Knitting Notes

I think I’m starting to understand the near rabid devotion to sock knitting that I’ve been seeing out and about in my blog/podcast travels. I cast the above on last night, and actually worked on it until my eyes were starting to hurt. It was just so fun I didn’t want to put it down! Once I figured out how to hold the dang needles, I was flying. These things come together so quickly I admit to being a bit stumped by the idea of second sock syndrome. All I wanted to do today was come home and get going again, but I’m only now going to have the time to sit down and continue on. I could definitely get addicted to this.


Knitting Notes

I finished my mobius scarf tonight! It was so wonderfully easy to make, fits perfectly, and is so warm! I admit to a certain disappointment about the color. It’s called moss, and was a little greener in the photos when I ordered it. I don’t dislike this color, but it doesn’t match either of my winter coats particularly well. I do love the pattern, and I think I’ll try to find something not in wool and make one for my mother for Christmas (she has wool issues).

I went ahead and blazed through the scarf after getting home from MA today, because on my way down yesterday, I stopped at a yarn store in York. Before I’d left, I decided I wanted to try my hand at some socks. The same book I got the mobius pattern from also has a sock pattern that’s pretty easy, and after reading it through, actually made sense to me, and didn’t make me want to quake in fear of using double pointed needles. So, I stopped in at the Yarn Sellar, and found my way to their sock yarn. I’m just really glad I don’t live that close to that store, as I dropped a little more money than I’d been planning, but it was all so pretty!

Tonight, provided I don’t fall asleep first, I’m going to be casting on socks from this lovely wool:

I’m going to make these for myself, and pray they come out correctly. If they do, I’m going to make some socks for my sister for Christmas out of the following. I knew this yarn was meant to be for her when I saw it, immediately thought of her, and then noticed that the colorway is named “Crazy Woman”. It’s so perfect, I had to buy it 🙂 So here’s hoping my pair work out (heck, if one works, I’ll skip straight to hers and finish mine later). She has a major sock addiction, and I know she’ll just love these.

I also bought a skein of a colorway called Black Forest Fudge, but don’t have any immediate plans of who to make socks for with it.

Weekend Notes

Just finished a thoroughly enjoyable weekend. On Friday night after meeting for a beer (for the guys at least, as I’m more of a wine girl myself), we and a couple friends went on a tour of Portland’s Eastern Cemetery done by Spirits Alive. It was a lot of fun. They had people posing as some of the old, interesting or semi-famous residents (as it were) of the cemetery as we wended our way through in the dark. Actually, it was the perfect night for it. The moon was full, with some rather artfully stingy clouds wafting across it occasionally, so it was both light, and extremely picturesque.

Yesterday, I headed down to MA for the 10th annual Halloween party thrown by my best friend and her sister. A good time was had by all, and I didn’t get bed until 2 last night. After a fabulous breakfast at a place in Marlborough, I did a quick read of my friend’s vet school essays, and then headed home while we were both still feeling awake, me so I could drive, and her to finish her essays and submit the application, which is due Thursday.

I did stop in a yarn store in York, and made purchases, but will be detailing those in my knitting notes.

Young Adult Challenge – 1/1/08 – 12/31/08

I’d been considering this challenge when I ended up in my Amazon wishlist, and realized I could do it easily based on a few books I have kicking around here, and the contents of the kids/young adult section of my wishlist (yep, I do have my wishlist broken down by subject or genre, it’d be scarily large otherwise, and yes, it’s cross referenced to what I can get at the library). And then, since I’d already created the list, it seemed silly not to go sign up for the challenge, even if I did promise myself I’d hold off on signing up for anything until after Nanowrimo is over. Oh well. It was a nice plan while it lasted 🙂

Here’s my list:

Books I have here:
In the Forests of the Night – Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Slam – Nick Hornby
Touchmark – Mildred Lawrence
Inkheart – Cornelia Funke

Books from the Library (I’ve included a few extra in case I have trouble managing to check anything out):

Blood and Chocolate – Annette Klause
The Book of Three – Lloyd Alexander
The Naming – Alison Croggon
Beast – Donna Jo Napoli
First Test – Tamora Pierce
Terrier – Tamora Pierce
The Goose Girl – Shannon Hale
Skellig – David Almond
Clockwork – Philip Pullman
Green Boy – Susan Cooper
Twilight – Stephanie Meyer

Sorcery and the Single Girl – Mindy Klasky

0373895631-01-_sx142_sy224_sclzzzzzzz_I really need to stop reading chick lit with an expectation of great plot development or stunning new characterizations. I need to remember that the girls in these stories are supposed to have guy problems, even when they seem otherwise too intelligent to get themselves into that kind of situation multiple times. I also need to remember that they must be alienated from their best friend at least once in a series arc.

This is not to say I hated this book (though I did like the first one in the series better). I just wish I could suspend my need for reasonable literary trappings a little more easily.

At least it was good fluff.

Loreena McKennitt

We went to see Loreena McKennitt last night, which was an absolutely heavenly way to spend a Monday evening. We’d actually already seen her during this tour last spring in Boston, as we had no idea she’d be making it up into our neck of the woods. Both shows were absolutely amazing, but I enjoyed last night’s show more than the Boston show.

