book, so I turned to one of my current favorite authors, Catherynne Valente, and loaded The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There onto my iPad. Catherynne has a beautiful, poetic writing style and creates fantastic, complex worlds and characters. I have yet to read a piece by her that didn’t make my heart flutter. I’m looking forward to this book very much. And the gorgeous illustrations with each chapter doesn’t hurt things, either.

Linking up with Tami’s Ami’s and KCCO.

Weekly catch-up

Reading: I’m about halfway through Cinder by Marissa Meyer. It’s a futuristic take on the Cinderella story, and, so far, I think it’s decently entertaining. The writing isn’t the best out there, but the story and characters are interesting. Although you know the general gist of the story, the author has worked in enough of her own unique story that it doesn’t become too predictable.

Watching: A and I went and saw the new Muppets movie this weekend, Muppets: Most Wanted. Who doesn’t love the Muppets, no matter your age? As always, the movie was goofy and pretty adorable. And it has some pretty funny parts. Sometimes what you need in a movie is just an escape where no higher thinking is required – this movie definitely satisfies that itch.

Also, Walter had some of the most adorable tiny knitted sweaters. I told A that I wanted to make him one of each. He was thrilled, obviously. Who wouldn’t want a Muppet’s wardrobe?

Knitting: This week I found myself working on the start of a new sweater (come back Wednesday for a peek), as well as my broken seed stitch socks. More updates on both projects later this week.

Misc: And I can’t help bragging a little, because what is a blog for if you can’t brag on yourself? On a work related note, I found out on Friday that my latest scientific manuscript (the first for my Ph.D. work) has been accepted into the American Journal of Physiology. It’s still really exciting for me to have my work published and I can’t wait to see the article in press. A year of work summed up in just a few pages…

Weekly catch-up

Inspired by these posts at Like Purls Off a String, I love the idea of having a weekly post dedicated to what’s going on in my life. A place where I can specifically chat about non-knitting related things. So here goes.

Reading: I just finished up Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I was underwhelmed by this book (see my GoodReads review). In a nutshell, I couldn’t forgive the flawed writing and the arrogant, unappealing protagonist. It seems like many of the fantasy books I’ve picked up lately feel like these type of leading men are enduring, but I find them completely off-putting and I just can’t connect to them emotionally. Superficially, however, the story was decent enough to lead me to finish the book. Don’t know if I’ll keep up with this series, though.

My next read is Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I love all things that involve re-worked/re-imagined fairy tales, so I am looking forward to this book greatly.

Movies: This weekend we saw one movie I was looking forward and one A, my husband, was eager to see. For me, it was Veronica Mars, and boy was I glad to visit my old pals from Neptune High again. I thought the movie did a great job of getting right back into the world of Veronica Mars & Co. It definitely made me want to go back and watch all of the TV series again.

For A, the movie of choice was The Grand Budapest Hotel. It was fantastically Wes Anderson. I’m liking his movies more and more lately. Full of charm and hilarity, with just the right bit of the absurd. I truly wish my life looked like a Wes Anderson movie.

© Knitscene

TV: This week I couldn’t find anything on Netflix that held my interest, so I decided to just re-watch Luther now that the third season is available. Still as good as the first time around. I just love Idris Elba in this role. And the criminals… give me the creeps. Not a show to watch right before bed unless your want some funky dreams.

On the needle: I’m still working on my pink striped cardigan – about half way done with the body. Also on the needles are a pair of broken seed stitch socks… but more about those on Wednesday.

Inspiration: My knitting inspiration this week is entirely inspired by the thought of spring. This top is just begging me to make it. I’m just waiting for the temperature to warm just a bit more before starting up. Soon. Soon.