The Last Girl (The Dominion Trilogy) – Joe Hart

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It would seem that this year I have started a fair few series, most of the books in my GoodReads list have a ‘#1’ behind them. Sadly, many of them haven’t gripped my attention to warrant reading the next books… but it’s one of those things where I’ll just have to see what happens. It’s taking so long to get through books at the moment, which is really unlike me at all.

My most recent read was The Last Girl. I can’t remember if it was a paid download or if I got it free from Amazon, but it was an interesting read.

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Synopsis:

A mysterious worldwide epidemic reduces the birthrate of female infants from 50 percent to less than 1 percent. Medical science and governments around the world scramble in an effort to solve the problem, but twenty-five years later there is no cure, and an entire generation grows up with a population of fewer than a thousand women.
Zoey and some of the surviving young women are housed in a scientific research compound dedicated to determining the cause. For two decades, she’s been isolated from her family, treated as a test subject, and locked away—told only that the virus has wiped out the rest of the world’s population.
Captivity is the only life Zoey has ever known, and escaping her heavily armed captors is no easy task, but she’s determined to leave before she is subjected to the next round of tests…a program that no other woman has ever returned from. Even if she’s successful, Zoey has no idea what she’ll encounter in the strange new world beyond the facility’s walls. Winning her freedom will take brutality she never imagined she possessed, as well as all her strength and cunning—but Zoey is ready for war.

This was one of those reads that started slow, and left me wondering if it was going to be slow the whole way through. It did pick up, and made for an interesting, some what… strange read. I definitely had to do the suspension of disbelief thing, but then it is a little science fiction-y so that was okay… on the surface.
We start by meeting a girl called Zoey who is held in a compound. She’s been there most of her life. As the story progresses we learn the fate of humanity beforehand – women stopped giving birth to girls and only men were being bought into society. This shady agency basically kidnapped the remaining girls they could find – and would regularly raid towns for girls as well – in order to ‘preserve’ them and make them into the future. They took on the form of educators, indoctrinated to learnt that that was their place, the rules are the rules, and that sometimes one person is worth sacrificing for the greater good. No books, nothing that the director of the compound did not approve of.
They were safe, but Zoey knows there’s more to this life. She’s been smuggled books, be taught to think independently of the director, the compound and it’s regime. Zoey decides she’s going to escape before her 21st birthday, the day where she’s supposed to be reunited with her family, but she knows that this isn’t going to happen, knows it’s a fallacy and it’s time to make a change.
What I liked about this book was that it was gritty. It was bloody, and it wasn’t for kids. Zoey did everything she could to survive, she murdered and fought for her life. She overcame her fears and forced herself to survive in a land that she had no clue about.
Of course, the first group of men she came across would have happily kidnapped her and raped her. Because of course, if you haven’t seen a woman for a long time the first thing you think of is rape. This is probably the aspect of the book I had the most issue with. The guards wanted to rape, these men wanted to rape… I’m not sure it was necessary for the book. It was gritty enough without these attempts. Zoey certainly showed those people what she thought of them with the bullet end of her gun though.
By all rights she should have died out in the wilderness. Affected by a fever from her injuries, definitely very sick and having nothing but some yummy raw rotten fish, she survived a long time before finding the help she needed.
I don’t want to say more about the book or the storyline as it is, but I really enjoyed how this progressed. There are consequences to the actions taken, consequences that Zoey is going to have to live with the rest of her life. There wasn’t quite a happily ever after, and it didn’t end on a cliff hanger like I was expecting. I plan to read the rest of this series to see how it plans out, and how the science is explained…
… and in terms of the science, here I just want to query something. I was under the impression that when embryos are conceived we all start out female then become male. I’m sure that this isn’t something that I’ve made up. So, I was thinking that it would make more sense for the men to be dying out… controversial I know! There’s even scientific ability to create life using women only, so this is where that suspension of disbelief comes into play.
Have you read this one? What did you think of it? What are you reading at the moment?
Kialtho

 

Crochet Star Blanket

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It’s been a while since I have completed my finished object that I am sharing today. I wanted to wash and block it properly, and then get some good photos… what can I say? I washed it, and dried it and all that, but to be honest because it’s a mostly acrylic blend yarn it’s not really changed it’s shape. I was a little reluctant to use heat as I wasn’t sure how the wool content would hold up.

