• Books

    Sunday Salon: Reading and Baking

    Sunday Salon

    Hello! I am still reading Gone with the Wind. I am now over one third done it, but to be honest, I have been so busy these last two weeks that I haven’t really had a lot of time to read.

    When I get busy with life and work obligations, I just want to zone out a bit in front of the television. I am also fiddling now so that takes time away from knitting and reading. As a result, this blog has also suffered.

    This week, I worked more than I have ever in recent memory. It was a long week and I slept a long time last night. The weather is rainy so I will stay in and not go out at all (my preferred situation for Sunday), read and bake an apple crumble.

    What are you doing this Sunday?

  • Books

    Booking Through Thursday – Carry-ons

    This week on Booking through Thursday:

    Do you bring the book(s) you’re reading with you when you go out? How? Physically, or in an e-reader of some kind? Have your habits in this regard changed? (I know I carried books with me more when I was in school than I do now–I can’t read while I’m driving to work, after all.)

    I think I carry books with me more now than I use to because for a long time, I couldn’t really read on moving vehicles. I still prefer not read when in transport be honest. Also, books are heavy. Even though I carry adequate bags, when I go out, it’s usually to go out, walk around, spend time socially, etc. Unless the book is a paperback, I don’t really want to carry it. I also seem to like big books. I am working at the moment so I bring my Kindle with me to work in the event things get super slow (like it was in the summer). I really like the ebook reader for that reason and it’s good to have it there just for the event that I’ll need to wait.

    How about you?

  • Books

    Sunday Salon: Gone with the reading

    Sunday Salon

    Hello, Sunday!

    Just a quick entry to say that I did start Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell this week. I am at 17% on my Kindle reading of it. I am enjoying it and finding Scarlett quite tolerable for a protagonist. I think there is definitely an honesty to Mitchell’s portrayal of her characters.

    Life is a bit hectic for me these days and even today, I am not going to read so much as go to fiddle and go apple picking. Work is picking up for me for the rest of the week too even less reading, but now that I am engrossed with a book, I do make time for it.

    What are you reading this Sunday?

  • Knitting & Crafting

    FO Friday: Girasole

    FO Friday: Girasole

    This project took me almost four months to complete. Unlike some knitters, I knit wool through the summer. I once made my Hemlock Ring Blanket, another Jared Flood pattern, in early summer too. I can bare heat pretty well. I live in Canada so the summers are not unbearable for wool knitting until this year! I started in May, but I put it on hold for a month to knit something else. I almost didn’t knit in July, the dryest and hottest July in my hometown’s history. Most of the work was done in August and early Sept.

    Girasole

    I wanted to knit Eco 8014 with this. I really love the Eco wool, but I could not afford to make this project with that yarn. Come last Boxing Day, the Fishermen’s Wool was on sale (and I also had a coupon) making the price of it about a third of what the Eco would have been. Even though I wanted to do this originally in the Oatmeal, there was only the other colours available. The Fishermen’s Wool is a fine affordable yarn, but it has a lot of knots. I think I averaged 2-3 per skein. Sometimes, I would get lazy and not cut them out, but usually I’d cut and felt together again.

    Girasole

    Blocking: I’ve been so lazy with my lace blocking of late. I didn’t even bother to pin this one. I did my usual which is soaked it in Eucalan and spun it in the washing machine. Then, I put it on a clothes rack (like the ones you buy for indoor hanging), but put it outside in the setting sun. Afterwards, I just laid it on my bedroom floor and walked on it. The edging looks the most floppy and unblocked, but the center is very lacey. It also came out bigger than in the pattern which is good. It’s definitely a nice size for a double bed, but I sleep on a twin/single. I am already using it as it’s a great extra layering blanket on these autumnal nights.

    Girasole

    Girasole, started May 19th, 2012, Bound off September 9th 2012. Ravelry Project Page
    Pattern: Girasole by Jared Flood from Brooklyn Tweed Ravelry Pattern Page
    Size: roughly 84″/220cm in diameter which is larger than the pattern’s projected 72″ diameter
    Yarn: Lion Brand Fishermen’s Wool – 4.12 skeins in Natural. Four whole skeins and 27grams from a fifth one. Thank goodness, I bought more when it went on sale again in February.
    Needles: HiyaHiya #10.5/6.5mm 120cm/60″ bamboob circulars with an additional bamboo 100cm/40cm circular of the same size to finish the edging.
    Modifications: None, really. I used techknitter’s circular CO, which is my preferred circular cast-on. Video for that here. As an added tip, for the double YOs: I knit 1, purled 1 into the first YO and then knit 1 into the second.
    Tools/Notions: Used lifelines a few times and stitch markers always for lace.
    Cost of Project: For the four skeins, $28 but with the fifth, an additional $7. I bought these needles specifically for the project when I bought the pattern in 2010. I think the needles were $10.
    Would I knit it again? Doubtful. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, but the longer it took to knit, the more it became this big chore to finish. The reason that I wanted to do this so bad was because I loved my experience with the other blanket. This one was OK. I’d totally do another lace blanket again, but perhaps not this one.

