My Adventures in Knitting, truly my Yarn-escape!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Scrappy Shawl Done and "The First Conspiracy"

     I'm totally done with my Scrappy Shawl, it's just waiting for the ends to be tucked and blocked.

     I'm listening to "Almost A Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence" and I have a hardback copy of the tome I got used through Amazon.  It's the recommended book on "THE 100 BEST AMERICAN REVOLUTION BOOKS OF ALL TIME" and is focused on minute details of the battles of the Revolution.  It's surprisingly very interesting and I like hearing the details.  Since I've either read or predominantly listened to several other books on the war I find this book fills in details missed or gives a slightly different view.  For instance Gates, the American general in the Battle of Saratoga is characterized in "Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution" by Nathaniel Philbrick as lazy and unengaged with the battle while remaining in the officer's tent having a languid lunch at one point.  In "Almost a Miracle" the same general Gates is described glowingly and says he remained in the headquarter's tent as Washington sometimes did to oversee the myriad details from a distance.  I'm thinking the negative view of Gates in "Valiant Ambition" was purposefully angled to reflect what Benedict Arnold would have been thinking because the author is skillfully working up to why Arnold defected.  The incredible anger he harbored.


     I restarted reading ""The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington" by Brad Meltzer.  The reading is interesting and very detailed.  I've already covered this ground time-wise several times in other history books yet Meltzer brings up details I was unaware of.  Other books refer to the conspiracy to kill or abduct Washington through one of Washington's trusted guards turning traitor by one sentence.  Meltzer saw this when reading some books of the period and decide to exhaustively research it.  After the history books, this makes for some very interesting reading.  As a matter of fact, I keep trying to successfully find a book of fiction, something light to read before bed, but this book keeps drawing me back because it captured my interest and all others seem pale in comparison.  My reasoning was it can't be good to always read about war, especially before sleep.  So, finally I did find a good read before bed - "A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier: Some Adventures, Dangers, and Sufferings of Joseph Plumb Martin" by Joseph Plumb Martin.  A private who left his grandparents at 15 to join the war and was in most of the major battles till the end.  He is often mentioned in the history books.  But he is writing it many years later when he is in his 70's and his language is quite interesting and funny at times.  For instance, his recounting his first time in NYC and how the victuals were not as good as his grandpa and grandma's table and cellar was an example of how he chided his younger self for joining the army.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Last Rows of Scrappy Shawl and "Miracle Creek"

     I'm on my last rows for my Scrappy Shawl.  I like my shawls smaller to just keep a chill off my neck so after a few thin rows I'll bind off.  If I'm wrong I can always undo and cast back on and add more.  I've done that before.  I'm going to miss this knit.  It definitely goes into my mental file as something to do again, and maybe again.  I love having a freeform approach to knitting; adding as whim and evolving design dictates.  It was just plain fun!  And it used up extra yarn I had because of a kit that I knew would give me tons of yarn leftover for some creative project.  An intentional stash.

     Book of the Month is great, not only does it stretch me, introducing genres I might not think to entertain, but it also gets books to you before they are published.  So I started "Miracle Creek" yesterday on it's published date.  I'm just at the beginning and so far I'm finding the book surprises me literally at every turn.  A Korean couple runs the Miracle Submarine, a pressurized container where concentrated oxygen is feed into it.  A controversial avant-garde treatment for autism and other disorders.  On the day when the Korean husband Pak asks his wife Young to watch the filled pressurized container for just one moment, the unthinkable happens.  An explosion and two die.  Who's responsible is the question?  Amid many secrets, there is a trial and that's where I'm at.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Blue Jean Shawl and "Home Again"

     I had one of those days last week, for no good reason I was down.   I couldn't shake it and I was out with my husband for an eye doctor appointment.  So I decided a skein of yarn would perk me up!  I remembered this yarn at Michaels that was new and I knew that was it, I needed it.  Denim colored and just perfect and with a coupon affordable.  So I had left the house with a tiny #10 circular needle, remembering the yarn and a pattern for a comfortably huge shawl that I could imagine on my shoulders in the spring or cool summer night.  Armed with my thoughts I felt better even though I had to get drops to dilate my eyes and I could barely see afterward.  But I was not deterred!  I got my yarn and even though it's another project I have no regrets.  For an acrylic yarn, it's very soft and pliable.  The shawl's called the "Coffee Shop Wrap" and is super simple to memorize and it makes for easy mindless knitting while I read.  It's going to feel wonderful when done and I like acrylic's washability.  The yarn is Lion's brand "Jeans" and so I'm calling my shawl the Blue Jean Shawl.  This weekend I'll pick up more colors and a longer circular needle, but for now, it put a smile on my face.

