Posts Tagged ‘tablecloth’

Slow words for speed

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Excuses again: I’m working on my mother’s birthday present (which will be late), and so don’t want to put pictures up until she has it. The tablecloth is commuting with me, but hasn’t changed much in the last few rows.

A couple of funny books:

244: Free Air by Sinclair Lewis

This is the book I was Smooth-Reading for Distributed Proofreaders. (I’m linking to the project page for now – you can download it even without being a member – and will link to Project Gutenberg page once it’s up.) Its plot has a good bit in common with the romance in the first two Tarzan books, in my opinion, although the setting doesn’t:

[What follows is most definitely in the class of SPOILERS – no complaints now!]

  • Cultured, gently bred young woman (heroine) goes with her father (who she has to look after) on what for them is a very adventurous journey.
  • Reasonably educated but uncouth-looking young man (hero) sees, falls for, and repeatedly rescues her from trials and tribulations.
  • She repulses his affections for social reasons.
  • Her socially superior (near) fiance publicly stakes his claim.
  • Hero takes pains to learn the skills, clothes and deportment of her social milieu.
  • Heroine’s social conscience still says she can’t be with hero.
  • He saves her once again.
  • She changes her mind.

To be fair, of course, there are an awful lot of other romances out there with the exact same plot, and where they are well written (and preferably contain other interesting plots and subplots) I don’t mind that; it’s rather a classic, after all.

This is a good, light and funny version of the tale, and if I had the time I might consider recording it for Librivox myself.

I don’t, of course, with study beginning again in a couple of weeks, work being hectic already, Braille to continue, crochet to do, and now moderating the European Travelling Teddy Round that is about to begin on Ravelry. (Sign-ups are now closed, I’m afraid.) I’ll let you know when Luna is off!

245. Pugs: G-d’s Little Weirdos by Dave Kellett

The brand new Sheldon book, and I got an Artist’s Edition (with a sweet hand-drawn picture of Oso, of course, on the inside cover). Since this book focusses on pugs, and Oso in particular, some of the cartoons have appeared in the sequential books, but it’s fun seeing them together. I laughed and giggled lots, both of the times I’ve read the book since I received it yesterday!

Questions of judgement

Thursday, 21 August 2008

So, having coming up with lots of interesting phrases and comments to work into my tablecloth, how come I started this massive – and thus boring to do – picture that’s taking up a very large portion of it? I haven’t made any appreciable progress on it today at all. I suppose I should go back to the motifs, which are small and interesting.

236. Mother by Kathlen Norris

Today’s new offering from Librivox is their first by Kathleen Norris, a short (seven chapters) well-read fable. According to Wikipedia it’s the first of her many very popular sentimental/romantic novels, and this certainly fulfils the description. The issues here, of the values and aspirations of middle and upper (in American terms) class women, and how many or any children fit into these, are still recognisable today, although the past 95 years have certainly made a difference!

Although the inspirational, eponymous Mother of the main protagonist, Margaret Paget, has quite specifically withdrawn herself from all close relationships beyond her husband and seven children, this is not the only lauded womanly role; Margaret’s slightly older friend and colleague, the widowed Emily Porter, is presented from the first as having fought for her teaching post, both for the enjoyment and for the financial security it brings herself and her two children. Margaret (Mark to her family, Peggy to her New York friends and acquaintances) is given the opportunity to compare and contrast their examples of giving, fecund maternity to the life of leisure and suavity she has always wanted and takes full advantage.

Niccolo Rising chapter 12. Claes’ unexpected skills come through.

Flitting About

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

filet butterfly

I’ve done this simple filet pattern twice recently in swatches (both in my Ravelry projects), so I thought I should put it into the tablecloth as well. I’m now working on another picture in it, that I knew would be big, but that looks to be taking up the vast majority of the piece now, which I didn’t really intend it to. Nevermind. So long as the yarn doesn’t run out it’ll all come together.

234. Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

I must have spent practically one whole summer watching the old black and white Tarzan films on the television (they had a different one on at the same time every day), and then a year or two ago I found a new edition of this first book of the series, bought it and read it, but didn’t find any of the later ones. Now I find that Librivox has the first and third, with the second in a limbo, part way complete. So I just listened to the first now, and intend to listen to what there is of the second, and read the rest on Project Gutenburg, then listen to the third, and possibly read some of the others. (I believe they may not all be out of copyright as yet.)

