Sunday, January 2, 2011

Starting another Blanket

I am starting a simple blue and white granny square blanket that I plan to keep for my very own. I feel like we don't have enough colorful blankets in the house. Several black ones that collect a LOT of dog hair though. So, my goal for the next couple of projects is to make some lively blankets that we can keep around the house. Yes, around here you only need them a couple of months out of the year but still they are nice to look at even if you are not cuddled up in them. This first pattern I am starting with is incredibly easy - essentially a giant granny square in a square pattern. I hope to get a little fancier with my next projects. Maybe something a little lacier. I am using a light blue, a royal blue and a white in the Berrocco Vintage Chunky. Those three colors were piled next to each other in the store and I thought the color scheme was striking. Though, as usual, now that I have started working the colors up I am less sure about the color combination. I really wanted to make a pink, orange and white blanket but I wasn't happy with any of the orange yarn available. I worry that these colors make this pattern look a little "country". Like you would see this blanket hanging over the back of a walnut rocking chair in a rustic farm house. That is so not my style. Oh well, like the other blankets I have made, I can stuff this one in the closet and only bring it out when I am cold and alone. It's the journey not the destination,right.
The journey is a little bumpy on this one though. I have noticed that I am having a real problem with the joins. You might notice in the photo that they do look a little wonky. I also think I am adding an extra stitch in there at the join. This is probably because I was having a hard time seeing where the work ended. The piece is a little wavy and I think that is because I have added a couple extra stitches in there. I do not want to pull it out though. I probably should and make it perfect but the closet won't care if it's a little wavy. I did notice on comments about this pattern that other people were getting a little wave in there. Hopefully with more attention to the joins and as it gets bigger it will grow out of the wave.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sappy Music

Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste (33 1/3) Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste by Carl Wilson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I can't say that this book turned me into a Celine Dion fan, but it did affirm my guilty love for other sentimental love songs. Yes, that is a confession. I secretly get a little excited when I hear songs like "You don't Bring me Flowers Anymore" or "When I Need You". I sang along for hours to those big, sappy, melodic songs on rainy days when I was a kid. My poor parents... Of course as a teen, I denied, denied, denied. Liking those songs was as dangerous to my social standing as high-water pants and a peck on the cheek by my mom in public. Now as an adult and after reading this book, I understand a little more why these songs are appealing. Really they are the musical version of soap operas and sappy movies, they allow us to feel big emotions through someone else's experience. Wilson explores in this well written and well thought out memoir the psychology and philosophy behind our musical tastes and guilty pleasures. He doesn't defend Celine or tell you really you're wrong for not liking her, he turns her into a real person and confirms that she is bad but that bad isn't always unbearable. Again, I am not going to fill my ipod full of Celine but I am going to reserve my judgement and stifle my chortle when someone says they like Brittany Spears or Adam Lambert.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Where's the Fiction?

I subscribe to several book related podcasts specifically to learn about interesting new fiction and to keep myself abreast on the current trends in publishing. Unfortunately, lately there has been little fiction interesting or otherwise to learn about. All the book podcasts are featuring these days it seems are biographies of ancient leaders, investigations of gruesome crimes, and memoirs about being tall. This time last year it seemed like I couldn't turn on a book related podcast without hearing about Netherland or White Tiger. I know it isn't a great mystery that non-fiction sells a lot better than fiction but couldn't they at least promote one fiction book a segment. I would even argue that fiction would sell better during a recession than the publishing company thinks. People crave escape and I don't think they can find escape in learning about intimitae lifestyles of rich and tall. Hopefully as the economy improves the publishing industry will give us our fiction back.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Returning to Blogging and Circles to Squares Project

