Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Books - the Fifth in an Occasional Series

Here's what I've been mostly reading lately:

1. "Stardust" by Neil Gaiman - which is fantastic, and what the movie was based on. It's an old fashioned fairy tale and I was almost relieved to enjoy this. The BF recommended it (which isn't usually as risk) and he also recommended "American Gods" also be Neil Gaiman - which I thought was a big pile of pants.

2. "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" by John Boyne - Read it. I can't tell you what it's about, but it will only take you an afternoon. Really, it's very good.

3. "The Robots of Dawn" and 4. "Robots and Empire" by Isaac Asimov - ending the series of "Robots" novels, and continuing the adventures of Plaincothesman Elijah Bailey, in investigating various murders and ultimately saving the universe. All of these novels are very well written - succinct and vividly described.

6. "Lord of Light" by Robert Zelaney - This was brilliant. Another sci-fi novel. On a planet far away, the gods of Hindu mythology rule. Who are they? How did they get there? Fab.

7. "Hell House" by Richard Matheson - This was 'orrible. Proper gory horrr. I had nightmares for a week after and I'm not squeamish when it comes to reading horror novels. This was a good read - gripping to the point of not being able to put it down. Maybe those nightmare were induced by lack of sleep.

8. "Quantico" by Greg Bear - Terrorists are trying to bring about the end of the world, or something close to it. Only a handful of brave FBI agents, newly qualified (naturally) can save the day (obviously). Or will they? Top stuff.

9. "Caught in the Net" by The Boss - I read a first draft of the boss's novel. A risky task, but thankfully, I really enjoyed it. It's more of a philosophical discussion of what the future might look like, and what this really says about us now. Looking forward to Part 2.

10. "Sandman" by Neil Gaiman - Ending where I started, with another Gaiman production - this time, all of the Sandman graphic novel. It's been brilliant fun, finally getting to read all of these.

Talia for Hannah, I mean "Hannah" for Talia"

Damn , this is blurrier than it looked on the camera.

This little lot is the back, two fronts and a sleeve ('n' a half) of a zipped hoodie cardigan for my niece. This is knitted in "Stylecraft Pure Luxury Merino DK" which is beautifully soft. There's a lovely book of patterns (all for Under twos) to support the yarn and all of them are very modern and funky. There's a whole array of jumpers and cardigans I want to knit.

I also like these colours - girly but not too pink. Bliss.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Another Chrimbo Sock

For my Mam...

I feel like I'm on top of the Christmas presents now and, hopefully, I won't be knitting things the night before.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Christmas Presents Stash Busting

While I've been making good progress with the BF's Christmas jumper and a few bits and pieces for Lois, I decided I need to catch up with some other stuff. So here are socks for my Step-Dad in "Regia 6 ply Polar"... which I got distracted from, by the jumper for Thomas.

...And here are some more socks for Lois - "Regia 6 ply", again. (This yarn had been earmarked for her for quite some time).

Both of these gifts are out of the stash.

Pressies for Thomas

The Back Seat Knitter has also been forcing me to buy yarn. Can you believe it? Or more realistically, are you jealous?

Yes, two days after popping into "Wool" in Stockport and accidentally buying the stash to knit Christmas presents for Lois, the BF asked me to knit a couple of items for his nephew, Thomas.

So, I bought the above at "Kemps" in Sunderland, which will make this for Christmas. (The Jean Greenhowe Jelly Babies are intended to go in this). This is a design from Zoe Mellor's "Nursery Knits", and the BF is very taken with the elephant on the pocket.

The original patterns are in "Rowan Handknit Cotton" and that would have worked out really pricey so I have substituted with "Sirdar Cotton DK". (I'm really becoming a big fan of Sirdar's yarns).

The other stash that we bought that day went into this jumper, also from the same book, which will be a birthday present.

It knitted up really quickly and I love how crisp the numbering and turquoise pyramid pattern are highlighted in the yarn. The BF picked the colours and I think I would have chosen more vivid colours, certainly instead of the lemon, navy and purple. They look almost washed out to me - I'd have gone for royal blue, yellow and violet.

However, this is a great knit and I'm happy with the finished product...

...especially these lovely buttons.

Freedom Spirit Progress

I was making great progress with the wrapover cardi before I went away for the week. (Oop North - house-sitting the Cat and keeping an eye on my Granda). I was planning to get it sewn up while I was up there, but there was the blocking to do...

...and, for the more eagle eyed among you, another sleeve to knit. (This is the most use that my floor mat has had since I bought it for using with exercise DVDs).

I've also been shopping, justifying this SEX because it will be presents for my neice Lois. (I'm beginning to wonder whether this is an appropriate excuse for yarn shopping, especially when I'm buying really lovely stuff).

The top on the right is a bit funkier than Lois normally wears - she's a very girly-girl but I think she'll like it. The yarn is "Stylecraft Kon-Tiki" and it's 50% acrylic and 50% cotton. The acrylic gives it a smoother feel than pure cottons usually have. I've gone with the same colours as the pattern because I like 'em (and yes, I am that unimaginative!)

Top number 2, the one on the left, is much more usual Lois-style and it's more of the gorgeous "Sirdar Baby Bamboo", which I love just because they're so soft.

The Back Seat Knitter Strikes Again...

...and he was right.

Remember this? It's the "Retropolitan" cardigan I knitted for my Granda.

The BF told me it was too small. My Mam had told me I should make the smallest size because my Granda is so frail. Guess who was right.

I took it up to Sunderland last Sunday, my Granda tried it on, and he looked like he had stolen a nine year old's clothes. Damn, damn, damn, damn - yes, I was chanelling Rex Harrison in "My Fair Lady".

So, it's back to the drawing board and I'm making him another one. I know I should pull out the yarn and buy some more to start again, but I can't be arsed... so my Mam has comandeered it. (Well, she asked if she could have it, and offered to pay for it, which obviously isn't going to be accepted). That's good enough for me because it's not going to waste.

PS Doctor Who - great ending, though I do agree with Helen that it was a bit of an anti-climax. I'm hugely relieved that David Tennant remains, but it was a sad ending for Donna... though of course, anything that avoids James Nesbitt as the new Doctor has to be a Good Thing.