Water for the Elephants Socks

I’ve been working on these socks for about a month now. I was really excited to cast on, through the combination of colours, the pattern, and the fact that I was also taking part in the “SocktoberKAL2014” through the magic of Instagram. I finally finished the second sock today, but I have to admit it was a bit of a mission for one reason alone:

The first sock didn’t fit the person it’s intended for.

When I say “doesn’t fit” I mean that there’s not enough stretch to get the sock over the ankle and on, and it’s just a disappointment really. I mean, it looks great and pretty, but doesn’t carry out it’s primary function. Starting the second one took a couple of days of hesitating about whether to do it or not, knowing that that wouldn’t fit either, but in the end I decided to go for it as you can’t have a lonely sock.

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I think because of my disappointment with the first sock I let myself make more mistakes with the second one. Mistakes that perhaps aren’t all that noticeable, but again affected my ability to keep going with this; I didn’t let it beat me though, and managed to make it to the end and have a complete pattern. Next time I think I’ll either use a thicker yarn, like a DK, maybe on the same size needles to get some elasticity into the garment, but that won’t be for some time yet.

This was a project that just didn’t want to be finished quickly.

It was the first time I used both “easyknit.co.uk” yarn [the blue “Bigger on the Inside” and MadelineTosh [“Citrus”], so whilst the colour combination was awesome, perhaps they didn’t work together so well? The MadelineTosh is a super wash yarn, but I am not too sure about the easyknits one to be honest. IMG_0579

I’m not going to be sworn from knitting colour work socks from this though, and I would like to think that if I made these again I would modify [sic: try to] the pattern so that I was working toe up, and would be able to add the stitches in along the side? I would need to look into the idea a bit more first though [does anyone have any suggestions for this being as though the pattern is entirely charted… could it be as simple as reading the chart in reverse?]

Thanks for stopping by and take it easy folks!

Kialtho

Welcome to Night Vale – The Librarian Live

Yesterday was exciting; I went to London to meet with Nuri and Ed to go and see the Welcome to Night Vale live tour, with their live performance of “The Librarian”. Welcome to Night Vale is, in case you didn’t know, is a podcast in the style of a local community radio, with weekly news and community updates – except for one thing every conspiracy theory is real… and that’s okay.

It was a bit of an adventure getting to Islington in the first place. My train was cancelled, even though I was on it, which was annoying as it meant that I had to get a different train into Central London – it was strange because I am so used to seeing Downtown London from a certain angle, and I didn’t get that which was just really strange.

When I go to London for some reason my phone crashes – I had about 40 per cent power when I got into London, and literally as soon as I stepped out of the tube and needed to contact my buddies to arrange a meeting place I couldn’t. And then poor Ed, his phone conked out on us as well as someone knocked him in a hurry and he managed to drop it and broke the screen. We did well with phones yesterday…

Luckily, I took my camera with me. I always feel a bit old school when I take it – everything is done on smart phones these days, you know? But it was cool, and I got a few pictures from the gig.
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We queued up for about 2 hours before the gig as Nuri had been to the venue before and recommended that we got there early as the seats are/were unallocated and we wanted a decent place to take our pew… [That would make more sense when you realise that Union Chapel is actually a church…] Look at the picture below; isn’t that an awesome stage to be performing Night Vale of all things on?

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The gig itself was so so good. So many fans dressed up; there was an awesome Glow Cloud that when she walked past everyone intoned “All Hail the Glow Cloud”; so many Carlos’ and Cecils’ and the awesome audience participation during the show was so, so good. Definitely one of the best shows that I’ve been to see; the audience was receptive to the whole the set up.

Cecil Baldwin’s ability to deliver just blew me away as well. I know in the podcast that he is the voice of all the different segments, the sponsors, but I didn’t actually expect his live performance to so seamlessly switch between the sections [if you've heard the podcast you'll know what I mean]. It was just awesome to see. We made some new friends as well, and everyone is called “Amanda”.

 

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We’re going again on November 8th because we are just that awesome! I may just have to take my big camera for that one for sure!

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The NaNo Train is coming…

November is coming.

November comes every year, this year is no different. But that train is coming, and at a speed faster than I could have imagined. Things have been really hectic lately [more on that in the week, perhaps] but it hasn’t stopped the impending doom/creative writing decathlon that is approaching. Sane people…. depart the train now.

