Monday, December 26, 2005


Still working on the sweater--and nothing else. It took me most of the week to do the first sleeve, since I ripped most of it out after I was almost done because it was too long (I changed the increases from every 6 rows to every 5 and it helped). Saturday I finished the first sleeve, but only after taking out the cap shaping several times until it fit the shaping on the finished body sections--major frustration. I finally started the second sleeve today. However, since the kids were unable to come here for Christmas because of car trouble, I now have at least a week to finish it.

Meantime, I've been reading, but just a few books: Jeffery Deaver's The Coffin Dancer--the second Lincoln Rhyme mystery, good, but full of scary tension and twists; Shirley Jump's The Angel Craved Lobster--the third in the "romance with recipes" series, enjoyably humorous and with all-seafood recipes this time (the Indiana brothers are real characters); Mercedes Lackey's The Wizard of London--another in the Elemental Masters series and an engrossing story (tho I liked Phoenix and Ashes better). [Looking at the first Amazon review, it appears the original stories about the parrot and raven featured in the story are available online at the Baen Free Library.]

Friday, December 16, 2005


I'm currently pretty much working exclusively on a knit sweater for Billy. It's an 8-ish, using size 17 needles and three strands of yarn, each a different shade of blue. It's loosely based on the basic rolled edge sweater in The Yarn Girls' Guide to Kid Knits: Patterns for Babies and Toddlers, but up-sized, mostly using the guide in Ann Budd's The Knitters Handy Book of Patterns. I've done the back and am almost done with the front and have yet to start the sleeves. If I get it done soon, I'll try to do a sweater for Daniel and Andrew, too--which, being smaller, might take less time. I only started Billy's last week.

Of course, I'm still also trying to read my overdue books as well (and watch ANTM 5, TA:MS, and TA, work, keep my blogs up, and read about the TV shows on FORT). I've recently finished Teresa Medeiros' After Midnight--a "Regency" vampire story (though I'm not a fan of vampire stories in general, this one handled it well); Sarah Andrews' Only Flesh and Bones--Geologist Em Hansen investigates the murder of the wife of her former boss (I liked it, but it does take a while for the story to develop, then you're hooked); two Aaron Elkins' mysteries, Old Bones--Gideon Oliver uses his expertise as a bone specialist to identify bones found in an old French wine cellar (a page turner and a likeable protagonist)--and A Deceptive Clarity--art museum curator tries to find the fake in a collection of art formerly "liberated" by Nazis during WWII (very interesting, since I like art--tho not the period Chris Norgren specializes in (Renaissance)--and the descriptions of European cities are delightful); Susan Alexander's Skintight--Las Vegas showgirl meets professional poker player, who just happens to be the son of her former husband (great, funny romance and I especially liked the dance-related parts); Victoria Alexanders' When We Meet Again--another Effington lady finds her destiny, this time a "disgraced" cousin (Pamela) comes home and finds herself engaged to an exiled Prince, Alexei (another funny, romantic story); Jude Deveraux' First Impressions--a mother of a newlywed inherits a Southern colonial house, finds herself in danger, and needs the help of a jaded FBI agent and a local lawyer (delightful, hard-to-put-down book); Carl Hiassen's latest YA book, Flush--teenager finds himself helping his "ecoterrorist" (sort of) father discover the truth about a local gambling ship's illegal waste dumping (a fun read, with wacky characters, tho not quite as good as Hoot); and Jenny Nimmo's Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors--more about Billy Raven's ancestral background is discovered when Charlie and his friends try to save him from evil "adoptive" parents (good story, but seems to be more of a too-short filler leading to the next story).

Monday, December 05, 2005


Last winter I made these darling Jester Hats for the three youngest Iowa-based grandchildren (mainly because they were supposed to work up quickly). The pattern came from The Yarn Girls'Book of Kid Knits: Patterns for Babies and Toddlers. I finished Thea's as while we were there and did take pictures of them wearing them, but they weren't as clear as I would have liked. When they came to see us last week, they all had their hats so I took pictures of the hats alone. They are a bit big on them, but do look cute.

All three hats:

Andrew's hat:

Daniel's hat:

Thea's hat:

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Well, I did finally finish the poncho on Sunday, just before they left for Iowa.

Surprisingly, it fits just right.

It seemed so big while I was working on it. It was the only craft I worked on all week, even during lunch at work and during the evenings while everyone else was watching movies. But I did get it done.

Now I'm kind of in a wishy-washy, what-should-I-work-on-next state. I did do some on the baby afghan while watching my tape of three episodes of America's Next Top Model and one episode of The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.

I've also been trying to finish some of my majorly-overdue books--some so overdue they've been declared "lost". I recently returned Elizabeth Castro's Publishing a Blog with Blogger--got some good hints, though a lot I already knew; Marc Romano's Crossworld: One Man's Journey into America's Crossword Obsession--mostly about the annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (I enjoyed this very much); Kathy Reich's Crossbones--a kind of departure since it delved into the possibility of a post-Crucifixion Christ (very interesting); Patricia Rice's Much Ado about Magic--the latest in the Malcolm Family series in which the women have "talents" that might designate them "witches" (loved it and can't wait for the next); Shirley Jump's The Bride Wore Chocolate--another of her funny recipe-a-chapter contemporary romances in which each recipe (in this book, all have chocolate in them and are easy) has relevant character commentary (enjoyable, but the recipes really made me wish I wasn't allergic to chocolate [sigh!]); Jeff Lindsay'sDearly Devoted Dexter--funny and disturbingly gruesome at the same time because the main character/narrator is himself a serial killer of serial killers (really nasty deaths, but still a compelling read); Sarah Andrews' Mother Nature--geologist Em Hansen goes to California and investigates a murder relating to environmental cleanup of old, buried, leaking oil tanks in a flood plain (not a quick read, but very interesting); Jo Beverly's A Most Unsuitable Man--another excellent romance set in the Malloren milieu (hard to put this one down, even though this time period is not a favorite of mine). I just finished Betina Krahn's The Book of the Seven Delights--an exciting, Indiana Jones/The Mummy-type of adventure romance set around the turn-of-the-century in which the heroine (a Librarian!!) searches for the lost Library of Alexandria (loved it! great fun)--and Sam Baker's Fashion Victim--murder during New York's and Milan's Fashion Weeks (very timely and intriguing since I've been watching ANTM 5).

Yvonne and I also watched Revenge of the Sith this week--great special effects, but the story, etc., "eh". Now I'll have to read the book version--which is supposed to fill in some gaps.