Archive for March, 2008

Chronicle is a lovely word

Friday, 14 March 2008

71. The Chronicle of Western Costume: From the Ancient World to the Late Twentieth Century by John Peacock

This is a book of colour drawings (done I think by Mr Peacock) of male and females dressed per every decade (and often partial decade) since Medieval times, with larger periods covered prior to that. It mostly describes the formal wear of the upper classes, although there are occasional representations of working people. It mostly covers Europe, with a few diversions here and there as information was forthcoming, I think. The book does not have essays on the changing costume, but is very good for pictorial reference without distractions.

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A novel new to me

Thursday, 13 March 2008

70. Never Change by Elizabeth Berg

This is one of the books I’ve had sitting by my bed awaiting their turn for well over two months. It’s well written, if somewhat slight in its aims. It told its story and ignored entirely likely problems this story lead to. (Thinking to what happens very shortly before the end of the book and how much trouble undoubtedly would happen to the protagonist.) It’s sweet.

Crochet is going well, but I amn’t getting enough sleep to be able to write sense about my projects.

Not that kind of photography

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

69. Magic Moments: The Greatest Royal Photographs of All Time by Arthur Edwards

Presuming I actually get around to getting my camera fixed sometime in the near-ish future, I’ll never take photographs like these. Largely because I have no desire to, of course, not being that much of a one for the celebrity culture, and not having been brought up a Royalist. Where I was brought up the British royal family were celebrities, I suppose, and often respected for their charitable work, but still symbols of that past colonial overlordship, and thus not fawned over.

Anyhow, Edwards is specifically a newspaper photographer, with an eye for the moment, the frame, and the ability to build up a relationship with his long-term subjects. This is so much not the kind of book I would have read for myself that it was actually quite interesting!

FrouFrou, Finished

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

It’s done, edgings and all! She likes it, I like it, other people like it. It has come out long as a coat, rather than a jacket, but hopefully that will work for the springtime.

So there you go, my first wearable garment made, and I’m no closer to correctly estimating how far yarn will go than I ever was.

Onto the final colour of the Seraphina too, and nearly finished the February mat.

And one more book.
68. Spud Goes Green by Giles Thaxton

This is meant to encourage kids to take fun and practical steps towards becoming greener, but it is fun to read as well.

I’m falling asleep as I type. Goodnight.

Reading Amusement

Sunday, 9 March 2008

66. Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon

67. Lord John and the Hand of Devils by Diana Gabaldon

I finally finished my read of the whole Lord John sequence in order (the three stories/novellas in Hand of Devils sandwich the two novels) of which the last novella (“Lord John and the Haunted Soldier”) is the only one I hadn’t read before. This story is about the aftermath of one of the more minor events of Brotherhood, restoring that event to a significance even beyond the one Lord John thought it would have. There are rather a lot of major events of Brotherhood that aren’t referred to in more than passing, but it does need to be kept relatively short, and as Gabaldon has explained, she wrote these two at the same time, and was not given sufficient copy-editing time in between. The two books were published literally within days of each other in the USA, although annoyingly in the UK we had to wait months for Hand of Devils, for no discernible reason.

Anyhow, I was also checking through the silly number of programs I have on my computer, and noticing Family Tree Maker 2005 I wondered whether it would complain about Gabaldon’s time-travellers, so I made a new file and put in some of the characters from her main series. As I suspected, it didn’t much like someone from the 20th century getting married in the 18th, but not because they weren’t born yet, just because the bride was under ten years old! That made me giggle, anyhow.

New Pictures at last!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Thanks to some discussions on the CLF board on Ravelry awhile back I finally thought of scanning some of my smaller projects, seeing as my camera is no closer to being fixed.

My NatCroMo piece before

Guided Freeform 003

and after

Guided Freeform 004

today’s instructions.

The scanner isn’t good at depth, it seems, but you can get a decent impression, I think.

The FrouFrou is too large for the scanner, but here’s the new cuff, at least:

FrouFrou

And the February mat is now too large for the scanner bed, so I’ve done it in halves:

Guided FreeformGuided Freeform 001

Again the focal length isn’t quite right, but it’s better than no pics at all, I hope. (It’s a shame the two halves don’t quite match up, but if I had the patience to make that work I’d have better pictures for you altogether!)

