Knitting Notes

Pattern: Brocade Leaves Pullover by Kathy Zimmerman from the Fall 2008 Knitscene
Yarn: Knit Picks Merino Style in the Storm Colorway
Needles: 7s and 5s

Just in time for me not to be able to wear it because it’s too warm, I’ve finished my Brocade Leaves sweater. I started this sweater back in August. Piece #1 (the back) was relatively smooth sailing. The leaf pattern repeat is easy to memorize, and goes pretty quickly. Things got a little slower once I got to the other pieces, all of which involved shaping. Having to count out for increases or decreases seemed to take a lot longer then it should have. So that’s why I managed to take seven months to complete a pretty simple sweater.

I’m happy with the finished the result. I think the shaping worked out evenly, and it fits pretty well. I love the yarn, which is lovely and soft, though it’s not superwash, so I’ll have to be careful when I wash it.

All and all, I’m feeling pretty successful, having finally completed this project. The finishing actually came out pretty well, and I feel much, much better about my ability to make a finished garment that I won’t mind being seen in outside of my own home.


Princess Academy – Shannon Hale

Read for the 2009 YA Reading Challenge.

Miri lives on Mount Eskel, the one place in Danland where the prized linder rock is mined. Everyone in Miri’s village works in the linder mines, except for Miri herself, who at fourteen is tiny, and not very suited to mine work. Still, Miri wishes she could work in the mine, and help her family and the village.

As this is really a fairy tale, Miri’s wishes are of course answered, and it comes in the form of the heir to the throne having to choose a wife. In their country, when the prince is old enough to marry, the priests scry for the location of where his future bride lives. And for the first time, the answer is Mount Eskel. And so it is that the lowlanders come to the mountain, and set up an academy to teach all of the “wild mountain girls” between the ages of 13 and 17 how to be princesses, in anticipation of the prince arriving, and choosing one of the girls as his wife. Naturally, they learn a lot more in the academy than anyone thought they would.

This is a sweet growing up and figuring out who you really are and what’s really important to you tale. I had figured out fairly early on who the princess would end up being, but I was still a little surprised by the end how the choice came to be. The setting is beautifully described, and you can tell the author loves her mountains.

This is a Newbery Honor book, so I’m clearly not the only one that enjoyed reading it.

Knitting Notes

I have successfully completed the four pieces for my Brocade Leaves sweater. To finish, I only need to sew the pieces together, and do a bit more knitting on the neckline.

I’m a little nervous about the sewing together part of this. I’ve seamed knitting before, but this is the first thing I’m planning to seam that I’m also planning to wear, and I’m terribly nervous that I’ll manage to muck it up somehow so it’s completely unwearable. Frankly, I’ve been sewing long enough that I really need to not worry about this, but I am anyway. Here’s hoping things go smoothly.

As a reward for finishing up the final sleeve last night, I cast on some Waving Lace socks, for this month’s Sockdown challenge (lace socks). I’m using the Woodland Sage colorway of the Knitpicks Risata I picked up a month or so ago.

Two Lights State Park – Cape Elizabeth, ME

It being a gorgeous Spring(!) day, I absolutely couldn’t stand to hang around the house, so I headed out to Cape, and to Two Lights. I tend to avoid the park in the summer, because it’s fairly small, and often packed, but as you can see from the empty benches above, it was next to empty today, even in all the glorious sun.

There is no beach at this park. Like most of the coast of Maine, it’s rocky headland. What I can’t convey in pictures is the sense of movement you get along this kind of coast. There’s always pounding surf. It’s much louder than the rush of the waves along a beach, and you can hear it easily even once you move away from the coast, and walk into the woods.

It being the end of winter, the main botanical features of the park are what’s leftover from last year. There are interesting splashes of living color, but it’s not from the trees yet. The lichen in the first picture below is a startling reminder of life among all the brown. And, you can’t forget that a lot of the brown is actually alive too. This is the time of year when it’s possible to see the basic structure of the plants, and what’s been creeping in and around the shrubs along the pathways.

