Saturday, 30 August 2008

How many have you read ?

I got this book list from Ally over at Born to Read blogspot . I saw the UK version in another blog, that I can't find now ! Doh!
The Big Read is an NEA program designed to encourage community reading initiatives and of their top 100 books, they estimate the average adult has read only six. *Look at the list and bold those we have read. This is the NZ list . I couldn't find the UK one , as I couldn't remember the blog I originally found it in , so if anyone has it, I would be grateful if you could pass it to me . It would be good to compare the reading tastes of the world. You can share this on your blog if you like . *Italicize those we intend to read. *Underline those we love - haven't worked out how to do this yet! Here goes .....
  1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
  2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
  3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
  4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
  6. The Bible
  7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
  8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
  9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
  10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
  11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
  12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
  13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
  14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
  15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
  16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
  17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
  18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
  19. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
  20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
  21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
  22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
  23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
  24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
  25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
  26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
  27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
  29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
  30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
  31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
  32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
  33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
  34. Emma - Jane Austen
  35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
  36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
  37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
  38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
  39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
  40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
  41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
  42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
  43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
  45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
  46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
  47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
  48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
  49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
  50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
  51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
  52. Dune - Frank Herbert
  53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
  54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
  55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
  56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
  58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
  59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
  60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
  62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
  63. 63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
  64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
  65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
  66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
  67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
  68. Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
  69. 69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
  70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
  71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
  72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
  73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
  74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
  75. Ulysses - James Joyce
  76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
  77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
  78. Germinal - Emile Zola
  79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
  80. Possession - AS Byatt
  81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
  82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
  83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
  84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
  85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
  86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
  87. Charlotte's Web - EB White
  88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
  89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
  91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
  92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
  93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
  94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
  95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
  96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
  97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
  98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
  99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
  100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
Although I think having the Chronicles of Narnia AND the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe in the list is a bit of doubling up! I've read quite a few of Ian Banks, my favourite being Espedair Street , but I've never read The Wasp factory (although DH has !). And some of the books I've not put in bold type as I think I've only seen the televised versions!
And my all time favourite - mmmmm close call between the Secret Garden and Charlie and the Chocolate factory !

Friday, 29 August 2008

New Beginnings!

Had a lovely evening at Flavaknits last night, a little surprise visit from Carrie, her husband Mat and new baby Abigail, 1 week old yesterday! Well, as substitute Aunties and Grannies, we all had a cuddle, oohhed and ahhed , then handed back to Mum for feeding and changing (there is only so much an Auntie will do!)
Mother and Daughter team, Val and Karen, sprinted to the finishing post first with two gorgeous knitted cardigans, a pink wrap over and a white and pink matinee coat!
And obviously , Carries' knitting time is going to be limited (until Dad gets up to speed!) , so the rest of us are coming up with ideas to knit for little Abigail in the meantime . Sandy had a brilliant idea of knitting little bibs - she'll probably have hers' done before mine (I'm blaming my bad shoulder and RSI, but I'm generally slower,...... slow and steady win the race....) Although I started a matinee coat, I had the wrong sized needles , and Moira kindly lent me a pair of the correct size , AND, they are Brittany Birch - I will look after them Moira, Guide Promise !
Also that wee parcel I got from Nan the other day.... well there is a skein that was going to become a hat, NO MORE, it will become a BIB... you cannot waste yarn that machine washes and tumble drys on something as frivolous as a hat! And as my lovely sister said "that yarn won't show up the marks much!" Such pearls of wisdom from my knitting sibling .
As we say in this part of the world - if she wisnae a knitter ah'd nut her! Only joking sister dearest!
Just in case you didn't notice the link, our good friend Sandy has gone digital with her new blog - go have a peek and find out about the tandem biking and knitting . Its a charming and entertaining blog - just like Sandy!
Got a chance to read the paper the other day, and there was some study on the "Happiest places to live in Britain" , and in at number 19 was Inverclyde along with Argyll and Bute (across the water from Inverclyde, the happiness must travel) and Dumbarton. Poor miserable Edinburgh came in at number 273 !?! Surely they must be happier now - they have K1yarns for goodness sake!
Personally, I think its the amount of knitting that gets done here ,that makes it a happy place ;-)
Edited later : Almost forgot, it's also a happy place as our good Flavaknit pal, Kimberely, got cabling for the first time , and very nice and neat it was , hurray, after me now, "if you're happy and you know it , clap your hands !"

