Friday, February 23, 2007

Long time, no blog

Oops, I took a bit of time off unintentionally. We've been having some issues with our schedule, and I've had very limited time to do anything non-baby-related. I think we're doing better now, so hopefully I'll get back to my once or twice a week schedule. I'm working on catching up with my blog-reading, too, so if I haven't commented on your last five posts, it's nothing personal and I'll be back soon! Hmmm...what's been going on around here?

Knitting: I finished the Ribbon-Edged Cardigan from Debbie Bliss Special Knits. Sort of.

It's not just the lack of buttons that makes it incomplete. Look closer:

See the distance between the top and second button? And the length of the right side versus the left side? What the heck happened there? I went back and did the math, and I think it's the pattern. I thought at the time the right side seemed to be going a bit long before doing neck decreases, but this project has been so spread out over time (I started it before Lilah was born, and she's now 8 weeks old!) that I ignored it. Maybe I read it wrong. Anyway, bleh. A baby sweater on size 3 needles with mismatched button bands. Fabulous. And since I started it before she was born, I was making the 0-3 month size, which won't fit much longer, so I'm not inclined to take it apart and fix that side and put it all back together again. I think this one is headed to the frog pond. Urgh! Urgh, I tell you! My husband has requested a new pair of Fuzzyfeet to replace the ones I made a couple of Christmases ago, which now sport holes in the soles. Those are quick and easy, so I'm picking a color, probably navy again, and will start those soon. I still have the placket sweater half finished. I may decide to start a pair of socks for myself. If you would be so kind as to post your favorite sock pattern on size 1 needles, that would be great! I can't seem to pick one. I'd like a short-row heel, but I'm not good enough with socks yet to modify a pattern to include one. Lace or an interesting stitch pattern would be nice. The yarn is Sunshine Yarns in Strawberry Banana, which is pink and yellow variegated. I think I need a fun pattern to make for me to cheer me up after the sweater fiasco.

Reading: Ooh, lots to report here. I finished One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson, and it was excellent. I could go on and on about how amazing Kate Atkinson is, but I'll spare you :) She may be my favorite living writer. Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the Whitbread Book of the Year, and is fantastic. Her first three novels all deal with family dysfunction in various ways, but Atkinson is a masterful storyteller with a gift for creating believable, rich characters, so these are not insubstantial, derivative Oprah books. Atkinson is also wickedly funny. Her short story collection, Not the End of the World, is disturbing and gripping, and despite the title, is about the end of the world. Her fourth novel, Case Histories, introduced private investigator and ex-cop Jackson Brodie, who is involved in three separate cases that aren't exactly connected, but touch each other. This was her first "hit" novel, and I wasn't sure how I felt about my favorite literary novelist turning to the detective genre. However, this isn't your grandmother's detective novel. Atkinson takes her keen insight into the human condition and applies it to the genre, rather than allowing the genre to constrict her storytelling. The relationships between the characters are satisfying and well-developed. Her latest novel, One Good Turn, brings Jackson back as one of several witnesses to a road rage incident. Atkinson takes the events of a few days and shows them from the points of view of the different characters, who are all connected in some way. I had trouble putting it down. You don't need to have read Case Histories to enjoy One Good Turn, but I highly recommend both.

I also finished Jane and the Stillroom Maid by Stephanie Barron, the fifth Jane Austen mystery. It was lovely and fun, as usual. I'm now reading The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst, which has really grabbed me after only one chapter. It's billed as a political/social satire, and is set in England in the '80s (Thatcherite London, as the back of the book says, which struck me as funny somehow). Nick, the main character, has really pulled me in. I know basically nothing about English politics (well, outside of Jane Austen's time), so this is pretty interesting to me.

Writing: Sadly, nothing new to report. I usually manage one productive non-baby thing a day, and I've had other things lately that have needed to be done. Hopefully, will get going on this soon.

Cooking: Nothing exciting. I've made enchiladas, hummus, baba ghanosh, vegetable fried rice, and some other basic stuff. I'm making broth today after my nap (I feel silly needing a nap, but Lilah thinks bedtime is midnight!).


mle said...

Ahh, that's too bad about the baby sweater!....will blocking not fix it?
Boy! I know what you mean about picking sock patterns...there are so many really great ones out there! I loved making the Aran-Braid socks and the Monkey socks are interesting but easy and my next pair will be Cookie's BFF socks (found on Knitter's Anon.). Unfortunately all of those have heel flaps but maybe it't not too hard to convert? (I don't know, I've never done short row heels).

Marie said...

Good to see you back! :) It's too bad the baby sweater pattern is so faulty! However, I should tell you that until you pointed out the problems with the sweater, I didn't notice at all. :) It is such a cute sweater and I love the color.
Thank you for the Kate Atkinson book reviews! I've been contemplating picking up Scene at a Museum for a while...good to know her books come highly recommended! :)

Stefaneener said...

Hi! Welcome back. I remember those blurry, blurry days. It sounds as though you're doing well. My baby is 20 months old, and I still take a nap every once in a while!

Sorry about the sweater! Can you just use it a couple of times and then frog it? She'll be so squinchy it won't show?

Thanks as always for the book suggestions.

Rachel said...

Hmm. Could you block the right side of the sweater only (it looks like it would stretch a lot because of the ribbing) so you could get at least a couple wears out of it before she outgrows it, and THEN frog it? Maybe then you won't feel quite so bitter about having to do so.

Sorry to hear about the schedule issues. Take naps with abandon and don't feel guilty about it!

Rain said...

I hadn't noticed either until you said something, it's gorgeous and I lobe that shade of pink. Do you think a firm blocking would help? If she'll outgrow it soon though it may be worth frogging and using the yarn for something else. I can't believe she's 8 weeks old already!

String Bean said...

I'd ignore the mistakes in the baby sweater and just let Lilah wear it. After all, who's going to notice the mistakes when they're admiring the sweet little girl?

Thanks for the book suggestions. I have a book post coming up. I recently scored a bunch of free books. Mostly paperbacks, but who cares when you're as literature starved as I am?

Check out the sweet tea recipe on my blog. It'll stave off sleep so you can stay up with Lilah.