Misc Monday ~ in which we wish our Canadian friends a Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, eh?

I was reminded by Lorraine that Canadian Thanksgiving is today. I always forget what day it is, since it’s a different day than Thanksgiving is celebrated in the US, but I knew that it was before Halloween. Personally, I would rather celebrate before Halloween too, so that Thanksgiving got its proper celebration without being eclipsed by Christmas. Oh well.

Hmm. Maybe I can find a way to celebrate both American and Canadian Thanksgivings, so that I get pie twice. Hmm. Must look into that.

Since I’ve never lived anywhere other than the US, I’ve only ever learned the American Thanksgiving traditions. You know, turkey, pilgrims, Indians*, stuffing, Snoopy, and toast. (What?) When I decided to write this blog post, I thought I’d look into it a little.

charlie-brown-thanksgiving5.jpg

Wiki says that Canadian Thanksgiving was a bit more flexible than I remember learning about, but I don’t actually know how long ago the American Thanksgiving dates and traditions and such were set. I do know that I like having it on a Thursday (US version) instead of a Monday (Canadian version) because this way we get more days off work.  😉

Then again, having Canadian Thanksgiving on a Monday means that there’s no Black Friday shopping nonsense afterwards. Maybe they do it the right way, after all.

There are other bonuses to having Thanksgiving in October. It’s still warm enough that you can spend the day outside without difficulty. It’s earlier in the year, so it stays light a little later. And it means you can put up your Christmas decorations right after Halloween without anyone complaining that it’s “too early”.

At any rate, Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends! May you have lots to be thankful for.

* not a proper term to use now, but that’s how it was when I was taught about Thanksgiving in school. I hope that schools these days use the more proper Native Americans / First Nations / Indigenous Peoples.

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Friday Reads ~ 6 October 2017

I guess I didn’t do a Friday Reads last week. Huh. Oh well, that means there will be more to report today.

WHAT I READ

I finished listening to The Spaceship Next Door by Gene Doucette. It was a really enjoyable book! My initial thought about this book was that the pacing was slow in the beginning. However, by about 1/3 of the way in, I appreciated the pacing, and by half-way the pacing had gradually picked up while still maintaining the “deliberate” feel it had at the beginning. Something about the pace completely matched the story for me. If I had an issue with this book, it’s that I had trouble adjusting to the (male) narrator’s choice of voice for 16-year-old Annie. I got over it, but I think I would have enjoyed the beginning of the book more had I been reading it instead of listening to it. (Full review is here.)

I read a paper copy of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons by Franklin Habit. This is an amusing cartoon and essay collection, though it’s best suited to a knitter (or someone who loves a knitter).

I also listened to My Favorite Universe, a Great Courses lecture series by Neil deGrasse Tyson. This is a fun science non-fiction book, but it’s a bit more simplistic than the ones I’ve been listening to lately. (Example: it touches on some of the same things that Dr. Tyson talks about in Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, but in less detail and depth.) This is still worth listening to, just be aware that it’s the equivalent of an entry-level lecture series as compared with some of the other Great Courses lecture series. (Full review is here.)

WHAT I’M READING

I’m still working on The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston. That one is still on pause, though, because I haven’t yet finished Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard, which is a library book and so has a due date. It’s a fun book, and if you’re a fan of his stand-up you will recognize some of the stories. However, don’t expect this to be a written version of his stand-up show. It’s more real than the shows, and has more depth to it. Still funny, but it’s serious also. It’s a good read so far.

I started listening to All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot again. I picked up where I left off, and I decided that this time I’ll either finish it or DNF it. (It’s been hibernating for quite some time.) I can see where it’s considered a classic, but I’m still not sure I’ll be able to finish this book.

And I’m still reading Dragon’s Egg by Robert Forward on my ereader. It’s a neat story, but I’ve been slacking on all non-audio books (paper and ebook) while I finish my library books. I’ll work on this more seriously soon.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT

I kinda put in some more library book requests. So among my next reads will be The Girl Who Drunk the Moon by Kelly Barnhill, A Novel Way to Die by Ali Brandon (which apparently is Book 2 in the series but the title caught my eye so I’m starting here), and the Nancy Drew books I picked up. Because library books are shiny.

For audio… I have no idea. I have several audio books in queue, but I’ve been bad lately at predicting which one I’ll feel like when I finish the current one.

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Book Boyfriends

Happy Tuesday! It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday, and I have to say, this week’s prompt made me laugh. Hopefully you’ll find it amusing, too.

Top Ten Book Boyfriends/Girlfriends

(Which characters do you have crushes on?)

