Stacked. Yarn Along – Feb. 27

Yarn Along
This week I worked on five different projects! Two are finished – one of which will have a post of its own and the other was the green sample sweater that was mailed home.  On top of the books I have a cabled figerless mitt, a blanket and a crochet cowl (I’m trying out the Miss Adler design). And as you can see, I have yarn wound and ready to start several new projects as well.  In the stack of yarn cakes there is a skein of Malabrigo Rios ready for a Malabrigo March project, a skein of Good Karma Farm yarn ready for swatching for the Morning Joe KAL, and a skein of yarn my parents bought for me in Chile when they were visiting my brother & his girlfriend.  The Chile yarn does not have a project yet, but it’s been at my desk waiting for inspiration to strike.  I believe it is 100% wool, fingering weight (though I’m not sure), and I have ~90g.  In my search for a project, I’ve also been accumulating other patterns that I am just itching to start – for me, for others, for babies due this year!


Reading wise, I’m halfway through Case Histories and still enjoying it! I have also been reading a chapter of Nancy Clancy: Super Sleuth with the Lorax each night.  We are big Fancy Nancy fans and I thought that this might be a good next step for us, but I think it might be a little too “old” for my girl.  I think a lot of it goes over her head – and there’s not much of the “that’s a fancy word for…” like in the Fancy Nancy books.  A book is a book.  I have a stack of crochet books from the library as well as Knit Local and I am enjoying them enough to consider buying them at some point in the future. 

And how about you? 

Yarn Along – Jan. 30

Yarn Along Jan 30
Someone turns into a little ham when the camera comes out.  He knows to say “Cheese” and look at that casual way of posing. Like he doesn’t really care if he’s in the shot or not.  Silly boy.  Anyway, I’ve had a fairly productive week. I am just about at the end of Season to Taste – I have really enjoyed reading this and I have been trying to pay more attention to my sense of smell as I go about the day.  My mittens are so close to being done! I have one more thumb to go. Figures that they are ready when we are having a bizarre January thaw – it is in the 50s today! Like most places I have been like the saying goes, I’ll just wait five minutes and the weather is sure to change.

Good Karma Farm Sample
I also finished this sample knit.  This v-neck pullover is for Good Karma Farm, knit in their Texas Green colorway, which really is a most perfect hunter green. I love this yarn – good thing, because when you knit an XL size in that much stockinette you had better love it! This is more than just a sample sweater though – it is a gift for one of the owners! After I knit the Charleston Tea sweater for Amy she asked me to knit a sweater for her husband!

It feels good to be getting things done! Of course I still have plenty of WIPs that are giving me the eye and projects I really want to work on, along with the next sample knit that needs swatching.  I also need to decide on the next book to read! What are you getting done this week?

Yarn Along – June 6

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~ small things

Yarn Along June 6
There is a lot going on this week! I have finished the main portion of my Lanesplitter skirt and I love how it is turning out. Seaming is the next step, then picking up for the waistband. I think I will have to sit and focus on that, hopefully within the week that will be done. I have also been working on the toe of a sock for Dan. I have a swatch for Gemini in Silky Wool. You can just see a peak at my new project bag in the corner. It is a “Stitched by JessaLu” bag that was a fundraiser for Ovarian Cancer event that other knitters (Sairy & Holyknitballs) were participating in as the “Teal Deer” team (AWESOME.) I have only heard about these bags and I have to say I was completely floored when I opened it up yesterday. I love love love this bag and can see purchasing more in the future. The quality is fantastic, and she’s from Massachusetts, so she’s local! I am pretty sure that I will blog about it again on its own – I have a ball of yarn in there ready to become a new shawl project, but I haven’t actually started on it yet. Soon.

What am I reading? I treated myself to Principles of Knitting. I was so giddy over its arrival – I haven’t bought a textbook in over ten years, and it is a serious textbook on par with any of my chemistry textbooks! I finished the second “Fifty Shades” book – meh. It was better than the first, in my opinion. I will read the third just to see how it all finishes, but after this I am going to need a serious dose of brain bleach in the form of classy, serious literature. “Pride and Prejudice” or “The Great Gatsby” or something! From the library I picked up Mom & Me Knits – it is cute and sweet, and the Lorax actually liked the sweater set that I liked, the Surfer Tee, which looks quite comfy (and not too matchy-matchy).

