Two down; one more to go

I finished reading Catching Fire on Sunday afternoon and immediately started on Mockingjay.  Here are my thoughts so far. I go back and forth on how I feel about the main characters, especially Katniss. Just when I start to like her she acts in such a way as to make me regret my affections and think she’s a nit wit again. LOL! However, that plot has thickened finally and at the end of the second book I was eager to see what was going to happen next. So there’s one thing it has going for it.

The main conflict of this book in comparison with the games in the first book, is that if it’s possible to be more tragic, it is. Mainly this is because they all are supposed to have gained their “freedom” and are friends. Note “freedom” is really unknown in the realm, but they had it as good as it gets. Even the citizens of The Capitol aren’t really free, since they are in slavery to their own decadence and debauchery. For the Victors to have to go back in the arena and kill each other is beyond despicable. One thing that confused me is this concept and practice of alliances. I mean, in the end everyone has to die except one, so are these alliances remotely realistic? I can’t see getting chummy and trusting in these people who you have to kill or be killed by them. Is it just me?

Anyway, I am assuming that the Capitol stands for a totalitarian regime which, in order to maintain control, is using fear to keep it’s citizens under control. At the close of Catching Fire, all hell apparently breaks loose when Katniss’s rebellious act in the arena prompts an all out assault on the helpless citizens of district Twelve. This leads into the opening of book three, which I have only read a few chapters of, by my first and obvious thoughts are that District 13, where the seat of the Rebellion lies,  is just another form of totalitarianism. The regime plans out every minute of every day for it’s inhabitants. I haven’t read enough yet to know why they go along with it, but I am assuming they don’t feel they have any other options and their survival depends on what the “state” gives them. Hmm…sound familiar? There is certainly no freedom here either. I guess it’s still to be revealed if anyone has any ideas for whether there even is such a thing as freedom and if it’s worth the price. Stay tuned.

Okay on the knitting front, I am slowly plodding along on my Sprossling and when I have enough worthy of a picture you’ll be the first to see it here. I am also almost finished with a wool soaker for Elijah. Also, I will be starting my Mystic Midsummer Wreath on the 15th when the first clue is released.

I do have a few pictures for you today. As promised, I got the buttons on my el Air and had Joanie snap a few quick shots outside, and  do mean quick. It’s in the 90’s here and a wool sweater is not something you want to have on outside right now. Winking smile

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We have some moving going on in the house this week. Some of the girls are changing room-mates. I took a few pictures of the before/disaster for posterity. Will post hopefully greatly improved living quarters updates as they develop.

BEFORE

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This one I took on a whim today. It’s our wedding picture on my nightstand. We will be celebrating our 23 anniversary this September. I still see us that way in my mind, but at the same time I know we have grown up in so many ways that I barely remember those two in the picture. In love

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Mystic Midsummer Wreath KAL

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A few months ago I was contacted by the talented Anna Dalvi of Knit & Knag Designs about featuring one my yarns in a coming design. I was thrilled by the request and accepted her gracious offer.  In early May she sent along the announcement that the KAL for the  Mystic Midsummer Wreath would be beginning on June 15 and the shawl pattern will be published in 4 weekly clues on Wednesdays. The Mystic Midsummer Wreath Shawl is a crescent shaped shawl, inspired by the midsummer wreaths worn by young and old on this magical day. It will be published in a mystery knit-along format, hosted in the Knit & Knag Designs group on Ravelry.

It is designed with Knitting Notions Classic Merino Lace in a gorgeous Dark Rose color. The shawl uses 2 skeins (with a little bit left over as a safety buffer).

To sign up, please purchase the pattern here and the clues will be distributed directly to your Ravelry library. It looks like you can also buy the pattern directly from Anna at the above link to her website if you aren’t a member of Ravelry. Smile

 

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Yesterday I received my updated pattern clue which contained the “swatch” chart, so I figured I had better get my knit before the 15th when the first clue is released. Anna suggested a size 6 US needle so that’s where I started. After a soak and light blocking my swatch came out to the right dimensions, so I will be sticking with the 6 needles.

I am using the Aubergine color since I already had one skein in my stash and I haven’t knit with this color yet.  I haven’t done one of these mystery KAL’s since the Swan Lake Stole in 2007, so I think this will be fun!  There is still time to get yours started and even do the swatch, so why not join us?

Oh, Nook Simple Touch real life battery usage update so far is looking pretty good. I fully charged it on 06/05 for at least 3 hours and with Wi-Fi on all the time and an hour or two of reading and shopping each day, it is still at 82%.  That works out to an average of 4.5% a day which calculates to about 22 days between charges, although I won’t let it totally discharge. Still it’s not bad consumption with Wi-Fi on. I would lose 10-15% a day on the original with airplane mode off. I kept it connected to 3G network all the time so it could sync with BN.com if I read anything. I have three devices that I occasionally use and like to know that whatever I am reading will be current across them all. 

