Yarn Along – Neverending Shawl, and Feminist Fairy Tales

Every Wednesday I participate in “Yarn Along”, a link-up run by Ginny over at Small Things where we share what we are knitting and reading this week. You can click the Yarn Along image at the end of this post to see the whole link-up. You can also find Yarn Along photos on Instagram (#yarnalong) and Flickr.

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My Peppermint Bay shawl continues to grow, and I continue to love the long, slow rows. The only problem is that I’m starting to run out of room on my circular needle, and I don’t have a longer one to hand. You would think by now I would have all the knitting needles I could ever need! There’s always a project that needs the one missing needle…

Barbara Walker is probably best known among knitters for her Treasury of Knitting Patterns, but she also written several books on feminism and other topics. I was curious to read her Feminist Fairy Tales so I put it on my wishlist last year and received it as a gift. Walker has put feminist spins on both traditional fairy tales and other myths and legends from various cultures. It is an interesting concept, and I understand her motivation, but I’m not sure Walker’s writing style is suited to fiction. Her tone can be a little heavy-handed, and some of the stories veered too far into anti-men stereotypes for my taste. Still, overall it was a fun read and I particularly enjoyed “The Three Little Pinks”, about the fairies that paint all the flowers in the garden to give them their colour. I wouldn’t recommend this book to everyone, and I probably won’t be keeping it for long, but it was enjoyable enough for a single read-through.

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Yarn Along – The Same Shawl, with World Mythology

Every Wednesday I participate in “Yarn Along”, a link-up run by Ginny over at Small Things where we share what we are knitting and reading this week. You can click the Yarn Along image at the end of this post to see the whole link-up. You can also find Yarn Along photos on Instagram (#yarnalong) and Flickr.

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Predictably, I was too caught up in the road trip to post a Yarn Along last Wednesday. I even forgot it was Wednesday until the day was already over! I didn’t actually get much knitting time during the road trip so there really wasn’t anything new to post about anyway. Now I’m home, back to work and back to a regular routine. And the regular routine includes knitting and blog posts! I really do intend to post more than just Yarn Alongs, especially now that I have all these trip photos to share. It is just a matter of finding the time…

My Peppermint Bay shawl is growing more slowly now that the rounds are getting longer, but it is still perfect mindless knitting. I got in a few rounds during the 9-hour car ride home on the weekend, and then a few more at the Ottawa Valley Quilters Guild meeting last night. It is still fairly portable, and a very soothing knit. I’m really enjoying it.

I finished all three Daisy Dalrymple novels I brought with me on the road trip, and now I’m back to my to-read pile at home. This Encyclopedia of World Mythology has been on my shelf for ages, and I was finally inspired to tackle it yesterday. It now sits on my kitchen table and I read a few pages over breakfast and dinner. It will probably take me months to finish it, but at least I’m making progress.

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Yarn Along – More Vivid, More Daisy Dalrymple

Every Wednesday I participate in “Yarn Along”, a link-up run by Ginny over at Small Things where we share what we are knitting and reading this week. You can click the Yarn Along image at the end of this post to see the whole link-up. You can also find Yarn Along photos on Instagram (#yarnalong) and Flickr.

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In case you can’t tell, that is not my furniture serving as backdrop to my knitting and reading this month. I’m on vacation! Currently the boyfriend and I are road-tripping our way through the Maritime provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI). We just spent the morning whale watching in the Bay of Fundy and are on our way to Halifax tonight. I’ve been planning this trip for a couple of years and I’m so excited it is finally underway.

I brought a variety of projects with me to knit on the trip, including my Vivid squares. I haven’t had much knitting time since I’m doing most of the driving, so I’ve only made the barest of progress. Its a perfect travel project though, small and light and just interesting enough to keep me engaged. Just when it starts to get unmanageable, its time to cast off and start a new square.

I brought three Daisy Dalrymple mysteries as vacation reading, mostly because all three holds came up at the library right before we left! I’ve finished one (Mistletoe and Murder) and just started the second (Die Laughing). I love these books, and sadly I have only a few left before I’m all caught up. They are great light vacation reading, too, easy to pick up and put down without losing the plot.

I’ll still be on the road next week so look for another vacation-themed Yarn Along then. I also have a fun trip post planned for when I get back. Time to hit the road again!

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Yarn Along – Another Yarn for Vivid, and the Making of Pride & Prejudice

Every Wednesday I participate in “Yarn Along”, a link-up run by Ginny over at Small Things where we share what we are knitting and reading this week. You can click the Yarn Along image at the end of this post to see the whole link-up. You can also find Yarn Along photos on Instagram (#yarnalong) and Flickr.

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This Vivid blanket is going to end up as a memorial of my 2012 backpacking trip to Scotland. I decided to knit the blanket originally to use up leftover Jamieson & Smith yarn (bought in Lerwick, Shetland), then added handspun Shetland wool dyed in onion skins (also bought in Lerwick). Now I’m adding another yarn from the same backpacking trip: a dark natural-coloured fingering wool, which I bought in Kirkwall, Orkney but which was produced on the island of North Ronaldsay, Orkney. During my trip I was actually able to fly out to North Ronaldsay for the day to see their unique, seaweed-eating sheep and their mini mill. The island is the northernmost in the Orkney chain and is home to about 70 people. Visiting North Ronaldsay was one of the highlights of the trip and I’m having a blast reliving all the memories while knitting up these blanket squares.

