Knitting Notes

Kiila sock #1 is done!

For my first toe up sock, and considering it was a mystery sock, I think it turned out pretty well. The heel is a bit on the puckery side, but that evens out when I put it on. I also had to frog the bind off twice (and use a bigger needle the last time) before it was loose enough for me to fit the sock over my ankle. Definitely have a come up with a better bind off for next pair.

So I did manage to finish a pair of socks in May. Sure, they’re two entirely different socks, but they’re still two!


Earth Abides – George R. Stewart

Read for the It’s the End of the World Reading Challenge.

Isherwood Williams is in the mountains when the plague that wipes out most of humanity happens. He travels back to his home in San Francisco through an oddly silent land, having to piece together what happens from what little information was left before most people died.

Once home, he embarks on a journey across the whole of the United States, to see who might have survived, and the state of the empty land. It’s ultimately a lonely journey, and he returns home to San Francisco, where he meets a woman named Em. Together with Em and a few other survivors that they meet over the years, Ish and his family eventually form a new community, and he lives long enough to see a new society form.

The thing that struck me about this book is that even though it was published in 1949, it has a very timeless quality about it. Ish’s travels through the newly empty world could take place today. It’s only in a few minor details along the way that the age of the story comes through, and they’re not details important enough to take away from the timeless quality.

The timelessnes made the story of how the Tribe evolves ring very true. The author obviously put a great deal of thought into how children born after the end of the great society that built everything around them would view the leaving of such a society. To have Ish and the other direct survivors of the plague labeled as “Americans” as if Americans were somehow demigods made perfect sense by the end of this story. And while there are trials and travails, I think this is ultimately the most uplifting post-apocalyptic tale that I’ve read.

Knitting Notes

Eunice sock #1 is done! In hindsight, I could have probably managed another full pattern repeat on the foot, but that is the part that’s covered by shoes, so it’s probably no big deal that there’s a little extra boring part of the pattern down there.

I still love the Malabrigo, and the pattern is great. It’s challenging without being overly difficult. Definitely a good choice.


I hit upon a brilliant idea earlier in the week. Rather than fight the crowds at Broadway Gardens over the holiday weekend, I went after work today. Full Memorial Day weekend selection before the hoards have a chance to descend. It was a little busy, but I easily got parking, and had no trouble getting a wagon and making my leisurely way through the grounds. I’m so going to have to remember this for the future.

I was pretty shade oriented this trip. I replaced my heuchera with a lovely purple shaded one, to be different this time. I also got a Bruneria, an Astible, and a foliage begonia, as well as my customary impatiens and coleus.

For the sunny garden, I kept it simple this year, and just got some marigolds and some annual salvia. I also got some basil, parsley and sage, and will do my best to not neglect those this year, so I can actually get some use out of them. We’ll see how well that goes.

All and all, it was a very satisfying trip. No I just need to find the time to get them all planted. That should be interesting, with the two jam packed weekends I have coming…

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – Seth Grahame-Smith

Jane Austen is either spinning in her grave, or laughing her ass off from heaven over this book. I’m sure many purists are full of righteous indignation over it, and I wouldn’t recommend it to my co-worker that reads Jane Austen, because I know the zombies aren’t her cup of tea, but this is a must read for any Jane Austen fan that also appreciates a good genre book.

What I enjoyed most is that author kept the original flavor of P&P quite well, even using a great deal of the original dialogue. When things deviate, they make sense. I was quite happy to read of the escapades of the Bennett sisters, defenders of Hertfordshire in the fight against the undead. I won’t go too much into the story, because it’s the differences from the original book here that make it fun. I will only say that it was a really great read (causing me to stay up way past my bedtime, in fact), perhaps best encapsulated by the last of the “Reader’s Discussion Guide” questions from the back of the book:

“10. Some scholars believe that the zombies were a last minute addition to the novel, requested by the publisher in a shameless attempt to boost sales. Others argue that the hordes of living dead are integral to Jane Austen’s plot and social commentary. What do you think? Can you imagine what this novel might be like without the violent zombie mayhem?” Read the book in the spirit of this, and you’ll enjoy it immensely.

My one small quibble with the book is the illustrations. After retaining the flavor of the original so well, having illustrations done with the characters in a later style of clothing than the proper Regency dress was a bit disappointing. I’m not saying it killed my enjoyment of the book, but everything else was done so well, I’m surprised that this wasn’t.

Knitting Notes

I downloaded clue #3 for Kiila on Saturday. It was a cloudy about to rain kind of day, so I sat right down, and finished it off that morning.

I’d been pretty nervous about the short row heel, so I actually life-lined the end of clue #2 (you can see the red thread), but it ended up being much easier than I had feared. I don’t know if that’s because toe-up heels are always easier then top-down heels, but whatever it was that made this one easier, I’ll take it.

I’ve also been working along on Eunice. I just finished the gusset decreases, and am set to do the rest of the foot. I really like this pattern. It’s a shorter sock, purposefully, and I decided to follow the pattern, since the Malabrigo is on lighter amount side of sock yarns, but I think I would have been safe doing another repeat of the pattern on the leg.

