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broodings from the burrow

August 15, 2019

mid-august unraveling
posted by soe 1:24 am

Mid-August Unraveling

I admit that there’s been a lot going on around here behind the scenes recently, which hasn’t left me as focused as I’d like for knitting and reading. Half of my train travel this week was spent sleeping or drowsing and much of the other half mentally puttering, although I did pick up my knitting at each station we stopped at, offering passengers boarding the train the option of picking a seat next to me and my needles or next to someone else with less pointy occupations. (It worked to my advantage.)

I’m into the second set of mosaic knitting of the pattern, which puts me in the final third of the shawl. I love the color combination and the copper sparkle in the purple yarn (which never shows up in the photos I take) and the pattern itself. Were it not for my choosing to include a yarn that has both been munched on by moths and nicked by my ball winder’s gear (meaning I need to spit splice yarn back together with surprising frequency), I do believe I’d be done already. I recommend it to anyone who might want to work on a mosaic shawl, and I can see myself making a second one in the future (but with unnicked yarn next time).

I also thought I’d finish A Covert Affair, the second book in the Librarian and the Spy series), but I didn’t do that either. The first part of the book was set locally, but the characters are now off to India, so I’m hoping the change of scenery will interest me more. I started Hope Rides Again on the train (it seemed appropriate), but the opening chapters annoyed me. As I said to my book group today, probably what most annoys me is that real life Joe Biden continues to participate in the presidential bid, so I have very little sympathy for the fictional counterpart also engaged in that activity (as well as amateur sleuthing. But I’m also questioning some authorial choices, including having the fictional Joe reading a fictional version of the real first book in the series. It feels a little too on the nose and a little too self-congratulatory and a lot lazy, which is disappointing. I’m going to give it 50 pages, but there is a possibility it will go back to the library.

The audiobook du jour is Mackenzi Lee’s A Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, which expired the last time I had it out before I had a chance to get very far into it. Our heroine is about to set forth for the Continent and a future in medicine and although I believe this means we will have to say farewell to Percy and Monty, I’m excited for Felicity’s prospects of getting to practice medicine again.

Head over to As Kat Knits to see what other people are reading and crafting.

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August 1, 2019

final july unraveling
posted by soe 1:42 am

Final July Unraveling

My Tour de France shawl was not finished by the time the cyclists circled the Arc de Triomphe the final time, but progress does continue noticeably. It would be faster if I didn’t have to keep doing spit splices of my pink yarn. Some of the breaks were due to moth damage from a project I was working on several years ago, but I’m now also finding problems on the interior of the center pull ball, which makes me think I got it caught in the yarn winder gear, which happens periodically. It’s been probably eight years since I wound it, so I don’t have a ton of recollection about the specifics of winding it up. Either way, I’m one more repeat of the pink pattern stitch section to go before I return to more mosaic work. Keep your needles crossed for long sections of unbroken yarn.

I started Aurora Uprising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff this week. The pair wrote The Illuminae Files trilogy, my favorite y.a. space opera series in a while, and this marks the start of a new series for them. They are good at characters and pacing and plot and impending doom, and really all you’d like for a book set in space in the future. I look forward to finishing it over the weekend while Rudi’s away biking. (I also still need to finish There There, which I’ve made progress on, and Red, White, and Royal Blue, which I haven’t picked up in a couple weeks, since they’re both overdue to the library.)

As I knit, I’m listening to The Big Kahuna by Janet Evanovich and Peter Evanovich, who replaces Lee Goldberg as coauthor for the latest installment of the Fox and O’Hare heist series. The change is not to the betterment of the series, which is disappointing. The series is not great literature in the first place (although it is a lot of fun and a quick listen), and to the younger Evanovich’s credit the word “panties” has not appeared in the first two thirds of the book, which definitely beats all the previous novels in the series.

Want to see more of what people are crafting and reading? Head to As Kat Knits for the roundup!

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July 25, 2019

late-july unraveling
posted by soe 1:31 am

Late-July Unraveling

I have reached the first mosaic portion of my Tour de France shawl! I’m really happy that I didn’t end up settling for a different contrast yarn, holding out for finding something in my stash that really popped. It is remarkably unlikely that I’ll be done knitting by the time the cyclists are circling the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday afternoon, but I could be through this first mosaic section and maybe even through the first solid pink section, provided I’m a little more careful with not having to rip back the pattern stitch that populates the solids.

On the reading front, what you see here are the three books I picked up at the library this evening. I’m glad I brought a plastic bag with me, because I was heading to my volleyball game afterwards and a rogue rainstorm drizzled on us for over an hour. I’ve only read the first few pages of Wordslut so far, definitely not enough to form any reasonable opinion about the work.

I need to finish reading Red, White, and Royal Blue and There There, both of which are overdue to the library with long holds lists. I should be able to cross both off my list and return them this coming week.

I have a handful of chapters left of Peter Mayle’s The Vintage Caper to listen to. It’s been a light, pleasant, French-centered accompaniment to my Tour de France watching and knitting, but I am not so caught up in it that I’ll be sorry to reach its finale. That feeling is probably increased by the fact that a bunch of audiobooks have come off hold for me recently, and I have Jenny Colgan’s The Bookshop on the Shore, Janet and Peter Evanovich’s The Big Kahuna, and Tricia Levenseller’s Daughter of the Siren Queen waiting impatiently in the wings.

Want to see what other people are reading and crafting? Head over to As Kat Knits for the roundup.

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July 18, 2019

mid-july unraveling
posted by soe 1:29 am

Mid-July Unraveling

I was hoping Corey would stay asleep on the chair so I could demonstrate that I’d legitimately made progress on my shawl, but my counting woke him up. But this week’s book is the same size as last week’s books, so hopefully you can tell I’ve been working hard even without a 20-pound cat as a constant.

