Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Do American's Read?

Okay I saw this on another blog I read and I to have decided to post this.

This one is originally from The Big Read. Apparently they reckon that most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.

1. Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2. Underline those you intend to read (I'm making them red because it's easier)
3. Italicize the books you LOVE.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkein
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. 1984 - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (Okay, so I started this one and never finished it because I hated it)
11. Little Women - Lousia M Alcott
12. Tess of the D'Urbevilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulkes
18. Catcher in the Rye - J D Salinger
19. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisted - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner- Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold comfort Farm - Stellla Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curios Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stroker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Slyvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte's Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo (this is my all time favorite novel)

So it looks like I've read 44 on the list - not too shabby!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

Yeah, I said it.

Guy & I love to get festive over the holidays - the decorations, the music, the corny Christmas movies, all of it. Is it cheesy? Absolutely! Is it still fun? Definitely! Today we spent the better part of the day finishing up the shopping then I spent the evening wrapping everything up and stuffing it under the tree. From here on out, we can just sitback and take in the holidays - and by that I mean rush around to all of the parties and family events that we have scheduled.

As I wrapped, I realized just how much I'd been downplaying all my holiday knitting. More than a few times I'd said, "I'm not really doing much Christmas knitting this year" and what's worse is that I truly believed it! That is, until today when I counted 19 knitted gifts. 19??!! Oh, yeah, noooo I didn't do any Christmas knitting at all. Barely any! Add in the two Christmas sweaters for the dogs and my count hits 21 (No fake ID needed, thank you very much). I can't wait to see what happens when I actually do put my mind to knitting Christmas gifts - sign me up for carpal tunnel surgery when that happens. Good grief!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tuesday's Miracle Hat - FREE PATTERN

I started knitting this hat on a Monday, as I sat by my grandmother Nonny’s supposed deathbed. I finished it the next day, Tuesday evening, right about the time that the doctor announced that despite all odds, Nonny was recovering – a “Miracle” he said.

Pattern available as a free Ravelry download: Tuesday's Miracle

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Weekend of Thanks

What a busy few days this has been. Thursday I headed south to see the in-laws for Thanksgiving. My nearly two-year-old niece and my sister-in-law's foster children, ages six and eight were with us for the occasion, and I have to say that there is nothing like a bunch of kids to invigorate a holiday function. the kids kept us up and playing, whether at the Wii (even Grampy got in on the action) or out in the backyard with a baseball. Some examples of the cuteness:

Every time the 6 year old caught the ball he'd fall on the ground, forcing the 2 year old into fits of giggles. The eight year old was an ace at the wii and annihilated most of us. Thank goodness that she wanted to take a break from beating our socks off to join me in playing a little dress up with my mother in law's fancy gloves. I love that unbeknownst to her, the 2 year old flashed the sign for "I Love You" in the picture above. How very fitting for a day of family togetherness. And yes, I did manage to slip in a shot of our cute kid pooch Brisco Fancypants.
Friday I got to meet up with a couple of friends who live near the in-laws and do some knitting. Well actually Lara and I knitted while Guy and Jesse played with Photoshop and sent us on a second honeymoon to Niagara Falls - see how I'm cheerily punching him because he has a beer and I don't:

This was the first time that Lara and I got together to knit. She'd been telling me that she's a baby knitter and that there was no way that she'd be able to make something without a pattern. I completely disregarded what she said and coached her along as she designed her very own mitts. See Lara, you ain't no baby knitter anymore! They turned out great, and I'm thinking I might need to knit me a pair of those.

Friday night we decided to head north to our friends cabin for the rest of the weekend. Up there it's normally cold and snowy by now, but instead it stayed in the 60s. Bad for my friend, an avid snowmobiler (or if you're like some Alaskans, snow machiner) but good for me, 'cause I got to spend hours sitting on the deck knitting and drinking coffee/wine/beer. Here's the view of the lake just a short stroll from the cabin and me knitting on the porch, wearing in the hat and mitts that steph sent me for the knit knack hat exchange.

If you're wondering about the grin, it's due to the fact that the cabled sweater pattern that I am working on finally clicked. I had started this, my first human sized sweater, back in August and pretty much haven't touched it since early September. This weekend I decided that come hell or high water, I would make some progress on this damn thing. As I was knitting along I just couldn't see where this is going even though I had the picture and was following the pattern correctly. Finally, I put down my knitting, pulled out the pattern, and re-read it from start to finish. There it was, at the start of the pattern: top down construction. Ah-ha! I flipped my work over and finally it all made sense. Talk about a "duh" moment! I was able to make some headway after that.

We got home mid day today with enough of the day left to deck the halls. I let Guy and Mike take care of the lights, with their little assistant Brisco, sporting his 2007 Christmas sweater, Buster. Brag alert: For those of you on Ravelry, our little Brisco's picture is on the pattern page for both that sweater and his 2008 Cables & Bits Christmas sweater. You better believe I'll be shooting for a trifecta next year.

