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 style...it 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.

Friday, March 2, 2018

What I Read: February


February was a decent reading month! I read four books and enjoyed most of what I read. As always, click on the titles for my Goodreads reviews.

The Problim Children, by Natalie Lloyd. Natalie's books are must-reads for me! She writes sweet, magical middle grade, and this one was no exception. It's about seven siblings, with a little bit of mystery and a lot of quirkiness. Her first book, A Snicker of Magic, is still my favorite, but I enjoyed this one too!

The Rabbit Back Literature Society, by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen. This one is translated from Finnish, I think? It was truly one of the strangest books I've ever read. I really loved some parts of it. The plot was interesting and there is a lot of magical realism (which I like!), almost veering into fantasy at times. But there's also some weird graphic sexual content that really took away from the story, in my opinion.

The Story of Charlotte's Web, by Michael Sims. Since I reread one of my old favorites, Charlotte's Web, last month, it seemed like a good time to finally pick up this biography of E.B. White. I really didn't know anything about him, other than the three children's books that he's famous for, so this was really informative for me! It was also a pretty easy read, which biographies aren't always. I enjoyed it very much.

Stuart Little, by E.B. White. And reading that book made me want to pick this one up! I know that I read it, or parts of it, when I was little, but I don't think I'd picked it up since then. It was okay. Pleasant overall, but it's no Charlotte's Web.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Knitting: black Dexter cardigan.


Finally! I finished this cardigan back in October, and I finally have pictures of it. :)

For a long time, I've been wanting to replace two of my lightweight cotton cardigans (purchased probably 8 years ago at Target) with handknit versions. Basic, no frills sweaters to wear over t-shirts. I picked out the Dexter cardigan because it seemed to fit the bill. I asked for the yarn for my birthday...it's Bartlettyarns sportweight. It's woolen spun in one of the oldest operating mills in the country. I picked this yarn because it was relatively inexpensive for American wool (about $50 and I have a decent amount of yarn left over). This definitely isn't a soft, cushy yarn...it's sturdy and scratchy and I had to pick out lots of VM as I knitted. I also soaked the yarn before I started knitting to soften it up a bit. There were thin spots or joins in the yarn that I had to cut out. It's still a bit scratchy in the finished sweater, but overall it seems to be holding up well. I've been wearing it all winter and it doesn't seem to pill...it just sort of gently fuzzes, which I don't mind at all in in a simple sweater like this.

This sweater took forever. I started it in May and it wasn't finished until October. I was obviously distracted and busy during that time (planning a wedding and fixing up the house!). But to be honest, miles and miles of stockinette with black sportweight yarn isn't very fun. The ribbing in particular felt a bit soul-sucking. :) But I love the end result, and it's exactly what I wanted! Not fun knitting, but a needed part of my wardrobe. I am planning on knitting this again in brown, but with a different yarn (possibly one that I naturally dye with walnuts?).

I wanted to finish this cardigan before we got married so I could take it on the honeymoon, and thankfully I managed to finish it the week before the wedding! It's been a while so I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but I think the only changes I made to the pattern were to lengthen the sleeves and leave the textured detail (which you can sort of see around the yoke) off of the bottom of the sweater. This was my first sweater for myself made in anything less than worsted weight yarn, and there is something very satisfying and more polished feeling about a lighter weight knitted sweater!

Ravelry project page.