With the completion of "Truly Tasha" and the indefinite stalling of the Noro kimono jacket, my only work-in-progress is the Ostrich Plume blanket.
I have started over completely, making it smaller, determining to make whatever size square I can with the twenty balls of Calmer 462 that I have. This color is now discontinued -- a shame, because it's very pretty, a lovely pastel lavender -- but in a way, it's something of a release, because now I can't simply buy more until I knit a large enough blanket.
The Calmer is really extraordinary to work with. The 25% microfiber and the unusual construction of the yarn give it a strange and wonderful spongy elasticity. It is described as an 8-ply, but this is a rather liberal way of putting it, as it is actually two braided strands twisted together, thus --
(As I knit, it feels like water running through my fingers, as if I were holding my hand under a little fall in a stream and feeling the gentle push on my skin. I can see how it might inspire one to poetry.) This doesn't really transfer to the knitted piece as much as one might hope, but the effect is still much softer than ordinary cotton, and it has a beautiful springiness.
The book is "The Tribes of Britain" by David Miles, which I picked up impulsively at the Kelly & Walsh in Exchange Square the other day. I was interested anyway -- archaeology + Britain = yes -- but the author won me over on the first page of the introduction with a quote from, of all things in a scholarly-sounding tome, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". The book examines the genetic archaeology of Britain, the way that migrations, invasions, and other upheavals have influenced the make-up of the British people. (Read the Sunday Times review here.) The book's weightiness is offset by a deft writing style, the heavier bits of science lightened by humor and the occasional distraction -- "In the nineteenth century burnt layers in towns such as London or Colchester were routinely ascribed to Boudicca's [first-century AD] rebellion as if no one else ever lit a fire" (29), for instance, and the way that archaeological discoveries often remind him of modern things, a neat way of pointing out the relevance to us of history. The Times reviewer's criticism about the lack of cultural history is valid, but for me not as much of a sticking point as he seems to imply. To say that "who are we?" is an unanswerable question and then complain that Miles doesn't answer it completely is a bit unfair. Miles' focus is demographic and archeological, not cultural, and the "who are we?" question is asked in that light. Wars, plagues, and invasions are much more efficient at changing the genetics of a people than are thinkers and philosophers. What Miles does here is not only to instruct and inform -- as well as entertain -- but ultimately remind us, as we so often need reminding these days, that we really are all related, we are all brothers and sisters under the skin.