Autumn 2013

Autumn 2013

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Words, Music, Colour

Hello, everybody, and once again welcome to the Apple Basket!

Considering the recent extreme weather across the pond, I cannot complain, but I will comment on the weather: it is windy, to say the least, and the rain is pouring down. The few leaves still trying to hang on are being stripped from their branches and thrown about. A perfect day for snuggling up on the sofa with a hot drink and some woolly knitting ... I will be going out in a bit, though: it is the last Sunday of the month and so time for the local knitting café.
This is also the day exactly mid way between the birthdays that mark the beginning of the festive season: Thomas was 17 last Sunday, and Andreas will be 19 next Sunday. I am continually amazed – how did I get to have boys that big all of a sudden?

But first, before I brave the elements, let me bring you up to speed with my recent exploits. There will not be a lot of knitting this time – after all, not so very much has happened on that front since Tuesday apart from progress on the wips – but instead talk about books, music and dyestuffs. And pictures.

Words, words, words

Sunrise above the clouds

 A Rhino parked outside Warhammer World

Lovely weather in Nottingham

The Ultra Marine guarding the elevators

For all these years, my main impression of Warhammer has been through the figures that Andreas collects, assembles, and paints. And very well, too, by the way; if he lets me, I’ll show you some one day.
I even at some point bought a set of three female warriors (I forget which), painted one, and never got round to doing more. Knitting makes so much more sense to me. And playing the board game doesn’t really appeal to me, either. I can see that it’s all about tactics, an elaborate version of something akin to chess; but still. Not my thing. Oh, well, to each his/her own.

But the bookish side of the whole thing should speak to me – after all, I have read vast amounts of books in all genres since I was five years old (not all genres at first, of course).
So, as I mentioned several weeks ago, I read the Eisenhorn Trilogy by Dan Abnett before going to the weekender – to find out a bit about what it’s all about and not be a total noob ...
And, to my vague surprise, I really liked it; getting into the flow and the ambience of the story, I found myself invested in the characters and hoping for their success.
I don’t know why it should surprise me, though: I’ve read tons of detective stories and sci-fi, and I’ll take Band of Brothers over Sex & the City any day of the week. So it’s not like this is an alien world to me, if you’ll pardon the pun.

Dan Abnett signing for Andreas
During our stay in Nottingham, I read First and Only, the first book in a series, also by Dan Abnett, called Gaunt’s Ghosts. These are war stories: brothers in arms, fighting in the trenches, being screwed over by armchair generals while battling Chaos enemies; stories of loyalty and bravery – or cowardice, in some instances. Andreas had brought this particular volume with him to be signed by Dan Abnett; it was the first Black Library book he ever bought, in Edinburgh in 2006. It is battered and coffee-stained, much read – and now signed by the author.
The hotel lobby was turned into a book store
 The event schedule was packed: in each programme slot were three simultaneous events, which called for some deliberation, prioritising and choosing. I let Andreas set the pace and just tagged along with my knitting – while, of course, soaking up as much as I could. Listening to a Q & A session with an author is always rewarding, even if you haven’t read any of their books.
And in this case, everybody is working within the same parameters – all the books are set in the Warhammer universe. A lot of the stories take place in the 40K part of it, including the ones I’ve read so far, which means that the time is around and after the year 40,000 A.D. (I use this denomination deliberately due to the religious nature of the civilisation).
Then there is the major event of the (relative) past, a galactic civil war named the Horus Heresy, which took place around 30,000 A.D. So far, 23 books of war stories have been published on this subject, and they say that they have about as many left to do. In-universe, the Horus Heresy is comparable to World War II: stuff happened, in this case thought out by the game masters of Warhammer; and a band of writers tell the stories of battles, treacheries, what happened with this or that legion of Space Marines, etc.

It seems from the way the authors and publishers – and artists, for there is a whole painter’s side to this, as well – interact, that a huge part of the loneliness of a writer is alleviated by this collaborative way of working. And, as Dan Abnett put it when asked about writing within a given universe: sure, you can make up your own world, but then you do have to make it all up, define all the rules. Most of his writing is about knowing the rules of the world he is writing in, and following them. The parameters are already there, be it Warhammer, Doctor Who, Marvel or Wallace & Grommit; you know, as a writer, what is possible and what is not. And so, you can concentrate on telling the story.

