Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Deborah Harkness and The Book of Life

Once again Deborah Harkness stopped by St Louis on her latest tour for The Book of Life.  Since we had so much fun last time she was in town (, my friend Kim F (not Kim G or C) and I decided to repeat the experience.  We were not disappointed.  Harkness was just as delightful as I remember.  This time she was talking about the last book in the her All Souls Trilogy: The Book of Life.  She was very keen to not give any secrets away on her new book, and neither am I, but she read from the first couple of chapters.  She talked about writing her books and answered questions too.

Deborah Harkness Working the Crowd
One of the topics another fan brought up was how does it feel to be successful female scholar and novelist.  Harkness loved this question and said she hoped her success inspired other women to not be afraid of being an over achiever.  I found her encouraging words refreshing in a world that does not always embrace feminism.  Also, when asked how many languages she knew she reeled off about 8 languages, mostly romance languages, but she did also know some Finnish and German.  Impressive.  I felt so lucky to have a second opportunity to bask in her intellect and charming personality.

Deborah Harkness and Tempest
When I had the opportunity to talk to her as she was signing my copy of her book I made it a point to thank her for including married same-sex characters as part of the normal tapestry of the books.  She said, "I wanted to include couples at all stages of a relationship."  I was just happy that the LGBTQ characters were there. 

Now to finish the final book and find out what happens to our cast of vampires, witches, demons, and humans.   Excited, but no spoilers for you.

(Also as an aside, it was so nice to see so many people I knew from my library days.  I miss them all so much).

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Kitchen Warming

A Basket Full of Dishcloths
A kitchen remodel is a good time to update kitchen linens.  Our good friends Kim & Barb ( recently updated their kitchen, and I felt they need new matching linens.  They actually spent most of the spring with no kitchen while the contractor didn't work on the stripped down room that use to be the heart of the house.  But patience and time rewarded them with a shiny, newly equipped.  Early on in the process I asked, repeatedly, what color are you painting the walls.  I am sure they got tired of hearing me ask.  One visit to their home yielded the paint sample.  A red kitchen it was.

French Stripped Tea Towel
Tabbed Tea Towel

My beautiful wife, Natalie, was convinced to join me in my secret project to knit some new kitchen towels and dishcloths for our friends.  We started in our stash and found scant red yarn to work with, but we soon had some red cotton and linen yarns on our needles.  We knit dishcloths, tea towels, a tabbed towel, a tawashi and a table runner.  Much red yarn was used.

Dishcloths Knitted by Natalie
I noticed a pattern for little, knitted, scrubby things called tawashi (unsure if that is the singular or plural).  I decided to knit one of those with the scrap yarn. It was a quick little knit, too.  I also made a pinwheel dishcloth out of the linen leftovers.  The tawashi was a success, the pinwheel dishcloth, not so much.  I was just about finished with the pinwheel when I noticed my dishcloth had a decidedly boob like look.  I was so close to being done I thought okay, too late to stop, I had to accept I knitted a boob.

Heart Shaped Tawashi
I had also thought to knit some placemats for our friends.  I had a pattern and some great, clearance yarn for my placemats.  Strangely, the yarn decided it did not want to be placemats, but a very showy table runner.  Who was I to say no, runner it was, with a lovely and time consuming I-cord edge to boot. 

Boob like Pinwheel Dishcloth
Yesterday, I amassed our knitted linens for Kim & Barb and was surprised we had knitted so much.  I mentioned to Natalie that we might have overdone it a bit.  She laughed and said wasn't that normal for us.  I only hope our friends have enough room in their new cabinets for all the kitchen towels and dishcloths we knitted.  We wish them much good dish washing in their newly redone kitchen.

