Monday, April 23, 2012

Books on the Coffee Table

Books. Gorgeous when they are sitting around in piles, awesome when they are opened up in your hands.

In the library there is a leather loveseat, a coffee table to catch new books, and often a cocker spaniel between the two. Other shelves hold "to be read" books as well, which means that the books here are either going to be shelved with their mates once read, or moved over to the TBR section when other new books arrive.
They look nice there, although the table is pretty much useless for anything else. It has become a landing place for new books, but also, unfortunately, a place where books I'm reading can get buried.

Let's see...
Top to bottom, above:
Leonard Cohen, Poems and Songs Required reading, he must remain visible at all times.
A Year of Living Your Yoga Nice.
Infinite Jest I swear I'm going to finish it someday.
Wool Omnibus I read all of these on my Kindle and loved them. Wanted to support the author by buying a copy, which he signed.
Far Flung and Well Fed Food writing, TBR
Zeno's Conscience TBR, I think my son gave this to me, but maybe I just thought he would also like it?
Brain Candy TBR, I have no idea what this is.
Snowmen and History of the Snowman Would have been so fun to read through again during a snowstorm. If only we'd had one.
In Defense of Food I'll get to this soon.
The Food Matters Cookbook I was pleased to find that my husband remembered that I love Mark Bittman, and bought this for me for Christmas.
Shirtmaking I will never attain this level of achievement in sewing, and I'm okay with that.
The Kitchen Linens Book is exactly what you think it is.
Steve Jobs A friend gave it to me and I look forward to reading it.
World Vegetarian My first Madhur Jaffrey. Obviously, cookbooks do not move into the kitchen until I've read them.
Nutrition A textbook from someone's class last semester.
Blink I'm loving this book!
La Bella Lingua Ditto, although it is a reminder than I have been lax in my Italian language study.
Gandhi I flew through most of it and then it found its way to the bottom of the pile on my nightstand, and now I have a hard time whenever I try to get back into it.
New York Diaries This was a great idea for a diary anthology, look into it! It's one to pick up now and then, read a bit, and put back down.
Bigfoot: I Not Dead  We, meaning my family and a few dozen people of various ages, got a kick out of this. It's pretty brilliant sometimes.
The Anthologist Started it. Stopped.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fiber Arts Friday the 13th!

Ah, a Fiber Arts Friday with stuff to share!
First up, Dillon's Longies, which I think of as Dillongies. I made these for a neighbor who lives in these comfy wool pants, longies for winter and soakers for summer, over his cloth diapers. I was shocked to find that they took a little more than two skeins of Cascade 220, and rather longer to knit than I expected. Worth every penny of the many pennies his mother pays for them! 
I swatched this Valley Yarns cotton/microfiber from my stash for a possible cardigan, but it's not going to work. I will store the swatches with the yarn for next time, with a note that I washed the swatches and they didn't budge. 
Every now and then I make a square of sock yarn for this eventual throw. Yes, it's going to take forever, but it's not only a good use of odds and ends of yarn, it gives me something to buy when I visit a yarn shop and don't see anything else! You know how it is, you want to be supportive of the friendly shop owner but there isn't one thing calling you? I can always find a pretty sock yarn, and I can tell my husband it's a vacation souvenir and not a yarn purchase. 
It's been such a long time since I worked on this (it usually lives in the car for emergencies) that I had to search for the original pattern online to figure out how I did the increases and decreases. Right, forever until it's done. 

Summer is a good time for sock knitting, and I'm getting a few things ready. I bought these two gorgeous sock yarns at The Knitter's Edge in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. I love that shop and wish it was closer. I will be dividing these into two toe-up balls with matching starting points, because that's just how it has to be. This yarn is super soft.
My daughter-in-law brought this gorgeous skein back from Trieste, Italy. I'll be casting on a pair of socks for myself this summer, too.
I added two new patterns to my library this week:
Clara, Lori Versaci
Yoked Cardigan, Hannah Fettig, from baby to adult sizes.
Finally, I knitted and donated a dog sweater for Pottstown's Bark for Life, I sewed a few Kindle covers for my etsy shop, and got a signed copy Wool in the mail yesterday. Check this post for a review of Wool! 

I'm off to explore other Fiber Arts Friday blogs!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Knitters, Wool, and Hugh Howey

Knitters are diverse. There are girly-girl knitters, geek knitters, grandma knitters, hipster knitters, nerdy knitters, and conservative knitters. A quick run-through of knitters I know gives me pagan, pastor, teacher, seamstress, software engineer, social worker ... kind of fun. Knitting brings us all to the same table, where I've noticed at least one other commonality: we read. During a gathering, once we've checked out what everyone else is making/frogging, commiserated with this one and congratulated that one, and after acknowledging yet again that we really can't cable and talk at the same time, we talk about books.

I have yet to sit with a group of knitters without ipads, phones, and Moleskines being whipped out of knitting bags to jot down the book titles that start flying around the room. We're a literate bunch. We knit and we read, and while I'm not willing to go so far as to give the collective "we" to a genre, I've noticed that a lot of us read sci fi. 

So have you read Wool?

Wool is the first in a series of short stories - novellas? installments? - by Hugh Howey. They are not about knitting. I repeat, they are not about knitting, although there is a character who knits and there is a piece of wool. We spend a few lovely paragraphs with the knitter's thoughts as she admires her needles (wooden needles in a leather pouch, "like the delicate bones of the wrist wrapped in dried and ancient flesh.") and casts on for a sweater. The titles are the best use of knitting metaphor ever:

Proper Gauge
Casting Off
The Unraveling
The Stranded

I started to think that Howey either knits or is close to someone who does, and I was  right. I read the first book, Wool, and then immediately bought the Omnibus, with the first five stories. (God love a Kindle for instant gratification.) Go get it, paperback or Kindle.  Then you'll go to his website and discover, as I did, that there is an imminent sixth story, and that there is much more to discover about Howey, his fans, and his work.

You're welcome.