Thursday, April 20, 2017

Knitting: more Hermione socks.

These socks took so much longer than they should have! They're basically all I've been knitting for the past couple of months...obviously I haven't been knitting much. I also got second sock syndrome with these. I'm so excited about knitting the new sock yarn that I bought at the fiber festival that I had to push through the second one.

They are Hermione's Everyday Socks, which is one of my favorite sock patterns. I think this is my fourth pair? The pattern is so simple, just a bit of texture, but my favorite part is the heel. I love how the garter edge makes the picked up stitches look so neat. I was finished with the first sock before I realized how the colors in this yarn are very similar to these socks, except much more muted and subtle.

This yarn is from the Unwind Yarn Company, in the Abalone colorway. It was a nice, twisty sock yarn that I'm sure will hold up well. (Monica was kind enough to send it to me!)

Project page.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Otherwise engaged.

If the blog is quieter than normal over the next few months, know that it's because I have a really good excuse...Kenny and I are engaged! :) As of two weeks ago, when he asked me to marry him on a completely normal night. (We were just hanging out, watching Sherlock, so it obviously took me by surprise and I suspected nothing.)

To say that I'm happy, excited, and thrilled seems like the biggest understatement ever. We're getting married at the end of October, so the next six months are going to be very busy with planning our wedding and fixing up the little house where we're going to live.

I can't even wrap my mind around the fact that I get to spend the rest of my life with Kenny. I'm not sure how I got so blessed, but I won't question it, I'll just be incredibly thankful that God sent him to me!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Yarny goodness.

My knitting has slowed to a snail's pace, so I haven't had much of that to post lately. (Though I still have a finished cardigan to get pictures of!) I'm working on a pair of socks that are stuck in some kind of time warp, as I can't seem to get past the heel on the second sock. But I do have some pretty yarny things to share!

Two weekends ago, I went with a couple of my knitting group friends to a fiber festival. Every April, I usually go to the Olde Liberty Fibre Faire {see 2014, 2015, and 2016}. But this year I decided to try out Carolina Fiber Fest. I was curious about seeing a different fiber festival, and I also realized that it would be better to go with other knitters rather than drag my family along with me (more fun for me and them!). Overall I really enjoyed it. I do prefer outdoors festivals, just because it's less crowded and stuffy, but there were more vendors at CFF.

Basically I just wanted to buy all of the sock yarn ever, but I made myself buy some spinning fiber too, so I can have more handspun yarn to sell this fall. The first two yarns above were from Twist Fiber Studio, which was my favorite booth at the festival. It's not often that I love all of the yarns from a dyer, but honestly every single yarn in her booth was beautiful. The one on the left is basic sock yarn in the Gypsy Heart colorway. On the right is sparkly fingering weight in the Harvest Season colorway. I also bought another skein from her that I can't share because it's for a Mother's Day gift. :)

I bought two other sock yarns in colorways that I had stalked on Etsy and planned to purchase. On the left is a tweedy yarn from Iria Yarn Company in the Sweater Weather colorway. And the last yarn is Bright Copper Kettles (love that name!) from Haute Knit Yarn. Then I bought four fibers to spin...the first three will be to sell, the fourth is all mine. :) There's BFL, Polwarth, Finnsheep, and Columbia/Rambouillet.

Speaking of spinning, I've probably been doing more of that than knitting lately! That lovely yarn on the bobbin is some BFL that Monica was kind enough to send me. Since taking that photo, I've finished spinning and plying it, so expect photos of that soon. The white handspun above is from local Gulf Coast Native fleece that I cleaned, carded, and spun. It seems very nice and surprisingly soft, which I'm glad about because that's the same breed as my sheep! (Which are in need of shearing right now, as soon as I can find a shearer...)

A few more yarnish acquisitions: several vendors were selling fair trade African woven baskets at the fiber festival. I'd thought about ordering one before, and I came so close to buying one there but instead decided to stick with fiber. But after I got home, I ended up ordering one. It's so pretty and it's already full of yarn, patterns, and knitting needles! And then there are more GnomeAcres mini skeins for my scrap blanket. Because apparently mini skeins are irresistible.

On a completely random note, I finally saw Moana the other day. It didn't blow me away, but it was cute and very pretty, and I've had the chorus of You're Welcome stuck in my head ever since. (You're welcome, now you do, too.)

{I know this post was all over the place, I'm sorry! More cohesive updates and projects coming soon, I promise.}

Saturday, April 1, 2017

What I Read: March

Look at that sad little stack of books! I'm afraid that March was rather a slumpy reading month for me. (Mostly because of that first book, which I struggled through for almost the first half of the month.) As always, click on the titles for my Goodreads reviews.