Lately, I’ve been mostly into sci-fi and magic in my reading: the Warhammer books, of course; and I listened to a new Doctor Who story, The Wheel of Ice by Stephen Baxter. This one features the second Doctor, with Jamie and Zoë – and it is read by David Troughton, the son of Patrick Troughton who played the second Doctor. Here, again, you have the whole writing-within-parameters: everybody knows the Doctor and his companions, when and where they come from, and how they look, behave and are likely to react to the unfolding events.

Having kids who read is a blessing – sometimes, I’m reading their books more than my own. Victor collects the Discworld series (by Terry Pratchett), and now I’ve read the second as well. I got him into the Dresden Files; I bought three of them months ago, he discovered the audio versions read by James Marsters (a.k.a. Spike from Buffy) and got them from Audible, and now we can actually get all of them on audio book here. So I am currently listening to the fourth Dresden File, Summer Knight. They are by Jim Butcher; the protagonist is the Chicago-based wizard detective Harry Dresden.
One of the great things about Audible is the way you can download your books any number of times; so if you access your account from someone else’s computer, you can download a book to their computer and so share audio books just like you would lend out a paper book. Oh, and they just introduced a Returns option – which I promptly used, having inadvertently downloaded an abridged version of Rose Tremain’s Restoration. I want the whole thing.

So, November. Or Movember, if you’re into moustaches. Or Wovember, if you’re in Britain and want to support the local wool industry – which I’m all for; no offence to New Zealand, but in this part of the world should be able to produce our own wool. Of course, I would primarily support Icelandic and Faroese wool, and Greenlandic.
November also means NaNoWriMo, the national novel writing month. I heard about this first on the CraftLit podcast; binge-listening as I do to old episodes, I have listened to Heather talking about her attempt at writing a novel in November 2008, and her success at doing it in November 2009.
I only found out that there is a Danish group when November had already begun, and anyway I am nowhere near ready to take on that challenge – writing a 50,000 word novel during the month of November – this year. But now I know about it, and I can practise my writing, and next year I can either not do Christmas knitting or plan ahead.

If music be the food for love ...

This past weekend, the music schools held their annual talent competition for young musicians. As I may have mentioned, my youngest son, Victor, plays classical guitar, and this was his first time to participate. The budding musicians have to have played their instrument for at least two years and be entered by their tutor; so it is not open for everybody.
Victor playing Prelude no. 4 by Heitor Villa-Lobos
The music school in Viborg, where we live, hosted the competition for the Mid-West area this year; and somewhere around 50 or 60 young musicians gathered to perform for the judges and audience during the Saturday. All day: from 9 a.m. to around 8 p.m. And one of the judges even had to go and do the same thing at another music school the next day. The set-up rather resembled X-Factor or American Idol with the three judges at the table and the performing musicians in front of them – except these judges do not have to contend with the clueless.

On the Sunday, there was a gala concert featuring those of the gold winners who had been selected for the finale this coming Sunday, when they will be competing against finalists from other parts of the country. After that, the diplomas were given out.
The scoring system awards bronze, silver or gold according to merit; everyone who participates is guaranteed at least a bronze diploma. This year, they said, they had raised the bar compared to previous years because of the high numbers of talented musicians. I must confess, that gave my insides a twist; waiting for the announcements was every bit as nerve-wracking as waiting for the result of an exam – and I was only excited by proxy! Victor had to perform Saturday morning and then wait until Sunday afternoon for the verdict.

In Victor’s group, the 10- to 14-year old soloists, they gave out 1 gold diploma, for a brilliant violinist, 4 silver diplomas, for Victor (yay!), one of his guitar buddies, and two others; and 8 or 10 bronze diplomas.
The silver for Victor was not a surprise (but it was still a relief to have it announced): he is very good, and he practises diligently – and willingly. I have never, in the four years he has played, had to remind or coax or threaten him to pick up the guitar. Or the ukulele. Or the banjo. Or the piano – well, he doesn’t pick that up, of course, but you know what I mean.
Next year, though, he will be in the older age group and will be competing not only against his two buddies, one of whom also won the silver, but against the older and more experienced musicians, including the 15-year old guitarist who won gold this year ... Oh, well, he’ll just have to keep at it. And no matter what comes out of it, the participation itself is a huge, confidence-enhancing experience.


