It Fooled Around and Got Cold On Us

Tonight, my heater came on for the first time I was aware of  since I switched my thermostat over from AC to heat last week before we went to Pearland.  That’s because it got down to 32 F (0 C) last night, and its only 36F (2.22 C) right now.

I really need to be working on my reader’s shrug for reading in bed (my arms get cold), so naturally, I’ve started writing a shawl pattern —  it’s a modification of  a scarf pattern (see scarf at left)for a scarf which has an edging of Hilton lace.  The body of the scarf was done in seed stitch and had no border on the neck edge.  It had an increase/decrease of 1 stitch every 4 rows and is not very wide.   I like the look of it, and thought I would like it even better if it was a shawl.  So, I took the Hilton lace part, and combined it with what I call a “cobblestone stitch*” (because I haven’t been able to find out what it’s actually called) for the body, with a 3-stitch garter stitch inner edging and a 1 stitch increase every other row to make the body shawl-width instead of scarf-width.

It’s been a booger to sort out — the lace has a 16-row repeat, and since it’s knitted flat, the piece has right side and wrong side rows, which I had to figure out for the scarf body, and whether that bit goes at the beginning (right side) or end (wrong side) of the row.

I’ve had to write one “beginning increase” pattern repeat you just do once, because the body of the shawl starts from 1 stitch,  and then an increase pattern repeat that you repeat x number of times.  When you get to the halfway point, you start a decreasing pattern repeat, the last iteration of which had to be written separately as it takes the shawl body decrease back down to 1 stitch, after which you bind off.  However many times I’ll repeat the decrease pattern repeat depends on how many times I repeat the increase pattern repeat.  Since I’m knitting as I write, to test the pattern for accuracy, I won’t know until I’ve worked the increase pattern repeat the appropriate number of times.  Once I’ve actually knit one, I’ll be able to publish the pattern.

I’m doing it in knitting worsted weight (Medium:4) yarn on a ChiaoGoo Red Lace size US 10 (5.00) 32-inch circular needle, which ought to be wide enough.  The ChiaoGoo Red Lace needles have a nice long taper on the tip that makes them ideal for lace knitting.  I like the ChiaoGoo Red Lace needles so much I use them all the time.  I’m starting to get quite a collection of them.  I especially like the way they do the connecting cord between the needles.  Those needles that use nylon or plastic to connect the needles are like trying to knit with a spring.  They keep wanting to coil back up.  The ChiaoGoo’s are very flexible and have no “memory” — I store mine coiled up in the package they come in, and when I take them out, they uncoil and are very flaccid and flexible, with no “coiling tendencies” whatever.

Lately, I’ve been reading Lois McMaster Bujold’s Penric and Desdemona novellas (there’s 6 of them so far), which I am enjoying.  I have two left.  They are set in the same (fantasy) “world of the 5 gods” as her Chalion books (The Curse of Chalion, Paladin of Souls,  and The Hallowed Hunt) and occur chronologically between the time period of The Hallowed Hunt, which is “historically” earlier than the Penric novellas, and the time period of the other two Chalion books, which are “historically” later.  So, if you want to read them in chronological order, read The Hallowed Hunt first, then the 6 Penric novellas, then The Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls.  They can each be read as a stand-alone, but they do fall into groups based on plot (Curse and Paladin) and main characters (Penric and Desdemona) .   The Hallowed Hunt is the outlier, as the only thing it shares with the rest of them is the world.

I was reading Bujold’s Vorkosigan books, which are space opera, but I got really tired of Miles Vorkosigan and his story arc.  What got me into the series was the Aral and Cordelia story arc, (which is Shards of Honor and Barrayar). but I bailed out about three books into Miles’ shenanigans. I found the Aral and Cordelia characters compelling and appealing, but I couldn’t get with Miles.  I completely enjoyed Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, which is more of Cordelia’s arc, and I wish she’d write more about the menage Bujold touches briefly on in that.   (Bujold’s “Schrödinger’s cat carrier” where she keeps ideas she can’t decide whether to use or not is not only brilliant, but it cracks me up so much!)

I’ve also got the latest Steve Brust Vlad Taltos novel in the To Be Read pile, although I may have to read up onto it by rereading some of the previous books in the series to refresh my memory.  I’ve also got two Dorothy Gilman novels, the two about Madam Karitska  (The Clairvoyant Countess and Kaleidoscope) on the pile as well as some other books, so I’m all set for some good reading weather.