My birthday is fast approaching so I have decided to make a birthday resolution. In my upcoming "new year" I resolve to blog more. I always like it when I do blog it's just like everything else it's the carving out the time to make it happen that is the hard part. Since I last blogged, I completed two lacy scarves. One in a bright pink yarn that was left over from the first baby blanket I made at the beginning of the year and the other in a tan I had originally bought to make some beanies for boys. I started the tan scarf as a way to get rid of some spare yarn and make my Mom a mother's day present. I didn't get the scarf done in time for the holiday and I am going to have to buy another skein to finish the fringe. Now I'll have to do is go to the yarn store and get another skein to finish the fringe. I should have it done in time to give it to her when I see her later this month.
For a long time now I have wanted to make Lion Brand's free Circles to Squares afghan pattern. I have either been in the midst of another project or hadn't firmly decided what colors to use. This weekend I decided was the weekend to put down all other projects and start that afghan. I had decided on making it in a green and aqua blue combination colors. As the case always seems to be the available yarn colors were not quite what I had in mind. The yarns I did pick out looked nice when I held them next to each other put when I worked them together I thought they looked too dark. So after two trips to the yarn store I have decided to make the blanket in three shades of green. The squares really look best if there is a light color contrasting with the dark. An all green blanket wasn't exactly what I wanted but I think it will look nice. And if it isn't too hard to sew all the squares together, I can always make another blanket in brighter more vibrant colors. So far the squares have been easy to work up. I think once I get the pattern down in my head they will be pretty fast too. I am going to follow one crocheter's advice from ravelry and weave in the ends as I finish each square. I can see how leaving those till all the squares were done would be really tedious.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Baby Blanket #2

Yesterday, I finished my second, granny-square baby blanket. This time I actually followed the color sequence suggested in the pattern. I think the three rows of the same color followed by a single row of the contrasting colors is a lot prettier than a single color of each row on my last blanket. Speaking of the last blanket; the recipeint of that blanket, a healthy 6lb baby girl, was born yesterday. I hope she likes the blanket as much as her Mom seemed to. The recipient of blanket number 2 is due in July but the shower is next Saturday and I am done one week early. Gives me enough time to hopefully work up a couple of wash cloths and a hat. I am thinking I'll do a couple wash cloths in dark green with light green borders. I went a little cheaper on the yarn for this project. I don't think it showed in the final product though and I think it might even be a little softer. Another benefit to the cheaper yarn is I have a plenty left for the extra gifts I want to get done. Unfortunately, this blanket is also not perfectly square but after some pulling and stretching it looks a little straighter on the sides. I am still irrationally afraid of blocking gifts. I need to block a project for myself and mayke sure I know what I am doing. I am sure experienced crocheters would be shocked to hear me say I don't block. I will learn, I promise.

Is it About a Bicycle?

The Third Policeman The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Probably one of the most surreal, thought provoking, and weird (in a good way) books I have read. It is a shame O'Brien is so under-appreciated. He deserves a lot more attention for his vivid descriptions and brilliant plotting. The writers on Lost only wish they could reveal information as adeptly as this. The descriptions of landscape and characters reminded me of the animation of Terry Gilliam and I kept imagining that giant hand sitting outside the police station. Anyway, I cannot recommend this book enough and anyone reads it and wants to talk about bicycles I would love to discuss it with you.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Spiny on the Outside Cuddly in the Middle

The Elegance of the Hedgehog The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have not been surprised by a book in a long time. I usually get a feeling by a 1/3 a way through how I am going to like the book but Elegance slowly charmed it's way into my heart and moved from a 3 star to a solid 4, 4 and 1/2 star by the end. The first couple of chapters were slow, a little "precious", and the characters were not entirely likable. If it hadn't been a book club selection, I am not sure I would have kept reading but I am so glad I did. The story takes place in a posh apartment building in Paris and is told from alternating points of view of a the widowed concierge,Rene and a thirteen year old resident, Paloma. Paloma's sense of superiority and suicidal teen angst was what turned me off from the book initially. However, like all good characters Paloma changes as the book progresses and she becomes humbler and more appreciative of life. Through the voices of both Paloma and Rene, Barbery is exploring the idea that all people are free of determinism and you don't have to be what other people expect you to be. In other words, just because you always been a concierge in Paris and everyone expects you to behave like an uneducated working class person you don't have to really be that person. Rene applies this thought to her own life and through her connection with others in the apartment begins to realize she can be free to be who she really is. Sounds a little hokey, I know but I think the book is successful because she uses subtle transitions in character and becomes more plot driven and less "preachy" towards the climax. The book is also surprising in that a translated, philosophical treatise could become a national bestseller. I found it amusing that one publisher thought hedgehog wouldn't do well in America because it is a class-less society and we wouldn't get it. Ha wouldn't that be nice.

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