Janet’s thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

More Recent Reading November 12, 2011

Filed under: Books — Janet @ 12:39 am

Here are a few of the books I’ve been reading lately.  A mixed bag.  First a book about Andy Warhol’s iconic image of the Campbell Soup Can.  This first appeared in 1962 and startled the art world.  It’s an easy book to read and gives a good feeling for the exhiliration and controversy of the Pop Art Revolution.  And also of course are included insights re Andy Warhol the artist at the center of this swirl.

This latest book by Kate Atkinson I found a bit harder going and more obsure than her earlier books.

   For me this was an unusual read.  More leaning toward science fiction where the characters keep dying and then returning to this world at an earlier point in their lifetime to live their lives in a different way.  Not really my type of book but skillfully done by the author.

  This is my favourite book of the four.  A brutal book in many ways which left me feeling the cruelty of war and its impact of the human psyche.  It is very powerfully written.


A Bit of Knitting, a Bit of Reading November 2, 2011

Filed under: East Africa,Hats,Knitting,Scarves — Janet @ 2:33 am

Well, I’ve managed to finish a couple of works-in-progress.  Very simple projects.   A scarf knit with some of the nice yarn I bought over at Churchmouse Yarns in Bainbridge.  And a simple crochet hat – just in time for the colder weather ccoming.  …… a very dark photo – I’ll try for a daylight photo tomorrow.  (p.s. daylight photo below – a sunny morning – hooray!)

More interesting possibly has been my reading.  First a book written by Evelyn Ames back in 1967 when she took a month long safari with friends and a guide to explore parts of East Africa.  The illustrations are by Victor Ambrus, another name from the past.  Evelyn Ames is a poet and a writer.   Her writing reflects an inner sensitivity to the experiences that she is having in seeing the wildlife of East Africa as it was then over 40 years ago.  We were in East Africa at that time and were fortunate to be able to travel extensively to remote areas.  But the wildlife was only part of our experience.  With the Evelyn Ames book, as the title, A Glimpse of Eden, implies, her emphasis in on the wildlife in its natural state.  And she wonders what the natural scene in East Africa will be in 50 years time.  Very different I am sure although I can’t personally testify to that.  According to the blurb on the dust jacket, her writing is compared with that of Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) for capturing the essence of Africa.  I am such a fan of Isak Dinesen – I’m not sure that Evelyn Ames is in the same class. Nor did Evelyn in a 2 month private safari, become a part of the fabric of life in East Africa.  I don’t think the books compare at all.   Still, I would recommend reading the book if you happen to come across it.



A Trial Run October 23, 2011

Filed under: Knitting,Quilting,Weaving — Janet @ 1:11 am

In anticipation of participating in a Christmas Craft Show, I have been making a review of what I might offer for sale.  This has become a bittersweet exercise.    It seems a long time since I have had a selling opportunity so this exercise has served as a bit of stock taking.  Hmm……handknit hats, scarves, blankets……handcrochet also…….blankets/crochet and knit.  Handwoven rugs.   Also handwoven table runners.  Oh and some socks as well.  I have a lot of sewing in of ends to put the finishing touches on some of these items. I’ve taken a lot of photos just to have a record of my inventory.   A few pictures to illustrate.

  handwoven rug

  crochet blanket

  butterfly crochet lap rug

  pinwheel blanket – knitted

   handwoven table runners

  handknit hats for all head sizes         

I wish I had had a bigger space and a sunny day and a wide expanse of green grass for my photography session.  Maybe I should spread out a green sheet and try again.

One day last week I met with the quilters group at the local church.  Now that was a real production line.  I was one of the sewers and managed to do the stitching around the edges of 3 queen size quilts.  That effort was very satisfying.  When I finish my part, then the quilts get folded and boxed and sent to a more central organizing body of Lutheran World Relief.  One feels that one’s work will eventually reach a destination where it is needed and appreciated.  Maybe I should try to find something similar for knitting projects.


Just For The Record October 20, 2011

Filed under: Books,Seasons,Seattle — Janet @ 1:09 am

I can’t seem to think of a momentous topic to write about so I’ll just show you my latest reading.

  An Alexander McCall Smith which has been on my shelf of unreads for quite a while.  Definitely a comfort read.  I like his books but in small doses separated by large amounts of time.

  a new book by Andrea Camilleri – an Inspecctor Montalbano mystery.  Set in Sicily with a convoluted plot but I have developed an affection for this Inspector and his colleagues and his girl friend.  Again, I like these books but, like Alexander McCall Smith, in small doses after gaps  in time.

