Knitting the Summer Olympics

Click on photo to enlarge

The 2012 Summer Olympics begin this Friday, July 27th, with the opening ceremony celebration featuring a parade of all the competing nations and the entrance of the Olympic flame, which ignites the cauldron and signals the start of the Games.

Here at the library, in anticipation of the Olympic Games, library staff members and a patron have been knitting Olympic athletes. The dolls are knit from patterns in the book Knitting for Gold by Sue McBride. Stop by the Childrens Room display case to see if your favorite sport is represented in yarn. You’ll find beach volleyball, gymnastics, tennis, swimming, soccer, karate and much more.

If you wish you were in London for the Games but just can’t make it, you can knit your favorite London landmarks with the book Stitch London: 20 Kooky Ways to Knit the City and More by Lauren O’Farrell. You can make your own Big Ben, Tower Bridge or Parliament Telephone Box.

While you’re here be sure to check out other items about the Games:

Great Moments in the Summer Olympics by Matt Christopher and Stephanie Peters.

Swifter, Higher, Stronger : a Photographic History of the Summer Olympics by Sue Macy.

Discover the Summer Olympics with Cecile and Pepo (DVD).

Dream Team : How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of all time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever by Jack McCallum.

The Book of Olympic Lists by David Wallechinsky.

Will it be the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat for team USA? We’ll all be watching.

Kim

World Wide Knit in Public Day

When you think of a knitter do you picture a gray-haired granny sitting in her rocking chair with a cat in her lap and her  needles clicking? Well, you couldn’t be more wrong and I can prove it. On Saturday, June 9th the Everett Public Library is hosting World Wide Knit In Public Day. The day was started in 2005 as a way for knitters to come together to enjoy each others company and to show the general public that knitting can be a community activity.

This year there are over 1,000 events around the world. Check the World Wide Knit in Public website to see where they’re being held. Participating countries include the U.S., Italy, Canada, Australia, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Venezuela, South Africa, Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia and many more.

Joining a knitting group has become a great way to make new friendships with people sharing a common interest. Interestingly, the communal nature of knitting has become a popular theme in books recently.

The Shop On Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber has cancer survivor Lydia Hoffman opening a yarn store in Seattle to begin a new life. She offers a knitting class to improve business and three women join the class for very different reasons. Every week they discover more about each other and form a bond helping each other through the obstacles in their lives. The Blossom Street series has eight books. Each book includes a knitting pattern. The library also has The Best Of Knit Along With Debbie Macomber which includes projects inspired by the novels.

The Friday Night Knitting Club, Knit Two, and Knit The Season by Kate Jacobs spans a seven-year period in the lives of friends who met as regular customers at a yarn shop on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. They help each other recover from a tragedy that occurs in one of their lives. A knitter herself, Julia Roberts will be starring in the movie version of the first novel that is scheduled to come out in 2013.

The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood is about a mother who takes up knitting as a way to fill the empty hours of loneliness while coping with the loss of a child. She joins a knitting circle and is eventually comfortable enough to talk about her grief and find hope in life again.

The Beach Street Knitting Society And Yarn Club and Needles And Pearls by Gil McNeil feature Jo Mackenzie, a newly widowed British mother of two boys who decides to take over her grandmother’s wool shop.

Maggie Sefton writes a knitting mystery series  that begins with Kelly Flynn coming back to Colorado for her aunt’s funeral. She suspects the death wasn’t an accident and with the help of the knitting regulars at her Aunt’s shop, the House Of Lambspun, she sets out to solve the murder.

The seaside knitters mystery series by Sally Goldenbaum begins with Isabel “Izzy” Chambers dumping the corporate life and opening a yarn shop in Sea Harbor, Massachusetts. When there is a murder in the apartment above the shop the Seaside Knitters take on the case.

Knitters come in all ages. Teen Knitting Club  by Jennifer Wenger, Carol Abrams, and Maureen Lasher includes 35 patterns, a guide to selecting yarn and accessories, and advice on starting your own knitting club.

