Santa’s reindeer, explained.
Santa’s other reindeer.
How to put the lights on your tree.
Santa’s reindeer, explained.
Santa’s other reindeer.
How to put the lights on your tree.
This hat is what I have been working on for the past week or so. Rios makes such lovely squishy cables! The hat is for a silent auction in February.
Why have I been working on a hat instead of the three sweaters I have OTN? Because there are two silent auctions in the first part of 2020, and I need to get ‘er done! I packed away the Fairfield and the Boxy sweaters so I wouldn’t be distracted by them. The Chaika sweater UFO has been frogged — that’s the yarn I used for the hat — because reality dawned; that was not a sweater I could visualize ever being flattering or easy to wear. Frogging it means I now have five skeins of Rios in a deep purpley-gray to play with (someday).
I finished GF’s heavy rainbow-toe socks. Now I need to package and mail them. She is visiting her daughters in Boston for three weeks over the holidays, so there is no rush. (No rush = permission to procrastinate) She saw the first sock and the beginnings of the second when we visited for Thanksgiving; her reaction was priceless — she knew immediately why I had designed the socks that way.
Now I am working on a project for a friend. She asked me to change the names on two Christmas stockings so she could give them to her grandsons. I nearly finished the first when I saw my huge mistake.
Yep. I duplicate stitched the name on the wrong, undecorated side of the sock.
There was much sweating and gnashing of teeth.
The new deadline to give her the socks is Thursday — will I make it? Hard to say…
Bloody Genius by John Sandford, This is #12 in the Virgil Flowers series. As with nearly all Sandford’s previous books, I enjoyed it immensely. Flowers is a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent who wears band t-shirts and tows his fishing board along when he goes on a case. Sandford writes intelligent mysteries, and I love them. 4★.
Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam. This was my book group’s pick for this month. The author may be best known for his book Rocket Boys, which was made into the movie October Sky. Carrying Albert Home is his retelling of his parents’ stories about the time back in the 1930s when they took his mother’s pet alligator, received as a wedding present, back to Florida. There were varied reactions from different members of my group, varying from mine, It’s a lighthearted, funny book, to another’s, This was the saddest book I have read in a long time; it made my heart hurt. We could all understand each other’s reactions, as it was a funny book and it was sad. 4★.
The Topeka School by Ben Lerner. A story about parents and teenagers at a psychiatric facility in Kansas, presumably inspired by the Menninger Clinic. The author has also published several books of poetry and about poetry; this shows in his wonderful use of language. It was somewhat hard for me to read, and I got distracted by other shinier books on my TBR pile. However, I think this will be my pick for book club next May. The obligation to read and be able to discuss it may be what I need, plus I suspect it will spark a good discussion. (Kym, I read your Goodreads review; that is what gave me the idea to choose it for book group. Thanks!) ?★.
Joining Kat and friends for an Unraveled Wednesday.
What you see are the beginnings of a pair of super-warm socks for Elder Son’s GF. It’s what I have been working on for her Christmas present. She is in nursing school, and she told us that when she does her clinicals her feet get cold. So she wears her hiking socks — thick, wooly, and warm. But her supervisors get annoyed with her because they are Not.White.
She can wear these socks and make all the superiors happy while quietly hooting behind her paws, knowing there is a forbidden burst of color hiding in her shoes.
The latest book from William Kent Krueger is a stand-alone novel. It is a quest story, four children escaping from a nightmare home for Native children and seeking a better life. It is set mainly in Minnesota, later in St Louis. The book has gotten very good reviews, and I found nothing to contradict that. Four ★.
This is a suspense novel par excellence. I had to stay up until 2am to finish. Recommended if you like that sort of thing. 3 ★.
Back in my professional tax accounting days I did hundreds of tax returns for various members of the Pillsbury clan and for their trust funds. This book is an exhausting history of the family and their good influence on Minnesota. I didn’t read the whole thing, only the latter part covering the period from about 1960 to the date of publication in 2011. Lots of names familiar to me, and facts about them that I didn’t know. For example, Charlie Pillsbury’s roommate at Yale — they all went to Yale — was Garry Trudeau, the cartoonist, and the character of Michael Doonsbury in his comic strip was based on Charlie.
I just started this one, and so far I am unimpressed in the extreme. 2★.
My Unraveled posts have been on a too-long hiatus because reasons, not because I haven’t been knitting.
Reason 1. I became dissatisfied with the colors of my Boxy. It is being knitted from all the different fingering weight red yarns I had in the stash, but once they were knitted together I realized there was a fair amount of pink in them. For the record, I despise pink, plus it is not a particularly flattering color on me due to my skin tone, which tends toward gold rather than rosy. So the Boxy went into time out while I pondered my choices.
The obvious choice was to overdye the worst offenders in the remaining yarns using something that would counteract the pink. Rit Dye to the rescue! I tried using half a bottle of true red with a couple tablespoons of wine. That helped some but still didn’t get me to the color I realized I wanted — a brick red similar to these.