  Here’s an author I have not read before.  I am only half way through.  It is a collection of pieces written for The New Yorker over 60 and 70 years ago.  So far I would compare Joseph Mitchell with John McPhee who is writing today but has been writing for many years on whatever topic takes his fancy.  I first heard of Joseph Mitchell through reading my internet friend Matt’s blog – now on checking the table of contents I see that the stories that Matt recommended are much further along in this 700+ page book.  Check Matt’s blog for June 11, 2011.

By the way, this book Up in the Old Hotel is one I found at the Couth Buzzard – a 2nd hand book store nearby where I have taken numerous books and have a huge amount of credit for same.  But I’m still in the phase of trying to get rid of books rather than adding new or used ones to my collection.  So I am staying away from the Couth Buzzard for a while longer before I go to redeem my credits.


As I write this, it has grown darker and darker and it is only 6 o’clock.  The shortening of the days is on the gallop.


A Flashback to Times Past October 17, 2011

Filed under: Books,St. Lucia,West Indies — Janet @ 1:23 am

  The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey

This was an intriguing cover and the title was equally so.  And as it turned out, the plot of this novel had lots of points with which I could identify.  It is a novel but actual facts and real-life situations aren’t far away.  The couple are white – the husband is English, the wife from the South of France.  They go out from London to Trinidad for the husband’s job.  It’s a 3 year contract.  From day one, the husband falls in love with the country.  The wife is not quite so enamoured.   And so it goes on with underlying currents of racism, belonging/not belonging, colonialism, political corruption, slavery and its aftermath, the rise of black power, two people who love each other but want to go in different directions, and so on. 

There were a few echoes of our experiences in St. Lucia in the 1970’s.  A different island, a different history.  It was a happy time for our family.  No issues of violence or racism so far as I was aware.  What was more of a problem was the heat and the monotony of the climate.  But it was a wonderful existence with 3 little boys and outdoor living and daily trips to the beach and the local swimming pool at Holiday Inn.


The couple in The White Woman on the Green Bicycle reminded me a bit of the couple in Paul Scott’s novel Staying On.  A couple who elected to stay on after India gained Independence.  Perhaps the couple in  The White Woman on the Green Bicycle should not have stayed on – in fact it’s quite clear that they should have left but when they tried to leave they were not able to get to the departing ship in time – the ship sailed without them.


A Book Fair American Style October 10, 2011

Filed under: Book buying and selling,Book Fairs,Books — Janet @ 6:32 pm

  This is the flyer for the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair, held as you can see last weekend.  This was our destination last Saturday.  Very similar to the Dublin City Book Fairs in which I used to participate except the Seattle one was much larger and more upmarket.  I never went over to London to attend the Antiquarian Book Fairs in Russell Square but I suspect they would be more comparable to this Seattle one in terms of the value of the items for sale.  The Seattle Fair had almost 100 exhibitors and they came from all over the U.S. and Canada and even a few from Europe.  We were browsers and lookers.  The items were out of our league as purchasers but it was interesting to say the least.  In searching the internet for items about book fairs in Ireland I found this link to an article in the Irish Times last August.

Knitting news:         a scarf for the oncoming winter season.


An Outing to the Locks October 7, 2011

On what proved to be our last sunny day we finally had an outing to the Hiram Chittenden Locks right here in Ballard.  The Locks date from the early 1900’s and were a big engineering projecct to connect boats wanting to transit from Puget Sound to Lake Washington.  Not as big a project as the Panama Canal, but the same idea I think.  Also as part of the Locks project there is a Salmon Ladder and a viewing area.  I don’t have pictures to show all the finer details, including the salmon in the fish ladder.   It’s hard to show a seal suddenly popping up out of the water – and we did see 2 of them.  And there were also some fishermen casting their nets from a small boat near the shore over on the Magnolia side.  Native Americans still have exclusive fishing rights in these waters.

Our outing was with 2 little fellows and their mom.  I didn’t take many photos but here are a few.

You can see what a beautiful morning it was.  September 30th.  Late in the morning the clouds gathered and we’ve had badly needed rain and intermittent overcast skies since then.  Autumn has come.

  map from the internet showing the Lake Washington Ship Canal, of which the Locks form a key part.



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