Chicks With Sticks : It’s A Purl Thing and Chicks With Sticks : Knit Two Together by Elizabeth Lenhard are young adult novels available as downloadable audio ebooks. Four teenage girls from different high school cliques become friends after forming a knitting club.

Knitting For Peace by Betty Christiansen includes everything you need to know to start a knitting -for-charity group. Read about 28 charities and knit the patterns for each of them.

June 9th is also the second annual Yarn Bombing Day. Yarn Bombing by Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain is a guidebook to the covert world of textile street art. It’s a fascinating look at an international movement of graffiti knitting.

The Snohomish Knitters Guild (“Home to all fearless knitters in Snohomish County Washington”) is a terrific group to join if you are looking for others to knit with. They have monthly meetings with KnitLab for help with a project, speakers on various topics, and a show and tell of knit projects. The Guild encourages members to find new friends at smaller, less formal knitting groups. They provide the means to find these groups through their website, online newsletter, Facebook and Ravelry Group.

So grab your knitting needles and yarn and come to the library on June 9th. Be sure to stop by the Children’s Room display case to see the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe and Humpty Dumpty scenes made by the Library Knitters.

Kim

The Titanic Disaster in History, Fiction, and Film

This month is the 100th anniversary of one of the most infamous tragedies in history – the sinking of the Titanic. On April 15th, 1912 the luxurious British ocean liner R.M.S. Titanic sank in the North Atlantic after striking an iceberg, buckling a 300 foot span of the starboard hull. It took only two hours and 40 minutes for the ship to sink at 2:20 a.m. killing 1,503 of the 2,208 people on board.

The ship had 20 lifeboats with room for only half the passengers. At first people refused to believe the ship was sinking and wouldn’t board the lifeboats. Some boats left the ship with only 12 to 56 passengers on board. 705 people survived on those lifeboats while others wearing life jackets died of hypothermia floating on the waters frigid surface.

It was the maiden voyage of the largest ship afloat at the time. Set to sail from Southampton, England with a final destination of New York City it was built to be the epitome of luxury with a gymnasium, heated swimming pool for first-class passengers, libraries, restaurants, and staterooms with electric lighting and heating. Many rich and famous people were traveling on the ship. Their combined fortunes would be about $11 billion today.

The library has many of the new books that have been published to mark the 100th anniversary.

Historical accounts and nonfiction:

Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage: the Titanic, Her Passengers and Their World by Hugh Brewster focuses on the first-class passengers including artist Frank Millet, Major Archibald Butt President Taft’s closest aide, Margaret “Molly” Brown, Millionaires John Jacob Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, and movie actress Dorothy Gibson.

Voyagers of the Titanic: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds They Came From by Richard Davenport-Hines is a collective biography telling the stories of the most rich and famous but also of the third-class passengers emigrating to the U.S.

Shadow of the Titanic: the Extraordinary Stories of Those Who Survived by Andrew Wilson explores how the survivors lived with or repressed their memories and the social ostracism experienced by the men who escaped in lifeboats.

Titanic : the Last Night of a Small Town by John Welshman traces the stories of twelve eye-witnesses. He delves into their earlier histories, how they survived the disaster, and what happened to them in the following years.

Titanic, First Accounts is a compilation of historic firsthand accounts by survivors and eye-witnesses.

To experience exactly what the people of 1912 were reading at the time, Wreck and Sinking of the Titanic: the Ocean’s Greatest Disaster is a deluxe reproduction of the 1912 memorial edition published immediately after the disaster.

The Titanic tragedy is also a plot point in many fiction books:

In Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke, Michael Dunnagan survived the Titanic through the sacrifice of Owen Allen. He promised to care for Owen’s sister Annie still in England. As he works to save enough money to bring Annie to America, WWI erupts in Europe and Annie mysteriously disappears.