I also wanted to share two favorite kid books we are reading this week. We are HUGE Mo Willems fans in this house. The newest of the Pigeon books, The Duckling Gets a Cookie? does not disappoint! You know a children’s book is good when your child reads it before you read it together and can tell from the pictures this is a funny book. I love how much emotion that the Pigeon conveys in such a simple drawing. 
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Wiever Wolf is another good one. Some of the illustrations are a little intense (spoiler alert, the dachshund runs off with the wolves), but the story is cute and the dachshund depictions are spot on!
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This looks just like Jackson, in a sweater, under my knitting. I hope he doesn’t think life is too tame!!

Yarn Along – Sept 7

From small things ~
Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr.
Yarn Along - Sept 7
I have finally finished Moby Duck. Sigh. I think I wanted more from this book, but it is hard to say exactly what. My educational background is in the environmental sciences and I like oceanography, but the material presented here was a bit dense and not always well explained. I felt it was overly wordy and frequently wished I was reading this on my kindle so that I could look up the definitions of the SAT-style words sprinkled through-out. The book could have benefited from illustrations or photographs. Sleep deprivation may also be a factor here but I really did not understand the need for a literary analysis of “Moby Dick” & fatherhood that was presented at the end.

I am very excited to be able to move on to some new reading material on the kindle. I have started The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – I’m 8% in (Dear Kindle, I really wish you would tell me the page number!) and it is very engaging already – I hope this continues through the book!

I have one plus just about one more hexipuff done, and the first Fuzzy Stripe flitten is ready to move the thumb stitches aside, so that’s just about 50% done. I’ve also been able to get a few rows going on the “Rhinebeck2011” hat that my SnB is doing – it’s fabulous!!

I am the sort of person who does well with structure and routine. I am very good at following the rules, until I get comfortable enough to bend them a bit (rarely do I actually break them – I am a goodie two shoes thru and thru). This week the Lorax starts her “school” so that forces a routine on our week and I am happy for it. Today was the first day and when I returned home I still had to mind the lil’nutmeg and Jackson, but I was able to get a few rows of knitting in, YAY! We’re getting there!
Here’s the Lorax on her first day of school:
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I totally lied to her and told her I wasn’t taking her picture to get this shot. You wouldn’t know it from her expression, but she was excited to go and I think she had a good time, though she doesn’t have too much to say about it.

The rest look like some blurry version of this:
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Nate was ready though maybe a bit bored!
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Squee! I got a package!

I have been waiting on the mail delivery each day – I am expecting yarn for a sample knit and I am really looking forward to it. Frequently the mail truck can be heard idling at my mailbox and I assume that they must be getting out a package for me, even though most of the time it turns out that the mail-person is really just getting the street together. Anyway, each day this week there was something interesting in there, just not exactly what I was hoping for. On Monday it was potatoes, Tuesday it was a creatively packaged sample from vocalpoint, yesterday there were some catalogs and today the yarn for the sample knit (which I can’t share just yet! New colorways!).

My mom brought me a package from my grandmother that was an unexpected surprise. My Gram’s friend Ellie is a knitter, but is sorting out some of her things – she sent a bunch of pattern pamphlets to my gram and gram gave them to me because she doesn’t knit anymore. There was a HUGE box of goodies – pattern pamphlets and books! Now I want to spend my afternoon on ravelry looking up these things!
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I’m kind of intrigued by that Afghan Stitch book – tunisian stitch.

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The Fleisher’s Baby Book is from 1957!

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See the shell sweater pattern in the upper left corner? That had a note attached to it – “Do not substitute any other yarn. I made 4 – sold one for $100 – they were absolutely beautiful.” It’s a 1986 pattern from Bernat – I think this is it on Ravelry! The yarn of course is discontinued. Sorry Ellie!

