28 January 2009

A teaser

a tiny hint...
Originally uploaded by allisongryski

This is just a little hint of things to be posted about in the near future.

17 January 2009

Yarn, lovely yarn

new yarn for my seaweed shawl
Originally uploaded by allisongryski

I realised the other day that my seaweed shawl was going to need more yarn than I had, so today I rectified that. I ordered some of the discontinued stuff that inspired the whole project from an online yarn shop in the UK. And then I went yarn shopping with a friend and bought some gorgeous new yarn.

Teal with sparkles
Originally uploaded by allisongryski

It was well-timed as I was struggling with some computer issues this morning and was feeling very grumpy. But I didn't think about my computer once after I had walked into the yarn store. All thoughts of anything but my shawl vanished magically. I just looked at colours, petted pretty textures, and had a great deal of fun picking out some more yarn. (Best yet, when I got home, the Computer Fairy -- aka my sweetie -- had fixed everything).

Originally uploaded by allisongryski

I wanted another ball of the variegated alpaca that I already had, but I bought 3 new yarns as well, all with some xmas present money. The most luxurious and gorgeous is the silk-camel. It was shockingly pricey, but that's just what xmas money is for, right? So now I'm all set to knit up a storm.

Originally uploaded by allisongryski

15 January 2009

Books of all kinds

stacks of books
Originally uploaded by allisongryski

Just to clarify yesterday's post ... I don't at all mean that I aimed to read only serious, classic books. Bo-ring! I just wanted to venture a little outside my usual territory (mostly fantasy, a lot of it YA). Part of it was also just trying some new authors to find new favourites. If you take a look at what I read, you'll see plenty of the usual mixed in with the new things I tried. You may note lots of Georgette Heyer, one of my favourite authors as I find her books totally escapist and fun (not to mention small and easily carried about).

There seems to be a consensus that 1984 is depressing and hard to read... that's what I found too, I got part way through it and then abandoned it on the coffee table. But because I want to understand all the pop culture references, and since it isn't a very big book, I mean to get through it at some point this year. But in between the (hopefully few) "chore" books, I plan to read and re-read lots of purely enjoyable books. And that's where the "what are you reading?" and "any suggestions" questions were aimed!

Bookish musings

books at the bedside
Originally uploaded by allisongryski

As I mentioned last year, I started making an effort to stretch my reading choices a bit. It was moderately successful. I struggled through some books I really didn't particularly enjoy (Catcher in the Rye, Wuthering Heights), but I'm glad that I know these "classics" now since there are many allusions to them. I also read some interesting non-fiction, which is not a genre I generally choose (Under the Tuscan Sun, Hugh Fearlessly Eats-it-all). And I read some books I was sure I would enjoy based on liking the tv/film adaptations (Pride and Prejudice, I Capture the Castle).

Overall, I read fewer books than I planned in 2008; I was aiming for 50, but only read 38 (counting some children's picture books). Doggedly dragging myself through the books I didn't like so much took rather longer than the length of the books warranted. You can see my full list of 38 under my 2008 tag on LibraryThing.

My reading plans for 2009 include The Hobbit (amazingly, I've never read it), American Gods (it's been on my shelf for a couple years), Cryptonomicon, and some carry-overs from 2008, Dune and 1984. For the rest, I'll make it up as I go along.

What are you reading these days? Any suggestions?

13 January 2009

Finished a project!

cozy and complete
Originally uploaded by allisongryski

I have so many things to post about but not enough time to write them up! First up, the most recent and fun... after 3 years of sporadic work, I've finally finished my first crochet project. It's an afghan. I think I should have picked something less ambitious as by the end, it would take me through watching an entire movie to do just one round. Being overly ambitious seems to characterize many of my first projects (learning to quilt with a huge picnic quilt, just say, for example...).

finished afghan folded in quarters
Originally uploaded by allisongryski

And equivalently exciting, since I was keeping to my Only Two Yarn Projects at a Time rule*, I finally get to start knitting my Seaweed shawl. So named because that's what I thought of when I saw the pretty yarn that inspired the project:

"Olive waters"
Originally uploaded by allisongryski

Less than 10 rows in and I've realised that I probably need more yarn to make it as wide as I'd like. Of course, some of the yarn I bought several years ago is now discontinued. Internet to the rescue I hope!

yarn for my seaweed shawl
Originally uploaded by allisongryski

The variety of yarn is so much fun to work with. Lots of soft fibres, and pretty colours... it's really worth buying the loveliest materials you can afford. If you're on ravelry, you can see more details of my projects there.

seaweed shawl on the needles
Originally uploaded by allisongryski

* The Only Two Yarn Projects at a Time rule ensures that I actually finish things instead of just hop on to the latest thing I'm excited about. Being inspired is great, but not if it means you never finish anything. And my excitement and inspiration only seems to have grown in the time waiting to get to work on my Seaweed shawl.

06 January 2009

Quilty progress report

Quilt progress
Originally uploaded by allisongryski

And while I've been on the topic of updates, I'm sure some of you are wondering what's happened to my quilt. I am still working on it, bit by bit. I think at last update (in August!) I'd done just 4 blocks. Well every now and then I get a few squares sewn and I've now done 13 blocks (see exciting checkmarks in the photo!). More updated pictures to come when there's something to show you!

May everyone have a jolly and healthy New Year!