Autumn 2013

Autumn 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween? Where?

Hello everybody, and welcome to the Apple Basket!

This week, I am posting early and not much. Next time will be better, I promise – this weekend, Andreas and I are going to Nottingham, UK, for the Black Library Weekender II.
Very exciting; I have been looking forward to it for a long time, much more, of course, than last year, when I didn’t really know what it was all about. Andreas didn’t either, exactly, but at least he knew a lot more about the whole world of Warhammer (and still does).

I have planned and am packing my knitting and all the inconsequential stuff (clothes, passport, all that); also getting the house in order for the ones left behind: tidying, baking, grocery shopping.

The Knitting
This week, I am concentrating on the Coalminer socks for Thomas; I’m trying to get them done by end of play today, so he can get to wear them. I’m on the leg of the second one, toe-up, as you may recall, so there is a chance.

And now for the Travel Knitting:
The Black Library Weekender events are mostly panel talks, Q&A sessions and the like; so for listening in dimly lit audience rows, a simple, ribbed hat in aran weight wool on 4.5 mm needles seem like the perfect project.
Andreas decided he needs a hat soon, and Victor concurred on his own behalf. They both prefer something simple, masculine, and non-fussy, so I found the simplest hat possible, a ribbed beanie that doesn’t really require a pattern, but the photos of soldiers in the snow sold the concept.
I ordered some Filcolana Peruvian Highland, 2 skeins for each hat, in black for Andreas and hunter green for Victor. So that’s that taken care of. Yarn and needles packed.

For variation, I will be knitting socks (for me, this time) on bamboo needles that won’t be taken away at the airport. I’m using my own Foot Hugger pattern and the Filcolana Arwetta in the colourway Perfect Storm that I bought a bunch of last year for my BOTI scarf and then used less than half of, because I decided to do the TARDIS section in solid blue. So, lots of lovely sock yarn – and it’s in a skein, so I get to try out my nøstepinn to make a centre-pull ball.

The Books
I’ve finished a couple of books this week, somehow:

Dead Beat by Jim Butcher, book 7 of the Dresden Files. In which our hero stands up to fight against the disciples of a notorious necromancer, rescues a polka-playing mortician, and is required to consider the attentions of a fallen angel. Also, there’s a dinosaur.

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse, another story set in the Pyrenees in southern France, where in the 14th century, the Cathars hid in mountain caves in an attempt to avoid being slaughtered. I have previously read The Labyrinth and The Cave by the same author. While reading this one, I had a feeling that this author writes the same story in different variations – some authors do that, and it gets old pretty quickly. Part of the reason for this turned out to be that the novella The Cave, which I have read a few years ago, is in fact the same story as the one in Winter Ghosts.

The October group read in the Ravelry group on Goodreads has been The Yarn Whisperer by Clara Parkes – apparently a wise and witty book of a life in knitting. I say apparently, because my copy arrived from Amazon this Monday. Still in October, still, theoretically at least, with enough time to read it before the end of the month. This week, though, is one of those weeks from Hell in which everything wants to happen at once.
As I have mentioned, Andreas and I are leaving for England on Friday morning – very early. So everything that needs to be done around the house this week needs to be done by Thursday. Which is today.

And this week, Victor and a friend of his from school have been trying out university life in a 4-day training programme at Aarhus University, meaning that I on Tuesday and Wednesday was the one to drive them. No problem in the mornings – except maybe for the poor kids who had to be ready at 6:30 AM to go with me – but in the afternoons, I had to stay at uni until they finished at nearly 4. Long days for everybody. Luckily, the father of the other boy works in Aarhus, too, so he was able to drive them on Monday and Thursday.
And happily, they are having great fun with geology, physics, maths, data science and all that. So it’s all good.

