Meet Larry the Leicester. I am knitting Larry out of British Sheep Breeds DK in Bluefaced Leicester cream and brown. The pattern is Janice Anderson's free sheep pattern (pdf). I made a slight mess of picking up stitches around Larry's face (the decreases stand out more than I'd like), but I hope it'll even out once I stuff the toy. I'm knitting Larry on request, but I'm actually enjoying the process way more than I thought I would.
I'm really, really loving the BSB wool: it is a heady combination of the rustic wools I love so dearly (smells faintly of sheep, is unprocessed, comes in natural colours only) and the tempting butter-soft merinos I keep going back to (so very soft, feels great as you're working with it, next-to-skin smooth). I had no idea it would be so fabulous, although my friend LH has been in raptures over it for as long as I have known her. I really have to knit a jumper or cardigan out of it one of these days. Srsly.
In very related news, my knitting bag is safe. Don't ask.
I finished reading Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go on Friday and I was very disappointed. The book has a meaty subject matter and Ishiguro has the necessary writing chops, but instead of an "extraordinary", "enthralling" and "masterly" book I was left reading a rather tedious, flawed novel. I get that Ishiguro writes about people unable to live full lives, people who are somehow lost (even to themselves) and people who are out of step with time. I get that he "writes like someone impersonating a realist" with resulting defamilarization etc. Still, the novel has an extraordinarily clumsy dénouement, the plot has numerous gaping holes and the writing felt lazy as though Ishiguro was painting by numbers. Never Let Me Go just did not add up as a satisfactory read and I am left wondering if the glowing reviews (and subsequent prize-nominations etc) were the result of Ishiguro's reputation as an important British novelist or if I am losing my grip on what a good literary novel reads like.
Next: I have exchanged my book vouchers for Toibin's Brooklyn and Mantel's Wolf Hall. I even got Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo thrown in as a special offer, although I rather regret not getting it in Swedish (but then David would be disadvantaged).