Saturday, March 27, 2010

More book and knitting talk

I finished up the Biggie book I was reading, Biggie and the Fricasseed Fat Man (Biggie Weatherford). Delightful. I highly recommend this series if you are looking for lighthearted reading. The nice thing about this series is you can jump in on any book and not be lost. There are references to previous books, but none so much that it detracts from the current story. Now I'm reading Rachael Herron's first book, How to Knit a Love Song: A Cypress Hollow Yarn. I heard about the book on Marie Irshad's Knit Cast podcast and thought it sounded pretty good. It's a knitting romance. I'm not generally a fan of romance books, but it's got knitting! How bad can it be? Actually, so far it's pretty darn good. I'm only a few chapters in. The young heroine has just inherited a cottage from a sweet old knitting lady (very reminiscent of Elizabeth Zimmermann). The downside is that this cottage is located smack in the middle of a sheep ranch the woman owned and willed to her nephew, a set-in-his-ways cowboy. And so the fun begins. The writing is good. Rachael paints a lovely, vivid picture without being ponderous. The pace is good and I'm definitely looking forward to an afternoon of reading.

I had a wonderful discovery this week for the Kindle. Knitcircus online knitting magazine has gone free and digital. The magazine can be read online or downloaded as a PDF. They even allow you to print the magazine out if you wish. Fantastic! I was absolutely delighted to download the PDF and copy it to my Kindle. The font is a tad small, but still readable. Patterns are NOT included in the free version of the magazine. There is a flat fee to purchase the entire pattern pack for the issue. I'm happy with the advent of online knitting magazines, even happier to find one that allows download to a reader so I'm not stuck at my computer desk to read it. There are various modalities of pattern distribution. Knitty is totally free, Knitcircus is one price for all the issue's patterns and Twist Collective you buy each pattern individually.

Knitting this week has mostly been on the Kertzer Yoked Cardigan. This has been an interesting pattern to knit. You knit the base of the cardi in pieces to the underarm then join them and knit the yoke as one piece. There's also an interesting method of making the pockets where you knit the pocket lining and keep it on a holder. When you come to the pocket placement on the fronts, you make rapid increases which create a little pouch. At the top of the pocket, you lap the outermost pocket stitches over the center stitches creating pleats. You work a few rows of edging and bind off the pocket stitches then attach the lining on the next row. It's terribly easy and creates an adorable pocket.

I finished a pair of vanilla socks in some yarn I had purchased last year on Ebay, JL Yarns Salvia. The yarn was quite inexpensive so I figured I'd give it a try. It is a very fine fingering weight yarn. I knit the socks on US 1 needles but will probably knit the next pair on US 0, if I get around to knitting the second pair! These seemed to take forever. I guess because of the fineness of the yarn. And there was nothing compelling about the yarn. Just plain, basic yarn. The only other socks I've got going at the moment are the 6ply self patterning socks, for when I need totally brainless knitting. Next up in my sock queue are the Sleepy Hollow socks using some of my own hand dyed yarn. Just have to get the yarn wound up.

I'm still working on the Bitterroot shawl from Knitty. The pattern is starting to show now, although it's difficult to see in the picture since it's not blocked. I also started a Multnomah shawl. The eagle eyed among you will recognize the yarn from last summer's stole. I love the yarn, love knitting with the yarn. But stoles...not so much loving knitting them. Too much like overgrown scarves or undersized blankets. WAY too much boring knitting. At least with a triangle shawl each row is a little different. Besides, I really wanted to knit Multnomah and knew this yarn would be perfect. It is 100purewool lace weight in the color Nicanor held double.

Although I've manged to stick to not buying yarn, I've failed on the sniffies. I purchased some samples from For Strange Women and am smitten. Her scents are all natural, no fragrance oils, just natural and essential oils. The scents are incredibly complex. They smell totally different on my skin than in the bottle. They are rich and pure, nothing cloying and artificial like in some perfume oils. I decided to treat myself to a full bottle of Decadence and Debauchery, although the other 2 I tried, Winter Kitty and Moss & Ivy were equally tempting.

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