And finally, I cast on a February Lady sweater back on Tuesday. I was extra tired that night, and figured I could hack the stockinette more easily than cabled socks. I’m using Fibre Company Knightsbridge yarn, in the Burgundy colorway, which is really a mix of black and purple. It’s a lovely, soft yarn, and it’s been fun to work with so far. I did have one minor frog in the beginning, when I managed to not cast on enough stitches for the size I’m making, despite having gone through and highlighted my size everywhere it was noted. Did I mention I was extra tired when I cast this on?


I had a night to myself last night, and spent nearly the whole time working on the garden (and my entire backside is protesting this morning). Early spring has gone by, and everything is well into late spring form.

My potted perennials suffered a bit this winter. Neither of my Heuchera came back, so I finally brought those pots back into the garage. I’m officially going to give up on Amber Waves Heuchera. This is the second one I’ve had that didn’t survive its first winter. Still, I love heucheras in general, and will pick up another one when I go in for my annual spring plant binge in a couple of weeks.

I did pick up two plants yesterday at Lowe’s (original purpose for trip = mulch), the first of which is the above foam flower (Tiarella). The foliage is really cool, and I like that this will actually bloom (unlike the foliage Heucheras). So I was pretty much forced to bring it home, despite promising myself I’d only buy mulch. (Like I believed I could keep that promise.)

As I mentioned, I went to Lowe’s last night to buy mulch. The side garden needs a touch up, and due to the Great Lilac Hacking of last fall, the back garden bed is getting more sun. I’ve already seen dandelions back there, a sight I’ve never seen before. So I decided I’d mulch the back bed and attempt to keep back the weeds. As you can see from above, the lilac has come back a bit, but it’s clearly not going to be anywhere close to full form for a good long while, so this bed may turn out to be usable for a while.

The other plant I bought last night was a package of variegated Lamium. I’ve seen them around the neighborhood under trees, and if they’ll survive this bed, they’ll make a nice ground cover that will keep out the weeds without the need for mulch, and that will survive once the lilac grows in more.

I’m also considering getting some compost to spread on the bed in the fall. There are lily of the valley back there that are pretty sparse, and I’m wondering if it’s just due to lack of nutrition. It’s a nice crumbly soil back there, but I’m not sure it’s got any substance to it.

So, two bags of mulch later, the bed looks much neater. We’ll see how it progresses through the summer.

The side garden is in that awkward state where the bulb foliage is still out, and dominating a great deal of space, but the flowers are mostly gone by (half of the tulips are still pretty). This the worst time of year in this garden. It’s pretty much impossible to work around the bulbs. I’ll be able to touch up the mulch in the half of the bed closest to the garage, but the side closest to the street is pretty much a lost cause until the daffodils die down.

Now, I love spring bulbs, and fully intend to have them when I have my own garden, but I can definitely tell you that they will not be planted in any beds where I have summer plants.

What I was able to do is the biennial Rugosa rose hack. There were a number of shoots that had grown taller then the brick foundation, and I got rid of all of them. I even took out the bits that were supporting the clematis. The clematis has plenty of other support, and I wanted as much of the big stuff out of there as I could get. Now, once the daffodils die down, I’ll need to get in there and see if there are any stumps I can pull out. It’s pretty much a never ending battle with this thing. I’ll never, ever buy one for myself.

At this point, I do still need to touch up as much of the mulch as I can in the side garden, but it’s supposed to rain, so I’m not sure when I’ll be able to do that. Once that’s done, I’m out of work until my spring buying spree. That’ll be a little late this year, due to some traveling I have to do at the of the month, so now I’m counting the days until June.

Booking Through Thursday

Book Gluttony! Are your eyes bigger than your book belly? Do you have a habit of buying up books far quicker than you could possibly read them? Have you had to curb your book buying habits until you can catch up with yourself? Or are you a controlled buyer, only purchasing books when you have run out of things to read?

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question seemed rather apt. After my latest stop at the Big Chicken Barn, I’ve been pondering my To Read pile. I should qualify that this is my official To Read pile, which lives on my bureau, and consists of the books I’ve picked up at used book stores or have been given to me, as well as my Paperspine books before I’ve read enough to send them back. Books I buy full price rarely make it into this pile, because if I’ve paid full price, I usually want to read it then and there. In fact, if you look to the left of this picture, you can see the edge of another stack of books. Those are the books I recently bought full price, immediately read, and need to put into storage.

This pile is too big. I didn’t get any of these books with a timeframe I felt like I had to read them in, but when I get this many sitting in one place, I get antsy. Fortunately, it’s coming up to summer, and I have vacation coming. Vacation is my excuse to read a book a day for a couple (or more) days in a row. I can totally remedy this pile with a little bit of vacation time. Unless we stop at a good used book store. Then all bets are off. But I don’t mind the pile so much if all the books are new.