Knitting Notes


Pattern: Kensington Mitts by Annie Modesitt from Jane Austen Knits 2011 
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in the cordovan colorway
Needles: Size 4 DPNs
My Kensington mitts are done, and boy do they take terrible pictures.    You really need to be wearing these to appreciate them – it stretches the pattern out nicely, and the ribbed section in the middle doesn’t nip in a freakish manner.   But I digress…
This was a decently easy pattern.    The twisted stitch used to create the bends for the elbow took me a little bit to wrap my head around, though once I figured it out, it was super easy, if a bit too stretchy until I got another few rows down after it was done.    Overall, it’s a interesting pattern, and does look nice.
I’ll leave off the raptures about the Malabrigo yarn.    I’ve gone there before, and nothing has changed.

Wicked Lovely – Melissa Marr

Read for the Once Upon a Time Reading Challenge.

Aislinn can see the Fae – an ability shared by her grandmother, who has taught her to hide that gift, for if the faeries ever found out she could see them, terrible things would happen to her.    One place she’s found a sanctuary is her friend Seth’s home – an old train, surrounded by iron, where the Fae can’t go.    Her life isn’t too bad, the Fae tend to avoid her school, and if she spends some time with Seth, she can manage to get through most days.

Things change the day she realizes that two Fae are actually following her – and they’re no ordinary Fae.    She can tell they belong to one of the Courts, and the man actually enrolls in her school, pretending to be a mortal her own age, clearly to get closer to her.

Keenan is the Summer King, but he’s been bound by the power of his mother, the Winter Queen, until he can find the Summer Queen – a mortal girl who will become a Faery.    The stakes are high – those that fail become Winter Girls, beholden to his mother.

I can’t say I loved this book.    It wasn’t bad, but there was just something about it that I didn’t quite like.     I liked the resolution to the story – definitely a different twist on the usual mortal interactions with Fae tale, but the whole lead up was just somehow lacking something to me.     I think the back story could have been fleshed out just a bit more, and maybe something else about the characters was lacking, but I just can’t put my finger on what that might be.

Snow White and Rose Red – Patricia C. Wrede

Read for the Once Upon a Time Reading Challenge.

Set in the a small village outside London during Elizabethan times, this version of the fairy tale is the story of sisters Blanche and Rosamund Arden, who live with their mother at the edge of the village.    They make a fair living gathering herbs there, because their forest borders the lands of Faerie, and the herbs they’re able to gather make very effective remedies for the villagers.     For that reason, the family is beloved, but the Widow Arden is still careful to make sure no rumors of witchcraft swirl around her girls.

Within the Faerie kingdom, the two half-mortal sons of the Faerie Queen find themselves in sudden danger – something has enchanted the younger son Hugh so that he gradually turns into a bear, and must therefore be banished to mortal lands.   Defying his mother, the older son, John, follows his brother, hoping to find a cure for this affliction.    What they find are Blanche and Rosamund, who join the princes to free Hugh from his spell.

This is a great take off of this tale, and works in John Dee, who was actually Queen Elizabeth’s astrologer (guess who stole Hugh’s faerie essence?).    The girls are charming heroines, and their relationship to the young men is charming to watch to progress.    I definitely recommend this book to anyone that enjoys fairy tales.

Celtic Myth and Religion – Sharon Paice Macleod

A LibraryThing Early Reviewers Book.

This book is a good overview of the various mythologies and beliefs of the Celtic world. It touches on the old gods and goddesses, folk traditions, the roots of the Arthurian legends, and some interesting ideas about shamanistic practices. It’s got a more scholarly than new –agey tone to it (a definite pitfall of some Celtic-themed books).

Since it really is mainly an overview, I did come away wanting more, but one of the appendices is Suggested Reading and Further Study, and the Bibliography is enormous, so I’m looking forward to exploring more from both those lists.

Orchids at the National Botanical Garden

Final installment in my pictures from DC (I am so behind posting these…) There was really neat orchid exhibit at the National Botanical Gardens while we were down there.

The Garden is next to the Capital, and I highly recommend visiting it. There’s an outdoor garden, and a glassed in house, that has a number of different rooms with different flora from different regions. And the best thing? It’s free!

Garden Notes

The bulbs are out in nearly full force – the tulips are just about to come out (some early ones already are), and most everything else is already out. My favorites (the muscari) are out in the back yard, and the Solomon’s Seal is starting to poke its way above ground.

This was the first weekend since before we went to DC that I’ve had time to take care of anything at all in the garden. I’ve planted some Bright lights chard my mother started for me in the side garden – we’ll see how that does (she gave it to me before we left, and it suddenly got cold, so I had to keep it inside for a few weeks. Hopefully, I’ve re-hardened it off properly.) I have radishes, lettuce, cilantro (I think), and peas sprouting. A couple of my pots aren’t doing anything, and a couple are getting well dug through by the squirrels, so I’ve given up on those for now. Once I can confirm what I have, I’ll probably sow another batch of the cold weather seeds.

I’ve moved all the herb pots out of the back yard into the side yard – not that you can really tell, with all the daffodils taking up the real estate for the moment.

We’re having some work done in the basement, so I’ve moved the back yard plants over to where I had the herbs hanging out so they’ll be out of the way while they’re hauling debris out of the back door right there. I figure better safe than sorry, especially since they’re really only now starting to sprout, so it’s not like they look like much at the moment.

Knitting Notes

My newest project (which I actually cast on last Saturday) is Annie Modesitt’s Kensington Mitts from the 2011 Jane Austen Knits. I’ll admit, when I saw the pattern, it immediately made me think of the Regency dress I’ve been meaning to make, because I’m planning on doing a short-sleeved dress, and since these are elbow length, I figure they’re season extending.

I’m using Malabrigo sock yarn in the Cordovan colorway. The pattern’s pretty straight forward – though the stretchy stitch she uses for the elbow took me a little while to wrap my head around. (I blame the mush my brain has been lately because of work…)