  1. Faramir from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien ~ The book version. Movie version is cute, but they messed up his character too much.
  2. Darkwind from The Mage Winds trilogy by Mercedes Lackey ~ I haven’t read this series in a while, and if I was reading it for the first time now I’m not sure I’d have the same reaction, but I really wanted to be Elspeth when I was younger so I could date Darkwind. Well, and for the magic and the telepathic horse.
  3. Legolas from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien ~ Yeah, I read LOTR several times when I was in school. And I couldn’t decide which of the two characters (Faramir or Legolas) I liked better. (I’ve since decided: I like book-Faramir better, but movie-Legolas better. Mostly because while they messed with Faramir’s character in the movies, they left Legolas more-or-less alone.)
  4. Calvin O’Keefe from A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L’Engle ~ I have always loved this book, period. And it has always come with a crush on Calvin and a desire to be Meg.
  5. F’lar from The Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey ~ Or maybe F’nor. Or T’gellan. Basically, I wanted to date a dragon rider. (Or even better, to be a dragon rider.)
  6. Afra Lyon from The Tower and the Hive series by Anne McCaffrey ~ Again with the telepathy. But also, he seemed like a really devoted guy.
  7. Lucas Cortez from The Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong ~ I didn’t get all that attached to the werewolves in this series, unlike a lot of my reading group friends I read this with. Lucas, though… he was my series crush.
  8. Dean from The Keeper Chronicles by Tanya Huff ~ Mmmm. Dean.
  9. Henry Fitzroy from both the Blood and the Smoke series by Tanya Huff ~ This is the only vampire on my list. I guess I’m usually just too leery of the blood-sucking thing to have crushes on vampires.
  10. Tusk from the Star of the Guardians series by Margaret Weiss ~ This wasn’t really a crush on the character. I was reading this at the same time as some friends in college, and one of us associated with one of the characters and started using that as an IRC forum name. So then we started thinking about which character suited which of the rest of us, and ended up assigning characters to everyone. So, while I didn’t really have a crush on Tusk (I had to read a Wiki synopsis of the book in order to even remember his name) that is the character that was assigned to my boyfriend at the time. It seems to suit this topic, in any case.

What about you? Any book boyfriends or girlfriends on your list?

Misc Monday ~ in which I finish a shawl for ME

Last week I mentioned that I was working on the East of the Sun, West of the Moon shawl again after it had hibernated for a while. Well, I finished it over the weekend!

East of the Sun, West of the Moon beaded shawl

It was not without some concern, though. I thought I was going to run out of yarn. I DID run out of yarn. But I had another yarn left over from another project which is essentially indistinguishable from the Freia. Luckily, I had worked the shawl so that the white was at the end, and the other yarn was KnitPicks Bare lace yarn, so it was also white.

East of the Sun, West of the Moon beaded shawl

This is the replacement yarn, which I used for the last few rows, but if I didn’t know where I switched I’m not sure I’d be able to tell (except by looking at the back for where the yarn is doubled).

Blocking this thing was CRAZY. I have never knit a shawl this large. (This may be the largest ANYTHING I have knit. It might count as larger than the afghans I’ve crocheted, too, depending on how you measure it. I think this shawl’s wingspan is larger than the longest side of any of my afghans.)

East of the Sun, West of the Moon beaded shawl

But it’s done! So I will get to wear it this fall and winter! Yay! I must say, though, this is not going to be a casual-wear item. It’s big! I’ll need to be aware of it when I wear it.

East of the Sun, West of the Moon beaded shawl

Stats:
PATTERN: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
DESIGNER: Nim Teasdale
YARN: Freia Ombré Lace (with a smidge of Knit Picks Bare Shadow Lace)
COLORWAY: Ice Queen
START DATE: 5/31/2015
END DATE: 9/30/2017

101 in 1001 ~ update the fifteenth

It’s time for the 15th update on my 101 in 1001 Challenge! If you haven’t been following along on this journey so far or have any questions about what the challenge is, you can check out this link for details.

YAY! This month included the completion of a 7-year-task: I finished the Babette blanket! But more on that later. This month also saw progress on other challenge tasks, plus my third blood donation (which completed that challenge item).

Here’s this month’s challenge progress:

September 2017
3 items completed this month
22 items currently in progress

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Arts & Crafts #6: Finish crocheting Babette blanket ~ 9/3/2017

I started this blanket in April of 2010. That’s way too long for a project to linger, and yet I could never seem to bring myself to finish it. So now, I finally did! I’m not sure how much of it was due to this challenge, but at least some of it was. (If nothing else, this challenge kept the Babette blanket at the front of my mind.) It’s not as large a blanket as I really would have preferred, but I also didn’t want to make any more squares. (And since this was intended as a scrap sock yarn project, I wasn’t going to change the yarn weight, either.) Nevertheless, it will be a great desk chair throw for when I’m working and need a little extra warmth. If you want more information about the blanket, it can be found on the FO blog post for Babette.

Personal #51: Donate blood (do 3 times) ~ 9/23/2017

This is something that I intend to keep doing even now that the challenge item is finished. However, I figured 3 times was a good number for the 101 in 1001 challenge. Still – with all the ugly stuff in the news, it’s nice to be able to do something to actively help people in need. If you are able, please join me in donating blood. It doesn’t take long – under an hour from check-in to walking out the door (which include the intake evaluation and the snacks afterward) – but it could be the difference between life and death for someone.

