Knit Happened

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Change is in the Air

So I decided to play & ended up with a whole new look & feel to my blog and moved to here:

Wishful Knits

I was able to export the whole ole blog with comment...still need to change the header.

Labels: ,

Sunday Salon

Thought that I would kick-off the new year with a post...okay, so don't fall off your seat as you scratch your head in wonderment & ponder the long with this last? No promises except to say that I will do my best to be better in 2009.
For the first Sunday Salon of the new year, I am in the midst of reading a book loaned to me by my friend Jill over at The Magic Lasso entitled "The House of Riverton" by Kate Morton (actually her advance reader's copy). Back in October, I picked up the book & started to read but put it down because I knew within the first couple of pages that it would be an excellent selection for a discussion book for my Womens Reading Group (only female authors are allowed). And lo and behold, it is the first pick for 2009...discussion tomorrow night.
As one turns the pages, the reader is vividly transported back to another time & place...pre-World War I England. It is like falling into an episode of "Upstairs, Downstairs." The narrator is a 90+ old woman, former servant at the House of Riverton, who is reflecting on life...brought on by the request of a documentary producer to tell the story of an event that took place years ago...a mysterious suicide of the gentry's family friend. Or was it a suicide? I'm about half way through the book & thoroughly enjoying the wordplay, the history, & the flashing between time (one of my favorite writing methods to read). I keep contemplating with wonder how society moved away from such strict delineations in social does that happen? Someone finally just gets tired of hearing "but that's the way it has always been done" and becomes a trailblazer.

Should be a lively discussion tomorrow night.

Still knitting up a storm (actually did three test knits last year & would love to continue the tradition in 2009) but most importantly I bit the spinning bug (cycling I already had but fiber this time around).
In a nutshell, I had a mini lesson when we attended the Estes Park Wool Market festival last June from none other than Maggie Casey herself, author of "Start Spinning." I purchased a hi/low whorl from her store's booth, a 1.1 oz Schacht spindle & spun my first fiber from Pigeonroof Studios over the summer & made an unoriginal hat for the daughter of a friend. But I'm finally making some headway because I either practice every day or read something online to further my skills.
Currently I'm coveting some of the unique lightweight spindles that Mary creates over at Butterfly Girl Designs namely her paua shell version & I have my eye on the lamborghini of drop spindles, a Golding. The goal in 2009 is to spin up laceweight yarn to knit up my favorite project, lace patterned shawls.

And last but not least, E becomes a teenager did he become 13 soooo fast!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Feast of Wool Girl

After receiving the first Seven Deadly Spins kits that was geared around Gluttony, I decided to snap a couple of photos for my interpretation featuring my feast of 3 out of the 4 Woolgirl Sock Club kits that I completed...rather than all of my boring sock pair photos.

My Coke glass is filled with the Waterfall Socks, my salad bowl is showing off my Spruce Sprigs socks, and my entre is the Irish Dream socks. And to top it all off, my Cosmopolitan is made with my skein of Zen Garden that will eventually be knit into my Blush socks.

So looking forward to the next round of the sock club...Jenn creates such unique themed kits!

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 28, 2008

TBR Thursday

I have been bad, I confess, in writing up my reviews at the time that I've read the books in the last month. So here comes a whole bunch...shorter than I would have liked but giving my 2 cents worth nevertheless!

Title: The Road
Author: Cormac McCarthy
Rating: Unexpected enjoyment
Genre: Award-winning, Pulitzer
Number of pages: 287
Finished: 1-30-08
Challenges: A to Z Title (R); Notable Books; Pulitzer Project; TBR 2008; 101 Books in 1,001 Days

I have to confess that I almost put this book down and went on to the next book in my TBR stack. It reminded me of The Brief History of the Dead, which I found one of the best reads last year. But then I started to notice little touches in the writing and execution of the story like the way that the sparse prose was laid out on the page, and the overwhelming feeling that everything in this new world is black, white, and grey. Here's a brief rundown of the story line...a father and son are on a journey down a road after the world, as we know it, has been destroyed but for a very small number of people. Details of the who, what, where, and when are few and far between and this fact makes the story even more stark. In the end, I found this a great read but in a different way than Brief History...the two books would make quite an interesting comp lit discussion.

Title: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Rating: Thoroughly enjoyed
Genre: Literary fiction
Number of pages: 384
Finished: 2-3-08
Challenges:A to Z Authors (H); Book Around the World; TBR 2008; 101 Books in 1,001 Days

After devouring the story, characters, and prose of The Kite Runner, I was a bit hesitant to read Hosseini's second novel. Friends told me not to worry that A Thousand Splendid Suns was the equal of Kite Runner and in some ways better, and I have to agree. This novel delves into the plight of women in the Middle East during the time of the Afghanistan War and beyond. The author makes you angry, sad and happy in the course of a few pages if not sentences. Where Kite Runner revolves around two boys growing into men, A Thousand Splendid Suns takes you on a feminine journey. Hate to say it twice but these 2 books would also be wonderful for a comp lit discussion.