Dangerous, by Shannon Hale. I love Shannon Hale. She's written some of my favorite books and I'd consider her one of my favorite authors, but wow. I don't really know what this was, and I don't know what to even say about it. It was like a crazy, bizarre, action-y, sci-fi teen romance that was originally going to be a trilogy but instead got crammed into one book. Hmph. I should have put it aside, but I wanted to see how much weirder it could get.

Life Among the Savages, by Shirley Jackson. I really enjoyed this! So far, Shirley Jackson has not let me down. This was so different from her usual books, but it was very funny. I love her writing style and I can't wait to read more by her.

Last in a Long Line of Rebels, by Lisa Lewis Tyre. I expected more from this middle grade novel, especially with such an adorable cover. (I know, I know, but I can't help it.) It handled racism in a graceful way and I love the little realistic bits that pop up in books like these, set in the south. But it wasn't as special and amazing as I'd hoped.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Beauty and the Beast {2017}

Last week, my mom and I went to see the new Beauty and the Beast in theaters. I had no immediate plans to review it here, and as soon as we came out of the theater I remember thinking, "I have so many thoughts about this that there's no way I can express them all." And yet by the time I got home, I'd decided to write a post about the movie. :)

As I mentioned in my last post (a review of the animated film), Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie. It came out the year I was born, and I grew up loving it (and obviously I still do). So I was wondering how that would affect my feelings for the live action remake...would I love it no matter what because it's my favorite, or would I be more critical because it has so much to live up to?

I think my bias made me veer into the "more critical" category. The movie was so, so good, but not quite perfect. I felt myself getting nitpicky over a few things. But...I do feel like I'll love this movie more each time I watch it.

Let's start off with the good, okay? Beauty and the Beast was a beautiful film. Between the colors and costumes and sets, it was visually so stunning. And the cast was excellent. Honestly, I can't think of a single character that wasn't a perfect fit. Emma Watson will forever be Hermione to me, but she fit very well as bookish Belle. Dan Stevens (again, forever Matthew Crawley) was wonderful as the Beast. I'm not a fan of over-the-top CGI, especially in these live action Disney films, but I was so impressed with how realistic he looked. It amazes me how they can incorporate Dan Stevens' facial features and expressions into the Beast. Gaston and all of the supporting characters at the castle were lovely as well!

I like what Disney does with the live action adaptations. It's nice how they slightly expand on the historical setting or add some backstory to often vague fairy tales, or how they answer questions. Here they really ran with the 1700s-1800s French setting, with the wigs and clothing and everything. (Matthew Crawley in makeup and a wig: I'll never be able to look at him the same!) And in this movie, they answered the question of why the villagers had forgotten about the Beast, and I loved the little reference to the original Mrs. Potts being elderly and having a young child. (It involved Emma Thompson getting offended when someone refers to her as a grandmother, ha.)

Be Our Guest was one of my favorite scenes. It was gorgeous and hilarious and just perfect! I also really loved the classic title song scene. It made me feel so nostalgic, remembering how it felt to grow up watching that scene in the animated film, and knowing that little girls now will grow up feeling the same way about the live action version. And Belle's dress, oh my goodness. I know this is a controversial opinion, but I loved her dress so much more than Cinderella's. It was beautiful! So was the library. The end fight was appropriately dramatic and tense, though I was a bit disappointed with Gaston for taking the easy way out and just shooting the Beast. I liked how they showed all of the servants at the castle becoming completely inanimate again at the made that part even more heartbreaking than it already was.

Now that I think about it, what I didn't like about this movie comes down to aspects of the music. I didn't like the new songs at all. They might grow on me some eventually, but I think the film would have been basically perfect if they had left out the new songs. One of the best things about Beauty and the Beast is the music: the songs are catchy and funny and they intertwine perfectly. The original songs are so good that the new ones felt cheesy and mediocre, especially lyrically. Also, why did they mess with Emma Watson's voice? So what if she doesn't sing perfectly? Most everyone else's voices sounded genuine and like themselves, but the auto-tuning on her voice in "Belle" made me cringe. I didn't notice it as much in later songs, so maybe that was the main one they altered. Besides that, I also didn't like the scene where the Beast and Belle sort of magically teleported to the place where her mother died. I see what they were trying to do, but it felt random and out of place.

{I know much has been said about Gaston's sidekick LeFou. Honestly, I feel like the whole thing was blown out of proportion. LeFou is obviously a bit feminine in this version, but unless you're specifically looking for this "gay subplot," you're not going to find it.}

I started writing this post the evening after we saw the film, when it was all fresh on my mind and I was feeling a little critical. Even now, just a week later, I'm already feeling more positive looking back at this adaptation. I can't say that it's better than the animated version, but it is really beautifully done, and I'm sure my little issues with it will be forgotten about after a couple more viewings! :)

Have you seen the new Beauty and the Beast? What did you think?