I am starting to wonder, listening to all these classic/old novels, just how much the inherent racism can just be ignored as a product of the times in which they were written. Not that it isn’t true, but for myself perhaps I should protest, or stop listening, or something. It’s definitely more of an issue with this work than many of the others, since so much of it is about Tarzan trying to work out value judgements about the various creatures, peoples, societies, individuals, moralities, he comes across. Definitely problematic.

As for the story beyond the ethics (although I amn’t convinced they are particularly separable), it’s entirely implausible, but mostly holds itself together, apart from the last couple of chapters, which are entirely too rushed and try to wrap things up, and set up an immediate (guessing here, since I haven’t even begun it) sequel all at once.

For my liking too many of the characters are entirely dense (especially Jane — I mentioned the racism already, but the sexism is laid on pretty thickly as well), so why do I enjoy the story at all?

235. Up the Attic Stairs by Angela Bull

Another nostalgia reread, about an interconnected but shifting network of women – young, old, and middling – based around a town and in particular two houses within that town, across eighty years and several generations. Three contemporary (the book was published in 1989) student flatmates start a fundraising project that leads to them researching the lives, loves, clothes and struggles personal and political of their predecessors, forcing them to confront their own memories and aspirations. It sounds very worthy, and I amn’t sure what draws me to it, but I keep returning to it every couple of years. It’s long out of print, but isn’t that long, so is worth keeping an eye out for. Sexism in this one is a very acknowledged topic, it being a Virago Press title.

Niccolo Rising chapter 11. I lived on the edge of the old part of Geneva for a year, and I’m trying to work out what the city would have been like around 1460. I think I probably had a better time there than Claes did, anyhow.

Unexpected speakers

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Sorry for the delay in this post (and for the shadow on the image — this was the most legible picture), but I wanted to finish the first filet piece of the tablecloth to show you. Appropriate, no? I’m still working on the flower motifs, but those are small and easily transportable, whereas I think I’ll do the flat filet work all in one piece, so I’ll do it at home. That’s what will gain me the size, as well.

I think I’ll do a picture next, as I’d like to separate the different text phrases from each other.

I’m enjoying being away on holiday, even though I’m back in the house I grew up in! My mother and I went to a ‘Day Spa’, on Friday, with a package including massage, manicure, pedicure and facial – the first time I’d done any of those. It was a really fun day (but very expensive) and I shall now have to try finding the time and money to repeat at least part of the experience.

231. The Fantastic Flying Journey by Gerald Durrell

I think I might have got this when I was a little older than the intended readership, but I’ve always enjoyed it anyhow. I think Durrell’s autobiographical accounts of his animal expiditions, as well as his family and friends are hilarious, but this isn’t trying to be funny, specifically (although there some very funny parts) but a gentle adventure story for children, where Emma, Ivan & Conrad’s eccentric Great-Uncle Lancelot turns up at their house one day in his balloon to whisk them away on a rescue mission that involves travelling around the world meeting (and talking to) fantastic animals. The book is wonderfully illustrated by Graham Percy, and well worth getting your hands on.

232. Watership Down by Richard Adams

I had remembered that there were ‘spiritual’ elements to this book, but not how much of a rabbit world is created and explained, nor how graphic some of what happens (or is described) is. This is an epic adventure in the classic style.

233. March by Geraldine Brooks

Reading this now made sense, having just recently completed rereading Little Women (with Craftlit). I still amn’t sure how much the LW connection matters to this story; I think it is a plausible account of what could be the background to Alcott’s characters, and yet I amn’t sure it’s the one I will have in the back of my mind for them.

As for the book’s own merits: I think it’s good, and thought-provoking, and satisfying in many ways, although it left me on edge. I think it might not have left me that way had I not been trying to reconcile it to my sense of LW, of course…

Now I’m considering rereading some other books I have about the American Civil War.

Niccolo Rising chapter 10 includes Tobie and Julius discussing Claes, and I still can’t work out (after how many rereads of the whole series?) where they’re both coming from, how honest they’re being, and how much they believe each other.