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Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Smooches to you all, kittens.

While there are photos pending on some of my FOs, I have updated my FO list for this year.

Likewise, I have updated by Books Read 2014 list.

I’ll be posting some decent photos as soon as I get them off my camera, but in the meantime, here are two sorta crappy cellphone pix, first of a sewn FO, then of knit one:

No straps! A true pinafore.

No straps! A true pinafore.

And:

This photo really doesn't do them justice.

This photo really doesn’t do them justice.

In the UFO category, I have finished all but the thumbs on a pair of super-skinny Dashing mitts. They are destined for a coworker and friend named Maresa who just happens to have super-skinny arms and hands. I hope to finish them tomorrow. Who knows? I may even get – and post – photos of them!

Stay warm!

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So excited!

I just finished beta-reading my friend’s new romance novel, and OMG, it is so good! You all are in for a treat, when it’s out and available for you to spend your hoards of gold (or euros or, okay, dollars) on.

It’s her second book. (Disclosure: I was also one of her beta-readers for the first one, which should be out this year… knock on wood!)

This novel is funny and sexy and heartwarming, filled with characters whom I’d love to meet and in a setting that feels like home.

Hey, Abigail Sharpe, please post as much info in the comments as you’re comfortable with sharing now. After all, you’re the talented author, and I don’t want to overstep, but I do want to pimp promote your books.

Because you trusted me with them.

And because they’re so good!

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Christmas knitting wrap-up

Here’s what I knit to give as gifts for Christmas this year:

Very, um, fetching, don't you think?

Very, um, fetching, don’t you think?

That’s it.

OK, OK, I did knit the set, rather than just one mitt. But even so, that’s not a lot of holiday knitting. (“Not a lot” = pathetically little)

Now, that’s not all of the knitting I did over the last couple of weeks, as I have indeed finished the sleeves for the pink/white ruffled-edge baby cardi, but I haven’t attached them yet or found/attached buttons. Perhaps over this coming three-day-off weekend.

And still unstarted is what will probably be the only other holiday project I make: a hat for a female friend (but “not a girlfriend, get it straight, Mom”) of my 16-year-old son. I have the yarn and found a pattern (also on knitty.com, in the archives) that I think will work nicely. He’d like to give it to her on January 3rd, when school starts back, so I want to have it done for him by then. (duh, right?)

In the reading category, I’m in the midst of two novels (one on my Kindle, one paper version) and have started beta-reading/editing a new novel by Abigail Sharpe, a longtime friend and terrific writer. This will be her second published novel and I promise I will post links to it when they are available. Since she’s feeding me short sections at a time, I will be able to keep up easily, while not having to put everything else not just on a back burner, but in the refrigerator under plastic wrap for a later date. (Way to overwork a metaphor, Toni!)

Hope your holidays are warm and filled with love, laughter and music. And that your new year is the best one so far. Smooches, kittens!

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Whew, right?

It’s been forever since I updated and I know you’ve all been worried about me. (Not!) In fact, I’ve been doing precious little knitting, quite a bit of singing* and even more reading**.

Here’s how far I’d made it with the pink ruffle-edged sweater as December 18th:

Progress... sort of.

Progress… sort of.

Lookin’ good, yes? Well, not so much.

If you take a closer look at the sleeve-to-sleeve cap areas, you may notice that the sleeves are not quite the right size. In fact, the measurement of the sleeves at the top: 8 inches around. And the measurement of the sleeve openings on the body of the sweater: 10 inches around. Ooops!

What happened? Well, it turns out that having the correct number of stitches and rows is not enough. No, you must also use the correct needle size… or you must do the appropriate measuring and adjusting of the number of stitches and rows to accommodate the changed needle size. (I know: Duh!) (Also: sigh.)

So, um, yeah.

I had switched from the size-4 circ with which I knit the pretty white ruffled sections to a size-3 circ, because it had a nice, long and flexible cable and I had dreams of knitting the two sleeves simultaneously (above the ruffle, of course). Alas, I did not need the nice, long, flexible cable, because I didn’t knit them simultaneously. I also didn’t notice the fabric was denser on the sleeves than on the body of the sweater. And so I didn’t measure or compare or, well, do anything a responsible knitter should do to prevent the result you see in the photo above.

The solution: obvious.

I ripped back both sleeves to three rows after the ruffles and put them on a size-4 circ. And now I am knitting them simultaneously (without the nice, long, flexible cord of the size 3). The pattern calls for 51 rows and I’ve finished half of them. (No new photo. Sorry.)