Oh, and we had a storm on Monday, in the late afternoon and evening. Our area wasn’t one of those most affected, though we did have fierce winds and bits of trees lying around everywhere.
Victor and his geology group for the day were supposed to have been out digging in the University park, but that was deemed too dangerous, so they got to play with sand and clay indoors instead.
Thomas was out having a driving lesson that was cut short when the warning announcements on the radio included Viborg: the police advised against all unnecessary driving. So now, he has tried driving in a storm – quite useful, though he was glad to have an experienced driver by his side.
So, what would be a sane reaction to a very busy week inaugurating a rather busy month? Well, to sign up for NaNoWriMo, of course! If you are not familiar with it, this is National Novel Writing Month – the ‘national’ part ought maybe to be replaced by ‘global’, as this is the nature of online activities. So, we could call it GloBoWriMo instead.

The idea is to write 50,000 words on a new novel during November; on the first draft of it, anyway, as editing and rewriting will have to be done later. And probably finishing this first draft.
I have no idea whether I will be able to write an average of 1,667 words a day for a month, but I’ll give it a go, in between everything else going on.
So, wish me luck!

And that’s that for now – I have to go and get the cake out of the oven, review my shopping list, and try to write a short novel synopsis.
I will be back next week, so until then: have a great week-and-a-half!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A chalice, a compass, a shield

Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Apple Basket!
The weather has turned from glorious sunny autumn to rainy, semi-chilly autumn – the trees are still showing their fabulous colours, though they are shedding leaves at an alarming rate. Or a rate, at least, that increases on windy days. No surprises, there, really: it is late October, so what can you expect other than rain and wind? And days growing shorter (if that makes sense).

I am busy knitting socks and more, writing, teaching, getting ready for November – all the usual, in short.

Among other activities, I’ve joined a sci-fi group on LinkedIn – and wouldn’t you know it, there’s a microstory competition running over there as well as on FWG!
The monthly deadline is on the 22nd – so this Monday, I had to decide whether I was going to participate straight away or lurk for a while before trying to answer the question: 
Can I write sci-fi?
The required elements for this month’s stories were deception and fire, the word count 600. I sat down at my laptop without a clue: no story, no idea. I typed in


An image came to me, I wrote it down; and from there, a story emerged. So a couple of hours after having nothing but the keywords, I had posted a story.
There is to be an anthology – or several, actually – of these stories; for this, one is allowed to edit the story to a maximum of 725 words. My ending could certainly use some clarification, so those extra words will come in handy.

And then, of course, I had to edit my October Skeletons story for the FWG contest to post it before the deadline on the 25th. I ended up rewriting half of it, as it was too long – 1,189 against a maximum of 1,000. It came out at exactly 1,000 words. Phew.

This microstory writing is fun. It reminds me of school assignments, except of course with a lot more freedom; but I enjoy working from prompts.
This is one reason why I have a set of Rory’s Story Cubes, the Voyages version. The set contains 9 cubes, each with 6 different images. So, you can grab three random cubes, roll the dice, and get 3 images to write from. Like this:

An elephant, a ladder, and a mushroom or toadstool.
A map, a circus tent, and two people of very different sizes.
A sunrise or sunset, a bowl of something hot (porridge? popcorn?), and a doorway.

Sometimes, the images go suspiciously well together:
Waves, a crab, and a submarine.

So far, I have only played around with these cubes – one day (ha!), I will challenge myself to write a microstory from such a roll of three dice and see what comes out of it.

We are all back at school and work, now that the autumn break is over; the count-down for the Christmas holidays hasn’t quite started yet, but it will.

I gave my students another little test this week, and thus gave myself a pile of tests to grade. That was ... interesting. Most of them still have quite some work to do, before they are ready for the exam in December; these mid-term tests are intended to help them focus on their weak points – to strengthen them, of course – and to show them the layout of the exam, so they know what to expect.
I’ll give them another one sometime during November. Mwahahahahaha ...

It’s been a long time since I last commented on podcasts; I follow quite a few, both radio produced and indie, on a number of subjects.
Recently, I was told of a new podcast called Ewe University. This is hosted by Kristine, a.k.a. halcyarn on Ravelry, a psychology professor from Illinois; she talks of knitting, sewing, and psychology at an introductory level. She does speak a bit slowly at times, but it makes for comfortable and cosy listening.

In the short story arena, I have taken up The Moth podcast again, which features real life stories told onstage. Selected Shorts pretty much speaks for itself; and I’m trying out Snap Judgment from NPR.

