Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts

10 May 2016

What I'm reading/watching/listening to: May 2016

As a designer inspired by literature, I read a fair bit. As a knitter constantly producing more FOs, I watch a lot of stuff on screen. As an exerciser, I listen to all sorts of podcasts and music to keep me moving. Here's what's on my bedside table/television/iPhone this month...*

What I'm reading...

  • Eligible: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld
    This is a modern retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice set in Cincinnatti, Ohio, in 2014. The title refers not only to the Bennet sisters and other characters in their sphere, but also to the Bachelor-style reality show this book's Bingley starred in. BTW, NYTBR, Chip is a nickname for Charles, not a name change for the character as your reviewer stated. Being such a devotee to Austen's original language/settings/characters, it took a little while for me to get past the modern setup, but I am now more than halfway through and enjoying the book.
  • Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology by Andrew Bolton
    If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I attended the Members' Preview of the new show, Manus x Machina, at the Met last week. We won't get into my feelings about the Met's new logotype, but the new show is fabulous for this 21st century handcrafter. Lots of food for thought, so don't be surprised if touches of this show find their way into my work. If you can get to Manhattan this summer, come see the show (let me know you're coming, and I'll probably meet you there). This is the catalog to accompany the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Spring 2016 Costume Institute show, and as a book creator of many years, I appreciate the technologies that went into printing and binding this book and am looking forward to reading the interviews in the back insert.
  • Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
    My older daughter and I read this for our Mother Daughter book club last month. It's an interesting novel about an intelligent but profoundly disabled girl (she cannot walk, speak, nor does she have full control of her arms) who finally is able to communicate with the help of a computer. The book begins a little slowly but then really picks up steam and doesn't always go in the expected direction. I'm so glad we read this for our book club, as I think it did a great job of empathizing with the protagonist - an important glimpse into a different world for the tweens I know.

What I'm watching...

  • Game of Thrones
    Yup, I'm totally into it. While there aren't as many bewbs this season, it still has sex and gore and dragons. I read the books last summer (and still can't keep all the characters and locations straight) with mixed feelings, since George R.R. Martin isn't a profound writer and seems uncertain as to where we are ultimately going in the world of Westeros, but I do enjoy the show. Probably in part because I read a LOT of fantasy as a young reader. For people who prefer realism, there probably isn't enough to pique your interest, but I do think the show is well done. And now that we've gone beyond the books, it's kind of exciting to see where things will go.
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
    Pretty much any show with a guest arc by Tina Fey will earn a spot on my Watchlist/DVR. And the rest of the show is entertaining, too, though I tend to agree with critics who think some episodes aren't as tight on Season Two as they were when Season One had been crafted with the 22-minute network TV model - on Netflix a show can be as long as it wants. While some extra comedy gems may have been stuffed into episodes, we all know that brevity is the soul of wit. That being said, the survivor story and sly NYC jokes somehow all work together.
  • The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
    I'm pretty sure there are two kinds of people in the world, when it comes to the Real Housewives franchise: those who love the show, and those who think it's just the worst. While I don't love the entire franchise, I have a special fondness for New York (no surprise), early New Jersey seasons, and Beverly Hills. With BH I've come to realize it's the combination of a voyeuristic interest in Beverly Hills excess, my personal fascination/repulsion with the Los Angeles area, and an empathy with Kyle's struggles with her alcoholic sister (and how the rest of the characters cope). My ex-husband was an alcoholic, so Kim's behavior and that of the people around her have pulled me in from the beginning. It's definitely crazy salad, but I can't quit it.

What I'm listening to...

  • Woolful
    Lots of interesting fiber folk on this podcast. Sometimes I find it a bit too long-form for me (I have limited listening time when I'm exercising, but that's my problem), but I've really enjoyed many episodes, including Pam Allen's (and her son Ryan's), the Fibre Company gals', and Mary Jane Mucklestone's.
  • Vogue Podcast
    If you enjoyed Andre Leon Talley's turn on America's Next Top Model, you will enjoy this podcast. Sometimes I get annoyed, since ALT can be a little more ditsy than I would expect (he seemed less prepared to speak with Andrew Bolton, Curator of the Met's Costume Institute, than I would have liked - I feel like I knew more about Mr. Bolton than he did, and ALT is editor-at-large of Vogue).
  • Truly Myrtle Podcast
    My friend Libby's podcast is lovely - sometimes very personal, other times it has charming interviews, and it always has the best theme song. Definitely give a listen to Libby's Down Under accent and thoughtful discussions on clothing and craft.