That being said, it does look good, so I am happy.

What I am sharing today is some crochet. I attended my best friends wedding in May and Alex picked up some yarn from the shop across the road from the church (well, why not?). So I came home with these two balls of 150g Sirdar Colour Wheel that was begging to be crocheted. I chose something simple that would allow the colours to work well and something that wouldn’t be too taxing on my brain as I had a lot of work related stuff to finish at the same time.

I ended up making a Star blanket. I found the pattern on Ravelry, and then used a YouTube video to help guide me in the set up. I imagine I could have done it without the YouTube guide, but I didn’t want the frustration if I am honest! When I was doing this project I decided I would officially declare that I can crochet – although I’ll qualify it with the adage that these skills I have are very beginner and that I hope to definitely develop them further. My true love will always be knitting though, I think there’s an elegance to it that doesn’t seem to be recreated in crochet.

Here are some photo’s of the blanket. It’s more of a foot warmer than a blanket that can cover me and keep me warm, but I’m still proud of it. Artie, naturally, declared it as his as soon as I finished, and who am I to refused my spoiled brat of a cat? He even took it with him on his holiday to his Nanny’s when we went to another wedding in country.

I’ve tried to get some better photo’s than just my iPhone ones… What do you think?

My current project is also a blanket. I’m super excited to see how its going to turn out and to share it with you when it’s ready! I’m about a quarter of the way through it now though, so I have some time to go with it yet!

What are you making at the moment? Does your furbaby declare that your projects are theirs?

Kialtho

In which there has been knitting, but I haven’t been writing…

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It’s been a while since I wrote a knitting blog, but I have good reason – I haven’t gotten around to blocking what I’ve made! I seem to be fighting a never ending pile of washing, and I can’t really wash my knitted stuff before the normal clothes I wear – I think clean pants, work clothes and socks sort of come first.

So despite this fact I thought I would share some of my recent makes with you, as there are a few now!

To start with I have this cardigan – it’s called ‘From Way Back’ and the pattern is available on Ravelry. I’d been wanting to make it for a while as I really liked the back design. I also needed this project to of the winning kind as the previous few I’d made hadn’t exactly gone according plan.

Luckily, this more or less did go to plan. I had calculated that I would need 5 balls of my chosen yarn, this time a Robyn acrylic DK in a forest green colour. It took about three weeks to make in all, and once it goes through the wash it will loosen up a bit.

I also need to get some buttons to match!

The sleeves seemed to go one forever, but when I tried it on they came just above the wrist. I decided to leave them like that as I end up pulling my sleeves up to that point anyway. At this point in time I don’t know if I’ll like that as I’ve taken my choice away from doing it… if that makes sense. I’d like to make it again for sure as I really enjoyed making this, and it was a lot simpler that it looks. Especially when you look at the lace chart – but like I say – a lot easier than it looks.

Next up I made some Hermione’s Everyday socks. Again these only took a few weeks. For these I used my KnitPro Zing DPNs. I don’t usually use DPNs but it worked well for these. I initially tried to use my 9” circulars but I wasn’t finding them particularly comfortable to use – perhaps it was because I needed to purl stitches occasionally. The most comfortable I’ve found these needles to be used on was the Water for the Elephants socks… so I’m not sure why I don’t find these so great to use.

I used some yarn that I had been gifted for Christmas from my sister. It is King Cole Zigzag which is a merino/nylon blend and just worked so well for this project. I had no idea what to expect from the yarn, nor how it would knit up. I’m super happy with the results for this one, and again, they just need a wash so that I can trim the ends and get around to wearing them.

If I can knit socks as quickly as I did with these then I’ll definitely be using some more of my stash yarn up on socks. I have a blue version of the King Cole yarn to also use as well.

