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The Bibliophile
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Or, in ordinary English, Charles Stross has a new Laundry Files book coming out this summer: The Annihilation Score

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The Indigodragonfly Christmas yarns (my own personal faves among the colourway names: "Frankincense And Frankincensibility", "Ten Reavers Reavin’
", and "Buffy The Reindeer Sleigher")

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Happy Whatever You Celebrate In The Dark Of Winter!!!

From Millan.Net

From Millan.Net

From Millan.Net

From Millan.Net

From Millan.Net
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"Huron Carol" sung by Tom Jackson ... one of the best recordings of the oldest Canadian Christmas song. Original Wyandot lyrics were written by Jean de Brébeuf (who all Canadian kids learned about in history class) in the 1640s. Jackson is singing the 1926 Anglicized version. Plus a little background to why his performance of this song is special.

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The announcement to go home for the holidays came through at work just before noon today, a co-worker in Clearing brought me my copy of the newest Evil Inc. book without waiting for the official paperwork just so I could have it for the holidays, picked up a fresh supply of hot chocolate from Ten Thousand Villages on the way home from the bus stop, already have enough food stockpiled for several days so I don't have to go near a store until the seasonal shopping frenzy has died down (Calgary being the mecca for portions of two other provinces as well as the southern half of this one). So now I just have to cope with the luxury of unlaxing for more than a week (don't have to be back at work until January 5). Temps are supposed to plummet overnight and more of the white stuff is supposed to hit us tomorrow so I'm looking forward to staying indoors in the warm with books, yarn, and good music. :-)
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I've knitted half a leaf!!! Now just have to make twenty-four more joined onto this one and then I get to turn around and knit twenty-five other halves to turn them into whole leaves! ('twas actually quite simple to do once one got past fiddling around trying out different cast-ons to see which one "felt" best for this)

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It takes a little over three hours to handwind nearly two kilometres of laceweight yarn.

And I am impressed ... nary a knot nor break in that entire length and perfect shadings of one colour to another from end to end. These days much smaller-skeined and more expensive yarns from many companies frequently don't manage that. I suspect the source company in Estonia is using older, slower machinery so less stress/stretch on the fibres ... I could feel that the Kauni was beautifully relaxed and springy as I wound it. Gonna be a joy to knit.

Now I just have to find my 2mm Heavy Metal tips ...

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The Not-A-Christmas-Shawl (aka Graphic Infection) is growing. Think the bright colours are what I needed to be handling at this time of year (my other projects certainly don't lack colour but don't hit this high on the brightness scale)

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Animated snowflakes, generated by the letters in your name!

Here's mine
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As promised, the Kauni Lace that came in the mail last night. Colourway name isn't terribly exciting ... it's called "XEX" ... but oh, it promises to look amazing when it someday gets turned into this. For scale: see that needle lying across the skein? The one that's MUCH thicker than the yarn? That's a 2 millimetre needle (the needle size I'll be knitting this yarn on). 'twas interesting to discover, when I broke down and started hunting for Canadian Kauni dealers (already knew nobody here sells it), that while there are several places one can buy the heavier Kauni Effekt yarn only one shop in this country stocks the lace ... even more interesting that this sole dealer is a co-op shop in Winnipeg rather than one of the big online stores. That orangeish skein of MUCH heavier yarn beside the Lace is one of their house brand yarns that's kettle-dyed by the co-op members ... a bulky weight called Flock Fest in "Pope's Hill" colourway. It's a barely spun single-ply ... kinda like a 110-metre squooshy sheep dreadlock. Don't know what I'll do with it yet but I know whatever it turns into will be superwarm and featherlight. Maybe something colourwork, which is a blatent attempt at an excuse to buy more colours of this ... :-)

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Got my very first ever skein of Kauni yarn in the mail today. Kauni comes from Estonia by way of Denmark. Kauni is gorgeous. Kauni is special. Kauni is magic. If you want to see why I'm saying this Google the word and look at the search's image results. Might want to make sure you're sitting so your jaw won't hit something hard and get bruised when it drops.

I'll wait while you do that ...

If you did the image search everything you saw looks the way it does because of the special way Kauni dyes and plies their yarns ... pretty much every one of those gorgeous things was made with a single colourway of Kauni (and not, as you may have thought, a zillion different colourways carefully collected in colour gradient by insane people).

Also most of the stuff you just saw was made with fingering Kauni. That's the weight of yarn I knit my socks and most of my shawls from ... about the thickness of a pencil lead if you include the slight fuzzy halo that surrounds all real wool. What I just got today is Kauni Lace. Approximately twice the thickness of sewing thread. 280 grams/1960 metres of extraordinary colours. Tomorrow when the sun has come back for its daily brief visit I'll show it to you. :-)

P.S. Anybody who has been paying attention to droolworthy patterns I've been linking here probably has a pretty good inkling of what I'm planning to do with this yarn. In addition to petting it and calling it my preciousssss ...

