Friday, September 25, 2009

Four out of five doctors agree that Pringle's potato chips will cure most foot problems

Today, Little Miss wanted Pringle's Newfangled Potato Chips to take to school as a snack. ("Ev'ry single Pringle's po-tay-to chip, is a perfect, po-tay-to chip, they're not broken, fresh and crunchy too -- the canister keeps them that way for you") Avoiding the whole "are potato chips, even newfangled ones, an appropriate school snack" debate, I informed Her Nibs that we were in fact out of Pringle's potato chips -- or indeed, any brand of potato chips.

A snit ensued. (This will not surprise my regular readers, I daresay.)

But even the snittiest of snitters must realize that if there are no Pringle's newfangled potato chips in the cupboard, they cannot be taken to school, even if one's mother would allow one to do so.

Suddenly Little Miss was stricken with an amorphous pain. In her, um, foot.

I examined the foot, and there was no splinter, no bruise, no bump, no mark, no redness or swelling, no bug bite, no anything that might conceivably cause foot pain. Yet there she was, hobbling around. This foot had given her no trouble when she leaped out of bed onto it, nor did it seem to cause her any distress when she began stamping it upon realizing there were no potato chips.

This foot pain was so crafty, so Machiavellian, that it sometimes appeared to be in the left foot, then, in a dastardly stroke of deviousness, would cause Little Miss to limp on the right foot. (In Lyme disease, this is known as "migrating joint pain." In childrearing, this is known as "a huge pain.")

Because I am a mother who does not know how to love, I insisted that Little Miss limp down to the bus stop, turning away, in my typical not-knowing-how-to-love manner, from her obvious pain and suffering.

At the bus, she asked what would happen if her foot still hurt when she got back from school, and I told her about the very large needles full of painkillers that most emergency room nurses will inject in one's foot when a patient presents with Amorphous Pringle's Deprivation Syndrome ("APDS").

Little Miss was unmoved, but her twin brother turned white and said "Mommy, I think I'm getting nauseous."

The timely arrival of the bus put an end to our struggle, and the brave patient -- and her nauseated brother -- climbed aboard the bus to face another day of second grade.

P.S. No children were limping or nauseous by the time the bus returned. I cannot, however, vouch for the condition of their mother.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

CashSock update is live

at Black Bunny Fibers.... go get 'em!

P.S. 20 free crafting patterns -- some great knitted hats! -- plus a chance to win free STC books here.....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A few quick notes

I'll consult with the husband and figure out an Open House date; probably in November, so we squeeze it in after Rhinebeck and before the holidays (that way you can justify it as necessary materials for holiday knitting). In the meantime:
  • Looking for Wollmeise? Raffle for 2 skeins to help a knitter (Miss Violet of Lime & Violet fame) in need here.
  • Brooklyn Tweed is coming to Loop next week: classes and a Stitch party. Details here.
  • A little bird told me that a good friend of GKIYH just inked her first book deal. Yes, I am a big tease. As soon as I can tell you more, I will....
  • Check out the Vogue Knitting Holiday issue preview; there's a great fair isle by Laura Grutzeck (under Color Vibes; lower left) and the issue also includes my breathless fangrll profile of Veronik Avery.
  • Update tomorrow on the BBF website, including sock flats, and 20+ skeins of a new base yarn, CashSock...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Riddle me this

I am thinking about having a Black Bunny Fibers Open House some time this fall. I'd open up my house and put out all sorts of BBF yarn and fiber -- including some oddballs and experimental hanks, and some deeply-discounted items, too -- for purchase in cash on the spot. It would probably be a Sunday afternoon, say from 1 to 4, and anyone who wanted to hang out on the patio could hang for a while and mix-n-mingle. I could clear out some stuff that's been here a while and you could get some fabulous buys on gorgeous handdyed yarns and fibers.

If you'd be interested in stopping by for an Open House, would you please leave a comment or shoot me an email at blackbunnyfibers AAT att DOTT net? I will probably use Evite to let people know once I pick a date. Well, if anybody seems interested...