I’ve also made a couple of baby related items:

A cardigan, which was pretty simple to make if a little big. For this I used a left over ball of yarn that I’d got when I made the blanket for a work colleague. This used pretty much a whole ball of yarn [which surprised me as when I first started knitting I swear one ball of DK yarn lasted forever… although thinking about it… it must have been a bigger ball. I’d made a baby dress, mittens and something else out of that yarn and still had leftovers. I think I ended up donating the rest of the yarn].

And lastly, I have these little booties to share. I used some stash aran for these, and didn’t take too long to make… not really. I think I spent a great deal of time trying to find out where Artie had hidden the first one I’d made as he kept stealing my yarn! And the finished items!

My current project is a crochet project. With any luck it’s coming to it’s end so that I can show you it soon!

What are you making at the moment? Care to share?

Kialtho

Ink and Bone – Rachel Caine

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There haven’t been many books this year that I’ve wanted to read and read and not put down, but this was one of them. The first in a trilogy [I think] and it was a ride!

Synopsis:

In a world where the ancient Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed, knowledge now rules the world: freely available, but strictly controlled. Owning private books is a crime.

Jess Brightwell is the son of a black market book smuggler, sent to the Library to compete for a position as a scholar . . . but even as he forms friendships and finds his true gifts, he begins to unearth the dark secrets of the greatest, most revered institution in the world.

Those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn. . . .

It’s an interesting premise – one that takes the dystopian ideology that is so popular at the moment and runs it throughout the whole of the last two thousand years. What if the Library of Alexandria had survived? And more than that, because of it’s survival a different way of life evolved?

The story is set in the 2030s. But in reality we have a society that is backward to what we would recognise from out own. There are steam carriages a la steampunk, futuristic bullet trains, technology that mirrors books from the original. No printing press despite how often people come up with the idea, and harbouring original books is very much a black market activity.

There’s a side to the story that is also a little mystical – Obscurists – these people run the alchemy behind the Library, they are both exhaulted and held captive by the Library, never to really see the world again.

At the start we’re introduced to Jess Brightwell, a character who’s family is deeply involved with the black market. He loves reading, and despairs that original books get taken by the Library, but more so when Burners sacrifice themselves and books to the fires, or when people literally rip out the pages of originals and eat them. [Yes, that happens].

Initially, I thought Jess was a girl. I did get very confused about this, mainly because I’ve always associated the name Jess to girls. He also has a twin brother, but he doesn’t get much mention in this book. There’s going to be some deeper stuff with him as the series progresses though.

Jess gets sent to learn and be a part of the Great Library. His teacher is someone that I could only envisage as Snape but in the desert. Black robes and everything. In fact… I’m not sure I remember the teachers name! I just kept thinking of Professor Snape, down to the snarly attitude as well!

The class Jess joins starts off with about 30 members. They are vying for just 6 spaces, and everyday, including the first day, are are risk of being cut from the class. Death isn’t an uncommon way to leave the class either. Of course, being the protagonist, Jess makes it to the end, but it isn’t easy.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about the book from here on in, but it was one of those that I felt was perfectly paced. It wasn’t rushed, so wasn’t over super quickly, nor was it drawn out making it a drag to read. It was everything that I needed in a book especially as I haven’t had brilliant reads so far this year, except perhaps my first book of the year.

When I add books to my GoodReads queue I tend to add one at a time when it comes to a series. Just because I’ve read one book a series doesn’t mean I’m going to read them all. But with this book I added all the available books to the queue – I know I’m going to enjoy them just as much as the first one, even if I did accidentally read a spoiler from the blurb before

Is this one that you’ve read? What did you think?

The Wolf Gift – Anne Rice

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I’ve not read much werewolf fiction before, and not a great deal of Anne Rice either (I’m thinking Queen of the Damned, and Interview with the Vampire) so whilst I knew some of her writing, it wasn’t a lot. As such, I didn’t exactly know what to expect when diving into The Wolf Gift.

Synopsis:

MAN OR MONSTER?