My mother has been hinting about another scarf / shawlette being a good Christmas present, and confessed to wishing for a burgundy Haruni, when I asked her outright. So the blue Hitchhiker I was knitting for her was put on hold – she is my mum, after all – and I set out to make a red lace shawl.
Phase 1: some dyeing experiments to see if I could get a wine red. So on Tuesday, I set several dyestuffs up for soaking overnight: madder, brazilwood and logwood. With madder, I usually get an orangey red; brazilwood yields pink, and logwood abounds with blue or purple depending on the mordant. So some mix of those dyes might get me a burgundy.

And I made six 25 gram sampler skeins from the lovely, soft undyed Arwetta Classic sock yarn (80% merino, 20% nylon) to play with before getting into the real thing. I was going to mordant three with alum and three with copper and dye them two by two to compare the results.
I left everything to soak overnight and came back to it Wednesday morning – and found rust stains at the bottom of the pot for copper mordanting. Rust, as in iron oxide. Somehow, I had managed to not only not read on the jar, but to measure out, and stir while dissolving in the pot, pale green iron vitriol instead of bright blue copper sulphate without noticing. Brilliant.
Well, flectere necesse est, as they say, and nobody got hurt in the process. I adjusted my plans accordingly and went ahead.

There is a reason why treating fibre with iron is called ‘saddening’: the colours all become darker and greyer. 
Compare brazilwood on alum versus iron in the two middle skeins: pink and purplish grey.

These pictures are all of the newly dyed, still wet yarn hanging outside to drip.

Anyway, for the burgundy shawl I chose the madder-brazilwood-logwood combination with lots of madder, some brazilwood and just a bit of logwood to pull the colour from the orange towards the purple. 
I am quite pleased with the result, even though it may be a stretch to call it a wine red – it would be a very new wine, in that case!

So, that’s it for this week.
Have a great coming week, and I will look forward to chatting to you again soon. Until then:
Happy knitting!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Knitting My Day Away

Hello, everybody, and welcome again to the Apple Basket!
I hope you are well and enjoying the late autumn weather – or spring, if you are so situated; and if you happen to be somewhere along the Eastern Seaboard I do hope that you are not suffering too much from the aftermath of Sandy.

It has been a very long time, I know; and I do apologise about that. I have missed chatting to you all ... I managed to pick up some English infection when my eldest son, Andreas, and I went to Nottingham two weeks ago, and my brain hasn’t quite been up to scratch.

Hence the title of this (or rather, these) week’s goings-on: what can you do when feeling under the weather, and the actual outside weather is not very accommodating? Yes, of course: knit. Danish readers, and maybe others, will recognise the provenance of the title: in the early 90’s, a heavy rock band named initially Disneyland After Dark and soon after that, unsurprisingly, D.A.D. (yes, they were told to ‘cease and desist’ and all that), put out a song with the uplifting and encouraging refrain ‘I’m sleeping my day away’.
Well, I don’t generally do that, even when ill, and not only because I have three kids around the house. But some days you just do what is necessary to keep the wheels turning, and the rest of day is spent waiting for the energy to come back. And how better to spend waiting time than with knitting?

The Knitting:

I can’t talk as much as I would like about my knitting right now, since most of it is Christmas knitting ... Suffice it to say that I am working on items from The List that I put together a few weeks back; so far, I’ve made four hats, two pairs of mittens and started the third, and I’ve started one of the shawlettes and the socks for my Dad. And something else.
I am making notes to give a full report on it all after Christmas – with pictures. So watch this space!
Farmer McGregor socks from Socktopus by Alice Yu

I love all this knitting for others: considering the best pattern and colour for a particular person, looking forward to giving the gift and helping people around me keep warm. It makes me feel all warm & fuzzy – and also has me fantasising about all the things I want to knit for ME afterwards ... see, I am not a saint. I want stuff, too; but I don’t want to only knit for myself. I guess the best thing for me is to find a balance between ‘selfish’ knitting and knitting for loved ones, with a bit of charity knitting thrown into the mix as well.