Ballband Dishcloth

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Loser Blogger in July

Okay, I am admitting I failed at blogging this month.  There are no excuses, just that for July blogging I am a loser.  I hope to make it up next month.  All I can do is leave you with a pop ditty, about positive self image, guaranteed to put an earworm in your head. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Building Block #7

Can you believe we are already on block #7?  Natalie and I have passed the halfway mark to an afghan.  I wanted to not be late this month, so I knocked this block out as quickly as possible.  I loved this months mock cable stitch.  I have done the stitch before, but not quite like this pattern. The yarnover in the center made me go, "Oooo."  I even see a mock cable pair of socks in my future. 

The mock cable even inspired me to make up a joke.  A friend asked, "Why is it a mock cable?" 

I responded, "Because it makes fun of the other stitches."  I know bad, but it made me laugh.  Put that on my tombstone, SHE LAUGHED AT HER OWN JOKES.  Knit on my friends.

Monday, June 30, 2014

June Knitting Wrap Up!

This month I almost forgot my building block (  Natalie reminded me about mid-month and I was doing some fast knitting to get it done.  The building block #6 has a right twist stitch in it.  I really liked how this stitch looks knitted up, but this stitch is a little tricky.  I did get the block done, but just barely.  I think the block turned out.  This also puts Natalie and I at the halfway mark for a afghan.  2014 is just flying by.

One of the reasons I was so late on my block was because I got a little obsessed with the Travel Slippers pattern from Katie Startzman's The Knitted Slipper Book.  It is a fun quick pattern, and I made myself some sweet slippers out of leftover yarn.  All very cool.  I find myself thinking I will probably make a few more of these for a few of my nearest and dearest.  Notice the well executed I-cord edge, Awesome!

Currently, Natalie and I are working on a secret, joint knitting project.  Will update when that cat is out bag.  Until then, craft on my friends.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

More Pride

We went to enjoy the rainbow lights downtown tonight.  Yes those are rainbow lights on the civil courts building paid for by civic money.  St Louis loves it's LGBTQ community. Making me proud of my hometown all over again.

And here we are trying to take a decent relfie in front of the civil courts.  We got to get better at that.

Friday, June 27, 2014

And My Hometown Does Me Proud!

Yesterday I went into work to find a message on my voicemail from a friend who also works for the city and she said there was going to be a press conference at 9 AM in the Mayor's office and I should be there.  I had no idea what was going on, but I trust my friend so off to silly hall I went. 

Something about the Mayor's office always makes me feel like I am in trouble, but I put some starch in my spine and marched right in.  The lobby of the office was full of reporters with cameras.  I stood by the door looking around, seeing no one I knew, but I noticed a rainbow flag in the corner with all U.S., state, and city flag.  Something was up, something I wanted to stay and find out more about.

A polite, young woman came up to me and we chatted about the purpose of the press conference.  She pulled up an article on her phone and pointed to it.  The previous night the Recorder of Deeds had issued 4 marriage licenses to 4 same sex couples.  Those couples had been married in the mayor's office and the press conference was to announce the City of St Louis was challenging the constitutionality of the state of Missouri's same-sex ban!  Yes, my hometown was standing with the  LGBTQ community.

The Mayor came in with 4 newly hitched same-sex couples.  He gave a great speech outlining the city's goal.  The goal to open marriage to same-sex couples.  The City Counselor's Office, the Recorder of Deeds, and the Mayor's office worked together to cause a case challenging the state's ban.  The Attorney General of Missouri had already filed an injunction to not allow the city to issue anymore same-sex marriage licences.  The Mayor said they will comply, but will continue to press this issue through the courts with the hope the ban will be proven unconstitutional.

I admit, I teared up with pride at my city.  Yes, this was an extremely orchestrated legal event, but little old Midwestern St Louis did it (  Also, seeing 4 couples happy and proud to be the first 4 same-sex couples legally married in Missouri filled me with joy.  I was so overwhelmed that after the press conference I hugged the Mayor.  Yes, I gave him one of those big girl happiness hugs.  I am a little embarrassed at myself for being so expressive, but you know happiness should be shared.  Congratulations to the newlyweds way to go St Louis!