First, the knitting project:
This is a pattern I picked up at a fairly local knitting shop in a nearby "Small" city (more like a large town!) It was a store pattern that I was able to get for free providing I bought the store-made kit. There is no author listed on the pattern. It's made from 3 skeins of Plymouth Suri Merino which is an alpaca merino blend. It's super soft, with a nice fuzzy halo. There are almost 1000 beads on the scarf too. Stringing the beads took me almost as long as the actual knitting, especially because I didn't have the recommended beading needle. I strung the beads for the first half of the scarf with a needle threader. That broke just as I was finishing the first half of the beads. For the second half of the project, I used a 00 crochet hook and a tapestry needle. It took longer than it should have!! The knitting is just a K2P2 rib, so it went fast. You knit the 2 halves of the scarf and join them with a 3 needle bindoff. I haven't decided whether I will keep this scarf or gift it to someone next Christmas!
And now for books:
Book #10 for this year is
All Shall Be Well by Deborah Crombie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In this second Duncan Kincaid/Gemma Jones novel, Duncan is investigating the death of his neighbor Jasmine Dent. Jasmine's death is suspicious. In the last stages of lung cancer, Jasmine had been exploring the possibility of assisted suicide. When she is found dead by a caregiver, it's not clear whether Jasmine committed suicide or was whether she was in fact, murdered. We learn about Jasmine's life as Duncan reads her diaries. We also are invited into Gemma's personal life: her relationship with her parents, her struggles as a single mother; and we learn more about Duncan's interior life. At the same time, Duncan and Gemma begin to develop an "outside of work" relationship when he asks her to help him with his investigation on her free time. The plotting is tight, and the characters are finely drawn. This was altogether a satisfying read.
U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
It's been a while since I've read a Kinsey Milhone, and I was looking forward to this one. I have to say I was disappointed. I thought the storyline was dull, and I knew who-dun-it very early in the book. I found the flashbacks and point of view changes annoying too. It was pleasant to re-visit Kinsey but wished there had been more interaction between her and Henry. It didn't seem that Sue Grafton's heart was in this installment.
La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
La (short for Lavender)Stone retreats from pre-WWII London to the country after her husband abandons her for another woman. She finds it quiet, too quiet, in fact, at first and she struggles to find a purpose in life. As WWII breaks out, La discovers a purpose by working a "Land girl", assisting a local farmer with his hens, and by assembling a village orchestra. This orchestra becomes a symbol for the village of their determination to "keep on, keeping on" during the long war years.
I haven't decided whether or not I really liked this book. I had a hard time getting to know La - I didn't connect with her in the way I am able to connect with Mma Ramotswe, for example. La is reserved and cool, keeping her distance from everyone and I think, even from herself. There is great description, and definitely some similar moral philosophy, but I missed the warmness, openness and joy that infuses the Ladies' Detective Agency series. It might be worth a re-read sometime in the future.
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