Friday, February 11, 2011

this & that (reading & knitting, quelle surprise)

1.  I have been a little bit obsessed with The Hunger Games these last few weeks, and was tickled pink last night to finally have dinner with Nick & Sarah.  Mostly this was because the last time I saw Sarah she was half way through the second book so we couldn't discuss it, but this time she'd finished the last of them and was as anxious to discuss them as I was.  Nick pulled out his book and politely ignored our carryings on about beautiful Peeta and self-righteous Gale and gruesome deaths and jabbering jays and how much we adored Haymitch the Drunk.  Evan, that lucky boy, didn't arrive at the bar until we'd talked ourselves out, at least in so as far as Suzanne Collins was concerned.

But I still can't stop reading about these damned books, or get them out of my head.

2.  Now I am reading Speak, yet another young adult novel but of an entirely different kind.  It is the story of Melinda, a 9th grader who loses her ability to speak in the wake of being raped at a party the previous summer.  I saw the movie last year, starring Kristen Stewart, and sort of hated it: Kristen Stewart captures that inexplicable blankness that I hated about Twilight's Bella, her best-known role, and I couldn't get past that image.  But the book is moving in ways that I hadn't expected.  Melinda's inner monologue is surprisingly witty and dark and quirky, and there are a few odd similarities between us.  She, too, has a nasty habit of chewing and picking and biting at her lips until they bleed (a habit I am in the midst of trying to break), and she too, had to take one of those tests to determine a career path and was told she should be a forest ranger or a mortician, just like I was! (It turns out friend Nick was also told he should be a forest ranger -- perhaps this is a catch-all career?)

3.  I was reading a Slate article yesterday that referred to a New Yorker article, so I went to the New Yorker website and printed out the article.  All forty-eight pages of the article.  All of which quickly got caught up in the gale-force wind that has been gusting in the front doors of the library these past three days and went flying all around the circulation desk.  Later, during my tale of woe about chasing down vagrant pages, Evan said, "You printed out a 48-page New Yorker article? Single-sided?  You know you're still getting the New Yorker, right?" At which point I just stopped talking.

4.  A friend of mine is shopping around my knitting skills to her recently-engaged and now wedding-planning friends, and asked me to write up a little something for her to include with her email.  I went a little overboard, but it was kind of fun.  And I really am on the prowl for new commissions, so please feel free to spread the word:

I first learned how to knit in May of 2005. It was actually during the last trip I made to my grandmother's house in eastern Washington State before she had to move into an assisted living home outside of Seattle. She'd been trying to get me to knit for literally two decades before that, but I'd always stubbornly refused. Oh, I'd crochet a couple granny squares now and then, but something involving two needles? Forget it. I'm not sure what finally clicked that last time at her house, but I'm so glad it did!

There's something about working with yarn that I adore. I've always loved colors, and when I was a kid I loved hanging out in art & office supply stores, entranced by the walls of paints and pens and pencils and papers but sorely lacking in artistic talent. Now I spend time in yarn stores, dazzled -- both by the yarn itself and by the fact that I've finally learned to make something beautiful from it.

I like solitary knitting, but I've also begun to take pleasure in it as a sometimes collaborative process. A coworker commissioned a shawl last fall and we spent a lovely half hour looking through possible patterns, yarns, beads. We hit on the perfect combination, and a month later she gifted the shawl to her mother.

More recently a cousin mentioned that she was looking for a cream-colored wrap or shawl and had liked a previous piece I had made and so I made her this.

Prices will vary depending on the yarn, beads, pattern, etc., but the range for commissioned shawls will run from about $120 - $200.

Please contact me at if you are interested in discussing a project for your wedding or any other occasion.

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