Pattern Release: Evelyn

Those who know me even the slightest bit know that I love literature. And those who know me well know that I love Evelyn Waugh. One of my favorite things about Evelyn Waugh is the fact that his first wife was also named…Evelyn. From that simple fact, this cowl was born. The pattern is a simple, lightweight cowl that is perfect for a crisp, chilly autumnal day…and for showing off any variegated yarn. IMG_2109 IMG_2110 IMG_2118 IMG_2119IMG_2100 IMG_2104Pattern can be found here.

The regular price of the cowl is $5.00. However, from today until November 8, you can get any pattern in my Ravelry store for free with the code Waughwaughwaugh.



Post-Theater Reflections on Frankenstein

In the summer of 2011, the National Theater in London put together a once in a lifetime theater experience. The NT put on a production of Nick Dear’s stage adaptation of Mary Shelley’s famed novel, Frankenstein, with Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) directing.

The basic premise was brilliant on its own, but then Boyle upped the ante. He made the decision to cast two actors to alternate between playing Victor Frankenstein and the Creature. The cast featured Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch alternating those two roles.

I’ve long wanted to see this production, but how could I? It was a stage production in the summer of 2011. It’s 2014 now. I was S.O.L.

Until a few days ago, when my roommate informed me that our local movie theater was showing the NTLive film of the production this week. Monday night, they would show a version with Benedict Cumberbatch as the Creature and Jonny Lee Miller as Victor Frankenstein. She’s going on Wednesday, but I could only go tonight, so…I went tonight!

As I mentioned above, Danny Boyle is probably best known as the director of Slumdog Millionaire. However, he was also the director of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremonies. That production prepared me far better for what I saw in Frankenstein than Slumdog Millionaire did. The music and the lighting were both similar to the Opening Ceremonies. They were otherworldly and very natural, very primitive.

Overall, the production was delightful. The story is told from the Creature’s perspective rather than Victor’s. And while the Creature isn’t excused/forgiven all of his faults, he is easier to understand when one realizes/acknowledges that he was abandoned by his Creator at his “birth.”

There is, for example, an utterly brilliant scene in which the Creature and Victor meet and discuss both Victor’s motives in creating the Creature and the Creature’s current behavior/lifestyle. In their conversation, it becomes apparent that Victor views himself as a type of god or an equal to god. The Creature’s response comes from Milton’s Paradise Lost.

“Is this the region, this the soil, the clime,
Said then the lost Archangel, this the seat
That we must change for heav’n, this mournful gloom
For that celestial light?

In this scene, I think that Dear and Boyle demonstrate a full understanding of the struggle central both to the character of Victor Frankenstein and to that of the Creature. Frankenstein’s desire to be a god in his act of corruption forces the initially innocent Creature to feel a kinship with Satan rather than Adam. While the God of Genesis responds to the creation of Adam by saying “It is very good,” Victor responds to the creation of the Creature by panicking and running away. The contrast is thought-provoking. I think I’m not done processing this yet, but the production definitely left me with some meat to chew on.

Over all, I enjoyed the play. It was different from what I expected, but I liked being forced to think. If you can get a chance to see the film, I’d definitely recommend it.

If you’ve seen the production, I’d love to hear your thoughts. And once my roommate sees the version with Jonny Lee Miller as the Creature and Benedict Cumberbatch as Victor, I’ll try to link-up her reflections.

FO: Lady Sunnyside

About a month or so ago, the good ladies of the Tanis Fiber Arts group over on Ravelry have been (and are still having) a knit-along with Tanis’s new pattern, Lady Sunnyside. I’ve been participating with a Tanis one of a kind color, Ravine, in green label. I finished knitting the sweater and blocked it on Thursday, sewed the buttons on it on Friday, and today I wore it for the first time.

IMG_0355 IMG_0356 IMG_0357 IMG_0358 IMG_0359 IMG_0360 IMG_0361 IMG_0362 IMG_0363Raveled here.

(Photoshoot was taken at East Bay Park in Traverse City, Michigan. All squinting is due to the sun.)


