Friday, March 28, 2014

Bloomsbury Women


Bloomsbury Women: Distinct Figures in Life and Art  by Jan Marsh has been on my radar for several years. Finally after much procrastination, I ordered a used copy from BN which arrived today. Alas, my copy does not have this luscious dust jacket but does boast a darkish red cloth cover which I find most acceptable. The drawing, photos, and text are not a disappointment in this fascinating non-fiction work.
Here are the opening sentences:
" 'Bloomsbury was conceived in 1904, when Vanessa and Virginia Stephen and their brothers Thoby and Adrian moved from fashionable Kensington to the quieter London district of Bloomsbury, close to the British Museum. It was born, so to speak, the following year, when the house at 46 Gordon Square became the melting place for their young artistic and intellectual friends, who gathered on regular weekday evenings to talk and to listen." 
 And from page 56:
" 'One day someone said you might get a job to paint furniture and do decorative work at the Omega Workshops,' she recalled. 'Feeling brave I went to Fitzroy Square and asked to see Mr. Fry. He was a charming man with grey hair and said I should come round the next day and start work. I went round and was shown what to do. Batiks. I was paid by the hour...and felt like a millionaire.' "

:: What are you reading? ::

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Knit Ski Lodge Cap for Charity

 This cute "Ski Lodge cap is a quick knit with bulky yarn and size 10.5 needles. The pattern is available here and would be a fantastic project for a beginning knitter.

 I used Tahki "Jackson" bulky yarn. Neither pictures captures the correct color which is black with green. Obviously, my skills at photography are narrow and limited! But, it's all about this easy, fast, attractive pattern.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Through the Grinder

Through the Grinder (Coffeehouse Mystery, #2)Through the Grinder by Cleo Coyle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Excellent cozy mystery. Strong story and characterization. Although I'm not a coffee drinker, the Coffee House Mystery series by Cleo Coyle has grabbed my interest. Written by a husband and wife, THROUGH THE GRINDER is a page turner. If you enjoy cozies, you'll probably want to read this series. I do.

View all my reviews

Monday, March 17, 2014



Chapter 1
September 2009
St. Louis, Missouri

" 'The shaking started around three in the morning, and it happened that I was already awake because I'd nursed Owen at two and then, instead of going back to sleep, I'd lain there brooding about the fight I'd had at lunch with my sister, Vi. I'd driven with Owen and Rosie in the backseat to pick up Vi, and the four of us had gone to Hacienda. We'd finished eating and I was collecting Rosie's stray food from the tabletop--once I had imagined I wouldn't be the kind of mother who ordered chicken tenders for her child off the menu at a Mexican restaurant--when Vi said, 'So I have a date tomorrow.' "

I have just begun reading Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld and am interested thus far. The protagonist is a woman whose twin sister's personality is the diametrically opposite of the main character. My guess: Therein lies the story.
" 'I was being baited, but I tried to match Vi's casual tone as I said, 
"Did you meet online?' "

Does this book interest you?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Summer in Tuscany

 It's all about the setting for me. I love Tuscany and can feel the warm glow of the Tuscan atmosphere as I read this book. The writing is comfortable;the story is sweetly predictable. This is definitely is a comfort read that I am enjoying immensely.
 "Let me tell you right from the start, you wouldn't want to know me. Especially on a Saturday night. Why? Because that's when it's toughest here in the emergency room, and the only reason you would ever get to meet me is if you were wheeled in here on a guerney. Then it would be my face looking down at you in the glow of a white light saying, What's your name?...Where does it hurt?...Who did it?"
"A rabbit had darted out in front of her wheels and she had squealed to a halt, backed up, gotten out, inspected the dead creature, picked it up by its tail, and flung it into the back seat.
The next day her so-called majordomo came by....bearing a ceramic terrine and a little note saying, 'I do hope you'll enjoy this rabbit pate'. It's fresh.'"

Does this book interest you?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Miss Buncle

The following selections are from Miss Buncle's Book by D. E. Stevenson. This clever book within a book is very different from my typical reading fare. The multi-level stories and word play are so delightful that I find myself smiling as I read. Set in a small village in the British country-side, the story is a latter day "Seinfeld" tale of a place where "nothing" the 1930s.
"One fine summer's morning the sun peeped over the hills and looked down upon the valley of Silverstream. It was so early that there was really very little for him to see except the cows belonging to Twelve=Trees Farm in the meadows by the river. They were going slowly up to the farm to be milked.their shadows were quite black, weird, and ungainly, like pictures of prehistoric monsters moving over the lush grass. The farm stirred and a slow spiral of smoke rose from the kitchen chimney."

