Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chicks with Sticks Continued...

I'm still working from The Chicks with Sticks, but I skipped the knit clutch pattern because (I'm sorry, chicks) it's one of the very few projects in the book I wasn't enthusiastic about, and I don't even use all the handbags I have.

I moved on to the Dirty Girl Washcloths, which I was excited about because they use purl stitch as well as knit, and the patterns are simple but cool (as well as useful!). I finished the first washcloth and knitted about 15 rows of the second when I realized that my stitches were twisted because I had been wrapping the yarn clockwise instead of counter clockwise. So I tore it all out and started over. Last night, I got to the point where I was when I started over, and it looks so good!

I can't wait to try out the basket weave stitch and then use these stitches on other, bigger projects. I'm sad because the book is due back to the library on Thursday, and someone else has already reserved it. I guess I'll just have to make a purchase this week. :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting, and My Camera Woes

My lack of a camera is getting more annoying than a shirt that keeps riding up to your waist. I want to take my broken camera to Best Buy tonight, but I don't know if I'll have time. We're trying to get the house clean and put together for my partner's parents to come over (they're arriving tomorrow and staying with us for 10 days), and that so far has meant a whole lot of work and not much time for anything else. If my warranty doesn't cover it, I want to get a new camera, but new camaras cost money, an item which I am lacking in any quantity.

I recently borrowed The Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting from the library, and I'm so excited about it! I already crochet, but knitting is just so much more versatile, and all my favorite patterns are knit. I have to admit to having been intimidated by knitting, but The Chicks with Sticks goes through everything in a fun lesson-like format. Each lesson has a project or two at the end, and most of the projects are super-cute things that I'd love to make. So far, I love the book, although their instructions for casting on seem to be missing a step, and I had to look for an online tutorial to show me how to do it. I might actually buy my own copy, since you can only keep a library book for so long.

The first project in the book is a simple fringed scarf; it's supposed to be knit using a worsted-weight wool yarn and a sparkly lace-weight yarn, but after discovering how lacking JoAnn is in the yarn variety department (next time, I'm going to the little yarn store downtown), I decided to knit mine with only one chunky Lion Brand yarn. It's called Charlotte Blue:

See, this is where the camera trouble comes in; I want to show you how far I've gotten in just a few episodes of Top Chef and Gossip Girl, but all I can do is provide stock photos of my yarn. :( I knit while my partner watches TV, and I'm pretty happy with how quickly it's going. (In a side note, I should admit that there's a deeply-hidden part of me that loves shows like Gossip Girl, even though the rest of me knows I should be ashamed of said love. This last month is the first time I've had TV (other than DVDs) in three years, which makes it even more addictive. :))

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Book Review: The Magician's Elephant, by Kate DiCamillo

I hope that your holiday weekend was wonderful and relaxing, or at least busy with things you wanted to be doing!

I was busy, but happily. One of the things I did over the weekend was read The Magician's Elephant, by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Yoko Tanaka.

I loved this book. It is the story of an orphaned boy who lives with a soldier who fought beside his father. The boy is told by a fortuneteller that his sister lives, and in order to find her, he must follow the elephant. That same night, a magician conjurs an elephant, which falls right through the ceiling of the theater he is performing in.

The Magician's Elephant is a story about magic, and what is possible when you believe. Kate DiCamillo does not need flowery language; her writing is beautiful without pretension. The voice she uses throughout the book is simple, funny, and touching, and she does it all deftly. Yoko Tanaka's illustrations are perfect for the story. All of the illustrations are in black and white, and they capture the magical tone of the story. This story has had me asking, What if? Why not? Could it be? ever since I put it down.