As for what I am reading, I am halfway through Catching Fire, which btw I love the fun feature on the Nook for posting reading status updates to Facebook and Twitter. In love Anyway, at this point in the story Katniss and Peeta have returned to the Capitol for the Quarter Quell, which I hope will be not just be a BTDT type repeat of the first games. What else could it be though? Eh, they are okay so far, but I may be missing something, but I am still not seeing what is so over the top fantastic about these books. Again, let me stress, I like them and all, but I guess I was expecting more, you know? I guess it depends on what you want in a book.

Take for instance Moby Dick. I just finished listening to the audiobook and I feel like there is so much more to digest than one reading can offer. I have attempted to read it four times and this was the first time I got all the way through it. I finally happened across a version through Overdrive at my public library that had an engaging reader, which I think finally made the difference for me.  There are many points in the book that move very slow, but there is also such depth of thought and emotions that it bears more than one reading. I am sure I will visit it again.

Now it’s probably not fair to compare a modern young adult novel with the likes of Moby Dick, I know, but my point is that just because I find the Hunger Games rather light in comparison, it is not because they are not good. I think I am maybe having a hard time liking Katniss because she can be such a ditz when it comes to guys. Eye rolling smile I mean really. Who is that clueless?

Hoosier Hills, new sweater and Nook

Sorry for the lack of a promised update but we were pretty busy and by the time we got to the hotel at night, too tired to do much. We had a lovely time seeing everyone and we heartily thank all who came in to our booth! This is such a nice facility and we are hoping this show continues to grow and be more and more successful for all involved. Anyway, without further ado I will share a few booth shots, including a picture of my finished Bel Air sans buttons. I completed the second sleeve and seamed it up in the hotel on Friday morning. Yay!  Modeled shots to come later when I get some buttons.

Bel Air in booth

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We got home from Indiana on Sunday afternoon and what did I find waiting for me? Why, my new Nook Simple Touch Reader! I had no problems with my original 3G Nook, but was attracted to many of the new capabilities of the new version. I don’t miss any of the things they left off since they didn’t happen to be things I used my Nook for anyway. I am not much for games, have a laptop and a smartphone for email and internet, and an iPod for music and audiobooks. I want my reader to do one thing and do it well. Read books. This new Nook is exactly what I wanted with even more of what I wanted and nothing I didn’t care about. So far my only minor annoyance is that it doesn’t access my current wish list created on BN.com. My original Nook did this and I used that feature a lot. You do have the ability to create a wish list from the device, but I will have to start over to do that. I really love the Facebook and Twitter connections and the much improved highlighting, note taking, and look up features. I don’t use them all that much but it’s good to know they are there and easy to use. Also love the interface for fine tuning text, fonts, etc. It’s similar to the Nook for Android which I have on my phone with some additional functionality. Battery usage does seem much better. I left my Wi-Fi on and will just to see how far it goes that way, then I will try it off after a re-charge and compare. Anyway after fully charging, I played around with it a lot last night and read for an hour or two. This morning the battery was still at 94%, with Wi-Fi on, so not too shabby.  Here she is!

New Nook Simple Touch Reader

Almost a sweater!

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I am almost at the finish line for my Bel Air sweater! I got quite a bit of the second sleeve knit this weekend during down time at the festival and I am up to the cap shaping on it. Woo hoo! Since all I have to do as far as seaming is set in this sleeve and pick out buttons, dare I think I will have it finished for Hoosier Hills this weekend? We can hope, but unfortunately that’s probably a bit unrealistic since my knitting time will likely be non-existent this week. We only have today and tomorrow at home before hitting the road again and there won’t be as much down time for this one. I’ll have it in my knitting bag at the very least so if you are coming and want to take a peek, don’t be shy. Just ask! Winking smile

On the reading front, I finished The Hunger Games and am a few chapters into Catching Fire. I am enjoying it, and did like the first book for what it is. It’s definitely a light read and that can be good, so I am not being critical. I tend to read a lot of larger more complex works and classics so it’s nice to take a break from those occasionally and read something light and easy. My only constructive criticism of it so far is that the characters don’t have much depth, at least I don’t feel it. I can see the attraction of the series for the pure entertainment value and the plot, but that’s about all I am getting from them. There are many books with so much depth that you can and want to re-read them, but I don’t see that happening for me with these. It’s a good story and all, but I can’t see needing to read them again, so I am glad I only paid $5-$7 each for them. Winking smile Looks like they have gone up in price some since I bought them. Sad smile

I don’t know if any of my readers are even remotely interested in the same music as I am but I’ll share what I have been enjoying lately. I am still finding myself turning on my Foo fighters collection quite a lot. I have all of their albums and would have a hard time picking a favorite. I love them all. Also The new Journey album, Eclipse, is awesome! No, really. I haven’t loved a Journey album this much since Evolution, which is my favorite. I have never felt like Escape was their best, although I do like it. I have also started listening to Finger Eleven more lately. This is a new to me band. They have been around since their first album, Tip, in 1998, and I have all 5 of their albums now. It’s a bit more Alternative than I used to like, but their style is a unique mix of Alternative and Melodic Metal. I think I like the last two albums Them vs. You vs. Me and Life Turns Electric the best, but the older albums are definitely growing on me. 