    Have a good weekend! For more FOs, go to Tami’s Amis.

  • Books

    Booking Through Thursday – Quick

    This week on Booking Through Thursday:

    Quick–what are you reading right now? (Other than this question on this website, of course.) Would you recommend it? What’s it about?

    Shamefully, I haven’t read anything in a week. Too busy at work so come home and too many hobbies!

    Here is what I still need to start reading:

    Gone with the Wind – Been putting this off. Will start this weekend for sure.

    The Song of Achilles – Need to read this as I have it from the library.

    It’s looking like I may have to read two books at the same time. Something I rarely ever do.

  • Books,  Musings

    Sunday Salon: Hobbies

    Sunday Salon

    This week I read Venetia by Georgette Heyer. I still need to start Gone with the Wind and catch up to my library books, but I’m too busy today to read. Argh.

    I have been very busy with work, life and my other interests to read much lately. When I was a kid, I only had one major hobby, interest and activity (discounting the TV): reading. Since then, I have accumulated more hobbies in my life and while reading is still the top, things are competing with my time.

    Here is just a small list of them: Reading/Books, Knitting, Spinning, Photography, Writing/this blog, TV and Movies, Yoga, Badminton, Fiddle/Violin and more. Yes, this week, I’ve taken up the violin again by going to fiddle lessons. Is this long term? Doubtful, but I am entertaining it for the short term. I like to keep myself busy, and as an introvert, I’m not super social especially since most of my friends don’t even live in this town anymore. Still, I have to divide time for my family and friends as well. Not to mention full time work (however insecure that is).

    The yoga and badminton don’t take much time of my week. I’ll probably stop going to yoga in the winter, but reading, knitting and this blog take up a good amount of time. I haven’t had enough time to really spin so that’s dropped off.

    Well, I’m glad to be keeping busy and balancing things that I like to do for the most part though I have to watch the expense sometime too.

    What are you doing to keep yourself busy?

  • Books

    Venetia by Georgette Heyer

    Venetia by Georgette Heyer

    This is one of the most popular Heyer books. I debated between 3 to 4 stars on GoodReads because while I think it is one of the most well written of her works, I found myself not particularly engrossed in parts.

    My biggest issue was that there wasn’t enough of the main characters, particularly of the male lead Damerel. The relationship between the two protagonists begin very well. It develops into a lovely friendship and completely believable how they fall in love with another one. Then the lovebirds time gets cut short as obstacles get in there way.

    The other issue was that there were many annoying, interfering characters. This aspect and the introspective nature of Venetia made the whole book very Austen-like in both the good and bad way.

    There was something about the pacing of this book that was slower than the rest of Heyer’s books. I think it’s a lot like Lady of Quality which was one of Heyer’s books. Like that novel, the female protagonist is very well developed, clever, and independent. Also, like that novel, you only see the man in the denouement.

    It is well written from a character stand point. It even hit a bit close to home. I really relate to those Heyer heroines in their mid twenties like Venetia. Like them, I think I have a romantic nature, but at the same time, there is a lot of sense shared between these characters and I. I don’t aspire too much in romance, and there is always and independent sort of zeal from many of her ‘spinister’ leads that I also share.

    This novel has an additional twist that I didn’t really see coming. It was melodramatic (on the soap operatic end) which isn’t the usual for Heyer, but it worked. It was more of a minor plot device to move things forward. Still rather a nice little surprise.

    All in all, I would say this one of the most well written of Heyer books, but it is not necessarily one of my favourites or the one I would reread first. Recommended if you like her stuff because this is a favourite for many of Heyer’s fans.

    Read on my Kindle September 10-14th, 2012.

  • Books

    Booking Through Thursday – Organization

    On Booking Through Thursday this week:

    How do you organize/store your books? Do you go through them often? Or do you pretty much just shelve them and then leave them alone until you need them?

    The second. I roughly organize them by genre, anticipated time I will read them. So I have one shelf all fiction/classics and part of one shelf for cookbooks. I also put the knitting books away on my desk or with the cookbooks.

    Recently, I ran out of space for my books so I put some of those that I have read in the closet. I think for someone who has read over 800 books, I really don’t own a lot of them. I do buy used books to read, but for the most part, a lot of my books are one I bought because I read them already and wanted to keep them for future rereads.

    I will organize them when I get new books and shift them around when I need to, but in general, I don’t really organize them by authors or anything like that.

    How about you?

  • Knitting & Crafting

    WIP Wednesday: Stashbusting Lopi

    Hazel Knits Yarn Club August

    Last week, my first ever yarn/sock club purchase came in the mail from Hazel Knits Yarn Club. I have been waiting for this package for almost a month. Actually, if you factor in the fact I bought the early bird, I’ve been waiting for it for two months!

    I am not sure why it was delayed. From the USA, things can take as quick as one week, usually less than two weeks. I became increasingly worried about it because it is very nice yarn and was my first club purchase. Even on the day it arrived September 4th, I was preparing to email Wendee the dyer and/or the USPS.

