Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Yarn Along

Reading: A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman. This book was an impulse buy. I was drawn to it because 1) I love the cover, 2) It was originally published in Swedish, and 3) It's supposed to be a sweet, charming story about a grumpy, somewhat antisocial man, and that sounded appealing to me for some reason, ha. So far I'm really enjoying it.

Knitting: I finished my tweed fall socks and immediately cast on the Pixel Rise socks, which I've been very excited about knitting ever since the pattern came out last month. I don't have much experience in colorwork, but this pattern is easy enough that I'm not having any problems (the pattern is toe up, but I'm knitting these cuff down). The only thing I'm nervous about is trying an afterthought heel for the first time. This sock is so addicting! I can't stop knitting because I'm always excited about choosing the next color and seeing how it looks. :) I'm just trying not to think about weaving in all of those ends...

{Yarn Along is a weekly link up hosted by Ginny where you can share what you've been knitting and reading.}

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Knitting: fall tweed socks.

Another pair of socks finished! I planned on knitting this yarn into socks last fall but never got around to it. This color, plus the tweed, reminds me so much of autumn! It looks all over the place in these photos, but the last picture is the truest color: a dark, burnt reddish-orange.

I used the Impossible Girl Socks pattern, named for Clara in Doctor Who. It's such an easy pattern. With the mock cables along the sides, it's just enough detail to keep things interesting, without really being any more difficult than vanilla socks. The yarn is Knit Picks' Stroll Tweed in the autumn heather colorway (maybe that's why this color makes me think of fall, ha).

Ravelry project page.

Friday, August 19, 2016

A bookish tag.

I saw this tag online recently and liked the questions, so I decided to answer them here. I would love to hear your answers in the comments!

1. What book is currently on your nightstand? My desk is next to my bed, and I keep a stack of books there that I'm planning on reading soon(ish). As you can see from the photo, it's currently Northanger Abbey, A Man Called Ove, Blue Like Jazz, The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, and Evenings with Cary Grant.

2. What was the last truly great book that you read? Nooks & Crannies by Jessica Lawson, though not perfect, was pretty great for what it was: a fun British-inspired middle grade mystery. In terms of pure enjoyment, I loved A Fine Romance: Falling in Love With the English Countryside.

3. If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be? And what would you want to know? Jane Austen, of course. She's such a beloved author, but so little is known about her. I'd want to see what her personality was like and find out about her love life (was the film Becoming Jane accurate in any way, or was it all speculation?). And I want to know what was in those letters that her sister Cassandra burned after her death. So basically, I'd be nosy.

4. What books might someone be surprised to find on your shelves? I'm really not sure. I feel like my shelves, random as they are, are a good representation of who I am and what I like to read. :) Maybe the amount of children's books would be surprising? I do love children's literature.

5. How do you organize your personal library? All of my fiction is together, organized alphabetically by the author's last name. If I have more than one book by an author, I usually have them in the order that they were published (series, obviously, but also stand alones). I'm a little less obsessive about my nonfiction. It's roughly grouped by topic: all of the classic film star biographies/memoirs are together, the travel books are together, the books about authors, etc.

6. What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around to yet? Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read? There are lots of classics that I mean to read but haven't gotten to yet. I also want to read the Percy Jackson series. There's nothing that I feel embarrassed never to have read. Either I want to read it and plan on getting to it eventually, or I have no interest in it, and I don't feel embarrassed about that, ha.

7. Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you were supposed to like but didn't? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing? I hated Wuthering Heights, even though it's supposed to be a wonderful classic. I expected to at least like it, because Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books ever. (And because of Wuthering Heights, I'm now a little nervous about reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.) Much more recently, I was sort of disappointed with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I rarely put down books without finishing, so I'm not sure about that one.

8. What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of? I'm drawn to British books. :) Anything cozy or interesting set in the English countryside. I don't need a ton of action and excitement in a favorites seem to be slightly quirky stories about people's everyday lives. I don't usually read much sci-fi or fantasy where there are too many details to keep straight.

9. If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be? Either Mere Christianity or the Chronicles of Narnia series, both by C.S. Lewis. Just because I think that everyone should read those books.

10. What do you plan to read next? Probably A Man Called Ove. That was a spontaneous purchase, and I'm really excited about reading it. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Yarn Along

Reading: Martha's Vineyard: Isle of Dreams, by Susan Branch. Despite the cheesiness of these books at times, I've really been enjoying them (after getting past the fact that they don't feel like something I would normally read). My favorite one is, by far, A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside. But I've really enjoyed the two "prequels," too.

Knitting: I'm nearly finished with my pair of Impossible Girl Socks! I'm at the heel on the second sock. Though you can't really see the fake cables unless the socks are being worn, I really like how this tweed yarn knitted up into this pattern. Just enough small details to keep them from being boring. :)

{Yarn Along is a weekly link up hosted by Ginny where you can share what you've been knitting and reading.}

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Yarn Along

Reading: A Room with a View, by E.M. Forster. I've heard such good things about this book, and I've been meaning to read it for a while. So far it's very enjoyable, though I haven't yet reached a point where I'm drawn in and absolutely loving it.

Knitting: Still knitting away on hats to sell at festivals this fall...I'm not quite halfway to my goal yet. (They're just simple hats, but I'm listing them all on Ravelry, if you're curious.) In between, I made my mom a shawl for her birthday and I've been adding a few squares to my sock yarn scrap blanket.

{Yarn Along is a weekly link up hosted by Ginny where you can share what you've been knitting and reading.}

Monday, August 8, 2016

Knitting: Mom's Multnomah shawl.