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Love the hair do’s. I am also now kicking myself for not picking up that bag of Blarney Spun Irish Yarn when I was in Ireland a few years ago – now I have a pattern book!!

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Books, including an Alice Starmore one! Ooooh, challenge project!!!

And now that the new yarn is here I should get back to work on my other sample knit so I can get on to the winding and swatching for the next one!

Bookish

I spotted this meme on two blogs and I just couldn’t resist. Plus my brain is sort of in a fog and funk right now and this seemed like a good idea at the time.
1. Favorite childhood book?
Is it possible to pick one? I was a huge fan of the whole “Little House” series, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, just about anything by Judy Blume, Bunnicula, Ramona & Beezus, Roll of Thunder Hear my cry, and Agatha Christie mysteries

2. What are you reading right now?
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
I think I have a few knitting / crochet books on request that I wanted to see.

4. Bad book habit?
I’ve gotten better with my books but as a kid, I would crack spines and dog ear the pages.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
A pile of books for the Lorax: Ladybug Girl at the Beach, Hug Time, Is There Really a Human Race?, Muncha Muncha Muncha, Where are You Blue Kangaroo, No More Kissing, Wiggle, and one for me: Sweater Design in Plain English

6. Do you have an e-reader?
I have a Kindle2

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
While I might have ADHD with my knitting, I like to enjoy one book at a time.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Not really, as the blog was started for knitting. I have occasionally reviewed books on the blog though.

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
I have gotten rather sick and tired of a few of the Lorax’s books, and I didn’t love the last Twilight book.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
I really loved The Art of Racing in the Rain. And Eat, Pray, Love.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Now that school is all done and I get to choose my own books, never!

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
I like a good story – that could be in anything I guess.

13. Can you read on the bus?
Sure.

14. Favorite place to read?
On the beach.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
Fairly lenient – I’ve never been burned on this, so I will lend stuff out.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
I used to when I was younger, but I don’t anymore.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
Not so much

18. Not even with text books?
Nope.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?
English.

20. What makes you love a book?
Good story, good quotes, something that makes me think from a different point of view or interesting concepts where I can learn something new.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
If I can’t stop thinking about what I read or I can relate to it.

22. Favorite genre?
Mystery, memoirs

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
History

24.Favorite biography?
Rachel Carson’s

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Sure.

26. Favorite cookbook?
How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman (referred to around here as the Bittman bible)

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
I really enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love.

28. Favorite reading snack?
Mike & Ikes / Jellybeans

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Harry Potter? I’ve seen the movies and while I’m sure the books are better, I have no interest to read them (maybe when the Lorax is old enough we can read them together)

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
I don’t read too many book reviews, I don’t care what the critics say.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I’m honest – if I didn’t like what I read, why would I say otherwise?

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
Italian

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
I have never thought of a book as intimidating, though in high school Shakespeare was probably just that. By the time I got to college and had to read it, something “clicked” and it was fine.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
Can’t think of one.

35. Favorite Poet?
Shel Siverstein

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
With the Lorax, 5 – 10.

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
A handful – there’s just not enough time – I’m working on knitting and reading on the kindle – sometimes it works.

38. Favorite fictional character?
the Pigeon (by Mo Willems), Miss Marple, Ramona,

39. Favorite fictional villain?
Dracula

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
Something light and fluffy – stephen king, chick lit a la Jodi Picoult or Jennifer Weiner

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
Hard to say – several weeks?

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
I totally gave up on the Lord of the Rings, Profiles in Courage, The Killer Angels

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
My toddler. but not much else. Jackson barking.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
Each time, the book was better, but maybe The Princess Bride?

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
I’m not sure… so many times, the book was better.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
Buying college textbooks easily ran up a few hundred dollars. Non college stuff could also be $100 or so buying gifts.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
I’ll flip through a book at the bookstore, but that’s all. I’ll skim / skip boring pages (Stephen King, I’m looking at you!)

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
Life.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
There is a mild organization going on in my shelves now, but it’s quite fluid.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
I like to keep my books, but I’ve been thinning the shelves lately – books I’m not going to read again, books I didn’t love can move out to someone elses house.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
No.

