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A few books going back to the library today:

Powers: The Definitive Hardcover Collection,…
Powers: The Definitive Hardcover Collection, Vol. 1
by Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Avon Oeming (Illustrator)

This graphic novel is an exploration of what it would be like to be a cop in a world with superhero celebrities. It's decent, and I know lots of folk who like the grittier, broken superhero genre who would enjoy this. I felt like there were some really great world and character ideas set up and it was worth reading for that, but I also felt like the pacing and the genre didn't quite do it for me. I'm happy to recommend it to people who like the genre, though.

Also, I want to note that I don't really recommend the "definitive hardcover collection" for light reading. It's a huge coffee table book, lovely but hard to read in bed.

Powers: The Definitive Hardcover Collection,…
Powers: The Definitive Hardcover Collection, Vol. 2
by Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Avon Oeming (Illustrator)


I liked the first volume enough to pick up the 2nd book, but I found the pacing even more off in that one, to the point where I was tempted to just flip through pages until it got to the point. Too much media retrospective, not enough story. I feel a bit bad complaining about this because I think the media treatment of superheroes is part of the point, and the puff piece media clips feel like they've been dropped from an alternate reality in a good way. But the problem is that I dislike reading/hearing these things normally because I don't care about the celebs in real life, and thus it didn't help me care about fictional celebrities any more than I do about the real ones. I guess they are a clever device but ultimately not one that worked for me. Your mileage may vary. Still quite the story, but a bit hard to get through at times.
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This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I actually did complete this hat before giving it to M for Christmas 2013, but apparently I can’t find pictures of it (or the kraken hat I made for S the same year), so instead you get this one photo of it with only one side completed:


Definitely right-brained


BTW, I chose the title for this post because of my half-finished picture. But for those of you who don’t know, the whole “right brained / left brained” thing is kind of BS and you might want to read up on it. The myth comes from some research on epileptic patients where the two halves of the brain were severed and they don’t seem to generalize to humans with normally connected brains.


From the article linked above (because I’m not looking up pubmed for a knitting post):


There is a misconception that everything to do with being analytical is confined to one side of the brain, and everything to do with being creative is confined to the opposite side, Anderson said. In fact, it is the connections among all brain regions that enable humans to engage in both creativity and analytical thinking.


“It is not the case that the left hemisphere is associated with logic or reasoning more than the right,” Anderson told LiveScience. “Also, creativity is no more processed in the right hemisphere than the left.”


Anderson’s team examined brain scans of participants ages 7 to 29 while they were resting. They looked at activity in 7,000 brain regions, and examined neural connections within and between these regions. Although they saw pockets of heavy neural traffic in certain key regions, on average, both sides of the brain were essentially equal in their neural networks and connectivity.


(tl;dr: Brains are much more versatile than pop culture might have you believe.)


So there’s your science tidbit for the day. Let’s go back to talking about knitting.


The pattern


Brain Hat (KNITTING PATTERN, not actual hat)

by Alana Noritake
($5 on Ravelry)


This is a pretty simple pattern: make a skullcap, put a lot of i-cord on it. But it’s worth buying yourself a copy of the pattern because it includes a bunch of pictures of the hat in progress and finished, as well as photos of brains and insight on how to make it look good. I definitely felt like I got my $5 worth and had a much better hat for it!


My notes


I made the brain hat for M, who’s allergic to animal fibers, so I was somewhat limited in my choices of yarn. I think I used knitpicks comfy, which is a cotton-acrylic blend that’s quite nice to work with (soft and a little more stretchy than straight cotton). This worked pretty well, to be honest, but doesn’t make for the warmest of hats. This makes it not so great as an all-winter Canada hat, but ok for warmer climates or indoor costume use.


If I did this again again, I’d probably make 50% more brain icord and take more time pinning it to be absolutely perfect. I just didn’t allot quite as much time as I should have before xmas so I was frantically making this on the plane to Ottawa and at my parents’ house before it got packaged up as a present.


Overall, though, a fun pattern and one I’d be happy to make again, given a lot more time or a knitting machine that produced icord.

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This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I made this Twilight Sparkle for a friend and then, uh, took a year or something to get it to her. I am the worst at mailing things (in the end, J gave it to her in person and I never mailed it!)


The pattern


This is a pattern I made myself, and this Twilight Sparkle is actually one of the first ponies I made after I had actually published the pattern. (I also have a set of teensy tiny felted ones that I haven’t finished up and photographed yet… someday I’ll get through my backlog of projects to document!)


[Crochet Pony Pattern inspired by My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic on my website (toybox.ca)]

[Crochet Pony Pattern inspired by My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic on Ravelry]


(You can tell it’s been a while because she’s still just a unicorn!)


Photos


Since I wrote the pattern, I don’t have much more to say about it, so here’s a bunch of pictures of the pony!


Body only:


Violet Pony for Katie


I do love that she’s a bit posable….


Violet Pony for Katie


Those legs are surprisingly bendable!


Violet Pony for Katie


If I wanted to her to have a bigger range of positions I could have wired her legs, but this is just the qualities of the yarn and stuffing.


Violet Pony for Katie


Her head also moves, although maybe not as much as the legs


Violet Pony for Katie


And here she is with a mane and tail and cutie mark: I don’t love her eyes (I haven’t found a great way to do them; these were drawn on fabric and sewn on), but she does look more expressive with them!


Twilight Sparkle for Katie


Closer look at her rump so you can see the cutie mark. Or make jokes about butt-shots, whatever.


