Fenway Park, Boston, MA




I was recently bemoaning the lack of photos on my blog – January is entirely books and knitting up until now.     But, it is is winter in New England.   It’s not that I don’t go anywhere in the winter – it’s usually just things more like last weekend, where we went down to greater Boston to hang out with friends for the night.    There are pictures on Facebook for that- but not so much of the kind of pictures I usually post here.

But, today was my FIL’s 70th birthday, so we (MIL, BF, me, and his two brothers) all met up for the festivities.    Which started out with a Fenway tour.   Now, I am not the world’s biggest baseball fan, but I am from New England, so I wasn’t completely disinterested.    And Fenway is very cool, and very historic.    And it was a lovely weekend to wander around Boston (properly bundled up, of course.)

Yes, there is a random 14 story ski jump being built in the field.     And no, even the tour guides did not know the full detail of how that was going to be used.


Knitting Notes

As a bit of a contrast to the Leap! mitts, I’ve also cast on yet another Quest men’s hat.    I’d made one in a size large for my younger brother ages ago, but it was really too big, so he asked if he could get a smaller one.    I like this pattern, and I like him, so I’m happy to oblige.    I’m making this one in KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Tweed, in the Prussian Heather colorway.

Merlin – Stephen R. Lawhead

Here’s another technical re-read, from back in my high school days.     It’s the story of Merlin, from childhood, to when he claims the baby Arthur from Uther Pendragon.

In this series, Merlin is the son of the bard Taliesin and the Princess Charis of Atlantis, daughter of the Fisher King.     He is foretold to be a king, and in his younger days, he rules alongside his step father as king of Dyfed.      The death of his wife and unborn child drives him mad, and he disappears into the forest for a number of years.     When he emerges, he is no older, but many of his companions have died.      His legend has grown, especially when people see he has not aged.

A young man named Aurielus is shortly to become High King of Britain, and his younger half brother Uther is the chief of his army.     Anyone familiar with Arthurian legend knows where this is going.

The first thing I noticed is how Christian this book is.     Not in a modern sense, but Merlin is firmly a Christian from birth, despite also being prophesied by the Druids to be their king.     It’s an interesting take on things – certainly a way different view than The Mists of Avalon, for instance.

The other thing is that I really didn’t get a sense of Merlin as a man.     He’s a young appearing man.      And his life before Uther seems quick.      (I suppose the fact that he’s mad for a good portion of it helps.)     I just don’t get a good sense of deep-seated power from him.    I suppose this Merlin is born to his power, but I feel like I need to understand better where it truly comes from, and this story left me lacking.    Still, it’s a good transition to the next book, called Arthur, so you know exactly where the story is headed.

Knitting Notes

The next thing I cast on is firmly in the use up yarn! category.     These are Leap! mitts, by Brooke Ramos.    I’ve got three different types of KnitPicks Stroll, and a KnitPicks Palette in there.    They all had fairly large amounts left, so I’m hoping to get them down to more manageable scrap sizes before I start with the hexipuffs.

Knitting Notes

Pattern: Checkerboard Gansey Socks by Lisa Kay
Yarn: Anzula Cloud in the Dusty Rose Colorway
Needles:  Size 2 DPNs

You know, I don’t want to say anything bad about this pattern, because it’s really fine, but it really does confirm that I prefer top down socks to toe up socks.     I don’t like the cast on, and I don’t like the heel, and I never feel like they look quite as good as “regular” socks.

And this yarn – good lord! – I clearly hit a fault in the skein because I had four separate breaks in sock number one.    Never had that happen in the shawl I used the bulk of this yarn for, and sock number two was fine- but man was sock number one a pain!