Anne Rice reinvented the vampire legend.
Discover what she’s done with the werewolf myth.

After a brutal attack Reuben finds himself changing. His hair is longer, his skin is more sensitive and her can hear things he never could before.

Now he must confront the beast within him or lose himself completely.

That’s literally the only synopsis I found, and it’s not exactly detailed for such a big book, right? The version of the book I had was over 500 pages. This isn’t something that I usually pay attention to – the length of a book has no bearing on how good a book can be.

In this book we’re introduced to Reuben, a 23 year old with a doctorate in English. He’s working for a local newspaper, and every seems to love him. Oh, and he’s very good looking. Apparently. He’s travelled to a place called Nideck Point to interview a women selling a mansion that’s been in her family since they arrived in the America’s .

Naturally, not only does he want the house itself, he also sleeps with this woman. Despite having a girlfriend. And not exactly knowing the woman, Marchent, either. (This becomes a theme, sort of. Sleeping with someone he doesn’t know despite having a girlfriend). They are attacked in the mansion and Marchent is killed… but then something weird happens and a big dog comes in and kills the attackers, bites Reuben and then runs off. There’s no evidence of this dog except that it killed the intruders.

Naturally, this is the start of the werewolf side of things, and I like that Rice doesn’t invoke typical werewolf lore here. There’s not a change at the full moon, although to begin with it happens every night for about a week and a bit. But it can be controlled, and Reuben learns a lot of things that are going on by himself. As he transforms he’s attracted to the scent of evil, killing those who are committing evil acts – rapists, kidnappers, torturers – those kind of things. He hasn’t exactly lost his mortal compass in killing these people, but he’s not exactly torn apart by it when he returns to his human form either.

In the middle of a forest, in the middle of the night he comes across a house with a woman. The woman looks at Reuben in his wold form, and for some strange reason decides the most logical course of action is to sleep with him. So she does, and they continue this a lot. It’s basically a book with a lot of animal sex but it’s okay because he’s a human really sort of thing going on.

There is an actual plot as well. Except that this book read so much more like an internal narrative that everything that happens just doesn’t have the right feel to it. The secondary characters are treated more as an afterthought than anything integral to the main story.

There’s a lot of references to luxury goods as well. I mean lots. If Reuben was looking at his phone, it was always referred to as an iPhone, the DVD players and sound systems were Bose, the car he drove was a Porches. (I don’t even know if I spelt that right!). It’s alright to mention these things, but over use makes them feel tedious and ‘oh hey look I have this and maybe you don’t’ sort of thing. I got tired of reading them.

The relationship with his first girlfriend in the book didn’t feel like a real relationship – which perhaps was the point as it was so easy for him to cheat on her. There was a theme of that running through their relationship anyway, but there was nothing tangible to relate to that relationship in the first place it makes you wonder what was the point of writing about it. It would have been more effective to have written their relationship as a good and close friendship instead.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Kialtho

Knitter’s Performance Issues?

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Okay so I haven’t blogged in a while. Remember my lost post about my Happypottamus…? I was on such a high after making that – something that I didn’t expect I would be able to do, then I went back to my knitting. With knitting, I definitely feel like it takes longer to get results, whereas crochet feels like there’s a lot more instant gratification in the development of the finished product.

I had decided to use some stash yarn and cast on for an Haruni shawl. I think I must have cast this on about ten times before I actually got any where. I would then get between 10 – 50 rows in, and for some reason something would go wrong and I would rip out again. No worries, thought I, this yarn just doesn’t want to become Haruni. [It’s Knitpicks hand painted stroll in the Coffee Shop colour way, probably too busy for Haruni anyway…]. So, in light of this I browsed through Ravely’s Hot Right Now list and decided on a ‘Closer to You’ shawl. I had 200g of this yarn so could make a decent sized shawl.

Not that this project really worked out either, which is exactly why I have delayed in posting. Seriously, I feel like my knitting confidence has taken such a hit because I could get this stupidly simple shawl knit up. There are supposed to be 8 lacy/YO sections at the start of one row every 12 rows [or something like that]. When I cast off I had 158.