Title: A Sliver of Truth
Author: Lisa Unger
Rating: Page-turner
Genre: Thriller, suspense
Number of pages: 368
Finished: 2-7-08
Challenges: A to Z Authors (U); TBR 2008; 101 Books in 1,001 Days

This book is the sequel to Lisa Unger's Beautiful Lies and I believe that to maximize the enjoyment of the storyline you need to read the books back to back (without a span of several months in between). Sliver picks up where Lies left off and the heroine, Ridley Smith is beset with a whole new set of dilemmas, intrigue, and drama. The story is fast-paced and I really enjoy the author's quirky technique of addressing the reader directly in conversation as she discovers information or reflects on the past or expresses comments that foreshadow the future. Quick and enjoyable for lovers of mystery and thrill.

Title: The Night Watch
Author: Sarah Waters
Rating: Disappointing
Genre: Period piece
Number of pages: 544
Finished: 2-18-08
Challenges: Chunkster; A to Z Authors (W); Themed Challenge; 101 Books in 1,001 Days

Our reading group chose this book as one of our selections for 2008 based on (from what everyone could remember) the fact that the author has won numerous awards for her writing in England. So with that said, my expectation was high. The novel starts out in post-World War II England and with each section goes back in time. So in essence you know how the story ends at the beginning but it is the discovering of how the characters arrived there that makes for an interesting book. Other than this technique...I did not care for the book...I had no interest in the characters at all except for maybe Kay who was the most redeemable and interesting...a masculine lesbian who was a paramedic during the war. If this book wasn't to be read for reading group, I would have not finished it.

Title: The Bluest Eye
Author: Toni Morrison
Rating: Thought-provoking
Genre: Literary fiction
Number of pages: 224
Finished: 2-123-08
Challenges:My Year of Reading Dangerously; A to Z Authors (M); 101 Books in 1,001 Days

This is award-winning writer Toni Morrison's first novel and my edition had an interesting afterward by her dated 30 years after she first wrote the book. It was a thought-provoking reflection on how she viewed what she tried to accomplish then and relative to now. The story is told, for the most part, from the point of view of a pre-teen girl and cleverly divided into seasons. I originally read the book when it was one of Oprah's selections about 8 or 9 years ago so I always find it interesting to re-read a book at a different stage in life. However, both times I felt anger that the adults allowed Pecola Breedlove to endure what she did in her life. She was made to feel 'ugly' inside and out and the only way that she thought that she could get her life back in order was the simple wish for the unnatural blue eyes. And now I have to head over to My Year of Reading Dangerously to comment on some of the posted questions.

And I am currently reading an advance reader copy of a book called The Sister by Poppy Adams that I received via the B&N's First Look group and utterly enjoying the storytelling of the author (first novel but she has been a BBC documentary writer/producer until now).

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Expectations, a Song, and a Muse

What do the above all have in common? Snippets from the titles of the books that I recently finished reading. And now here are the reviews:

Title: Great Expectations
Author: Charles Dickens
Rating: Interesting reading again later in life
Genre: Classic
Number of pages: 564
Finished: 1-27-08
Challenges: My Year of Reading Dangerously, Chunkster, Mini challenge #7, A to z Title (G), themed, Back to history, 101 Books in 1,001 Days

I have to confess that I kept putting off snapping the binding on this book because it started to feel like I had a college assignment that I truly didn't want to read. However, I am glad that I read Great Expectations. It was actually my second time through as I realized when I started reading...I discovered that this book was one of the classics that I read in between college and dental school when I was bound and determined to read as many of the classics as possible. I have to confess that it was definitely a different experience reading as a seasoned adult versus a naive 20 year old. Great Expectations follows the classic Dickensian plot of an orphan who comes of age and learns valuable life lessons along the way. Written in the first person by Pip, you are constantly coming in contact with characters that you love or hate with very little in between gray. There are definite high points in the the scenes with Miss Haversham and low points...did not enjoy the years when Pip is an apprentice with his brother-in-law Joe. Looking forward to tackling the discussion questions at My Year of Reading Dangerously.

