Knitting Notes

Pattern: Genmaicha Mitts by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn: Swans Island Ikat Collection Watercolors in the Ikat Indigo/Teal colorway
Needles: Size 2 DPNs

I revisited this pattern that I’d used a number of years ago, and promptly managed to skip the garter stitch border at the top of the ribbing on the wrists.    At least it doesn’t look terrible.   

This is a good pattern – fun with the cables, and not too difficult.     I just wish it had used up a little more yarn… 


Gideon the Ninth – Tamsyn Muir

I know I’ve mentioned before that I get a really stubborn streak about not reading books that get crazy popular, and this book definitely fits that definition. As time went on, I started to see more “this really isn’t what the hype makes it out to be” reviews, and one of my friends (whose taste I trust) had it on her bookcase and said she’s enjoyed it, so when they gave away this book free (I think it was right before the second book in the series came out in paperback), I grabbed it. Still took me a while to read it.

The most common phrase associated with this book is “Lesbians necromancers in Space!”. Which isn’t wrong, but turns out to be a terrible summary. Yes, there’s plenty of lesbian interest, but no overt romance, and while it’s far enough in the future that space travel happens, and the characters come from a bunch of different planets, the main action of the book takes place on a single planet.

So, can I do a better summary? Nope. I totally get why this book became so popular. It’s different. I never really knew what was going to happen next (or, if I did, I ended up not really understanding why until later.) I am very interested to see where it goes next, because I was certainly not expecting what happened at the end of this book. (And seeing the summary of book three really has me wondering what the heck is going on.) So, I guess I’m converted. The hype is not unfounded.

Garden Notes

We have had frost the last two mornings, so today’s gardening was done in the afternoon, after things warmed up. (It’s gorgeous right now – we have all the south facing windows open to take advantage of the 60-degree temps.)

The big thing for today – the trellis is down. This was mostly done so I could easily plant garlic to the right of it. (There are green stakes around the corners of that part of the bed, just so I can tell where it is before things start coming up in the Spring.) I’ve put the cloves from two locally grown heads in there, so we’ll see how that goes.

The trellis is not fully put away yet because of the runner beans. Today’s note to self: if I grown beans against the trellis again next year, string that side with twine that I can cut away. I like to store the green netting inside, so I’m having to unwind all the bean stems before I can do that. I got about half of them done, but I just do not have that much patience. Fortunately, I guess, this year’s bean crop wasn’t really that good. I don’t want to picture unwinding a whole side of beans.

I also pulled out the marigolds – they were looking pretty ratty. The brassicas and calendula are still going strong.

And finally, here we have the two dahlias I’m going to try and overwinter in the garage. The one on the right is the seed grown larger one – the tubers are not the biggest. The left is a red bedding dahlia I also grew from seed. I figure if it survives, it’ll look good out front.

Knitting Notes

Pattern: Argus by Leila Raven
Yarn: Quince and Co Lark in the Iceland colorway
Needles: Size 8, 9 and 10 circs and Size 9 and 10 DPNs

I can’t believe I started this back in April – it was not a hard pattern to work with at all.     Granted, I did let it lie fallow for stretches at a time over the summer when I had other things going on.   This really is a great pattern – very well written and easy to follow.    The set in sleeves were fun to make, and she had you finish the top sections individually in a way that I wouldn’t have thought to do, but made perfect sense as written.

Vision in Silver – Anne Bishop

In the world of this series, humans live in what we would call North America at the sufferance of the terre indigenene – the Others who lived here before humans ever found the land. Their treaties give them full control of the lands they have has shared with humans, and humans occasionally need to be reminded where the real power of what the story calls Thaiasia resides.

Up until this book, I had a pretty good separation from the story – shape shifters, elemental spirits and blood prophets don’t exist in my world. And while humans really do keep proving themselves to be the villains of this series, it felt like a real ramp up into the real world this time around.

The human allies of the Other’s Courtyard are reporting that they are facing food shortages over the winter, which baffles the Others – they know all the farms are producing plenty of food. But then, one of the local wolves, returning to Lakeside on the train, runs into a small girl traveling alone, who turns out to be the daughter of police Lt. Montgomery. He had been forced to leave Lizzy behind with her mother when he was transferred to Lakeside and Lizzy’s mother refused to go with him. There’s no sign of her mother, and Lizzy is too young to be on that train alone. What they uncover has much larger implications for the whole of Thaiasia.

There’s a real sense of impending doom hanging over this story at this point, because the only humans the story interacts with are friendly to the Others, and they are clearly in the minority right now. There’s hope that they can turn things around, but things sure aren’t looking good right now. It feels very true to life at the moment.

Redemption in Indigo – Karen Lord

This is a lovely fairy tale, told in a very specific narrative style that might take a little getting used to if you’re not used to it, but gives the story a lot of richness.

Paama has returned home because her marriage has failed. The local gods take this as an opportunity – they take a chaos stick from one of their own and give it to Paama. When that god realizes his chaos is missing, her seeks Paama out to get his power back, which takes both of them in a surprising journey.

This is really just the briefest sketch – there is so much more meaning layered into this story, but you really do need to read it to get the full benefit.

Garden Notes

Well, it happened. There was a frost last night. I spent a good chunk of time today pulling out the zinnias, zucchini, peppers, basil, tomatoes and some of the tender annuals.

I had been planning on pulling out the tomatoes this weekend anyway – the ones that weren’t splitting just weren’t very nice anymore. But man, does sit look empty.

Here’s the final zucchini harvest – pulled from the carcasses.

The front bed doesn’t look too different – I pulled out the smaller bedding dahlias and one of the low growing blue flowers. I also brought the fuchsia out back. It’s not totally dead yet, but definitely not something I want in the front bed anymore.

The large dahlia actually came through pretty well. The flowers that were fully in bloom blasted, but it must not have been a very hard frost, because the partially open flowers seem to be fine. I’m still going to start the clock on curing this to dig it out, but I’m impressed.

Strange Devices of the Sun and Moon – Lisa Goldstein

This story is set in Elizabethan England, among the stationers and artists in London – the people that are able to see the fairy court when it comes to London to fight a battle that’s been long in the making.

We have Alice, a widowed stationer – the only woman belonging to the guild. Her son has disappeared, but may have resurfaced among the artists, people like Kit Marlowe and Thomas Nashe – and they all have a part to play in this coming battle.

I didn’t realize this book was written in the 1990s until I went to write it up, and that actually explains a few things to me. It’s not a bad story, but I feel like I expect more from a book now. Knowing it’s a few decades old makes me respect it more. Which I’m not really sure how I feel about that – I really need to unpack what line of thought exactly means to me.