Slow progress on Brora

I have been doing a few other things lately so the progress on the baby shawl has taken a back seat for a while.  The baby is due in November so I thought I had better get cracking on this job before the baby arrives.

I think the hardest part of the shawl is doing the border as you have to knit 104 points and then join them together before picking up 832 stitches so you can start the rounds.

I am pleased to say that last night I finished the border and picked up the stitches.

just looking like ravelled wool

just looking like ravelled wool

This gives you some idea of the points

This gives you some idea of the points

I am now on round 3 of 194 rounds. It should go much quicker now.

Australian history with a bit of crime and romance

I am really enjoying the Sulari Gentill books of the Rowland Sinclair series.


I have just finished Gentlemen Formerly Dressed and enjoyed it just as much as the previous book I reviewed.  The story moves along at a rollicking pace and I stop now and again to check on some particular aspect of Australian history mentioned in the plot.  I love how Sulari Gentill brings history to life.  I have never been a great lover of history but I am loving this series.  The book is set in London but follows on from the troubles they had while in Nazi Germany.

From the cover:

After narrowly escaping the terror of Nazi Germany, Rowland Sinclair and his companions land in London, believing they are safe.

But they are wrong.

A bizarre murder plunges the hapless Australians into a queer world of British aristocracy, Fascist Blackshirts, illicit love, scandal, and spies.

A world where gentlemen are not always what they are dressed up to be.

 There are some wonderful reviews to be found here.

This is another for my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.

Well, Hello Dolly!

My younger daughter recently asked me if I would make a doll for the child she is expecting.  She wanted a doll the same as the one I had made for her when she was little.

You can see the doll peeping out of the cardboard box on the left side. I’m not sure if that is her doll or her sisters.

FionaShe doesn’t know the sex of the baby yet so I can only make the body of the doll and do the rest when the baby is born.

I made dolls for each of our children.

jeremyThis one is in the toy basket that sits in our family room now for when the youngest grandchild visits.

jeremy2 The first doll was Jemima, named after the Playschool doll.  The second doll was Josephine and the last one, which you can see here, was Jeremy.

Jeremy was our son’s and it got a bit more wear and tear than the girl dolls.  It has had some repair done where the arm came adrift after some vigorous tussling!

The pattern is from 1978 but as I keep all my patterns I found it in my pattern box.

doll patternUnfortunately I don’t have the shoe pattern but I should be able to conjure something up.

pattern backI generally have some calico in my stash and so I was able to get the pieces cut out yesterday.

pattern piecesI should get the body of the doll done today then we just need to wait until the baby is born to do the hair and clothing.

Mudbound was such an appropriate title for this novel

I have managed to complete another book for my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.  This novel was Mudbound by Hillary Jordan which won the 2006 Bellwether Prize for Fiction.


The novel is set on a cotton farm in the 1940s and the story is told by six people, three of those voices being white the other three being black and bit by bit, the six voices unravel into a powerful story containing mindless racial violence, adulterous sex, and patricide. The realistic portrayal of the hatred towards negroes is to the forefront of this novel and the damage that is done to both white and black families is the end result of this story.
From the cover:
Two men return from war to the McAllan cotton farm in the Mississippi Delta in 1946.  One is Jamie McAllan: charming, handsome, and sensitive to the plight of his sister-in-law Laura who hates rural living.  The other war hero is Ronsel Jackson, the eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan Farm, who finds he still has to fight the bigotry of his own countrymen.  It is the unlikely friendship of these two brother-in-arms, and the passions they arouse in others, that drive this powerful debut novel.
Hillary Jordan‘s characters come alive and stirred strong emotions in me. I felt such anger toward the small-minded men who fought against the inevitable changes in society with violence and cruelty. I especially enjoyed that the chapters were told from various points of view, which gives you a deeper insight into the actions and motivations of the characters. A moving story which I highly recommend.
You can find a negative review of the book here if you want to compare.


An Australian author I enjoy

I have written previously about the debut novel of Sulari Gentill but since that time she has been prolific in her writings.  I have read A Few Right Thinking Men, A Decline in Prophets and Paving the New Road.  She has also written Miles Off Course but I haven’t read that one.  I am just about to read the fifth book in the series and it is called Gentlemen Formerly Dressed. She has also written The Hero Trilogy, a fantasy adventure series.

Paving the New RoadPaving the New Road was set in the early 1930s and the bulk of the action takes place in Nazi Germany.  This book fits into the historical novel category as well as crime fiction so it is an ideal book for my reading likes.

From the cover:

It’s 1933, and the political landscape of Europe is darkening.  Eric Campbell, the man who would be Australia’s Fuhrer is on a fascist tour of the Continent, meeting dictators over cocktails and seeking allegiances in a common cause.  Yet the Australian way of life is not undefended.  Old enemies have united to undermine Campbell’s ambitions.  The clandestine armies of the Establishment have once again mobilised to thwart any friendship with the Third Reich.

But when their man in Munich is killed, desperate measures are necessary.

Now Rowland Sinclair must travel to Germany to defend Australian democracy from the relentless march of Fascism.  Amidst the goose-stepping euphoria of a rising Nazi movement, Rowland encounters those who will change the course of history.  In a world of spies, murderers and despotic madmen, he can trust no-one but an artist, a poet and a brazen sculptress.

Sulari Gentill does a wonderful job of bringing Australian history to life with the inclusion of real characters amongst her fictitious. Rowland Sinclair is the debonair and charming protagonist of this series and he along with his friends provide the vehicle for this wonderful look at Australian history while giving us the intrigue of a crime fiction novel.

Highly recommended. A rollicking read.

This is another book for my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.

Giving sugarless September a try

sugarI am not sure if I will succeed at this but I am going to give it a try.  Reducing my sugar intake in September.


Taken from the website the challenge is to live without refined sugar for the 30 days of September.  To get the details you need to visit the website.

I wont be posting pictures but the inspiration is there for those of you who want to give it a go.  I will just concentrate on reducing the sugar.  No doubt it will be really difficult to do as I do enjoy sweet things.

Sugar free september- 20142

The difficult part is the fact that sugar is contained in so many items that you wouldn’t think had sugar in them.  You need to check the ingredients on the packaging.

You can find a list of unrefined sweeteners here.