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Book Report: August

Here's my August book report. I had some time to read at the beach, which was lovely, although several knitting deadlines did cut into my reading time somewhat.

River of Darkness by Rennie Airth. Airth based this post-World-War-I era novel on his late uncle's wartime scrapbook. If you like the Charles Todd books about Ian Rutledge, you'll want to give this one a try. Like the Todd books, the main character is a WWI vet who is haunted by what he experienced during the war. But John Madden is a bit more down-to-earth and less emotionally traumatized than Todd's hero. Madden is sent to figure out who is behind the gruesome murder of a family in the Surrey countryside, and comes to the conclusion that the murderer has done this before. The way that Madden analyzes and tracks a serial killer before the development of modern forensics and even forensic psychology is fascinating.

This book was published about 10 years ago, was followed by a sequel six years later, then a second sequel just this year. (Which was how I learned about it; the NY Times Book Review reviewed the newest in the series and spoke highly of Airth's writing.) I found it to be a gripping and intelligent mystery.

Silent On The Moor by Deanna Raybourn, is the third book in the Lady Julia Grey series, and was definitely a lighter -- though still suspenseful -- read. Set in Victorian England, we see Lady Julia off on a trip to wild and remote Yorkshire, ostensibly to help Nicholas Brisbane, the mysterious man she loves, settle into an old manor home. Her wacky sister accompanies her, as chaperone -- and comic relief. The story features suitably wild moors, the mysterious family whose ancestors built the manor house, a gypsy fortuneteller, and all sorts of romantic drama. Thoroughly enjoyable and perfect for the beach.

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen. Another in the frothy, beach-reading vein, not as well-written as the Raybourne series, but still enjoyable. The protagonist is Georgie, an English lady 38th in line to the British throne. She's got no money and no job, and her dopey brother, who owns the family estate in Scotland, doesn't have any cash to spare. Georgie doesn't want to get married for convenience's sake, so she heads off to London to try to make her fortune. She stays in the shuttered family home in a posh neighborhood, but has no way to support herself. So she starts a maid service for noblewomen who need their city homes aired out when they return to the city from their country estates. When Georgie returns home one day, she is horrified to find a dead body in the bathtub, and her brother is the prime suspect. Hijinks ensue as George tries to solve the murder and clear her brother's name... and will she hook up with the dashing but impoverished Irish lord she keeps running into?

Oblivion by Peter Abrahams, was a thriller in which a cop-turned-private-investigator finds himself in the hospital with brain cancer. The cancer surgery has caused him to loses pieces of his memory -- including any recall of the weekend before he was admitted to the hospital. He tries to reconstruct the missing portion of his memory, and solve the missing persons case he was working on, although he isn't quite sure what memories are real or what they mean. This was a quick and fairly easy read, and although I didn't think it was terribly hard to figure out where the plot was going, it was a decent read -- if a bit Lifetime-tv-movie-ish.

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson was the follow-up in a trilogy of thrillers by the late Swedish journalist Steig Larsson. I liked this installment even better than the first (which I thought took a long time to get going). This book focuses more on Lizbeth Salander, the troubled but kick-ass character who played such an important role in the previous book. Salander -- an anti-establishment computer hacker -- is suspected of several murders and needs to clear her name, by conventional or unconventional methods. Suspenseful and exciting.

Flesh & Blood by John Harvey. I stumbled across a list of the best detective novels of all time, and the series of Charlie Resnick novels by John Harvey, were mentioned in it. This is a book featuring a different detective, Frank Elder, who has retired from the police force and moved to an isolated cottage on the Cornish coast. Elder is haunted by the unsolved disappearance of a girl fourteen years ago, and when the prime suspect in her death is released from prison (after being convicted of a similar crime), Elder finds himself again obsessed with solving the 14-year-old crime. A solid detective story with a suspenseful ending.