Book Review: I am Malala

Last Wednesday, I told my students that I wasn’t sure the Nobel Peace Prize would be awarded this year because I wasn’t sure who really deserved it. On Friday, I learned that it is awarded to Malala Yousafzai, and as a woman and a teacher, I’m beyond thrilled. To me, she is exactly the sort of person who deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

People who know me well know that education is extremely important to me. This probably isn’t surprising given that I am a teacher. Also given that I’m a woman, it’s probably relatively unsurprising that I have really strong feelings about the education of women. (If you’re wondering, I very firmly believe that all girls should have access to education.) Based on this, it’s probably not surprising that I am admire Malala Yousafzai.

I’ve been meaning to reading her book, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, for a while now. And after she  won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, I bought it. Yesterday, after I finished reading Mindy’s book, I sat down to read Malala’s book. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I was hooked. While I know the outlines of her story, I was captivated by the details. I was intrigued by the history of her nation, her culture, and her family. I think I finished the book in about three and a half hours.

As I read, it was easy to forget that the author of the book was a teenager. The prose is intelligent and mature. Yousafzai doesn’t shy aware from difficult topics. But she’s honest and thought-provoking. She’s optimistic but also realistic. I enjoyed seeing her perspective on the current situation in her nation. She doesn’t shy aware from criticizing the West for the role we have played in creating Pakistan’s current state, but she also doesn’t shy away from critiquing people within her own country and other nearby countries.

I highly recommend this book. It was educational and entertaining at the same time. It’s definitely a must-read. (And it’s on my list of books that I’d totally buy a hard copy of if only had more bookshelf space in my bedroom. But before I deal with that problem, I have a shoe storage problem I need to sort, which is another blog post for another day.)

Tl;dr? Read the book. It’s awesome.

Book Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

A few weeks ago, I sat down and binge-watched the entire first two seasons of The Mindy Project. This project took me about five days, but I did it. About five episodes into this binge, I ran upstairs and asked my roommate J why the heck no one had ever told me how much I would like this show. She replied that she had just assumed that I already knew about it.

But no, I didn’t. And now that I’ve heard of it (and seen every episode at least once), I love it. I described it recently to a friend as “what a TV show about my life would be like…if I was an OB-GYN in New York City who was okay with casual sex.” I’m not okay with casual sex, but that’s not the point of the story I’m telling you. Basically, the point is that I fell in love with Mindy Kaling. Like pretty much every other single twenty-something in America (or probably on earth), I am convinced that a) Mindy and I were meant to be best friends and b) we absolutely must meet so that we can be best friends.

Therefore, I decided that I had to read her book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). I finally finished reading it today, and I have to say that I love it. It was honest, funny, and relatable.

Kaling’s book is well-written. I suppose that it’s no surprise that a Dartmouth grad who wrote for The Office is a good writer, but I have to say that. Kaling’s prose is humorous, witty, and intelligent. Kaling is every aware of who she is and what she is. She doesn’t try to sugarcoat things or tell you that she’s something that she’s not. She’s brutally honest about what it’s like to be a young female writer/actress who doesn’t fit Hollywood’s cookie-cutters. She’s honest about what it’s like to be a young, single woman in a world filled with boys, or what my friend H calls “man-children,” instead of men, which H calls “men.” Her approach is entertaining and comforting. I could see myself having a conversation with her about these topics over coffee or drinks.

My favorite thing about the book is Kaling’s perspective on life. She addresses the difference between an “adult boy” and a man, a topic that I’ve discussed with my girlfriends plenty of times, but I really appreciated seeing that someone outside of my own circles. Her list of “best friend requirements” cracked me up. I appreciated her self-awareness and also her willingness to utilize self-deprecation. The book really felt like a friend to me.

The book probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Kaling isn’t afraid to talk about the less than glamorous aspects of her life-although she does approach them with a great sense of humor. She isn’t trying to present her readers with some great “This is the Meaning of Life” thesis or “This is how you MUST live your life if you want to be successful/glamorous/well-liked etc.” She just tells the reader what her own life has been like and does so in a brilliantly entertaining (to me) manner.

If you’re looking for something that’s fun and entertaining, I recommend it. I think it’s a great book for women to read. And I could see plenty of guys enjoying it too.