Knitting Notes

Pattern: Brezel by Svetlana Volkova
Yarn: Classic Elite Alpaca Lana D’Oro in the Ruby colorway
Needles: Size 7 circs and DPNs

We’ve started a bit of a tradition when the BF and I go to a yarn store together – he looks for yarn he likes so I can make him something.   (So far, it’s been hats.)     Really freaks the clerks out when they assume he’s looking for me, but he’s actually looking at yarn instead.    But anyway, this was yarn he picked out in October, at Patternworks in Centre Harbor, NH.    It’s another alpaca/wool blend, which may be becoming one of my favorite types of yarn.     They’re so nice to work with – lovely hand.

Still love this pattern – this is the size large, rather than the medium I made the last time.    I was seven grams short of using up a 100 g ball.

Knitting Notes

Since the alpaca cowl I was making was so simple, I decided to cast on something else a little more complicated to go back and forth between.     BF had admired the pattern I had made for his younger brother’s Christmas hat, so I cast on his own, using the Classic Elite Lana D’Oro yarn he picked out earlier this year.     I did do the large size, instead of medium, this time.

As you can see, I’m pretty close to done.    I will say, this yarn is a really pleasant to work with.    I’m really loving the alpaca/wool mixes.

Knitting Notes

Pattern: a simple stockinette cowl, by me
Yarn: Twillingate Farm’s Alpaca yarn
Needles: Size 8 circs

So I’d tried to make a hat out of this yarn, and the heavier weight yarn just didn’t work in a more formal pattern.    So I frogged that, and went with a really simple cowl instead.   I believe this was a 90 stitch cast on.     I alternated one row of of the heavier weight (about an aran weight) with two rows of the lighter weight (about a finger weight), held double.

It’s a lovely, thick fabric.    It’s going to be awesome for snow removal, and the like – nothing is going to get past it.

Smoke and Mirrors – Tanya Huff

This is a great book- it’s a classic haunted house tale, with a wizard and a vampire thrown into the mix.

Tony Foster is working as a PA with a Vancouver production company (filming a vampire tv show called Darkest Night that only a few on the crew know is a little more true to life than most people would ever believe).      They have a haunted house episode coming up, so the producer has found the creepiest location he could – an old mansion called the Caulfield House.    It’s mostly abandoned, now with just a caretaker living there.

While they’re filming, Tony sees two ghosts – a brother and sister.      They’re surprised he can see them, but quickly tell him he needs to get the crew out by nightfall.     Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen, and a number of the crew, including the producer’s two young daughters, are trapped in the house overnight.

Turns out Mr. Caulfield was a collector of occult things, and after his death, anyone that tried to live in the house ended up as part of a murder/suicide.     They replay at night now, and Tony is able to see them.     It’s up to him to save the crew, because there’s something evil in the house that wants them all dead.

I really liked this book.     It’s a good twist on the haunted house tale, and the various characters in the production company (as well as the two hilariously over-entitled little girls) make things fun.      My only minor quibble – there’s very little Henry Fitzroy in the story.     But this really is more Tony’s series, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

Damia’s Children – Anne McCaffrey

Here’s another technical reread, though I’m pretty sure my original read was back in high school.     There’s also another book in the series, so I was having some weird déjà vu moments that ended up not panning out, because what I was remembering must happen in the next book.

The books ends up being sort of like a series of short stories, though they do progress in chronological order, and interweave a bit.     In the last book (Damia), Damia and Afra Lyon end up together, and the books ends with her pregnant with their first child.     Laria is now nearly grown, and there are seven more to the brood.      This is the story of the oldest four (Laria, Thian, Rojer and Zara) as they reach adulthood and take on jobs within the larger world, as Prime telepathic talents.

The major theme is the advance of the understanding of the Hivers.     The Hivers had tried to invade Damia’s father’s home world, but were turned back by the combined power of all the talents of the Earth Alliance.     That brought them to the attention of the Mrdini – an alien race, who until then had only been able to turn back Hiver colony ships with suicide runs.     Damia’s children are part of an experiment to raise human and Mrdini together to make sure they understand each other and can work together.     Her two oldest children go on to live with Mrdini to help them in the fight.

It’s a fine book, but I remember loving it more when I was younger.     I hate it when an adult read takes a bit of the glow off a younger memory.