 

* Row 1: knit, Row 2, k1, p1, repeat rows 1-2 ad lib.
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Of Cotton Gins and Litrachure

It hasn’t rained in over two weeks; the fields and, more importantly, the cotton have thoroughly dried out again, which is why my eyes are tired, blurry and burning slightly, and I have an intermittent, maddening and hacking cough.  The big green John Deere’s and Cases are out in the fields again industriously stripping cotton, and throwing all that Roundup and Quick Pick laced dirt and plant particles up into the air.   I’m staying as indoors and out of it as I can, but it’s hard to escape with our practically constant wind.  Since we have cotton fields 360° around us, we get it no matter which way the wind blows.  And they’ve started ginning it, too, which puts cotton fibers and more chemical-laced gin trash in the air.

This morning, I tried reading the short stories of Truman Capote (he of Breakfast at Tiffany’s fame). He’s supposed to be such a good wordsmith, and I suppose he is, but I find his subject matter dog-eared, slightly sordid, Tennesee Williams-ish for all the wrong reasons, and generally pretty depressing, all of which gets in the way of my appreciating his wordsmithery.  So much for litrachure.

My mom got her new TV, a 50-inch flat screen, delivered, set up and hooked up in her bedroom.  It replaces a 19-inch TV she’s had for 20+ years, which was so small, you practically had to have binoculars to see it from the bed.  Now when she falls asleep watching TV, she won’t have to get up and go to bed.  She’ll already be in bed.  Very time and labor saving.

Daylight Savings Time ended last night, and consequently, I had to go around and reset every cotton-picking clock* in the house back an hour.  I do wish the powers that be (such as they are) would make up their (alleged) minds once and for all about whether we get to keep that one stupid hour or not.  I wasted at least half of it fiddling with the durn clocks!

*except the "atomic clock" my dad gave me years and years ago.  All you have to do is push the magic button, and the clock telepathically gets the correct time from the Atomic Clock in Boulder.  Talk about a gift that keeps on giving.  Money very well spent there. (and my plonging clock that sits on the mantle.  I don't like fiddling with the mechanism any).

The Lost Words

The Lost Words is a very special collaboration between writer Robert MacFarlane and artist Jackie Morris full of magical “word spells” and ravishing artwork that evoke animals and plants of the English countryside. This is a wonderful book for children of all ages.  Luscious language, exquisite artwork, a magical experience for both eye and ear. Written to be read aloud, drawn to be poured over, printed in large format.  You deserve to have this book, and so do the children in your life.

The below was done as a promotional giveaway, but it’s made from the same recipe as the feast of words and illustrations to be found in this wonderful book.

Please buy this book from a local independent bookseller if at all possible.  You need this book, and they need your support.

Kept Awake by a Book

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, to be exact.  Not because of anything in the book — or at least not anything so far.  I’m only about halfway through it.  It’s a delightful little book peopled by an interesting cast of characters.  No.  It’s what’s on the book. The stylized design of books on shelves on the cover fluoresces a bright highlighter yellow in the dark! I read a chapter or two, put the book on my bedside table, turned out the light and … whoa!  It glowed so brightly I had to put the book in my “office” so I could get to sleep.

It’s Pinktober, breast cancer awareness month, and I’ve started another Carrie Fisher Memorial PussyHat in honor of it. I’ll probably do a couple more pink hats of various styles, but I need to finish the Monmouth hat and whatever other style of hat I decide to make out of the last of the Dazzle yarn I was gifted with by the lady who donated a large portion of her late mother’s yarn stash to the group, so I can wash them all at the same time and treat them with hair conditioner to soften them up.

I finished another Coriolis chemo hat, and played yarn chicken through the whole hat.  I did have enough yarn to finish it, with a ball about an inch in diameter left over.   The pattern makes a really nice had for being no more complicated than it is.  The yarn is that Red Heart Unforgettable in the colorway “Dragonfly.

Here it is finished from the side and from the top.  So swirly.

The lady who donated the Dazzle yarn also donated an assorted bunch of knitting needles, from which I got several incomplete double pointed sets.  The double pointed needles usually come in sets of 5, but if you can get four, that’s enough to work with.