Twilight Sparkle for Katie


Did you notice what book it is?


Twilight Sparkle for Katie


I chose it for photos because of the colour, but it does seem like something she might enjoy, eh?


Twilight Sparkle for Katie


Maybe one day I’ll do a version with the wings…


Twilight Sparkle for Katie


Or at least one for myself!


Twilight Sparkle for Katie


Overall, my biggest regret on this one was not sending her out sooner. Sorry about the delay, Katie!

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I haven't really been on top of book reviews. That's somewhat intentional in that I decided to focus on documenting my maker-y projects instead, but I noticed today that it meant I haven't been doing a great job of keeping up with the books I've been sent in exchange for fair review, so I guess I'd better get back into the groove if I want to keep getting free books. Here's two from the library as a warm-up.

Both these books have somewhat unusual protagonists. They're challenging in different ways.

When Everything Feels like the Movies…
When Everything Feels like the Movies (Governor General's Literary…
by Raziel Reid

I heard about this book because it was on Canada Reads, although being out of country I didn't manage to actually catch the episodes talking about it when they were broadcast so I still went in mostly not knowing what I was in for. The idea of coping with high school by imagining it as a movie set intrigued me.

I'm finding myself at a loss as to what to say about this book. It's authentic in that way that people don't always like to see high school depicted, with swearing and sex and violence and feelings with raw edges. For all that intensity, it's as playful as it is painful, as well as insightful and hard to put down. It takes "gay (trans?) kid not fitting in to small town" and pushes it out to an extreme that YA isn't often allowed to go. I loved it and was horrified by it at once, and I guess that's the point. I kind of hope it actually does get made into a movie.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick…
The Slow Regard of Silent Things
by Patrick Rothfuss

This is a book that's so hard to pin down that the author's forward warns you that you probably won't like it. Which honestly, I think is a brilliant piece of marketing gimmick in that it challenges you to try. (Perhaps I am being too cynical here, but it's true.)

Since it doesn't exactly have a plot so much as a gentle unfolding of the life and mind of one small woman, I found it very hard to get into it when I was reading it in dribs and drabs. If you're going to give it a try, set aside an evening where you can immerse yourself in Auri's world, magical and strange as it may be. I doubt anyone would promise you'll like it, but at least you'll have given it a fair chance.

I highly recommend accompanying the afterward with some Dar Williams, which seemed during my reading to be the musical equivalent of what they were talking about.
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This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

You might remember that I posted week 1 and 2 photos from this KAL, but forgot to post the other two weeks of photos and finished object photos here. I finished this back in March at the end of the KAL, so it’s a bit late!


Pattern: Fern Lace Shawlette


Fern Lace Shawlette by Michele Bernstein ($6 on Ravelry)


Michele is also known as PDXKnitterati. This is the first pattern of hers that I tried, but definitely not the last!


Week 3 photos


February 2015 KAL (Week 3))


I don’t normally block as I go like this, but the KAL had prizes for folks who posted photos every week (I even won one early on!), so I wanted them to be beautiful. I actually sort of think I should do this “block at the end of each week” thing a bit more often, since I was forever pulling out the lightly blocked end to admire it or show it off.


February 2015 KAL (Week 3))


The teacup pincushion was made by a friend of mine, isn’t it adorable? She sells them online if you want your own! Just check out Flying Corgi Studio on Etsy.


February 2015 KAL (Week 3)


Week 4 photos


I love those beads! I wasn’t too sure if I’d like having a mix of colours like this, but I really really do.


February 2015 KAL (Week 4)


Look at this week 4 photo… it’s hard to believe I finished in time, but it went so fast once I started decreasing!


February 2015 KAL (Week 4)


Week 5 photos… with the designer!


The designer who created this absolutely lovely pattern was doing a trunk show at Twisted during the Rose City Yarn Crawl, so I scheduled our shop visits so that I’d get to meet her.


February 2015 KAL (Week 5)


She’s a super talented designer, and I highly recommend you check out her other patterns on Ravelry. Her patterns are really well-described, she always has great photos, and good tech editing. And of course, they’re utterly beautiful! She had a few on sale earlier in the year and I bought a few and picked up yarn during the yarn crawl to make them, so expect to see a few more of her designs featured here!


February 2015 KAL (Week 5)


Also, I’ve got to say that I think her knit-a-longs are really fun and well-run. She’s got a great crew of people who participate and I found it super motivational to see everyone’s photos and comments. Plus she keeps the momentum up with weekly prizes and always has good advice if you need it, including for ways to modify and adapt a pattern to suit you better. I haven’t done a lot of knit-a-longs so I can’t really compare, but I can definitely recommend joining one of hers.


Finished Object!


February 2015 KAL (Week 5)


I am so pleased with myself for finishing! I’m not a fast knitter, so I was worried I’d never keep up with the KAL.


February 2015 KAL (Week 5)


And finally, a wingspan shot:


February 2015 KAL (Week 5)


Thanks to my friend M (the same friend who made the teacup pincushion!) for taking the photos with me in them! She’s the best friend: she flew all the way from Ottawa to come to the yarn crawl with me.


Conclusion


Great pattern, great KAL, and I love my finished shawllette. I wasn’t too sure how much I’d wear it, but it turns out that the weather (and sometimes the excessive air conditioning) is surprisingly conducive to shawl-wearing. I got a shawl pin to go with it so I can wrap it around my shoulders and not think about it, so it’s just like having a slightly lighter cardigan.


I think I’ll be making some more shawlettes in the future now that I know how much I like them!

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