    But it came and it is lovely! I am not sure what to do with it at the moment other than to ogle and fondle it. I may use the green for a stranded sweater I had in mind. Not sure. It did come with a stranded sock pattern which is also tempting. Hmm.

    In other news, I finished Girasole and it is big, lacey, dry and with rough edges. The FO post up this Friday hopefully.

    As usual, I always start a new project right after I finish the previous one. My current project is stashbusting lopi by making Taska, a purse from Istex Lopi book #25. I own this book because I bought two years ago to make my first sweater, Aftur:

    aftur

    Gosh, I adore lopi. You can’t wear it everyday and it’s difficult to wear indoors because it is so hot, but when for outdoors, it is perfect. I’ve worn it on a hike in the woods in the autumn and skating with a merino turtleneck underneath at -15’C. It feels like iron. I was always proud of this sweater even though it is a bit on the boxy side since I didn’t add any waist shaping. As a first sweater, I think it is pretty good.

    When I finished it, I ended up with a lot of leftovers including almost two full balls of the MC and lots of bits from the fair isle. Taska is the companion project and just a way for me to stashbust and knit lopi again. It is unlikely that I will use the purse very much, but it will be cute none the less.

    Taska purse

    Thanks for reading. Let me know what is on your needles today?

  • Books

    Sunday Salon: Pre-Autumn

    Sunday Salon

    Hello! It rained all of yesterday which was lovely for sleep and relaxing. I spent it catching up to “Celebrity Masterchef” (UK) and watching The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (recommended).

    This week, I read Where we belong by Emily Giffin and Arabella by Georgette Heyer. Work was very busy this week so I was too tired to read towards the end of the week.

    Today, I want to knit some more because I really want to finish this blanket. I am also rewatching My Neighbour Totoro. As for books, I have a lot still from the library including Venetia by Georgette Heyer, The Song of Achilles, The City of Dreaming Books, and more. Of course, I still need to start Gone with the Wind. At this rate, I may not start it until October.

    The weather has gotten cold now, and I think it will stay this way. Now I can slowly take out my tights and fall skirts. What about you? Do you feel the change in the air where you are?

  • Books

    Arabella by Georgette Heyer

    Arabella by Georgette Heyer

    This was delightful. I haven’t read a Heyer novel in a month and maybe I missed her, but this is one of my favourite of her novels.

    This classic Heyer: most eligible yet indifferent dandy bachelor gets enthralled with an innocent yet headstrong girl. I noticed that with this novel that sometimes I find the men in Heyer’s romances younger than their years and the girls somewhat older so it equals out. In her books, a lot of the rich men are encouraged to be spoilt boys. But they are still gentleman, otherwise they would be poor romantic leads.

    Arabella is a lovely protagonist. While innocent and not the most cosmpolitan, she is a good daughter, sister, and a kind person. Also, she is mischevious just enough without being annoying. The fact that her lie was preposterous, but I liked it. She really makes up for it by being one of the few heroines actually to consider social justice and charity. She is flawed, but not overly. She definitely puts Mr Robert Beaumarais in his place.

    There is aspects of Pride and Prejdudice in this work, and careful readers of Austen will notice the allusions. Mr Beaumarais is a bit of a Darcy. All handsome, proud, stylish and hiding his good heart beneath it. There are some really nice scenes with him and his dog Ulysses. The extent in which he draws to draw out Arabella is fun to read.

    The only thing annoying about the book was Arabella’s brother Bertram. Often times, Heyer heroines have rather silly and not the most helpful brothers.

    This was one of those few Heyer books where I love the hero and heroine equally. Usually, I favour one slightly more (or grossly more in some cases) over the other. The only other time I found this was Sylvester which was even more like P&P. I think the merit is that Heyer is able to balance out the time she spent developing both characters. She focused more on Arabella and her lively family in the first half and shifts the focus to Robert in the second half. Not many authors can really balance such nice character development equally, but when is at her best, she makes it look easy.

    I would reread this novel. It was sweet and fun. I even laughed out loud once or twice which is not a common occurence for me. A good, light romantic read.

    Read September 3rd-4th 2012.

  • Books

    Booking Through Thursday – School Books

    This week on Booking Through Thursday:

    We all had to read things in school that we didn’t like … but what about something you read for a class that you ended up liking (or loving)? An author you discovered that you might not have found? A genre you hadn’t thought about?

    Since I have always loved to read, it’s not surprising that I ended up liking a lot of what I read pre-university in English class. I mean I loved some of the stuff and knew I would: Shakespeare, To Kill a Mockingbird and a couple of others.

    I discovered The Princess Bride (actually we watched the movie so I had to read the book) and John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids from the same excellent English teacher.

    I also think I would have discovered Thomas Hardy eventually, but I am always glad to have studied Mayor of Casterbridge so I found him earlier.

    I also took a religion and philosophy course so that exposed to me to some texts earlier.

    In university, I read a lot of stuff as I wouldn’t otherwise read because I ended up as a public and international affairs major so I read a bit of everything in social sciences: political science, law, economics, health, gender studies. Some I liked more than others.

    How about you?