The House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe is set in 1915 when a young woman is still tormented by the deaths of her mother and sister on the Titanic. In a blend of mystery and romance she searches for answers from a medium’s crystal ball.

Echoes of Titanic by Mindy Starns Clark and John Campbell Clark is a mystery combining modern-day corporate intrigue with the uncertainty of what really happened to Kelsey Tate’s great-grandmother Adele on the Titanic’s last night.

There are plenty of representations of the Titanic disaster on film and television:

When I think of the Titanic the first thing that comes to mind is Leonardo DiCaprio shouting “I’m the King of the World” from the bow of the ship in James Cameron’s epic  movie Titanic. This winner of 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture of 1997, is available at the library on DVD. Watch Jack and Rose meet and fall in love on the doomed luxury liner . To listen to the music from the movie you can check out the Titanic Anniversary Edition soundtrack featuring Celine Dion’s Titanic Love Theme “My Heart Will Go On“.

You can watch the 4-part BBC mini-series Titanic on DVD that was written by Julian Fellowes creator of Downton Abbey. Starring Toby Jones, Linus Roache, and Geraldine Somerville it will be shown on ABC starting on April 14, the 100th anniversary of the day that the ship hit the iceberg and released on DVD April 24th.

And whatever you do, don’t forget to view the Titanic up close by stopping by the Main Library lobby to see a 5 ½ foot long wooden replica of the ship made by Tim Anderson.

Kim

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

As December 25th rapidly approaches it’s time to enjoy our favorite holiday traditions. For me, it wouldn’t be Christmas without decorating the tree while listening to Holiday Sing Along With Mitch featuring Mitch Miller and the Gang. As a child it was the vinyl album playing on the console record player (O.K. a lot of you will have to Google that one), now it’s playing on my iPod.

To assist in starting new family traditions here are some recently published additions to the library collection for Christmas 2011.

Justin Bieber’s holiday album Under the Mistletoe debuted at #1 on the Billboard top 200. It is only the eighth chart topping Christmas album in the 55-year history of the album charts. I have to point out that Mitch Miller holds two of these eight spots. Other new holiday music CDs are The Classic Christmas Album by Tony Bennett, Chicago XXXIII : O Christmas Three, Seasons Greetings : a Jersey Boys Christmas, Christmas in Diverse City by Tobymac, Glee : the Music ; the Christmas Album 2, Irish Country Christmas by Craig Duncan, and A Very She & Him Christmas with duo Zooey Daschanel and M. Ward.

Stressful family dynamics during the holidays is a recurring theme in fiction this year.The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson; a mother’s remarriage after the death of her husband, 1225 Christmas Tree Lane by Debbie Macomber; children hoping mom and dad will reunite, An Angel For Christmas by Heather Graham; sibling rivalry, Lost December by Richard Paul Evans; father/son expectations, Snow Angel by Glenn Beck; overcoming an abusive childhood.

For something more lighthearted try a romance. It Happened one Christmas by Kaitlin O’Riley, Bring Me Home For Christmas by Robyn Carr, Season For Temptation by Theresa Romain, or Mistletoe and the Lost Stiletto by Liz Fielding.

Add a little mystery to your holiday with Twelve Drummers Drumming by C.C. Benison, A Killer’s Christmas in Wales : a Penny Brannigan Mystery by Elizabeth J. Duncan, A Christmas Homecoming by Anne Perry orMrs. Jeffries and the Mistletoe Mix Up by Emily Brightwell.

To brighten your holiday spirit in non-fiction there is The Puppy That Came For Christmas : How A Dog Brought One Family The Gift Of Joy by Megan Rix and The Book of (Holiday) Awesome : When The Christmas Lights All Work, Successfully Regifting A Present, Drinking With Grandma by Neil Pasricha.

The library has the help you need with Christmas cooking. New this year is Debbie Macomber’s Christmas Cookbook, Very Merry Cookies from Better Homes and Gardens, Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nova Atlas, Christmas With Southern Living, and Bake Me I’m Yours – Christmas.

