Friday, January 26, 2007

Fortune cookie

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.
6. Tag 5 people

Nearest book: Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen, 1980 Signet paperback edition. (No fakey intellectualism here, I'm actually rereading it for my ad hoc Austen book "group" with my friend/colleague Michelle.)

Sentences six, seven, and eight:
"I have a notion," said Sir John, "that Miss Marianne would not object to such a scheme if her elder sister would come into it. It is very hard indeed that she should not have a little pleasure because Miss Dashwood does not wish it. So I would advise you two to set off for town when you are tired of Barton, without saying a word to Miss Dashwood about it."

Hmmm, no message from the universe here, except maybe to call my sister and convince her to do something that she doesn't want to do, although I'm thinking that a trip to London would be up her alley. Tags? Well, since I don't have a readership, I say anyone who wants to do this may do so with my fullest compliments, you may depend upon it.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Deathly Hallows

1. Are you going to look at every possible spoiler you can before the book comes out? Did you with HBP and how accurate were the ones you saw?

I did a bit of poking about, but then felt dirty. And most of the poking I did ended up being wrong, anyhow, and was distracting from the actual story and the author's intentions. She has not let me down yet, and I trust her. No spoilers here. I will do my best to avoid them at all costs, and if anyone intentionally spoils I will be SO MAD.

2. What will you do if Amazon (or whoever;) doesn’t deliver your copy on time and everyone is reading it except you?

Well, at risk of sounding like a hyper-crunchy nincompoop, I plan on purchasing my copy through my local independent bookseller, because I try to support local businesses, especially yarn stores and bookstores, as much as possible. Yes, it will be at Costco for cheaper, but Costco won't host an awesome party and hand me my book at midnight, will they?? Huh???

I went to the release party at Village Books for HBP and loved it--the energy was wonderful, and I loved seeing all of the families out to enjoy the book. I even met a little girl (2nd grade, maybe?) whose mother let her dye her hair red to "be" Ginny. Now that's love. Starting the book at 12:01 after your favorite bookseller hands you the book amongst a crowd of fellow fans is head and shoulders above any other option for purchase of said item.

3. Will you read the last chapter before anything else? Are you planning to read the book all in one go or are you a slow reader?

I do NOT read last chapters first. EVER. I will admit to occasionally skipping/skimming paragraphs in order to get to the action (in some books) but for this one I will try to slow down and savor it, because for the first time since I started reading the books in 2000, when it's over, IT'S OVER.

My reading of both books five and six was lengthened by the fact that M and I had a reading pact; we read much of both books aloud to each other on long drives, and we agreed that neither party could get more than one chapter ahead of the other person. Since I am the faster reader--albeit with less retention--it was excruciating at times, but worth it. And he read Dumbledore's death scene before me and KEPT IT A SECRET and then came and held me while I sobbed...husbands are the best.

4. What’s your theory on the meaning of “Deathly Hallows?”

There are too many loose ends with Sirius, and since JKR is the most efficient and reasonable writer I know of at tying up loose ends, I believe that Harry will pass through the veil into some sort of capital-U-Underworld. This will be the site of the final battle with Voldemort, and I think it will also be the Deathly Hallows.

5. What’s the craziest Harry Potter theory you’ve got, which you could only share with your trusted f-list?

Since I don't read the spoilers or message boards I have no idea if this is out of whack or totally unoriginal, but I think that Neville is going to die in order to spare Harry. I think the prophecy allows for that famous prophecy fudge factor, and that Neville is "the other" referred to because of the shared birthday with Harry. "Neither can live while the other survives" leaves enough room to kill Voldy but not Harry if Neville is the sacrifice.

I also believe that Draco will repent and come over to the good side; this was the reason that Snape killed Dumbledore instead of letting Draco do it: to leave space for Draco to choose the right.

6. If you could write in a sub-plot of your own choosing to the main Harry one, what would it be?

Geez, it wouldn't be S.P.E.W.!