As always, your suggestions are greatly appreciated. (In fact, I just finished a great book someone recommended in the comments last month, so keep 'em coming.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

In memoriam

In memory of the innocent lives lost on 9-11-01.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Crochet fans, rejoice!

I ushered the kids off to school yesterday, and after doing the happy dance on the way home from the bus stop, sat down with a nice cup of coffee to peruse this:

a preview copy of Kathy Merrick's beautiful new book, Crochet in Color: Techniques and Designs for Playing with Color, which will be released by Interweave Press any day now.

It is spectacular.

So today, as a special back-to-school treat, I will present a very special Blossom sneak preview. Let's start with the purpose of the book, the "mission statement," if you will:

I have seen many [crochet] projects that are fascinating and take much technical skill, but even those of us who consider ourselves 'arty' or fashionable may be hard-pressed to wear the finished pieces outside the house. There are also many projects that are practical and usable but not very challenging or exciting to make. My hope is that you will find this book a helpful resources that merges the best of both worlds.

Wearability, fun and challenging to make, and lots of color? Those are lofty goals, but Merrick proves up to the challenge.

Warm Colors Striped Blanket

She begins with a brief introduction and some exercises for working color, then jumps right into the projects. You'll find 17 projects, organized into four categories: One Or Two Colors, Stripes, Color Blocks, and Color Adventures. I doubt I'll be accused of exaggeration when I say that each project is more gorgeous than the last, and all of them are marvelous.

Firefly Cardigan

Chapter 1 features designs done in only a single or two colors of yarn, including an adorable pleated hat; a button-up cardigan, shown above (I like the way the back pleats help give the sweater waist shaping); a bobbly scarf; and the spectacular Granada Shawl. That Grenada Shawl may in and of itself entice me to take the hook back up and practice my crochet, because it is beautiful.

Granada Shawl

Stripes, Chapter 2, features the Tropical Stripe Wrap (a beautiful use of Koigu), a striped blanket (mmm-Malabrigo), and the fetching Butterfly Turtleneck.

Butterfly Turtleneck

Color Blocks features the very charming chain lace scarf (again, a gorgeous blend of various multicolors of Koigu), a block-motif coat, and another stunning wrap called "Autumn Sun" (done in one of my favorites, Trekking XXL sock yarn). But perhaps my favorite in the book is the Urchins and Limpets Blanket, a creative use of texture and muted color.

Urchins and Limpets Blanket

This, dear readers, is cutting edge crochet, the kind of design that is truly innovative and gorgeous.

Splashy Flowers Scarf

Last, you'll find Color Adventures, beginning with the Clover Hat, a pillow with a swirled colorwork design, a tuffet made with wedges of color; a floral-motif scarf (made in Noro Silk Garden), the Circles Table topper (interesting use of perle cotton thread)

Circles Table Topper

and the "Tiny Motif Sweater," a charming short-sleeved number.

The book includes four pages of colorwork techniques, four more pages of finishing techniques and an illustrated glossary of stitches.

Chain Lace Big Fat Scarf

As you'd expect from an Interweave Press book, you've got full color, lots of photos, nice charts, inset boxes with additional tips, a layout that cleverly uses a colorblock motif, all for a MSRP of $22.95 (pre-order for $15.61 by clicking here). The book is paperback and approximately 128 pages.

I don't know from crochet, but I do know what I like, and I like -- make that "love" -- this book. It's full of color, creativity and style, using beautiful yarns and featuring wearable-yet-unconventional projects. So two rousing thumbs-up for a beautiful book and a valuable contribution to crochet design. Well done, my friend; well done.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Fascinating interview

of Stephen Sheard, founder of Rowan Yarn, here. (Thanks to L. for the heads-up.) I'll be blogging more next week, just as soon as the kids are back in school. Right now, I'm listening to wails of "Mom - he looked at me!" and "Did not!" and other assorted annoying, bicker-ish remarks, and I'm about to put my hands over my ears and sing "La-la-la-I-can't-HEAR-you" for a little while.