52. Name a book that made you angry.
The last twilight book

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
I’m blanking…If i think I’m not going to like it, I generally don’t bother unless I hear from others that it’s worth the effort.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
Best Friends Forever (Jennifer Weiner)

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Knitting books? Cookbooks? Isn’t it supposed to be guilty pleasures?

"I am Hutterite" – Book Review

“I Am Hutterite” by Mary-Ann Kirkby
From the booksneeze.com website and Thomas Nelson publishing company:
**A fascinating journey into the heart and culture of a reclusive religious community.

“I Am Hutterite” takes readers into the hidden heart of the little-known Hutterite colony where author Mary-Ann Kirkby spent her childhood. When she was ten, her parents packed up their seven children and a handful of possessions and left the colony to start a new life. Overnight they were thrust into a world they didn’t understand, a world that did not understand them.

With great humor, Kirkby describes how she adapted to popular culture, and with raw honesty she describes her family’s deep sense of loss for their community. More than a history lesson, I Am Hutterite is a powerful tale of retracing steps and understanding how our beginnings often define us.**

I am very happy that this was one of the choices over on booksneeze.com. I hadn’t heard of the book, nor had I heard of Hutterites, but I like a good memoir and the idea of having to endure such a radical culture shift from religious colony to “English” in 1969 sounded really interesting. I devoured this book in 3 days – I found so much of the detail of colony life to be so engaging, if a bit slow to start (though in reading before bed I found it quite calming – maybe that’s the qualities of the Hutterites coming through?) I had a bit of trouble in the beginning keeping all the relatives straight, but it didn’t take away from the story. There is a family tree in the back of the book, along with a glossary for the Hutterite language sprinkled throughout the book – I wish that had been placed in the front of the book for my own reference. The book details life on the colony, her grandparents, parents and siblings, but I felt stopped short when it came to life outside of the colony. We are told of the authors early years in “English” school (middle school / early high school), but I would have liked to learn more about her adjustments into the outside culture and her trips back to the colony. Overall this was a very enjoyable read and I plan to share this with family and friends (Wife, “Mom”, Knitter – I’ll bring it to knitting for you!).
I review for BookSneeze

Disclosure: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program in exchange for a fair review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A Tale of Two Books.

Fair warning, there’s no knitting in this post. It’s about books I finished in the last month or so.
I recently came across an interesting website, BookSneeze.
I review for BookSneeze
Cute slogan. I signed up because even though most of my free time where I could be reading is usually spent knitting, I do enjoy new books and if Thomas Nelson is willing to provide me with a complimentary copy of this book, then so be it.

I selected “The Map: The Way of All Great Men” by David Murrow.

Here’s the description from BookSneeze: A map, hidden in the gospel of Matthew, is the key to awakening the sleeping giant in the church—men.

Sounds like fiction, but it’s true. The apostle Matthew embedded a map into his gospel. History’s greatest men, including Christ himself, followed this map.

The Map begins as a fictional tale of murder, deception, and greed as three men fight to uncover the most important discovery since the Dead Sea Scrolls. Then, using the tale as a parable, Murrow shows men what the map looks like, where it is found in the Bible, and how to walk its three ancient pathways today:

* Submission
* Strength
* Sacrifice

David Murrow stumbled across the map by accident in 2006. After three years of research and writing, he is ready to reveal it to the world.

So, the book starts out in an admittedly “DaVinci-code”-ish way – there is mystery about an ancient map that is hidden in the Bible text. That part was interesting – it kept my attention as I was curious as to what would happen next. But then, in the second part of the book you are let in on the secret, that the story in the beginning is all for show, but that there is a “map” in the Bible, right there in front of our noses and it is important for men to follow in order to feel more involved in Church and be more like Jesus. Jesus is presented as following a path of submission, strength and sacrifice. I found the discussion of the map and the path of the map interesting – it did bring together much of the Catholic education I received as a kid in a way that I hadn’t considered before, yet makes complete sense. However, the second and third parts of the book lost me. This is where the book started to loose me and I started to skim the pages. Maybe because I am a woman. Maybe because my religious background is Catholic. Maybe because all I kept thinking of was mega-churches and evangelists (and honestly, I don’t know much about them, maybe I’ve already got some prejudice there from the media). While skimming the last part of the book I felt I was being talked down to, not inspired, and I just wanted to give the book a big ol’ eye roll. Yes, the author is clever in his presentation, but I think he’s the only one who finds himself amusing. Point for the author: He’s got a dachshund though according to the author information on the back cover.

