Criss-Cross

Sometime during the beginning stages of my Skeleton Sweater I fell in love with cross stitching after seeing a blog post on CreepingThyme about her 2015 Story Time Sampler (by the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery).

I decided, having just started a fingering weight colorwork sweater, that I would wait until I finished it to learn to cross stitch. I finished my Skeleton Key Sweater on September 30th 2o15 and on the weekend of my birthday (October 11th) I picked up a simple cross stitch kit from WalMart. I worked on it on and off for several months, finally, with the impetus that is LinaKnit’s Finish it February and the Knitting Dead’s Big D—- WIP Down.

I finished the pattern on the 18th, I believe. I washed it (I couldn’t believe how much dye came out of the fabric) and gently ironed it this past weekend.

And, finally, here it is!

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I made several mistakes and I swear the pattern warps the space time continuum. However, they aren’t really visible, so, I don’t overly mind. I also decided not to add the french knots required by the pattern because I didn’t want to have anything sticking up off the the fabric. I’m really happy with how it tuned out, and I can’t wait to try another pattern, one with color!

Book Review: The Quartet

Title: The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789

Author: Joseph J. Ellis

Year Published: 2015

Category: Historical Nonfiction

(It happened over 2oo years ago, so I suppose a spoiler warning is pointless?)

 

Back in about, I would say, November, I discovered the musical Hamilton, written by Lin Manuel Miranda. I listened to the soundtrack on Spotify and immediately fell in love. It brought an element of narrative to what I had always considered to  be, quite honestly, one of the driest eras of American History.

You might be wondering what a Broadway Musical has to do with a book review. That’s understandable. It was the reason I decided to read  Quartet. I know that, based on the book reviews I’ve done so far (all of three, if you include this one) that you might think that my reading tastes are all over the place. That is true, but Quartet is still outside of what I would normally read.

It took me just about three weeks to read. People were surprised when I told them what my ‘fun’ reading was. (As opposed to the super-riveting  Assessment for Inclusion and Language and Communication Disorders textbooks)

Overall this books was very well written. It spent the first few chapters introducing the reader to the four main people; George Washington, John Jay, James Madison, and, of course, Alexander Hamilton, as well as the two more minor (but still historic) characters; Robert Morris and Gouverneur Morris (no relation).

Ellis then explains the events leading up to the drafting and ratification of the second United States Constitution, mainly emphasizing how poorly the Articles of Confederation worked. There isn’t much more to explain about the plot of the book, at least my eye (as someone who was born and raised in the US. If you have any questions feel free to leave a question in the comments. I’ll do my best to answer it.)

I find it prudent to talk about Ellis’ style of writing. One might worry that a book like this was going to be very dry. It wasn’t very dry, it was only kind of. One thing that made up for this was Ellis’ wry sarcastic style of writing. He would create an almost sort of comedy by presenting facts in such a way that the ridiculousness of the situation could be appreciated now, even if it couldn’t have been at the time.

One other aspect of Ellis’ writing that I greatly appreciated was his emphasis on the differences between then and now. He reminded us that the culture was much different in 1783, especially the thoughts on what constituted a Republic, and who should be allowed to make decisions, and even that most of the founders expected the Constitution to be rewritten in twenty to thirty years.

Growing up in the United States, I already knew the basics of the story of how the second Constitution came about, this book did add several details that I did not know. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in this period of United States history.

I rate it: 3.5/5 (kind of dry subject matter, but very well written)

Goodreads says: 4.14/5 (that’s specific)

Amazon says: 4.6/5

~Note~ I find it interesting that this is the book with the highest commercial reviews that I have reviewed so far


 

P.S.~ I have decide to stop having specific posts for my podcast episodes as I feel like they clog up my blog too much. I will be adding a new page entitled ‘Podcast Episodes’ I’ll be linking them there and the show notes will still be available on YouTube and the Ravelry Group. I’m also hoping to start having them caption and noting which ones are captioned on the page as well.

Squall’s A-Comin’

As  I was packing to return to school after my winter break I spent a significant time deciding what yarn to bring with me. Even so, I ended up with way more yarn and yarn-related paraphernalia than I thought could find a home in my little dorm room.
IMG_20160116_153347While I was packing I started sifting through my container containing most of my KnitPicks purchase from November. I gathered my nine skeins for my Captain America sweater. I decided to leave behind the yarn I had earmarked for a pair of Fightin’ Words since I had decided on making a pair.

Then, I started pulling out skeins of Wool of the Andes for a Baaa-ble Hat.

Merlot Heather, check. Coal, check. Cloud, check. Mist, check… Wait where’s the blue for the sky? I dug around semi-frantically for about ten minutes. I was internally cursing myself for not buying the right number of skeins for a hat. Sure, I could buy another skein, but I had been so proud of getting all of it on sale.

Eventually I thought of checking my Ravelry stash and the pattern page. Yep, I had bought four colors, one of which was mist. The pattern page called for four colors of yarn. I didn’t even have to look at the requirements. It was obvious in the pictures.

For a last resort I went downstairs and found my mother in the kitchen. I showed her the  skein of yarn. I only said “what color is this yarn?” She looked at me like I was showing her the second head I had been growing out of my neck.

“Grey.”

And guess what? She is so right.

IMG_8624I held it against the other colors against it. Not only is it very grey against the white, black, and brown, it’s still very grey against all of the grey things in my room- and there are a lot of grey things in my room. (See my blanket in the bottom of the picture?)

I thought it was blue. I thought it was blue on the monitor when I ordered it and when it arrived. I showed it to Jake via Snapchat and he thought it was blue too.

Even better, I used knit picks palette, in mist for my Skeleton Key sweater. It was a different shade of grey, but grey to be sure.

So, rather than buying a new skein it’s just going to be a snow squall instead of a sunny day.

Darn it!

I’ve been knitting socks for approximately three years. My first two pairs are no longer with me. One pair was a gift for my grandfather and I have no notion of how they fair. The other, was hopelessly too large and, after two years, they were unraveled and given a new life as a pair of Helix Socks by Sean Riley. They have been enjoying much use since then.

IMG_8633However, I did notice, each time I wore them, that they were starting to look frailer and frailer. I was at yoga class Wednesday night, when I noticed that there was a hole in one of the heels.

It wasn’t a large hole by any means, it was only about two stitches wide. I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to learn to darn and save the sock.

Friday morning (since I didn’t have any classes) I decided was the prefect time to try it out. Since the heel was rather aggressively fuzzy, I preemptively shaved the outside of the heel of the sock using a disposable razor.

In the end the stitches were clearer and I had acquired a respectable pile of fuzz and had discovered a second, smaller hole. Then, I found a YouTube tutorial that would, hopefully, tell me everything I needed to know. IMG_8640

The first thing I found out was that I needed to turn the sock inside out. So I did, and
found that the inside was even fuzzier than the outside. (The astute of you will notice that this is still the outside.)

I followed the video’s instructions which were, despite the video not being very ‘fancy’, very good. I darned each hole separately even though they were close enough together that I could have probably done it all at once, I decided that I would just do two and get a little more practice out of it.

IMG_8642I used a bit of kit picks stroll that I had kicking around for a while. I know it doesn’t match at all, but I decided that it didn’t really matter since it was going to be on the heel which would be in a shoe most of the time. Even it wasn’t, it’s a small hole and not very noticeable. It was a little fiddly at first, but I think it went very well.

 

IMG_8649Here is the mending from the outside, barely noticeable! Overall, I think darning is pretty easy and, if one doesn’t let their holes get out of hand, not a particularly time-consuming process.