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

There is no accounting....

for the Scottish Weather ! Yesterday was more like winter, with horizontal rain, gale force winds and black cloudy skies, until lunchtime. Then it cleared up with lovely blue skies, a few white fluffy clouds, and a temperate breeze, and with the exception of a dark cloud and rain burst mid-afternoon, it stayed like that until evening. In Scotland, raincoats and bikini's go together!
I have been trying to get a little healthier in my eating habits again, mainly because it makes me feel better. Todays food of choice is Spinach and Nutmeg soup, and a wee dessert I made up on the spot consisting purely of blended strawberries and blueberries over some natural yoghurt, and chilled in the fridge. I added a little sprig of Dill, as thats my herb du jour (its in the soup too - I love fresh herbs)
I am always wasting soft fruit as it seems to go off before I finish a punnet just now, so I thought I would try and do something else with them , that I could put in the freezer , and my little yoghurt sorbet does the trick. If you leave the blended fruit long enough, it "sets" due to the natural pectins (is that the right word ?), becomes like a little jelly, and its so tasty it doesn't need any more sugar added.
My soup is from that food fascist Gillian McKeiths' recipe book - her nutritionists have done her proud, as most of the recipes are gorgeous (and healthy). All thats in this soup is; onion softened by frying in a little olive oil, a big bag of spinach, stock , herbs and ground nutmeg . How green does it look! Its also a nice soup for summer as its not too heavy . And a seeded loaf just compliments it .
Am slowing down a little with the knitting, much to my annoyance, my RSI has returned , I guess I need to exercise a bit more , and perhaps visit the Osteopath, but darn it, I want to finish my lovely socks! AND I want to get ready for the Hat Attack2, which is only 3 week away now. Sigh , at least I managed to get the correct tension for it, and boy, is that Therpai yarn lovely to work with, it knits up a treat .
I am also, slowing down on my Druid Mitten KAL - but I reckon that it will be a few more months before I need to wear them, so I'll just take my time .
I read with sadness yesterday , about the death of journalist Adrian Sudbury at the tender age of 26years from Leukemia - his blog is being used to continue Adrians work in encouraging people to become bone marrow donors. In the short time he had left Adrian managed to speak to the Prime Minister, was interviewed on news programmes and had short documentaries made about him and his cause, and he left this world a "true celebrity" .

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Blowing in the WInd!

As we sat outside in the Hidden Gardens at Tramwayknits today, the wind suddenly gusted in and blew our food, drinks and knitting everywhere - time to go inside. Unless, that is, you are under the age of twelve !
Yes, we had the Bairns at Tramwayknits today, and they had a ball racing around inside, while we had a ball knitting, drinking and eating INside. The cream teas looked gorgeous (but I went for my favourite , hummous and pitta bread!)
Well, its been a busy week - there was no Carrie at Flavaknits on Thursday, because she was busy withthisinstead !
She's is absolutely gorgeous, and I can't wait to get a little cuddle - there will probably be more photo's once Mum has recovered . And a lot more pink baby knitting being done too ! I am getting some fab stuff from the YP, she's a wee gem really , she couldn't make it to Tramwayknits today so she is posting it out . The pattern has been chosen already , will show it later......
And then browsing Ravelry late one evening I decided it might be fun to take part in this, its kinda like sock wars except you knit and send a hat to your intended victim to "kill" them before you are killed by receiving a hat , and I'm using the preferredyarn . I am swatching as I write - which is why its probably taking so long! Gloria, resident expert on gems and crystals says the yarn gives a calming and balancing effect due to the Jade content - so that means we'll all feel calm once we are "killed!" hehehe!
The sock knitting is coming along too - firstsock done and almost at the heel of the second sock, AND, I'm considering doing a second pair in this pattern ! I just love the way the Koigu knits up, it is such a surprise in every row the way the colours turn out . My second pair will be in an Old Maiden Aunt colourway called Sour - nothing sour about it, its divine, so soft and a bright yellowy green , its such a happy colour to put my feet in for Winter!

