Category Archives: Reading

A little bit of everything

Hope everyone had a good weekend! I knitted (another bib almost done…), visited my dad and his wife for Father’s Day, got caught up on bloglines, and read quite a bit. Here’s my SRP update:

Widdershins by Charles de Lint, 560 pages. Some resolution to the events started in motion in The Onion Girl. De Lint always leaves me believing there is hope for the world.
Death Masks by Jim Butcher, 373 pages. Book 5 of the Dresden Files. Chicago PI and wizard-for-hire Harry Dresden searches for the Shroud of Turin and runs into an old flame. Enjoyable as always.

I have a question for you WordPress experts out there. A few people have reported that they’re seeing my sidebar stuff on top of the posts. I moved most of the sidebar stuff to a separate page until I get that sorted out. Does anyone have any ideas about what the problem could be?!

Don’t forget – to leave a comment, click on the number to the right of the post title!

For my Knit Sock Kit Swap buddy, my questionnaire responses are here.

Friday night we had some major storms moving through the Twin Cities. I tried to take pictures out the window, but I don’t think I managed to capture the intensity of the storm. These pictures were taken around 5:30 pm, when the wind was gusting to 65 mph or so.

I’m making slow progress on the moderne log cabin crib blank from MDK. I’m about 1/3 done with square #7, although it’s not easy to tell that from my progress picture below…

“Zzzzzzzzzzz… mmmmm… butt blanket… zzzzzzzzzz…”

Randomly Wednesday

All sorts of interesting little bits and bobs this morning.

Jeanne has a funny post about making some absolutely adorable felted catnip mice.

Jenn suspects her cat Cocoa has been reading about Chaos while Jenn’s at work.

SRP: Sunday I finished reading Treasure Forest by Cat Bordhi, 288 pages. Winner of the 2004 Nautilus Award. I was familiar with Cat Bordhi’s Socks Soar… and moebius books, so when I heard she had also written a fantasy novel, I was intrigued. It’s a sweet story, with bits of spinning and knitting intertwined with spiritual, new agey bits.

Some of you know I read while I knit. I firmly believe that reading while knitting is a skill that can be learned (with many thanks to WildKnits for convincing me of that!). However, it really helps to have the right bookstand. I use a ReadUpon, which is a small pillow with a clear plastic bookholder attached. Unfortunately, the company that made this bookstand appears to have gone out of business. There are some other bookstands that might work – but please note that I haven’t seen or tried any of these, ok?!

The BookGem might work, if paired with a pillow. The Peeramid might work, although I’m not sure that it will hold the book open for hands-free reading. The Reader’s Laplander Lap Desk seems a bit big (and expensive) and I’m not sure it will give you a good reading angle. The Hold-and-Read might work, if paired with a pillow, but looks like it can only handle paperbacks. If anyone has other ideas, I’d love to hear them!

Shannon of Yarn and Chocolate had a contest to collect ideas for thrifty knitting and I won the lovely skein of Mountain Colors pictured below. Thanks, Shannon! (The skein is the bit on the right side of the picture…)

“I’d like to see you try to knit with me. Hmph.”

Reports of my move were greatly premature…

I’ll just warn y’all straight out that I’m a bit crabby this morning. Things were going well with the blog move until their tech support mentioned that they couldn’t integrate my blogger data. Um, well, that’s a deal breaker, since I know there are places that can integrate my data. So I’m taking a deep breath, waiting for my refund, and doing better research this time. Thanks to everyone who’s given me tips!

I’m also PMSy. ‘Nuff said.

On the plus side, I’m meeting Renee at Bad Waitress in Minneapolis (26th & Nicollet) at 11:00 am today – it’ll be our bit for for Worldwide Public Knitting Day. Drop by if you’re in the neighborhood!

I’ve started the log cabin baby blanket from MDK and am enjoying it. Please excuse this blurry picture, as my camera batteries were dying… These are all the colors I’ll be using, although, since I’m just doing the 4th square of 10, I have a lot further to go! The edging will be in the tan.