I do NaNoWriMo almost every year. I have done since 2007. In fact, there are two years that I haven’t taken part; 2008 [I didn’t have the time balancing full time work with full time degree], and 2012… because I was too obsessed with the knitting to put it down]. I didn’t ever finish that first story, but I still  love it; it was my first novel baby. Let’s not mention how I used to call one of my first line managers “Annabel” because I couldn’t remember her name, and Annabel was one of the characters from that particular NaNo…

This year is going to be really busy. In fact, I think Launch day/Day 1 I won’t be able to get any writing done as I am working in the morning and out in the evening. Day 2 will be spent playing catch up already. But the thing is I am mentally prepared for this, and actually, with just how busy November is already planning to be, I am going to need to schedule in some 10k days to make it through. One year, I plan to write a 100k novel, because it is totally doable, but I very much doubt it will be this year.

There is just 12 days to go until the insanity truly begins again. 12 days.

I actually have an idea for a story this year. I think the term that I can use is “regressed future”. I have this clear image in my mind of the London that I want to write about, the social structure, the environment. I have my main character set out [is it weird that I always seem to write female main characters? I mean, I know I am a girl and all that, but I tend to feel that men are under represented in my novels. Last year’s novel I think only had one male character in the whole thing…].

So yeah, that train is coming, so be ready to jump on board, or prepare to leave the station on 31.10.2014

http://nanocountdown.com/

Run or Dye 2014

 

Yesterday myself and a group of friends did something called “Run or Dye”, which is a 5k fun run where you get pelted with powder dyes and basically get very dirty but in a pretty way.

It was something that I had been wanted to do for a long time. I say “long” more since when I had seen the adverts on Facebook and thought that it looked like fun. The one that we went to was in a beautiful location as well, and not too far from home which usually fun things don’t usually happen so close to home [on an account of being in the middle of no where and something like 3 miles from 3 county borders].

There was six of us participating in total, so a nice group of us.

Of course, being a “fun run” I didn’t actually expect to do any running. When I was going to the gym this was my weakest area, and I also haven’t been to the gym for some time, so didn’t expect to do any. Alex has bad knees so wouldn’t have been able to run. How so ever, we did start with a small amount of running, which was a little bit of a shock to the system.

We actually registered for the event the day before to make things easier in the morning – basically it meant that we could line up for the start of the race rather than having to queue to get our shirts and numbers. There were a lot of people there, I think one of my friends said that there was something like 5,000 people going according to the Facebook page. That is a lot of people for this little town.

Here are some of the pictures of the day:
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Alex is casually strolling through the pink/purple section, this was before he was pelted with the green which went into his face.

 

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I was “Elphaba‘d” up in this one

 

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Erin and I just before the Dye song.

 

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Post Dye Song. Look at how bright that red is! When the rain started it actually looked like I had been stabbed or something.

Have a great day!

Kialtho

The Maze Runner – James Dashner

After seeing the trailer for the film to “The Maze Runner” just a few days ago I knew I wanted to read the book before going to see the film. So I did, in three sittings. It would have gone quicker if something like Real Life hadn’t got in the way. [I’m not so sure my boss would appreciated me saying I can’t come in for my shift because I was reading…].


Synopsis:

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

Whilst this book is clearly targeted for a young, male audience, I really enjoyed this read. It was quick, there was a lot of pace, and I couldn’t guess at what was going to happen in the end – it’s always a little depressing when you can guess where a plot is going.

Of course, that’s not to say that this book isn’t without it’s faults. The lack of answers is infuriating from the word go; but then, the situation that they are in, answers are fewer than questions. Teresa has the potential to be a much more interesting character; she’s sidelined a bit in terms of character development. But then in an all-boy dominated society, perhaps she would have been anyway.

The ending was ridiculous. I want to read the next book already! [I shan’t, I’ll read something else in-between, otherwise it can get a bit dizzying staying in the same world]. That epilogue! Of course, it does raise a few questions about the nature of diseases, of how they spread… and was there a flicker of a zombies, or perhaps did I just read that wrong?

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Watch this space for a blog about the film when it’s released here in a few weeks, and then the following books I am sure!

Take it easy,

Kialtho

Metro 2033 – Dmitry Glukhovsky

Synopsis:

The year is 2033. The world has been reduced to rubble. Humanity is nearly extinct. The half-destroyed cities have become uninhabitable through radiation. Beyond their boundaries, they say, lie endless burned-out deserts and the remains of splintered forests. Survivors still remember the past greatness of humankind. But the last remains of civilisation have already become a distant memory, the stuff of myth and legend.