The complete list of my current listening choices can be found in the sidebar, and all these podcasts are available for free on iTunes.

The Knitting
I’m done with the first of the Coalminer socks for Thomas and onto the second – yay! The plan is to finish them before I’m off to England on Friday, so I am knitting along.

And the pattern is done and done, revised, edited, beta knitted by my sister, and up on Ravelry as Foot Hugger Socks. Yay again!

My Mermaid dress hasn’t seen much action; I knitted about 15 cm of it, realised I had the wrong stitch count, and frogged it. And this week I have mostly been knitting socks, so I haven’t even re-knitted the frogged part yet.
Maybe this afternoon will see some progress: it is the last Sunday of the month and thus time for my local knitting group.

My sister invited me to join a group for the knitting of hexipuffs for a Beekeeper’s Quilt for the Great Ormond Street Hospital. I have seen and heard about the Beekeeper, as has probably everybody on Ravelry, but never felt inclined to make one. It’s the same with any blanket made from many smaller parts, be it squares or hexagons or what-have-you: the barrier for me is the sewing up of the darn thing – so contributing individual hexipuffs to a joint project is a lot easier.
The required yarn is hand-dyed sock yarn. I have a bunch of half-skeins from plant dye experiments; they are too small to be useful for much and thus obvious for hexipuffs. I believe this is exactly what people do: use leftovers and scraps.

The Books
I am reading Selected Stories by Nadine Gordimer, a selection (well, obviously) of stories from five different shot story collections published over a span of several decades. These are South African stories, dealing with questions of race and apartheid – the introduction notes how the stories are dated by, among other things, the appellations for black people: are they natives, Africans, or black? – of love and loss, life and death, money and the lack thereof, identity and roles – and all of it set in the nature of the land, the veld and the city.
The stories, though separate entities each with a value of their own, blend into a picture of life in South Africa in the twentieth century, seen from a white perspective; but seeing through inconsistencies and hypocrisies.
A clear example of this is the story Happy Event, in which two women find themselves unwantedly pregnant. The white woman goes to a nursing home for a couple of days and afterwards rests to get over ‘that business’, before she resumes planning her and her husband’s trip to Europe. Her black servant gives birth alone, in secret, in the middle of the night; she is grudgingly allowed a day’s sick leave when she cannot handle the week’s laundry the next morning. She is later found out to have smothered the child and is sentenced to six months’ hard labour.

My audio book of the week has been The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt, read by William Hope.
This is a Western set in 1851; Charlie and Eli Sisters – Eli is the narrator – are gunmen, killers in the employ of a shadowy figure known as the Commodore. The central job in the book is finding and killing a man who is said to have stolen something from the Commodore and is currently located in San Francisco; so the brothers travel from Oregon, where they live, towards California. On the way there, they encounter a number of more or less savoury characters, who all have an impact on the journey. And once in San Francisco, they find events turning out rather differently from what they have been led to expect.
The tone of the narrative is down-played, matter-of-fact, but thoughtful. Eli tends to ponder deeply on the nature of things; his life, his relationship with his older brother, and horses. The outdoor life of the travellers is described convincingly: nature, weather, the frailties of the human and equine body.
One thing I missed was a clue to the ages of the two brothers: they are obviously experienced in their work, and Eli in particular thinks of retiring. The reader gives Charlie a slightly wheezy voice that sounds aged to me, or worn. They are not old, though, not even middle-aged; they could be in their early thirties.
All in all, I enjoyed this book; recommended for anyone who likes a classic Western.

That’s it for this week; next week I will be posting early, on Thursday, before Andreas and I are off to Nottingham, UK, for the Black Library Weekender.
Until then: have a great week, be happy, be healthy, take care!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

What's the Question, then?

Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Apple Basket!

This week is week 42 in the calendar (hence the silly title of the post), and so the autumn break week. Kids are out of school, parents and grandparents are busy entertaining the little rascals, and facilities everywhere are brimming with visitors.