Monday, 18 August 2008

Schooldays !

Small children in large bulky blazers,
squeaky boxy black shiny shoes,
white knee high socks , dazzling white shirts with chunky ties at the collar,
smart grey trousers with creases up the centre,
pretty pinafores and cosy V-neck sweaters,
oversized school bags carried bravely to the doors,
smiles, tears
photographs and chatter,
hugs and anxious faces ,
Gran waves, Mum blows her nose, as Dad pushes them off to the
First Day at School
That will be me next year , as my youngest starts school, but my heart went out to the parents whose little ones started today - it takes me back!
Hope it all went well!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Tonight, Bamber I'm reading......

Ah, Bamber Gascoigne and the old University Challenge - the object of many a comedy sketch! Anyway tonight I am reading the following.....
My Wobbly Tooth must not Ever Never fall out Charlie and Lola by Lauren Child (apt name really!) and is about Lola's wobbly tooth , and why she doesn't want it to come out, until she learns about the Tooth Fairy .....
This is being read to my 4 year old son, who loves the CD ( audio book ) that comes along with it, so I don't really have to read it as such . I just turn the pages that correspond with the audio version! The wonders of technology. He loves this as its the same actors for the programme that "read" the book.
Next is an old favourite , The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S.Lewis , don't ya just love all that old Famous Five, 1950's, Recieved Pronouciation style language! Or rather.... , "I say, this is Topping Fun!
Not to give too much away, we're at the bit where Eustace (Eustace!?! , where do they get these names from ?) has turned into a Dragon, and he is a bit FREAKED out, to say the least.
This is being read to my 8 year old son, who is loving it , and keeps waking up in the night to read more! He has read The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and now we are onto this . We've missed a few other C.S.Lewis books out in between (Magicians Nephew and The Horse and its boy , we may go back to these at a later date).
And in between re-reading my lovely new Rowan Magazine , I have just bought and started to read Singled Out by Virginia Nicholson , How two million women survived without men after the First World War . This was not a kind era to single women , many of whom were deprived of happy partnerships due to the carnage of the Great War. However , may of them rose to the challenge, and forged ahead to make a better society through a variety of occupations .
On the knitting front, First Falling Leaves sock completed, AMEN! , now onward and upward for the Second Sock!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

We're doing all the best we can......

after a bit of a disaster!
In the last post there was a photo of my latest sock knitting - I was having issues with the heel. Heel, remember..... as in the back of the foot . Turns out that wasn't the only issue. Although I did manage to turn the heel successfully, and was working my way up to the know above the ankle. THEN, I discovered I should have been knitting alternate rows for the lace pattern...
D'OH !
I can hear Taggart shouting - DUNDERHEID!
Anyway, least said soonest mended etc. etc. .... and here is where I am now .
which actually looks like this (previous photo a bit close up to look a bit bigger and make me feel better )
And it looks ( and feels) so much better .
On a cheerier note, I have been road testing my new ball winder - ooohh its great . I "won" it in a draw , some kind person had donated a whole load of knitting yarn and related items to our knitting group . Elaine brought it in last Sunday at Tramwayknits , and I have been dying to try it out ever since, so last night I dug out a gorgeous skein of Posh Yarn silk and am halfway through winding it. The reason its taking me so long is I keep tangling up the skein - what I really need no is a swift!
Still its looking good - soon I shall have lots of little cakes of yarn .
Have signed up for a KAL on Ravelry - its part of the Vogue Knitters Group, the Druid Mittens designed by Jared Flood, better known as Brooklyn Tweed. It would help if I could actually buy the latest Vogue Knitting magazine, but it is nowhere to be found at present. Hhhmmmm.... Still the mitten pattern is lovely, knitted in Jamieson Spindrift, with lots of cables and bobbles and moss stitch and knitted in 2-3mm dpns, so I need to get started NOW!
Although I've seen some lovely 4ply yarn on Old Maiden Aunt Website which I may just purchase before it disappears, and use this instead of Jamiesons - its a gorgeous shade of blue called sky, just like the handspun I bought .
Or maybe I'll use the lovely green colourway I just purchased instead - its so lovely too.
Now, back to the *bleep* sock !