Once I pick up the needles again, I should finish them pretty quickly. Then it’s just a matter of attaching them to the sweater and weaving in the ends. Oh, and putting some buttons on it, of course. I anticipate finishing the sweater by Monday… if I can find suitable buttons.

Wish me luck? (Thanks!)

* My madrigal group, Singers of Reformation, was booked to sing at the city’s Tree Lighting Celebration on December 1st. And on December 13th, we sang at the madrigal dinner of a local retirement community. We had quite a few rehearsals up to those shows.

My wench troupe, Just Desserts, had our December rehearsal this past Wednesday night. We did as much laughing as we did singing, as usual, with a lot of the time spent on the men’s birthday ditty I wrote earlier this year. I can’t wait till we can serenade some poor victims fellas as dozens of laughing audience members watch! (The Hoggetowne Medieval Faire is January 26th and 27th, then February 1st, 2nd and 3rd. If you’re in range of the faire, please come see us!)

** You can find info – but no spoilers! – on the books I’ve been reading in the sidebar labelled “2012 Books Read.” I highly recommend the Stieg Larsson trilogy that starts with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, for example.

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I’ve been busy, unlike the rest of you, who no doubt have been lazing about and eating bonbons while planning a year-long cruise on a private yacht with a half-dozen of your closest friends. (Ahem.)

So I’ve been working… a lot… and had a music rehearsal or two… and caught up on some of my TV shows.. and, of course, laughed as often as possible. I’ve also been in a lot of pain for the last few days. Muscle spasms in my neck/shoulder led to a hellacious headache, one that is finally diminishing to a level at which I can ignore it.

In keeping with the theme of this this blog, I’ve written, knit, read a book or four(?), and petted some kitties.

As for the knitting, I finished one more of the “paler” boobie hats, pierced, which had the added benefit of finishing off a big (well, biggish) skein of yarn. I’d show you a picture of it, but that would mean I’d have to pull out my camera, take a photo, etc., etc. If you’re wondering what it looks like, you need only look at this year’s FO # 41, as this newest one is a clone.

As for the aforementioned purring, our family has been adopted by a neighborhood kitty. She looks almost exactly like Ninja Kitty did when we adopted her, except neighborhood kitty has yellow-green eyes and NK has green-green ones. Neighborhood kitty (whom we refuse to name, ’cause that would mean we’d have to keep her) has taken to sleeping on the former dining-room table that’s on our front landing. More precisely, she’s been climbing up inside the makeshift “flowerpots” that have been sitting there since the sun and weird bugs killed the tomato plants the Hubs attempted to grow this spring/summer.

I snapped a photo of her when I was out for a rare morning walk last week.
See?

As Crissy said, “You grew a kitty!”

We’ve been feeding her, along with a teeny-tiny teenaged kitty-girl who occasionally visits, for a couple of weeks, and she is one loving cat! Definitely not feral, she loves being held and petted and, of course, fed. I don’t know how long she’ll be “not ours,” but we’re enjoying her company when we get it.

I’ve also been sewing, making a second pleated skirt for the my friend Crissy. She wanted a brown one to complete her Velma costume, by jinkies! To that end, she came over Monday night after our madrigal/Christmas singing rehearsal and we cut out the fabric and marked the circles, etc. As we had already worked out the peculiarities of fit (as you do) with the grey skirt, this one went much more smoothly.

Then last night I sewed it, starting at about 3 a.m. and finishing the handstitching-down of the waistband around 7 a.m.

All that remains is to put it on Crissy, mark the hem and then sew that final bit. Oh, and to take an official picture for posting. I’ll do that on Thursday night, after three of our wench troupe performs at a local club.

That’s right, Just Desserts will have a bedfull (our term for a quorum) to represent at the last-ever Nerd Nite at the Laboratory. (Last-ever because it’s closing at the end of the month… oh, no!) If any of you are here in Gainesville, Florida, around 9 p.m. Thursday, come on down!

Oh, and I wrote (see, there’s the “write” portion of the blog’s title) a song for the troupe to perform for birthday boys (well, men… ’cause it would be completely inappropriate for minors, trust me). I’d never written a song before, but we’ll need our own songs if the troupe is gonna have some original music to perform and perhaps record and sell, right? Right! At least that’s what I told the troupe at our last rehearsal.