We can also help with holiday crafting for decorations and gifts. You will get many ideas from Have Yourself A Very Vintage Christmas : Crafts, Decorating Tips, and Recipes, 1920s-1960s by Susan Waggoner, Holiday With Matthew Mead, and Martha Stewart’s Handmade Holiday Crafts.

Be sure to stop by the children’s room to see the hand knit display of Santa, his reindeer and more made from the patterns found in ‘Twas the Knits Before Christmas by Fiona Goble.

Happy Holidays!

Kim

I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts

What do mummies dance to?

Wrap music.

Why did Dracula go to the doctor?

Because he was coffin.

Find more fun Halloween riddles and answers to questions such as “Why do we wear costumes and trick-or-treat?” or learn the truth about Frankenstein and Dracula in The Halloween Book of Facts & Fun by Wendie Old.

For instructions on how to carve the most unusual pumpkin on your block, you’ll want to consult Extreme Pumpkins and Extreme Pumpkins II by Tom Nardone. The author’s philosophy is that carved Halloween pumpkins should be gross, tasteless, terrifying, and outrageous. If you don’t want to go quite that far, but still want an extraordinary pumpkin try How To Carve Pumpkins For Great Results by Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell, You Can Carve Fantastic Jack-O-Lanterns by Rhonda Massingham Hart, Halloween Pumpkins and Parties by Better Homes and Gardens, or Pumpkin Chic by Mary Caldwell.

Next you’ll need to decorate your house. How to Build Hair-Raising Haunted Houses by Megan Cooley Peterson will help you create the creepiest house in the neighborhood. A front lawn full of lost souls, a flying ghost, and faces in the fog are only a few of the ideas you’ll find to terrify your neighbors. Don’t forget sound effects. From our compact disc collection you’ll want Scary Sounds including 70 haunting sounds and 16 spooky orchestrations, or Casper’s Spookiest Songs and Sounds.

For costume ideas Homemade Halloween has instructions for quick and easy costumes, masks, and face painting. Quick Costumes for Kids by Deborah House contains 30 costumes that require little or no sewing. Patterns for a black cat, a wizard, a scarecrow, and a butterfly are included.

Don’t forget food and indoor decorations. The magazine collection is the place to look for Halloween menu and decorating ideas. The Oct. 2011 issue of Every Day with Rachel Ray has recipes for Tarantula Cookies, Arachnid Ice Cubes, Brain Cupcakes, and Severed Finger Cookies. The Oct. 17, 2011 issue of Family Circle includes a Cemetary Cake using Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies as gravestones and crumbled chocolate cake as dirt. Yum! The Oct. 17, 2011 issue of Woman’s Day has easy Halloween crafts with spiderweb placemats, bat napkin rings, and cat face treat bags.

Maybe you don’t want to try any of these suggestions. You’d rather turn off the lights and pretend you’re not home. That’s O.K. too. It’s the perfect night for a horror film marathon. Your first choice would have to be John Carpenter’s 1978 film Halloween. It stars Jamie Lee Curtis as a teenage babysitter trying to survive a Halloween night of terror. Being stalked by knife-wielding mental patient escapee Michael Myers doesn’t help matters. Other choices to consider are Alien, Poltergeist, The Shining, The Bride of Frankenstein, and Night of the Living Dead.

Who ya gonna call for a movie to watch with the entire family? Ghostbusters! The 1984 sci-fi comedy hit stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis as parapsychologists who start a ghost catching business. Continue with Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, or Beetlejuice. The youngest family members will enjoy the classic It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob Squarepants Halloween.

One last tip:  How do you mend a broken jack-o-lantern?

With a pumpkin patch.

Kim

Roll Up Your Sleeves And Grab Your Glue Gun

Summer has finally arrived bringing more daylight hours, perhaps a staycation from work or maybe the kids are home and driving you crazy. Whatever your situation, it’s a great time to try a new craft project. Make something creative, wacky, silly, and off the wall.