I think my next step is to over-dye again using brown and/or orange. I will need to over-dye the existing knitting, too. Already have a bottle of brown dye, need to acquire some orange. Or possibly yellow. Edited to add: Done!
Reason 2. We are going to New Mexico to spend Thanksgiving with Elder Son and GF; Younger Son is going along. It will be the whole fam-damily together, yay! I suggested we pretend that T’giving also be Christmas, which means I need to get GF’s socks* done.
* Oops. I haven’t blogged these socks. GF’s birthday was back in June; when I asked ES what she might like/need, he suggested hand-knit socks. He and I thought it would spoil the surprise if he tried to measure her feet, but he was able to give me her shoe size. Armed with that knowledge, I cast on for the socks pictured below. They turned out to be too tight. I had only knit the foot, so only a minimal amount of knitting was wasted.
When ES and GF were here earlier this fall I had her peruse my sock yarn stash and pick out a couple different skeins that appealed to her. Clever Me also had her try on some of my own hand-knit socks when she was here. It turns out my socks fit her perfectly; her feet are shorter than mine, but wider, and the wonderfully forgiving nature of stockinette means that I can simply knit her socks using the same needles and stitch counts I use for my own.
Pair #1A has been a shamefully long slog for me, but I finished the first sock a couple nights ago. The second sock should go better now that I have all the [self-imposed and too long and boring to enumerate] kinks worked out.
Pair #2 are my own invention. She was telling us how she gets flak from the nursing instructors and supervisors when she does her clinicals (she is in her penultimate semester of nursing school) because her socks are not white — she wears hiking socks because her feet get cold. Pondering this situation I came upon the idea to knit her a double-stranded pair of white socks from KnitPicks Bare fingering… and knit the toes striped with several different bright colors. She can satisfy the Powers That Be while chuckling to herself about the level of color-ific-ness inside her shoes. Since that pair will be double-stranded, they will be a fast project. I may even be able to start and finish them in the car on the way to New Mexico. Note to self: knit the colorful toes for both socks before the trip to avoid having to drag along multiple balls of yarn.
Reason 3. My Fairfield sweater was coming along nicely when the Boxy Bug struck. No problems there, just hiatus due to startitis.
Reason 4. When I was avoiding working on GF’s socks I made a couple potholders for our kitchen. The multi-striped one is crocheted, the other is garter stitch felted. Clearly, I overshot the size on the latter. Maybe I should run it through the washer and dryer again, then cut it down to size; that would mean removing and reattaching the hanging ring. Thoughts?
Here is everything I have read since my last post.
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. A young adult book, but still a fun read. Since I generally do not enjoy reading YA books, this is high praise indeed.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I had listened to this years ago, but decided to read it in analog form before I read The Testament, its sequel. Chilling, relevant, and highly recommended, of course.
The Granny Square Book by Margaret Hubert. I had a wild hair — startitis, anyone? — to knit a granny square afghan. Happily, the urge passed, but should it strike again there are books available to help me pick a square.
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. Chilling, relevant, and highly recommended.
Stolen Things by our own knitter/author, Rachel Herron. This is by far my favorite book by her. Anybody else remember when she was an Oakland 911 operator, blogger, and aspiring writer? She no longer works for 911 and earns a six-figure income through her writing and teaching. Go, Rachel!
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. I love character-driven stories. This is one, a really good one. Highly recommend.
The Institute by Stephen King. No one writes a suspense novel like Stephen King. Highly recommend if you like that sort of thing. (I do.)
The Guest Book by Sarah Blake. I have long been fascinated by the WASPishness of the right coast and the automatic bestowing of various mantles on those right-coast dwellers with the *proper* background. This book does an insightful job of portraying both those folks and those who are not those folks (at least one of whom actually is one of those folks). This is a book that has stayed with me. Although as a Midwesterner I can never be one of those folks, the book made me more aware of my white privilege than books that specifically try to do that. Highly recommend.
The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher. This book is of a genre — a feel-good, [elder]chick-lit sort of thing — that I avoid like the plague. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it (mostly; it was too long and kept me from my TBR pile longer than I would have liked). Basically, I recommended it if you like that sort of thing.
The Break by Katherena Vermette. I am currently reading this one, but it is a hard book for me to pick up — I have been avoiding it for several days. Portraying injustice in a Native community in Canada, it could easily be set in the US. When I moved from Minnesota to Wisconsin in 1999 and became familiar with my new home, it seemed to me, from my position of white privilege, that the Tribe got more consideration — at least institutionally — than I had seen elsewhere. For example, when my county, at the behest of the state, created its Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC), the three local entities that created it were my county, the county to the north, and the St Croix Band of Chippewa (Ojibwe, Anishinaabe). That being said, there is no shortage of racism and disparagement of Natives among local individuals.
Check out what others are knitting (and unraveling) and reading over at Kat’s.