Tag Archives: books

time

If this first fortnight of the new year is a taste of what the rest of the year will bring, there’ll be a lot o’ reading going on!

I skimmed through The Last Flight (Julie Clark) for various reasons. Chiefly, I guess, because there wasn’t enough detail or description to hold my attention for very long. I didn’t want to wait to find out what the author did with what she’d conjured up. A lot was predictable.

Much more engrossing was Kate Morton’s The Lake House. It struck me as almost a fairy tale for adults, although sometimes her plot solutions left me feeling, “Hmm. What a coincidence.” And it was long. As in 500 pages long!

Facts + fiction? Susan Elia MacNeal’s Mr. Churchill’s Secretary appears to be based on a lot of historical data, and made for a pleasant read, with a few characters using double identities, as good spies should. Am wondering about checking out another in the series. Has anybody read any of the sequels? (Princess Elizabeth’s Spy, His Majesty’s Hope, etc.)?

Somewhere I squiggled a quick recount of last year’s reading, and discovered magazines outnumbered books 2-to-one! The books averaged about one per week. Having the library app has greatly increased my reading because it’s so much easier and safer than trundling to the library.

LB Pullover

I also had time to get a bit of sewing done, and am now enjoying another LB Pullover, this one in gold polar fleece. Snuggley soft, I’m trying to convince myself my stash’s brown fleece needs to become pants – and who cares if they’re bulky. They’d be comfy, warmer, & more flexible that the cords I’ve been wearing.

What I forgot to show in the photo are the wrists. I stopped the sleeve seams 2″ from the end so the sleeves fold up into cuffs. My previous versions used other adaptations to avoid wet washing up sleeves. This might be the best solution yet.

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ All for now, Lovelies! ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

rainy Mondays

Don’t know what your Monday or week look like, but mine started with loud leaf blowers. However . . .

. . . as it’s Thanksgiving on Thursday, and I decided to start a stay-cation last Friday, it wasn’t a bother.

Especially after opening the kitchen window curtain & blind to see this peeking around the corner of the building.

I managed to get a teensy bit of mending done on the weekend, which I loved getting off the corner of my sewing table, mostly because it was a whole 1″ side seam of a nicely ironed heavy linen shirt, on its’ hanger, and kept being pushed off the table. However, am in a quandary as to what to do next…

Today the weather’s rainy but warm. Tomorrow and Wednesday it’s going to be clear and very cold. Thursday’s back to warm.

Last week we had similar changes, and I pulled out my dark green fleece LB Pullover from last January (here). It was quite suitable.

3 of 4, washed (brown’s drying). The top navy (& brown) are for pants, gold & green (below gold) are for tops.

Maybe I should cut out another. I’ve got gold fleece from last winter in stash. I do keep wondering about the darker brown fleece I seem to remember thinking would be good for lounging pants of some sort.

But those won’t be very flattering, as the fleece is thick. Perhaps a long skirt would be more practical (aka, flattering). I know I probably/possibly wouldn’t wear unflattering pants. And they might be uncomfortable because there’s not much stretch in the fleece.

Maybe I’d best dig out the fleece and see if my memories are accurate. Any thoughts, Wonderful Readers & Dear Sewists?!

Meanwhile, chicken on the stove is about ready, and I think the LB pattern is somewhere in the mess that’s my cutting table. . . see top photo. 🙄

PS/ I downloaded a (Libby app) copy of The Dressmakers of Auschwitz by Lucy Adlington last night and was up until 2 reading it. The library app says I’m 9% into the book . . . It’s fact, not fiction and very interesting.

Hope you all have a WONDERFUL week, Lovelies!

🧙‍♀️ Happy Hallowe’en! 👻

Hope everyone is having good weather on this final day of October. We had a small piece of that horrendous West Coast storm over here two days ago. Thankfully, we only got about an inch of rain, and no bluster. Phew!

Haven’t been doing much sewing or crochet. Am still working the scarf as last reported, and am finishing up changes to summer odds & sods. It’s not been tremendously autumnal weather. I cannot wait . . .

But it has been cool enough to get out one of my favourite long-sleeved shirts, gifted from a friend. Below are two close-ups of the fabric. I’d call it medium-to-heavy weight.

