For me, fall always comes with a feeling of settling down to work, learning, and digging in.
To that end, I’m knitting a lace triangular shawl in a yarn that could double for Indian corn (this photo doesn’t do justice to the play of colors). It’s Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, in colorway “Stephen Loves Tosh” (named, I believe, for knit designer Stephen West). The pattern is the Alexandra shawl by Dee O’Keefe. The pattern is extremely well-written and I quickly found I had nothing to fear from the multiple charts and diagrams. Shawl construction means that the pattern is always adjusting to the growing size (it’s knit from the top center out). In my opinion, this makes it much more interesting than a lace blanket or scarf which simply repeats ad nauseum. I wasn’t sure that I’d actually wear a “shawl” but I plan to treat it just like a big scarf. I hope it’s actually done during the fall!
I’m also taking a 4-week course at Lighthouse in sci-fi/fantasy writing with the fantastic Jason Heller. It’s so much fun to geek out with others, as I grew up reading my fair share of fantasy and love sci-fi television. I’ve been re-reading the Belgariad by David Eddings as a side project and while I can see some flaws that I missed when I was a kid, it’s still mostly enjoyable. I’m not sure I have a burning desire to write sci-fi/fantasy, but to the extent any of my stuff strays into magical realism, it’s worth having a better grounding.
In non sci-fi/fantasy reading, I’ve run into the name Patrick Leigh Fermor for the past several years. I finally checked out the library’s copy of A Time of Gifts, his legendary account of his walk across Europe to Constantinople (well, the first part of the journey, anyway). Although only an introduction and 25 pages in, I think I’m really going to enjoy it. The writing is very lucid, firmly based in a classical education the likes of which exist no more, and full of interesting asides. I understand that the long-awaited conclusion to the trilogy will be released this fall, taken from Leigh Fermor’s earlier notes for the project. Having just been to Istanbul, I’ll be delighted to read an account of how it was in the 1930s, but for now, I’m back in Holland, slowly exploring the canal paths in the snow.