7. Who do you think will die in the book, and who would you be most upset to see die, even if you don’t think it’s likely?

Voldemort (I hope). Probably one of the main-ish characters. I would be very sad to see Lupin or Mr. Weasley die. I could see Ron growing a pair, declaring his love for Hermione, and sacrificing himself.

8. Name three main (ish) characters who you think will definitely live and why. Is there a very minor character(s) you really want to have a happy ending?

Harry, Hermione, and Draco will live.

9. If you don’t like the book, or are bitterly disappointed by it, do you think you’ll still stay a fan?

I've had other series where my dislike of latter books have colored my original love for the earlier books. Even so, I have faith that Rowling will keep her characters' and her world's integrity, and that's all I ask. Will I be sad if there is a tragic ending? Yes, of course, and disappointed that sunshine and rainbows don't appear as Dumbledore pops out from behind a statue and says "Just kidding!" But there is a wholeness to tragedy, too, and as long as the characters continue to act in ways that are consistent, plausible, and human I will never lose my love for these books.

· Snape: good, evil, own agenda?

· Bill: will he help Remus or just be on permanent honeymoon? Bill, schmill.

· Peter: a Gryffindor moment or not? Unredeemed, unrepentant.

· Harry: is he a Horcrux? Can I split the difference and say that his SCAR is, but that HE isn't?

· The Weasleys: will they all survive? I certainly hope so. Though Percy can take a long walk off a short pier as far as I'm concerned.

· If no to the above: who won’t? Perhaps one of the twins?

· Did Snape love Lily: Hmmm, never thought about it.

· Hogwarts: will they go back to school or not? No, or if so, not to attend school. And I'm interested to see how the narrative works without the frame of the school year. (Alert: English Teacher!)

· Remus and Tonks: will they get married in the book? Maybe they'll just BE married. I don't want to waste a lot of time on them.

· Bellatrix: who will be her nemesis? Neville. Or, ooh, Sirius returned from the dead!

· The new leader of the OotP is …?
Professor McGonagall

· Percy: will he see the error of his ways or not? No. Sort of like my uncle who became a Republican.

11. If Harry could take just one adult Order of the Phoenix member with him on the search for Horcruxes, who should it be and why?

I don't think he needs any adults, he's certainly proven that. Possibly Lupin, who is now the closest thing to a father he has. But Ron & Hermione should be enough; possibly adding Krum for a love triangle...

12. Will Remus and Greyback have a confrontation in human or werewolf form? Will Tonks be involved? Who will the other werewolves support?

Werewolves will not come to the Order's side until the MoM recognizes "half-breeds" as equal to wizards.

13. Who is the person from Harry’s class (and it isn’t him, Ron or Hermione), who will become a Hogwarts teacher? What subject will they teach?

Lavender: divination

14. Do you think Harry will observe Remus looking less lined and walking with a little more of a spring in his step? If so, do you think he'll attribute it to Tonks, and if he does, will he blush?

Heck, I'M blushing imagining werewolf/shapeshifter sex.

15. Will Ginny use, "But Professor Lupin saw the futility of being a noble prat!" for one of her million arguments with Harry about why they should be together? Do you think they’ll get back together at all?

He's sacrificing Ginny to keep her safe as opposed to Lupin who was denying Tonks's love because he felt unworthy of it. I think Harry and Ginny will be separated for the duration of the book and this will strengthen rather than shred their love.

16. Which house do you think Tonks is in, and why? Is she going to morph into someone important and who will it be?

I LIKE Tonks but think it's too late for her to be important.

17. Who will be revealed to be the heir of Gryffindor?

Um, wasn't Harry already de facto heir when he got the sword in book 2?

18. As JKR has promised the final chapter will be like an epilogue; how do you think the final paragraph (hopefully) donated to Remus’ future, and/or Tonks’, and/or anyone else you want to write a paragraph on, will read?

