Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happiness Is . . .

According to Charlie Brown, et. al., happiness is finding a pencil, pizza with sausage, telling the time. On my end, happiness is creating something. I feel every bit as daft as Lorelei Lee. I just looove finding new ways to make pretty things. I first taught myself to crochet after seeing a perfect summer bag pattern in Rowan 35. Unfortunately, it was crochet and I had no idea what that was all about. However, this did not stop me for long. I don't believe in starting out slowly. I'd rather plunge in head-first and ask questions later. Despite my happiness with the finished bag, I swore I would not allow myself to drift into unknown territory and rededicated myself to knitting. Alas, here is what happened after I saw a beautiful photo of a granny square blanket on the Internet:

Granny Square #1: Made with some Cascade 220 mostly to test my skills after I impulsively purchased 200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton. The number in the title is deceptive (different color schemes count as different blocks) and I am highly ill-disposed toward the Christmas and Fourth of July themed blocks. However, I am now obsessed. It's the Wisteria pattern and I plan to use this in a baby blanket for my yet-unborn baby niece.

Granny Square #2: I purchased what I thought was an enormous amount of Elann's Sonata yarn to create a crochet square blanket pour moi. Unfortunately, I think I greatly underestimated how much yarn a full-size blanket would take. But I've begun. The plummy color in the center and outer edge of the square is inaccurate. The actual color is more a cross between berry and brick. I plan on using that color for the majority of the piece. Did I mention I am obsessed? Each block is about 6.5 inches and I plan to make 56 squares. I made another of the block patterns today. 2 down. 54 to go. Plus the border. The yarn is a bit stiffer than I'd like, but the colors are gorgeous and I plan to use the blanket more as a coverlet than a snuggly fabric. It will be so vintage and bohemian that I shall wish I lived in a drafty garret overlooking the Seine with only my typewriter and a bottle of absinthe for company.

I also made one of a pair of earrings. I went into a bead store to try and find a sparkly bead I could use as a nose for Penny. Unfortunately, I encountered no appropriate sparkly beads. But I did encounter many inappropriate sparkly beads, some of which happened to be purchased and tucked into my purse. This photo was an accident, but I like the blurriness. The glass beads look a bit like pomegranate seeds. Or do pomegranate seeds look like glass beads?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I bought and read this book because I read Chang's novella, Hunger, in college and loved her language and the stark, simple story she presented of a family gone awry. I must admit, this one disappointed me. It begins with the same attention to language and stark imagery that I loved in her novella, but then the plot becomes increasingly heavy (not just in theme, but in the weight of the language). Junan and Yinan are sisters who adore each other growing up. When Junan is married off to a young soldier, it sets into motion a very disturbing story regarding our choices and the blame we place on people when events do not unfold as we desire. I found it very difficult to sympathize with Junan, which explains why this book cannot reside among my favorites. Unlikeable protagonists are all fine, but I can't love a book if I can't sympathize with the driving force behind the plot. Still, it provides plenty of inspiration for my current research into Chinese/Asian-related themes.

I cannot express how much I loved this movie. Deliciously creepy. When I was a teenager, I stayed up until the wee small hours of the morning reading Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes despite my bedtime. I also watched plenty of film noir on AMC, when AMC used to play actual "American movie classics" instead of "movies we hope have been off your radar screen just long enough for us to pass them off as classics." Recently, I've refocused on the macabre and gloomy and I could not pass up this book when I saw it on the shelf. It's up next with the books shown below:

I love looking at the pristine, unbent spines of soon-to-be-read books. Like pure blank notebooks, bolts of uncut fabric, and skeins of squishy yarn. Speaks to the possibilities of creation. I bought all of these books (excepting the Yasunari Kawabata) at The Strand. The Strand is a bad place for me. Nowadays, new paperbacks are selling for exorbitant, if not offensive, prices. Thus, when I see mounds and mounds of books available for the dirt-cheap price of $6, I scoop up as many as I can carry away with a clean conscience. I could happily live there, if they would only stock yarn in addition to their amazing assortment of books. The name wouldn't even have to change. Out of this stack, I believe I shall read Soul Mountain first, in keeping with my research on all things Chinese/Asian.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Adventures of Penny, Mail-Order Bear Bride

Dear Vivian,

We at the Mail-Order Bear Bride company would like to show you a preliminary photo of Penny-in-progress so that Paddington can more accurately gauge his interest in wooing her as a bride. Here she is, awaiting construction. Unfortunately, she is not machine washable, meaning that she will require some TLC. Please inform us if Paddington is at all unsatisfied.

P.S. Colors in the photo are inaccurate. She is much brighter and cheerier in person.

Penny: A soft, 100% wool, loving companion for any self-respecting bear.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I was bad...

I went to School Products today just to look...and then this beautiful teal wool begged me to take it home for the Arctic Diamonds Stole. Six balls of Karabella Aurora 4. I was weak. The only yarn I am allowed to buy now is for the Enid Cardigan. And then no more until I finish at least three current projects.

I was actually in the Fashion District looking for sewing thread with which to sew buttons to the Baby Cable Vest. Must stop getting distracted.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Odds and Ends

Cat buttons for Baby Cable Vest

Finished: My So-Called Scarf
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Endpaper Mitts

Endpaper Mitts
Yarn: Koigu

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Baby Cable Vest

Finished! (just needs buttons)
Cable Vest from Debbie Bliss Simply Baby
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino
For: baby niece to be born in May

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Current Unfinished Projects

Posy from Rowan 35
Yarn: Rowan 4-ply cotton

Forbes Forest Scarf
Yarn: Knit Picks Merino Style