Trees! Sweaters!

I’ve been meaning to post my latest sweater but ’tis the season when it’s dark by the time I get home from work and hard to get good shots. (It would be weird if I took a bunch of selfies by the conference room window, right? I’m so very professional.) Anyway, here’s a quick shot in the waning November light:

The colour looks about right and this is a plain sweater that’s all about the colour. Yarn is Tosh Sport in Sequoia. Isn’t it pretty? I had a scant sweaters worth, which I know sounds like top-down time but I prefer knitting hand dyes in pieces (easier to alternate skeins that way.) So I did a basic back of the envelope set in sleeved sweater, much like this one but redder. I knit the front and back, joined the shoulders and knit the neckband then split the rest in two to use up allll the yarn for the sleeves and finished the second sleeve cap with a couple inches to spare.

I do wish I’d made the neckline a bit narrower. Lesson learned: don’t try to save on yarn there.

In keeping with the tree theme, I’ve been reading The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries From A Secret World by Peter Wohlleben. Interesting, more chatty than science-y and yet somehow I found it hard to get much momentum. Maybe the short chapters? It’s mostly about Central European forests, which is fair enough since that’s where he lives and kind of odd to me since I don’t really think of Europe as the place to go for forests. But of course they have trees there too.

There are some tree illustrations, at least in my edition and I always like a book with pictures.

I’m finding my latest sweater in progress is a bit woodsy looking:

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The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

You know what’s good reading on a fall evening? A nice old-timey murder mystery. An isolated country house, suspicious characters, family secrets. Pass my magnifying glass, please.

Also, time travel is pretty cool.

So The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton is right up my alley. Our hero Aiden wakes up with no memory and must, for reasons unclear, solve a murder that’s about to happen. Or, failing that, re-live the day Groundhog Day style until he does. But wait! he says. If he knows the murder is coming why not prevent it instead? The murder part of murder mysteries is kind of a downer, so I’m all for this plan. Keep the mystery, ditch the murder.

And then, uh, some stuff happens. Mysterious stuff! This is one of those books I feel like I can’t say much about without getting all spoilery. It has a lot of moving parts, like some kind of intricate Victorian clockwork with a dizzying array of tiny gears spinning other tiny gears. The solution of the mystery, to me, was less gratifying than just watching how all the pieces fit together.

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Racing Stripes

So, I had this sweater I was going to finish but I used up all the yarn and went fishing around in the pit of leftovers for something suitable to sew it up with. And, somehow I found myself picking out colours for yet another sideways scrap scarf. I always think I’m going to do some cool colourwork or something with my odds and ends, and yet:

Clearly it will never get old.

This one’s kind of different though, on account of the orange stripes, right? I do love a complementary colour scheme.

Speaking of racing stripes, I’ve lately been reading Butcher, Blacksmith, Acrobat, Sweep: The Tale of the First Tour de France by Peter Cossins. (Those are some of the more interesting professions of the original participants.) It gets off to a kind of a slow start, given that interest in old-timey sporting newspapers and their owners is limited at best. But once the race gets going it’s more interesting. Started in 1903 to sell newspapers, it’s almost as much along the lines of those “plucky reporter does wacky adventure” kind of stunts as a sporting event. The dusty roads! The overnight stages! The cheating! The drama! Who doesn’t love a wacky spectacle?

Next time, sweater! Which will hopefully not turn out to be a wacky spectacle.

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Fresh Air!

Ah, y’all, finally some cool weather. I finished my latest socks:

Pretty, huh? Pattern is Berkshires, knit in String Theory Colorworks. Colourway is White Dwarf. Made a game effort to match the stripes and it mostly worked. The wide stripe sequence is a bit too simple on its own for my liking – you can see it on the bottom of the foot. I like how the zig-zags liven it up a bit.

Then, instead of casting on more summertime socks I picked up a sweater that had been sitting out the hot weather. Just need some sleeves!

The back-to-school September-ness also has me thinking more about books. I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately, although I did read The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Stephen Brusatte. The parts about dinosaurs are super interesting – how can you go wrong with dinosaurs? The parts about his paleontologist colleagues are … oddly gushy. Like, I started to wonder if they’re really all brilliant, charming and generally excellent or if they’re so cranky and thin skinned that he was worried about them reading his book and getting offended.

What shall I read next? Decisions, decisions …

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Sock Jag

Well, summer continues apace – I see the current humidex is 35C. So, still stuck inside knitting. I finished those zigzag socks from the other day:

Pattern is Zigzagular Socks, yarn is Sweet Fibre Yarns Super Sweet Socks in Tea Leaves. I’m so absurdly pleased with them. Now I just need the weather to cool enough for wool socks. (Wednesday night, looks like? I’m so prepared!)

What else to do but cast on another pair of zig-zaggy socks? Apparently I’m going with a theme here.

Pattern is Berkshires. I’m moreĀ amused by self striping yarns than I should be, and the stripes are coming out pretty cool here.

Got any favourite sock patterns?

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The Sock Days of Summer

When I think of summer, I always daydream about picnics, days at the beach, camping trips and similar outdoorsy fun. Alas, in reality summer inevitably seems to feature far too many days when it’s too hot and/or humid to even contemplate going outside. Lately I keep checking the forecast and thinking that seems like totally reasonable temperatures, then the air is so thick and humid I start wondering if one can drown while waiting for the bus.

Obviously there’s nothing to do but stay home and knit socks.

One of those busy variegated skeins had me scrolling through patterns and thinking hard. Naturally, I finally settled on…

Plain old stocking stitch. Yarn is Socks That Rock Mediumweight in Gadgets and Gizmos. It obligingly didn’t pool but I do find the first leg it markedly yellower than the rest. Also, I can’t get the soundtrack of The Little Mermaid out of my head.

It was still stupid humid out so I cast on another pair. Halfway done:

Pattern is Zigzagular Socks, which I came across while looking for variegated yarn patterns, but using a semisolid here since I’m contrary. I like the simplicity of it in a quieter yarn.

Maybe by the time I’m done it’ll be wool socks weather?

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The City of Falling Angels

Y’all, I probably should have gone to the opera when I went to Venice. I’m the kind of philistine who doesn’t much care for opera but the theatre itself would be neat to see. The Fenice burned down in 1996, which is the beginning of The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt (the guy who wrote Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.) It so happens he turned up in town that day and decided to write a book.

It’s partly about the fire (arson? negligence?) and rebuilding of the Fenice with gossipy sidetracks about various inhabitants of Venice. It’s also a mix of interesting and, uh, not. There’s a master glass maker who makes fiery Fenice vases, a scandal with Ezra Pound’s mistress and of course the fire investigation. Then things get bogged down in way too much detail about Save Venice politics and backstabbing. I just don’t care. At all.

It did make me want to go back to Venice and look at it all again.

Since it’s been too miserably humid to do much else lately I’ve finished a shawl:

Looks a little fiery, right?

Specs: Northern Lights knit in Blue Brick Point Pelee Lace.

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