Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Needlework Tuesday - A short break

I'm taking a short break this week from my usual needlework post. I should be working on a presentation that I'll be giving next week at my local guild.  To date, I have a short point form list, that's it.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I want to show and actually finished the quilting on two of those quilts, but I am  far from ready.  Today is my writing day.  I'll make the notes for my talk as well as double check some pattern and designer names I might have missed on the quilt labels (or I might even have missed putting a label on a quilt heaven forbid).

I'll be back next week with a couple of items to share.

In the mean time, I'm not letting you off the hook.  Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.


Friday, 14 November 2014

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

This book did not work for me.  It had moments where I listened in rapt attention and others where I was lost listening to long, monotonous discourses on some abstract topic that I couldn't relate back to Theo and his plight.  On the whole, there just wasn't enough of the compelling passages for me to recommend this novel.   I'm sure there are many who disagree with me, as this book has won numerous notable awards. 

The story starts in New York City while 13 year old Theo is visiting a museum with his mother.  An accident takes the life of his mother and in the confusion that follows, Theo takes The Goldfinch, a painting by artist Carel Fabritius from the museum.  The reader then follows Theo for the next decades while he attempts to resolve his angst over what has  happened in the past.

A coming of age novel for a boy without a suitable/stable adult influence.  Even before the accident, Theo had set a pattern of not learning from the bad decisions he made.  This doesn't change regardless of the many second chances he is given. 

Two characters helped to redeem this book for me.  Theo meets Boris about a year after the accident and together they get into all sorts of risky situations.  Boris is the bad boy type that as a parent I don't really want my child to hang out with, but as a literary character, I can't wait to read about his next exploit.  Shortly after the incident that killed his mother, Theo meets James (Hobie) Hobart, a elderly furniture restorer, who later becomes his guardian and mentor.   This is a man who you want to know and would trust as part of your family.  He is a stabilising factor in Theo's life and he keeps the story grounded.

I listened to the Hachette Audio book version, 32 hours and 24 minutes and read by David Pittu.  He did a good job of the many characters and their different ethnicities.  Hobie and Boris became real in my mind while listening to them talk.

 "The Goldfinch" by Carel Fabritius is a real painting that is part of The Frick Collection that is housed at The Royal Picture Galley Mauritshuis, The Hague.

Thanks to The Frick Collection for use of the image of "The Goldfinch".

Thanks to Hachette Audio for use of the cover image.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Needlework Tuesday - Getting Ready for the Cold Winds


No matter how much I want to, I can't hold back the changing weather.  Today, Remembrance Day is sunny are warm and I am enjoying it.  Tomorrow and days after will be all downhill.  Time to get ready for the winter onslaught.  A small project for daughter is on the needles.  This is my first time knitting with alpaca.  It is soft and inviting.  I am using 3 skeins of Kutama from Mirasol.  This is a wonderful company that sources it's wools in Peru and returns a portion of profits to that country to the benefits of the children.  Visit the Mirasol website to learn more of their worthy projects. 

Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you.

 I have enjoyed knitting cables since I first tried them almost 30 years ago.  It still amazes me how I twist and turn stitches and end up with a garment that isn't full of holes but is warm and cuddly.  (the first photo above is more accurate in colour).

The Kutama wool is easy to knit with and is quite sturdy.  I started knitting fingerless mitts and was half way completed one hand when I realised I needed larger needles.  i ripped it out and started again. I finished the first mitt and then wondered why i had 3 skeins instead of the two the pattern called for.  Looking through the pattern book, I saw the pattern for the cowl that used three skeins.  oops, I was making the wrong project.  i ripped out the knitting for the second time and started again.  The wool has stood up to this mis-handling and still looks great.  Mirasol has several weights and blends of wools  available and I will definitely be trying some of them.  I am using the pattern for the"Loreto Cowl" from the book Kutama Book 23 by Jane Ellison.

Have you used any of the wools from the Mirasol Project?  I'd love to see what you've made.

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework project.




Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Needlework Tuesday - Quick projects

This past week brought my area lots of clouds and rain.  Not something I want to be outside in, so I elected to stay indoors and work on my needlework.

First up were a hot matt and a scrubbie made with Scrub It yarn from Mary Maxim.  I used the free patterns from their site.  They were both fairly straight forward crochet, though I did have to redo a few bits on the the Floral Scrubber.  It measures about 5 inches across and I think it is too pretty to be used to scrubbing anything in the kitchen, off to the bathtub it goes.

Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you
This next series of photos shows step by step stitching the Floral Hot Pad, also a free pattern from Mary Maxim.

Make two of these base pieces using worsted weight cotton.

 Use Scrub It in a co-ordinating colour for the next round of the flower.


 I pulled all the ends to the back and tied them off securely.  Layer the other base piece behind to hide all those ends.  Single crochet to attach the layers together.



I have lots more Scrub It to use.  Daughter likes these little scrubbies for cleaning her face.  This pattern is quick and easy.  It is designed by Melinda Miller at MoCrochet.com.  Pattern is found on Ravelry
While I was wandering around at Ravelry, I found reference to this fun scrubbie and searched it out.  There is a video showing the step by step which made it extremely easy to make.  The pattern and link to the video can be found free on Ravelry


It was last year when I first saw information about knitting tea towels.  The cost of the kits was too much at the time, but the idea stuck with me.  Recently I came across a pattern for dish clothes with a hanging loop.  It occurred to me that if I added more stitches I'd have a tea towel.  The pattern is from from Yarnspiration and uses worsted weight cotton.  Pattern is called Red White and Blue Dishcloth  (to knit). 


The small size was knit according to the pattern and the larger was made starting with 86 stitches.  The left hand one is a bit small for drying hands, but the one on the right looks just about perfect.

Now I am thinking about the further changes in weather that are on their way and am knitting a cabled cowl for daughter.  I'll have photos next week.

Have you started your seasonal projects?  I'd enjoying hearing about them.  Leave a comment as well as add a link to Mister Linky and I'll be sure to visit with you.


Sunday, 2 November 2014

Black Death in a New Age by Kathy T. Kale

I truly enjoy a plague novel that I can lose myself in knowing that I am healthy and safe from infection.  Black Death in a New Age kept my attention from the first pages.  Not only did it have an outbreak in an unsuspecting location, Duane University in Texas, it mixed civilian and military personal in identifying and containing the spread of the pathogen.  Immunologist Dr. Dana Sparks is a brilliant scientist but she likes to work outside the box much to the disapproval of her new boss retired military man Dr. TJ McCoy.  He is a by the rules kind of leader and she definitely plays by an entirely different set.

Complicating matters is the transient nature of a university town as well as the pending visit of the Vice President of the United States.  Top it all off with a fast moving tropical storm and Drs. Sparks and McCoy have a herculean task ahead of them.

I like that it isn't just one of the doctors that solves the crisis, but that it takes the work of several doctors, CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and FBI to find both the cure as well as the first victim and infection source.  Team work makes for good reading in my opinion.  This is a well crafted mystery and I had to read through to the end to find the missing answers.

Thanks to author Kathy Kale for use of the cover image.


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Needlework Tuesday - Knitting a different Pumpkin

This project was lots of fun.  I don't mean emptying the wine bottles, though that was most enjoyable, I am referring to the pumpkin wine bottle cosy.  My nephew says it looks more like a giant carrot, but it is ribbed like a pumpkin.  I'm really happy with how it hugs the wine bottle.  I am going to make another for  a bottle with lower shoulders, such as the now empty bottle shown at the right of the photo.

Instructions are not available at this time; I will make notes as I knit the next one and then write them up as a tutorial.

Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you

I trust that you are all stitching up a storm.  This changing/cooling weather, has me thinking of warm cuddly clothing.   There is a new cowl so to be in the works, an afghan for a friend and ....  (far too many ideas).

Mister Linky is waiting below.  I have upgraded and ma now using the Linky with thumbnail photos.  Not quite sure how it works, though any bugs will get worked out.