Sometimes the colours in active projects seem to ‘pool’: last week, I was working on a pair of mittens, a hat, the Bowtie socks for Thomas and a little owl. All in blue, for some reason.

I’m enjoying the interplay of colour in several of my hand dyed yarns when they get together at random – because as usual, I have at least three projects literally within reach, and they seem to huddle for breaks when they are not working.

And, as I may have mentioned before, plant dyes almost always go well together; of course, various blues made with logwood on copper will go together, being shades of the same basic colour, but all of the colours mix & match, so to speak. Their secret is that, unlike chemical dyes which consist of one colour only, plant dyes are really in themselves a mixture of shades and tones. When seen under a microscope, the orangey red of madder contains yellow, brown, and even blue, as well; and the same goes for other natural dyestuffs. So when they are put together, the subtleties inherent in each main colour are brought out by the others.
Which is why this accidental piling up of a sock, a shawl and a skirt looks so appealing:

You may have noticed last week that I put up a post in Danish, for once: at last month’s Sunday knitting café, I was working on my Carnaby skirt to finish it before going to England (more on that in a bit), and several of the ladies there admired it and asked about the pattern. So, I said I would translate it – trust me to take on a project on a whim. I e-mailed the designer to get her consent, got it, and dug into it. It did get put on hold for about a week surrounding the weekend away, but I came back to it and finished it last week. So that’s that.

Working with someone else’s pattern has been quite interesting; I write up my own patterns in both Danish and English – or mostly, I have notes-to-self in Danish and write the full pattern in English for Ravelry. And since a Danish Raveller asked about a pattern in Danish, I have been (slowly) working on writing the proper pattern in Danish to put up as well. No reason not to, really.

About the Carnaby skirt itself: well, I did mention that I wanted to wear it during the weekend in Nottingham – so, I knitted away, ran out of blue yarn (my calculation guess about the amount needed, when I was using a heavier yarn than the pattern calls for, was apparently somewhat off ...) and chose a walnut brown for the buttonhole band. I was aiming for a uniform-trouser-with-leather-trimmings kind of look, embellished with goldlike buttons. 

I finished the skirt on the Thursday evening – and decided that I had better try it on before actually closing my suitcase and setting off. Good thing I did: the waist edging was way too loose, and the skirt itself seemed scratchy. I knew that it isn’t the softest yarn, the ridge across my left forefinger had told me that during the knitting, but I hadn’t foreseen actual scratchiness. Quick rethinking of the packing ... and the skirt was left to think about its behaviour for a few days; which turned into nearly two weeks.
Last week, I finally picked up the thing again – and decided that I didn’t really like the blue and the brown together. Somehow, it was a bit too harsh for me. The colours in themselves worked well, being plant dyes and all, and of the same level of warmth; but I wasn’t happy. 

So, I chose a purple yarn, frogged the edgings and re-knit them; this time, I knit a waistband as well, with two buttons. Nice and snug. And purple, which always makes me happy. This purple is made with logwood, as is the blue, so they are closely related and make for a much more relaxed colour scheme.

Also, only the top button on the skirt itself opens; the others are sewn into both layers of fabric. The scratchiness seems less offensive now, somehow, and barely noticeable; maybe I was just surprised at first.

Speaking of plant dyes: I am finally ready to do the experiments for the burgundy red that I had planned on doing two weeks ago. This stupid airway infection stole my energy and pretty much kept me indoors for a while; but I’m better now. I have plans ... and yarn soaking to be ready for mordants.
You may remember that my Mum more or less requested a second Haruni shawl, this time in burgundy, for Christmas. Well, she is not getting a Haruni – not that I don’t like the pattern or anything, I just want to knit something new. So I found a similar shawl, the Cassandra, and if I can make the colour work out, I will knit it from hand-dyed yarn. Otherwise, I’m going shopping.
And the season for outdoor – or practically outdoor – dyeing is coming to an end; my dye studio (sounds grand, doesn’t it?) is in the bike shed, because I don’t want the chemicals and, frankly, the mess, in my kitchen. So I have a very nicely ventilated workspace, which is important, but it is also not heated in any way, and the temperatures outside are creeping downwards. We have had a touch of frost some nights ago, and the air smells of winter. So, now is the time, if I want to get any dyeing done in the foreseeable future.


