Friday, 20 December 2013

Heading Towards Christmas with Mistletoe, Books and Charity Knitting...

I love mistletoe. This year I'm going to leave this sprig on our apple tree and hope it grows! Meanwhile, I've positioned it prominently in our kitchen...

Isn't this cup the best present? My girlfriend brought it back from Germany for me. I've drunk out of it pretty obsessively since! Nothing like an early Christmas present!

These are the charity mug-huggers in situ, at The Coffee House on Moreton Hall. They're selling for £3, with £1 of that going straight to our local hospice - an indisputable good cause!

Last charity knit of the year: these mugs with their own crochet warmers are on sale at Workwise on Hatter Street with a portion of the money going to Workwise itself. Having finished these, I had no project on the go - but friends gave had a baby girl surprisingly early, so I've got an excuse to get knitting again!

Final picture of this week: I'm reading a superb novel called The Professor of Poetry by Geraldine McCleen. It is lyrically written with an unusual - 50s, single, academic female - protagonist. I've read about a third of it and am loving every sentence. More when it's finished!

Hope everyone's had a good week and is getting ready for a lovely Christmas!


Thursday, 12 December 2013

Reading, Knitting and Someone Else's Crochet: what could be better?

Ta-dah! I finished these last night, to the entertaining accompaniment of several episodes of Big Love. The pattern is from Mollie Makes, Issue 33, and they've worked up pretty well. They're made in 4-ply, on DPNs, and as I don't often use wool that fine, I found they took quite a while to knit up. The instructions are clear, though, with really good photos so that you can check how your pattern is going! The snowflakes are crochet and I cheated a bit on them by using DK and a size 14 hook, so they don't look as fine as the ones in the magazine. I realised, once I'd sewn the snowflakes on, that the gloves can be worn with the snowflakes on the palm or back of the hand - lovely. There will be more on my Ravelry page soon about little changes I made to the pattern. I was going to give these away as a Christmas present - but I might keep them for myself instead!

This week, I also finished a brilliant novel: Charlotte Mendelson's Almost English:

I expected to enjoy this as I've read all of her novels; she has a gift for articulating precisely what a character thinks or feels. Her choice, for this novel, to alternate between writing about a teenage girl and her mother (as well as their brilliantly-drawn troupe of Hungarian female relatives and friends) means that the novel also demonstrates how a mother's and a daughter's experience of an event can be. Marina's experiences at her new boarding school are particularly entertaining and Mendelson effortlessly recreates the mix of mortification and exploration that characterises teenagers. Laura's anxieties about her absent daughter as well as her own romantic life show a loving but cautious and reserved kind of motherhood which, I think, is rarely the subject of films or books. Mendelson's novel is beautifully written, right down to the level of the wit and clarity of individual sentences. Possibly, if you want a thrilling plot, this might not be the novel for you. But if you enjoy superb observation, convincing characters and pitch-perfect writing, then it most certainly is.

Finally, I saw this fabulous crochet bike basket. Is this yours?! Get in touch, if so! I love it!