If you’re interested in this book I’m happy to pass it along, I’ll be sticking with Eat, Pray, Love (which I absolutely adored!).

On a different book note, I borrowed a great book from my mom, Art of Racing in the Rain – I am talking this book up to everyone that I know. If you’ve ever had a dog (especially a “good dog”) or known a good dog, you must read this book. Told entirely from the dog’s point of view, this is a story of a dog and his devotion to his owner / family, and their life through the good and bad. I often stay up at night to read when Dan goes to sleep and so many points brought on such emotion I wanted to wake him up to discuss! But I didn’t, instead I’m waiting for him to read this book. Enzo, the dog in the book, is truly deserving of a “Good Dog” title – he is thoughtful and eloquent and now I look at Jackson and wonder if he thinks in a similar fashion.

Ok, enough about the books for today. I do have knitting to finish up – hoping to post about that tomorrow!

Thank you for the comments about my grandfather – they mean a lot. It’s been a crazy week with all that business, and Lorelai is a happy distraction. She brought a smile to everyone’s face and it didn’t hurt that she was very well behaved!

I wanted to knit, but since Monday (??? maybe. I can’t remember) I haven’t physically knit a stitch, they’ve all been in my head. Hopefully today I can finish the nose for the snowman hat and get that sewn up.

I’ve been reading – at night before we go to bed since there’s been nothing on tv. I finished The Good Good Pig – it was a quick, light-hearted read. Very enjoyable. I’ve started The Memory Keeper’s Daughter and I can’t put it down. I’ve even taken to nursing Lorelai in my bedroom so I can sit on the bed propped up with pillows and read while she eats. Striking.

At a belated-holiday-let’s-get-together-anyway-party last night Lorelai finally met the rest of her great-aunts / uncles and cousins. I think she’s met the family now. And we found out about another baby on the way. Between family, family friends and friends, there are babies that I want to knit something for due in May, June, July, and August! I’m going to be making baby hats all spring 🙂

I’ve found that it’s best (and easiest for now) to photograph the wee one in the morning when I wake her up – the light is good and she’s in a good mood. These are some of my recent favorites:
Peek-a-boo
Good Morning Smiley!
Ah yes...

Yadda Yadda Yadda

There really isn’t too much thrilling to post about, so heads up – this is a mundane post.

1)In my love of reality shows I have found a lost love of my childhood! The Coreys – it’s a reunion of sorts between Corey Feldman and Corey Haim. I had the biggest crush on Corey Haim – huge! And now, watching this show I feel sorta sad for him. It’s a massive train wreck.

2)Somehow I found the motivation to get the craft room in order so that we can start moving furniture – from a guest bedroom into the craft room so that the old guest bedroom can become the baby’s room. I found a few old WIPs, including a pair of socks that I know I didn’t work on since before I was married (at least 3 years these socks have sat in the box) – I don’t really like them too much, I don’t know what kind of yarn I used, and they are not a good show of what I can do (they do show how far I have come). I was thinking about frogging them, but really there’s just a little bit left and a toe on one of them, so I may as well finish them up.
Finish or Frog? Look at those toes!

3)It’s been hot. Even the dog has taken to sitting in his own chair, spread eagle to cool off.
Spread Eagle

4)Jackson finally has a hot dog toy to play with. A weiner for a weiner (who is really whiney right now). Love the expression on the toy’s face:
Look at your toy!

5)Read a few cute / funny books – Sippy Cups are not for Chardonnay and Baby Laughs – mildly enlightning, fluffy reads, an interesting change from the information overload about fetal development I’ve been on. Somehow I keep skipping over all the actual birth stories, labor and delivery, and I cannot watch any of those shows on TLC or Discovery Health.