Tuesday, April 17, 2012

N is for Nordic Sweaters and O is for O'Brien

My apologies - N could be for "not posting yesterday" and O for "Oscar on opiates".  Quick update before the actual A-Z challenge post - My 12 1/2 year old orange tabby, Oscar, had some extensive dental work yesterday.  I was a bit stressed out because of this and then because I couldn't get him to take his pain meds last night (liquid and the vet had instructed to put the syringe in his mouth - has she met my cat?!) so I was worried the little guy was going to be in pain.  I have now been told that, though it is the less desired method of delivery, I can mix the drugs in a small amount of canned food, so Oscar is now hopped up on kitty morphine.  So... on with the actual post.  Thanks for listening to me be a bit neurotic about my cat.

Sweater #1
Creating: N is for Norwegian (or Nordic, if you prefer) sweaters.  As mention previously in post on Knitting, I am a fearless knitter.  As my third ever project, I took a class to learn how to make multicolored Norwegian sweaters.  Techniques I learned in this class included: knitting in the round (on circular needles and on double points), knitting without a pattern and designing as I go, and using multiple colors.  The sweaters are made from the neck down and are completely seamless.   They are lovely to knit and quite possibly my favorite way to make sweaters.  You can try them on as you go to make sure they fit over your shoulders, and the sleeves are long enough and the body is the length you want it.  The first one I made was rather untraditional colors - Chili Pepper, Turquoise and Cream.  It looks like it belongs in Phoenix or New Mexico.  The average age in my class (not including me) was about 70 and the instructor was encouraging those in the group with gray/white hair to find colors which complemented their silvery tones.  Mine did not match my hair.
close up of yoke - sweater #1
detail at bottom - sweater #1
yoke detail - sweater #2
The class lasted 6-8 weeks and I had all except one sleeve finished for the final class. 

Sweater #2
The second sweater was completed that same year.  I wanted one in more traditional colors and I wanted to wear it to Christmas Festival (choir concert) at my alma mater where Nordic sweaters are more common than any other kind of clothes.  This one, I made a little longer and the sleeves were actually long enough (, the first one is kind of a shortie with 3/4 length sleeves because I got a bit impatient).  It is red, black and snow white.  I really like the little leaf pattern on the bottom and sleeves.  Oh, and in case you are wondering, the little dots of color on the body are called "lice". Appealing name, eh? 

Sweater #3
I knit the third just a few years ago, maybe about 5 years ago?  This one I made with mock-turtle neck and a bit more complex zig-zag design on yoke and on the bottom and also a more difficult snowflake pattern.  Instead of color lice, I simply purled the lice instead, so they are textured instead of colored.  This one reminds me of the ocean, which I live nowhere near. 

Yoke detail - sweater #3

 Reading: O is for Tim O'Brien.  Another Minnesota author (see?  We have more than just Garrison Keillor and John Sandford!), O'Brien is well-known for writing about the Vietnam Conflict.  I have several of his books on my list of books to read someday, but one novel that I have read at least 3 times is In the Lake of the Woods.  I selected this for bookclub I think the first year (so back in 1997) because I had read and loved it and wanted to discuss with someone.  The story centers on a John Wade who has just spectacularly lost an election for senate and retreats with his wife Kathy to a cabin in the woods on Lake of the Woods in northern Minnesota (the little "chimney" that sticks up into Canada, if you look at a map).  He wakes one morning to find his wife is missing.  The story is a combination of flashbacks to his childhood, college years,  and his time served in Vietnam, as well as testimony and evidence from related characters.  It presents several hypotheses on what happened to Kathy.  I won't spoil it for you but if you only read books with neatly-tied-up happy endings, you may find yourself discouraged with this one.  Very cleverly written and engaging to read, this book is also disturbing on many levels, as one might expect of a book about a misisng wife and a former soldier who has seen the atrocities of war up close.  It also has a great feeling of place, the isolation of the big lake and surrounding woods.  I would highly recommend In the Lake of the Woods, and plan to also read If I Die in the Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home (memoir), Going after Cacciato (winner of the National Book Award for Fiction),  and novel The Things They Carried.

Until we knit and read again,

P.S. We are going to our favorite restaurant tonight for dinner, which could also have been the topic for "N" - Nectar Wine Bar and Bistro.  I have already blogged (and blabbed) about that, though.  Tonight I am going to try the beef bourginon which has never been on the menu before.


Ann said...

The scene in "In the Lake of the Woods" where he kills his wife's houseplants by pouring boiling water on them is forever etched in my mind. So sinister and haunting...

Lynn Proctor said...

that's the second time i have heard someone talk about "in the lake of the woods"--now i am intrigued

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