I ended up going with "Centrifugal Shawl", which has a really interesting construction, being made of, um, a bunch of crescent shapes nestled together like a pinwheel into a larger crescent shape.
The colors blend nicely (the yarn photo is truer to life for color than the blocking photo with the distracting background), and I think the construction is very cleverly done, but I seem to have an irrrational bias against garter stitch, and I'm not really loving it. Does it call out to anyone else as something they would like? :)
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The left sweater was for Eon. I liked the yarn, which is a wool/alpaca combination and gives the fabric a cool, smooth feel, a little less sproingy than wool. It was ridiculously boring to knit, being nearly all ribbing, but it came out pretty well, I think. (I am always suspicious of sweaters that put the neckhole at the top rather than tilt it towards the front).
The right sweater was for marleigh and more than made up for the boringness. We picked this one as the most over the top of the Norwegian ski sweaters available, and it really was. It took about eight months to finish, in part because I ripped probably half a sweater of work out in the process. I struggled with gauge a bit - a lot of people used fingering for this sweater so I figured it would be okay - but going with sport would probably have let me get gauge (and being a bit thicker) without teetering on the edge of floppy looseness. The rest of my issues were just caused by inattention (realizing eight inches in that I had my panels off by one set of diamonds was the most embarassing), but the diamond pattern really did lend itself to going on autopilot and waking up three inches past where I was supposed to start the lozenges. I do like how it looks at this point, though! I have gotten pretty good at tension for stranded colorwork sweaters, though that unfortunately isn't loose enough for stranded socks.
Three pairs of socks. The left most pair was a kit (Saxe Pointe), but I was a little disappointed in the colors, which were not as clear as in the advertising photo . But, colors in photos and monitors are always a matter of perception. The middle pair was an experimentation with a gradient-dyed sock blank. mathhobbit was teasing me for turning knitted fabric into knitted fabric in such a tedious fashion. Anyway, I was pleased with the experiment, and have another blank to turn into blue gradient socks at some point in the future. The third pair is knit from either end of the skein (from Phydeaux Yarns, which I love the colors of), and it was surprising how different the color density was.
Putting an actual baby in the sweater does make it a *lot* cuter. Three sweaters for new moms & dads at work. One of them gave me an update; it is apparently the baby's favoritest sweater, so now it's a little small as she's gotten bitter.
These were for tirinian for LARPing. I'm really pleased with how the metallic-looking yarn looks, and they're very soft.
Finally, a whole slew of amigurumi. My octopodes have now fully colonized work, and are keeping pace as the company grows, but occasionally someone wonders about making something else.
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So, on to the next.
The culture that I consumed growing up led me wrong in a number of ways. A lot of them are the unfortunate biases and -isms that I can't completely eradicate, but another is an inappropriate belief that while American society is in the present, British society is still full of aristocrats in country estates with servants at hand. Mysteries in particular like to inhabit the past, because the present (in particular, cell phones!) break a lot of plots and plot twists, but these inhabit a farther ago past - the first of Marsh's novels was published in 1934. Marsh's detective is a Scotland Yard Londoner, but Marsh was from New Zealand, and several of the book take place there. The fact that the technology and the social setting is nearly a century outdated slips by me like water, but the casual patronizing racism (in particular, the Maori are other, if not less) is a lot more jarring now than it was when I first read it. Progress in my -isms, I guess.
Some other random notes - in general, I found them fun. (I mean, I listened to all thirty-two, so I must have). There are a couple of plots that hinge on drug traffic, and I found them more boring than the others - partly because impersonal greed is less interesting as a motive, but partly because they go in a weird sixties anti-drug vibe direction that was hilariously dated. I just can't take "pad" seriously. It's definitely odd that 1930s Britain is "another time and place" and 1960s anti-drug homilies are "hilariously dated" - but avocado shag rugs are also hilariously dated and old hardwood furniture is antique, so there it is.
Also badly jarring (but, alas, not so outdated) is the appalling, continuously appalling, desription of a couple of fat characters. It only came up in a couple of books, or I probably would have had to give up, but there are several characters who are somewhat overweight. They are described as vast, elephantine, grotesque - and they tend to be referred to that way pretty much every time they are mentioned. It isn't always the case that fat = bad - two are bad guys, one is a classic battle-axe dowager - but like the Maori, they were never permitted to be normal people. (I say "somewhat overweight" because one of them is estimated as weighing sixteen stone, which I looked up and is 224 pounds American. Not that it would be more okay if they weighed more, but it made me take the adjectives far more personally than I did the racial ones.)
One of my pet peeves about audiobook production is when different narrators pronounce names differently. I wish the producers would use a pronunciation guide. (When it's a different producer, that's a different story, but it's all one publisher, and while the two main narrators correctly pronounce the character's name as "Allen", a couple of others say something much more like "Elaine".
