Crossbones Style

One of the greatest things about The Fiber Factor was seeing all of the amazing work my co-contestants did. Each challenge there were so many patterns that made me groan, “I want to knit that!” Not being overburdened of time and working on my own projects meant that I didn’t get to actually make any of the cool stuff the others designed.

Except for Crossbones Style.

She was made in the break between Challenge 4 and Challenge 5, and she is glorious. Steve got it 100% right in his video when he says that you cannot tell what a great pattern this is until you knit it! It’s all seed stitch and basket weave, but it’s knit in the round and the sections are all mathematically related . . . it’s terribly simple but terribly ingenious and I accidentally made mine taller than it’s supposed to be, just because I liked it so much.

My enthusiasm may seem disproportionate to the uninitiated.

I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to keep her. She is currently living in my Long Term Planning Bin (where the giftables live) but I may end up stealing her out if it ever gets cold in Texas. Or I may just knit another one. I have three unknit balls of Kenzie left and this one weighs 143 grams. Sounds perfect to me.

The Incrementalists

I saw that Scalzi, (author of Redshirts, (my review here) which I freaking (mostly) loved, blurbed a new book and when I looked it up I loved the plot. It seemed a little bit like that movie where Roger Sterling wears a fedora and keeps trying to break up Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, but they’re in love, so it doesn’t work.*

The Incrementalists is about a team of long-lived people who nudge the world in a slightly better direction. Well, they’re not exactly long-lived in and of themselves. Their bodies live a normal lifespan and then die. Whereupon, other members of the organization find a new recruit. The new recruit has things explained to him or her, and if they decide to join the Incrementalists to participate in Meddle Work (meddling in other people’s lives to make them slightly better) they agree to have the recently deceased person’s personality and memories “downloaded” into their bodies.

Sometimes the old personality (or personalities) is (or are) stronger than the personality that actually lived in that body. When that’s the case, the body-personality is subsumed, and the old one incorporates some new things, but mostly floats to the surface, effectively killing the body-donor. It’s all very complex.

The book begins as Phil works on recruiting Ren, (short for Renee) to take the personality and memories of Celeste, his lover for the past 200 or so years. They’ve kept up, body to body. Phil is one of the oldest surviving primaries (old personality) but something goes wrong when Ren agrees and it may throw the whole system out of balance.

It’s a good book, decent story, and Ren and Phil are great, though I don’t quite buy their insta-connection. The problem was that it didn’t seem like anything really happened. They have to hunt a traitor in their midst by going to what they call “The Garden,” which is a metaphysical realm reached by meditation where all of the memories of their many pasts are hidden. So they basically all just sit around, and then they wake up and talk a lot. Then they order pizza and talk some more. And while the Garden is a metaphor that is described physically, it still doesn’t exist, and it sort of feels like a book where nothing happens.

At one point there was some gunplay and I said to myself, “YES! Now we’re cookin’ with gas!” And then all kinds of nothing started happening again.

The thing is, there is something here. It’s such a cool idea, and if it’s the first book in a series, I would definitely stick with it. The reason I started reading though, was because I love the idea of Meddle Work – the tiny, influential changes that make a person’s life, that make the world, a better place. And there’s very little Meddle Work in the book.

I don’t know. I wouldn’t recommend it. A book where I look at the Audible App and think, “Gods. Another 45 minutes and then I can listen to the Exes again” is not going to get my ringing endorsement. If it’s a series though, and if the next one redeems the first . . . then I’ll come back and change my tag on this post.

 

*And yes, I know that movie was The Adjustment Bureau and yes, I know it was based on the story The Adjustment Team by Phillip K. Dick, and yes, I know I’m a bad nerd for not having read any Dick.

 

Hitch! And a Contest!

Helllllllllo, ladies and gentlemen!

First, off, it’s Halloween week, which always makes me giddy with excitement. If I was a better person I’d hunt up some photos of myself in Halloween costumes from my childhood – I always had the best costumes, especially the three years in a row I was Maid Marian (I always liked the 1938 movie best, although Olivia de Havilland had some seriously scary hats.)

And what better time than Halloween week to talk about Hitch!, the new collection from Cooperative Press . . . in which you will find my sweater, Not Your Gal Friday.

I was so excited when the call for submission for this book went up. Firstly; Hitchcock movies! Secondly; Fashion in Hitchcock movies!

Rebecca was one of the only movies my grandparents had at their house growing up and my cousins and I watched it over . . . and over . . . and over again, on a pretty steady rotation with their other movie, Charade. I’m sure we were too young for both of them, but they were the only options.

