Category Archives: Books

When I grow up, I want to be Granny Weatherwax

The Discworld Square

The Discworld Square

I’ve slowed a little with the geekalong blanket, but I did design and knit up a few new squares. One for the Discworld, because any blanket that doesn’t pay homage to Granny Weatherwax simply isn’t fit for a bed! I actually knitted this one up as a charm – Papa had to have heart surgery, so I was knitting away while waiting for the phone to ring. All went well! Better than hoped for, in fact, so that worked!

Psych Square 1

Psych Square 1

Psych square 2

Psych Square 2

I also became a huge fan of Psych recently – any show that features Westley as a jewel thief is my kind of show – so there inevitably had to be a pineapple. Only, now I can’t decide which side of the pineapple square I like best. Any ideas?

I’ve started uploading the charts I made to Ravelry, but they’re on my project pages, so just look up gidgetknits’s projects and you’ll find them. And don’t forget to check out the official Geekalong 2014 squares and their excellent cause, Child’s Play. The original, official blanket is amazing!!! Especially if, unlike me, you know about gaming. I don’t, so I’ve just ad-libbed some of my blanket!

I’ve had long days and nights in front of the computer for work, so this morning I took a little time away from the screen to play with quilting. I’m so terrible at getting my points right! But I’d seen Elizabeth Hartman’s fox quilt about and I fell in love with it. I’m not convinced I’d have patience for the full sized quilt, but she has a fantastic lap quilt with large foxes and it looked like the kind of project that would be good for a novice quilter. This morning I practiced the gigantic square with some scraps I had about.

Be Bold, Be Bold, But Not Too Bold

Be Bold, Be Bold, But Not Too Bold

I’ve been reading Helen Oyeyemi’s Mr Fox (it’s fantastic – recommend it!) and I’m a big fan of the fairy tale, so I do have foxes on the mind! Just ignore that one ear is slightly smaller than the other – and the tartan does look a bit wonky… but…

The Silver Fox Lord

The Silver Fox Lord

Tartan… silver fox… galaxies reflected in his eyes… you know where this was going!

I’m planning to make the lap quilt out of florals – now that I know I can cope with the design – so I’m just deciding what to do now with my gigantic silver fox!

And just a little plug at the end, here. I published a short story.

"The Death Of Glinda" in Aurealis #77

“The Death Of Glinda” in Aurealis #77

If you’re a fan of Oz and its amazing citizens or if you ever thought Aunt Em got a raw deal, you might like it!

And as a farewell for today, look at this incredible vegetable stack I made using only vegetables from the garden! Better than a burger any day (still pescatarian since New Year!).

Better than MacDonalds!

Better than MacDonalds!

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Getting geeky about Victorian sock knitting

Victorian royalty knitting

Victorian royalty knitting

Remember when my father found this photo of Queen Victoria and her daughter in law knitting? And Queen Victoria is knitting a sock in the photograph?

My research has lately been taking me into the Victorian period and as I work through all the amazing material to hand, I, of course, keep an eye open for anything knitting related. So how happy was I to find this Victorian colour picture book with Cinderella knitting a sock right there on the cover?

Cinderella knits socks to keep her stepsisters toes warm

Cinderella knits socks to keep her stepsisters toes warm

Isn’t she gorgeous with those English rose cheeks and long blonde curls? But… seriously… I love the fairy godmother! Look at that sartorial style – she rocks! And she knows it!

And then, not so work-related, but still rather fun…

Cats! Knitting!

Cats! Knitting!

1884 knitting book! With an illustration of a cat knitting a sock on the cover! I totally geeked out over this!

A beautiful sock

A beautiful sock

The patterns inside are so intriguing. One day, I might do a Franklin Habit and try to knit up the patterns, but for now I’ll enjoy staring in amazement, imagining the Victorian women who picked up their needles and set to work.

Mittens!

Mittens!

I was especially excited to see the mittens. I love mittens.

Would knitted suspenders really hold up your trousers?

Would knitted suspenders really hold up your trousers?

But the suspenders really made me laugh.

 

Addendum: I just noticed a great comment on the previous post about the photo suggesting it’s the Duchess of Teck and future Queen Mary, rather than Victoria and her daughter-in-law. Yes! I hadn’t thought of the Duchess of Teck, but that does fit the bill. I think I got sidetracked by knowing that Victoria knitted. The Duchess of Teck and Queen Victoria were cousins, so there is some family resemblance, too!

There was a little theme to my crafting…

It’s been a little sad and quiet with the loss of Fifi. A little brown hen can leave a big hole in the household when she goes.
Nevertheless, Mum was visiting and I had a few days off – actual, proper days of holiday! So I decided to spend quality time with Mrs Higgins, my 1959 machine (named for her first and only other owner). I did learn to sew when I was growing up and I periodically ventured near a machine over the years. So I could always sew, so to speak. However, I’ve not been terribly consistent. Mrs Higgins is a brilliant incentive. I’ve always found new machines, despite all their whizzbang gadgets and settings, a bit soulless. Mum sews brilliantly on her antique treadle machine and I’d been coveting a machine like that for ages. Mrs Higgins is considerably more modern, of course, but she’s beautiful.

Quality time with Mrs Higgins (because every sewing machine should have a name)

I also had a stash of Doctor Who fabric from Spoonflower! I made a project bag for my sock knitting.

Perfect to keep the needles and yarn

It’s not perfect – Mrs Higgins likes to take corners fast and reckless. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!) I was a bit spiffier on the bedlinen front.

Sleeping comfortably in Time and Space

Yes, I may be overdoing that slightly… I don’t really care!

On the knitting front, I finished my Ood socks.

Oodles of Ood socks

I’ve written up the pattern and have a buddy testing it out. There’s a little surprise on the back! No telling. But I’m really happy with how they turned out and I’m just crossing my fingers that my pattern writing is improving before I take the next big step.

I’ve also been adding to the Doctor’s Wife Sampler Shaw.

The Doctor’s Wife Sampler Shawl – still in progress

And, as a final note, I’ve been reading Jim C. Hines’ Libriomancer, which is great fun. How can you resist it when the hero wears a brown coat – with pockets that are bigger on the inside.

 

Holland Park

One day, I’m going to knit a Nathaniel Squirrel for myself. I seriously love squirrels.

So when in London recently, I dragged my friend off to Holland Park so I could take some new squirrel photos. It’s one of my favourite parks and one of my favourite areas of London. I used to sneak off to visit all the time.

Mounted police in Holland Park

The park itself is partially wild. You take a few steps within the gates and urban London no longer exists.

Doesn’t this look like a Monet painting?

Plus, the park is inhabited by incredibly friendly, nosy squirrels.

Superhero Squirrel just needs a cape

I was kneeling down to photograph a squirrel we befriended when he wiggled up the fence to peer right down into my lens. How cute is this guy?

Hey girl!

If only one could smuggle a squirrel into one’s luggage! Okay, probably not a good idea… I’ll just have to knit one.

Incidentally, I’m just reading the latest Ben Aaronovitch. He’s writing a great urban fantasy series set in London and the local detail and history is incredible (so if you love London, I’d really recommend it). The hero, Peter Grant, is absolutely engaging. He’s a police office, apprentice of magic, and extremely likeable. It’s rather lovely to curl up at the end of the day and see how his investigations are going. I’ve been working my way through a pile of books. I just finished The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter and Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot. Nothing like working your way through some good storytelling!