It is a little while since I’ve written a post about what I am reading, and so having just finished a book, it seemed like a good time.
Technically I am part way through several books, but if I am honest I have been reading only one. And that has been Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I picked this up at the library on a whim as this is the sort of author you feel you ought to have read – and I never had.
I liked it. I can’t say I loved it. I found it more interesting as the book progressed but it never really grabbed me. I wasn’t struck on any of the main characters, which probably didn’t help. There were elements where they seemed terribly real and elements where I couldn’t forget that they were made up people in a novel. Which is something that always makes it hard to get lost in a book. I think it did have things to say about the period and about culture and society, but it still didn’t overwhelm me. So, I’ve read it. It wouldn’t put me off reading other books by F. Scott Fitzgerald, but I don’t plan to go rushing out either!
The book I have started now is Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. Obviously this book is pretty well known, especially now that it is also a film! I am finding it hard to get into the narrative voice, but as I am only six pages in there is plenty of time for that!
At the moment I have alarmingly few knitting projects on the go. I have a worrying number that I plan to frog; a couple that are finished but need photographing to go on Ravelry before they feel finished. And… one other project.
My one project is the circle socks. I started these way back in January and for a reason I no longer remember decided I didn’t like them and abandoned them for a while. I unearthed them last month sometime and lately they have been my commuting project. Until I finished everything else, and they are my only project. I’m about half way down the leg of the second sock now, so I am doing ok and will hopefully finish them in the next week or so!
Mainly, I’m planning.
In the mornings it has started to be cold. There is condensation on windows. It is getting dark earlier. All of this leads me to think that it is time to knit some winter jumpers.
I had planned my first. I was going to knit the Acer Cardigan by Amy Christoffers out of some of the beautiful Fibre Harvest Knit by Numbers I bought at Woolfest in June. But then I started to read reviews of the yarn saying that it pilled a lot. This made me rather nervous. I really don’t want to knit a whole cardigan that I wear twice and then it looks appalling. I have been there before!
My solution to this is that I have knitted a swatch. I am now taking this swatch with me wherever I go and deliberately playing with it, rubbing its surfaces together, and generally abusing it. The problem with yarn reviews is that the people who are happy don’t always say so! And perhaps those who have problems are the minority? I don’t know! But I do know I don’t want to find out the hard way. So, my new friend “Swatchy” is my constant companion this week! And so far, he is standing up to his treatment well. Fingers crossed!
Regardless, I do plan to knit this yarn into something. It is beautiful. The swatch is soft and and stitches are even. It will be a jumper or a cardigan. It’s just that if it is going to pill appallingly I will use it for a more basic pattern. I’m working on the basis that a plain stocking stitch garment has less surface area than something with cables and therefore may pill marginally less. And if not, at least I spent slightly fewer hours making it!
This evening I came home to not one, but two, pieces of post. One was not of interest to you, but the other one was lovely.
Sometime ago I was browsing Etsy and came across a lovely coaster by Cheeky Geeky. This coaster featured two things: scrabble tiles and words about knitting.
Now, you know how I feel about knitting. I couldn’t hide it if I tried. But I also love Scrabble. I’m strategic and no-one will ever play with me, but I love it. So, I really couldn’t resist! This is the coaster. And I am so happy with it! It is going to go to work to decorate my desk there.
After a long and hard day it is always so nice to come home to some lovely post!
I have already blogged about Woolfest and what I bought, but Sally requested pictures, and I thought actually, I have some, so why not!
This is my haul (with a large chunk of hotel bed – the only way to get it all in one photo was to stand on the bed over it!). As I say, I am very happy with it. Probably the items I am most in love with and excited about are the red and gold fingering weight yarns in the middle that I bought from Eden Cottage Yarns. Also the green yarn at the left hand end that will eventually be a jumper or cardigan (my current thinking is now the Acer cardigan…). But I totally love everything I bought and am very excited to start working my way through it all. Of course, I have already started, with my beautiful Bretherdale cowl.
For good measure, here are some alpacas!
I thought I would make a quick little post on my clearly high level of commitment to the sugar-free cause.
A few days ago, I went shopping. I was specifically looking for presents for someone, and in the shopping centre came across a sweet shop. This is a good sweet shop. Lots of sweets in jars, lots of more unusual sweets, including bits and pieces from the US. It smells phenomenally sweet as you walk in and is full of things that look delicious.
I bought some rather cool presents, and was pleased by how un-tempted I was for myself. The only slightly dodgy point was when I came across a packet of mint m&ms. I love mint flavoured things and mint chocolate is not as common in the UK as it seems to be elsewhere. But I realised that they would only make me feel ill if I did eat them and that actually, the smell of the shop was making a me a little nauseous, and I left them on the shelf for another customer.
What I left with for the present was, as I say, lovely, and I’m glad to be able to pass them on to someone who will enjoy them. It was a bit of a test, that shop, but I think it went rather well! I’m feeling proud.
I have decided this year to get involved in the campaign being run by The Knitter and Simply Knitting to raise funds for Refuge and to provide teddy bears and blankets to children in Refuge safe houses. You can read about the campaign here and about Refuge on their website here - but for anyone who doesn’t know they are a domestic abuse charity.
I have wanted to get involved with some charity knitting this year and I feel this charity is a hugely important one to support. And so here I am. I have chosen to make teddy bears rather than blankets. At least for now. Maybe I will do a bit of both. But there is until the beginning of December to send the donations, so there is plenty of time to decide. It’s just that teddy bears are something I feel very strongly about. Everybody should have one, if at all possible! It is also a great opportunity to use up a bit of yarn while doing something great for a really good cause.
I’ll try to keep updating about this! I don’t want it to end up on the back burner, and there will be plenty of things to distract me in the coming months!
I realised it is a little while since my last knitting update! There is actually some progress to report!
When I last updated, I was mainly working on my Featherweight cardigan. This I can now report, is finished! Almost! The knitting is done, and all I need now is to weave in the ends and give it a bit of a blocking. But it is basically done, and I am really happy with it.
I also mentioned in my last update some stripey socks. I have now finished one, and am working on a second. I am ludicrously excited about these socks! They are bright and happy and a much better way to use up sock yarn ends than a sock yarn blanket that I will a) never actually finish and b) never actually use if I do manage to finish it. Here is the first sock in all its glory!
I have also started a new project. The Bretherdale cowl. I bought yarn for this at Woolfest, and it ended up being my first post-Woolfest cast on partly because it is so beautiful and partly because I didn’t really need to swatch. I always swatch for big projects, but I always do it reluctantly. The words “gauge is not crucial” are joyous ones! I am only a little way into the cowl now, but here it is. I am loving it. It is a brilliant antidote to the acres of stocking stitch of the Featherweight cardigan and then the socks too. And I’m loving how the pattern is put together to make it reversible. It is all very exciting!