Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gothic Crochet!

Oh, gosh, that crochet thing gets dangerous, fast. I'm going to have to get a bigger hook -- the one I have I got to put fringe on a knitted scarf -- because my hand hurts from clutching it. The death grip I probably have doesn't help matters. Fortunately, I have dance tonight, so I won't be spending hours at it while I watch TV and my hand can recover. I think I've also figured out why I had trouble learning to knit more than straight lines. My mom stuck the old book I used to teach myself to knit when I was a kid into a Christmas package, which was what started all this, and I believe it was written by someone who does this instinctively and probably was taught as a child by her mother or grandmother, so she can't really explain how to do it. Her explanations make no sense whatsoever, and the illustrations seem to have been drawn from her explanations. I bet I can find some online videos to illustrate the steps, and that should help.

I need to come up with something useful to make if I'm going to use this so I don't get bored while watching TV. I don't need more scarves. I already made a tea cozy and a phone cozy, but maybe I could do some in different colors. If I figure out more of the crochet, maybe I could make a lacy throw for my bed. I like to have a little weight on me when I sleep -- probably a security thing -- and that means in the summer I struggle to find that sweet spot with enough weight in covers to feel secure but not so much that I get hot. A lacy openwork throw might lend some weight while being able to vent body heat. Needlework is terribly addictive, but it's a great way to prevent myself from snacking while I watch TV. Only when my hand started hurting did I remember that I had chocolate cake.

Now for more on my recent reading, the last library book in my huge stash: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan. I'd describe this as a contemporary teen gothic novel. I love gothics. Give me a book with a girl in a nightgown fleeing a spooky old house while a storm rages overhead, and I'm all over it, though I prefer twists on the genre, like the Madeleine Brent books, in which the heroine gets to use her mad circus/Outback survival/mountain survival/skin diving skills rather than fleeing the spooky old house. This book is one of those twists on the genre.

An aspiring Intrepid Girl Reporter starts a newspaper at her village school, and her first big expose is going to be on the family that owns the town's manor house. There are all kinds of stories, rumors and legends about them, and they've been gone for years, but now they've returned, and at the same time, there have been these spooky noises in the woods. Her investigative reporting is somewhat hampered by her imaginary friend. Ever since she can remember, she's been able to talk to a boy in her head, and he talks back. They've shared thoughts and feelings her whole life. And then she discovers that he's a real person when he moves to town. Awkward!

The amazing thing about this book is that it manages to be spooky and atmospheric while also being laugh-out-loud funny. That's not something you see in a lot of gothics, but it all comes from the voice of the heroine, who's rather deliciously insane and has a very unique perspective on the world. The teen emotions are realistically rendered, so it may not necessarily be an "adult-safe" YA if you tend to get annoyed by teenagers, but I found that both the fun and the spooky balanced that out.

Now I suspect I may go on a gothic kick. I may also need a long, floaty white nightgown. I wonder if I could crochet one.

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