I think someone could make a business out of coming up with pithy blog post titles. I am obviously not that person.
Some things I've been knitting include my Seraphim shawl, which is now finished.
I knew I would love it, and I was right. It weighs nearly nothing, but is so warm and soft. I'm cursing this ridiculous January heatwave, because it means I can't wear it right now. Not that I have anything that really matches in color or style even if it was cold. I don't care, though, as soon as the temperature goes back down to reasonable winter levels, I'll have it jauntily tied around my shoulders with my every day black hoodie sweater and jeans.
Sadly, I'm still not any kind of lace knitting expert. At one point, well into the lace border, I had to rip back a few rows due to a glaring error, and let me tell you, it was.not.fun. Then, not learning my lesson, I neglected to put in a new lifeline, and found a couple extra yarn-overs. As I continued knitting, they were so obvious that I wasn't sure I could live with them, but I also couldn't face ripping back again, so I decided to let it go. And you know, as I was blocking the finished shawl, I really had to look to find them. I'm pretty sure that no one will ever see them while I have it nonchalantly draped around my neck, either.
I think my next lace project is going to be a Juneberry shawl from Brooklyn Tweed. I hope to get some Shelter yarn (I'm very tempted by the Button Jar color, but Almanac is also nice), I think lace in a heavier yarn could be a lot of fun.
Of course, once I bound off and blocked my shawl, I thought I ought to start something else. I am not at all tired of the purple Malabrigo I used for my Abrazo, so I used the leftover to start a pair of socks.
The pattern is Pyroclastic from Knitty Winter 2009, and they are easy-peasy. Well, that's not entirely true. There is a knitted-in arch support, which I think sounds like a fantastic idea, but the truth is, I started working on it and I just wasn't feeling it. You have to fiddle with about six stitch markers on size 1 needles, and keeping track of increases and decreases on this dark, dark yarn during these dark, dark evenings just isn't any fun, so I decided not to do it. I'll let you know if that's a big mistake, but I think it will work out just fine. I love the mock cables, they couldn't be easier, and the socks are just flying off the needles.
Some things I've been reading include the entire Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. They're YA books, so they were really quick reads. I thought they were a lot of fun. The action was non-stop, and I really enjoyed all the funny lines the author came up with, like
"I nodded, looking at Rachel with respect. "You hit the Lord of the Titans in the eye with a blue plastic hairbrush."",
or ""It's him," I said. "Typhon."
I was seriously hoping Chiron would say something good, like 'No, that's our huge friend Leroy! He's going to help us!'"
Or "I’ve met plenty of embarrassing parents, but Kronos, the evil Titan Lord who wanted to destroy Western Civilization? Not the kind of dad you invited to school for Career Day."
I was seriously on the edge of my seat for most of the five books, so I read them back-to-back, pretty much non-stop. I would have probably loved these when I was in sixth grade, so if you have any young readers looking for something entertaining, and even a little educational (I even learned a few things about the Greek gods), give them a try.
Way at the other end of the spectrum, I spent a good part of my day off yesterday reading Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue. Wow. I don't want to say too much about this one, but I couldn't put it down, and I will be thinking about it for a good, long time. Room is the story of Jack and his Ma and the 11 x 11 room where they live as prisoners of Old Nick. Five-year-old Jack is the narrator of the story, and it takes a little while to get into the rhythm of his voice, but ultimately, I think Donoghue has done an excellent job of creating that voice. Jack is at the same time smart yet somewhat developmentally or maybe emotionally disabled. His Ma does that best she can to educate and entertain him within their very confined, limited existence.
Often, when I read a book, particularly a very popular book, I have a bad habit of reading the Amazon reviews, mostly the bad ones. I can sometimes empathize with the one-star reviewers, and often find new insights that I may not have thought about before. In this case, however, I found myself disagreeing with most of them. Many of them didn't like the voice of Jack, saying they didn't think a five-year-old would talk like he did, using simple words and improper grammar one sentence and then spouting multi-syllabic words the next, but I thought that was very authentic, particularly because his world was so limited, yet his mother would play games with him to teach him new words and their meanings. The other complaint that was repeated multiple times was that the reviewers thought that the many references to breastfeeding were "gross." Really? I get that in society today it's not really acceptable to breastfeed a five-year-old boy, but they didn't live in regular society. I think it was quite understandable in their circumstances, and that it was a great comfort to both Jack and to Ma. I understood the discomfort of people outside of Room when Jack wanted to breastfeed at that point, but I would hardly call it gross. Okay, I'll stop there, but if you've read it, what did you think? Please comment! I still need a book group!