Now, I know I promised you pictures from Nottingham, and you will get them – later this week. For now, I’ll just say that we had a great trip, I learned a lot, and we are going again next year.

Oh, and if you are at all a Bond fan – or a Daniel Craig fan – and you haven’t yet seen Skyfall: go, go, go! We went the weekend before last, all four of us, for once, and it is brilliant.
I even managed to start a hat! 
One of the Christmas hats, a ribbed and cabled beanie in Aran weight wool, called Nottingham; I made one for my cousin while actually in Nottingham, and decided to make another one for a friend, since it is a good pattern and a very nice hat. I think so, anyway, let’s hope the recipients agree :o) 
This second one is done with hand-dyed yarn, logwood blue.

So, that’s it for now; I will go cut up some madder root now and soak it – and I will be back in a few days’ time!
Have a very good week, and
Happy knitting!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Carnaby skirt på dansk

For en gangs skyld en post på dansk! Jeg har oversat Nikol Lohrs nederdel Carnaby; den kommer her:


Oprindeligt udkommet i Knitty Deep Fall 2010:
Dansk oversættelse med venlig tilladelse af designeren:
© originaludgave og fotos: Nikol Lohr, Harveyville, KS, USA
© dansk oversættelse: Dorthe Møller Christensen, Viborg, Danmark;

af Nikol Lohr

Med inspiration fra Twiggys London-miniskørter i tweed er denne uldne, noprede A-facon bare kær – og supernem at lave.

Den strikkes sidelæns efter størrelse og formes med kiler indtil den er lang nok til at nå rundt om hofterne; derpå afsluttes den med en knaphulsrække og en fast linning, så den sidder godt. Og fordi den har den kraftige struktur, vil små fnug der kommer til i brug (altid et problem med nederdele) blive pænt camoufleret.

Autumn Howe (i rødt),
Caitlin Haggard (i grønt).
Nikol Lohr

Længde: 43 cm (se noterne vedr. ændring af længden).

Rød nederdel: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted [100% superwash merino uld; 205 m pr. 113 g nøgle]; farve: Chagrin; 2-4 nøgler, afhængig af størrelse.
Note: køb ca. 1 nøgle for hver 35 cm i hoftevidde; fx ved en hoftevidde på 87 cm bruges 3 nøgler.
Grøn nederdel: Lion Brand Lion Wool [100% uld; 144 m per 85 g nøgle]; farve: #132 Lemongrass; 3-6 nøgler, afhængig af størrelse.
Note: køb ca. 1 nøgle for hver 25 cm i hoftevidde; fx ved en hoftevidde på 87 cm bruges 4 nøgler.

I stedet for kan bruges fx Filcolana Peruvian Highland Wool; her skal bruges 1 50 g nøgle pr. 15 cm i hoftevidde.

Anbefalet pindestørrelse (brug altid en pindestørrelse der giver den anførte strikkefasthed – enhver strikker har sin egen strikkefasthed):
rundpind str. 4 mm, 60 cm; eller almindelige pinde str. 4 mm
3½ mm hæklenål
6 knapper, 20-25 mm i diameter

19 m x 24 p i glatstrik = 10 x 10 cm
19 m x 30 p i dobbelt perlestrik = 10 x 10 cm

Dobbelt perlestrik:
P1 (r-siden): kantm, *2 r, 2 vr* til de sidste 3 m, 3 r.
P2 (vr-siden): kantm, *2 vr, 2 r* til de sidste 3 m, 2 vr, 1 r.
P3 (r-siden): som p2.
P4 (vr-siden): som p1.
Gentag disse 4 pinde.

Som skrevet bliver denne nederdel 43 cm lang. Ønskes den længere eller kortere, slås flere eller færre masker op. Sørg for at arbejde med et multiplum af 4 masker, så at den dobbelte perlestrik passer. En forskel på 4 masker vil give en længdeforskel på ca. 2 ¼ cm.
Når kilerne med vendepinde strikkes, gøres maskeantallet på alle ulige pinde (r-siden) større eller mindre med det samme antal masker, som De føjede til eller trak fra opslagningen.

S&V (Slå om & Vend):

Strik til det i opskriften angivne sted. Tag næste m vrang af (markeret m).