And finally, I was absolutely in love with the remains of this tree. I’m not sure if it was injured during a winter storm, or just finally came to the end of its life, but they hadn’t carted away the remains yet, and it was spread out as a two dimensional representation of how it stood in life. It was a oddly poignant sight to come across.

Once Upon a Time III Reading Challenge

It’s time again for Carl’s Once Upon a Time Challenge.

I’m going to do Quest the First, which involves reading at least five books in the four categories (fantasy, fairy tale, folk lore and mythology) between 3/21/09 and 6/20/09. I actually wouldn’t mind doing Quest the Second, which is to read one book in each category, but I’m not sure I have the time to scope out books in those categories. I know I have easy access to fantasy, and I have one mythology themed book I’ve been meaning to read for years, but I don’t have fairy tale or folklore books that I haven’t read lying around the house. So I may switch it over to Quest the Second if I happen to fall into such a reading list, but I’m not going to worry about it much if I don’t.

I know I’ll definitely be reading the following:

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld – Patricia A. McKillip
The Nibelungenlied

For the rest, I’ll see what comes to me.

Knitting Notes

Pattern: Chrissy Gardener’s Moonflower socks
Yarn: Three Irish Girl’s Carys BFL sock
Needles: 1.5 DPNs

I finally finished my Moonflower socks! The only modification I made to the pattern was to user larger needles, since I wanted to give them to someone other than a toddler or midget. It’s a lovely pattern, but I think it’s cemented my love of larger pattern repeats. The first sock crawled when I didn’t know how many more repeats I needed to get to the milestone. The second sock wasn’t nearly as bad, but the mental damage had already been done.

This marks the first time I used some of my Sock Yarnista club yarn. It’s also the first time I experienced Blue-Faced Leicester yarn. I definitely enjoyed knitting with it. It did have a pretty tight twist (which wasn’t so fun to deal with when reknitting the portion I’d frogged), but it has a lovely feel to it. I also really love this colorway, which is nothing I’d normally buy, but is completely gorgeous.

So now that I’m finally done with these, I’m going to try and finish the sleeve on my Brocade Leave Sweater before casting anything else on, but I do have plans for the March Sockdown challenge, so we’ll see if I can keep to that resolution.

It’s the End of the World Reading Challenge II – 3/10/09 – 10/9/09

When I initially saw a link to Becky’s It’s the End of the World Reading Challenge, I thought it looked interesting, and saved a link for future reference.

Well, it’s future time. My Paperspine queue is going deep – seriously, I’ve got 16 books on top for challenges, and they’re apparently all checked out to other readers – and I now have two post-Apocalyptic books either here, or on their way. Since that’s half a challenge list right there, it seems a little silly to not sign up right now.

I’ll definitely be reading the following:

Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse – John Joseph Adams, ed.
Earth Abides – George R Stewart

I’ll fill in the other two books for the list by October. At this rate, Paperspine may do it for me.

The Snow Queen – Mercedes Lackey

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Mercedes Lackey’s 500 Kingdoms books. They’re an interesting take on the form of fairy tales. The Fairy Godmother (the first one) is still my favorite, but The Snow Queen has just taken its place as second in that line.

The Snow Queen is the story of Aleksia, the Godmother of the Palace of Ever-Winter, sometimes known as the Ice Fairy, or the Snow Queen. She doesn’t actually have a heart of ice, but it doesn’t hurt that the young men and women she’s frequently called upon to teach important life lessons think that she does. And that’s all very well and good until word comes of a sorceress impersonating the Snow Queen, and killing whole villages in her name.

This book deals chiefly with the snow-based fairy tales – Aleksia herself was a Snow White, and often plays the Snow Queen – but it also brings in the legends of the Sammi of the north. Aleksia must enlist the help of the Sammi to defeat the sorceress impersonating her.

I really enjoyed the interplay of the two story lines. My one quibble with the book is how quickly it ended. The interweaving threads took a good deal of time and detail to come together, and it ended with far too little ceremony. I was left wanting to see more of the story of Aleksia and her friends in the north.