We made a family outing on Monday, going to the ‘Old Town’ in Aarhus (Den Gamle By). This is an open air museum, built as a small town on a site inside the real city on Aarhus; they take apart actual old buildings, mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries, and move them to the site. Workshops, living quarters, and shops crowd alongside each other, with mannequins in quite a few of them and live people dressed up and working in others, particularly vendors of pastries and sweets. Horse-drawn carriages rumble through the cobbled streets carrying the lazy footsore.
We ate our lunch in the walled garden of a merchant’s house, basking in the sunshine.

A new addition to the site is a 1974 street with shops, posters on walls, and an apartment building housing four apartments as they were at the time: on the second floor to the left lived a single woman, a school headmistress, with Persian carpets, nice old furniture, and a lot of books. Directly above her was a commune: four adults, all students, lived here among shelves built from wooden beer crates, posters from the Denmark-China Friendship Association, wicket chairs and a bunch of knitting.
To the right were a gynaecologist’s office, orange furniture everywhere and huge ashtrays in the kitchen and waiting room; and above that lived a nuclear family, Mum, Dad and two kids.

After all of the old houses, we needed refreshment and walked into the city proper to go to Starbucks – in September, the first two Danish Starbucks outside Copenhagen Airport opened, so this is quite a novelty for us.
My parents and Thomas then drove home (Andreas had opted out of the whole show, deeming recent Danish history to be not interesting enough for the effort), while Victor and I stayed in Aarhus to wait for evening.
We were going to a guitar concert; the Scottish guitarist David Russell (who lives in Spain) was playing at Helsingør Theater, an old theatre from Elsinore that now sits in the ‘Old Town’, actively functioning for performances. I have been there once before for a performance of Euripides’ tragedy Ifigenia.
So, we had a couple of hours to kill and went into Bruun’s Galleri, a mall mostly populated with clothing shops. I managed to find me a pair of nice boots – I was looking for that kind of boots, mind you, not just shopping to pass time – and then we ate (at Sunset Boulevard, where our order number was 42!) and walked back up to the theatre.

David Russell is an absolutely brilliant guitarist – and a pleasant person; he seemed open and present, focused, of course, while playing, but making contact with the audience in between. He talked a bit about the pieces he played, and at the end, came back onto the stage twice for encores.
We got seats right at the front, because Victor, with professional interest, wanted to be able to watch the finger placements and moves up close. And he won a CD in the raffle giveaway; so we listened to guitar music on the way home, too.

The Knitting
While in picturesque environs in the Old Town, I had some photos taken of my purple O w l s top – and then I cropped the pics to only show the top itself. So it goes.

I finished this week the Greyfriar socks for Victor, from the pattern that I will release soon; I got to the point above the heel and the ankle de- & increases on the first sock before Monday – so the straight part of the leg has the same length as a David Russell concert. The other sock had a more fragmented build – but it looks just the same.

It’s been mostly about socks this week, knitting the grey ones for Victor and ordering Arwetta for three more pairs, two for Thomas and one more for Victor (Andreas doesn’t want hand-knitted socks, that’s why I’m not knitting for him).
It was very satisfying to just order six skeins of yarn, knowing that my PayPal account had ample funds from pattern sales; this is the first time I have been able to do that – and there’s still more than enough for a hoodie’s worth of Peruvian Highland, when I get round to that project.

Still, the Leaf Cardigan has had a bit of attention: I decided to go with the leafy lace pattern on the sleeves, too, so the knitted part was frogged and the new sleeve begun. So far, so good.

Having knitted monogamously on the grey socks for several days and looking forward to making another pair of grey socks from the same pattern, I cast on for a dress.
Well, something had to give, right?
Anyway, I am using the Rondeur pattern again, this time in the Kauni EZ that I bought at the craft fair (Husflidsmessen) in September, in a variety of blues, for just this purpose. I plan to continue the increases below the waist, until the skirt is wide enough, and to make long sleeves like I did on the Charm tee.

The Books
Well, I finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, the story of Amazing Amy and Naughty Nick; as always, I don’t want to spoil it for you, if you haven’t read it and plan to – on the other hand, I do need to make a short comment, and since Goodreads decided to be weird for several days (not loading the CSS file), I’ll put it here. I will use a small font size, so you can scroll past it easily, if you don’t want to read it.

