Saturday, March 28, 2015

Knitting Notes

Here's as much of the sky scarf as I've completed in March - I know I won't be doing any more blog posts before 3/31.     It's a little more blue this month, at least.

In other projects, I've cast on Susan Lazenby's Arianrhod shawl.     This is for my sister, who's getting married in October.     When I was out visiting in December, she confessed that pink is her secret favorite color, so I'm doing this in Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud, in the Blossom Heather colorway.   (Which I managed to score on sale for Valentine's Day.    Sweet!)

It did take me three separate cast ons before I finally got going.   (I don't know what it is with me and starting shawls...)     And it doesn't look like much (and probably won't until it's blocked), but it's going well so far.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Book of Atrix Wolfe - Patricia A. McKillip

Read for the Once Upon a Time IX Reading Challenge.

Atrix Wolfe is the foremost mage of Chamenuard, and finds himself on battleground in neighboring Pelucir.     The prince of Kardeth is laying seige to the King of Pelucir, and if Pelucir falls, Chamenuard will be next.     Mages are not meant to meddle in worldly affairs, but Atrix Wolfe makes a fateful decision that night, and summons a power to stop the Prince of Kardeth.     But on that same night, the Queen of the Woods watches the battle with her daughter, and Saro is ripped from the Queen by Atrix’s summoning.

Twenty years later, Prince Talis of Pelucir, born on that fateful night, is summoned back to Pelucir.     He’s been in Chamenaurd, learning sorcery, because his parents both died that night, and his older brother, now King, will take any advantage he can get against sorcery.   At the same time, a girl name Saro labors in the kitchens of the Pelucir Castle.    She was found, mute and naked on that fateful night, twenty years before.  

What I liked about this story is that it should have take a certain path, based on the set up , and it didn’t.    There’s a lot going on here – about the nature of family, about Atrix Wolfe’s atonement, and about the meaning of words.    And since it’s a McKillip book, the language is absolutely lovely.    Another wonderful story from this author.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Knitting Notes


Pattern: Craic Socks by Hannah Six
Yarn: Tess' Designer Yarn Super Socks and Baby
Needles: Size 3 DPNs

I do love cables.     They look so complicated, but are usually pretty simple.     This was a cool pattern - very easy to memorize (well, sort of.    I knew what was coming, but usually did still check ahead.)

I like this yarn as well.   You can't really see it in the picture, but it's subtly variegated - very pretty.    It's the last of my Tess' yarn, but fortunately, BF got me a GC for Christmas.    I'll admit I've been sitting on it way longer than I should have, but I've really been looking forward to including the trip with a wander around the Old Port, and it looks like I'll finally have the weather that'll make that trip worthwhile.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Once Upon a Time IX Reading Challenge

It's the little things that are starting to make me happy about Spring.    Like despite the fact that it's the first full day of Spring, and there's still snow on the ground (and it snowed all morning -thank goodness it didn't stick), the Once Upon a Time Reading Challenge is starting up.

I'll freely admit, I started piling books for this in the depths of February.   I've got a nice little stack going.    Per usual, I'm doing Quest the First, which is at least five books in the challenge categories: fantasy, folklore, fairy tales, or mythology.     I've got a Patricia A. McKillip book on my night stand, and I'm ready to go!

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents - Terry Pratchett

With the news of Terry Practchett’s death, I had to read a book of his.     I first read him in either late middle school, or early high school – my mother gifted me with a book club edition of The Wyrd Sisters.     I’d never read anything like it (I didn’t read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy until college).     I just adored the humor, and the footnotes!    And the world building.    I’m still working my way through his books (there are just so many!), but am sad to think that’ll have to come to an end at some point.

Anyway, this book is marketed as a young adult book, and while it is set in Discworld, is a stand alone story.     For some reason, a bunch of rats, and one cat (Maurice), have gained the ability to talk.      With Maurice as their leader (he is a whiz at marketing), they adopt a young orphan who’s good at playing the pipe, and travel around running a Piper scam.

When they arrive at the town of Bad Blintz, they start out with the standard plan, but quickly realize that things here are not what they normally should be.     There are no other rats around (even of the non-talking kind), and it’s quickly clear that something very bad is going on.     What happens next is all about Maurice and the Rats figuring out what being smart is all about – and it’s not easy.

I really enjoyed this story.      There aren’t as many footnotes as some of the other Discworld books, but the humor’s still there.     Thanks, Sir Terry.

Little (Grrl) Lost - Charles de Lint

This is a young adult book, and isn’t explicitly set in Newford, but very well could be.     There are two teenagers as the protagonists:    TJ – whose parents lost all their money, and had to move to the city to get new jobs, meaning they gave up the farm, and the horse that TJ loved, and Elizabeth – who runs away from her family when they decide to move.  

I should mention that Elizaebeth is a Little (a lot like a Borrower), and the reason her parents move is that TJ sees them, which always means the Littles have to flee.     Elizabeth thinks that’s a crock, and sticks around.     She and TJ become friends.

But Elizabeth does miss her family, and when the girls find out there’s an author who seems to know an awful lot about the Littles, and therefore might be able to help her find them, they decide to seek her out.    Unfortunately, due to certain events, that means the girls get separated in the City.

What follows is both girls learning a little bit about growing up and moving on.      It’s a nice story.    The fantasy elements are almost incidental, but just give it a really nice frame.      Definitely a fun read.


Changing Planes - Ursula K. Le Guin

The frame for this collection of short stories is utterly genius.    I mean, I liked Ursula K. Le Guin anyway, but I think this book cemented my love for her.      She came up with this book while bored to death in airports.  The idea is that you attain such a state utter boredom in airports (and only in airports), that you’re to slip into other planes of existence.      After that, she uses this frame for her trademark explorations of what it means to be human.  And the whole thing is awesome.

I think my favorite story was “Seasons of the Ansarac”.    In this plane, the people are bird people, and live on a world with a very long solar year – basically, they’ll only live about three years, because of the length of that year.      And since they’re bird people, they migrate.    In the south, they live in cities, and explore culture.    In the north, they return to their family groups, form new couples (at their first migration), and have their children.      I can’t even explain why I liked this story – it was just lovely – somehow idyllic.      They did have some problems when other peoples discovered their plane, and had to decide if they wanted to keep their way of life, or move on, and they chose to keep their migration.      It was just a lovely story.