As part of my trek through my still-giant to-read pile I recently re-read The Making of Pride & Prejudice, all about the production of the 90s BBC miniseries that made Colin Firth such a heartthrob. I love the miniseries and reading this book has made me want to watch it all over again. The book is part of a special edition DVD set that I’ve had forever, but I can’t remember ever reading the book before. I always like finding out how something is made and getting to peek “behind the curtain”, so I really enjoyed this quick read. And now my to-read pile is one book smaller!

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Yarn Along – Vivid Squares, and Another Mystery

Every Wednesday I participate in “Yarn Along”, a link-up run by Ginny over at Small Things where we share what we are knitting and reading this week. You can click the Yarn Along image at the end of this post to see the whole link-up. You can also find Yarn Along photos on Instagram (#yarnalong) and Flickr.

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In my quest to use up some of my older yarn stash, I recently pulled out all the remaining skeins from my backpacking trip in 2012 and went hunting for patterns to match. I bought a lot of souvenir yarn on that trip, and unearthing this yarn brought me right back to the little shop in Lerwick, Shetland where I bought it. The shop was called the Spider’s Web, and it was full of hand-knitted sweaters, hats and scarves. Only one small corner had yarn, and it was all hand-spun and all appropriately expensive. I was nearing the end of my trip and running out of room in my backpack (and room in my budget) so I picked out a tiny skein in a lovely pale yellow dyed with onion skins. I had no idea what to do with such a small amount of yarn until it occurred to me that there should be enough for a couple of squares for the Vivid blanket I started last summer. I had put the blanket aside because I ran out of the natural-coloured Shetland wool I was using. That wool came from the same trip as the onion-skin yarn, from the same town in fact, so it seemed appropriate to combine the two into one project.

After picking up my first Daisy Dalrymple Mystery two weeks ago I have now read a further 6 books and listened to 4 as audiobooks! That pretty much says all you need to know about how much I like them. The books almost seem designed to appeal particularly to me; the perfect combination of 1920s time period, cozy mystery and confident woman protagonist. Add in a talented author who clearly knows her subject matter and her genre, and it’s not surprising I’m binge-reading my way through the whole series. There are 22 books in total, with all but one at my local library. I’m not sure why one book is missing but I may have to track it down online just to satisfy my need to read them all! I’m enjoying every minute of it.

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Yarn Along – The Same Shawl, and a 1920s Mystery

Every Wednesday I participate in “Yarn Along”, a link-up run by Ginny over at Small Things where we share what we are knitting and reading this week. You can click the Yarn Along image at the end of this post to see the whole link-up. You can also find Yarn Along photos on Instagram (#yarnalong) and Flickr.

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My Peppermint Bay shawl is slightly bigger and just as brown. It really isn’t that interesting to watch it grow week by week, is it? I’ll have to cast on something new just to have a bit of pretty to show you.

The title of Superfluous Women caught my eye at the library and I picked it up, even though I’d never heard of Carola Dunn. In WWI a huge section of Britain’s generation of young men died in the trenches, leaving the population with a significant gender imbalance. The women who remained were commonly called “superfluous women” by (less-than-charitable) people at the time, since they wouldn’t be able to fulfill their “true purpose” of being wives and mothers. I first read this term in the Lord Peter Wimsey detective novels by Dorothy Sayers, which were actually written in the 1920s. I love the Lord Peter novels, and there are so few of them, so I was thrilled to find that Carola Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple mysteries are written in much the same style I’m fascinated by 1920s Britain and Dunn does a fantastic job of getting all the details just right. Since picking up Superfluous Women (#22 in the series) I have read 3 more of her books and listened to another as an audiobook, all from my local library. As with all long series of cozy mysteries they can get a bit repetitive, but so far my obsession has not abated. I’m suddenly craving all kinds of British food, everything from shepherd’s pie to a big pot of tea with scones. Yum! Maybe it is time to start planning another trip “across the pond”….

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Yarn Along – A Slightly Bigger Shawl, and a Knitting Mystery

Every Wednesday I participate in “Yarn Along”, a link-up run by Ginny over at Small Things where we share what we are knitting and reading this week. You can click the Yarn Along image at the end of this post to see the whole link-up. You can also find Yarn Along photos on Instagram (#yarnalong) and Flickr.

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The big, brown Peppermint Bay shawl continues to be my main knitting project and it continues to grow steadily. I even managed a few stitches in front of a campfire over the long weekend just past. I’m enjoying the steady knitting of such a large simple project. Maybe I should knit blankets more often!

I spotted one of Sally Goldenbaum’s Seaside Knitters Mystery novels in a book store the other day, which prompted me to check the first book, Death by Cashmere, out of the library. About 10 pages in I suddenly realized I’d read this book before! It is a fun cozy mystery with incredibly vivid descriptions of yarn, food and a snug seaside town, and still enjoyable on the second read through. Plus, I have entirely forgotten “whodunit”. A little light fiction is a good palate-cleanser for all the happiness and productivity non-fiction I’ve been reading lately.

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