158.

No, that wasn’t a typo. I figured out where I was going wrong for one bit and thought that would have solved whatever the problem I was having. It didn’t.

I have cast this one off and thrown into the gift stash without blocking or even sewing in the ends. I don’t even want to acknowledge it right now.

When I cast on my next project, the one I really wanted to be making whilst using up the Knitpicks yarn on the failed project, which this time is a cardigan, it again it took several times to cast on. And several ripping out. I do now have something that looks like it’s going right, but even now there’s a few rows in the middle of the lace section on the back that went wrong.

Honestly, is it normal for knitters to get performance issues? That is the only why I can describe how I’m feeling right now.

For the moment I am taking this new cardigan on a slow and steady basis, reading and rereading each step as it comes to make sure that things go right. I need this project to be a win, and I think I’m in a better rhythm with it right now.

I may undo that shawl in the long term, but for now, it can be in time out.

Happypotamus Crochet Pattern

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After finishing the Lord of the Rings scarf I was entirely sure what I wanted to make. I partly wanted to do something different, or do some stash busting. Stash busting won out, but I also tried something different. I decided to tackle some crochet, and if you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know that it’s not something I do very often. I’ve come to this very simple conclusion as to why: with knitting there’s only two stitches, it’s what you do with them that makes the piece. With crochet there seems to be an infinite amount of stitches and things to do with. Plus, I think I struggle to pick up the language with it which frustrates me.

However, I decided to do some crochet. My friend gifted me the Happypotamus pattern by Heidi-bears, available on Ravelry. I read through a lot of the project pages before I decided to dive in. Many people said it was their first crochet project – how? I thought! I gave it a go. The first few motifs I made didn’t quiet work out right:

They were to tight, and were curling up. Plus, they were a bit round.


Once I watched this video though, that all changed:

I made a few modifications to how the video did things, like less chain stitches between the dcs.

I didn’t realise initially that I wasn’t supposed to put the final round on – even though I had read it earlier in the pattern – because I was looking at the pictures rather than the writing. I felt super silly once I realised that – but luckily hadn’t gone too far into the motifs to worry about changing the putting together.

After a while I did find making the flowers a bit boring, but I persevered and had all of them ready in no time. Putting him together was fairly straightforward as well – follow the pattern step by step and it get’s you there. I slip stitched the flowers that I’d put the additional rounds on to make life easier and to reduce the seam/make it less bulky.

I love how he’s turned out, what do you think? I’m going to make more of these for sure!

Kialtho

Lord of the Rings scarf

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I completely forgot to write a blog about my most recent knitting project! To be fair, it is a pretty simple scarf, but it’s also pretty nerdy so deserves to be shared.

My first knitting project was a Hufflepuff scarf for Alex. I then made another when the first one was stolen as it had been left in a car that was stolen. Recently, Alex asked me to make him a new scarf, but a slightly lighter weighted one as the Hufflepuff one is too warm for him. [It had been really cold, you would think that he would have been happy!]

So I went and made something Lord of the Rings themed. I haven’t read the books, and I also haven’t really paid attention to the films – even though I have seen some of them, I couldn’t really tell you what it’s about except… you know, a ring, a quest, save the world type stuff. I would like to read the books one day, but it’s not something that I plan to rush into.

So here it is:

The Elvish is the poem for ‘one ring to rule them all’, and the other end has the Tree of Gondor. I put it in as I didn’t want the end to be blank. I know red isn’t the traditional colour for the Tree but it had to match the Elvish which I thought was a nice contrasting colour.

I used Women’s Institute yarn for this project. Literally my go to yarn, especially the 4ply version. It is soft, silky, and has a really good drape, especially when it’s had heat applied to it.

This only took a couple of weeks to make – I was impressed with my own speed on this one.

My current project is crochet, so it’s going to be interesting to see if I can finish it. It’s my third crochet project ever so… we shall see.

This is only a short and sweet one today – hopefully I’ll have my crochet done soon so that I can share that as well!

