Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Like My Books Signed

What is better than owning these books?

Having them signed and personalized to me.

Recently I attended the first night of Penguin's "Breathless Book Tour" at Books of Wonder. While all of the books look awesome and are on my radar, the real reason I went was to meet Kirsten Miller, author of Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City, Kiki Strike: The Empress's Tomb, and her latest The Eternal Ones. The female characters she writes are bad ass on Buffy and Veronica Mars levels. My favorite thing about her books are the team of "Irregulars", (what the girls of Kiki Strike call themselves). While so many YA books spend a ridiculous amount of time describing how pretty their girl characters are without disclosing much else except maybe an ability to fight, Kirsten Miller has created a completely diverse and well defined cast of characters who are into things like science, technology, mechanics, history and culture. These girls are strong in every sense of the word and wicked smart to top it off.

A few years ago I requested that I choose my teenage cousin's Christmas book and gave her the first Kiki Strike. She loved it as much as I did. I have been helping choose her books since. About 2 years ago she told me she loved all the books I chose for her. This made me so happy that I have been sending her my book windfall since. Every few months I send her a box of whatever books I recently finished. This keeps my bookshelves from tipping over and quells panic attacks over the thought of eventually having to move all those books. Of course I also feel like a loser when she reads in a weekend what took me months but I take comfort in knowing that the subway is a distracting place to read. The only reason you are not seeing a signed copy of The Eternal Ones in the pictures is because I purchased it that day it came out, read it and sent it to her.

Now that I've gushed about that for a while I am going to gush about Books of Wonder. I love this store. It is across the street from The City Bakery so I can pick up the city's best mocha and peruse the shelves of this independent kid's bookstore. They frequently have panels and signing's with really great YA authors. The employees are super nice and fun to talk to. If you go in there without the long wish list that I have, they have great recommendations. There is a cupcake shop attached to the bookstore with icing so bright it stains your mouth for hours. The best part is the freebie bookmarks at the register.

One last thing... Check out the title of the book I picked up while there for he signing. Haha! Thank you Bookshelves of Doom for that recommendation!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Starflower Flake

Have you ever spent time looking at the images gathered from the Hubble Telescope? I have to admit, I am a bit of a nerd for the Hubble website. One day after spending some time ogling some star pictures I thought I would attempt to capture the effect as best I could in knit form. With the aid of a recent sparkly pen buying binge at Kinokuniya I worked out this pattern back in November. It was then put on hold while Christmas was made. Finally, with Christmas finished, box sets of Vicar of Dibley to be watched, and an extra week off thanks to cancelled flights, I was able to knit this up from the comfort of my parents house.

The result looks a bit like stars, it also looks a bit like flowers and a bit like snowflakes.

I have a big head so even though the pattern calls for sport weight I went with some DK Madelintosh knit on smaller needles. The colorway is called Baltic and I am not sure there could be a prettier teal/blue yarn. This one is just stunning. It is matched with a newer Karabella Yarn, Super Platinum that has a metallic sheen. The Super Platinum is held double. This example was knit by working each chart once. It makes a shorter hat with just a slight slouch. This is my absolute favorite hat shape. I would not be surprised if I end up making a dozen more patterns in exactly this shape simply because I like wearing them.

This example was knit using Classic Alpaca from Alpaca Yarn Co. in a light blue/grey and some gorgeous Ella Rae Lace Merino held double in colorway 101, a great pink, violet, black, peach skein. This hat was made working the middle chart (Chart B) 3 times to make it nice and long like a stockingcap.

To purchase the pattern, you can do so through Ravelry or by clicking here:

This pattern is easily adjustable by changing yarns, adding or deleting chart repeats around, or adding chart repeats to the length. I am toying with the idea of making on of those great long stocking caps that are both hat and scarf in one but repeating Chart B until the hat is nice and long. Feel free to play and adjust the pattern to fit your needs.