Sweater weather? Again?

What’s a guaranteed way to ensure a cold snap in late spring? Yep, you guessed it. Unpack and buy the appropriately seasonable clothing. It never fails that when we finally get everyone suitably attired for the season change, it changes back. Sarcastic smile So all you middle Tennessee folks who were cursing the chilly wet weather that began this weekend, you can blame us.

Speaking of cool weather, I did almost finish the Bel Air. I have the collar knit and the first sleeve sewn in. Yay!  I took a couple self portraits that aren’t that great, but here ya go.

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Here’s one with my head not chopped off, LOL,  and a “laying on the porch” shot.

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I will be casting on the second sleeve tonight. It would be awesome if I could get it finished for the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival.

On the reading side; I did finish Dragonfly in Amber and all I will say is it is hard to not pick immediately on the third book to see what will happen next. Will Claire go back to find Jaime? Will she take Roger and Brianna? What further role will Gillian/Geillis play? But I have also been waiting to start the Hunger Games for the last month and simply must read them now. They are so much shorter that I am sure the brief interlude will be a welcome change to these long novels. Don’t get me wrong. I adore long stories. It’s just that they take me so much longer to read than they used to. I like to dip into shorter stories in between longer ones. It’s kind of like with knitting; having a plain vanilla sock, a sweater and a lacy shawl going for the different complexities and time investments.

I am itching to cast on for Vonica with that blue Cascade 220. Remember that? Must finish the Bel Air and the Sprossling. Well at least the Bel Air. Then maybe a sleeve swatch. Who me?

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On the Road Again

Well soon anyway. Today was a little crazy for awhile there, but the dust has settled and most of the priority stuff got done…I think. Well in any case the trailer is ready to go. I had to get a tire fixed but it was a minor thing, thankfully.

You know how some days you just feel on top of everything and productive and all that? Well today was not one of those kind of days. I had a gazillion things that needed done before my next trip, to Lake Elmo, MN for the Shepherd’s Harvest Festival, and I felt like I was drowning and no one even saw me go under. There was laundry, school lessons, meals to be cooked and cleaned up after, packing, orders to ship, baby care, etc.… you get the picture. There were a few meltdowns and sadly most were mine. It’s hard sometimes when your team is made up of individuals with their own agendas, that aren’t necessarily in line with yours. What’s up with that anyway? Sarcastic smile 

Oh well, at least there was yarn to take the edge off. Web’s Anniversary Sale yarn in a color of Cascade 220 that just had to come home with me. It’s the Sky Blue Heather. I think it may become a Vonica 

 

What’s on my needles?

I don’t tend to be one of those knitters with dozens of projects on the go. It overwhelms me and makes me feel unproductive if I have too many things going at once because the progress on each is so minimal. My knitting time is pretty limited and it seems that my time is better used when I am focused on only a few things at once. Now, does that mean that many more worthy projects aren’t always calling to me and tempting me to just throw caution to the wind and cast them on? um..that would be a big fat NO. It’s the same with books. There are always so many things in my reading and knitting queues that I would have to live to about 200 to hope to get to them all. Sigh.

So, what IS on my needles? Glad you asked. I am working on a Bel Air and a Sprossling, primarily. The baby needs a couple new wool soakers too so I have a bigger one going. My favorite pattern for these is Butt Knits Soaker (Ravelry link) or Non-Ravelry link here. These fit great, work well, and are fun to knit with their interesting seamless construction. My go to yarn for soakers is believe it of not, Lion Brand Fishermen’s Wool. It’s economical and is available in many more natural colors now. Anyway, you’re probably more interested in the sweater knitting right? Okay.

First, have you ever knit one of Anne Hanson’s designs? Well if you haven’t you don’t know what you are missing. She is my favorite knitwear designer, and I promise you that it’s not because she has designed with my yarns. I was follower and fan long before that. So the Bel Air (Ravelry project page) is getting the most action right now since I only have one sleeve and the collar to go. Love it so far.

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I’m not quite as far long on the Sprossling but just look at the sexy shaping on this sweater! I have the back finished and as soon as the Bel Air is done it will be front and center for getting done.

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Okay, I have spent all day working on this blog and I have GOT to get some real world stuff done today too.