Kialtho

Comedic Happenings… AKA Taskmaster Live Recording and Russell Howard Live

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It was my birthday this week. Whilst I don’t usually broadcast this fact because, well, I just don’t [must be the introvert in me] I did want to share some of my week with you. Mainly because it has been really quite interesting! Let me start by saying  that I usually book a week off work around my birthday as I don’t usually know what to do with my holiday. It’s rare that Alex and I will go away – cost is the main factor there, and now that we have Artie as well, it would make going away a little more difficult. When we’re off we usually do things like go to the zoo, maybe go to London. [We did that, but I’ll get to that later].

Taskmaster

This week started by doing something that I’ve never done before! We went to see a live recording of a TV show called Taskmaster. I’ve never done anything like that before, and it was so interesting to see what happens when a show is being made. For this we went to Pinewood Studios in Slough [which I am sure is very near the Harry Potter Studio tour]. We chose to drive on this occasion which ultimately worked out easier for us. It took a little over an hour to get there which wasn’t too bad at all, and traffic had been quite calm as well. We chose to leave as early as possible, even if it mean waiting around a bit as the tickets are done in a first come first served basis [as they are free, the tickets are over subscribed to allow for no shows etc]. We were a good two hours early, but actually it was worth being early as the waiting area filled up really quickly around 4 o’clock. What was cool, and unexpected was that they gave out free beer to the people who were waiting. [I don’t drink, so it was a bit redundant for me].

Here’s a quick rundown of what Taskmaster is: Comedian Greg Davies sets the comedians tasks to do, and whoever does it the best/quickest wins points for that task. The comedians takings part in this series were Hugh Dennis, Mel Geidroyc, Noel Fielding, Lolly Adefope, and Joe Lycett. The comedians taking part changes in each series and it’s definitely interesting to see who does what and how. And it’s really interesting to see how people interpret the tasks that they have been given.

At the beginning of the show they are each asked to bring something specific in and that forms the prizes for the shows. For the show that we saw, the prizes were favourite subscriptions or memberships. In this case, the prizes consisted of subscriptions to clouds [and not an online cloud based service… actual clouds which felt a bit Night Vale-ian], cheese through the post, bacon through the post and a subscription to a newsletter about Cross Rail. Yep. They were the prizes.

Here’s an example of a task from a previous series:

We then see how they did for each of the tasks set to them, and who won overall and claimed the prizes. Obviously I’m not going to give away any of the tasks, or the winner! I wouldn’t want to spoil the episode for the people who may watch the show. But it was really, really good to watch. There was also a warm up guy doing a bit of stand up and interaction with the crowd – he was so funny! I wouldn’t be surprised if he did his own gigs. It’s a shame I can’t remember his name!

In all it took around 2 and half hours to record the show, which seems surprising considering the edited version is only about 45 minutes. But then, it’s so easy to go of track. There should definitely be an edited/ blooper episode. It was that funny!

Russell Howard

The following day was our London day. It’s quite traditional for us to go to London around my birthday, and we definitely do it more on mine than on Alex’s. Ages ago Alex bought us Russell Howard tickets – another comedian, if you didn’t know – for his stint at the Royal Albert Hall. We’ve been to see him before, when he was doing a warm up gig in the local theatre [total surprise there, and unexpected!] and it was  such a funny night that I knew that it would be good again, even if it was a bigger venue than when we saw him before.

The set up at the Albert Hall was really interesting. The stage was circular, and at the centre of the hall. I thought this was a nice touch because of how the hall is set up, and allowed for extra seating areas on the stage as well. When Russell was performing, he addressed the whole audience, not just one section. He was always moving, always fluid with the way the audience was set out.

We went up with two of our friends who also had tickets to see the show. Even though the show was in the evening we had a day of taking in the sights – and of course – Pokemon Go hunting. I find London very odd for Pokemon. I sort of expect it to be a bit better considering it’s a city, but actually I’ve caught better Pokemon in my home town and in places like Brighton. I have no idea why that is. London doesn’t seem to have all that much variation? What this means is we walked miles and miles. We stopped by Camden for some street food, went to Kings Cross [so that I could get kitted out with more Ravenclaw stuff!] and generally walked through lots of posh parts of London.