You should have seen the deer-in-the-headlights looks they gave me! I think they were afraid I was gonna assign each of them a topic and set a deadline. No. In fact, to alleviate their fear and to get the ball rolling, I volunteered to write the first one. We haven’t recorded it yet and I have no idea how to post an mp3 here anyway, so I can’t post the actual song. I can, however, post the lyrics, which are subject to modification and ad-libbing ad nauseum… ’cause that’s how we roll!

Here are the lyrics:

Men’s Birthday Ditty

(wench 1)        Today is your day.
(wench 2)        You’re the man of the hour.
(wench 3)        Your swagger is strong.
(wench 4)        You exude manly power.
(wench 5)        Oh, what’s a wench to do…
(all)                   But to wish these things for you?
(wench 1)        May your cock only crow (cockadoodle-doo!)
                          When the timing is right.
(wench 2)        May your ass not get tired (hee-haw!)
                          From morning to night.
(wench 3)        May your ale at the pub
                         Come with plenty of head.
(wench 4)        And the pusses you pet (meow!)
                          Leave no fleas in your bed.
(wench 5)        In short, may your year
                         Bring you naught but good luck
(all)                  With a wench in your bed
                        When it’s time to get…
(all, slowly)     …. tucked… in!
(all, ad-libbed loudly) Happy birthday, love!
OK, that concludes the wrap-up. I apologize for the lack of amazing blogitude lately and thank you for your patience. Happy hump day and, always, happy knittin’, kittens!

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Don’t panic!*

I’m knitting again!

Just minutes ago (4:30 a.m., in fact), I cast on a light-green** Autumn Leaves toddler’s cardi out of Bernat Soy. The pattern is free online, on the What to Knit While You’re Expecting website, specifically on October 8, 2008. I’m winging it with the size, needle size, etc., as my gauge is usually far looser than written. And the pattern is written so that the knitter’s unique gauge, yarn choice and needle choice determine the size of the final product. Now, that’s always the case, more or less, but in this case, it’s literally true, as the same math (i.e., stitch counts) are used for every size.

Works for me. At least I won’t have to worry about accidentally knitting the wrong set of numbers, right? Right. If I don’t think the thing will be big enough, I’ll rip it back and use larger needles for the next attempt.

Stay tuned!

And here’s what I’m reading and loving now:

Amazing cover. Hardcore book.

Chuck Wendig is a visceral writer and this book? It rocks. With non-stop horror-/paranormal-/dark-comedy action. All in the vernacular-rich*** language Wendig spreads like steaming, runny dung on a freshly mounded grave in a weed-strewn community garden in November. From that now-fertilized earth, something gruesome and fascinating grows, but it’s definitely not for the squeamish… or the prudish. I’m halfway through, sucked in deep and hard, forcing myself to go slowly, so I won’t finish it too quickly.

* Title blatantly stolen from one of my favorite series and authors! I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.

** Technically, the color is called “Celery.”

*** Lots of cursing. Lots.

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So I’ve read quite a bit these last couple of weeks, while you haven’t heard from me. And I’ve even taken the time to write a little. (And of course, there’s way too much working, but that’s not what this blog is about, so we’ll just let that go, ‘kay? Thanks.)

I’ve been guilty of slackenbloggen here and for that, I apologize. (I know, I know: bloggers aren’t supposed to apologize for not posting, but I’m always disappointed when the blogs I check daily regularly appear to have been abandoned go without regular updates, so I feel guilty for doing the same thing to y’all. Really. Forgive me? Thanks.)

Oh, I did finally see a picture of the preemie baby boy for whom I made the little green stockinette cap last month, as the hubs took a couple of photos of baby Sebastian in his bassinette last week, but until said hubs gets off his keister and sends is finally able to send me a copy of it… or figures out a way for me to copy/paste the picture from FB… I cannot share it with you. Alas.

Instead, I can only tease you with mention of a picture that exists on a computer in another room in the very same house where I sit and write this mini-post… so close and yet so far.

I’m off to bed now. I hope to get myself out of the doldrums soon and get back on track with my knitting and my blog-posting, ’cause I’m truly starting to miss it… as is perhaps obvious from the mere fact that I have posted this pitiful excuse for an update. Now, to find my knitting mojo again… Oh, yeah, there it is, in my knitting bag, right where I left it. Cool! Maybe it will still be there tomorrow morning, when I’m off work again.

Send yarny thoughts my way, ‘kay, folks? Thanks!

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