Try origami with a twist. Ductigami: the Art of the Tape by Joe Wilson contains 18 projects to make with duct tape including a waterproof apron, a phone book cover, and several types of beverage holders.

Your grandchildren would love to receive their birthday money in the form of a flower, a frog, or a butterfly. You can learn how with Money Folding and Money Folding 2 by Florence Temko and V’Ann Cornelius. Each book includes step-by-step directions to fold bills into fantastic shapes.

Girligami by Cindy Ng offers modern origami designs such as stiletto heels, an MP3 player, or a laptop computer. The last chapter has ideas of what to do with your finished designs such as making greeting cards, jewelry, magnets, and ornaments.

The Star Wars Craft Book by Bonnie Burton has projects for fans of all ages. Chewbacca tissue box covers, a Jabba the Hutt body pillow, Star Wars action figure wreath, or a Wookiee bird house. Over 40 craft ideas from a galaxy far, far away.

How about making a scarecrow for your garden? Scarecrows: Making Harvest Figures and Other Yard Folks by Felder Rushing shows you how, along with scarecrow lore, superstition and myth. This book contains instructions for more than 20 different scarecrows made of everything from tin cans, paper bags and plates, to broomsticks, and clay pots.

Creative Cardboard: Making Fabulous Furniture, Amazing Accessories & Other Spectacular Stuff by Linda Ragsdale will inspire you to make a wallet, cell phone case, chair, or even a rolltop desk. There are cardboard accessories for every room in your house.

It looks a little messy but Papier-Mache Monsters: Turn Trinkets and Trash into Magnificent Monstrosities by Dan Reeder also looks like a lot of fun. Photo instructions are given for creating scary creatures constructed of clothes hangers, newspaper, and glue. It promises to reveal the secrets for making monster jaws, claws, horns, scales, and even the perfect drool!

For humor along with your crafting, try Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People by comedian and actress Amy Sedaris. It’s an unconventional, no talent required, tongue-in-cheek look at the world of a not so serious crafter featuring hundreds of photos of hand made possibilities.

The piece de resistance for those of us over 40, or for the younger crowd who can only wish they lived during the time of the Sparkling Sputnik, is The Complete Book of Retro Crafts: Collecting Displaying & Making Crafts of the Past by Suzi Millions. By the way, Sputnik is made with a Styrofoam ball, bamboo skewers and glitter glue. There’s also the pantyhose poodle, starburst clock, Christmas record album village, pinecone elf, matchstick picture frame, and the bottlecap man ashtray. Vintage photos and collections are featured throughout the book.

Have you made a zany craft lately? What did you make and where did you get your inspiration?

Kim

Put a Sock in It

Were you motivated by my last blog post to begin hand knitting your socks? If so, you probably have started to wonder what to do with those unwanted store bought socks filling your dresser drawer. Don’t worry. I have the answer: sock creatures!

You might be surprised how many books you can find on the subject for inspiration and instruction. Recently some library staff decided to get together to sew sock creatures. Our motto was “There are no mistakes. It only adds personality.”

Stray Sock Sewing : Making Unique, Imaginative Sock Dolls Step-by-Step by Dan Ta has colorful photos of  each step in the process. From diagrams showing how to cut the socks, where to place the stuffing, how to sew the pieces together, and suggestions on how to embroider a face, someone with little sewing experience can easily create a creature. The cats, pig, zebra, and tweens were made with instructions from this book.

Sock and Glove : Creating Charming Softy Friends from Cast-off Socks and Gloves by Miyako Kanamori includes the patterns for the bird and fish in our photo.

If you’re a sock monkey fan Sock Monkey & Friends : 9 Different Fun-to-Make Sock Animal Projects by Samantha Fisher is the book for you. The cover of the book pictures a monkey made with orange and yellow striped socks but there is no reason you can’t make a traditional Rockford Red Heel sock monkey.

