Unraveled Wednesday: A Sweater, a Swatch and a Stack of Books

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This week’s update includes meager progress in the Knitting Department, some background into my fondness for cozies, and a book recommendation for writers.

Knitting update

Progress on the Roan Highlands Sweater has been slow this week. I’ve tried to put on an inch a day but there were a couple of days when I fell short. I’m glad the weather hasn’t turned cold here yet so I’m not needing it. Silly me threw out or donated all but two sweaters and one pullover when we “downsized”.

I still regret it.

But the color is lovely, if you’re a green kind of person.

The same poor progress has been made on the Waiting For Rain shawl. I’m still trying to get the gauge swatch completed, and did go down a needle size last night because it didn’t look like I was going to make it on the size 6. But we aren’t waiting for rain anymore, anyway. The sky opened up this morning and now we are waiting for sunshine.

I think I’m going to have to rename this shawl. Isn’t garter stitch UGLY! I am glad the whole shawl won’t look this way.

Finally, I previously wrote that I wasn’t going to knit any Christmas gifts this year. But that was before I saw The Perfect Wrap. I can’t share the recipe or name of it yet because I don’t know if the intended receiver reads this blog and I don’t want to give away a surprise. But as soon as I saw the picture it made me think of her. So I ordered the yarn and expect to be in a knitting frenzy when it arrives.

The sweater and the swatch will have to take a back seat for awhile once it gets here.

On the nightstand

I’m sorry to report that I’m having a lot of trouble getting through Knit One Kill Two. I’ll give it another chapter, but…let’s just say I can’t get past Kelly (the protagonist) enough to enjoy the story. That probably makes no sense to anyone who hasn’t read the book, but if you really like the name Kelly or your name is Kelly or you have a friend name Kelly or your dog is named Kelly or your neighbor is named Kelly then Kelly might want to read the book. 

(Was that a good example of what I don’t like about this book?)

Moving on…

Next up in my journey through the Agatha Raisin series should be book 6 but somebody has it checked out at the library. So I’m skipping to book 7. I’m enjoying the glimpses into English country life as well as Agatha’s ups and downs.  It’s definitely a woman’s book.

I picked up a Lilian Jackson Braun book at the library, too. I think I’ve read every book in her series at least two or three times but was struck with a wave of nostalgia while standing in the mystery section. A bit of history here: I never heard of cozy mysteries until the early 1990s. Someone loaned me a copy of “The Cat Who Moved A Mountain” and I was hooked. It was like I’d found a grownup version of the Nancy Drew books I loved when I was pre-adolescent.

Honestly, who doesn’t like Koko and Yum Yum and Mr. Q, and all the interesting places they explore in the upper peninsula of Michigan?

I suppose LJB’s books became the standard I measure all other cozies by, and probably explains why I didn’t like Mrs. Murphy in Rita Mae Brown’s books. Koko uses body language– like most fictional cats. He never speaks English and certainly doesn’t have the college education of Mrs. Murphy.

Kao Ko Kung vs Mrs. Murphy, winner takes all

Uh-huh. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself and just had to post that one.

Finally, one of the creative writing blogs that I frequent recommended the book “Word Painting” by Rebecca McClanahan, so I found a used edition online and just started reading it today. If you write, whether it’s a blog, journal, or a book, you might take a look at this, especially if one of your long-term goals is to write so well that your reader gets lost in the fictional dream.

She says “Fiction writers aren’t the only ones who create this dream,” and lists poets, essayists, memoirists, biographers, travel writers, nature writers, journalists, letter writers, and, at times, business writers and advertising people as other writers who can create immersive writing. “Once I nearly drowned in a catalog description of a blue gauze dress,” she writes. She goes on to explain how to develop this skill and provides writing exercises for practice.

I’ll end today’s entry with another quote from her book that really appealed to me. I think it’s because it fits into my Buddhist/Taoist worldview of words versus actual reality. I wonder if others also struggle with finding balance between the world of the artist and that of the realist. It’s been my experience that sitting on the fulcrum can be stagnating, but there’s some trepidation about going completely over to the side of the artist because of the association with illusion. The real fact of the matter is that the whole scale is an illusion, isn’t it?

It’s ironic to me that I can wrap my head around things like that but struggle with writing description. 

But, if it makes you feel better (it did me), here’s Rebecca’s interpretation of the word “description”.

In the fields of science, linguistics, grammar and mathematics, description concerns itself with the study of things as they exist, with bringing forth the attributes of subjects rather than simply explaining or labeling them. In literature, description refers to the language used to bring these attributes to the reader’s mind. Description is an attempt to present as directly as possible the qualities of a person, place, object or event. When we describe, we make impressions, attempting through language to represent reality. Description is, in effect, word painting.

Have a marvelous Wednesday!

Comments (1)

  1. lovely post!! (l like that last quote a lot!)
    good luck on the sweater….before the cold hits! must disagree, though, on garter stitch……i truly have grown to love it over the years!!!!

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