All the Reads

I finished Midwinter of the Spirit, book number 2 in Phil Rickman’s Merrily Watkins series. I described these to a friend as, “Vicar of Dibley meets Wicker Man.” I’ve heard them called Folk Horror and Paranormal Cozies. I enjoy these books so much, I wanted to move right on to the next book in the series. Then I looked at the stack of books on my nightstand and decided to try to finish a few others first.

I’m really enjoying Adrienne Dillard’s second book, “Keeper of the Queen’s Jewels.” I’m taking it one chapter a day. I’m particularly appreciative of her treatment of Queen Jane Seymour. Let’s face it, usually you love her or you hate her. This author really fleshes her out as intelligent, cautious, and dissembling. Who wouldn’t be in her situation?

I’ve started listening to Barkskins on audiobook, by Annie Proulx. This is the result of a rabbit hole I went down, starting with an episode of Not Just the Tudors about a demonic possession in New France (French Canada). I became fascinated with colonial Quebec and started searching, and ended up on Barkskins. I’ve also finished watching the series on Apple TV.

I haven’t made much progress on Threads of Life. I’m hoping to pick it back up.

I’ve started watching Mayfair Witches, and am thinking about rereading the first book. I wasn’t a huge fan when I read it the first time, but maybe my maturity will improve it for me.

I’ve also got Batavia: The Night Ship on reserve at the library. The author was recently interviewed on Not Just the Tudors, and I thought it sounded like something I would enjoy. I get a lot of book recommendations from the podcasts I listen to!

We had a big snow yesterday! Bob came into my craft office (that’s what I’ve decided to call it) and asked me if I wanted to go sledding? Yes, thank you very much. I would love that. We weren’t able to sled as our hills aren’t steep enough, so we built a snowman instead.

Thorsday Three: Dread Full Media (in the Best Way)

Book: The Dark Queens

My sister recommended this, and it hasn’t disappointed. I’m near the end and want these proto-Machiavellians to repent, especially Fredegund. Absolutely horrible, but fascinating. It’s nonfiction, but written in a fun and engaging way. I was surprised how many Frankish documents from the sixth century survive, which are the sources for this epic work.

Film: She Will

I have loved Alice Krige since Ghost Story and will watch her in anything. Even so, I found this film bewitching — a fanciful tale superbly done, dark, mysterious, and cathartic. And how refreshing to see a wonderful actress aging naturally and playing a choice role. I felt very satisfied.

Podcast: English Heritage Episode 184, Bram Stoker’s Dracula

I don’t normally listen to this podcast, but the topic of this episode piqued my interest. It includes a history of the locations where the novel is set, a bit about the origin of the work, as well as a brief history of vampires and revenants in general. I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of the first nonfiction book I read about vampires in my teens, which was essentially coverage of 17th and 18th century court cases. I couldn’t find this episode on their website, so linked to a public service where you can listen in a browser. However, you can find this on Apple, Spotify, et al.

Side note: have you watched Dracula on Netflix? Claes Bang and Dolly Wells are delicious! The dialogue is smart and funny.

Week End Wrap Up

Hey y’all, antidepressant withdrawal symptoms are no joke. I napped every day this week. I craved bacon and potatoes. I’m still battling taste bud malfunction. I haven’t knit a stitch in days! Here’s what I did get up to.

I ordered a new hula hoop. This is a beginner hoop named Mystic Dragon. She’s being patient with me. I can keep her going for a few seconds. I’m following another over 50 hooper on Instagram. She’s slow and gentle with her movements. I am encouraged!

We went to the farmer’s market today and picked up the first apples of the season. Thank you Covid gods for leaving my apple taste buds intact.

Chestnut Hills Studio (that’s me) is having an end of summer sale! If these cotton and wool babies don’t go, I’ll be holding onto the three variegated and three of the tansy dyed to knit a summer Halvis next year.

I heard an interview with author Adrienne Dillard on Talking Tudors and decided I needed to order this book. Her next historical fiction about Jane Seymour and Margery Horsman is coming out in November. Having just finished watching Becoming Elizabeth, I was really in the mood for this. So far, so good! Other books have been swept aside in the wake of this one.

I sewed two new Tekura Tees. Ready for October! Who am I kidding. I will wear these year round.

Many people don’t like that corporations and probably the government are tracking all your online activity. I could care less. I’m not doing anything anyone could be interested in. Except when the Coastal Grandma alert goes off and a company I have never heard of mails a paper catalog to me of everything I want. This is how they get you. Look at this jacket! Unfortunately, everything in the catalog is over $150. Fortunately, I know how to sew.

I found a pattern on Etsy for $3! And I have fabric that will work. At first I was thinking the teal corduroy. Now I’m wondering if the wool plaid would be better. I purchased it for trousers but it has a soft hand. Either way, I’ll have to buy a lining fabric. Which one do you prefer? I’ll probably go with corduroy. I’m not sure about quilting this wool fabric from Heavens to Betsy via The Woolery. Although I could quilt along the tartan lines, so there’s that.