So, what are you reading/watching/listening to? I'm always looking for good suggestions, so leave me a comment below.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

*None of these links are affiliate links. I'd rather spend my time sharing what I'm enjoying with you than tracking those down. Go see if your library or local book store (shall we make LBS a thing, like LYS?) has the books, check your local listings or favorite streaming service for the shows, and visit the podcasts' websites directly to find the best way for YOU to enjoy their content.

05 April 2016

What I'm reading/watching/listening to: April 2016

As a designer inspired by literature, I read a fair bit. As a knitter constantly producing more FOs, I watch a lot of stuff on screen. As an exerciser, I listen to all sorts of podcasts and music to keep me moving. Here's what's on my bedside table/television/iPhone this month...*

What I'm reading...

  • Emma: An Annotated Edition by Jane Austen
    This version is from Belknap/Harvard University Press and includes all sorts of interesting bits about the book itself and the times in which it was set and written, as well as illustrations. I have slowly collected these "tomes" over the years and savored reading some of my favorite novels in this format - it is a very different experience, one I highly recommend.
  • Venice is a Fish by Tiziano Scarpa
    We are reading this for my book club. It was my choice, since the host for the current book club meeting chooses the book that will be read next time. We read fiction, non-fiction, then a classic, and somehow I keep ending up hosting when it's time to choose non-fiction (not the first choice of this classic novel girl), but having spent one glorious day in Venice (my sister took me when I visited her in Bologna longer ago than I care to admit), this book intrigued me. It is brief, poetic, and very evocative of the things I already knew about la Serenissima while also sharing new things I wouldn't have discovered otherwise. Now I want to go back!
  • I Never Knew That About New York by Christopher Winn
    As a transplant to the city that never sleeps, I love learning new bits about my adopted city. This book is full of near and ancient history organized by location. I'm still way down at the southern end of the island, having just reached Wall Street. I read it in little bits often while, um, doing my business ;)

What I'm watching...
  • The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story on FX
    Yes, I lived through it all and remember where I was during the infamous Bronco chase (on my roommate's shlumply brown couch in Somerville), but beyond that I wasn't much interested in all this at the time. And now I'm fascinated. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I think this is such. good. television. The storytelling is compelling; the acting has real depth (aside from Travolta); the lighting and cinematography, the costumes and wigs, the music are exceptional. This is the only appointment television for me (everything else I watch is from the DVR or a streaming service). It addresses race, gender, culture, and I can't believe the finale is tonight.
  • Broad City on Comedy Central
    Hysterical girls in New York sitcom (way more entertaining than HBO's Girls). I love those two crazy gals. The subway scene from season one's The Lockout makes me laugh so hard I cry. Every episode is clever. Lots of cameos and spot-on New Yorker humor.
  • The Americans on FX
    This show is so good. So good. We started watching it in part because it was filmed in our neighborhood (subbing for DC and Philly), but it is so compelling. It's also really intense, yet we don't want to watch just one, so we often save up a couple and binge-watch them. As a general rule I don't like shows that make the viewer anxious, but that rule has totally gone out the window here. The 80s stuff is kind of fun, but it's the storytelling that keeps me coming back for more.

What I'm listening to...
  • The History of English Podcast
    Want to learn more about why we use the words we use? This podcast is definitely one to listen to from episode one. Kevin is a patient and intelligent storyteller who clearly knows his stuff. I always find myself feeling cleverer for having listened to an episode. And I kind of love that at least once an episode I say "Well, of course. That makes total sense!"
  • Elise Gets Crafty
    While Elise crafts in a different segment of the Craft industry, the people she talks to always have interesting things to say. I've started to work my way back into her archives for even more good stuff. I listen to this when running around the track - it does a great job of distracting me from going 'round and 'round the oval.
  • Explore Your Enthusiasm
    To be honest, I'm not sure exactly when I discovered Tara's podcast, but I've listened to all 100 of her episodes (and am now a member of her Starship business group). The minute her episodes show up in my Podcasts app, I listen! Tara really understands small business, especially those of us focused on craft. Great guests and lots of interesting stuff.

So, what are you reading/watching/listening to? I'm always looking for good suggestions, so leave me a comment below.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

*None of these links are affiliate links. I'd rather spend my time sharing what I'm enjoying with you than tracking those down. Go see if your library or local book store (shall we make LBS a thing, like LYS?) has the books, check your local listings or favorite streaming service for the shows, and visit the podcasts' websited directly to find the best way for YOU to enjoy their content.

26 July 2007

Love, Actually

Marissa, you were totally right! What a sweet movie. I definitely recommend Love, Actually. My mom objected to the nudity and some of the language, but I didn't really mind. And I'm quite fond of just about everyone in the movie.