Før tråden om på forsiden af arbejdet, hvis De strikker ret, og om på bagsiden, hvis De strikker vrang.

Tag m tilbage på venstre pind. Tråden er nu anbragt mellem den flyttede m og den næste m på venstre pind.

Før igen tråden mellem pindene, til bagsiden af arbejdet hvis De strikker ret, eller til forsiden hvis De strikker vrang. Masken er nu pakket ind. Vend arbejdet og begynd på den næste pind.

Strik omslag sammen med indpakkede masker:

Indpakkede masker er ofte nemme at få øje på fordi omslaget holder masken tæt på masken ved siden af og danner et mellemrum på den anden side af den indpakkede maske. Omslaget selv ligner en lille vrangmaske-bule.
Omslaget skjules ved at blive strikket sammen med den indpakkede maske som følger:

Stik enden af pinden ind i omslaget nedefra og løft det (markeret lyserød tråd).

Hold stadig omslaget løftet og stik pinden ind i masken som for at strikke ret. Det ser nu ud, som om De har 2 masker på pinden – næsten som at strikke en indtagning.

Strik masken og omslaget sammen som én maske.


Slå 80 m op.
Strik 8 pinde Dobbelt Perlestrik, begynd på retsiden.

Strik 16 pinde Dobbelt Perlestrik.

Strik kile med vendepinde:
P1 (r-siden): kantm, 70 vr, S&V.

P2 (vr-siden): vrang til sidste m, 1 r.

P3 (r-siden): kantm, 60 r, S&V.

Lige pinde 4 – 12 (vr-siden): vr til sidste 3 m, 3 r.

P5 (r-siden): kantm, 50 r, S&V.

P7 (r-siden): kantm, 40 r, S&V.

P9 (r-siden): kantm, 30 r, S&V.

P11 (r-siden): kantm, 20 r, S&V.

P13 (r-siden): kantm, 71 r, idet omslag strikkes sm m indpakkede m; S&V.

P14 (vr-siden): ret.

 Strik bredder, indtil arbejdet er langt nok til at nå omkring hofterne let strakt.

Strik 9 pinde Dobbelt Perlestrik, slut på en ret-pind.

Knaphuller P1 (vr-siden): kantm, strik 4 m i mønster, *luk 2 m af, strik 9 m i mønster (10 m på pinden efter lukkede m)*, gentag endnu 5 gange, strik i mønster p ud.
Knaphuller P2 (r-siden): kantm, *strik i mønster til lukkede m, slå 2 nye m op*, gentag endnu 5 gange, strik i mønster p ud.

Strik 3 pinde i mønster, slut på en ret-pind.

Luk 79 m af i mønster som til den næste pind i Dobbelt Perlestrik.
1 m er tilbage i det øverste hjørne af skørtet.

Hækl to rækker fastmasker for at stabilisere taljekanten. Hvis De foretrækker det, kan den samme effekt opnås i strik, skønt det tager noget længere tid end at hækle. Fremgangsmåden til strik kommer efter hækle-anvisningerne nedenfor.

Hæklet linning:
Før hæklenålen ind i resterende m. Med ret-siden fremad hækles 1 fastm i hver kantm langs med taljekanten.
Vend arbejdet.
Med vrang-siden fremad hækles 1 fastm i hver fastm i den foregående række.
Luk af.

Den første række hækles ned i maskekanten.

Den anden række hækles ned i maskerne i den foregående række.

Strikket linning:
På ret-siden: tag op og luk strax af 1 m i hver kantm langs taljekanten.
Vend arbejdet.
Strik en række mere på samme måde.

Hæft ender.
Læg i blød og stræk ud; sørg for at kanter og kiler er lige og jævne.
Når skørtet er tørt, prøv det da på og hæft for at afgøre den bedste placering af knapperne. Sy knapperne i kanten over for knaphullerne.

 Nikol Lohr bor og arbejder på The Harveyville Project med sin partner, 2 katte, 7 får og 6 høner.

Hun er forfatter til Naughty Needles og grundlægger af Yarn School. Hun blogger på The Thrifty Knitter og er cupcake på Ravelry og QueenieVonSugarpants på flickr.

Opskrift og billeder © 2010 Nikol Lohr

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Hello, everybody! Just a quick update on things before I head off for the weekend: there is knitting going on, I am reading a book, and plans change. Pictures will follow.

