Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book has been one I’ve picked up and put down many times. I could never get past Claire Randall’s first moments in 18th Century Scotland. After hearing so many friends and acquaintances singing Outlander‘s praises, though, I decided to give it one last chance and keep with it. In many ways, I am glad I did because overall I liked the story. Gabaldon’s characters are well developed and garner emotion from the reader, although the general premise of the story left me with a less than positive feeling toward the main character, Claire, who seems to forget her husband easily in favor of the dashing Jamie Fraser. However, I get the strong feeling that the rest of the Outlander-series will probably straighten out a story that seems as though it could have been written just as well without the changes in time.
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This has, without a doubt, been a frustrating knitting week for me. It began on Wednesday – our snow day – when I looked forward to finishing the sweater I’d been knitting for my husband. I had four inches of the last sleeve to do, the collar to finish and to sew the whole thing together. Except the sleeves were about a foot too long. I have no idea why such a thing happened because I am pretty certain I followed the pattern exactly. But they were way too long. So I frogged those sleeves right back to the swift, have them a quick rinse to get the kinks out, and wound them back into balls to reknit. I have yet to work up the strength to tackle them, however, so I’ve procrastinated with the Brattleboro Hat from New England Knits.
This may not have been a good decision. The hat is not one of my favorites but I stupidly signed up for this knitting challenge on Ravelry back in October. In October, student teaching seemed to be a far away thing. Student teaching is Wednesday. But I feel committed to the project and so I chose the easiest thing I could think to knit – a hat. Why not? I had the pattern, the yarn, the needles. It’s not a bad hat. It’s just not a hat I particularly like. The band went quickly and then I sat down to pick up stitches. I watched the videos on you tube and thought, “I’ve got this.” Yeah, maybe not. I tried fifteen times to pick up 80 stitches across a 20″ band. I got to 75 and decided that was good enough. The jury is out on whether this will look ok when it’s done, but I just have to knit that hat, not knit it perfectly. We’ll find out. I am guessing it will be done tomorrow, save to picking up more stitches and knitting that button trim which is on deck for my day off on Monday. Unless the hat really is a mess and I will go to the craft store for buttons instead of the yarn store.
Pattern: Denver Scarf by Roxanne Wood
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick in Fig, 1 skein
Needles: US 13 Susan Bates Circular
Confession: I frogged Baktus. I wrestled with that pattern for weeks and on Saturday I just gave up. I think sock yarn shawls are too much for my Type A personality. Then I remembered how soft and warm and quick the Denver scarf was so I ran out for my favorite box store yarn. Yummy!
In other news, my son had a particularly difficult day at school (he’s in third grade) and I was faced with the reality of being too far away to comfort him. And it was awful. For some reason my mother, who got the call from school, called me instead of my husband who is right in town with them. So I got the horrible experience of being utterly useless to my little guy. And I carried that for seven hours until I got home and could see him. Hats off to working moms, but I don’t think I’m cut out for this.
I’d hoped to feel well by today, but that isn’t the case. I think I may be getting the stomach flu on top of everything else, which ought to make for an interesting week. Hopefully it’s just the end of the double ear infection, sinus infection, bronchitis bugs that I am hopefully close to getting over.
I had hoped to back some cookies and do some other little crafts for tomorrow’s Feast of St. Nicholas, but it just isn’t happening. Last year was the first year we did anything to “celebrate” this day, and the kids apparently thought it was worthy of repeating this year.
What I did do was decorate some chocolate coins with inspiration and images from Jessica at Shower of Roses. I think they turned out wonderfully and I hope that I am home when the kids wake up and find them in their shoes outside their doors.
I’m in the wind-down part of Hannah Fettig’s Zip Up Cardigan and I LOVE it. I can hardly wait to have it done, though, because it has taken forever to knit it. Not a fault of the pattern but a symptom of my utter lack of free time this past summer and fall. But here I am starting the sleeves and I decided know was the time to try knitting them together. So here they are on one straight needle with their own balls of yarn. I think I may have to put them back on circular needles because a) I need to start the stockinette on 10 1/2 needles which I only have in circs and 2) I cannot handle another row on bamboo. How on earth did I knit so long on bamboo? Ssssslllllooooowwww – constantly sliding those stitches across is a pain! Plus, I figure this is stockinette I won’t have as much trouble keeping myself straight on where I am. That 2×2 rib was another matter.
I’m already thinking past the two projects on the needles toward 2011. Actually, I have a few that I would love to have done before our trip to NYC in December, but that’s probably unrealistic given my work and school schedule. *sigh*
My husband needed a neckwarmer for winter fishing
I finished the kids’ Harry Potter scarves to match their hats from Noni
My daughter got a quick little sweater from some purple mystery yarn that sat in my stash for years. Literally.
There was the Valour sweater that cost me about $200 in yarn which I knit for my knitting group. I hate the sweater so have never taken a finished photo of it, although I have worn it a few times.
I learned how to knit cables and made a scarf for my son’s teacher’s birthday. Love that scarf!
I knit a yarmulka for my Multi-Cultural class while we visited my in-laws in Indiana over spring break.
I knit a soft chemo cap for a dear friend now battling stage four breast cancer
I re-knit my husband’s hat which had begun to look a bit odd due to the other knitter (my mom) refusing the use DPNs. The hat was then melted in a freak Cub Scout camping incident two months later and I’m delaying knitting a new one as a reaction to lack of yarn respect.
I knit some legwarmers for my daughter – now the talk of the ballet class – while falling madly and deeply in love with Nantucket.
Hopefully I will be able to add the two knits I’m working on to this list before the end of the year!
Yesterday was a particularly windy and rainy day in Southwestern Connecticut and the weather prompted me to leave home at 6:15am in the hopes of avoiding a parking lot on 95 headed toward New York. My commutes are generally an hour and ten minutes – occasionally less if I leave at that ungodly hour. Yesterday I got to school at 7:20am and immediately wished I were a) home in bed or b) anywhere else. Did I mention that I am battling strep and should probably still be resting because the antibiotics don’t seem to be doing much? True.
At any rate, I pulled out my knitting and sat down waiting for the day to begin. I am in love with this sock yarn from Yarn Picks! It is a beautiful rusty orange wool that knits beautifully. And while I hadn’t planned on using it for this Baktus, I am liking how it is coming out. Unfortunately, I was hoping to give this as a gift this weekend and, as you can see, it’s not quite ready. At it’s widest point it should be 23 inches. I’d say it’s probably 12 right now and less than 50% complete. I’ll either have a very late night tonight so I can block it for Saturday, or turn it into a Christmas gift. The latter seems more likely.