The swatch was still a little damp this morning, so I haven't measured it yet, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that I'm close enough on gauge. The top of this swatch was knit on a US 2.5/3 mm needle and the bottom on a US 2/2.75 mm. I measured the top before washing and I was far enough off that I didn't think it would work, particularly as I expected the yarn to bloom a bit when washed. The recommended gauge for the pattern is 27 stitches and 37 rows over 4 inches, and the pattern recommends a US 4/3.5 mm needle. I normally get about 24 stitches over 4 inches with a US 4, so I knew I'd have to go down in size, but I'm surprised that going down even two sizes might not be enough. I know that a US 1 will be too much, but if the US 2 doesn't work, I do have a US 1.5/2.5 mm to try. The idea of knitting an entire sweater on that small of a needle gives me a bit of pause, though. It's not that I'm uncomfortable using small needles; I just worry that a sweater might be doomed to become a slog because of the slow progress. So please send good thoughts that the US 2 gives me gauge (or at least close enough to it to work)!
While the knitting hasn't been prolific, my reading has been lately. I've been devouring e-books (mainly because I'm able to read them on the computer at work when it's slow) and have finished quite a few in the past week or so:
- The White Queen: I'd bought this Kindle book a while back, likely when it was on sale, because I'd watched the Starz miniseries a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. Like all Philippa Gregory books, you have to go into it knowing that while it's based on history, it's highly sensationalized. It's not fine literature, but it was an enjoyable and easy read. I gave it four stars.
- The Miniaturist: I'm fairly certain I'd see the cover of this book and heard the name a few times in the past year or so, but I never looked into it until I heard that it was being made into a PBS miniseries that will air later this year. I was intrigued by the summary, so I borrowed it online from the library. I was fully absorbed by it almost as soon as I started it and read the entire thing in two days. It's a very original story that is beautifully written. My only complaint is that the true nature of the miniaturist is never fully explained (though perhaps that's intentional). I gave this book five stars.
- Sing, Unburied, Sing: This book won the National Book Award and got a lot of buzz when it came out, so naturally I wanted to see what all the buzz was about. I should have known that I would have issues with it after reading the first scene, which involves the slaughter of a goat. While the book is well written and emotionally moving, I found it really hard to read. The subject matter is not easy to take -- there's drug abuse, incarceration, physical violence, child neglect, and illness running throughout the book -- and I found it really unsettling. I gave the book three stars because of this.
- Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis: This was another much-talked-about book and one that I'd been meaning to read for some time. It was a really thought-provoking read, a combination of memoir and sociological study, and really well written. I gave it four of five stars, mainly because while I really enjoyed reading it and how much it made me think, it's not a book I could see reading more than once.
- The Orphan's Tale: I just finished this book yesterday, and it was another quick read. I picked it because it was on my Goodreads "want to read" list thanks to a recommendation from a friend a couple of years ago. I have read a lot of WWII/Holocaust fiction over the years, but this was a very different take on the genre, and I enjoyed it. I gave it four stars.