Thursday, June 22, 2017

On Instagram.


I recently got my first "real" cell phone. I'm not a phone person at all, and I've always just shared an old Tracfone with my mom for emergencies. But Kenny added a line to his phone plan for me this past month, and with that came a new phone. The main advantage of this is that I can now text Kenny easily and more often, of course. :) But I have to admit that it's also nice to have the ability to take pictures without dragging along my camera.

And I have Instagram now. I've been browsing through the amazing yarny and knitting community on there for at least a year now, and I even made an account several months ago on my computer so I could more easily keep up with my favorite accounts. But until I got the new phone, I wasn't able to actually post pictures.

I'm not good at photography, so don't expect amazing pictures and a gorgeous, cohesive look. But if you'd like to see what I'm up to (knitting, reading, and possibly wedding/house stuff?) on a somewhat daily basis, feel free to check it out. I much prefer blogging and have no intention of giving it up, but Instagram is a nice filler in between posts. :)

{I might try to participate in the #WishfulWonder challenge that Rissi is cohosting in July.}

Monday, June 5, 2017

Summer reading list.


For several years, I made a summer reading list. (I skipped last year.) My reading has been a little off lately, so I thought trying a list again this summer might motivate me to read more. With everything that's going on, I'm sure this list is much too optimistic, but I'm not expecting to actually finish all of these! So here's what I'm hoping to read between now and August or the beginning of September...

Travel/Memoirs:

Raising Demons, by Shirley Jackson. Because I want to read everything by her, and I enjoyed her first memoir-ish book: Life Among the Savages.
How the Heather Looks, by Joan Bodger. This has been on my to-read list forever. It's travel memoir meets English children's literature...could anything be more perfect for me?
In a Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson. It's been a while since I read anything by Bill Bryson, and his Australian book seems appropriate for summer.
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, by Lucy Knisley. Hoping this one will encourage me to learn how to cook. :)

Children's Literature:

Going Solo, by Roald Dahl. Again, I've been meaning to read this forever. (It's also a memoir.)
The Titan's Curse, by Rick Riordan. Still working my way through this series, rather sporadically!
Raymie Nightingale, by Kate DiCamillo. I always love her books, and this one seems especially summer-ish. Also, the cover is adorable.
The Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White. I love Charlotte's Web. I might have read this in elementary school, but I remember nothing about it. It's one I pulled off my shelf randomly to add to the list.

Miscellaneous:

4:50 from Paddington, by Agatha Christie. Because a Miss Marple mystery is always a good idea! I've seen the TV version of this, but I don't remember too much about the plot or the mystery.
East of Eden, by John Steinbeck. This book is huge and intimidating. I want to read it sometime this year, though I'm not sure I'll get to it this summer.
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, by Julie Klassen. It's been too long since I read some historical fiction.
Reflections on the Psalms, by C.S. Lewis. It's also been too long since I read some new-to-me C.S. Lewis! I found this brand-new at a library sale last year and would like to read it soon.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before trilogy, by Jenny Han. Now that the third and final book has been released, I'd really like to finish this trilogy. I read the first book several year ago, so I want to reread it before picking up the other two. (I don't have the third one yet...I don't want to buy it unless I really enjoy the second book so that's why it's not pictured.)

What are you planning on reading this summer?

Friday, June 2, 2017

Works in progress {knitting and future home}.


It's been a while since I've had enough knitting happening to justify a post about my works in progress. For most of this year I've been in a knitting slump, but right now I'm having the opposite problem...wanting to cast on all the things when I already have enough to keep me busy!

I started some plain socks out of this beautiful sparkly yarn, which unfortunately doesn't look nearly as pretty in pictures as it really is. I'm currently working on the heel flap of the first sock. It would probably have been finished by now if I hadn't gotten distracted by some new sock yarn I ordered from Makers Haven. It arrived last Saturday, and I cast on that day. These are going to be shorter socks, because I purchased smaller skeins, but that means they go by so quickly...I'm already on the foot of the first sock.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally cast on a practical sweater project that I've been needing to make for a while. I have two constantly worn, lightweight cotton cardigans (black and brown) that I bought at Target years ago that I want to replace with handknitted sweaters. So this is the start of my black one: the Dexter cardigan in Bartlett Yarn sportweight. It's not soft but it's sturdy, rustic American wool and will hopefully last forever. I love watching top down raglan sweaters grow in their funny shape.