In fifth grade we lived in a tiny apartment briefly, and one night at about 1:00 in the morning my brother and I snuck out of our bunk beds and watched The Birds on cable. I have no idea if we were looking for it or if it was just on, all I remember is that we had the sound down so low (so we wouldn’t wake my parents) that we were kneeling about 18″ from the screen in order to hear. Watching that movie, crouched in the dark, was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. If you ask my brother about it, he will deny his own terror, but believe me; he is lying.

I didn’t end up seeing Rear Window until college, but I think it’s my favorite of all the Hitchcock I’ve seen. The set is just so amazingly beautiful, and by then I was taking classes in the costume department, so I fell hard for Grace Kelly . . . and her clothes. As much as I love the movie though, it aggravates me no end. Jimmy Stewart is such a misogynist jerk the whole time! He was basically my third grandfather growing up (we watched a lot of old movies) and I felt personally betrayed.

When the Call went out I knew I wanted to knit something for Laura. I love the scene when she climbs the fire escape and breaks into Perry Mason’s apartment wearing a tea-length dress and heels, but thought that it wasn’t really a practical outfit for burgling. When I break and enter, I’m much more comfortable in a nice sweater with elbow sleeves that won’t catch when I wrap a towel over my hand to smash a window, and maybe some pedal pushers and Converse for all of the traipsing up and down fire escapes.

And thus, Not Your Gal Friday was born. She is knit in Old Maiden Aunt Merino/Cashmere/Nylon, which is right up there with the nicest yarns in the world. One of the things I love about Cooperative Press is their dedication to providing directions for plus sizes, and Friday comes in 8 sizes, up to a 4X.

And because I’m like that, the pattern is written to hide the jogs for the stripes.

It’s a pretty great book. There are 29 patterns inside: hats, mitts, sweaters, shawls, and a very sexy pair of knee high socks. All of the designers added a few sentences about our introduction to Hitchcock or our individual inspiration, and that was probably my favorite part when we were reading through the proofs to check our patterns.

You can check out all of the patterns on Ravelry and join the group where we’re going to be running KALs.

AND!

Leave a comment on this post telling me either your favorite Hitch movie, or the pattern you most want to knit from this book by Friday, November 1st, at midnight, and I’ll draw a name out of a hat and some lucky knitter will win a free digital copy of the whole thing!

For more from the designers, you can check out the blog tour by following these links:

9/28/2013: Sunset Cat Designs
10/5/2013: Knitting Kninja
10/7/2013: Herrlichkeiten
10/8/2013: Knit and Travel
10/9/2013: Knit & Knag Designs
10/10/2013: Wooly Wonka Fibers
10/11/2013: Verdant Gryphon
10/15/2013: Impeccable Knits: Shifting Stitches
10/16/2013: Rewolluzza
10/21/2013: Knitwear Designs by Carolyn Noyes
10/22/2013: Peacefully Knitting
10/23/2013: Dark Matter Knits
10/24/2013: Turnknit: Dani Berg Designs
10/25/2013: SweetGeorgia Yarns
10/28/2013: doviejay knits
10/29/2013: Triona Designs
10/30/2013: Tactile Fiber Arts
11/4/2013: A Knitter’s Life
11/5/2013: Catchloops
11/6/2013: Yarn On The House
11/07/2013: Ramblings

Knit on!

Wanderlust

This is Book 2 of Sirantha Jax and sadly I think I shall be stalled for a while. Audible doesn’t have book 3. <Sob.>

I love these books. I kind of don’t want to love them because March “How Do You Like My Darkness Now?” and Jax’s relationship shears a little too close to that Manic Pixie Dream Girl Teaches Man to Live problem that I talked about last week, but in this case it’s okay because:

1. Jax isn’t really a manic pixie dream girl. She’s tough, funny, drinks, swears, has sex, and frequently says the wrong thing. I don’t know why she’s supposed to have such a good reputation as a diplomat for making first contact and dealing with Class-P (Primitive) worlds, but we haven’t actually seen her do that yet, so I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt.

2. March was fine before she showed up. Now that he has her, losing her is the potential problem. I have hopes that he’ll get his head together soon.

3. She’s the main character and is there because it’s her story, not because she’s going to repair March and make him feel good about himself. Actually, what she usually does is make him feel bad about himself.

Another thing I love about these books so far is that we get a mission in the first couple of hours – Okay Team, here’s what we’re gonna do! – and within about forty five minutes that all goes to hell and it becomes a completely different book. In my review of Grimspace I talked about how I really never knew what was going to happen next – that’s why, and it’s great.

They’re just fun books – the kind of thing you listen to straight through and enjoy the whole time.