Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I finished something!

I had been posting every Wednesday, just by coincidence, but I missed last week because Lilah and I were in California visiting my parents. We had a wonderful time. It turns out that Lilah loves the swimming pool, and we did lots of family visiting. She's now a handful on the plane, though, really squirmy, easily bored, and often cranky. The guy next to us had two cocktails and it was an 11:00 a.m. flight.

Knitting: Frustrated by my lack of obvious progress on Irish Diamond Shawl, I decided on a quick project I found on Frog in Knots, thinking a shrug would be a nice, quick knit in a worsted weight cotton. I happened to have some worsted weight cotton and a need for a quick project, but shrugs are not flattering for my particular frame. String Bean popped into my head, since she had recently made Lilah a darling hat. And I had myself a project! Modeled pictures are right here.

Here's a detail shot:


Pattern - Ribbed Lace Bolero (Hey, it's a bolero, not a shrug like I've been saying for weeks. Can someone tell me the difference?)
Needles - Size 8 for ribbing, Size 10.5 for lace
Yarn - Pakucho Organic Cotton in Avocado, just over three skeins

Good things:

1. I love, love, love the Russian Join. It's easier than I thought it would be, and it looks very neat. Beats the heck out of the alternatives (except for the spit splice for wool).

2. This was a fun knit. The lace pattern was simple but fun, shaping nonexistent, finishing easy peasy.

3. I re-mastered the long-tail cast on, which I never use, and I learned the sewn bind-off, which is nice and flexible looking.

4. I love Pakucho Organic Cotton.

5. I've never cabled before, and I quickly learned cabling without a cable needle, which is used on the row before the ribbing starts again to make it look symmetrical. I think I did okay.

Things I would do differently next time:

1. I always agonize over when precisely I've reached the required length. I had a scant three inches of ribbing, and I should have gone on a bit more. I think even 3 1/2 inches would make a nice collar. I tend to obsess that I might be knitting too long, when I almost always short it instead.

2. I don't think my mattress stitch is that neat. I think I was doing it right but I think it's a bit wonky. I might just need practice, and maybe I need to check my knitting books to make sure I'm not missing something.

3. I sent it off, all excited, right after blocking, forgetting to sew down the collar! D'oh! Sorry, String Bean!

Reading: Vacation means lots of reading!

The Science of Harry Potter: If you're a big nerd like me, this is a fun read. The title is a little misleading. It's more like A Survey of Modern Science Using Harry Potter as a Springboard.

Inkspell by Cornelia Funke: I have a big complaint about this, the second Inkworld book by Cornelia Funke: I have to wait a year for the third! This book was excellent, but not a quick read. Apparently, it wasn't a planned sequel, which makes sense. Inkheart had kind of wrapped everything up, but there was plenty left to explore and Inkspell explores it well, and ends on a huge cliffhanger. If you enjoyed the first (which I certainly recommend reading if you haven't), you'll probably enjoy this one as well. But wait until next summer or so to read it, because Inkdeath comes out in September 2008. I believe these are being made into films. I sort of wonder if that's what made her decide to write sequels. The love of books, the sense of adventure, and the well-imagined world that made the first book so enjoyable are all present here.

Knit One. Kill Two by Maggie Sefton:The editing is atrocious (numerous typos include "doe" instead of "does"), and the author is fond of more exciting dialogue tags (people are always "declaring," "enthusing," and (I have no idea what this even means) "tweaking" their lines, which is really annoying, and worse, often used incorrectly. The same weird tag is often used multiple times, including "tweaked" twice within a page.) The heroine takes an instant and somewhat bizarre dislike to a guy in the story, telegraphing that he's destined to be a love interest in future books, and the reasoning is thin (he has the same height and hair color as her ex-boyfriend). All that said, there was something likeable about the heroine and the book in general. Kelly learns to knit as she and the knitting circle work through the clues to the real killer, and that's sort of fun (although who on earth ties knots in their knitting? Deliberately?). There's a recipe for cinnamon rolls at the end, but I already have two excellent ones and I'm not sure I buy lemon cream cheese frosting on cinnamon rolls. The two knitting patterns are on huge needles, as befits Kelly's extreme beginner status (although, I never liked those and started on 8s), so I won't be doing those any time soon. Does anyone look good in a tank top knit on size 15 needles? Maybe a total twig who needs to look a little more plump. Despite the annoying things about this book, I sort of liked the town and the knitting shop, and I think I might pick up the next one to see if the series gets better.

In Deep Voodoo by Stephanie Bond: This is mystery/romance and a fun, quick summer read. The heroine is really dumb. I don't think she's meant to be portrayed that way, but I found myself muttering, "What are you thinking, Penny?" about 97 times during the book. Penny's ex-husband, who lives in her painstakingly restored Victorian house with his new bimbo (who paints Penny's pride and joy pink, of all things), dies, stabbed through the heart, shortly after Penny stabs a voodoo doll at her divorce party. Penny's stupidity is annoying, and her love interest implausible, but something about this book was fun, so I'll probably pick up the next one. I think the fun is in the town of Mojo, Louisiana and its colorful inhabitants.

I have a ton of books to read right now. I have new mysteries from Rita Mae Brown, Diane Mott Davidson, and Donna Andrews. I want to read the Dark Is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper again before they ruin it with the movie. On the juvenile fiction front, I also have several Eva Ibbotsen books (I've loved all of hers I've read), Dragonrider by Cornelia Funke, and a few Harry Potter knockoffs I thought I'd try.

Writing: Not a thing.

Cooking: Traveling. I did consult with my dad on grilling tofu. It was excellent. KnitPastis, I'd love to come over and cook! You just have to hold the baby :)


turtlegirl76 said...

That bolero is too cute! I have no idea what the difference is unless it's something to do with the roundness to the shape of it? And that it falls right above the rib cage like a bull fighter's bolero does? Dunno.

mle said...

I LOVE your bolero/shrug!! I'm putting that one on my list for sure.

KnitPastis said...

Nice job on the bolero girl! Very nice.
You went to CA! I have never been to the West Coast. We had free tickets before and wanted to go somewhere out West but couldn't agree on where to go:) We ended up going to FL as usual.LOL I hope to one day visit Montana. I have this picture in my head that it's pure God's country up there. My husband says there probably wouldn't be any hotels near the places I would want to see.
I took your advice an someone else's on a book! You will just have to wait until the day I reveal it on my blog.hehee. I know, mean, huh!
I can totally handle holding your sweet baby girl while you cook one of your fabulous meals for us. LOL Gosh, too bad we don't live closer. Sorry I haven't been blogging but I am taking on a major task here at the house. Major for us at least. Be back to blogging when I can.

Rachel said...

Hmm. I was hoping another commenter would have explained the difference between a bolero and a shrug, because I sure have no idea. Whatever it is, yours came out great!

I'm glad you're finding things to enjoy in all your reading even though it's not idea. I also have a pet-peeve with authors who are afraid of a plain old "So-and-So said" and have their characters chirping, rumbling, and trilling. Don't people ever just talk???

String Bean said...

There's another modeled shot at the end of this post:

It's a front shot. One the day I took the original shots I wasn't having a good picture day. And for your information, Allison, I love that you didn't sew the collar down. That way I can fold it down or leave it up to keep the chill off the back of my neck. Thanks for forgetting - I love it. :D

I don't think this is a bolero. I always thought that bolero's had long sleeves. Does anyone know for sure?

Knittypants said...

I love this shrug, I've been toying with the idea of making one for myself. Your's is beautiful.