And I actually love Icarus. I'm halfway through the last chart (yay!) and hope to be blocking this baby by the weekend. It is a great pattern. And working it reinforced my idea that lace isn't as hard as some people fear, especially if you concentrate on the row at hand. I know I was kvetching about the knit stitches in the purl-back rows (evens), but they really ensure that you've done everything properly on the knit side. If you have a copy of Interweave Knits, be sure to check out the errata on Miriam's blog - it's not on IK's site, as Miriam says it's optional. I have a few rows to get to the errata, so I can't say how it makes a difference, but I'm sure it does.

And love plays a prominent role in the last Harry Potter book, which I bought on Saturday and finished on Monday. I enjoyed it immensely.

Love you all, actually!

05 June 2007


What would you do the day you got out of rehab? Would you call your daughter? Would you apologize to your soon-but-not-soon-enough to be ex-wife? You might. I'd like to think I would. But not that person.

I know this is a knitting blog, but I'm at this point where I can knit but I'm having trouble thinking about anything much. I go to sleep and wake up thinking about ... crap. (Sorry, I like to keep the blog clean, so insert the euphemism of your choice.)

The day I spent paying bills for the house that this man hadn't taken care of, I see on the online bank account that he has just ordered $150 worth of flowers from one of the nicest florists in town (Winston's, for Bostonians). Isobel didn't receive any flowers. Neither did I or his mother. So, that leaves that woman. Or as his mother calls her "his friend". Ugh. Double ugh.

And the realtor we should go with came in with the lowest estimate. I am so sick of all this. I can't wait for it all to be over.

In happier knitting news, I'm almost finished with the raglan rollneck sweater. Just a couple of inches to go on the second sleeve. And I'm so bored!!! All I want to do is knit something else. And the problem with top-down sweaters is that you have to do the sleeves attached to the body, which makes things a little awkward.

So, I started a Little Arrowhead Shawl by Pam Allen from the Summer '06 IK ("Sweet Somethings" towards the bottom of the page) with a skein of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Potluck in the Water "colorway". I'm using US6s, having swatched with US7s and felt it was too open with the sock yarn. The yarn is a treat (my third time knitting a shawl with it), and someday I'll have to make some socks with it!

I also ordered myself some pity yarn from Laughing Rat's etsy shop: some mohair for something and some merino lace for Icarus in a scrumptious Robin's Egg blue color, and sock yarn in lovely Pacific for something else. Her colors are very pretty, and she offers a number of yarn options and roving. I'll let you know what it's like when I have it in hand, probably tomorrow or Friday.

So, stash growth continues. As does the book stash! The woman who used to own my house dropped some knitting books off, and my MIL sent them on to me. I'll have to take a picture. The one that I am very keen on is Cheryl Potter's Handpaint Country. I wouldn't have bought it on my own. I think I have some issues with XRX book design. But there are a few designs in there I will knit, and I'm looking forward to learning more about dying.

12 February 2007

Fishtail (with pictures!!!)

Ooh! I cast on for the sleeve of my severely modified Hourglass Sweater this weekend, after a bunch of swatching, and I've done something quite lovely, if I do say so myself. I found a ten-stitch lace pattern called Fishtail II in Mon Tricot. Since the sleeves in my size start out with 60 stitches, I did six repeats of the pattern, twice. (Sorry for the blurry photo - I'm using the old camera, since it can travel safely in my knitting bag.)

At that point I decided I'd need to deal with the upcoming decreases, so switched to stockinette for every other repeat. This allowed me to do the decreases in the stockinette portions, so I wouldn't mess up the lace. I did two more repeats of the lace in those panels and then switched to all stockinette. I can't wait to see how this blocks out but at this point am happy with some mindless stockinette in front of the telly. I think I will wash and block this sleeve before I start the body just to make sure this is working.

My friend Tanya in New Zealand is also planning an Hourglass Sweater variation, according to her comment last week. So, the question is: At what point is a variation different enough to be its own thing? I've heard 30% bandied about, but how do you calculate 30%? I've changed the yarn, needle size, cuffs, hem, and probably neckline, though not the gauge, which means I think I'll be able to use all the same numbers as the original pattern, except for knitting longer at the neckline. So, I don't really know. I wouldn't be comfortable (at this point) publishing this variation as my own without an OK from Joelle. But I may find I have to change things more as I get further into the sweater. I would be happy (obviously, or I wouldn't be blogging about it) to share my alteration adventures. What do you think? Interesting comments here from the girl from auntie, which confirms my gut feeling that this will be my variation on the pattern but nothing I could claim as my own.

Stash Enhancement: Mom and Dad bought me a copy of Vogue Stitchionary 1: Knit & Purl this weekend at Yarns in the Farms. The possibilities of what to do with "simple" knit and purl stitches are endless! When you click over to my LYS, be sure to check out the new blog, In the Loop.