I’ve also gone on a bit of a joining bender… I’m participating in Dave’s Bitchin’ Mittens KAL (after getting special dispensation so I don’t have to knit any thumbs – you’ll have to stay tuned to see how I manage that). Frarochvia talked me into signing up for Scout’s Knit Sock Kit Swap (signups are Sunday, June 11 8 am EST through Tuesday June 13 8 am EST), so I talked her into signing up for Kat with a K’s Summer Reading Program. My goal is 30 books for the summer, including two nonfiction.

Here are the books I’ve read so far in June:

Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot, 368 pages. Total chick lit and a fast read, but it was fun and Meg Cabot had a great afterward about body image.

Summer Knight (Book 4 of the Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher, 371 pages. What’s not to like about a mystery series set in Chicago and featuring a wizard for hire? This installment detours into the land of Faerie.

The Hour Before Dawn and Two Other Stories from Newford by Charles de Lint, 114 pages. Newford stories – what else is there to say?

Anyone but You by Jennifer Crusie, 224 pages. Somewhat predictable chick lit, but that didn’t stop me from reading the whole thing in a single sitting.

Fare Play and Full Frontal Murder by Barbara Paul, 252 and 251 pages. These are from a series about NYPD lieutenant Marian Larch – quick reads, and the rest of the series is now on my to-read list.

The Road to Lisdoonvarna by Charles de Lint, 190 pages. A de Lint novel with no magic, set in Ottawa in the 1980s. Although the hardboiled detective novel is a bit of a departure for de Lint, it kept me engrossed.

Heart of the World by Linda Barnes, 321 pages. The latest of the Carlotta Carlyle mysteries, this takes Carlotta and her “little sister” Paolina to Colombia. Many twists and turns!

Hmm, I’m just realizing that my goal of 30 books isn’t going to be much of a stretch if I maintain this reading pace, is it?!

Here’s what Chaos looks like first thing every morning as I get his breakfast ready:

“Food food food food food food food food food.”

I feel a lot less crabby now. Thanks for listening/reading!

A mystery and a meme, but no tagging

Thank you all so much for your fabulous and sweet comments of yesterday! *sniff* Love you guys.

*collects self*

Ok, in the interest of actually having some knitting content, here’s what I’m working on these days:

What? You can’t tell what it is? Excellent! It’s a secret project, so you shouldn’t be able to figure it out yet. Hopefully it’s at least a bit Project Spectrumesque.

Carrie K tagged me for another book meme. I like book memes. 🙂

Name five of your favourite books, in no particular order. (This is subject to change, depending on what I can remember at any given moment.)
To Say Nothing of the Dog, or How We Found the Bishop’s Bird Stump at Last by Connie Willis. Come on, it’s science fiction written in the form of a Victorian novel, inspired by Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog! (1889) – what’s not to like? You must keep reading past the first 100 pages, even if you’re confused. The narrator’s confused. You’re in his headspace.

Bellwether by Connie Willis. Light-hearted satire about a trends researcher. There are sheep in it.

Someplace To Be Flying by Charles de Lint. What can I say… I want to be a Crow Girl.

War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. Not only is it a good read, it takes place in Minneapolis.

The Bee-Keeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King. I like most of the books in this series. It’s a great take on Sherlock Holmes.

What was the last book you bought?
I bought several books last weekend at Magers & Quinn and Booksmart (about 8 blocks from my condo – I love Uptown, Minneapolis!): Kafka on the Shore, Quicksilver, Separation Anxiety, and Women Who Love Cats Too Much.

What was the last book you read?
Dying to Sell by Maggie Sefton. I thought it was another one of her knitting mysteries when I reserved it at the library. Turns out it’s a realtor mystery and not that great… but I read it anyway. Right now I’m reading S is for Silence by Sue Grafton.

List five books that have been particularly meaningful to you.
Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche by Haruki Murakami. I read this shortly after 9/11 and the parts about terrorism resonated.

Egalia’s Daughters: A Satire of the Sexes by Gerd Brantenberg. Turns some of our basic perceptions of male and female roles topsy turvy and makes very effective points in doing so. I particularly liked “hysterical” being changed to “testerical.”