These were US size 10’s (6.0 mm) and they’re the long DPNs.  I did get some 6-inch ones — some US size 7’s (4.5 mm) and 8’s (5.0 mm), and a couple of straight needle sets (a point on one end and a button on the other) to round out my collection.   That’s the Monmouth hat beside it.  It’s worked on a US size 10 (6.0 mm) 16-inch circular needle.  You have to do a provisional cast on, and then “hem” the bottom of the cap, which is why I had the DPN needle out. Soon as I finish this hat (for the picture) I’ll post that pattern on my knitting patterns blog.

Last week, one of my paternal cousins had her second hip replacement surgery in two weeks. (They did one hip and then two weeks later did the other one).  It was a “same day surgery” — which is to say, they let her go home the day of the surgery.  It’s a new thing.  In order to be able to have this procedure, you have to be otherwise in good health and a low surgical risk.  You have to do “pre-hab” before surgery, and learn all the rehab exercises you’ll do following surgery, and in order to go home, you have to get up, walk, and be able to walk and climb a short flight of stairs. She’s been doing really well.  The thing is, she’s about 14 years younger than I am.  Still, if your joints are in such bad shape, especially your hips, that a doctor recommends joint replacement surgery, you probably should have it done.   Hopefully, we’re going to get to see her later this month

 

Books Read in 2017

74. The Curse of Chalion, McMaster Bujold, Lois
73. Summer In Orcus, Kingfisher, T.
72. *Neogenesis, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (eARC)
71. Wolf Wing, Lee, Tanith
70. Wolf Queen, Lee, Tanith
69. Wolf Star, Lee, Tanith
68. Wolf Tower, Lee, Tanith
67. *Jackalope Wives and Other Stories, Kingfisher, T.
66. Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule, Chiaverini, Jennifer
65. Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, Chiaverini, Jennifer
64. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Watson, Winifred (re-read)
63. *Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, McMaster Bujold, Lois
62. *Jackaby, Ritter, William
61. *Howl’s Moving Castle, Wynne Jones, Diana (re-read)
60. *Due Diligence, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve
59. *Flight of Magpies, Charles, K. J.
58. *A Case of Possession, Charles, K. J.
57. *The Magpie Lord, Charles, K. J.
56. A Conspiracy of Kings, Whalen Turner, Megan (re-read)
55. The King of Attolia, Whalen Turner, Megan (re-read)
54. The Queen of Attolia, Whalen Turner, Megan (re-read)
53. The Thief, Whalen Turner, Megan (re-read)
52. Thick as Thieves, Whalen Turner, Megan
51. Seven Wild Sisters, DeLint, Charles
50. *The Owl Service, Garner, Alan (re-read)
49. Stargate, Norton, Andre
48. *Swordspoint, Kushner, Ellen
47. *Privilege of the Sword, Kushner, Ellen
46. *The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, Chambers, Becky
45. Point of Honour, Robins, Madeleine E.
44. The Mark of the Horse Lord, Sutcliff, Rosemary
43. Where the Dead Lie, Harris, C. S.
42. Convergence, Cherryh, C. J.
41. Visitor, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
40. Tracker, Cherryh, C. J. (re-reread)
39. When Falcons Fall, Harris, C. S. (reread)
38. Who Buries the Dead, Harris, C. S. (re-reread)
37. Why Kings Confess, Harris, C. S. (re-reread)
36. What Darkness Brings, Harris, C. S. (re-reread)
35. When Maidens Mourn, Harris, C. S. (re-reread)
34. Where Shadows Dance, Harris, C. S. (re-reread)
33. What Remains of Heaven, Harris, C. S. (re-reread)
32. Where Serpents Sleep, Harris, C. S. (re-reread)
31. Why Mermaids Sing, Harris, C. S. (re-reread)
30. When Gods Die, Harris, C. S. (re-reread)
29. What Angels Fear, Harris, C. S. (re-reread)
28. Alliance of Equals, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (reread)
27. Trade Secrets, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-reread)
26. Liaden Constellation, Vol. 2, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-reread)
25. Liaden Constellation, Vol. 3, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-reread)
24. Liaden Constellation, Vol. 1, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-reread)
23. Dragon in Exile, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-. . . reread)
22. Necessity’s Child, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-. . . reread)
21. Mouse and Dragon, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-. . . reread)
20. Scout’s Progress, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-. . . reread)
19. I Dare, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-. . . reread)
18. Plan B, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-. . . reread)
17. Local Custom, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-. . . reread)
16. Conflict of Honors, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-. . . reread)
15. Carpe Diem, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-. . . reread)
14. Agent of Change, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-. . . reread)
13. The Gathering Edge, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon
12. Dragon Ship, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (reread)
11. Ghost Ship, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (reread)
10. Saltation, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (reread)
9. *Fledgling, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (reread)
8. *Passing Strange, Klages, Ellen
7. Balance of Trade, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (reread)
6. Tripoint, Cherryh, C. J.
5. *Were-, Bray, Patricia and Palmatier, Joshua, ed.
4. *When Marnie Was Here, Robinson, Joan G.
3. Crystal Dragon, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (reread)
2. Crystal Soldier, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (reread)
1. A Conspiracy of Kings, Whalen Turner, Megan (reread)

