Tag Archives: books

Another Hat and a Little Lite Reading

Are you tired of hats yet? They are so mindless that they are good to work on while listening to podcasts, my new obsession. Unlike many of my friends, I cannot listen while piecing or machine quilting, so sewing is on pause. Lots of time before the new Stretching Art is due. The woman being honored by the T quilts has died, so a push to finish for her to see it is gone, and the anniversary it commemorates is September. Leaves me free to dawdle.

So, the hat.

Here it is open. And I got the reversible cuffs right. I had to frog the first one though because I had waited too long to start it.

And here are the two options.

And I still have oodles of leftover yarn.

ETA: To get back to the Scrap Happy blogs, visit Tall Tales from Chiconia.

For lite reading I turned to mysteries. I’d read many Comissario Brunetti mysteries in the past, but decided to read them in order. So reread the first.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/343208900

It had been long enough that I had forgotten all details except one, which made it an interesting read. I’ll have to wait for the second to be available.

My library is reopening slowly. Holds are now being processed with pick up by appointment. However, at the start of shut down, all due dates were pushed to July 15, so books on hold are not moving as quickly as usual.

No danger of running out of books though. I still have that stack I own that keep being put off so I can read those with due dates.

Due dates will be less of an issue in the future. The library has moved to a no fine system! The will automatically renew books up to 10 times–that so as not to disadvantage readers without internet access. Books with holds are, of course, an exception.

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Oops

Way back I was working on hats for the homeless (here). I set one aside when sock yarn arrived in the mail.

I had only the decrease rows left. It has gotten warm out and so there was no rush, but today I pulled it out and finished it. The oops is in the spacing.

The blue and white stripes were supposed to be one look and the silk the other. If I don’t tell maybe I can pretend it was designed to have one fancy side and one plain.

Ya think?

Most of my time has been spent reading Almanac of the Dead, all 763 pages.

It is a very complex novel. The first time I read it, around 20 years ago, I got lost among the characters as it moved among them. There are at least 5 groups of main characters and many minors. This time I jotted down name and page of first appearance for each. Between that and maybe having learned more about how to read novels over the years, I had no trouble seeing how the groups related as the plot progressed. Fifty pages to go.

ETA a link to my Goodreads review showing my brief reflections on the whole.

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Reading and Knitting

The second book in the Aaron Falk series came available, so I dropped everything and read it. It was quite different from the first one, so that promises these books will not become boilerplate plots. My review if you want to know more:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34275222

Also, I have mentioned knitting frequently. ‘Twas gift socks that have now arrived at their destination so I can show them.

This time I made the big pair first. Made the second pair go quite quickly. The yarn is hand dyed dk weight from Hazel Knits. I love the colors and texture for warm winter socks when knitted with #2 needles.

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And the First Week Ends

A couple other bloggers are blogging journals of the coronavirus times and the experience of “social distancing.” (Applique PaintboxSo Scrappy, Art with a needle Maria Shell   ); I’ll come back with other links as I find them.) It seems a good idea. There needs to be a record of these unusual times, a record from ordinary people.

Apart from finishing the Stretching Art piece (here), I haven’t done any quilting. That is neither unusual nor a sign of the times. I usually pause quilting after a finish, especially an intense finish.

Nor have I finished a book. That is a little more unusual as I usually manage a book a week. (I don’t usually blog about every book I read, only books I really like.) I am working on Rachel Maddow’s Blowout. Those of you who listen to her would recognize the pattern: start way back, explore many precursors, finally tie them to something current, at which point as reader, I feel like the need to go back to the beginning to see connections I had missed.

I am also working on Voices from Chernobyl on my iPhone. (In the old days–a week ago–when I was out and about, I kept a book on my phone for bus rides and waiting periods. I will be reading more online while my library is closed.) Svetlana Alexievich takes a similar approach here as she did in Last Witnesses (review here), gathering stories of peoples’ experiences of an event and presenting them with little comment. It is, alas, a timely read. The incompetence and lack of foresight is harrowing, as is the lack of honest communication. There is a major difference, though.  There officials followed orders from above almost unquestioning, out of habit–one example, a radiated village planting peas because it is time to and they had received no orders to change the plan. Here most of our state and local governments are taking matters into their own hands and doing what they can.

I am thinking about my next project.  Nina Marie has suggested a coronavirus quilt along with linky party (here). I have many leader/ender HSTs to press and trim so they can become leaders-and-enders again as potential pinwheels. I have leader/ender 4-patches to press and trim and alternate squares to cut. I have many tops waiting to be quilted. Or projects to start. Or I could make masks.

I have pondered making masks. I waver between “something is better than nothing” and “they would be false security” for one thing. I don’t have non-woven fabric for an inner layer desired by some (and seeming to make them more effective). I don’t have elastic, nor do sites where I usually shop.  (And yes, there are patterns for masks with ties, but locally it seems they want only elastic.) And with all the elastic sold out, I wonder if enough others are making masks that mine would not be needed.  I recall other emergencies where requests have been met with such response that the requesters have begged people to stop. I think I’ll keep my ear to the ground and listen for signs that more are needed, truly needed, before I start.

My time has been spent glued to news. I finally realized that no matter the headline, a new article probably didn’t add enough new information to be worth the time or emotion spent on opening it and have directed my attention elsewhere. I will admit that I keep backsliding into news rabbit holes, though.

For the first week, I actually enjoyed having no external demands. I do rather well with unstructured time–maybe not productive, but contented. I am substituting online and phone contact for hanging out with friends. I am reading FaceBook and MeWe more and following blogs more faithfully. I will not be surprised if that attitude changes.

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More on Improv

The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living CourageouslyThe Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously by Sherri Lynn Wood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My opinion changed as I progressed.

At first I wasn’t thrilled with the assumption that I didn’t do improv because I was afraid of failure and that I needed meditations to decrease anxiety. I am not afraid of failure, and I try many new things. I am not convinced that I need to abandon use of rulers entirely. I did not like the first several “scores” (what Wood offers instead of patterns). But I usually finish a book I start, and as I continued I began to like the samples better and  Wood also decreased the assumption of fear. So by the end, I enjoyed the book.

In the ten “scores” and the color chapter there are an interesting variety of approaches to improv piecing. I’d say I started out with about two or three of her tactics in my repertoire. It was good to have options expanded. Her explanations were mostly clear (and I reasoned, on those few times when I didn’t understand, So what? it is improv.)

A valuable section is her tools section where Wood explains techniques unique to improv: how to solve problems and inconsistencies that occur because of the free style cutting and stitching, like bumps and bubbles and matching up irregular seams other than straightening them.

A valuable book for quilters who want to do improv in more ways than random bits of fabric and wonky log cabin.

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A New Distraction

The distraction is that I just found goodreads.com; I have been not only reading more, but finding more to read and reviewing what I have read.

Food Fray: Inside the Controversy Over Genetically Modified FoodFood Fray: Inside the Controversy Over Genetically Modified Food by Lisa H. Weasel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A readable survey of developments of genetically modified foods (and fuels)and resistance to them, of their successes and failures, of their oversights and limits. It is written by an academic, a cell biologist, but written so that a layperson can understand the issues. There are source notes in the back so as not to intrude, but to be there for the reader who wants to follow up.

Especially interesting are the chapters presenting the non US perspectives: Zambia, India, and Thailand.

It is neither for nor against genetic modification, but it is for transparency, safe handling, labeling, and public good rather than corporate profit.

View all my reviews

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