Sock dolls don’t have to look like anything realistic. Stupid Sock Creatures : Making Quirky, Lovable Figures from Cast-off Socks by John Murphy is a great example of this. He calls them stupid creatures or beasties. They might have horns, wings, or 3 eyeballs. Make whatever is in your imagination. The black sock creature with the red bone through his skull in our photo is inspired by this book.

Even Martha Stewart makes sock creatures. In her book Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts you’ll find the pattern for our family of Dachshunds. She also includes patterns for a Bulldog and a Dalmatian.

Other books on the subject are Socks Appeal : 16 Fun & Funky Friends Sewn from Socks by Brenna Maloney. It includes projects easy enough for kids to make with plenty of illustrated instructions. Toys to Sew by Claire Garland has a section on what she calls sock cuddlies. She even gives instructions for clothes.

We had a great time making our sock creatures. You can see them in person in the Children’s Room display case during the month of October.

Kim and fellow sock creature creators:  Kathy, Carol, Mary, Gloria, Richard, Chris, Kevin

Kim

Sock It to Me!

If you’ve been thinking about learning how to knit or you’re a pro who can interpret s1k1psso without referencing a knitting glossary, the library has a book, magazine, or DVD to interest you.

From the practical ball-band dishcloth in Mason Dixon Knitting: the Curious Knitter’s Guide by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne, to the whimsical Elvis doll found in Knitted Icons : 25 Celebrity Doll Patterns by Carol Meldrum, to an intricate color work designer sweater by textile artist Kaffe Fassett in Kaffe Knits Again, you will find the right book for every level of knitter – beginner to experienced.

I’d like to suggest the perfect portable project for today’s busy knitter. It’s something that can be knit as simply or intricately as you would like: socks.

knitted socks

Yes, I said socks. I know that they can be purchased three pairs for $5 at Walmart but it just isn’t the same. Have you worn socks made with wool, bamboo, alpaca, corn, crab and shrimp shells, banana, milk, or seaweed? Once you give it a try you’ll never go back to those common socks. With today’s yarns you can knit a plain, but never ordinary, one-color pair of socks that even your husband will wear or a wildly colorful pair knit with self-patterning yarn for yourself.

There are many knitters on staff at the library. Of course when Kathy, Sue and I decided to try sock knitting we turned to the library catalog for inspiration.

Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch has 10 basic designs and many stitch patterns to choose from. The patterns are written for the knitter’s preferred use of 2, 4, or 5 needles in clear step-by-step directions. We decided to use 2 circular needles instead of the more traditional double-pointed.

Many books now teach this method, including Socks Soar On Two Circular Needles by Cat Bordhi, and for the truly adventurous, Knitting Circles Around Socks: Knit Two at a Time on Circular Needles by A.K. Gillingham.

sock in progress

For still another method there is 2-at-a-time Socks : the Secret of Knitting Two at Once on One Circular Needle by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. Just pick the method most comfortable for you. For innovations in sock architecture, Pacific Northwest author Cat Bordhi will have you looking at the lowly sock with a new respect. Her books Personal Footprints For Insouciant Sock Knitters and New Pathways for Sock Knitters explore new ways of sock construction. Sock Innovation: Knitting Techniques & Patterns for One-of-a-Kind Socks by Cookie A. includes 15 unconventional, rule-breaking patterns.

If you prefer the traditional, try Folk Socks: the History & Techniques of Handknitted Footwear, Knitting Vintage Socks: New Twists on Classic Patterns or Knitting On The Road: Sock Patterns for the Traveling Knitter by Nancy Bush.

Cuff, leg, heel flap, heel turn, gusset, foot, toe-up, cuff-down. You’ll soon know all about sock anatomy. Next time you look down at your feet and notice department store socks, will you feel a twinge of shame? Don’t your feet deserve better?

Kim