Autumn 2013

Autumn 2013

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!

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