Title: The Nixie's Song: Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles
Author: Tony diTerlizzi and Holly Black
Rating: Disappointed
Genre: Children
Number of pages: 162
Finished: 1-27-08
Challenges: Mini challenge #2, A to Z Author (D), 101 Books in 1,001 Days

I'm always on the hunt for a book to get E excited about reading...he loves Harry Potter, Hatchett, and Old Yeller. He has never embraced reading for the joy of reading like mom and continues to view it as a chore. So after seeing the commercials for the upcoming Spiderwick movie I thought perhaps this is something that he might enjoy. When I put a hold on The Nixie's Song at the library I thought it was the first book but alas when I retrieved it, it was apparently book one in the second series and way out of the age range for something that E could read. But I read it anyway...and sorry I did. Trite and predictable and I think that if I read this when I was 7 years old I would have been turned off to reading. Here's the gist...Nick Vargas' dad has recently remarried and with the new wife comes a new sister for Nick and his brother Jules/Julian (authors constantly switch between the two names). Laurie is nerdy and fascinated by fairies. A fairy in the form of a nixie is discovered in the Vargas' backyard, the fairy is saved from the giant but at the end, the pair still need to find the nixie's missing sisters. If I had to read another children's book, I would re-read From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler. Loved that book growing up!

Title: The Muse Asylum
Author: David Czuchlewski
Rating: Enjoyed immensely!
Genre: Literary fiction
Number of pages: 225
Finished: 1-28-08
Challenges: A to Z Authors (C), 101 Books in 1,001 Days
After The Nixie's Song, I really needed to pick up and read something that would get the bad taste out of my mouth and I certainly did with The Muse Asylum. Recommended to me by Jill who knows my taste in books so well, I quickly immersed myself in the words of this first-time author who had been mentored by Joyce Carol Oates (although I personally don't care for her writing, I knew that the writing had to be top notch). The telling of the story alternates between journalist Jake Burnett and the writings of Andrew Wallace who just happens to be the resident of a psychiatric hospital. Both men's lives have been affected by a reclusive author by the name of Horace Jacob Little who no one has ever seen, nor has the author ever granted an interview. Both men also are in love with the same woman, Lara Knowles. The author takes you on a journey of discovery for both men that leaves the reader with a satisfying end to the tale...can't say too much more...just know that if you have enjoyed The Keep and most any Chuck Palahniuk book you will not be disappointed. Thanks Jill!

And now I am currently almost a 100 pages into the Pulitzer-prize winning The Road.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday Salon

It's that time of week again for Sunday Salon. Well so far today I read the last 80 pages of Great Expectations...I originally thought it would be a lot more but yesterday was Saturday Salon while we waited for the cable company to fix our box for the third time this week. Currently reading The Nixie's Song, which I thought was Book One of the Spiderwick Chronicles but in actuality it is Beyond Spiderwick. I wanted to read it first and then pass along to E to read but the target age is way lower than I had thought...i was expecting more along the lines of the Chronicles of Narnia but sadly not. At least when I'm done I will have completed another mini challenge and can then pick up The Muse Asylum. Plans later are to write up the reviews all at one time and then hop over to My Year of Reading Dangerously blog to comment on Great Expectations.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

WIP Wednesday

Knitting content again! So here is one of the projects that is currently on my needles...Brooklyn Tweed's infamous Hemlock Ring Blanket. What an addictive pattern...and what a clever discovery...taking a doily pattern and using worsted yarn to create a blanket. I originally had my eye on some Cascade Heather in the Lake Chelton (I believe it's the name of the colorway...turquoise/green) that totally didn't match our couch in the family room...the main purpose for the knit. Once at the store I fell in love with my choice, Mirasol Miski in lilac and a totally yummy, soft 100% baby alpaca. Can't wait to finish this one!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

TBR Tuesday

Title: The Memory Keeper's Daughter
Author: Kim Edwards
Rating: Thought provoking
Genre: Contemplative fiction
Number of pages: 401
Finished: 1-21-08
Challenges: TBR, A to Z Authors (E), 101 Books in 1,001 Days

When I first started to read The Memory Keeper's Daughter I couldn't help but have a flashback to when I first read Chris Bohjalian's Midwives many moons ago. A birth during a snowstorm conjures up all kinds of images alongside the obvious stress of delivering a baby. And in the case of this book add to the mix an orthopaedic surgeon having to deliver his baby or so he thought. In 1964, where this story begins, a family with a Down's Syndrome child rarely took care of the child...the child usually was placed in a home. With that precedent in his mind, Dr. David Henry truly believed that having the nurse who helped deliver his Down's daughter, Phoebe, (and his healthy son, Paul) bring her to a home would be best for the whole family. The reader knows from the beginning that this fateful decision will impact everyone's lives in ways, often times dramatic, that were never foreseen. Throughout the book, you are along for the journey and always wondering will the secret be revealed..when, how, and what will the reaction from all be. Edwards does not disappoint. A college professor once said that the hallmark of a great writer is one who creates characters who elicits strong reactions (positive and negative) from the reader...Edwards definitely created strong characters in this book. Goodness, if I had a dollar for every instance when I wanted to shake sense into David, wife Norah, nurse Caroline, and son Paul, I'd be able to retire. I truly enjoy thought-provoking books that make you ponder ethical issues. I'm definitely glad that I can cross this book off my TBR list...just wish I hadn't waited so long.

Labels: , ,