Merry Knitmas!

I started on my Twilight Toujours. This is my holiday knit.

Bob got me the December 2019 Harry Potter Yarn from Forbidden Fibers. I’m so geeked out! The hank is Hogsmeade and it’s gorgeous.

He also got me a gift certificate for Fairlight Fibers. I’m going to save it for something special.

He also gifted me the Fibershed book, which was something I wanted, and The Book of Gutsy Women, which he picked out for me. ❤️

We’ve had a lovely day. We played games with the boys all morning and now we’re relaxing and watching movies. I hope you’re having a wonderful day with family and fiber arts!

PS: The new episode of The Just Craft podcast is up!

Down with Bad Stuff

I do not like summer. I have never liked summer. I don’t like the heat. I don’t like the break in routine. Summer makes me grumpy. Summertime is when I like to stay indoors in the AC and read and knit. Down with Summer.

Bob and I walked to the library yesterday and I browsed the knitting books, while also picking up more Tudor books. I can’t seem to get enough of the Tudors — fiction, nonfiction, audiobook, proper book, well written, badly written… it really does not matter. And what’s fascinating is every author has a different take on the subject!

Anyway, I enjoyed browsing the knitting books and bringing a few home, noncommittally. In the past, I would only check out the knitting books if I thought I could learn something from them or if there was a pattern inside that I wanted to knit. I was in my same old rut — looking through knitting books that I thought were pretty but would never knit anything out of — when I realized it was okay. It is totally fine to check out a knitting book, flip through it and enjoy the eye candy, and then return it. It’s even okay to do it intentionally! Down with self-limiting arbitrary rules!

“Protest Knits” has a very enjoyable Trump Pincushion crochet pattern, but I will never make it. Maybe I will make the Down with Bad Stuff water bottle holder!

I have a HUUUGE water bottle (see what I did there?) and I never take it hiking because it’s too darn big! But this would solve that problem and be fun, albeit rather vague.

I started my Blue Ribbon Beanie. It is a beautiful shade of deep cerulean Malabrigo DK. It’s 2X2 rib. I’m not sure how I will decrease at the top yet. Ribbing can be tricky to decrease.

Honestly, I started the beanie because I’ve lost the verve for my FIVE sweaters I have on the needles, and even Celtic Myths feels a little fussy right now. So I’ve fallen back on hat knitting just to try to stick with it.

I had to give up a few things this Summer. I gave up the herb business. It needed more than I could give. I gave up some of my blog subscriptions. I couldn’t keep up. But I only gave up on the ones where I felt there wasn’t a connection. I have had to give up pleasure eating and drinking wine and margaritas. I gained a lot of weight last year and even exercise couldn’t help me keep it off, so I signed up for Noom and am counting every calorie and even steps! I had to give up sewing for a while, until I no longer needed to use my studio as an office.

But I got my office back, which means I also got my studio back. I got to participate in an art show. I got my teeth cleaned today, which included a new toothbrush, floss, and props for excellent hygiene. I’ve lost 2 pounds in 5 days. My garden is producing scrumptious tomatoes. Up with good stuff, amiright?!

Tea and Books, and a Swatch

I’ve noticed knitting blogs also have a tendency to run toward tea and books, so I thought I would share my new favorite tea.

I have been drinking Level Ground coffee for a couple of years, but this is the first time I’ve tried their black tea. It was on sale at work so I stocked up. It’s delicious!

I was worried about drinking black tea on top of coffee, but I notice I sleep better when I drink black tea. Bob says it’s the Theanine. I remember my ADHD psych telling me that if I’m not sleeping well, I’m probably undercaffeinated. I thought that was hogwash, but now I’m starting to wonder.

I am looking through stitch dictionaries to help me with my designs. Believe it or not I also owned the Vogue Knitting ones in addition to these -Interweave and Walker. I donated the Vogues to a knitting group for a potluck swap. The recipient was very happy. I got an Encyclopedia of Embroidery Stitches, so I was also pleased.

I do sometimes read non-knitting books, but not as much as I’d like. Right now I’m listening to Leviathan Wakes on Bob’s recommendation. Pam mentioned fandoms and I decided if I was going to have a “thing” I wanted to share it with Bob. So we’re trying to make The Expanse our thing and we’ve started watching the show. I’m a little disappointed with the show because I don’t feel it represents the diversity and social justice issues as well as the book, though I should probably give it more than two episodes.

I’m starting to wonder if we should make Godzilla our thing like Skeinherder. Honestly, I’m pretty sure horror is our thing.

I spent all of my knitting time yesterday working on this swatch in the round. I did a fair amount of improvising. I’m not 100% pleased but it’s a start.

If you have a holiday today, enjoy! If not, Happy Monday. 🙃