Sunday, February 28, 2016

Librarian of Congress nominee Carla Hayden

Through an embedded video, U.S. President Barack Obama introduces his nominee for the Librarian of Congress. Carla Hayden, CEO of Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland, describes libraries as “opportunity centers,” places where children can get the latest Harry Potter and adults are able to apply for jobs through public-access computers. She describes the Library of Congress as “America’s library,” and her vision for the Library of Congress is an inclusive place that is part of everybody’s story.

Friday, February 26, 2016

‘101 Socks’

Book cover: '101 Socks.' Image depicts a sock in progress on double-pointed needles. Along top edge of cover, four photographs display close-up views of sock-clad feet
I love making socks and even as I explore other knitting techniques, I have a feeling that socks are a project I’ll return to again and again. For this reason, 101 Socks (Schiffer Publishing, 2015) was a natural addition to my wish list.

This book is full of ideas and designs for a variety of socks, created through various techniques: double-pointed and circular knitting needles, crochet and the addi® Express mini-knitting machine.

I’d explored various approaches to making socks and came away from this book with ideas for techniques I would still like to try.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Yarn bombing highlights children’s books

Close-up of a book cover image, rendered in crochet, of 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' by Eric Carle
Photo by Matthew Parslow
Added to the timeline for Yarn Bombing at Your Library, my ongoing project to showcase yarn-bomb installations at or involving libraries: Outside the Ferntree Gully library and community art center in Melbourne, Australia, this yarn-bombed tree duplicates the covers of classic children’s books including Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat and The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Matthew Parslow posted photos of his wife Kim’s work to Imgur and published an article about the project, which was part of a commissioned installation organized by the group Yarn Corner.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Starfire on my bodyCushion™

My beautiful black cat Starfire lies stretched out on a yellow-green towel that has been draped over a contoured orthopedic cushion

I recently brought home a bodyCushion™, an orthpedic positioning pad, from Body Support Systems where I work part-time. Tonight it came as no surprise to find Starfire on my bodyCushion™. (To tell the truth, as the towel placement attests, I expected this development.) Starfire is a connoisseur of soft places to sleep, and the contoured orthopedic pad — while designed to support the human body and help human muscles to relax — also seemed perfectly molded to luxuriously cradle my cat.

Monday, February 22, 2016

‘Book Club in a Bag’ at the library

Book bag with Jackson County Library Services logo in it. The bag is stuffed full and a paper is visible from the neck of the bag. The paper reads, 'Book Club in a Bag Check-Out Sheet'
Image credit: Friends of the Medford Library
Beginning March 1, more than 100 titles will be available for reading group use through “Book Club in a Bag,” Jackson County Library Services in Oregon. Each bag includes 10 copies of the book, book club support questions and a reader’s guide for that title. In its Feb. 12 eNewsletter, Friends of the Medford Library shared a partial list: Life of Pi by Yann Martel, Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, Yes Please by Amy Poehler, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson and Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. Friends of the Medford Library recommends that readers watch for more information and a full list of available Book Club Bags and book titles.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

2016: Year of knitting hats

Several rows of knitting in-the-round on circular knitting needles atop 'leaf-green' skein of yarn
I am resolved that 2016 will be the year of knitting hats.

My first project is “Rolled-Brim Hat” by Karen Turcotte from Knitting for Peace by Betty Christiansen (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2006).

This is my first attempt at constructing a hat on needles, but it is technically not my first knitted hat. I created several others with a knitting loom, which allowed me freedom to explore the craft when I had not yet mastered the needles.

Monday, February 8, 2016

‘Hogwarts’ cardigan featured on Ravelry

Cynthia M. Parkhill wearing gray, hand-crocheted cardigan. The sleeves and hem are bordered with stripes of yellow and red, and there is a 'Hogwarts' crest appliqued onto the left breast of the sweater
My “Hogwarts” crocheted cardigan, completed in 2007, is now a featured photo on the Ravelry page for “Oversized Nubby Cardigan,” a pattern by Melissa Leapman.

(For those readers unfamiliar with either Ravelry or “Hogwarts,” Ravelry is a social network for people who knit and crochet, and “Hogwarts” is the name of the school in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, fantasy books for youths or teens that were adapted into films).

Leapman’s pattern was published in Crochet With Style (Taunton Press, 2000), and I crocheted this sweater with Lion Brand “Wool-Ease” worsted-weight yarn.

While Leapman’s pattern was not originally a “Hogwarts” cardigan, I used the colors of House Gryffindor (one of four “houses” within Hogwarts) as a substitute for the dark- and light-gray striped cardigan that was Leapman’s original design. From Lion Brand, these are No. 152: Oxford Grey, No. 138: Cranberry and No. 171: Gold.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

‘How to Capture an Invisible Cat’ by Paul Tobin

Book cover, 'How to Capture an Invisible Cat' by Paul Tobin. Image depicts a boy and girl on either side of an enormous cat. A leash is wrapped around all three figures and a small dog is tugging at one end of the leash. The cat is drawn and colored to be translucent, suggesting that it is invisible. A sidewalk and row of houses are depicted in the background, including within the vaporous lower body of the rearing cat.
Every Friday the 13th, sixth-grader and genius Nate Bannister keeps his life interesting by doing three not-so-smart things.

This is why a super-sized, invisible cat is tearing at the Bannister home’s roof as our story opens in Paul Tobin’s How to Capture an Invisible Cat (Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books, March 2016). It’s the first volume in The Genius Factor, a children’s adventure series.

The key to reducing the cat is scrambled in numerical codes that Nate placed on school classmates. He and his new (and only) friend Delphine scramble to recover the codes from their unwitting carriers.

Library yarn bombers distribute scarves

Five women, holding scarves that conceal their faces, stand next to and behind a sign that reads, 'Want a scarf / Take one / Enjoy / Fairfield Public Library'
Source of image: Fairfield Public Library
In Fairfield, Conn., the Purls of Wisdom Knitting Group and Fairfield Public Library staff knit, crocheted and sewed nearly 100 scarves and attached them to trees and light posts. As related in an essay published by the Fairfield Sun, each scarf had a removable tag that said, “Need a scarf, Please take a scarf. Hand made with love.” The scarves were attached on Sunday and by Monday morning according to the article, only 12 scarves remained.

Posted to Yarn Bombing at Your Library on Facebook

Monday, February 1, 2016

Student IDs provide access to libraries

Cynthia M. Parkhill's Bitstrips comics avatar sits in front of a desktop computer at a classroom desk. Through a window behind her, three boys are shown running and tossing a football. The caption reads, 'American Libraries, Jan. 4, 2016: Student IDs provide access to public library collections and databases.'
Cartoon image created with Bitstrips
In many public schools, each student has been issued a numerical ID. For American Libraries Magazine​, Timothy Inklebarger highlights the practice of linking students’ identification numbers to their local public library system. The students’ numerical IDs act as “library cards” and allow the students access to books and online databases of downloadable content. Imagine it, an entire library system’s resources available for students’ use, and without the barrier of the child first having to apply for a public library card. I’m excited about students becoming lifetime users of libraries through such simplified and streamlined access.