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Two new shinies delivered to my desk today: Kate Davies' Yokes (half pattern book and half fascinating garment history with essays about yoked garments from several cultures), and Danielle Corsetto's Girls With Slingshots, volume eight (more Hazel and Jamie adventures!!!) Some nice holiday reading. :-)

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Another treat to look forward to reading next year: Empowered Unchained. The Empowered books are easy enough to get hold of (they're just not published often enough, dammit!) but I've only ever managed to snag one of the between-volume comic book specials ... can't wait to finally get to read the entire Maidman interview! :-)

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Peter Cook and Dudley Moore' "Gospel Truth" (Cook was forever adlibbing during sketches because he loved making Moore crack up during performances ... he managed to trigger a marvelous squeak of surprise in this one)

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Amazing what a difference a little distant burning hydrogen makes ... now you can see what I see!

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Damselfly!

(yes, I'm aware that rhymes ... pure chance, I assure you)

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Pardon the gloom of the photos ... it's been overcast twilight here all day today so the natural light is far from the best but using a flash just makes the stitchery invisible (stitches are defined by their shadows and using a flash eliminates those)

Decided that cool though both pattern and yarn are, they just weren't working out as a team ... the yarn being a little on the thin side for its weight was resulting in a fabric that was bordering on limp rather than having drape. So gonna rip it out and either use this same yarn with smaller needles or else a slightly thicker yarn with the same needles. I'm thinking the latter ... much as I love the melting effect of the colourway its being at right angles to the flow of the zigzag isn't quite right either.

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So knowing that I was going to unravel that one gave me an excuse to start something with lots of cheery colour just to fight the winter darkness blahs (notes on why these particular colours here)

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Good news for fans of "The Middleman" TV series who have, like me, coveted the out-of-print original comics: creator Javier Grillo-Marxuach has brought the entire original graphic version (plus some new Middlestories) back into print via Createspace!!!

If you've never seen the series this is the video clip that had me hooked and running to the DVD store as fast as I could

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It's been a very BOOK day today!

At work newly-released copies of Peter O'Donnell's The Grim Joker and Nancy Marchant's Knitting Fresh Brioche (the latter causing some serious jealous drooling among co-workers) were delivered unto my desk.

After work, off to the comics shop where I made a nice dent in my shopping/wish list: along with issue 5 of "Storm", issue 9 of "Nightcrawler", and issues 13 & 14 of "Amazing X-Men" I also scored copies of Serenity: Leaves on the Wind, Jason Aaron's Wolverine: Japan's Most Wanted, Warren Ellis' Storm, and Paul Cornell's Wolverine: Three Months to Die, book 2!

And bonus: no overtime from home this weekend so I'm gonna get to log some reading time with these and more! (happiness is having your contact person for your biggest library client drop in on Friday afternoon to say that their 2014 book budget is pretty much spent a few days ahead of estimate, which means my annual major December stress-causer is now done and dusted for this year ... hurrah!)

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'tis getting to be the time of year when I need to re-read Charles Stross' wonderful Laundry Files Christmas story: Overtime (link is to free online edition)

It's such a sweet and charming little tale ... guaranteed to put you in that cheery optimistic holiday mood ***EVIL GRIN***
Read more...Collapse )

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(this actually happened during Saturday evening but LJ went down that afternoon and didn't revive until sometime today ... I figure the fact that the numbers are still burned into my brain forty-eight hours later means it has to be said)

It should be ILLEGAL for the local humidity to climb from 59% to 82% in less than an hour. In December. Without a temperature change to go along with it.

Yes, that happened here on Saturday night. It feels really bizarre to go from feeling physically warm and comfy to chill and clammy in a matter of minutes ... it was like being suddenly covered in cold slime. Ick.
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Replying to shemhazai's post about springerle cookies gave me the urge to actually drag out my favourite ancient cookbook ... a 1951 Everywoman reissue of "The American woman's cook book", originally published in 1938. Before convenience foods. So every recipe uses basic ingredients, no shortcuts or mixes or anything like that. Also assumes you're plucking your own chickens, creaming butter and sugar or beating eggs with your muscles rather than a mixer, and supplementing your protein intake by hunting squirrels and the occasional opossum.

So, opening the book at random ...

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the peanut butter and banana sandwich ... just slap some peanut butter on the bread and slice a banana, right? Here, from the book (which devotes a half page to how to butter bread properly when making a sandwich), is a classier way to do it:

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cream or hot water
Lemon-juice
1/2 cup banana pulp

Mix the peanut butter with the cream until it is smooth and light in colour, then combine it with the banana pulp and a little lemon-juice and use between thin, buttered slices of bread.