- I do remember, when reading them the first time, that I was frustrated by how much I as the reader was expected to understand French. Other books use French as a seasoning - Hercule Poirot will call people "mon ami" and the reader is expected to understand what that means. Sayers will just drop in "Ah, mon Dieu, ça c'est plus difficile. Monsieur sait que les jours se suivent et se ressemblent. Voyons." And I can get through "Ah, mon Dieu" without help, but the rest is a blur. When I decided to revisit these, I thought "Oh, but now I have Google Translate." Unfortunately, French is not a language that lends itself to a non-speaker knowing how to spell it. (Looking through the Project Gutenberg transcript of Clouds of Witness to get that French sentence, I note that there is an entire letter in French, then translated in the text, that the audiobook is kind enough to not read in its French entirety, because I might have given up on the spot.
- There's more trial scenes than in many of the previous authors' works. If the detective is an official policeman, like Dalgleish or Alleyn, then they're doing the initial trying-to-find-the-killer. Amateurs like Wimsey (even when they're hanging out with Scotland Yard friends) more easily venture into defending the arrested innocent.
- Unfortunately, this series is insufficiently populated in the audiobook. I was okay skipping The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club because apparently nothing other than the mystery happens in it, but I can't bring myself to skip anything with Harriet, because she's the best thing in them, and felt it would be vaguely unsatisfying to read them in text instead.
- I hadn't done Christie yet (because so so many of them), but she had a couple of books that broke standard convention. (When one is one of the standards of the convention, can one break convention? I guess so.) The narrator is the murderer, or the deeply creepy And Then There Were None. Sayers also does this, a little; I think her percentage of suicides and accidents is higher than is really conventional.
Anyway, I got through nine of them (plus accidentally also listening to The Man In The Brown Suit, more of a thriller) before petering out, because I decided maybe it was time to do something else. Christie's puzzle box plots are the best of any of the ones listed here, but at a cost of character. The characters are certainly fun, but they're a bit like the characters Stephen King stocks the beginning of his horror books with - quirky and engaging, but usually not very deep, and also not very honest, in that the surface appearance need not have anything to do with the actual personality, if the plot requires it.
I might go back and listen to more, but dear God, she wrote eighty of these things, so I'm just going to post this now because otherwise it will be years.
Three hats! One of these was bartered to my niece in exchange for an art project, which we settled on being a picture of a cat on fearless_prime 's suitcase, so that we can tell it from the infinite number of black suitcases on the luggage carousel. (Original idea from brother in law Dave, who has a black suitcase with white handprints, like Saruman's orcs). And two chemo hats, one funny and one, well, less elegant than I might have liked, because I always forget that Malabrigo is a little uneven.
One pair of socks for the Christmas pile:
Two Yip Yips. marleigh wanted one for her door for the Joco cruise - and there were something like a dozen of them scattered around doors throughout the ship - and then Eon wanted one too. They are ridiculously fast to make - the yarn is a bulky fuzzy thing that other people have described as "knitting with unraveled Muppet" so it's easy to turn it back into a non-unraveled Muppet again.
Then a couple of accoutrements for fearless_prime - fingerless gloves for Ingressing in winter, and a cowl-scarf thing with fun colorful yarn.
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A shawl from a gradient kit that caught my eye in I think a Ravelry ad. Ravelry ads are probably a good example of why I think I won't mind if advertising gets better at targetting me; I would really much much rather see ads for things that I would actually want, rather than ads for weight loss products because I'm female, or for all of the lamps ever because if you buy a lamp once then surely you must want to buy more lamps immediately after that. I brought it to work to be my too-much-AC or oops-forgot-to-dress-for-the-change-in-w
Project two: Baby Belarus Sweater.
I realized that a coworker was on paternity leave rather than vacation only when I saw it in our outages calendar, so I hurried to make this one. He was back for a couple of days by the time I finished, but only because our company does not have very good paternity leave. :( He's from Belarus, and I noticed that the Belarus flag has what really looks to me like a knitting pattern as part of it. It's actually based on a different textile tradition, the woven ruchnik, but it has the non-square-pixel characteristic that made it perfect to adapt to knitting. This particular pattern always ends up too large for an infant, but newborns outgrow anything that fits them very quickly. As it turns out, three-year-old elder brother of the baby just fits in the sweater now, so they can timeshare. I have also apparently impressed the baby's Grandma, who is also a knitter. :)
A pair of socks, for the Christmas pile. I still generally prefer heel flap and gusset, but when it's self-striping yarn, I don't really like the effect there. So short row heel and toe it is, and I've tried a bunch of them. Ask me about all the alternatives to the standard wrap-and-turn in short rows! :) . This one is Fish Lips Kiss, which has a silly name but I think is probably my favorite.
The picture is a little weird - I was trying to keep my shadow from falling on the socks, so it's from an angle. The feet aren't really that much bigger than the ankles, it's perspective. The yarn is from White Birch Fiber Arts, my other main source of Fabulous Stripey Yarns besides Twisted Stitches.
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