The knitting itself is not difficult, which, of course, means I’ve messed it up a bunch of times. Somehow alternating just two stitches on half the rows is harder than my brain can handle. Also, next time remind me not to wind my single ply yarn into a center-pull ball because holy hell, the knots and yarn barf I’ve had to put up with!

The advantage of actually knitting means I’m also doing a lot of reading. Sometimes it’s listening to an audiobook, which has the advantage of not needing to turn pages, but because of the aforementioned fuck-ups, I sometimes need to chant the stitches when I’m having difficulty paying attention, which then means I need to pause the book because I can’t pay attention to someone reading to me while talking aloud to my brain. Otherwise, I can read a print book, paying attention to the pattern on the right-side rows and reading a couple pages while knitting back on the wrong sides. It’s slow going, but not horrible.

On my phone, I have finished my cycling book, The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle, and downloaded the first of Peter Mayle’s Sam Levitt heist series, Vintage Caper, which is about to move from Los Angeles to France. It seems appropriate for Tour de France knitting, although I’m also pretty sure I figured out who perpetrated the crime in the scene in which that character was introduced, so it’s good that I’m looking for setting in this book, rather than solid crime writing.

In print, I’ve started Jasmine Guillory’s The Proposal, a modern Los Angeles romance, in which the meet-cute happens because a writer’s boyfriend proposed to her at a Dodgers game (spelling her name wrong on the Jumbotron) and then, after she turns him down, a doctor and his sister help her escape from the media who want to interview her about it. You know, as it happens all the time. It’s light and frothy and innocuous, which is probably about right, given I can’t reliably wrap my head around two stitches.

I have Tommy Orange’s There There out from the library, so I should probably turn to that next, since there’s bound to be a long holds list for it. But if it doesn’t grab me right away, I might just return it again and resume reading my wintry books, Early Riser and Naughty on Ice, to combat our heat.

Want to see what other folks are reading and crafting? Head over to As Kat Knits for the roundup.

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July 11, 2019

tour de france unraveling
posted by soe 1:39 am

Tour de France KAL Unraveling

Yes, Corey is awake in this picture, although he’d been sleeping shortly before. No, he didn’t go after the yarn. Yes, he is a good kitten and I told him so.

I have made it through the first section of my Tour de France knitalong shawl, which I have nicknamed Forever in Bike Shorts.

There has been some tinking, when I screwed up the pattern stitch and couldn’t figure out how to fix a knit-1-below stitch I’d dropped down to repair. But it was relatively straightforward getting it back on the needles, although I definitely would prefer not to repeat that once there are several hundred stitches on my needles, rather than just several dozen. I should definitely not attempt to knit on this while sleeping.

I did not end up picking either of the yarns I showed you on Sunday, nor the next one I tried the following day. But then, while hunting for something else, I came across this baggie of yarn I had unraveled from a sock-in-progress that had been attacked by a moth several years back. It’s Neighborhood Fibers in Dupont Circle and works really well with the Iris. (It has some purple variegation over the pink, so even when the MadTosh bleeds — the strong smell of vinegar suggests it will — it shouldn’t be a problem.) I’m excited to get to the mosaic section, although I admit that the skein now being in 12 balls ranging from a few yards to 200-300 yards is probably not quite ideal. But I will make it work because I am going to love the hell out of this thing when it’s done.

Much of my knitting thus far has been done not to bike racing on tv, but to the audiobook of Christina Uss’ The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle, a middle-grade novel I started listening to in May, then had it expire on me as I was about halfway through. Bicycle grew up in a Nearly Silent Monastery in D.C. and instead of getting on a bus to go to a Friendship Factory the way her guardian intended (because she had a poor record of making friends herself), she took herself off on a cross-country bike ride to meet her cycling hero in San Francisco.

When my hands aren’t occupied, I’m still reading Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors and Red, White, and Royal Blue. I’m about halfway through both. I need to finish the former by this weekend, because otherwise I’ll have to pay the library for returning it so late.

Want to see what other folks are reading and crafting? Head to As Kat Knits to check out her round-up!

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July 8, 2019

tour de france knitalong
posted by soe 1:56 am

The Tour de France Knitalong, which runs concurrently with the bike race, has commenced, and I have decided on a knitting pattern:

4-Ever in Blue Jeans by Cally Monster

I knew I wanted to use some purple sparkly MadTosh Sock (colorway: Iris) Rudi gave me this winter for the solid color, and Rudi and I scoured my stash for something that would be a good contrast color.

Holi Festival, also by Madelinetosh, was, somewhat reluctantly, what I settled on. I think the white base is too white, and, frankly, I suspect the purple will run, which might be fine or not, depending on how it goes.

While looking for the right needles, I stumbled across a skein I’d started a sock in that seemed like it also might work. It has gotten separated somehow from its ballband, but I’m nearly positive it’s Araucania Itata Multy, a wool-silk-bamboo rayon blend. Because it contains silk, the kinkiness where I’d knit with it seems to have flattened this end of the yarn a bit, but where I haven’t worked it yet, it looks similar to the MadTosh.

I did a bit of a swatch:


The Holi Festival skein is used at the bottom and follows the pattern exactly, but it was making my swatch double in size, so I bound off all the extra stitches and sort of approximated things at the top for the Araucania just to get it done.

What do you guys think? In the morning I’ll rip out both and start knitting with my purple yarn. I’ll have a bunch of rows before I make a commitment for that second yarn, so feel free to weigh in if you have thoughts (including if your thought is to go stash diving again).

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