It’s those great colours that get me every time I think about them. But what’s the weave called? It’s a single fabric, not squares of quilted patchwork, and it’s reversible. None of the threads have gotten picked (see right-hand photo), so it’s not like a bouclé.

Am trying to read a wonderfully written book on Frederick Douglass, by Yale Professor David W. Blight. It’s a Pulitzer Prize winner – don’t know as I’ve ever read one before so am trying not to be intimidated.

I appreciate his style and frequent quotes directly from Douglass’ works. However, the graphic detail of what a slave grew up seeing every single day I’m finding really challenging.

But it is Hallowe’en , so I’ve done my annual viewing of Christie’s Hallowe’en Party, and would be ready for Bonfire Night if I could ever remember what day it is. Ack! Have to look it up every year.

Everyone this side the pond remember! We shift clocks back an hour next Saturday night, 6th November!

Will leave you with a wee quote from another American, a poet from several generations back – James Whitcomb Riley. Here’s an interesting PBS program all about him, including readings of several of his most famous poems.

Just remember, tonight’s really the night . . . . .

An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
	Ef you
		Don't
			Watch
				Out!

👻 👻 👻 👻 👻

changing seasons

We’re having a slight taste of Fall today, but my enthusiasm’s tempered by the knowledge that we’re back to the 80’s by end of week. Heigh-ho.

Sewing is a bit up in the air, too. Have had another New Look 6871 cut out, with some lining basted in place to avoid the neckline stretching out, but it’s been sitting for several weeks.

What I have been doing is crocheting up the leftovers from other projects. Here are 2 examples, the first one (cream & multi) is still in progress.

Am currently reading The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles and enjoying it. (That’s in between listening a second time to whatever Louise Penny is available via the library app Libby.)

Incidentally, Libby includes magazines, so I’m keeping current with Country Living UK (always fascinated by the glimpses from Lucy’s Attic24 blog). Also Simply Sewing and Simply Crochet (both are UK publications), Peppermint magazine (Australian), Scotland magazine (mum used to get it), and Sew News (U.S.). Very sadly, Threads magazine isn’t available.

But special thanks go to Lizzie over at The Vintage Traveler, for mentioning PieceWork, which is available on Libby. Some really fascinating articles about all sorts of “things made by hand and the history behind them.”

Has anyone been reading Lucy’s Blogtober postings over at Attic 24? For those not in the know, Lucy — considered by many to be Crochet Queen, as well as living in possibly the most charming spot for photographing (Skipton, Yorkshire, U.K.) — writes a daily post during October and I’m thoroughly enjoying them.

Last but not least, here’s a second prototype of the soap sack, using more leftover yarn. It’s been in use and nothing’s fallen out this time, so it might be a working model.

It’s just a rectangle of (U.S.) single crochet, folded in half, with three sides stitched together, and a 3-strand yarn braid woven around the top (4th side) for a gathered closure. Be sure to leave a bit of room at the top of the rectangle for slightly larger soap bits!

I remembered to do that because I’m struggling with how to fix the too small pockets I put on my last denim dress-to-skirt conversion. But that’s for another time, after I’ve tried out an idea that came whilst I sorted through the jumble of assorted to-be-ironed items thrown laying on top of the ironing board.

Trying to convince myself to at least iron the pillowcases and napkins and leave the rest for later, I sat down to check email. . . and here we are. Well, I’m sure you never have days like this, do you? 🤣 😆 🤪 Aaagghhh!

👻 It’s C🎃ming! 👻

🍂 It’s October – YEAH! 🍂

And I’ve finished Osman’s latest adventure, The Man Who Died Twice, book #2 of the adventures of the Thursday Murder Club. What can I say? It’s every bit as good as the first, if not better, ’cause I think the book’s longer. Hard to judge as I read an e-book this time, instead of waiting for the hard copy from the library.

(I gave up getting either book from our local library, which reminds me to cancel those requests.)

Now to catch you up on what’s been going on creatively since my last post —

All the soap bags I looked at online seemed to be single or double crochet patterns and I just didn’t think they’d allow much sudsy action. So this is what I came up with for my first attempt. Would you believe I sat down the very next day and crocheted it? Then to test it in the shower…

Unfortunately, once in the shower I quickly learnt how much that 100% cotton yarn stretches when wet. Instead of 3 soap slivers neatly encased, I wound up with 2, plus an escapee. Live & learn, right? 🥴

No, I haven’t started a second soap bag yet . . . .

