Wednesday, September 26, 2012

knitting & reading roundup

The weather turned so suddenly that I didn't get a chance to block this shawl before wearing it. No, that's not entirely true - I just don't really have the space to block anything, not to mention I could have worn any number of shawls or scarves. I suppose I'm just impatient.

I followed the pattern for the Blackburn Reversible Shawl, which was simple and satisfying. The yarn is a camel/silk blend I picked up at Rosehaven Farms last summer in Picton and it's very soft and cozy (the camel only makes up 30% of the fibre). There is a very subtle sheen thanks to the silk but also a nice halo - which seems to suit the natural ivory colour perfectly. Overall it's an easy-to-wear shawl, blocked or not.

I've been reading more Canadian authors for the Canadian Book Challenge. I loved Elizabeth Hay's Student of Weather, so I was pretty excited to start Alone in the Classroom. Most folks know Hay for Late Nights on Air, but I struggled getting through that novel.  Not so with these other novels. Both hooked me immediately and again, I couldn't put this one down. It's funny though - I disliked the narrator, but luckily she didn't become known until the last third of the story. The main character, a woman named Connie Flood, was incredibly interesting. Her only flaw (if it really is a flaw) was falling for unattainable men, but her independence was refreshing, and the characters who were drawn to her had similarly strong egos. The settings were richly Canadian and the themes compelling (though I'm a little lost about the connection between Parley Burns and the murdered girl). 

Next up was Everybody Has Everything by Katrina Onstad, which shows that subway advertising for books works! I applaud tackling the theme of questioning motherhood - surely it's not for everybody, but I understand the topic is practically taboo. Yet when the mother-in-law explained that the ability to withstand the identity loss motherhood demands all depends on who you were to begin with (further saying you need "the genetic structure to withstand such change"), I was disappointed. This idea seems to smack of judgement since she's saying if you can't deal with change, you won't deal well with motherhood. It seems to be a negative approach to understanding the issue, but that's just my opinion. As for the novel itself, it's funny to read a story set in your own city - I had a hard time taking it seriously when I knew all the references. But I laughed out loud at a description of why urban people love rustic design. It was so true and I'm totally guilty of finding what I think of as accidental beauty (ie. barn beams) appealing. I'm hopelessly urban and it was fun to laugh at myself. A decent read overall.

For more knitting and reading inspiration visit today's Yarnalong.

Monday, September 10, 2012

september blues

As a kid, I couldn't wait for school to start. As a teenager too - I was just that kind of kid. But my mom was always a little sad around Labour Day, and as with most things you can't understand until you're a mother yourself, now I totally get why she felt that way.

The end of summer seems to mark so much more than the end of blueberries and bathing suits. The first day of school means your child is another year older, and this is starting to hit me more than it does on a birthday (personally, I think it must have something to do with associating all my childhood memories with what grade I was in). When I started this blog Sadie was a baby.  This week that baby began Grade 3. Grade 3! I don't know where the time has gone, but now I have the first day of school as a startling reminder that it is hurtling past much too quickly. And I'm no longer an excited student, just a wistful mother helping plan outfits for the first day of school.

So, on a happier note - some sewing took place to help with the aforementioned outfit. Sadie chose my new piece of Robert Kaufman's cotton/linen chambray for me to make a skirt with, and she was very sure of her ribbon selection. I tried to persuade her that black ribbon on blue wasn't the best but soon heard what I was doing (meaning, I was forcing my taste on her) and stopped.  Black on blue it was, and truthfully, it's a really cute combo. The skirt is super basic though for the life of me I can't find the original tutorial for it - but it's the formula that only has one seam and the hem is finished with ribbon. Simple and satisfying - even when a 3 year old is sitting in your lap while you sew (funny, Sadie never did this!).

Speaking of blueberries, it was an excellent summer for them. And so I'll just do my best to remember our blueberry moments and not what grade my girl is in. After all, she's still my girl.