At both shows, I was incredibly impressed by her voice. Her crew has managed to nail the mikes and instrument mix. Everything blends wonderfully. There are times you really can’t tell it’s a live show.

What I liked about last night was probably mostly based on the comparitive intimacy of the setting (Wang Center vs. Merrill Auditorium – two very different sized venues). She was a lot chattier last night, and told us a lot more about the songs when she spoke. I dare say she was having a bit more fun. (They had one of the crew come out during the encore to play with the band, something that didn’t happen in Boston.) I do love watching the band in action. They’re clearly having a blast.

The highlight of last night had to be “The Highwayman”. This is a song that on the album, I tend to lose track of in the middle. It’s long song, but last night, she nailed it, and I was pretty much on the edge of my seat listening. In the climatic verses, she managed to put more feeling in each verse, just when you thought she’d reached the top of her vocal crescendo. It was incredible, and made me respect that song a heck of a lot more.

Weekend Notes

What an amazing weekend. I’ve been walking around in short sleeves and sandals. Of course, half of this walking around was in search of weather proofing. So we’ve basically spent the weekend sealing the half of the windows we don’t have open. Such is fall in Maine!

My main discovery of the weekend is that I actually don’t mind watching baseball, or football so long as I have something else (yay knitting!) to do in the meantime. (Go Sox!) My boyfriend was thoroughly impressed that I managed to stay in the living room for the entire game. I’m currently working on a nice and easy mobius scarf, which is doing quite nicely after all the time I spent on it yesterday.

R.I.P. II Reading Challenge

I’ve finished the R.I.P II challenge. I think it’s actually the third one I signed up for, but it’s the first one I’ve actually finished.

I’m very glad I picked the tome version of the challenge, as it was a great excuse to read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and to dip my toes into Gormenghast. Both of these books (we own a Gormenghast omnibus) have been on my radar for a while, but either sheer volume (JSMN) or language barrier (the style of Gormenghast) had previously prevented me from picking either up. (I’d even originally intended to read the first two books of the Gormenghast series, but I found the first to be plenty enough of a challenge to give it singular tome status.) So it was good to get some of that reading under my belt.

That being said, if I do this challange again next year, I’m going more of a normal book route. My book counts for the months of September and October are dismal compared to the other months of the year. I don’t feel like I’ve read less, but it sure looks like it. I’m very much looking forward to a couple of good fluffy reads now that I’m down with the weighty stuff.

Titus Groan – Mervyn Peake

8deb9946bdcb3f559332f4c53514141414d6741Read for the R.I.P. II Reading Challenge.

It’s not every day where you read a book where the titular character doesn’t ever speak a word. Titus Groan is the first novel in the Gormenghast series, and starts with the birth of Titus, the heir to the earldom of Gormenghast, a large pile of a building filled with an incredibly diverse cast of characters. By the end of the book, Titus is still in his first year. The book therefore follows the stories of all of the people around him – his family, the servants of the castle, and even the folk that live outside the castle walls. It’s an incredibly atmospheric book, and definitely one of the most unique I’ve ever read.

Peake’s style if probably best described as word painting. It’s definitely prose, not poetry, but it needs almost the same level of attention to draw out the depths of what he is conveying. Gormenghast and the land around it are characters in this book, and are lavished with as much description as any of the human characters. I actually found this to be somewhat exhausting, as I’m a relatively fast reader, and I found myself having to slow way down to be able to take in enough detail to follow the story.

That being said, I can’t say that there’s much of a plot to this book. It’s really about the existence of this place, and the rituals that are performed to keep to going, and the fact that this baby is heir to this great rambling place and all its idiosyncrasies. Before I was accidentally tipped off to the plot of one of the future books, I spent a good deal of time wondering how Titus would change this place when he grew up, because it seems a place ripe for change once one of the earls decides he’s no longer interested in maintaining the incredible web of ritual Gormenghast requires to survive in its current state.

I think I can say I enjoyed this book. My enjoyment was definitely tempered by the near pain of the pace I was forced to take, which is why I will not immediately continuing on to the next book in the series. That being said, I do intend to read the next book. (I may stop there, as Peake was never fully able to finish the third book, due to illness and his eventual death, and I’m told it’s definitely inferior to the first two.) I’ll probably just have to give it a year before I’m ready to dive back into this incredibly detailed world again.

High Excitement!

I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.

We just booked tickets (first balcony, second row center) to see Doctor Who and Captain Picard (ok, David Tennant and Patrick Stewart, for the non-extreme geek) do Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon next November. Hurray!

We’ve been waiting to go back to England for several years now, but have been a bit deterred by the exchange rate, but when we found about this production, we decided the exchange rate be damned, we were getting tickets if it killed us. Fortunately, we have a friend in London that’s been watching things for us, and called this morning to tell us to book now.

I’m so excited. I get to plan another trip abroad. Must find fun things to do around Stratford. (Should get back to Bath for a day to see Jane Austen things.) Hurray!!!