Knitting Notes

I decided cast on something entirely selfish, since I’ve been doing Christmas knitting so many projects in a row.   This is the Annis Shawl, using Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud, in the Tidepool Heather colorway – quite possibly my actual favorite color (it marries both blue and green!).

So far, so good, even though it does involve casting on an ungodly number of stitches…


Wise Child, Juniper and Colman – Monica Furlong

Reread from my young adulthood here – Wise Child came out when I was ten, and I believe I received it for the Christmas somewhere in that vicinity.    I’ll admit to a certain degree of trepidation going into this reread, as I really wasn’t sure how the books were going to hold up.    But they held up well, and the really funny thing is that my feeling about these books really closely mirrored Karen Cushman’s, in the forward she wrote for Colman (which was published after the author’s death).   The other funny thing is that I read Colman as an adult, long after I’d read the other two books, and I remember not liking it as much, but in this reread, I definitely appreciated it more.

Wise Child is the story of a girl in a Scottish island village.   She’s living with her grandmother because her father is away at sea, and when her grandmother suddenly dies, she has no one to take her in, except Juniper, the village wise woman.    Of course, Juniper is widely believed to be a witch, and Wise Child is initially afraid to go stay with her.    But she finds that Juniper can teach her many things, and she’s really not frightening at all.     She’s also not a witch, but a doran, a person that can see and use power, and Wise Child could be one too.

Juniper is the story of Juniper’s childhood – she’s actually a princess in Cornwall, and she meets Wise Child’s father during this time period.     It’s an interesting contrast to the Juniper you meet in Wise Child, because she’s a very different person when she’s young.

Colman is Wise Child’s cousin, and when for reasons I will not go into, Wise Child and Juniper need to leave Scotland, he goes with them.    They go to Cornwall, where they find that an old enemy has taken Juniper’s brother, the rightful King, hostage, and they must save him.

I really love this series because of the first book.    Juniper’s house is just the most wondrous sounding place, and I think I wanted to be Wise Child when I first read the book, because the house sounded so amazing.     The first two books seem very short with my now adult eyes, but they’re the perfect size for the age I was when I first read them.     Colman is actually a slightly richer story, but it was written later, and at the end of the author’s life, so I think she wanted to make sure things were wrapped up.     They’re a great trilogy, and I’m really thankful they held up to an adult reread.

Knitting Notes

Pattern: Fallberry mitts by Anne Hansen
Yarn: Three Irish Girls Beckon Merino in the Silver Bay Colorway
Needles: Size 2.5 DPNs

I’m definitely on a mitt roll – these are going to be for my SIL S, whose birthday is the day after Christmas.

I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed this yarn – it’s a little bit variable in spin, so it gets smaller and a little wider again as you go along.   You don’t really notice in the final fabric, but it’s fun while you’re working it.

Further Adventures in Domesticity

We drew names for Christmas this year (big family blow out – my out of state siblings and families are coming in, as well as my aunt and cousin from New Mexico).    I did still want to make something for everyone, so I settled on jam.     And since the Heavenly Fig Jam I made earlier this year was such a hit (seriously, the BF practically eats with a spoon), I figured I had to make more of that.

This was the maximum number of jars I could fit in my canner, minus one 8 oz jar I managed not to fill.     I really like this recipe – it uses dried figs, and powdered pectin, so you could make it pretty much any time of year.

Quilting Notes

The landscape quilt is done.    It took a little longer than I originally planned because I had to re-jigger the hanging tube.   I’d originally applied it a little lower than it ended up (above), and it just didn’t look right.    So off that came, and up it went.

The only problem now?   We don’t actually own a saw, so I can’t trim off the ends of the dowel.   (This was a bit of a surprise – the BF has an otherwise quite comprehensive tool kit for someone that doesn’t actually have a workshop.)    So, someday it’ll get hung up – once I can work out the tool issue.

Quilting Notes

So, in other crafty news, I took out the landscape quilt again this weekend.    Yesterday, I sewed all of the layers on.   I also got the backing pinned on, made the binding, and got most of the binding sewed on, until I realized I had done the corners completely wrong.   So I ripped those out, and put it aside for the night.