Now I'm off to enjoy the Christmas lights and work on another Cables and Bits for Brisco's cousin Rocky (my sister's dog).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vermont Hat

Here's a hat that I knit a couple of years ago, when I was newly fascinated with fair isle. I couldn't find just the right pattern so I pulled out my graph paper and played around creating something that would be easy yet interesting. I knit one for each member of my family that lives in Vermont (Californian thinking: They must need a lot of hats - it snows there!) so it got the very unoriginal name, Vermont hat.
Pattern: Vermont Hat
All pattern links will divert you to where they are saved at when that opens up in your window click where it says "Download" in the top right corner to save the pattern to your computer. You will need to have Adobe Reader installed on your computer in order to open and view the pattern. You can download Adobe Reader for free. Click Here to be linked to Adobe Reader.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Miracle Tuesday

My Nonny has been in the hospital since Sunday night. Monday morning I got a call from my mom that they didn't expect her to live past noon that day and the pneumonia she has comes with a 60-70% mortality rate. I took off work and spent the entire day by her bedside, waiting and watching as she was supposed to be dying. And then I did it again on Tuesday. When the doctor came in to see our family yesterday he literally called her a miracle - he hadn't expected to be seeing her again. I can hardly put to words what an emotional roller coaster this has been. Nonny's still not out of the woods, but today is another day that I have with her, and for that I'm thankful. I tell you what, that 87 year old woman is quite a fighter!

While bedside with Nonny I started and finished my own pattern for a cabled hat, which I think I'll probably call Tuesday's Miracle. I need to refine the pattern since the one I made turned out child sized and I want it to fit an adult. After that I'll post the pattern. I'll be back in the hospital with her tonight as well as on and off throughout the next week, so I'll probably be working on that more and posting blogs a lot less.

Another Tuesday Miracle, my nephew Cooper crawled for the first time! I got the text from my sis while with Nonny, so I told her and she grinned ear to ear. Here's a video of the benchmark:

I swear one of these day's I'll have a post that doesn't start with a catastrophe!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Little Thing Called Gauge

The termite situation is nearing to a close - by tomorrow construction should be done on my walls and we'll have had a visit by our friendly neighborhood exterminator. The gods must have been smiling on us because this whole debacle hasn't set us back as much as I originally anticipated. Knock on wood! Knock on wood!
As any good knitter would, I used knitting to deal with my stress and was able to punch out a Pi Topper while making numerous To-Do lists (just ask my hubby how effective the lists are). Apparently I was a little more distracted than I thought because I didn't even notice how huge this was until after I had added on the embellishment. While it's perfect sized for a person with unruly dreadlocks, it's WAY too big for it's intended recipient, a middle aged woman going through chemo. Evidence:

Time to find a friend with dreads to gift this too, 'cause I'm sure as hell not frogging it! I've started over on this project with needles 3 sizes smaller, but the second time around it never goes as quickly. I've got an interpreting workshop this weekend, so I'm sure it'll be done soon enough.

In other news...

I broke my new knitter friend Erin's LYS cherry.
Erin had already become a major stasher of craft store yarn, so I figured she was ready for the next step in knitting addiction, the Local Yarn Store. She was so overwhelmed, which I knew because she kept repeating, "I'm so overwhelmed!"

I took her to the newest LYS in town, Swatches, which I had never been to before. It's a cute little shop where I met owner Fran and her friend/assistant/talky-talker Janet. I have to admit that I felt like a super baby knitter talking to them - I can't imagine what was going through Erin's 6-month-old-knitter mind! Talking to them did firm up my resolve to start working on creating my own patterns again. Here's what I got, which I'm thinking I'll make into some sort of lacy mitt:

The best part is that while I was there I got to meet Angela, the maker of True Love Fiber, the yarn porn from last post! She was really sweet and was sitting out front of the shop knitting with her son. I'll tell you this, there's nothing cuter than a boy knitting his first skull and crossbones washcloth!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Termites Schmermites

We just found out that termites are ravaging our walls, so we're going to have to basically replace all the studs. I'm not happy about this at all.
To brighten this day, I just came across this gorgeous sock yarn in my stash that I had forgotten about. Wake Up by True Love Fiber. I got it at Ancient Pathways, the owner of which messaged me on Ravelry to let me know that she had saved a skein for me after I had commented how much I loved the colors of one of her projects that used this yarn. Very cool lady!!!
With no further ado, Yarn porn:

Friday, November 7, 2008

Calorimetry Revisited

Two years ago, I like oh so many other knitters, excitedly knitted up a Calorimetry only to find that it was HUGE! Seriously, I've yet to find a knitter who was able to follow the pattern to specifications and yield a perfect Calorimetry. Here's mom being a good sport on Christmas day wearing the one I gifted to her:

Her extreme good will continued all through Christmas morning as she didn't take it off until all presents were unwrapped. Oh, and I forgot to mention that not only did I knit up one of these huge head coverings, I knit TWO! Evidence that I knit a second one, apparently hoping that it would magically turn out smaller than it's predecessor:

Denial. I know.

This was pretty much the last time these head coverings were seen until yesterday when I came across this monstrosity and decided to do something I've never had the heart to do before: I frogged the entire project. I've always though there was some level of shame in frogging, but in all actuality it was almost a cathartic experience, and on top of that I got to knit with this lovely Katia Mexico yarn again. Win-Win! Honestly, with the exception of the size issue, this pattern is a good and simple one to make - I don't think I spent more than an hour or two on this bad boy.

So with no further ado, I give you Calorimetry revisited:

Maybe I can get mom to pull her Calorimetry out of whatever closet she stashed it in so I can frog and reknit hers as well.

Yes, that is Mike in the background pretending to stab me with my own knitting needles

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Getting Started

Yes, my obsession with knitting has finally compelled me to start a blog.