Seeing as the Black Library Weekender is a publisher’s event where you get the chance to meet writers and all that, I decided months ago that I wanted to read something by these authors; some of the novels set in the Warhammer universe. Well, you know how it is: suddenly, without any warning, there were less than two weeks to go, and I had to settle for just one book.
I asked Andreas about it, and he consulted his well-stocked library and handed me the Eisenhorn trilogy by Dan Abnett. So much for it being one book. Never mind, I can read 765 pages in eleven days, I know that. 
It was a bit slow going at first, not because the book isn’t good, but because this was a whole new world to me. I have, of course, been familiar with the little figures for years, I have seen the various soldiers and tanks, and heard the names of ranks and classes – but still, it’s the same whenever you enter in to a new setting; it takes some familiarisation. Anyway, I picked up my pace along the way.

I had undertaken the project in a homeworkey frame of mind: I was preparing for an event by getting to know what it was all about. But quite soon, I was surprised at how good the book was; the story is not all about war, even though there are two fire fights in the first 40 pages or so. The protagonist, Gregor Eisenhorn, is an Imperial Inquisitor, a kind of ecclesiastic detective searching for heretics and burning books (which does trouble me slightly, on principle); but there is room for descriptions of clothes and food and all the little things that make the story open up and get close to you. Also, I have fun with the semi-Latin that abounds; the Imperium is based on both the Roman Empire and the Church of Rome.

My next thought was that of course the book is well written: it is, after all, by Dan Abnett. I knew his name from the spines of at least 20 Warhammer books on Andreas’ shelves, before I found his Doctor Who books; one of my Ravellenic Games listen-while-you-knit-TARDISes this summer was The Silent Stars Go By. So really, no surprise there. 
And the at first so puritanical Eisenhorn approaches the warp side along the way to find means and ways to conquer evil.

So, yesterday I had been happily knitting on the beaded Hitchhiker while reading –  you know, the one for my mum for Christmas? In the afternoon, she came by to find out how much Thomas and Victor will need her while I am away the next three days, for comfort, company and cooking. While we chatted, I asked her about the hints she has been dropping about the Haruni I made for her birthday being ‘a good Christmas present’. As it turns out, she would very much like a second Haruni for Christmas: she does not use the first one as much as she would like, because she is ‘saving’ it. So a second one could be nice, perhaps in a burgundy red?
As if I didn’t have enough to plan, my thoughts immediately turned to the question of how to make a burgundy; madder and logwood, maybe? Perhaps some brazilwood thrown into the mix? And just the other day, I got a newsletter from 123knit announcing that the Arwetta Classic sock yarn is now available undyed.
So I can use the exact same yarn as for the first Haruni; I ordered some to experiment on next week. And yes, I am aware that I can just go and buy some burgundy red Arwetta, and they have a beautiful variegated one that I have been eyeing. I may do that, if my dye experiments are not satisfactory. But I do need to try it out first.

So, what about the Hitchhiker? I intend to finish it – even though it does seem rather unimportant right now – and then we’ll see. I may decide to keep it for myself and make a pair of socks to match. Or even flip-top mittens, come to think of it. They can be beaded ...

But it is no longer on the Christmas list to be crossed off, darn it.
And speaking of the Christmas knitting: I wrote out the list – and immediately rebelled against this utterly self-imposed work regimen by making myself a Jayne hat. In purple. Because I can.
Jayne Cobb, not afraid of anything

Me, in my cunning hat :o)
Anyway, the Carnaby skirt is practically finished, apart from the buttons. The knitting and crocheting (for the waist band) I did on Monday and then washed it: the water came out blue on the first rinse, purple on the next three or so, and then fading into a purplish pink and finally clear. And the walnut-coloured stripe didn’t take up any of the blue. So, buttons.

And I think I have finally decided on what knitting to bring: the Bowtie socks because socks are a good travel project, pattern and yarn for a Nottingham hat (seriously, that is the name of the pattern; how can I resist?) – and probably a hat that I started the other day. Question is, will that be enough? I could wind yarn for a shawl and bring that, just in case.

So, that’s it for now – I need to finish packing and get some sleep before 3 a.m. Have a great weekend, and
Happy Knitting!