Reading #84: Read 10 books by new-to-me authors ~ 9/29/2017

This is one of the ways I’ve been trying to branch out and read new books instead of re-reading books as often as I used to, or reading only the same handful of authors that are in my comfort zone. I guess I get stuck in reading ruts as much as anything else, and for a while I was barely reading anything new. So this was a good way to discover new authors. I found some great books that way, too! (Though there were misses, too. Maybe one week I’ll do mini-reviews of all of the books from this challenge item.)

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Autumn is officially here! Yay! I love that season — spring and autumn are my favorites, so I’m always happy to see them arrive. I hope that you had a great end-of-summer hurrah, and enjoy the cooler weather to come! (Unless you’re one of my blog readers from the Southern Hemisphere, in which case I hope your upcoming spring is lovely!)

WIP Weds Oops

I thought I had posted a WIP Weds post yesterday. Apparently I did not.

To compensate, here is a picture of my most promising WIP: the East of the Sun, West of the Moon shawl by Nim Teasdale. This is probably my favorite fairy tale ever, so when I saw the shawl name I had to knit it. (Helps that the shawl is so lovely, too.)

I’ve been working on this one for a while. Part of that time it’s been hibernating because the rows got really long. But I want to wear it this year, so I pulled it out of the WIP pile and have been plugging away on it. I’m to the point now where I either need to bind off or hope that I have enough yarn left for another 12-row repeat. I really want to get to the last gradient color change, so I’m hoping I have enough yarn. But just in case I don’t, I added a lifeline so I can back up to this point if necessary.

East of the Sun, West of the Moon

It’s hard to see the beads in that photo, but they’ll show up better once I block the shawl. I am so excited to have this one almost done! The plan is to finish it this weekend, if I can. By the end of the first full week in October at the latest.

The shawl is designed so that you can put together the pattern pieces in any way you like. It tells you how to make a shawl identical to the sample, but I wanted to use up all my yarn, so I made mine a little differently. I love the lace pattern, though, and it looks like it will block out beautifully.

I do have other WIPs, but they’re not getting quite as much love as this one right now. (And I don’t have any new pictures.) My Vanilla Latte socks are still my travel knitting, and I’m closing in on the end of the first sock (I really need to start 2-at-a-time sock knitting). And the Star Wars GAL square is still getting worked on sometimes. I’ll be able to focus on the GAL blanket again once this shawl is done.

Happy Wednesday Thursday!  🙂

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Books that Feature Knitters

Time for another Top Ten Tuesday! This one is a bit more open-ended again. Here’s the official prompt:

Ten Books That Feature Characters ____________: Examples: Ten books that feature black main characters, characters who hold interesting jobs, characters who have a mental illness, characters that are adopted, characters that play sports, etc, etc. Can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

Hmm. That leaves a lot of room for creativity. In a way it’s almost too much room; I’m having trouble deciding what to do. Let’s see… just to pull something out of a hat (and hope I can find enough examples):

Top Ten Books that Feature Characters Who Knit

  1. The Grand Tour by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer ~ the characters send knitted messages back and forth in this one. So much fun!
  2. Princess of the Midnight Ball by JessicaDay George ~ this one has magic knitted into a shawl. And it’s a guy doing the knitting! Love it, too.
  3. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling ~ Mrs. Weasley knits sweaters for every Christmas, and I think Hermione knits hats (and/or socks?) for house elves. I can’t remember the details. Guess that means it’s time for a re-read.
  4. Knit One, Kill Two by Maggie Sefton ~ as the first book in the “Knitting Mysteries” series, one would hope the characters knit.
  5. While My Pretty One Knits by Anne Canadeo ~ like #4, it’s the first in a knitting mystery series (“Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries” this time) so there better be knitting.
  6. Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton ~ I don’t remember all the details about this one, but I do know the main character owns a yarn shop. Plenty of knitting involved.
  7. Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee ~ this is non-fiction book of essays and anecdotes, while the others on this list so far have been fiction books. Also, she has written many books, and I’m only including this first one.
  8. It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons by Franklin Habit ~ another book that’s not exactly fiction, but it centers around knitting and is a lot of fun, so I’m including it.
  9. The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs ~ I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my radar so I can include it. Right?
  10. Last Wool and Testament by Molly MacRae ~ this is last on my list because the knitting content is superficial in this one. Yes, it’s the first of the “Haunted Yarn Shop” series, but the yarn is just a setting.

It’s a good thing there were only supposed to be ten items on my list… I can’t come up with any other definite books to add to this list without resorting to listing multiple books in a series! (I could have done that. I’ve read — I think — eleven of Sefton’s Knitting Mystery books, so I could have just made this list out of that series.) There are other books that I’ve read which I think had knitting in them, but in some cases (like A Wrinkle In Time) I’m not positive about the knitting content, and in others (like Great Expectations) I just can’t bring myself to include the book on my list.

Have a great day!