If only I could write like Rowling. (And I'm sensing the person who composed these questions is a big Tonks/Lupin fan.)

19. Which question from the books would it annoy you most not to have answered?

My number one choice is Katie's question: What is the root of Dumbledore's unshakeable faith in Snape?

Another niggling question for me is, if Petunia hated her sister's being a witch so much, basically disowning Lily and James, why did she promise to watch Harry all these years (regardless of how well she did it)? What prompted her vow to Dumbledore?

20. What do you think the last line of the book is?

The End. (Stealing again from Katie at One Scheme of Happiness. Well Said, Dear!)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

New beginnings...

So the Seahawks didn't win. But it was an awfully good game (excuse the oxymoron). Our boy Josh Brown would have made the field goal, if we only could have gotten that last first down...(oxymoron again?) So now we've switched our allegiance to New Orleans, if only because we feel sort of sorry for them. Everyone likes a Cinderella story.

On the knitting front: I'm in the throes of an Elizabeth Zimmermann obsession. In the past few weeks I have haunted the library stacks, devouring:
Knitting Around
Knitting Without Tears
Knitting Workshop

I also checked out Meg Swansen's book and A Gathering of Lace (edited by MS) and two Barbara Walkers (Charted Designs and Knitting From the Top). I LOVE THESE BOOKS. They make me think, dream, imagine, chart, and design in my mind. I've resolved to start on a sweater this week. My first sweater. Yikes...and yay!

I'm thinking Cascade 220, raglan sleeves, for Mr. D, using Elizabeth's Percentage System. He'll pick the colors, so we'll end up with Spider-Man red & blue I'm sure, like his baby cable scarf.

He's also requested spider-man socks, which has got my mind going on the possibilities of a slip-stitch pattern in black, red, and blue, hence the Barbara Walker book. I think I found a possibility. I need to order some more Silja yarn--it's the only sock yarn I can find in the bright red and bright blue I need--and then swatching will commence.

And, finally, because my hands itched too much while reading Knitting From the Top, I swatched out my KnitPicks Essential Solid sock yarn. 7.5 spi on size 2s, 7 spi on size 3s, so I've started a pair of 64-stitch socks, another 4-stitch repeat design from Sensational Knitted Socks. The yarn is their color "Dusk," which is a soft denimy blue, perfect for wearing with jeans. The learning curve on this project is TWO SOCKS at once on TWO CIRCULARS, the instructions for which I found when I downloaded KnitPicks' boot sock pattern.

Well, now that I've dumped out two weeks' worth of knitting in one big knitting vomit, I'll have to pace myself for a while. And take pictures.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Twelfth Man


We here in the Pacific Northwest pride ourselves on our laid-back attitude. Just don't get in the way of our coffee fix and you're pretty much fine with a native. Having lived in Texas, where I found the fabled Southern niceness to be about as thick as the ozone layer after all the oil refinery fumes get done doing their evil work, I must say that I find the general politeness and genuine all-around helpful spirit of the Northwest refreshing and homey. (Though people in a certain Eastern Washington city, we'll call it "Mokane", could use their turn signals a bit more often, and learn to let other cars merge onto the freeway. For future reference.)

But don't forget, peoples of the less north-and-western-y parts of the country, that beneath our latte-drinking, orca-watching, kayak-paddling, Birkenstock-wearing, Nordstrom-shopping, airplane-building exteriors lurk the hearts of SuperFans.

Qwest Field is the loudest stadium in the NFL. And tomorrow morning, fueled by the pound of Guatemalan beans my hubby just bought from our local Starbucks, our downstairs will be the loudest TV room in the neighborhood.

Here's hoping I finish Alligator Foot #2 in time to coordinate it with my Hawks shirt...and my Birks.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Second sock success (so far)

Alligator foot #2 is progressing nicely. Just eight more rows (two more pattern repeats of the corded rib pattern) and I'll be ready to start the heel flap.