As for another kind of work in progress....we've been working on the little house where Kenny and I will live after we're married in October. (Honestly, I still can't believe it, you guys. I write something like that and then think, what?? I'm actually getting married?) The house is on my parents' farm property, basically next door. It's not very old (built in the late 70s, we think), but some leaks and shoddy work over the years have caused problems. I wanted to post some "before" pictures, because right now the house probably looks worse than it ever has, ha. (And hopefully by October I can share some lovely "after" pictures!) We've torn up all the floors, except in the one room where it was salvageable, and we have to get some of the damaged subflooring replaced before we can have new floors put down. We've done some cosmetic projects (painting, little repairs, new hardware and stain on the cabinets- which was an amazing improvement in itself!), and we have a few more to go (new countertop, bathroom sink, etc.). But the floors are the biggest hurdle right now. I am so excited for the little house to be our cozy home, but it's currently a bit of a disaster.

So that's basically what's going on with me. (Wedding planning is happening, too. Mom and I are going with the dressmaker tomorrow to pick out wedding dress fabric, which I'm very excited and nervous about!) I'll be back soon with my hilariously optimistic summer reading list. :)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What I Read: May


I didn't read a ton in May, but there are twice as many books in this month's post as in last month's, so that's a good thing. :) Overall it was a good reading month and I enjoyed everything I read.

One Year in Coal Harbor, by Polly Horvath. This is the sequel to Everything on a Waffle, which I reread last month. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite live up to that book. It was longer and had more characters and subplots, but something was lacking. I still liked it, though. (And the cover is gorgeous!)

Talking as Fast as I Can, by Lauren Graham. I've been a Gilmore Girls fan for years now, so of course I had to read this book. (I've only seen the first two episodes of the revival series though, so no spoilers please!) It was very enjoyable and funny, and I definitely feel like Lauren Graham must be a little like Lorelai in real life because a lot of her personality shines through. (Like Lorelai but much more likable.)

The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson. Ever since I got hooked on Shirley Jackson's writing, I've wanted to read this: it's one of her most well known books. I'm a wimp and don't do scary things in general whether it's books, horror films, etc. But I do love a good creepy story with an unsettling tone, and that's definitely what Shirley Jackson does best. This book was so weird, but it sucked me in and got under my skin. Until the second half, that is...things began feeling off and disjointed then. So, not my favorite of hers (that would be "We Have Always Lived in the Castle"), but still good. (Sadly, the 1963 film version was not good though. Kenny and I watched it together and Eleanor's endless inner monologues are awful. This book just needs to be left alone because it doesn't translate well to screen.)

The Yorkshire Shepherdess, by Amanda Owen. A friend from knitting group let me borrow this memoir, and I really enjoyed it! It's similar to James Rebanks' "The Shepherd's Life," which I read earlier this year. I liked it even better than that book, honestly, because his attitude grated on my nerves sometimes. The writing in this one isn't amazing, but the author is really likable and keeps things interesting as she writes about raising sheep and her seven kids on an English farm.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Knitting: navy Marion cardigan (plus a dress).


I've only had this cardigan finished since the beginning of February. February! I have no idea why it has taken me three and a half months to finally get pictures of it. It was 90 degrees over the past few days (yuck! I'm not ready for Virginia summer), but thankfully today was cool and damp so I could squeeze in another wearing of this sweater before packing it away until fall.

The pattern is Marion, by Andi Satterlund. This was one of the first sweater patterns I ever wanted to knit...I added it to my queue years ago. I bought the pattern three years ago, and I always pictured knitting it in some shade of blue because the cables reminded me of nautical ropes. When I needed a navy sweater to wear over some sleeveless dresses I'd sewn, this seemed like the perfect time to finally knit Marion!

I'd previously knitted one of this designer's sweaters, Miette, which is a pretty basic pattern. But because of some fit adjustments, I had to do a lot of tweaking and reworking with that one. Thankfully things went much smoother with Marion. The only thing I changed was to make the body and sleeves slightly shorter. This sweater was made specifically to wear over dresses, and there's a particular length I want for that.

I used Quince and Co.'s Lark yarn in the Pea Coat colorway. I love that their yarn is made with American wool and it's pretty soft. The only thing is that sometimes it has a strange stiffness to it, almost like cotton. Also, as you can tell in some of the pictures, it is already starting to pill in spots. I do think this yarn shows off cables really well though...and even though they're subtle, I especially love the little cables knit into the ribbing on the sleeves.

You might remember that I got obsessed with the thought of using a certain type of vintage buttons on this sweater. I only had two, but I found some more on Ebay and ordered them. They seemed to be a perfect match...until you got in sunlight, when it was obvious that my two were navy and the others were a brighter blue that clashed with the sweater. So sadly I just had to settle for plain new plastic navy ones.

One more thing...this is a dress that I sewed at the end of last summer and never blogged about! It's the same pattern as the others I made last year, nothing special. The fabric is just basic cotton from Joann's. I think it's supposed to be a floral, but up close the print reminds me of fireworks and I liked that. But see that crease across the neckline? Obviously I still haven't got the fit perfect.

Ravelry project page.