Possibly because I was going hammer & tongs on a yummy scarf with some leftover yarn sent from Yorkshire in 2016 as an unexpected gift from my sewing bud, Ali.

Ali hangs out mostly on IG these days. Look for her in 2 places: #timbers OR #the.fabric.first.aider. As an NHS emergency paramedic, she’s had a harrowing schedule for the last umpteen months.

Yes, GBSB’s (Series 6) Ali. I’m right chuffed to know her before she became famous! She is the most generous, sweet & kind soul you could possibly imagine, and always smiling. Here’s a clip of her on set.

(For those who don’t know about BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee, Wiki has a season-by-season guide. Ali is in Season 6.)

The start of this story goes back to 2016 when Ali was crocheting several of what she christened Octopus scarves. If you’re intrigued, her pattern is here, and my version is here.

The reason it’s coming up now is I’m seriously working on eliminating my yarn stash before venturing out to buy more, considering the C-urrent situation. . . A-hem!

Yarn is Sidar’s Sylvan, 2016 vintage, and discontinued — ’bout time I used it up!
(Please note that freshly polished brass piece I used for contrast!)

Sewing sorta got lost in the crochet and ebook reading this past week, but I have plans, so stay tuned . . .

😆 🍁 😘 🍁 🤣

Tea-Dyeing

It’s been a while since our last catch-up. What can I say? The weather’s been rotten triple digit heat & humidity . . . typing took too much effort . . . so did thinking . . . 🥵 . . . blehhhhhhh.

But September is almost here. We’re being promised lower temps on Thursday. On the strength of that, and despite the horrid effects of Ida, I decided to pen a quick update.

Now, of all times, why did I start tea-dyeing fabric? I’m pleading insanity. A luscious pair of cotton lawn shorts-turned top wasn’t getting worn. WHAAAA??? Then it hit me: I could fix the starkers white background my subconscious hates. Just do it. I did. (The undyed is on the left, the tea-dyed is below, on right.)

Coincidentally, Sis#2 was doing a batch of eco-dyeing. We compared notes. She suggested I try coffee for dyeing. Enter The Next Project.

I’ve been needing new night gowns, going back-and-forth trying to decide what pattern to use. I finally decided to stick with my TNT pattern – an OOP NewLook 6871. (Check etsy.com if you want one.)

am already planning how to use this pattern, view b first!

For the gown, I always cut a couple sizes larger & longer, and use the sleeveless version. This time I decided to reeeally widen the front and back pattern pieces as well as lengthen them.

The fabric? A blue & white floral cotton bought at a going-out-of-business sale. Did you catch it — the starkers white I don’t like?

(Please ignore the pattern photo’s caption. Despite all the “improvements,” WP hasn’t learned how to separate captions from photos used in previous posts. This one’s at least 6 years previous!)

When I discovered an old jar of instant coffee on a back shelf I decided it was Fate. Time to test again.

Check out the photos below. What do you think? Can you see any difference? Have you done any coffee-dyeing?

Note: Click any pic to enlarge all of them. The ONLY coffee-dyed piece is the one labeled “Coffee.” All the rest are either tea-dyed or plain. The bottom photo shows all 3 – plain, tea-dyed, and coffee-dyed.

Right now I’m leaning towards using the coffee, but that could change. Will sew up the fabric, then dye it in the kitchen sink with really hot water and half the jar of instant coffee. Or umpteen tea bags.

A quick update on Agatha Raisin, Season 3: This time the episodes are about 90 minutes each, and there are 4 on 2 disks. (There’s a whole 3rd disk of various cast members answering questions from fans. If that sounds boring, you’re right, except when Ms. Chesney is there. She’s great!)

Given current horrendous world events I’m reading escapist lit at the mo’. . . Got one of the newer Louise Penny audiobooks from my local library (via Libby app) and enjoyed catching up with the Quebec characters, especially Ruth.

Also decided to finish up the Agatha books I hadn’t read. Beating About the Bush (2019) and Hot to Trot (2020) are good, light reads. Judging by M.C. Beaton’s Introduction to the 2020 volume, we might not have heard the last of Ms. Agatha . . . . . .