Even though they are probably a size too big, I love these things. I love the color, the wooliness, the Norwegian words on the ballband. Good thing, because Allinda, AKA Blue-Haired Upseller Extraordinaire, sold me three balls of the stuff -- "Yoost in case, dear" -- and I'm clearly going to need only two. What do you do with one ball of sock yarn?

I was grousing about this to my sister who reminded me that she lives down the street from Allinda's Palace O' Acrylic, Mildew, and a Little Bit of Heaven...and so could go in and buy me one in the same dyelot if still available. (I'm doubting Allinda has had a big run on green Silja Strompegarn since December 27th, so this plan seems workable.)

Which brings me to my personal triumph: I have turned my sister on to knitting. She's made two MDK ballband warshrags and has already been surfing yarn on the net. (MDK Rule # whatever: You will google "yarn.")

There's a part of me that wants to keep this my own private domain. It's a bit of power trip to be able to do something no one in your family can do. But the benefits of having a yarn store shopping buddy...someone to share pattern books with...and most of all someone who appreciates the work that goes into each creation -- because I certainly didn't before I started knitting -- that will be beyond selfishness.

The knitting of alligator #2 has been a respite for my mind. You'll see that the sock is sitting on a letter...from my former principal...of recommendation. I can't believe we're contemplating what we're contemplating. (And I can't believe I'm writing about it OUT LOUD.)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Alligator Feet

I have finished the first sock of a pair for myself.

I checked out Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks from the library, having heard good things about it. Wow! It is not just a sock pattern book. It is an instruction manual on the construction of socks, a thesis on the possibilities of sock architecture, an inside-out tour on the very THINKING that makes socks possible.

I can't say enough about the way this book was put together. Instead of presenting individual sock patterns, instead she shows how to "build" socks using four, five, six, eight, and twelve stitch patterns, plus ripple stitches, cables, fair isle, and mosaic. She also presents each pattern with instructions for using four or five DPNs or (my preference, since it's the only way I know how) two circulars, and gives a chart so you can choose your gauge and size. So you get to choose your pattern, your yarn, your gauge, your method, and get going. Amazing!

I didn't, apparently, measure my foot correctly, so my sock is a bit on the big side:

I've already cast on the mate, though, and will just soldier through with big-ish socks. That's what Birkenstocks are for. (Can you tell I live in the Northwest?)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Creative Reflections

This will be my third post without photos. Oops, I'm breaking one of the unwritten laws of knit(etc)blogs. In my defense, the batteries just died in the camera whilst I was attempting to download photos of my new green sock, which has consumed my mental energy all week. (More on this little morsel of wooly goodness when the camera is back up.)

Instead, I'll write a new year's post, one that makes no resolutions (can't remember ever keeping one), but reflects on the creative endeavors of 2006.

in 2006 I made:

1. A baby. Small, blonde, blue eyes. She was cooking along as an embryo at the year's dawn. We caught our first sight in March at the ultrasound, then met her in person in July, ten days before her due date, but certainly not early. Eight pounds, five ounces of zen-like calm. Baby E, newest member of the KnitSmith family.

2. A master's degree.

3. the age of 30.

4. A three-year-old's knight costume for Halloween, complete with breastplate, dragon motif, and awesome bias-cut drapey swirly cape. Plus a sword.

5. 1500 words in English Journal. My first nationally published article.

6. 10,000 sweater designs in my mind.

7. umpteen batches of cookies and banana bread with Mr. D.

8. compost.

9. warshcloths, socks, scarves, baby sweaters, and, incidentally, a lifelong passion.

10. many firsts: first 100% wool...first cable work...heck, first PURL occurred in 2006.

11. a blog. A fledgling.

In my typical perfectionist way, I've been down on myself for Not Knitting Enough. Not Enough to justify the expenditure of mini-stash and the books I'm already collecting...Not Enough for myself...Not Enough for my kids...Not Enough gifts.

But when I look at this list, it seems more than enough.