This is a seriously creepy book with a grim, dismal ending – not the one I could have wished for. You know it’s going to go wrong when Amy decides to come home to her ‘new Nick’, not only because her optimism is juxtaposed with Nick’s thoughts of killing her. And then she gets herself pregnant. Just thinking of the child: another life that is going to be completely ruined. How could he ever grow up to be normal or well-adjusted or balanced? And of course, Nick’s life will be a nightmare forever; I know how it is to tread on eggshells in your own home, and my ex was an amateur compared to Amy. Ugh. I hate it when the sociopath wins.

One of the other writers in the FWG, in the short story contest group, wrote a book – well, quite a few of them write books, some even for a living, but one lady mentioned her book and that she gives out the first forty pages for free.
I downloaded, read, and decided to get the whole book to find out what happened next. The Kindle version is only $5, so no problem. Anyway, the book is Up in Smoke by AA Abbott (pen name); it deals with the tobacco industry, the world of finance, international smuggling, love, death, and betrayal. Some get what they deserve in the end, some don’t.

In two weeks – less, actually – it is time for the Black Library weekender II, and Andreas and I will be going to Nottingham again. I’m getting back into the Warhammer 40,000 universe, so far by reading Pariah by Dan Abnett, the latest instalment in the Inquisition series comprising the Eisenhorn trilogy, the Ravenor trilogy, a handful of short stories, and now the first book in the Bequin trilogy.
The early appearance of Alizebeth Bequin in the first of the Eisenhorn books was, as you may recall, my inspiration for the Bequin shawl.
As ever, I enjoyed Dan Abnett’s writing – and finding the answer to an intriguing mystery concerning identity.

It being a break week, and as I have not only caught a cold, but also had a joint in my lower back / pelvis manipulated back into place, I have been lying down quite a bit this past few days, resting and reading.
So, I also read The Sea by John Banville, the reminiscences of an old man, newly widowed and returning to the seaside town of his childhood. I liked this book, but not as much as his The Infinities. Both novels deal with the complexities of family life, intergenerational traps; in both books, trains and the Greek gods play their parts. Maybe I preferred The Infinities because the gods were more prevalent, more directly interfering.

And I started today on a Nadine Gordimer short story collection, Selected Stories. I find that writing – and telling – microstories has reinvigorated my interest in reading them, in the composition and discipline required to make up a good short story.

Well, this is it for now – I will be back next week, and until then: have a lovely week, enjoy and take care!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mostly Knitting

Hello everybody, and welcome to the Apple Basket!
The Autumn break is coming up, a welcome breathing space during the long stretch from August to December, between the summer holidays and Christmas. This break used to be called the ‘potato break’, because the school children had to help at home, getting the potatoes in before the frosts.
Now, it is for many families more of an action-packed week, with child psychologists cropping up every year to remind stressed out parents of stressed out kids that a few days at home, doing not much, is in fact better for everybody than running around from theme park to museum to activity.
We are taking the leisurely path, with two family outings planned and not really much besides that. The boys need to relax, sleep in, play their games – and so do I (my ‘games’, of course, are knitting and reading and writing). Weather permitting, we may decide to go and admire a stretch of forest: I am continually fascinated by the riotous colouring of trees this time of year, and I want to just soak it up before the bareness of winter.

The Knitting
This week has been good for my knitting, and I’ve managed to make quite an impact on the wips (though this form, wips, is apparently incorrect, according to a post in a discussion thread on LI – but I’ll stick with it, claiming that the acronym has become a new word in itself and thus can be pluralised).
Anyway, back to the knitting: I finished a pair of socks that I have mentioned before, but can’t show you yet; I’m hoping to have the pattern included in the next Defarge book. I won’t know until mid-November if it will be, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

I made a second cowl from my Rêveur Cowl pattern, to test it before release. It’s a deceptively simple pattern, once you get the hang of the moebius cast-on; the pattern includes a link to Cat Bordhi’s YouTube video of it. And I have had fun knitting on the same side and on both sides at once, all at the same time – this is the magic of the moebius strip. Also, it’s a quick knit using aran weight yarn on 5 mm needles.