The Control of Nature by John McPhee. Looks at several places where humans are trying to control nature, including the Mississippi in Louisiana and the mudslide-prone areas in southern California. Written in 1990…

White Noise by Don DeLillo. Nails life in America in these modern times…

Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann. This is the book that demystified knitting for me.

Name some books you want to read but just haven’t gotten around to yet.
Kafka on the Shore, Quicksilver, Lambs of God, Blue Shoe, Julie and Julia… I could go on and on.

“Hey, I’m just hanging out on my tissue paper, thinking about a snack. Leave me alone. Go find SRM. That might make me less cranky.”

I have crushes on fictional characters…

Yes indeed, I have crushes on some fictional characters. I’m not talking about characters in tv shows or movies, but about characters in books. Characters described by the author, but whose final form exists only in my imagination.

Come on, admit it – if you read, then you do, too.

One of my particular favorites is “Roarke” from the Eve Dallas mysteries by Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb. Roarke’s a way sexy bazillionaire who lives in NYC, circa 2059. Here’s a description from Origin in Death:

His face – the strength, power, and yes, the beauty of a fallen angel with no regrets – was framed by the thick black of his hair. His mouth – full, carved, irresistible – smiled as he came toward her. And those eyes – impossibly, brilliantly blue…

Ok, that reads a little trashier out of context than in… wait, who am I kidding? Sheesh, it leads to several pages of steaminess. *fans self* Trash all the way, baby.

My other particular favorite is “Ranger” from the Stephanie Plum mysteries by Janet Evanovich. (Are you noticing a naming trend here?!) Ranger’s a bounty hunter/man of mystery in Trenton, NJ, described in High Five as follows:

Ranger’s…features are Anglo, his eyes are Latino, his skin is the color of a mocha latte, and his body is as good as a body can get. He had his black hair pulled back into a ponytail. He was wearing a black T-shirt that fit him like a tattoo and black SWAT pants tucked into black high-top boots.

Why, yes, I would be a sucker for the tall, dark, lean, and handsome bad boy type. How’d you guess?

Any fictional favorites you’d care to share? Hmm?

Yes, Virginia, you can read and knit

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I can read and knit at the same time. In the comments, Carrie K gave me an idea for a blog entry on how I accomplish this (thanks again, Carrie!).

Knitting while reading is a skill that, like any other, can be developed – if it’s a skill that interests you. It appealed to me because I don’t watch TV and I got kind of behind on my reading when I started to devote a lot of time to knitting.

Five years ago, when I first started knitting, I would only listen to music without words while I knitted. Then I graduated to music with words and eventually to books on tape (unless the project required a lot of focus). But most of the books that I wanted to read weren’t available on tape or cd from the library.

When I complained about this problem to my knitting friend Lisa from Duluth, she asked why I just didn’t read while I knit. Um, whoa – because I never considered such a thing possible? I was awed by her ability and sure that I could never do that.

But just in case, I picked up a ReadUpon book holder. (No link provided to, since they appear to no longer exist, alas.)

The ReadUpon seemed like it would pretty well for holding a book in my lap while I knitted in my comfy chair.

So I grabbed some large print books from the library and decided that I should start with a very simple knitting project – the miles of i-cord I needed to make for felted bag handles.

It wasn’t immediate. I started out looking at my knitting more than I was looking at the book, but slowly was able to look at the book more than my knitting. I quickly graduated from large print books. The second it took to lift a hand from my knitting and flip a page became no big deal. Soon I was able to read virtually anything while I knitted. And I became able to count things in my knitting while I was reading (which must be good for my brain!), so that I could knit more complicated projects while reading.

I still can’t read while I cast on or bind off or do cables or complicated stitches like the woven basket stitch. But ribbing, seed stitch, and some simple lace patterns go ok. And I get a lot more reading done now. But there’s still one large problem…

“Why the heck are you reading and knitting when you should be playing with me?!”

Added later: Now, really – this was meant to be a rough how-to. There’s nothing special about me except that I wanted to be able to do this and I practiced, starting slowly and simply, then working up to more complicated. If you like to read and you like to knit – it’s definitely worth a shot. YOU can do it. Yes, YOU. If not you, than who? 😉