An adult baby surprise

If you are a serious knitter you will probably know immediately what I am talking about and for the non-knitters I am not talking about an unexpected pregnancy!

Elizabeth Zimmermann is the guru of knitting.  The first article I knitted using her instructions was a Baby Surprise Jacket.  If you link to this Pinterest page you will see various versions of this jacket which is knitted in one piece and joined with a woven seam across the shoulders. The next image is from Pinterest.

I have used Zimmerman’s book The Knitting Workshop which I bought when I knitted a baby surprise jacket for our grandson. I also have a copy of Knitting Without Tears.

The Adult Baby Surprise Jacket I have just completed was knitted as a request from my elder daughter.  She knew I had loads of scrap wool in my stash and she selected a few colours she wanted to include in her jacket and I set about my next project.  I bought the pattern from Schoolhouse press.

The two markers show where the decreases have taken place up to the point of the underarms then the increases happen.  Unfortunately I didn’t start the increases correctly and ended up with a bit of a hole.

I decided I really should unravel what I had done and so I undid the couple of hundred stitches and started the increases again, this time correctly.

This is at the point where the front flap stitches are put on holders and then you knit backwards and forwards on the bottom stitches.

Once the bottom section is knitted then a border is knitted around the edge before the single piece is assembled into a jacket.

At this stage the sleeves have not been joined and the collar hasn’t been added.

To join the sleeves I used two stitch bind off for the first sleeve but was not happy with the result as the colours showed through in the middle so I tried three stitch bind off for the second sleeve and it was much better. You can see the difference in the next picture.

The front sleeve is the two stitch bind off.  I undid that sleeve join and redid it with three stitch bind off.The dummy is bigger than my daughter but it gives you some idea of how it will look.

Working on the collar.

This was an absolute joy to work as I was getting rid of some of my stash and it was all garter stitch, the easiest of all. I sewed in the many ends and searched for some suitable buttons.  No luck with the buttons so I have sent it off to my daughter so she can choose buttons to finish it off.

A thoroughly enjoyable project.

I have since found the post of the original jacket I made.

 

Just a few

My recent reads have all been crime fiction although the Strawberry Thief is not really crime fiction.

Two Peter May books and two Robert Crais and one by Joanne Harris

Freeze Frame is another in the Enzo Macleod series, book #4.

“A promise made to a dying man leads forensics ace Enzo Macleod, a Scot who’s been teaching in France for many years, to the study which the man’s heir has preserved for nearly twenty years. The dead man left several clues there designed to reveal the killer’s identity to the man’s son, but ironically the son died soon after the father. It takes Enzo to a tiny island off the coast of Brittany in France, where he must confront the hostility of locals who have no desire to see the infamous murder back in the headlines. An attractive widow, a man charged but acquitted of the murder–but still the viable suspect, a crime scene frozen in time, a dangerous hell hole by the cliffs, and a collection of impenetrable messages, make this one of Enzo’s most difficult cases.

A cracking read.

Entry Island

“Detective Sime Mackenzie finds himself on a murder case on Entry Island, a tiny isle in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The suspect, a newly-widowed woman named Kirsty, seems oddly familiar to Sime. What is their connection? And can Sime survive in the same unit as his ex-wife long enough to find out?”

This book alternates between two locations, one in present day Canada and the other in the 1800s in the Hebrides.

A good crime fiction read.

The Promise

Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are joined by Suspect heroes LAPD K-9 Officer Scott James and his German shepherd, Maggie in The Promise which is Robert Crais 20th novel and it’s a great read.  Perfect entertainment for crime fans and dog lovers everywhere. 

This is book 17 in the Elvis Cole, Joe Pike series.

“When single mother Devon Connor hires private investigator Elvis Cole, it’s because her troubled teenage son Tyson is flashing cash and she’s afraid he’s dealing drugs. But the truth is devastatingly different. With two other partners in crime, he’s been responsible for a string of high-end burglaries, a crime spree that takes a deadly turn when one of them is murdered and Tyson and his girlfriend disappear.

They stole the wrong thing from the wrong man. Determined to get it back, he has hired a team that is smart and brutal, and to even the odds, Cole calls in his friends Joe Pike and Jon Stone. But even they may be over matched. The hired killers are leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. A few more won’t make any difference.”

Another good crime fiction read.
The Strawberry Thief
Joanne Harris is probably most well known for her book Chocolat but it is only number one in the series, The Strawberry Thief is number 4.
 

“Vianne Rocher has settled down. Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, the place that once rejected her, has finally become her home. With Rosette, her ‘special’ child, she runs her chocolate shop in the square, talks to her friends on the river, is part of the community. Even Reynaud, the priest, has become a friend.

But when old Narcisse, the florist, dies, leaving a parcel of land to Rosette and a written confession to Reynaud, the life of the sleepy village is once more thrown into disarray. The arrival of Narcisse’s relatives, the departure of an old friend and the opening of a mysterious new shop in the place of the florist’s across the square – one that mirrors the chocolaterie, and has a strange appeal of its own – all seem to herald some kind of change: a confrontation, a turbulence – even, perhaps, a murder.”

