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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Yarn Along – A Big Shawl, Tiny Gnomes and T-Shirt DIY

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/blanket is growing quickly, so quickly that it will soon be too big to cart around as my “purse knitting”. I still have no idea what size it will end up being, and whether I have enough yarn to make it wearable, but for now I’m just enjoying the process. This shawl pattern continues with the same repeat over and over until there is just enough yarn left for the border. That kind of soothing repetition is apparently exactly what I need right now, because I can’t put it down.

My Sunday was spent mostly on a train, coming home from a long weekend in Toronto. That mini-vacation, and planning for a longer road trip later in the summer, inspired me to pull out some yarn scraps and fiddly needles and whip up the two Tiny Gnomes perched on the top of the shawl in the photo above. I had both gnome bodies knit and stuffed before the train pulled into Ottawa, and I added arms, hair and eyes the next evening after dinner. They are absolutely the cutest pair of Travel Gnomes I’ve ever seen, and I have big plans to include them in many future travel photos.

I heard about the books Generation T and Generation T: Beyond Fashion on a podcast the other day and immediately checked them out of the local library. I have a few t-shirts that I love that no longer fit me, and I’ve been trying to decide what to do with them ever since. The style in both books includes a lot of casually-ripped clothing, and many tops that only work on slim, small-busted figures, but I still found enough inspiration in the book to make them worth reading. I’m particularly drawn to the non-clothing items anyway, so the style mismatch doesn’t matter so much. Now I have more ideas of what do to with my old t-shirts than I have t-shirts to craft with!

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Yarn Along – Thinking with Alpaca

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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Last week I was itching to cast on something new, and so in a completely predictable fashion this week I cast on a new project. This is wonderfully soft alpaca handspun I bought in Cusco, Peru on a backpacking trip. The skein of  yarn was absolutely huge, but I still managed to overestimate it and ran out of yarn halfway through my first attempt to knit it up. I banished the project to the depths of the closet for a couple of years, then unearthed it a few months ago and frogged it entirely. If I ever get around to writing a non-Yarn-Along blog post I’ll show you what the frogged yarn looked like pre-washing and re-skeining. This week I chose Peppermint Bay for the second attempt project with this yarn. The pattern is knit from the centre out, which should allow me to knit up every scrap of this precious yarn and yield a decently-sized blanket/shawl.

After several weeks reading other books I’m back to Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. It is still interesting, still readable but just so long. This is the copy I borrowed from my boyfriend, so I’m only reading it at home where it won’t get damaged. Of course that means I won’t be able to read it as much, but I’m just going to keep chipping away at it.

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Yarn Along – Socks and Knitted Letters

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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After finishing the knitting (and the finishing) on Mother Bear #5 and my scrap coasters (FO post to come, I promise!), the only truly in-progress knitting project I had going was my trusty vanilla socks. They have been much neglected lately so it has been good to make some progress on them. Of course I’m already getting bored and itching to cast on something new. At the moment I have 9 knitting projects that need some sort of attention, which is far more than I am comfortable with. Unfortunately they nearly all require some sort of difficult finishing, or making a decision, or buying more yarn. Still, I should probably try to make progress on at least one of them before casting on something new!

Knitted Letters, by Catherine Hirst and Erssie Major, is another book from my to-read pile that was given to me as a gift off my extensive wishlist. I was very intrigued by the concept of making typography-based knitting projects. The book contains very clear alphabet charts for about half a dozen fonts that could be useful in many projects. Unfortunately the actual projects in the book are not that interesting. Several of them look quite dated, and one sweater pattern doesn’t even include a photo of the entire sweater! I will probably keep the book just for the alphabet charts, but sadly I’m rather disappointed with the rest of it. There may be one or two patterns that make it on to my favourites list in Ravelry, but not more.

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