So, the first one was the bright red one that was directly inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s book The Night Circus – highly recommended, by the way, if you like magic dreaminess in a story.
I made that one in Sandnes Kashmir Alpakka, lovely soft and warm and fuzzy – and very red.

As you may have surmised, though, red isn’t really my colour; usually, I am attracted to purples and blues and greens; and I had lying around two skeins of Filcolana Peruvian Highland Wool in a soft lavender. Hence this second, purple version: slightly smaller than the cashmere alpaca version; less fuzzy, of course, not as dreamily soft – and obviously completely unsuited for proper rêveurs.
But I like it.

And I finished my second sleeveless, top down O w l s jumper – the popular design by Kate Davies – this time also in Irish yarn. The first one was made from Kerry Mills Aran, a 200-gram skein in a tweedy dark green that my parents brought home from a trip to Ireland last autumn.
This one, in purple (yes, I know), is made in Studio Donegal Aran Tweed in a – well, a tweedy purple, with flecks of blue, lilac, heather, light grey, and once in a while an olive green.
I bought this yarn in Dublin two summers ago and have tried out several patterns for it; it didn’t want to be a skirt, though, or a shawl – but the owls jumper seems to work out. A nice addition to my work wardrobe. (No pics yet; it has been drizzling all day.)
I worked it top down again to be able to measure the body length along the way; and because it makes so much more sense to me to work from the centre out, so to speak.

On top of all this, the grey socks for Victor are coming along – the first one, anyway – and the heel is already done. From here, it’s just plain stocking stitch in the round up the leg: perfect to bring along for the guitar concert he and I are going to tomorrow evening (David Russell is performing in Den Gamle By in Aarhus).

I suppose I should mention the Leaf Cardigan, which has been sadly neglected all week. I started on one sleeve with a certain interval between the decreases that would work out if I don’t want the lace pattern on the sleeves. Then, it was put a bit to the side in favour of the O w l s and the socks, both being more appropriate for the season than a cotton cardigan. Meanwhile, I have been wavering as to the lace pattern: if I want it, I need to decrease fast enough to have the right number of stitches when there are still 40 rows to go. In that case, I have to frog the admittedly not very long piece of sleeve that I have knitted, and redo it. Decisions, decisions.
I’ll let you know what I end up doing (I think I do want the lace).

The Books
I finished The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, a story of life, love, lies and secrets.
The narrator, Iris, is in her eighties, telling the story of her life and that of her sister, Laura, interspersed with comments on her daily life, of being old, of watching the changes to her home town. Inside Iris’ memoir is Laura’s novel, and inside that are several sci-fi stories told to her by her lover, stories that themselves comment upon the events happening in the world outside.

Another story featuring writers and their shaping of events is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, which I am listening to – this one also contains a mystery and various, conflicting, views of what has happened and why.
Nick and Amy Dunne have moved back to his Missouri hometown after both losing their New York jobs, to take care of his dying mother and demented father. Nick borrows money from Amy to buy a bar together with his twin sister. After two years in Missouri, on their fifth anniversary, Amy disappears.
The big question is, of course, whether Nick killed her. I am not going to spoil it for you; suffice it to say that both of them kept secrets.
The narrative is divided between Nick (who has the bigger parts) and Amy, with two readers in the Audible version; this back-and-forth works very well to keep the suspension tight and make the reader (listener) want to know how it all plays out.

I finally got round to finishing The Hound of the Baskervilles, the well-known Sherlock Holmes story; my plan was to re-read them all and come up with a brilliant design for the book Defarge Does Sherlock. Well, the deadline is 31st October, and I’ve read maybe a sixth of the stories so far. So, maybe not – unless I am struck by inspiration very soon.

That’s all for this time – I will be back with more knitting, more books, and an update of our autumn break activities.
Until then: have a great week – have a great break, if you have one – and take care of yourself and your loved ones!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Too much going on?

Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Apple Basket!
We are having lovely October sunshine again after a couple of rainy days – the forecast promises more rain soon, though, and cooler temperatures, so this is only a short reprieve before the cold season settles in to stay. I have been out picking more apples and taking pictures of the glorious display of many-hued foliage that the trees are putting on.

