I need, need, need to get some photos up here, but a fire in my babysitter's house foiled my plans for a few free hours today. Not much I can say about that. One week her brakes went out. One week a beam fell on her on stage after a play. Just a string of bad luck!
I have been getting in a good bit of knitting in the wee hours. My Shoalwater shawl is coming along. I'm a stone's throw away from finishing the first skein of yarn, in fact, and I'm mid-way through the third repeat of four. Since the rows are, of course, getting longer, that doesn't really mean I'm halfway, probably, but it is coming along.
My Jaywalkers are also coming along. I thought I was making them for M because she loves the yarn I'm using. And that was okay with me. I would have picked a more color-laden colorway for a pair for me. But, after I turned the heel and started on the gusset decreases, it became clear that the sock doesn't have enough stretch to be a good fit for her. It's actually really tough for me to get it pulled over my heel (I must have a prominent heel!), but once on, it's a fine fit for me, maybe even a tad loose. So, they'll have to be for me. I'm glad I determined that when I did because I went ahead and decreased the foot down several more stitches to make the foot tighter. Had I not done that, it might not have fit anyone!
Mom and M both put "socks" on their "make for me" list for this year when I was making a rough outline of things I know I want to work on (potentially) this year. It's hard though. M ends up hard to fit. And I'm not sure either are really going to like handknit socks. M only wants stockinette. She says she doesn't like ribbing on top or bottom of the foot. But it seems to me like ribbing would help the fit. Sigh.
While I was home, I read A Good Yarn by Debbie Macomber (sequel to The Shop On Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber). It was a fun, even if slightly unbelievable. That it centers around knitting excuses a good bit of fluff and lightness and made it really compelling. That they were making socks in this one had me hooked! I loved how "special" the socks they made were - and how much the recipients (men in each case) loved getting them and wearing them. The socks, for more than one of the wearers were considered "lucky," and in each case, the socks had special significance and were sentimental in a way handknit items should be - but in a way I guess I don't think of socks being - which is probably why I haven't made many socks for other people. That all the recipients were men was also funny because I received Nancy Bush's Vintage Socks for Christmas and had to admit to being a little disappointed that so many of the patterns are for men. It's just not a good fit for me - now. Give the boys 10 or so years, and maybe it'll be just right... if I can raise two boys who will be young men who treasure handknit socks! Seems like a big if! Hats, yes. Socks? Not sure!
After I finished that, I turned to my stocking stuffer read, Died in the Wool : A Knitting Mystery by Mary Kruger . Again, it's light. It's not Patricia Cornwell or James Patterson. Instead, it's light like Lillian Jackson Braun. That doesn't mean it's not a good read though. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can't help reading these books and dreaming of owning my own yarn store, and that Kruger's store owner lives in Freeport Maine made things all the more perfect (since M and I have always coveted the idea of moving to ME and opening a shop). I have to admit that I can't quite picture the kinds of designs Ariadne in the book designed and wore. At times, I sort of had the "ooh, I can picture what she's got on, and I probably wouldn't get near it" reaction to what I was reading, but then, I don't have enough sweaters to my name to wear something I "made" everytime I leave the house! The treatment of the Internet and pattern piracy on the Web also is a bit niave, simplistic, and trite, I'd say, but again, it's a compelling read, and I'm looking forward to the next one coming out this Spring.
Mom got Knit One, Kill Two by Maggie Sefton in her stocking and just finished it. She said she felt a lot of things were left hanging, but it's possible the story line is continued to some degree in the sequel: Needled to Death.
I'm sure she'll bring it along when she comes to visit this year. For now, though, I'm completely wrapped up in Sinner : Wayfarer Redemption #4 by Sara Douglass. I got Pilgrim: #5 for Christmas but somehow never had read #4 when I got it last year. I'm totally engrossed now and can't imagine why I didn't read it sooner. I'm also thinking I really should go back and read the initial trilogy again just to re-experience it. So many things are brought up in book #4 that I'd forgotten, and the magic of reading those first three is floating around in my head. Some books are just like that.
By the way... I'm still hoping to catch up on reading some of the classics I missed, but I'm also going to watch a few of them. This 6-DVD collection from my brother for Christmas should help.