😳

silly saturday

Thought I should make mention of the Agatha Raisin Season 2 that arrived last weekend and was immediately watched.

The first season had been 8 or so of the usual 45 (or was it 54?) minute episodes, all based on author M.C. Beaton’s books, using the same titles as the books. (Thank goodness!)

Some characters were changed/added/subtracted, and Agatha herself was upgraded from the 1990’s to the 21st century. I thoroughly enjoyed the first season repeatedly for several years, all the while wishing they’d done more.

Surprise! Surprise! They did, and I’d missed ’em, thus last weekend’s little orgy with Season 2 (and Season 3 winging it’s way as I type). These episodes are double the length, which feels just right. But there were only three – aghhhhhhhh!!! So I watched them twice. 😆 🤣

Ms. Beaton (a.k.a. Marion Chesney) was also the author of the Hamish Macbeth detective series, as well as a series of Victorian novels that I never read.

Wanting to know a bit more about the Scots author who died last year, I located these two articles (here and here), which gave me additional insight into her character and writing.

Incidentally, she thoroughly approved of this whole series. In 1998 she penned a book in the Hamish series, Death of a Scriptwriter, which ought to tell you how she felt about that telly “adaptation.” 😬

From Folkwear Pattern’s August newsletter comes a very interesting-to-me note about a book on indigo, Indigo – The indelible color that seduced the world. I had no idea the real deal is indelible, and that Columbus’ ship sails were made from denim.

NPR, our national public radio, did an interview with the author, Catherine McKinley, some years ago. At just 13 minutes, it was most enjoyable!

This past week has also been an enjoyable respite from the previous week’s triple digit “feels like” temps. (You know, when a high temp plus higher humidity makes the air feel like you could wear it.) Alas, next week it sounds like we’re going back.

Dummm-dee-dum-dum. . . . . Something tells me that cardi I was thinking so hard about earlier ain’t gonna be uppermost in thought . . . . and that microwaved-not-baked cake will return . . . .

macro monday chat

This might be an “official” holiday weekend here in the U.S., but having the real holiday on Sunday sorta throws me off, if you know what I mean. There were fireworks displays in some places on Saturday night, and other places Sunday night. I wonder if tonight will also be punctuated with pops . . .

But life goes on, and with it came this morning’s overdue walk up to the recycle center, right past a huge hydrangea bush. I couldn’t resist the photo op!

Seems about time for a knitting update, too.

I ripped everything out and started over, using the same 12 stitches cast on. I played with the alternating k2p2, p2k2 and didn’t like the effect at all! This yarn is so slubby and has different colours running in slubs as well as tiny bits of bright colours — totally obliterating everything else.

I found it very frustrating, and definitely not restful knitting. So I am back to the basic stockinette stitch of knit one row, purl the next, and am using where the tail of the yarn is to remind myself which row I’m on. Curling will have to be handled after I’m done. That’s the extend of my definition of relaxing knitting!

Now I might guess someone is gonna spy with their little eye that the felted piece above is attached to a large hair pin. Yes, an extra large plastic hairpin.

But no, I haven’t started felting – it was included in the package Sis#2 sent around the hols. She’s the master crafty person, dabbling in felting, eco dyeing, and a major knitter, far as I can tell. One difference between us is she has a house. With a back porch. And lives farther north, where it’s (generally) cooler than my apartment complex/state.

She also recommended a new author to me (Tony Hillerman), and although technical/electronic bits are outdated, the stories include correct info on various Southwestern areas and peoples.

The main character in the majority of the series is Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, a member of the Navajo Tribal Police. “Hillerman is considered one of New Mexico’s foremost novelists.” Wikipedia. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, The Blessing Way, and learned a lot!

Have I already raved about Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club? In case I haven’t, let me report I literally couldn’t put it down. Finished it in 2 days, and sincerely hope there’s a sequel already in the works.

As this is fast becoming too long a post for Macro Monday, I’ll love you & leave you, to report on sewing projects another time . . . hehehee!

Ciao, Lovelies! 💕 💕

I framed the felted picture & hung it above my sewing table.
It deserves a better mat, but that’ll have to wait for a proper store visit.