Pages and Pages

Thursday, 6 March 2008

I’ve added another blog page giving the recipe (rather than a proper pattern) for the baby blanket I made last year. This was done now as a tutorial for the latest instruction on the NatCroMo CAL page.

And I went through more books at work today. I enjoyed poring over all of them, although none of them are overly wordy!

63. Amigurumi by Annie Obaachan

There, a crochet book I actually read! (And I fully intend using some of its patterns in the near future as well.) There is a nice (concise and colourful) introduction explaining amigurumi as a very Japanese phenomenon, instructions on basic crochet stitches, Japanese charting, and designing one’s own little animals, and then come the patterns, which are lots of fun and appear to be very clear, although I haven’t actually tried using them yet.

64. Beadwork by Robin Bellingham, Hana Glover & Jema Hewitt

Clear, well laid out instructions and photographs mean this book’s inspirational qualities may actually work on me and all those beads in my room that just sit around looking pretty (when they aren’t all over the floor or hidden away in a box). It’ll have to wait until after NatCroMo and Pesach, though.

65. Bikes of Burden by Hans Kemp

I really feel like I get a sense of the daily speed and ingenuity of Vietnam’s streets through this book. The impression given may or may not be correct in everyone’s eyes, but it’s definitely vivid, and makes for impressive photography. This isn’t one for an on-duty food safety officer, however!

Continuing the ongoing

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

I did more on the same three projects as yesterday, and I’m still happy with all of them. The FrouFrou has one cuff, and I now know how the edging works, so the other cuff and the front edging should go faster. It’s hot in the house and I’m tired, so I’ll try to do a big chunk on it tomorrow. The February mat is still in February, but is a good commuting project.

More and more other people are joining in on the NatCroMo game, and talking about it, so I’m delighted about that. There’s lots of other fun going on in the Ravelry group, too.

Ongoing Satisfaction

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

The FrouFrou is practically done! The actual jacket is made and sewn up (the front as I went along), and I’m going to do as much as I can of the cuffs and other edgings tomorrow night at the knitting group. My housemate tried it on tonight once I finished the second front, and it fits really quite well, so we’re both happy. We’ve agreed that it’s quite long enough at the back (which isn’t hanging quite evenly, but hopefully I can fix that) so I amn’t going to do the edging across the bottom, just up the front and around the shawl collar. I think that should work, and one of the other people on Ravelry mentioned the same issue.

The colour has come out really well, and apparently it’s nice and warm. I don’t know that it’ll get worn over the summer, but we’ll see. I’ll just have to remind her not to leave it hanging, as I believe that could lead to its getting even longer!

I’m also really happy with how the NatCroMo Freeform CAL is going. Ten of us have projects for it on Ravelry now, and I believe there might be another couple happening too. People seem to be enjoying both the crochet and game aspects of it, which is great. (It even reminded me of some of the books I am supposedly currently reading and need to get back to.)

And I got another day of the February mat done, so that is getting back on track too. Things are good.

The only slight bit of cloud about is not having progress pictures while everything is moving so fast, but I’ll cope. (My housemate did try lending me hers again, but her batteries went.)

Great Visions

Monday, 3 March 2008

60. The Shul Without a Clock by Emanuel Feldman

This collection of essays covers a huge range of Jewish and topical issues by a skilled and well educated writer and community Rabbi. R’ Feldman does not shy away from controversial issues, and unashamedly gives an Orthodox Jewish opinion to social issues in the wider world, and a personal one to potential controversies within the Orthodox world. He argues well, and writes entertainingly, and I enjoyed the whole book, where I agreed and where I didn’t. (I’ll admit my favourite essay is “Tefillin in a Brown Paper Bag”, about the importance on books being well written and edited.)

61. Through the Lens : National Geographic Greatest Photographs

This is an absolutely beautiful book, which I would definitely have read (or perused) at the earliest possible opportunity if work hadn’t got it. The editors have chosen a selection of the best of a magnificent collection from the archives of the National Geographic magazine over the past century or so, and then ordered it by continent (the oceans and islands of the world, as well as outer space also get their own chapters), each with an introductory few pages. The reproductions are fantastic, as one would expect, and certainly justify the considerable weight of the book.

62. International Organizations: European Union by Petra Press

This is part of a series for American schools about the major international organisations, and that American background does come through occasionally in the comparisons made, but it is a good introduction to the history and work of the EU up to 2004, when this book was published. That isn’t so very long ago, but enough new countries have joined since that a new edition might be worth having already!