I love the Albert Hall. I love how it’s set up, and the ceiling as well! I didn’t take many photo’s though – not because I couldn’t but because I didn’t have my good camera and was relying on my iPhone camera which I find to be not that great. They allow you to take photo’s in the Hall, but for obvious reasons not whilst the show is going on.

Russell Howard was extremely funny. He covered a wide range of topics, from the treasure that is the NHS, the anger at was a stupid decision Brexit is, Teresa May, the politicians, what a twat Nigel Farage is, Trump in the White House, he talked about his family and their crazy antics, about mental health and how he wished he could help save people, and so much more.

What I felt was that Russell is far more in touch with the people of this country than our politicians. He can see what’s happening around him, the country and the sentiment and if only he could do something about that! Could you imagine him being an MP? It was such a great night out, I would definitely go and see him again. I was laughing throughout the whole show. What was really cool actually, a couple of my Facebook friends were also at this same gig. I really liked that touch!

So that was the two big events of the week. They happened side by side, so by Thursday I needed some down time. I picked up some crochet, but that’s for another blog!

I also have a couple more blogs lined up for the coming days as I’ve finished some knitting that I’d like to share separately, but I’ll leave it here today!

Kialtho

Reyna Shawl

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For the last six weeks or so I haven’t been very well. Alex tells me it’s longer, but basically I  seem to have been hit with cold after cold, a 24 hour sickness bug and more cold. It’s been a rough few weeks. Whilst I feel a lot better, I’m now fed up of looking washed out! Time to crack out the make up for a small while, I think!

During this time I’ve still been knitting – although it has been quite hard the last couple of weeks because the sickens made my concentration lapse. That was more to do with that 24 hour bug more than anything though.

A while back I started a thread asking for shawl suggestions on Ravelry. From that I made a ‘Rapunzel, Let Down Your Hair’ shawl – which I love but isn’t really big enough so plan to make that one again with all that alpaca yarn I have – and now I can say I’ve completed Reyna.
The Reyna shawl has really impressed me. When I was making it I was thinking that it wasn’t going to come out how I wanted, and just how could a one skein shawl really look as big as the other projects were showing? All the other one skein shawls I’ve made haven’t come out particularly big. But this one did! img_2540

This one really did open up and become that big.

I made this in The Yarn Tree’s ‘Frozen’ colourway. The colours are just beautiful. The blues came off on my hands a bit, but a soak and rinse for about 10 minutes reduced that, and then a soak in the washing machine as well. I’ll be surprised if there’s any blue left to come out. [I hope not, I gave it as a gift!]. I will be ordering more of this yarn from The Yarn Tree at some point because it’s just so lovely, and the colours are just perfect.img_2484
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I don’t have many – good – photo’s. This is one aspect of my knitting I need to change. Get some better artsy photo’s that show the FO in the best way possible. This will make me feel like my knitting does look as good as I think it does!

This is a pattern that was super easy to follow – and even better was just one page. I will be making more of these in the future as it is literally a perfect pattern for the variegated sock yarn skeins I have kicking around. And really, could be made absolutely massive using a Wollmeise 150g skein or something. This is one of those patterns that I’ll have no trouble recommending to anyone.img_2573It doesn’t matter what I make, Artie has to inspect it! Also, the blocking mats weren’t big enough for this, even though I thought they would be. Alex got me some from B&Q that are massive though, so I’ll be cracking those out instead next time.
img_2574I’m currently making a Lord of the Rings scarf. I don’t really do Lord of the Rings so it feels a little strange to be writing Elvish in my knitting. I plan to put a Tree of Gondor in on the other end, even though it’s going to be a bright red as I don’t want the scarf plain at the ends, and I don’t want to put more Elvish there either.

Maybe one day I’ll pick up the book for this series, hm?