Knitting Notes

In the spirit of Clean Out Megan’s Knitting Basket April, I have two project reports. Above, is how far I got on the Cabled Swing Cardi by Norah Gaughan, from The Knitter’s Book of Yarn. That would be all the piecing, with only the neckline left to do. And it doesn’t fit. It’s way too big, and proportionally too long. I’ve left it setting in my basket for a little while, hoping I would be inspired to be able to fit it, but that’s not going to happen. I’m going to frog it, starting tonight, and use the yarn for something else. I’m very unhappy about losing some of this (I adore the front cable panel), but it’s for the best. This is not the sweater I need to experiment on shaping with. I know that would be a disaster. So it’s back to the drawing board for that yarn.

In other news, I’ve cast on the Claudia Hat with the Fibre Company Canopy worsted in the Yerba Mate colorway I’d previously tried out in the Star Crossed beret. This hat has much more traditional shaping, so should actually look ok my head. I figure the yarn should be able to stick for this project.


The Changeling Sea – Patricia A. McKillip

Read for the Once Upon a Time IV Reading Challenge.

Peri has lost both her parents to the Sea – her father when he left one morning in his fishing boat, and her mother, because she has never stopped waiting for Peri’s father to come home, and no longer lives in quite the same world as Peri. That’s when Peri decides to use what little magic she knows to hex the Sea. This simple little charm brings the sons of the king into her life, and much more magic than she ever dreamed of.

I don’t have a new way to describe how much I love reading McKillip’s words. She has an amazing ability to describe beauty in everyday moments, and this book is no exception to that. Better yet, this is the book about the sea I was expecting in McKillip’s Something Rich and Strange, and had been a bit disappointed not to find. This story about the sea captures everything I love about the ocean, the creatures, the mercurial nature of the waves, the colors of sky above. And though it’s both a love story and a fairy tale, it’s not a slave to those conventions, and manages to be surprising until the very end. It’s a lovely little book, and I could read it again and again.

Knitting Notes

Pattern: Haruha Scarf by Mari Muinonen
Yarn: Malabrigo sock in the Solis colorway
Needles: Size 7

I’ll admit, when I first managed to cut through this skein of Malabrigo sock while opening the package, I didn’t think I’d ever manage to use it in a project. I’m pleasantly surprised how well this scarf came out. There’s twenty-nine separate pieces in there, with many knots (because I’m lazy), but you can’t tell without really close inspection. I haven’t blocked it (and probably won’t have time until this weekend), but I can already tell I’m going to enjoy wearing this scarf. I’ll no longer have to see wasted potential in this yarn, and, I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.

Vaughan Woods State Park and Hamilton House – South Berwick, ME

Our trip in yesterday’s lovely weather was to Vaughn Woods State Park, which is next to Hamilton House, one of my favorite places in Southern Maine. (They were once the same property. While the state was happy to take the Woods from the Vaughn Family estate, they didn’t want the upkeep on Hamilton House, so it went to Historic New England.)

Vaughn Woods is a really nice little park, with several walking trails paralleling the Salmon Falls River. There’s also a path up to Hamilton House, which is very sleepy this time of year. It was strange to see the gardens there with so little in them. It’ll be an interesting contrast when we’re able to make it back there later this summer.

Enna Burning – Shannon Hale

Read for the Once Upon a Time IV and 2010 YA Reading Challenges.

Enna Burning is the second book in Shannon Hale’s Bayern series, picking up after the events of The Goose Girl. The Goose Girl is based on the fairy tale, but the books after it continue with the stories of some of the characters Hale wove into her version of the original tale.

Enna is a forest girl, friend of Isi, the former goose girl, now princess of Bayern. She’s returned home to the forest because her mother has died, and while she’s there, her brother discovers that he has the power to command fire. Shortly after this, Bayern goes to battle with the neighboring kingdom of Tira, and Leifer is killed when he uses his power to win the battle, burning large numbers of Tiran soldiers in the process. Enna then discovers she also has this power, but vows she won’t let it take her over so that she kills on such a large scale as Leifer did. Naturally, things don’t go quite as planned.

I enjoyed this book, but I’ll admit I like the first one better. This one was a bit slow going at the beginning, but picked up towards the end, and had a mostly satisfactory, if a tad predictable, ending. I will keep reading this series, because I do enjoy the characters the author has created, and the system of magic in this world. It’s just different enough from many of the regular fantasy magic conventions to keep it interesting.

Knitting Notes

Pattern: Lilac Socks by Jeanie Townsend
Yarn: Knitpicks Stroll in the Dusk Colorway
Needles: Size 2 DPNs

My second pair of March Sockdown socks are done! Unfortunately, these socks suffered in comparison to the other socks I did for March, both patternwise and yarnwise. I actually feel a little bad about that, because this is a good pattern, with a nice, longer pattern repeat, and good variation. As for the yarn, I suspect this yarn will wear much better, with less careful care, than the lovely silk stuff I used for my other March socks, so hopefully, I’ll be getting enjoyment out of these for a long while to come.

I’ve decided to take a break from the April Sockdown challenge. I have a number of patterns to choose from, but I’ve decided I need to make the rest of April “Clean out Megan’s knitting basket” month instead. I have the Haruaha scarf, which is pretty close to done, two hats worth of yarn, and the nearly completed Cable Swing Cardi to decide what to do with. I think the first priority will be the scarf, followed by the sweater. If nothing else, I need to decide if I’m brave enough to frog it back and try for some size modifications, or if I’m better off frogging it completely, and starting something new.

Donnell Pond, Downeast Maine

I spent a rather raw Saturday morning Down East, getting my first look at the camp my father and C are building on Donnell Pond (in the romantically named T9-SD Township). This is not a beach vacation spot, it’s built on the slope of a glacial drop, with an absolutely fascinating array of boulders strewn about the slope. It’s also near state conservation land, with plenty of hiking trails available, and the kayaks will be coming to live here. It’s quiet in a way my city-accustomed ears notice immediately. In short, I can’t wait until it’s finished, and available for summer weekends away.

Black Swan Green – David Mitchell

Read for the 2010 Complete Booker Challenge.

Black Swan Green is a year in the life of Jason Taylor, a thirteen-year-old growing up in a small Worcestershire village in the early 80s.

I really enjoyed this book. It had a very different tone than the other book I’d read by this author (Cloud Atlas), though that’s completely understandable, as this is a story set entirely in the real world, while Cloud Atlas had definite science fiction leanings. (Nevertheless, a character from Cloud Atlas does make an appearance in this book, a crossover I really loved.)

This story isn’t particularly ground-breaking: it’s all about school, bullies, trying to understand girls, first kisses, and watching your world fall apart as your parents careen towards divorce. It’s this normalcy that makes this book great. I’m not British, so a fair bit of the pop culture references probably don’t resonant with me as much as they would for a Brit my age (the Falkland War is pretty much a footnote in history in my American consciousness, but a lot of the musical references rang true), but I was thirteen, and this story nails thirteen with complete accuracy. It made the story a bit of a nostalgia trip, and I read along as much to see what happened next to Jason, as to find out what kinds of memories of my own early teens the story would bring back. I love that kind of book, where it resonates that strongly with real life. I’d say this is a must read for anyone that was once thirteen, and fondly remembers how wonderful, and excruciating, that time was.