This week, I am keeping it short and sweet; I have been grading the first test done by my Latin students, there are a couple of September short stories still waiting for my feedback, and I am working on two knitting patterns, writing, editing, and translating them for publication.

So right now, I am in that annoying state of feeling that I am neglecting at least three things no matter which one I am currently doing. You know what I mean, right?
Just before, I was trying to get back into writing mode and instead went upstairs to find yarn for socks – after having done some editing on the sock pattern while ignoring the untidy kitchen and forgetting my coffee that was cooling as I photographed autumn trees outside.
Some days are just like that.

The Knitting
The Leaf cardigan: I finished the garter edge and moved on to the first sleeve. It was quite a thrill to see the body of the cardigan gradually emerging from the scrunched-up state it had been in while bundled onto the cable of the circ, and resuming its proper shape, now neatly outlined.
I am really beginning to look forward to wearing this cardigan – though it may have to wait till spring. Depends on the weather, we’ll see. And on how much I let myself be distracted by other knits instead of plugging along on the sleeves.

The stripy socks have been marching along, if you’ll pardon the pun; I brought them for the day of the testing, when I spent one lesson of each double watching the students while they were toiling (well, some of them toiled, others did the thing and proceeded to be bored the rest of the time).
These are the ones I made in the inexpensive Bumbo sock yarn, in some purple (left over from my Fosco socks) together with a multi-coloured version, in greens, blues, and purples. The long colour changes have made for interesting stripes that were deemed ‘hippie-like’ by one of my students. Can’t blame him for that.
So, now I have a pair that should fit me well and fit into shoes; next, I will make a pair without stripes to a) keep my feet warm and b) have a pair to show on the pattern page, when I get to that.
And a pair in the XL size, for one of my boys (or maybe more pairs, for more boys), to check the numbers.  

I finished also the Rêveur cowl, the one inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus; it is lovely and soft and warm – and the moebius cast-on (which really is a lot easier than it looks) makes for a fun knit. The pattern will be coming out soon, in time for Christmas knitting :o)

Now, I announced last week my intention to knit another sleeveless o w l s jumper, partly to push myself into getting it started – or have to admit defeat. And that would have been embarrassing, right?
So, I cast on last night, in Studio Donegal Aran Tweed, something I bought in Dublin two years ago. I am working it top down like the first one, my Upside Down Owls. I’m at the bellies of the owls right now; the aran weight yarn on 5 and 5.5 mm needles make for a quick knit.

The Books
I haven’t done much reading this week; my current paper book is The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, which I really enjoy. Mostly, though, I only get to read in bed, and several evenings this week, I have been too tired to even reach out and pick it up. But, as it is a library book and due back next Thursday, I decided to make an effort – I may be able to extend the loan, but then again, it may have been ordered by someone else – and so it became a companion to the o w l s knitting.
The narrative has multiple layers: the present and the memoirs of the first-person narrator; clips from newspapers; a novel written by the narrator’s sister – and in that novel, a story told by one character to another, from which comes the title of the whole package. I love enveloped tales, finding threads between layers and marvelling at the complexities.

Listening is easier to get done, particularly of course while driving. And so, I have finished Silver, written by Andrew Motion and read by David Tennant. This is a sequel to Treasure Island, featuring Jim Hawkins Jr. and Natalie Silver – called Nattie or Nat – undertaking a voyage back to The Island (Lost, anyone?) to appease the ghosts of their fathers’ shared past.
We get the traditional adventure elements, known from the original story: the sea voyage, including storms, the island, the battle against the pirates – the three men who were marooned when Jim Hawkins Sr. and his fellows left the island 40 years ago.
Added to these are more modern themes: the flora and particularly fauna of the island turns out to be rather special; questions of slavery and gender are dealt with, and not surprisingly, we have a budding romance. The ending of the book allows for a sequel – I don’t know if Motion plans to write one, or is content to leave the rest to the readers’ imagination.

Well, that’s all for now; as advertised, the offerings are slim this week – thank you for stopping by, and I hope you will return next time for more.

Until then: have a lovely week, enjoy the season, and take of yourself and your loved ones!