Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Knitting, the Moors, and Watching Company Alone

Filed under: Books,Cooking - Folkcat in the Kitchen,Knitting — folkcat at 1:31 pm on Monday, March 17, 2008

A weekend of knitting and watching interesting television. I’d saved several of the Masterpiece productions of Jane Austen novels, as well as the two-part Jane Eyre, since they were broadcast back in the fall. This weekend, I went through Jane Eyre, Northanger Abbey, and Mansfield Park in fairly short order, all while working on my Adult Surprise Jacket. (ETA – Persuasion! I also saw Persuasion. Thank you, Elspeth, for reminding me!)

Adult Surprise Jacket - 03/17/08

Yes, that’s a brown-based variegated yarn that’s been added in. This is a stash-busting project, and while I’m a huge fan of purples and other bright colors, I don’t have enough of them in my stash to do the whole jacket in those hues.

I added the brown at the point where you start increasing at the underarms. So it will be placed closer in to the body. I think it works, it helps to offset the bright colors and makes them pop even better.

I have one skein (I think it’s a 3 1/2-oz. Red Heart) of the brown, and I’m going to knit it until it’s gone. Then it’ll be back to the brights.

I’d never read Jane Eyre, nor any of Jane Austen’s works. I loved the A&E broadcast of Pride and Prejudice as much as anyone, however, and had seen Emma Thompson’s version of Sense and Sensibility, and I think it was Gwyneth Paltrow who did Emma?

I was impressed with all the programs I watched this weekend. Jane Eyre is an epic, classic tale. I can see why it endures. It has a tragic hero and heroine, a happy ending. But not without Rochester getting his karmic payback for his sins, even as he lives happily-ever-after with Jane.

Northanger Abbey is now my favorite Jane Austen, I think. I found the tale of a young girl who was enamored of romance novels to be very relevant, even modern for its age. Mansfield Park was all right, but I was continually distracted by the presence of Billie Piper as the heroine, Fanny Price. I kept expecting the Tardis to turn up in the garden! Billie was memorable as Rose in Doctor Who, but somehow just doesn’t seem like a Jane Austen heroine to me. Although, maybe that was part of the point – she wasn’t meant to be a typical heroine, because she was the poor relation who depended on the kindness of her uncle and personally had no expectations of love or fortune.

Perhaps the most notable result of my mini marathon of the Janes – Eyre and Austen – was that I now want to go and read the actual books. Especially Northanger Abbey.

The other interesting show I watched was the Great Performances presentation of the Broadway revival of Sondheim’s Company. This was a show I’d never seen, but I’m a huge Sondheim fan. It seemed both strange, and somehow oddly appropriate, that I watched this almost abstract musical about relationships and commitment while sitting alone, knitting. (Gryphon was at his computer playing EverQuest II.)


My lucet arrived on Saturday. Handmade of purpleheart wood by Lynn the Weaver, up in the Pacific Northwest, this is a beautiful fibercraft tool. While my makeshift wire lucet was good to get me started, I find my speed is way up with the proper equipment. Plus, there’s that supreme satisfaction that comes from working with a well-crafted tool.

Purpleheart Lucet

If you want your own, just visit Lynn’s website at http://www.lucets.com/. In addition to the lucets, Lynn makes a number of other fiberart tools, including kumihimo stands, looms, and more.


The first batch of bread in the machine on Friday came out great. I used a basic sourdough recipe – the same I’d been using for hand baking the bread, actually. I did oops and add a bit too much flour, but it came out all right. There was just a tiny bit in the corners that didn’t bake in completely.

Gryphon’s eating more sandwiches, what with good bread to make them on, so I’m baking again today.

Honey Oatmeal Sunflower Bread

The recipe this time is Honey Oatmeal Bread – 2 lb. Loaf. I found it at Recipezaar.com, which has become one of my favorite online sources for recipes of all sorts. This particular recipe was well reviewed by other users who had baked it.

I made two changes when I put this together. The recipe calls for 2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast. I had the Fleischmann’s packets, which each contain 2 1/4 teaspoon. I decided to just go with the quantity of yeast in one packet, especially after reading one reviewer’s comment that their loaf rose so high it overflowed the pan.

Then, to add a little texture to the bread, when the machine beeped to add mix-in ingredients I used a little over 1/3 cup of sunflower seeds. Not sure if that was really enough for this big a loaf, but it’s a start. If it seems a bit light on sunflower when it’s done, we can always add more next time.


Comment by elspeth

March 17, 2008 @ 2:11 pm

I actually liked this newer version of Mansfield Park, it was so much better than the previous version (and the previous Fanny had a cameo in this one too!). The current Northanger Abbey was great – I really didn’t like the story until I saw this one. Unfortunately Persuasion didn’t hold up as well and that’s my favorite I think. I was disappointed that they didn’t do a new Pride and Prejudice but I do so love Colin Firth, so I guess it was okay! I was disappointed also that they didn’t (that I saw) even broadcast an Emma or Sense and Sensibility. Gwyneth Paltrow, Emma Thompson and what’s her name from Titanic just don’t do it for me. Those are great stories too, and they deserve their time. The adult surprise jacket is gorgeous! I bought the pattern, but haven’t started it yet. Too many calculations!

Comment by Carol

March 17, 2008 @ 7:21 pm

Very nice lucet! I know using a quality tool always makes a job easier..be it tweezing eyebrows (tweezerman tweezers rock!) or knitting or luceting (is that right?)

I am now tempted to go out and get a bread machine. I have no where to store it, no where to put it while it does it’s thing, but I want one. Umm, thanks?

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