Knitting Notes

It’s the end of the month, and since I haven’t actually finished anything, there hasn’t been any knitting posts in a bit, so here’s a month end wrap up.

The Kernel scarf is actually coming along quite nicely. I’m 17 pattern repeats of 23 into it (may do a few more depending on how much yarn I have left when I get through #23). The pattern is fairly easy. I haven’t quite memorized it yet, but I’m so close to memorizing it that it goes very quickly. The yarn is lovely to work with.

I went through my stash last weekend, and cleared out quite a bit of yarn I knew I’d never do anything with, that I’ve put aside to donate (once I can verify my other doesn’t have any use for it). I also took out some yarn remainders that I should be able to quickly get rid of. The above hat is a result of that. I have enough yarn left to make at least one more, possibly two, so I’m doing those, and putting them aside for the inevitable babies that seem to pop into my life in waves.

Speaking of inevitable babies, I’ve ordered the yarn for my project for my niece or nephew to be, as well as a sweater for me. Those will be my next projects. It’s a Spring-weight sweater, so they should be good projects for the coming season.


The Tourmaline – Paul Park

Read for the Once Upon a Time V Challenge.

Have you ever read a book, or series of books, because you just had to see what exactly the author was going to do next, because you never knew what would be? (Original Dune series, I’m looking at you!) This series, which began with A Princess of Roumania, is becoming one of those series.

The plot is simple enough: Miranda Popescu is the last daughter of the Brancoveanu family, the old rulers of Roumania, which in the world of the book is a greater power than it is here, though under threat by the Germans. Miranda’s father is killed before she is born, so her aunt sends her an alternate world (ours) where she grows up in a small town in Massachusetts, with her friends Peter and Andromeda. She’s brought back to her world, with her friends, in fact her protectors sent to the other world with her, in the first book of the series. In this book, they make their way over to Roumania, and Miranda comes into her birthright as a Princess of Roumania.

Now, throw in a five year time shift that is only explained as a five year time shift about five chapters later; a villain who is the alternate reality version of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu; two men that were submerged in the bodies of American teenagers, and only slowly coming back to their knowledge; and a world where Africa is the most technologically advanced continent, but you only realize this from hints in the general conversation, and you’ll start to understand why I just had to keep reading to see exactly what the author would come up with next. It also explains why it took me about two weeks to read it: you would not believe how many twists and turns this book contains. It’s certainly an interesting tale, but not in any way approaching light reading.

Garden Notes

I came back from Florida bitten hard by the gardening bug. The transition from zone 10b to 5b is not terribly kind, and I came back to a really bleak landscape. Fortunately, it being Spring now, Mother Nature is at least attempting to please me. The above is my side garden, with bulbs very happily poking from the ground (the crocus picture from a couple of posts ago is in this bed).

Granted, I haven’t cleaned anything off the beds yet, because it is March, and you just never know. Which means the daffodils especially are having a rather exciting time getting through the leaves. I’ll probably clean those out next weekend, if the weather holds. It just seemed too much like tempting fate to do it this past weekend.

My backyard garden plants are still totally dormant (I did an inspection yesterday) in their winter home. I would like to put them out soon, as I like to at least pretend they’re getting in the ground treatment by having them outside as soon as possible, but again, it feels like tempting fate to put them out much before April 1st, if they’re still dormant (which they weren’t last year. This year already seems more normal.)

So I can at least rejoice in the fact that things are slowly getting going. And that I’ve already bought radish and mesclun seeds. And have plans for some container vegetable gardening this season. I’ve been doing some rather extensive online research. That gardening bug hits hard…

And finally, I figured I needed to post some contrast pictures to my Winter post from January. My back yard looks much better, wouldn’t you say?

The following is the municipal snow pile, taken from a different angle then the last picture. I never did get it in its full glory (it was taller than the three story warehouse you can see in the background of this picture), but even in its dirt encrusted Spring state, it’s still pretty impressive. Note the two people walking up it in the right of the picture. Can’t do much better than that for perspective.

Once Upon a Time V 3/21/11 – 6/20/11

It’s officially Spring, so it’s time again for the Once Upon a Time reading challenge – for fantasy, fairy tale, folklore, and mythology.

I’m going to do Quest the First, which is to read at least 5 books in any of the challenge categories. As I’ve done for the past couple of challenges, I’m not going to set my reading list, but see what I end up reading from what I have around the house. I have plenty to chose from, so it should be a good challenge.

The Talisman Ring – Georgette Heyer

Eustacie has run away to become a governess, rather than marry her thoroughly unromantic cousin Sir Tristram, when she falls into a group of smugglers, including one of her other cousins, Ludovic, rightful heir to their grandfather’s barony, who has unfortunately fallen into a life of crime after being falsely accused of murder, and being exiled from the family home. Ludovic is thoroughly romantic, and Eustacie falls madly in love. In order to clear his name, they must find the talisman ring that will clear his name.

Sir Tristram, and Miss Sarah Thane are brought into the scheme, and lend some levity to some of the younger couple’s more wild plans. It’s really a delightful story, with romance, adventure, and plenty of humor. The more I read Heyer’s books, the more I’m grateful to the blogosphere for introducing her to me.

The House at Riverton – Kate Morton

Grace was young during the time of World War I, and served as a housemaid at Riverton House, somewhere in the countryside of England. Lord and Lady Ashbury had two granddaughters, Hannah and Emmeline, and Grace’s life becomes intwined with theirs.

In the present day, an elderly Grace is contacted by a young woman making a film about Riverton House, and the fateful day that the poet R. S. Hunter committed suicide in front of Hannah and Emmeline. What the young woman cannot know is that Grace was there too, and has carried a guilty secret about that day all her life.

I definitely enjoyed this book. The servant’s life downstairs was wonderfully drawn, and was fascinating how well the author worked in the changing times after the war when it was clear that the old ways of service could not survive. Grace is a very sympathetic character, and despite being a servant, she never seems servile.

I do think I enjoyed the other book of Morton’s that I’ve read (The Forgotten Garden) a bit better. That book was ultimately a little more uplifting than this one was in the end, though I can agree that this story ended in just about the only way that it logically could.

Morikami Japanese Garden, Delray Beach, Florida

The gardens at the Morikami Japanese Garden and Museum were definitely the highlight of my trip to Florida. It’s an absolutely gorgeously done garden, with a progression of well labelled styles. We didn’t explore the main museum building (other than their awesome gift shop), but the Yamato-san (the original museum building) has a great exhibit called Japan Through the Eyes of a Child that was a ton of fun to go through.

There was also bonsai, and rock gardens, and carp, and it was just a lovely place to wander through. I blame it almost entirely for the intense garden itch I am now unable to do anything with since returning to the arctic tundra of Maine.

Knitting Notes

Just before leaving for Florida, I finished the project I was working on, so didn’t start anything new, since I would be leaving in two days. It was a little weird having two evenings with nothing to knit while watching tv, but I got by.

On Thursday, I cast on Hey Teach in yet another attempt to use the Fibre Company Organik yarn I scored at a tent sale a couple summers ago. I pulled that out today, and put the yarn up for trade on Ravelry. I’ve decided it’s the yarn. I’ve tried it in a couple different patterns, and never got out of the first skein. It’s a perfectly nice yarn, and a nice color, but I’m just not feeling it. I think it’s just wiser if I cut my loses and move on to something else. I have plenty of other yarns I love sitting in my stash waiting for projects.