P.S. I still owe "you" an IMOnday for Yarns in the Farms. I'll see if I can get my act together (maybe Wednesday, when we're supposed to get whalloped with snow) this week.

26 January 2007

So close!

Just a few more rows for Grandma's shawl, and then I'll have to send it out to Illinois. Three skeins of Kidsilk Haze on your lap is so amazing. And I have another three in a taupey colorway that are waiting for the right pattern, perhaps Wing o' the Moth.

Confession: I ordered some yarn in my first group buy from 100purewool. Very exciting! I chose some bulky Corriedale for a hat project (Undyed, Springtime, Ocean, Rosado, and mmmmmmm Celeste - that last one might be for me), a skein of the merino laceweight in blue knots (now that Handpaintedyarn no longer seems to offer their laceweight merino) for some sort of shawl, some of the worsted merino in Sky for a sweater for me (top-down raglan, I think, with ribs, perhaps), and a couple of skeins of the worsted in Pasionaria for a Minisweater.

Luckily, all that will take a while to get here so I can work on some stash busting: Fetchings for me, a ribbed hat for Peter, and a sweater for Isobel, I think. Then there is that Hourglass Sweater in Schaeffer yarn to think about. And the Slouchy Cardigan from Greetings from Knit Cafe in ??? What yarn? They used Twisted Sisters Alpaca, I think. Maybe Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca & Silk? I heart that yarn.

Oy, I still have all that boucle calling out to be a sweater, but I'm going to have to write up a pattern and do schematics and measure for that one. I should figure it out though and get started.

Did you catch that? My knitting book diet was blown. I bought Greetings from Knit Cafe after talking about the Slouchy Cardi with a friend. And there are a couple of other things in there worth making: the Alpaca & Silk Beret, that lacy mohair shawl, and a few others I'm spacing on. It's a nice book

05 October 2006

Who, me, a teacher?

At yesterday's Knit Night, my friends who own the LYS asked if I would be interested in teaching a class this winter, since another woman who recently joined the group said I was so nice and patient explaining what I was working on (haiku sweater and clapotis). Who, me, patient? Noooo.

I come from a teaching family: Mom taught middle-school English before I was born, then was my Girl Scout troop leader when I was a sprout, and now serves as a docent at the Art Institute of Chicago; my brother was an assistant teacher at a private school after graduating college; then my little sister took the same position when she graduated; and my father is the soul of patience. But I always thought I was not the teacher type. I didn't really think I had the patience. Perhaps my little lady has made me more temperate. Or knitting.

Anyway, what would I teach? Classes should go three sessions. Since it will be winter perhaps something wintry like handwarmers or hats or holiday stocking ornaments. Ooh, that could be fun. There are stocking and sweater ornaments in Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. And those little egg warmer sweaters in Weekend Knitting.

My other thought was a one-day class - Fearless Knitting, in which we have pattern or yarn but not both and venture forth boldly into the land of knitting in search of the other. Or Surfing the Web for Knitters - the art of finding patterns online (free and for sale) as well as the art of getting all obsessive about knitting-related items to the point of googling them all night long. Just more of a seminar deal to get people going.


I'm almost ready to start the straight section of Clapotis! It's about 24" wide at this point, and I think I will make it about 60" long, which makes it overall just a little larger than the original pattern dimensions of 21 x 55". The intended recipient is on the small side, so I don't want to make it overwhelmingly large. The neat thing about it is I can already see ridges where the stitches are twisted, and the edges are a little scallopy due to that and the yarn overs. It's going to be really lovely.

25 September 2006

FO - Cable Baby Sweater

Well, it's almost a finished object. Just have to get some thread to sew the buttons on, since the Blue Sky Organic Cotton is too bulky to fit through the holes in the button. But that yarn sure is soft! And you can wash it in the machine (lay flat to dry). This sweater is just in time, too, since the baby was born on Friday night. She is a beautiful baby and everyone is well.

The cables were more challenging in cotton (not as much give), and I'll do my next cabled item in wool, but it sure was a fun item to make. Except, of course, the finishing. It took me two knit nights to finish, though the puppy and kitten tearing around the house probably has something to do with not knitting at home as much.

I really liked using the Brittany Birch Cable Needle. [N.B. I haven't purchased from - they were at the top of the Google results list.] I started out using a Clover plastic one, but the plastic was just too slippery with the cotton yarn. And the shape of the Brittany is just so pleasing, don't you think?

The pattern is from Knitting for Baby, which is a great book for beginners who have baby items to make. Good illustrations and explanations of techniques. And I know a number of knitters who don't have little babies around who have made the felted "diaper bag", so there is something for the non-baby crowd.