This morning, I made a hanging tube, and fixed the corners.    All that remains is sewing down the back of the binding and attaching the hanger.    Since I can do that while watching tv, I dare say I can get that done in a day or two…

The Grand Sophy – Georgette Heyer

I’m starting to sense a theme in at least some of Georgette Heyer’s books – irrepressible heroine (to the point of probably being too modern for the era) whirls into the life of an unmarried man (and his extended family), turns everyone’s life upside down, drives him thoroughly crazy, which pretty much forces him to ask for her hand.

In this book, we have Sophy, newly returned to England from the Continent, where she’s been brought up by her diplomat widower father, and has therefore had far too many adventures than a well bred girl should have.    Her father has asked her sister to sponsor Sophy in London, and she’s therefore staying with her cousins (there are seven or eight – it was hard to keep count).

The family is in a bit of inner turmoil, as due to Lord Ombersley’s penchant for gambling very badly, when his brother died, the brother sent his fortune straight to Charles, the oldest son and heir.    Charles is therefore in the delicate position of cleaning up his father’s gambling messes, and functioning as the man of the family, since Lord Ombersley isn’t really capable of giving anyone good advice.    Naturally, he’s been going about it wrong, and Sophy sees some opportunities to be helpful, much to Charles’ disgust, but to the general good of the family.

The story is pretty much preposterous, but it’s fun – I have to give to give it that.     Do not read this is you’re looking for anything more than fluffy mind candy.

Knitting Notes

Pattern:  Oddity Mitts by Mia Heikkinen
Yarn: Pine Woods Farm Sock in the Nor’easter Blues colorway
Needles: Size 2.5 DPNs

In a bid to use up the Pine Woods Farm yarn, and because I know I can use them for a Christmas gift, I made pair #3 of mitts from this skein.    And, I actually had enough yarn leftover to make one hexi-puff.

This pattern was fun – definitely challenging enough to keep things interesting.    I wouldn’t recommend the pattern to anyone that isn’t confident with reading their knitting, as she omits the even rows from the chart and tells you to just repeat what was done on the row before (bearing in mind that since there are cables, things have moved from what’s on the chart in the row before).    I found that easy, but I can see that being really confusing if you’re not good at reading your knitting.

I still really enjoy this yarn – I’m a bit sad, as my source closed down a year or so ago, so I’m not actually sure how readily available it is anymore.

Hurricane Sandy


I have been sadly remiss in my blog updates this month.   Hurricane Sandy came through almost three weeks ago, and here are my pictures.    We actually came through the storm well – there was some coastal flooding up here in Maine, but that was a given for certain locations the second they mentioned the words ‘astronomical high tide’, so I don’t think anyone that flooded up here was shocked about it.

I will say, it was the most unique wind storm I can remember.     It sounded like one constant gust.   To the point where if I didn’t already sleep with ear plugs, I think I would have that night.

So, our only casualty was a panel in the back fence.   Granted, it had pretty much been only hanging onto the bottom support for a couple of weeks before the storm (and the slats were rotting out), so I barely count that as storm damage.     We did manage a pretty good pile of sticks and branches.

The most annoying thing to come out of the storm is that I’ve raked the back yard three separate times this Fall.    I did it on 10/27 thinking that I’d rather get the leaves that were down out of there dry.    That was about 11 bags worth.    Of course, then there was the storm, so I got another eight or so bags worth the next Saturday.   I say or so because I totally lost count because of the way they’re stacked in the garage.    I’m recounting as I get them over to Mom’s house (15 bags so far), so I’ll have to update this when I can confirm the count.

The two annoying things with batch #2 were A: all the branches (both big and little) in there, and B: the extra leaves.   I normally don’t have to rake the front and side yards because of how the wind normally functions on my street.    Sandy dumped a whole lot of leaves where they normally don’t go, so I raked places I’ve never had to rake before.

And finally, Sandy didn’t actually take down all the leaves in the area (certainly not for lack of trying), so I had to rake again this weekend, which got me three more bags.    The funny thing is, the cherry tree in the front yard (the only actual tree on the property) hasn’t dropped its leaves yet, but as long as our regular wind patterns prevail, I won’t have to rake those.   Definitely an odd raking season this year.

ETA:  The grand total is 25 bags of leaves.    Took three car trips to get them over to my mother’s house (and I kept two).

ETA, Part 2, 11/25/12 – Thanks to the oak tree next door, I was out raking again today.    That would be another bag to the tally, as well as topping off the compost.    Funnily enough, the cherry tree out front still hasn’t dropped anything, but the trees that feed the back yard are done, so this better be the last of it.