Today is my mom's birthday! She's one of those people who I always make gifts for, because she appreciates them and therefore she deserves handmade. :) Socks are my go-to knitted gift for her, because she always loves those. But for a while I've been wanting to knit her a shawl.

The pattern is Multnomah. This is the second time I've knitted it (first time here), and it's a nice pattern. It really is a decent sized shawl from just one skein of fingering weight yarn! A part of me always thinks "cowboy bandana" when it comes to wearing smaller triangle-shaped shawls around your neck. :) But the edging on this one seems to make it a softer and more feminine triangle, somehow. Last time I struggled a bit because I decided to make the shawl bigger (I had more yarn), but this time I followed the pattern exactly and guess what? This Multnomah is only a couple inches smaller in wingspan than the other, and it's actually an inch deeper. So I should have just left well enough alone the first time, ha. It blocked out to be about 15 inches by 53 inches.

The yarn is madelinetosh: Tosh Merino Light in the Ophelia colorway. It's lovely, soft single-ply yarn that knits up into an airy shawl. My only disappointment was that the colorway knitted up a lot darker than I expected. My mom loves pink, and I thought that the pink color would be more prominent than the dark blueish-black. (Actually, from a distance, the colors in this shawl remind me a lot of my Hitchhiker.) Hopefully she doesn't mind. Happy birthday, Mom!

Ravelry project page.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Sweaters to knit.

{Photo credits, clockwise from top left corner: Jane Heller, Grasflecken, Andi Satterlund, Ysolda Teague, Andi Satterlund, Ysolda Teague}

Around this time of year, I really start getting the itch to knit a sweater. Being practical, the last thing I need to do right now is cast on for a sweater. I'm in the middle of knitting hats to sell at craft fairs this fall, and a few days ago I stressed myself out by starting to think about Christmas gifts.

But...I get so much wear out of my knitted sweaters when it's cool. And I'm gradually replacing my old storebought cardigans with ones I've made. So maybe it wouldn't be so impractical to start one? :) Anyway, here are the sweaters I'd like to knit sometime in the not-so-distant future.


Praline. This is the only sweater that I already own the yarn for, so it's at the top of the list. Mine will be purple and probably longer. (Still undecided how I feel about the sleeve length, too. I think I would either make them a bit shorter or full length.)

Dexter. I picked out this pattern to replace my two lightweight Target cardigans (black and brown) that I wear all the time: with jeans, over dresses, etc. It's plain and simple, with just a few details to keep it from being too boring to knit. :)

Marion. I've been planning on knitting this for a couple years now. Since I've recently sewn some navy sleeveless dresses, it makes sense to knit it in navy to wear over those during the winter. (And I always wanted to knit it in blue, anyway, because those cables look very nautical to me.)

Strokkur. This one is just so pretty! I only have one good knitted pullover (In Stillness). I've been saving some of my favorite color combinations for Strokkur on Ravelry, so I'm not sure how I'll choose when it comes down to it. I really want to knit this in Icelandic yarn.


Agatha. I don't need a fancy cropped cardigan right now. But I do like this sweater and plan on making it at some point.

Pumpkin Ale. I have loved this sweater for the longest time! It just looks so cozy, and the back panel is lovely, and the construction is interesting. And it has pockets! This sweater also scares me and I think it's beyond my current skill level, which is why it's on the "someday" list. :) {Though I did finally buy the pattern earlier this year when Ysolda had a sale.}

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Yarn Along

Reading: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I'm not far enough in to have an opinion on this yet. But I'm hoping it'll be good and I'm very excited to be back in the world of Harry Potter. :)

Knitting: My main project lately has been one that I just finished but can't share yet because it's my mom's birthday gift. And I don't want to take any chance of her seeing it before next week! But in between, I've also been knitting on some baby and children's hats to sell at craft fairs this fall.

{Yarn Along is a weekly link up hosted by Ginny where you can share what you've been knitting and reading.}

Monday, August 1, 2016

What I Read: July

July was a very decent reading month. None of the books absolutely blew me away, but I enjoyed everything I read. I feel like I'm finally making a little bit of progress with getting my number of unread books down. (Key words: a little bit of progress.)

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, by Agatha Christie. This one was so good! A classically British mystery with a very interesting little twist (that I somehow sort of suspected, though I didn't believe she'd actually do it). If you're only going to read a few of Agatha Christie's novels, this should be one of them. (If you're only going to read one, it should be And Then There Were None.)

The Fairy Tale Girl, by Susan Branch. Not pictured, because it was lent to me and I've already returned it. This is one of two prequels to A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside. I enjoyed it quite a lot...I really like the unusual layout and style of these books. (They're like memoirs in journal format, with photos and watercolor illustrations.) This one was sadder than the other, though. And the other one was about England, so of course I preferred it. :)

Classic Penguin: Cover to Cover, by Paul Buckley. This was a really neat book that I was sent to review. I love beautiful book covers, especially Penguin ones, so this was perfect for me! I did a post about it.

Like Never Before, by Melissa Tagg. I enjoyed this book, as I always enjoy Melissa Tagg's books! I liked the characters, and I love the setting of Maple Valley because it's so Stars Hollow-ish. But honestly, I wasn't really in the mood for a contemporary at the time, which probably kept me from loving it as much as I expected to and hoped to.

Night, by Elie Wiesel. Such a heartbreaking book! It's a memoir about the author's experiences as a Jew in several concentration camps. For such a short book, it will definitely stick with you.

Nooks & Crannies, by Jessica Lawson. I've been let down a lot in the past year or so by mediocre middle grade novels, but this one was so much better than I expected! It was very reminiscent of Roald Dahl. It was charming and funny and had an interesting little mystery aspect (and a very endearing main character). Definitely a pleasant surprise!