Friday, June 8, 2018

What I Read: May

May was a decent reading month! Once again, I read four books: two that I really enjoyed, one that I didn't like, and one reread. As always, click on the titles to read my Goodreads reviews!

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon. I picked this book up years ago at Goodwill, and it had been sitting on my shelf ever since. Unfortunately, I didn't really enjoy it very much! I understand what it was trying to do (it's written from the viewpoint of a 15 year old boy with autism), but it just didn't click with me. The writing felt repetitive and I didn't like the bad language. If it hadn't been such a short book, I probably wouldn't have finished it!

The Man in the Brown Suit, by Agatha Christie. Of course I enjoyed this very much! It's one of Christie's earlier books, and it feels a little different. It's more adventure-y than murder mystery-ish, I guess. I was confused for a while, trying to figure out who was who, but once things settled down, I really liked it.

Rainbow Valley, by L.M. Montgomery. It's been three or four years since I read the rest of the Anne of Green Gables series. I think if I had read this one back then, after the others, I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much. But now it was so nice and comforting to be back in that world! It is a bit misleading for this to be an Anne book, because even Anne's children are more secondary characters in this one. But it was very funny and charming!

As You Wish, by Cary Elwes. This was a reread for me. It's still good, but it felt slightly more repetitive this time. Probably because Kenny and I recently watched The Princess Bride again and watched all of the special features too! The stories about Andre the Giant are still my favorites.

Friday, May 4, 2018

What I Read: April

April was an okay reading month! Once again, I read four books...that seems to be the monthly number I've settled into and that's good with me. :) One of these was a reread. As always, click on the titles to read my Goodreads reviews!

Out of Africa, by Isak Dinesen. This one wasn't exactly what I expected! After reading the blurb on the back, I thought I knew what it would be about but it turns out the blurb wasn't very accurate. (I went into that more in my review.) The writing was beautiful and the descriptions made me feel like I was there, seeing what the author was seeing. This book is a little out of my comfort zone, and not the sort of thing that I usually read. It's not one that I would be very anxious to pick back up, but while I was reading it, I enjoyed it! (I mostly skimmed the additional stories in the back, Shadows on the Grass. Most of it seemed repetitive from the main book.)

Mary Poppins, by P.L. Travers. I absolutely loved this book when I first read it eight years ago. Unfortunately upon rereading it, it wasn't quite as amazing as I remembered, but it's still very charming and sweet! The book Mary Poppins is so different from the Disneyfied movie version: she's vain and snarky and rude, but I still really like her, ha. :) There's a lot of magical imagery in this book.

Jim Wrenn, by William Guerrant. This book was lent to me by a friend in knitting group, and it's actually written by someone I know: a vendor at the same farmer's market where we sell. I enjoyed it very much, though it was definitely pretty sad (lots of deaths and hardships). It was strange but also neat to read about places that I know in my hometown!

Mary Poppins Comes Back, by P.L. Travers. I didn't read this whole book! I don't own an individual copy of this second Mary Poppins book, so I read it from this bind up of the first four books. I did enjoy this, but not as much as the first one. Even though Travers comes up with very creative scenarios, a couple of the chapters in this one felt very similar to ones in the first book. I think I'll enjoy this series more if I spread them out a bit instead of reading them all at once.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Knitting: autumn socks.

These socks took forever. I started them at the beginning of September and just finished them at the end of March! There was a lot going on, and I did knit other things in between. But I'm really glad to have these off the needles. As you can tell by the title, they were supposed to be my fall socks.

The yarn is from Iria Yarn Company, in her tweed sock base in the Sweater Weather colorway. I bought it at Carolina Fiber Fest, and it was so pretty in the skein! When I cast on and started knitting the ribbing, I knew that it was going to pool. So I used the stitch pattern from the Show-off Stranded Socks, which helped change pooling into almost-stripes in a pair of previous socks. It did the same for these until I reached the foot! Then for some reason, the purple and blue all stayed on top and the orange on the bottom, making it look like I stepped in orange paint. :)

So these aren't the prettiest socks I've ever made, but I don't mind too much! I really do like the texture of this stitch pattern, but it makes me fingertips hurt after a while because of all the passing over YOs.

Ravelry project page.

Monday, April 2, 2018

What I Read: March

In March, I read a couple of books that I'd been meaning to read for quite a while! Like last month, I read four books and enjoyed most of what I read. As always, click on the title for my Goodreads review!

Goodbye Stranger, by Rebecca Stead. I had previously read When You Reach Me and Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead and really enjoyed both of them. Unfortunately I was a little disappointed with this one! I still love the timeless feel of her stories and her writing feels very nostalgic for me. But there were some non-linear chapters in this book that felt confusing and out of place, and I couldn't get past one of the main plot points. More details in my review!

They Do It With Mirrors, by Agatha Christie. I think I'm going to try to unofficially read an Agatha Christie novel every month or two this year. I always enjoy her books so much! This is a Miss Marple mystery, and she's actually very involved right from the beginning in this one, which I appreciate! It wasn't particularly memorable, but I still enjoyed it.

The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank. I may have read part of this as a kid in school, but I don't think I'd ever read the whole book, and not this definitive edition anyway. It was so interesting and of course sad, knowing how things turned out. Anne's talent for writing is obvious, even just in this diary as a thirteen or fourteen year old. It was a bit repetitive at times, but that's understandable. I was so drawn into the lives and personalities of the people living in the annex. Their optimism near the end was especially heartbreaking.

The Grand Sophy, by Georgette Heyer. Finally read a Georgette Heyer book! I enjoyed it so much. It was like Jane Austen meets screwball comedy. I kept thinking that Sophy reminded me a lot of a less proper Emma, until she pulled out her pistol! At times it felt like there was just a little too much going on, but overall it was such a fun read. I look forward to reading more of her books.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Knitting: Find Your Fade shawl.

When everyone was knitting Find Your Fade (and all of the other fade patterns that came afterwards), I had no desire to and never planned on making one myself. But then I found a set of four coordinating yarns from WIPyarns, and I started to rethink that decision. :) I thought about that yarn for the longest time, and finally splurged but didn't let myself cast on until I finished my black cardigan.

So it happened that I started knitting this shawl just days before my wedding. It was the only knitting I took with me on our honeymoon, and while I didn't do much knitting that week, I do remember working on it as we drove through the mountains from Tennessee to Asheville, NC to visit the Biltmore. And over the next few months I slowly knitted on it until it was finished in February, which means there are a lot of memories of our wedding and honeymoon and first months of marriage worked into this shawl. :) This project is pretty special to me!

I used the basic pattern but wanted a smaller shawl, so I made a few changes. I only had four colors, so I used a couple of them in more sections than the pattern called for. Also, I stopped increasing a little sooner so that my shawl would be narrower and shorter. (More specific details in my project page, linked below.) It's still a fairly large shawl!

The yarn was lovely, of course. I love how these four colors go so well together, and the yarn itself was very enjoyable to knit with. (I also made my Christmas socks from this dyer's yarn!) WIPyarns really has become one of my favorite hand dyed yarns lately.

And now, this girl who said she'd never knit a fade pattern...well, she's knitting a So Faded sweater.

Ravelry project page.