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Brad Podray has released a new Maximalism "soundtrack: Big Adventure Single!. I love these soundtrack pieces of his; they have no connection to any existing movie/show ... you just listen and can tell it's a spy or romance or fight scene and let your brain make up its own story to go along with it. :-)

Usual deal ... you can listen to or download the track as a name your own price transaction (which means that yes, you can pay $0.00 but it's always nice to give the artist some $$ if you can ... it encourages them to continue composing and performing)

P.S. I really do need to spend some time exploring deeper into Bandcamp ... there's so much good music in there! Like everywhere else, I'm jlsjlsjls in there if you want to check out what I've added (so far) to my music library.

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Creative promotion of knitting patterns: The Men in Knitwear calendars (still giggling over December's "Bad Santa")
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When he gets rolling he does the most marvelous things with words ... today it's "... skies the colour of a recently-deceased porpoise ..." and while I'm not living as far north as he is and thus get a tad more daylight this time of year I know exactly what shade of sky he means.

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Something finished comes off the needles ...Collapse )
... and something new goes onto themCollapse )

We'll just quietly ignore the fact that new project isn't actually using the same needles as the finished socks. Or that the socks were cast on without any other project being completed. Okay?

P.S. Yarn is from a local dyer (she's also responsible for that eyesearing purple I picked up at the fibre fair a couple of weeks ago), colourway is "Basketcase"

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I broke down and bought the Autumn Lace pattern. And I've only been saved from another bout of what the Yarn Harlot calls "startitis" (a disease that causes a crafter to start new projects despite already having lots of half-completed ones needing finishing) because all my 2mm needles and interchangeable tips are otherwise occupied and while I have yarns of the correct weight in stash I don't have enough of any of them ... this sucker requires 1200 metres of lace weight and the largest quantity I have in a single colourway is 914 metres. Plus none of the stuff I have is a long colourchange dyejob and I think that colouring is an important part of the look of the thing.

And with the city currently in whiteout conditions and a -33C windchill with more of the same forecast for the entire weekend I don't think there's any danger of me sneaking out to a yarn store in the next couple of days. Safe from online lace shopping for the moment too ... my Paypal account is currently in single digit and the money transfer-in-progress won't likely show up until the middle of next week (yes, I know overage can go onto my credit card but I have a personal rule that I will only use cash-that-is-present for Paypal purchases and I don't want to piss myself off by breaking it)
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We're on a double weather warning right now: freezing drizzle advisory + snow squalls advisory. My decision to insert a detour across the street to Ten Thousand Villages into tonight's bus stop-to-home walk in order to replenish the household hot chocolate supplies was obviously a good one.
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HAPPY AMERICAN THANKSGIVING TO MY BUDDIES SOUTH O' THE 49TH!!!!!
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... which leads the mind to fantasies of someday-when-I-have-time-I'll-make snuggly stuff. And the happy discovery that a new winter issue of Twist Collective is now online. :-)

Nifty back patterning on Nevyn

A maze of twisty twiny cables: Pelion

Sideways stitching in Mad Dash

A seamless Quarry

Curve-emphasizing lines in Epicenter

And amazing "knitted" glass sculptures by Carol Milne!!!
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Storm #5 (Ro & Yukio back together ... considering their past history together this could get interesting!)

Amazing X-Men #13 (Hope it lives up to the potential shown in the set-up ... one character who has a lifetime of dealing with prejudice against his appearance and one who has spent a chunk of life dealing with prejudice against his sexuality trying to help a kid who faces having to cope with both types of bigotry at once. May it do this well)

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Another jaw-droppingly amazing design from Svetlana Gordon: Autumn Lace
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Series 3, episode 7: "Mulliner's Buck-U-Uppo"

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Series 3, episode 6: "Big Business" (the penultimate episode)

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Series 3, episode 5: "The Editor Regrets" (featuring the now-married characters Bingo Little and Rosie M. Banks, whose romance began in a Jeeves and Wooster story)

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(faced with a giant serpent) "I would fight it but my two martial skills are arm wrestling and shin kicking ... useless against snakes."--Pip Bin

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Series 3, episode 4: "The Luck of the Stiffhams"

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Have been relistening to "Bleak Expectations"

"Let good triumph! Let evil be thwarted! Let chickens have library cards!"--Harry Biscuit.

I love this show. :-)

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Series 3, episide 3: "Tangled Hearts" (guest starring Sally Thomsett, who played Jo in "Man About the House")

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Series 3, episode 2: "Trouble down at Tudsleigh"

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Series 3, episode 1: "The Smile That Wins" (one can't help but wonder how much time John Alderton spent in front of a mirror to come up with that smile ...)

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Series 2, episode 6: "The Code of the Mulliners" (last episode of the second series and also Pauline Collins' final appearance in the series)

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Series 2, episode 5: "The Nodder" (another of Wodehouse's Hollywood stories)

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Series 2, episode 4: "Feet of Clay"

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