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February 2009
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April 2009

two, maybe three, updates

1) Sweater Quest, the book about knitting Mary Tudor, will be published in March 2010. I'd hoped for October of this year but the machinery will not bend to my will. Such is life. This does, however, give me more time to plot a yarn shop crawl around the month of its release. Any suggestions?

2) The rooster ad (see below) was not in yesterday's paper, which makes one wonder if he is now soup. Will update, as needed.

3) Go look at what Lisa's doing with her monkeys. I am amazed.

why I read the classified ads

I am convinced that the best story ideas come from the classified ads. Like this one, from yesterday's Daily Star:


I'm tempted to call to find out if anyone has claimed the rooster yet -- or if the family has just decided to build a new garage and let the beast keep the old one.

many things make a post

* Polydextrose is not a flower; or, yet again, "eat food; not too much; mostly plants."

* Nathan Fillion is the Next Great TV Leading Man. To which I say, duh.

* My new favorite poem: "The Meaning of Life."

* I am not a vengeful woman, for the most part. But this guy deserves his own special hell.

* This statement will get me smacked-down but -- I don't disagree with "The Case Against Breastfeeding" by Hanna Rosin. Which is my tepid way of saying that breastmilk is not a miracle elixir, no matter how much we might want it to be.

* The best thing about March.

* Author headshots and retouching. How much is too much?

* This probably deserves its own post but how f'ed up is my own self-worth that I think Simon Jones has a point in this screed against the women he has knocked-up having the gall to no longer be sex kittens. Even though I know Jones is an ass (and know at least two women with kids IRL who have been cheated on because their husbands are Jonesian narcissists), a very small part of me still feels culpable. Oh, patriarchy. Where haven't your tendrils reached?

* Jo Walton on Tim Powers. I want them to write a book together.

* Justine Larbalestier give the best writing advice ever.

In other news, I had to run downtown at 11 a.m. to pick up a very late birthday gift for my Dad -- sorry, Dad -- and the St. Patty's Day revels had already started. Ah, youth. Bet you a nickel most of 'em will be completely incapacitated by happy hour. Pacing, kids. It's called pacing.

random crafty things plus gratuitous cat

I don't know that there is much holding all of this together other than we happened to have actual sunshine on Friday, which made we want to take pictures of things. The coming of spring also made me want to run around outside without a coat, boots or pants -- but the fact that it was only 50 (or 10C for you metric folk) was what stopped me.

So I took pictures while the light was good.

As a reward to myself for finishing the dang draft of the next book, I bought a small box of chocolate from Foodzie, which is a small site that acts as a clearinghouse for independent food crafters. This Etsy, but edible.

These were from Luca Chocolates. The packaging rocked.


The chocolates themselves -- vanilla buttercream, Earl Grey truffles and sea salt caramels -- were OK. My earth remains unmoved but they were good enough.

In the crafts-I'm-working-on department, Just Nan's* Winter in the Square


and Eunny Jang's Tangled Yoke cardigan in Jo Sharp Silkroad Tweed DK that had been marinating in the stash for a couple of years.


So far, so good. But it's hard to tell at this stage, eh?

Oh -- and this is my first project with Knit Picks wooden interchangeable needles. Anyone have advice on how to ensure that they don't unscrew themselves? So far, I've used the provided pin to tighten them as much as possible, which seems to be working. But wonder how long that will work.

Also, if you buy my house, I'll chuck in this lovely photographer's assistant, who does not like it one bit when you use his patch of sun for a backdrop.


Not. One. Bit.


* As a rule, Just Nan isn't to my taste. I like these Season/Square jobbies, tho. I just ordered Spring, because I feel that my stitching should be aspirational even if we are certain to have a few more weeks of winter. What can I say? I'm quirky.

qotd, vice edition

"Guides to casino games will talk about good bets and bad bets, but it's all relative, in the same way that being struck on the head by a small sack of oranges is a good thing relative to being struck by a hammer."

-- The Book of Vice: Very Naughty Things and How to Do Them by Peter Sagal, which you ought to read.

book win

Given that I review books for Locus (and have for a variety of other periodicals), I usually have a stack of comp copies that I am unwilling and unable to keep. I've tried donating to the library but they don't seem to want them. So I take them to Popek's.

When I dropped off the most recent batch, I puttered around in the craft section and scored a copy of Alice Carroll's Complete Guide to Knitting and Crocheting, initially published in 1942.

I love the embossed cover:


I love the stylish, hand-tinted knitted suit:


(Said suit is fabric for the blue parts, then the red parts are knitted. It looks fascinating but I have doubts about its practicality.)

I love that it has a knitted kid's sun suit (and I love the expression on the kid's face):


I love that there are a dozen basic mitten patterns and an equal number of sock patterns, including an argyle. I love that there is a chapter devoted to making your own designs. I also love that there is a chapter titled "Army and Navy Regulation Knitwear," which is something you just won't see today. There are patterns for garments I've never heard off, like a "Gilet" or a "Calot." I now have a pattern for a crocheted snood, which is something else to love, even if I don't have enough hair to fill a snood.

I can knit a "One-piece dress for the Older Woman" that starts with casting on 332 stitches in 3-ply yarn on size #3 needles for the front of the skirt, which seems like a Herculean labor when you consider how long the average skirt for an older woman is. Here's the picture, which makes me question their definition of "older woman" or proves how forgiving black and white photography can be:


Was this book worth $15? Oh, yes. I have gotten more than $15 worth of amusement out of it and it will become a much used reference guide. The bits on how to shape sock heels is well worth every penny.

But the picture that made the sale was this one:


Because who hasn't found themselves sitting on a fencepost in their knitted bathing suit while hailing passing cowboys?

many things make a post

* From the "I don't think that means what you think it means" dept: Christian salt.

* John Hodgman's piece on Cuervo man is unexpectedly moving.

* This WaPo piece on parents who accidentally kill their kids by leaving them in hot cars** will rip your heart clean out of your body but is one that you should read anyway. And to quote Patrick Nielsen Hayden, brace yourself first. The ending is a kicker.

* "Sita Sings the Blues" has been linked all over the place but the Hub and I watched it over the weekend on the stupidly large new TV and were completely won over by it. I have some quibbles about the pace. Still, the visuals are gorgeous.

* Love Katha Pollitt. And Hawthorne can suck it.

* This guy's finacee is a keeper. 

* An even-handed look at what college kids read. I'm trying to remember what the hot books on campus were in '93, which is when I graduated. I'm drawing a blank. Anyone?

* Further proof that DST is evil.

* Why kids need bedtimes. That may be the one thing the Hub and I have gotten right -- but are motives are primarily selfish because that hour or two between their turning in and ours is delicious.


** If you think this can't happen to you, you are delusional or don't have kids. End of discussion.

other finished things

The Hub has finished the rehab on the upstairs bathroom.






He does fine work.

I finished another beaded bracelet, which I started not because I wanted a beaded bracelet (it'll end up as a b-day gift) but because I wanted a knitting snack after the five-course meal of Mary Tudor:


In full:


Barney, however, did not fulfill his continual goal of snacking on Maddy's fish.


Maybe next weekend.

qotd, dfw edition

"Look, man," [David Foster Wallace] said in a 1991 interview, "we'd probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is?" Quite the contrary, he believed that fiction should help people "become less alone inside." It's a tall order, but it's also the best and, oddly for Wallace, the simplest explanation of what art can do that I've ever heard.

-- From Jezebel w/r/t the March 9 New Yorker publication about works Wallace left behind.