Monday, 4 August 2008

Its a Big World... its a big big world

To be honest, my titles are random lines from songs, any songs that happen to go through my head. At present , smallest son is watching Nick Juniors "Its a Big World" programme (hence the reason I have song in my head) , playing with his Thomas Trains and has his "library" of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends" books laid out on the living room floor .
Me ? I am still in my jammies at 10.10am, even though I have been up since 7.30am when small boy jumped into bed and asked for breakfast - then took the next 2 hours to eat it! I have put dirty clothes in the washing machine (economy setting) then hung them out in the sunshine on the whirlygig! Second wash is busy birling around the machine, after I stripped beds and opened the windows.
In between, I have been sitting at my kitchen table reading blogs , the new whistle-y kettle is on the boil, toast has just popped up and I am about to spread some of my good friend Karens' home-made Blackcurrant jam (utterly divine, its all thick juicy blackcurrant goodness). Reading blogs mainly inspires me, but sometimes it makes me feel like there are these perfect lives out there that I've not quite managed to keep up with , you know, there are blogs with piles of gorgeous knitting that was done in , oh...., a week . Or the blogs with gorgeous photography of lovely gardens, fabulous kitchens full of home baking, wonderful pictures of lovely fabric being made into fabulous items , and the books, patterns etc. that folk manage to produce in between Law Degrees, being CEO ..... then I realised .... its 10.10am..... and you are still in jammies .....eating jammy toast, with small boy playing contentedly and doing knitting - bit jammy eh!
Enjoy the moment !
I love the Yarn Harlot, because she is so REAL and reading her blog meant I was able to catch up with a new Webzine called Twist Collective ,whilst re-knitting the heel of this miscreant ....
The yarn is the divine Koigu KPPM - bought in Purl yarn store, Soho , New York (just writing that makes me feel better), and lovely to knit with, and I thought I'd try a sock pattern that was written for this very yarn , Falling Leaves from . It is knitted from the toe up, and I thought the heel would be quite easy - it is .... its my brain thats not working, so fourth attempt fingers crossed! I mean the lace pattern was a scoosh in comparison (only 2 attempts at that!)
I finally finished the Lotus Blossum Tank from Interweave Knits - in beautiful Jaeger Pure Silk ( a gift from the lovely Kathleen)
I love it with one exception, the arm-holes are too loose , so I am going to adjust it slightly, thankfully I have some yarn leftover to do this . But it is lovely to wear, a very simple and pretty pattern for my Summer of Lace over on Ravelry (note the Dr Who Calendar on my right, its EVERYWHERE in our house).
In between running here there and everywhere yesterday, I spent a lovely afternoon at Tramwayknits, the talented India was visiting us withOUT knitting (a bout of RSI, Ouch!). And I wished I had brought my camera, when I caught sight of Thea knitting while talking on her mobile phone - she did not drop a stitch !Maggie was showing off her stash of Interweave Knits magazines secured from I was GREEN with envy! Alison had her Interweave Crochet magazine too along with some lovely yarn. There was quite a crowd there yesterday, it was good to see so many faces (and get a read at Alice's new Vogue magazine!)
Perhaps that is why I was having difficulty with this darn heel, mmmmm...