     I never like to give up a bargain and especially for a favorite author Kristin Hannah.  "Home Again" is an older book of hers but it is just so good (and only $2,99 on Amazon).  She has such descriptive words and her characters pop to life.  Madelaine Hillyard is a top heart transplant surgeon and when she sees her old boyfriend Angel (who walked out on her when she was a teen) as a patient, life comes full circle.  Her former lover, now famous, has used up his heart on heavy living.  Meanwhile, the teen he fathered (who he doesn't know about) is seventeen and at the height of rebellion.  Add Angel's brother who is a priest and Maddy's best friend (but who secretly loves her and regrets not participating in life and he dwells on the what-ifs of life) and the story becomes very tender and poignant.  I'm at a heavy part half-way through the book and even though you want to cry there's a strong bitter-sweet theme running through the story of hope, second chances and love.

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More on my Tempestry Project and Brad Meltzer's "The First Counsel" - Katahdin Tempestry and Brad Meltzer Suspense

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Katahdin Tempestry and Brad Meltzer Suspense

     I've been working on my tempestry for almost every day this past week since I got the kits in the mail (a Tempestry is a tapestry that shows by color what the temperature is for each day in a year).  I can do 2 weeks a day of temperatures, but lately, I hit snags, rip out and get about a week's worth of temperatures done.  But I'm crazy about what I'm doing for The National Parks Tempestry Project and loving every moment!   I picked Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument for 1916 and 2016 (the founding of Katahdin).  I really have a hard time putting it down and calling it a night, but my back hurts after awhile at my table so I pace myself.  Then at night if I have a negative thought I think of my tempestry, the colors swimming before my eyes.  We have a year to complete two tempestries.  A good resource to ask questions about Tempestries is the Facebook group - The Tempestry Project

     I'm pleased with what I have so far.  I have precipitation beads on the right for rain and melted snow.  They are triangular and come clear, light and sapphire blue.  But I also wanted to include the amounts of snow falling every day, especially since it's Maine.  So on the left are square beads from clear to blues to represent snow.  I purchased the beads in a local bead shop and the shop keeper gave me some very thin # 30 gauge wire to put the beads on.  She made a small loop and I thread the yarn on that and pull it through the bead.  I find that easier than the crochet hook recommended.

Please note my lens is slightly blue so this picture, while pretty, shows up much more blue than the greens that are actually in there. Important because that means it looks visually colder colorwise than it was in 1916.

     One thing I discovered yesterday was that when you put on the precipitation beads that they are put on the left side yarn which is the color of the DAY BEFORE.  So I realized if I wanted the beads directly on the color for a particular day I had to knit that color yarn on first and then while I knit on the next day I add beads to the previous day.  Kind of confusing at first (I can see why not recommended) but I like the effect more.  So from now on Everglade Heather Green or whatever other colors I use will have the exact beads on representing the exact amount of precipitation and/or snow.  Have I mentioned I'm particular?

     So I'm reading Brad Meltzer's "The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington " and I'm reminded why I like this guy's writing.  And I see another book of his in a thrift store and get it for $2.  "The First Counsel" grabs you from the first wild car ride with the First Daughter of the President of the United States Nora Harston and a White House Lawyer Michael Garrick.  First date and it definitely goes wild and dangerous.  They spot a money drop by a high White House official, also Michael's boss.  The plot thickens the next day when a coworker is killed after Michael argues with her.  Not exactly sure what's happening yet but it involves blackmail, payoffs and a dead body and all fingers point to Michael, who has to prove his innocence and meanwhile you wonder how innocent is Nora?  I must admit Brad Meltzer tends to have bad girls and innocent nerds as main characters.

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