I devoured this in one go.  The writing of Joanne Harris was as good as ever, hard to put the book down. I just fell back into the village and the characters lives again.  If you loved Chocolat and Joanne Harris then pick this up you won’t be disappointed.

A wonderful book.

One of the few books I would give five stars to.  I loved this book and loved it even more as it brought back memories of driving down the Araluen Valley to Moruya to visit my mum and dad.  There was also mention of the Canberra suburb Garran where I used to teach.

The book is a thinly veiled autobiography obviously telling the story of his life, particularly his married life to his first wife.

“Critically acclaimed, two-time winner of the Miles Franklin award, winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize and numerous other literary awards, Miller’s new work is an exquisitely personal novel of love and creativity. ‘A thoughtful autobiographical work by an award-winning Australian novelist…traces themes of art and commitment through Crofts’ relationships with three women.

Sitting in a New York park, an old man holds a book and tries to accept that his contribution to the future is over. Instead, he remembers a youthful yearning for open horizons, for Australia, a yearning he now knows inspired his life as a writer. Instinctively he picks up his pen and starts at the beginning…

At twenty-one years, Robert Crofts leaves his broken dreams in Far North Queensland, finally stopping in Melbourne almost destitute. It’s there he begins to understand how books and writing might be the saving of him. They will be how he leaves his mark on the world. He also begins to understand how many obstacles there will be to thwart his ambition.

When Robert is introduced to Lena Soren, beautiful, rich and educated, his life takes a very different path. But in the intimacy of their connection lies an unknowability that both torments and tantalises as Robert and Lena long for something that neither can provide for the other.

In a rich blend of thoughtful and beautifully observed writing, the lives of a husband and wife are laid bare in their passionate struggle to engage with their individual creativity.

Alex Miller is magnificent in this most personal of all novels filled with rare wisdom and incisive observation.”

As I had read Autumn Laing and Lovesong and thoroughly enjoyed both I was happy that this novel was even more enjoyable.

 

This was started on 24th February 2020

I know the start date because I now keep a knitting journal, rather than having scraps of paper scattered in pattern books and on the studio shelves.

The pattern motifs used in the jumper are taken from this book.

I have used the book many times and this time I wanted to use motifs that were meaningful to my daughter.  The motifs are all based on jumpers from Fife and Musselburgh. The cables are Aran cables.  The jumper was a request she had made a few years ago to make a jumper to replace the one she had that used to belong to her dad. (he no longer wore it)  That jumper had since been frogged and with the addition of yellow wool had been made into a chevron rug.

You can read about the old jumper here. 

The rug you can read about here.

The jumper was made for her 40th birthday. The motifs include:

The tree of life from Musselburgh and the moss stitch from Anstruther.

Marriage lines or the ups and downs of life.

You can click on the pages to make them easier to read.

The heart motif is self explanatory.

A birthday jumper made with love.

Book update

Ages since I last posted about what I have read so here goes.

Amnesia by Peter Carey

A novel about internet hacking and Australian history.  An excellent review is here.

Set in Melbourne and Sydney and embedded with Australian history this novel really appealed to me as the history is recent history and I could relate to it easily.

The cover is pixelated, I suppose as a nod to computerisation, perhaps the hacking of the photo?

The Darkest Shore by Karen Brooks

Downloaded on my Kobo I loved this book which is about witchcraft and fisherwomen in Scotland.  Set in the Kingdom of Fife, where I was born, I could relate to the places where the story was taking place. The independent women of Scotland stand up to a witch hunt, male fury and the power of the Church in a battle for survival.

The story is based on true events in the early eighteenth century and the use of Scottish phrases and Gaelic words added to the historical aspect of the tale.

Falling Angels by Tracey Chevalier

“A poignant tale of two families brought reluctantly together, Falling Angels is an intimate story of childhood friendships, sexual awakening and human frailty. Yet its epic sweep takes in the changing of a nation, the fight for women’s suffrage and the questioning of steadfast beliefs.”

This was an enjoyable read, again one with historical interest .

The Guardian review is here.

 

Not sure where this book came from.

It was on my bookshelves and one I hadn’t read.

“A gripping psychological suspense read. Cupboards were sticky from spilled jam and honey, and the oven smoked when you turned it on because of the fat that had built up over the years. Agatha would never, ever let her future home end up like this. She would never leave it every day like Ruth did. She would never put her trust in strangers. Ruth and Christian are—just—holding their marriage together, after Christian’s disastrous affair a year ago. But chaos beckons, and when the family are suddenly left without any childcare, Agatha comes into their lives to solve all their problems. But Agatha is not as perfect as she seems and her love for the children masks a deeper secret.”

I really enjoyed this book as it had much relevance to today’s society where often both partners in a marriage are working. This book builds up the suspense and is well worth the read.