* Ebook

As the Wheel of the Year Turns

We’ve had the Autumnal Equinox already, last Friday.  It’s been chilly and rainy all week.  Last night, I actually thought about putting a blanket on my bed or, actually, just getting that little twin blanket I still haven’t made into a lap robe off the rocker and spreading it over my side of the bed.  Would have done, too, but I’d have had to get out into the cold to do it.

I’m actually thinking that a carafe-full of hot Moroccan Mint Tea might be just the thing.  And I’ve got hot dogs and buns in the freezer and if I take them out now they would be thawed by tomorrow, and there’s cans of Wolf Brand Chili in the cabinet, and I could have chili dogs with chopped onions, a big glop of chili and sprinkle cheese melted on top. (I take one of those wide, shallow soup bowls, open the bun out flat, cut the wiener in half longways and put half on each side of the bun, then load that sucker up and eat it with a knife and fork.) I’ve also got spaghetti, and I could break it into thirds before I cook it, and mix it into a can of Wolf Brand Chili, add some chopped onions and eat it with a generous amount of sprinkle cheese on top and zotted in the microwave.  Serious nums.

But what I think I’m going to do is have two slices of liverwurst on Red Oval Farms Stoned Wheat crackers with a garnish of chopped black onions, because it has a sell by or freeze date of 2 Oct, and it’ll take me three days to eat the 6-slice package.  But I could make a carafe of spiced chai and put some almond milk into it to have with . . . .

I just checked the 10-day forecast, and the hottest predicted high is 84 F (28.8 C) for Monday, with the lowest being 65 F (18.3 C).  Lows are going to be around 60 F (15.5 C) with the lowest low of 50 F (10 C) on Monday week.  We’re getting into that transitional, easy-on-the-wallet-utilities-bill part of the year where it’s not hot enough for the AC or cold enough for the heater.  It’s not quite late enough in the year to switch from AC to heater yet, though.  It’ll be time to do that when I start thinking I should get up and put some socks on.  Oh, just a little light jazz for a Saturday afternoon. . . .

Not much happening in the knitting news, the reason being that since Thursday, I’ve read two and a bit books, a stand alone (Summer in Orcus by T. Kingfisher), and the first and part of the second book in a trilogy (The Curse of Chalion and The Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold, The Hallowed Hunt being book 3), which is the setting world for a later quintet of novellas.  All of them are quite inexpensively had in e-book form from Amazon, which is where I acquired them from.

What I am doing knitting wise is working on the Ruffles and Flourishes hat pattern, which is proving to be a bit complicated. The hat pattern is a piece of cake, but I’ve ripped the first ruffle out and started over about four times now.  If I can ever get that ruffle pattern worked out, I’m home free.  I’m about to let it sit and stew for a bit and finish the Coriolis Chemo hat which is ready to start on the decreases.

However, I don’t get to do any of that right at the moment because it’s bill paying night.  Once I get that onerous chore out of the way, I will get up and get some supper and maybe read some more on The Paladin of Souls.

Seven Quick Finches

Seven quick finches go teasel threading
Carding their quivers at the weavers wedding
Widdershins working before loom-ward tending
Seven quick finches come teasel threading.

Artwork ©2017 by Jackie Morris, poem © 2017 Chris Jelley

Give your brain and your heart a treat.  Check out Jackie’s beautiful books. They are full of wonderful things.