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Wednesdays are for (more free) books

I'm on Rachael Herron's advance reader list, which means she emails to see if we want an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) before she releases a new book. Last week she sent through an email, saying the last of the Ballard Brother books Rock the Boat is coming out, would I like an advance copy. I clicked the "yes please" button, while scarcely registering that she asked her readers to read and review within two weeks. I'm reading the last of the Robin Hobb Farseer books, which is a thousand pages long, and full of tension, adventure, torture, drama. I'm usually a monogamous reader.

But I put aside that book, even though its amazing and I really need to know what happens next, because I wanted to read this so much. And it was the perfect break. It's a typical romance, with romance tropes, and is clearly heading for a HEA, but it has a quality of writing that is easy to read, intelligent and follows basic grammar (too many romances just don't bother). The dialo…
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A weekend in the county, and some (finished) socks

This weekend we went to Ballarat, to see Leon's parent's, catch up with friends and go to Ballarat Beer Fest. All this gave me some serious knitting time on Leon's socks which was good because while these socks are not complicated, they were quite slow. Mainly because every 5th row involved knitting three together, and that was slow, and a little hard on the hands, although mine seem to have held up ok, which is always a relief. 

I knit these on 2mm needles - a mixture of HiyaHiyas and Chiaogoo. I originally had a set of each, and I lost one on the way, so now I just grab 5. I like the Chiaogoos better - they are pointy without being sharp, and they appear to be stronger - one of the HiyaHiyas bent a little, with all the intense levering of stitches.

I like the way the socks came out. They are named after House Targeyen from Game of Thrones, and they do look like dragon scales. When Leon first put them on, I was worried they were too tight, but they have stretched out and ar…

Cathedral wrap - finished

As mentioned the other day, I finished the Cathedral wrap. I blocked it, and it had ended up very long - which is not a bad thing, although I'm considering blocking again for width. I love the Oyster Yarns Maven yarn knitted up at this gauge. it's so soft and squishy and smooth and silky. Really stunning. 
I'm still mad about the "join in the middle" pattern instruction, although I don't think you can see it when I'm wearing it, I know it's there. I'm still considering my options on reworking the join.

Other than that though, it is quite glorious. It wraps softly around the neck, floats about and is really hard to photograph well! It's like a giant merino / silk / yak yarn necklace. This was quite a fun scarf to knit,although it was a little painful to be reminded that - for me at least - lace is harder than colourwork - and I was glad to support an Australian dyer for my first finish of the year. 

It was another project where near the end I …

Sock yarn for Leon ... again

Katie brought some destash in to Richmond Knitters on Monday, and I scored this lovely green sock yarn: 

 I had to laugh though, since I keep on talking about reducing my stash, and really, the bulk of my stash is sock yarn for Leon, and it never goes down. I have 10 balls in colours suitable for him (you know, grey, dark green, blue, brown or black: Look at that glorious pile! 

And it doesn't seem to be going down. In between my friends' generous destashing, buying yarn as tourists (could you go past a grey yarn called dreich, while at a yarn shop in Edinburgh?) I'm getting it an fast as I'm knitting it. And, since Leon's sock draw is quite full, I'm not really knitting it all that fast - I'm only aiming for four pairs for him this year. I only knit him three pairs last year. So, this pile of yarn will last two or three years. Although, I might use that green in the bottom right for something for myself, because it really is very pretty.

A weekend in the counry, and some socks

This weekend we went hiking in Lederderg. we haven't been hiking since Scotland last year, and we were excited to go back to Lederderg, particularly since we went with Skip and Bee, for their first overnight camping hike.
I took House Targaryen socks, a pattern that is ideal, since it's intuitive, and after the first repeat there is no need to look at the instructions. 
We did the same hike that Leon and I did the first time we went, with the same number of otehr people camping near us (that would be NONE!)
We only saw two goats this time, and a lovely lizard.

The weather was perfect, warm but not hot, not too windy, and dry. It was a thrill to pack our tent on Sunday morning and have it be perfectly dry. No rain, no dew, no dampness.
It got just cool enough that, around camp at night I wore my Goats beanie, but mostly it was short and t-shirt weather. Camping in the summer is fun - one of the things I missed in Scotland was being able to make camp, and then lounge around knittin…

Graft - in pattern

Why do I follow instructions, even when I know they are going to make my life difficult? I did it with Strathendrick, and now I've done it with Cathedral Wrap. I know that you can't knit something, in pattern, from both ends and graft it perfectly. I did a class on this at EYF. The instructions that Joji link to make this clear. I knew it when I cast this wrap on - with the instructions to graft it in the middle, in pattern. 

Knowing it's not possible to make this perfect, I decided to do a swatch to test out the technique: Yep, looks like crap on one side (the "wrong" side of this twisted rib) And a little better, but still crap on the "right" side. I had a look on the Ravelry forums, and there is no discussion about it, but I did notice that only one person showed the join in their photos - and theirs looks like this too. I though about doing a three needle bind off, which would be neat, but also interrupt the stretch of the scarf in a way that grafting …

Wednesdays are for (free) books

I participate in NetGalley, a website that provides digital Advanced reader Copies to influencers like me in exchange for honest reviews. These are the two latest book's I've read from them:

The Military wife by Laura Trentham 

I read the first 50 percent of this book in a weekend. I couldn’t put it down. It was told in alternating chapters, some set in “present day” and some in the past. I was quite interested in the characters and the story. I felt like the writing was a bit clunky at times, but I could forgive that for the story. And then the second half just fell apart a bit. It moved from feeling like chick-lit to romance. The "past” chapters became infrequent, and when they repeated information that we had already been told. They also were not in order, so the past jumped around from more recent past to older past. The big secret felt like an anti-climax. The character development was patchy – there are marked inconsistencies in the story we are told about the char…