More than 20 years have passed since the last plane took off from the earth. Rusted railways lead into emptiness. The ether is void and the airwaves echo to a soulless howling where previously the frequencies were full of news from Tokyo, New York, Buenos Aires. Man has handed over stewardship of the earth to new life-forms. Mutated by radiation, they are better adapted to the new world. Man’s time is over.

A few score thousand survivors live on, not knowing whether they are the only ones left on earth. They live in the Moscow Metro – the biggest air-raid shelter ever built. It is humanity’s last refuge. Stations have become mini-statelets, their people uniting around ideas, religions, water-filters – or the simple need to repulse an enemy incursion. It is a world without a tomorrow, with no room for dreams, plans, hopes. Feelings have given way to instinct – the most important of which is survival. Survival at any price.

VDNKh is the northernmost inhabited station on its line. It was one of the Metro’s best stations and still remains secure. But now a new and terrible threat has appeared. Artyom, a young man living in VDNKh, is given the task of penetrating to the heart of the Metro, to the legendary Polis, to alert everyone to the awful danger and to get help. He holds the future of his native station in his hands, the whole Metro – and maybe the whole of humanity.

[From Amazon.co.uk].

Thoughts:
I am going to be blindingly blunt with you and this book, dear readers: I haven’t got a clue what I just read. There was the Russian underground in Moscow. There was some weird psychological stuff going on. Lots of preaching about the creation of man and the situation in the Metro and why it all came to be. [The reality is that human’s bombed each other to almost extinction, contaminating the Earth and hiding underground].

I have several problems with this book:

- mutants/evil assed creatures just wouldn’t have developed as quickly as the timeline suggests – less that 20 years from what I could make out.

- there was so much preaching in the different ideologies that it just put me off and I found it to be really quite boring – from fascism through to having a Jehovah church in the metro.

- I didn’t need to know the description of each and every station, especially considering they all looked more or less the same [from what I can figure out]

- There are literally zero women in this book, unless they’re crying or wailing. If this were a real situation women, in the sense that there were a lack of fighters and the world was going to pot, there would be women fighters alongside the men.

- Polis. Or whatever it was.

- The Kremlin – what, now there are magical powers as well as weird mutant monsters?

- Vampires? What?

- The rats. Was that a nod to James Herbert, or just a convenient story technique to explain how Artyom came to live a VDNKh?

Like I say I am not quite sure what I have just read. I put it somewhere in the level of confusion as “John Dies at the End”, the storyline seems to jump all over the place, without really having a developed plot. The last few pages through a curveball on the situation as is, and perhaps the evil beings aren’t quite so evil after all, but it’s okay because we’ll still blow them up.
The most frustrating things about this book is that I really wanted to like, to be into it, to have the atmospheric chills from it. For me, that didn’t happen. It came across as far to boring for that. Perhaps cutting out a lot of the description could have helped. I don’t know.

It was translated from Russian, so perhaps something got lost in translation for me.

Onto something else now, though.

Take it easy folks,

Kialtho

Shipwreck Shawl

It would seem that I’ve had a bit of a blog silence these past two and a bit weeks. It wasn’t intentional at all, it just I’ve been working on something that has been wholly addictive… and here it is:

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This is my Shipwreck Shawl. I am so pleased with just about everything about this shawl. The yarn, the pattern, the increases. It amazes me that  started with just nine stitches. NINE. And I ended up with 1160 [approximately].  It took something like THREE hours to cast off. THREE! None of my other projects have taken that long cast off.

I used The Women’s Institute yarn, available exclusively through HobbyCraft. It’s the “soft and silky” blend, is “microfibre acrylic” and is just lovely to use. I will totally use this yarn again – it looks very similar to a Patons variety that I have also been wanting to try.

I am impressed with myself, as arrogant as that may be. This is one of the projects that I feel validates me as a knitter, shows the skills the I have developed over the last few years, and despite the few mistakes that I did make, I feel as though I was able to correct them adequately and have this awesome finished project.

I learned a new technique with this project as well; the Russian Join. All I can say is that it is amazing, and that I will no doubt use it for everything in the future as it doesn’t waste yarn and creates a versatile, and strong
I have yet to block it, and I am looking forward to being able to. I am waiting for blocking pins to arrive [I have everything else I need already]. This will be the first project I will ever have blocked [I guess I just haven’t felt/had the need for it in the past], and I am sure I will write a blog post about the whole process and my experiences with it.

I have yet to decide what my next pattern/project will be. I think I will be taking a quick break from the knitting to finish my current book. And maybe Netflix a little.

Keep on crafting folks,

Kialtho