"Mrs. Featherstone Hogg was less like a busy bee than anybody Barbara could think of. She was tall and willowy and tired, so tired that you could not help feeling it was good of her to trouble to speak to you at all."

What do you think? What are you reading?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Scarf & Hats for Charity

 Finished on Friday! The beige/gray hat is now completed and ready to be sent with the other two hats and scarf to Knitted Needs in Denver.

The green and red hats are knitted;the scarf and beige/gray hat are crocheted. The scarf is crocheted length-wise with a couple rows of mesh, then shells, then mesh--as many rows to achieve the width you want.
The beige/gray hat uses a different shaping than I have used on other projects. The hat is worked flat from the bottom edge to the top in single crochet. The shaping for the crown is achieved by crocheting across a row, leaving five stitches unworked and turning to work back across the piece. Then turning and working the next row including the five left unworked, turning and working across. This is repeated until the hat is the size you want. Sew the seam and cinch and fasten the top. I don't know if I'll use this pattern again, but it was interesting for a one-off. It is designed for a beginner and seems to be a good first project.
Please don't try to battle your way through my description!! The pattern is here and my project notes are here.
This pink/red hat is made from bits of Plymouth Encore stash with the crown having a touch of mohair. This photo doesn't show the pretty stitches very well. The details are made with slip stitches. You can see my project notes here and see the pattern too.
That brings us to this hat that appears to have a basket weave texture. The angle of the light in this photo washes out the neck section, but the texture continues over the entire hat. This pattern is fun and fast. See my notes for details.
Do you have any FOs this week? Wishing you a happy and blessed weekend!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mrs. Q ~ A Teaser

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn
" 'Is this all there is?' The Queen thought to herself. She'd begun her adventure in such high spirits and now she sat next to a sign directing visitors to the gift shop on her decommissioned yacht where once had stood an ebonized side table."
What would happen if the Queen of England, in a whimsical mood, left the castle without fan fare and wandered about London by a hoodie jacket? Whimsy indeed!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Finished Shawl and a Book

 This is the Casa Blanca Bonita Openwork Shawl crocheted with Tahki Yarns "Jackson" and a size L hook. The bulky yarn changes the look somewhat as does the single color. I would like to make another in self-striping yarn as shown on the pattern.

 Oh! I just noticed my shoe under the chair! I'm not very good about wearing shoes in the house! I'm always kicking them off! Do you do that too?

I added a scalloped border in dark blue on three sides and a single crochet finish across the neck edge. I've already taken this shawl to church for our Prayer Shawl ministry.
My Friday, page 56 is from Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini: 
"Suddenly she was seized by the cold realization that she would likely be asked to sew many black dresses in the months ahead as her patrons lost husbands, sons, and brothers, and donned the somber colors of mourning as custom demanded. Shaking off the thought, she spied a black silk dress that Mrs. Lincoln must have brought with her from Illinois and held it up."                                                                                     

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Wednesday WIPs
 Here are a couple WIPs that are receiving my attention which means the afghan is set aside for the moment so I can work on some gifts.

The first is a mystery KAL dish/face cloth that I plan to use in a swap. If you squint your eyes and tilt your head at exactly the correct angle...there..can you see it? There are two small garter stitch hearts in the center, one positioned above the other. This is the first time I've used "I Love This Cotton" by Lily from Hobby Lobby. This cloth is soft enough for a face cloth and feels like a brushed cotton. I wonder if the fibers would withstand scrubbing dirty dishes.                        
The other is called Christian's Hat a quick and charming knit hat that I will add to my donation to Knitted Needs in Denver. The yarn is Ella Rae yarn is 100% wool which is perfect for this frigid weather. I want to get it along with a scarf and the pink/red hat into the hands of someone who needs it ASAP!
 This Slip Stitch Stash Hat was indeed knitted with stash, Plymouth Encore and Bucilla Melody.
My current read is Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini, an interesting historical fiction that opens just before the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860.
So...what are you knitting and reading?