Friday, September 30, 2016

What I Read: September

Once again, September was a pretty good reading month. I liked or loved everything I read, with one notable exception. As always, click on the titles to read my Goodreads reviews.

A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman. I didn't love this book as much as I expected to, but I did really enjoy it. Ove was an endearing character, even though he could be so rude and annoying at times (most of the time). The relationship between him and his wife was so sweet, though also heartbreaking, knowing what you know. (I realize I'm being vague here but I don't want to spoil anything.) This book had me laughing one minute and nearly in tears the next, in a good way.

A Bear Called Paddington, by Michael Bond. I watched the Paddington movie last year and loved it, so I'd been wanting to read the book. It was so sweet and adorable! Speaking of endearing characters, Paddington is a perfect example of that. The book was funnier than I expected. Not as amazing as Winnie the Pooh, but still a children's classic definitely worth reading.

Evenings with Cary Grant, by Nancy Nelson. I didn't think that anything could make me love Cary Grant more than I already did, but this book did that. Even though he's my favorite classic film actor, I didn't know that much about his life. The format of this book is a bit unusual (and sometimes not as cohesive as I would have liked), but it was so interesting and never boring. Learning that Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, and Gregory Peck were close friends in Grant's later years just completely made my day. (Is that weird? I just love the thought of them hanging out.)

Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell. This was a reread for me, and thankfully it lived up to how much I loved it the first time. It's still my favorite Rainbow Rowell book: a perfect 90s romantic comedy.

The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. The one big disappointment of the month. My boyfriend let me borrow this, and I'm so glad I borrowed it rather than buying it. The basic story was interesting and made me want to keep reading, but it was buried under annoying, unlikable characters and rambling, pointless speeches. I'm glad I read it, but I don't see myself ever reading it again. (Dorian Gray, join Wuthering Heights on that particular shelf.)

Where Am I Now? True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame, by Mara Wilson. Yes, Mara Wilson is the little girl from Matilda. That's the main reason why I wanted to read this book...I grew up loving that movie (still do) and Miss Trunchbull is, to this day, one of the most terrifying characters I've encountered. Penguin was kind enough to send me a copy of this book to read and review, and while I liked it, I didn't love it. It was a quick and interesting read. Mara is very liberal and I personally don't agree with her on some things, but that's fine. It's her story and she told it pretty well.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Yarn Along

Reading: French Milk, by Lucy Knisley. I'm only a few pages into this, so I'm not sure how it'll be. It sounds interesting, though: it's a memoir about a girl who travels to Paris with her mom for 6 weeks. It's like an illustrated journal, so it will be much quicker to read than a traditional novel.

Knitting: My second Pixel Rise sock. I really love how these are turning out and can't wait to wear them this fall. (You can see my finished one here.)

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

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A question answered.

This was going to be a post about the little pile of hats I've been knitting, or maybe about the books I've bought lately (I seem to be on a nonfiction kick). But any of that would have just been leading up to what this post is really about, so I'll just skip it.

In a recent post, I mentioned my boyfriend, not really thinking anything of it. But then some hilarious comments appeared, wanting to know more. I realized I hadn't written about him before, just because I don't get too personal here. I love blogging, but I generally use this as a place to share what I'm making, what I think about certain books and movies, etc. Still, I don't mind talking about what's going on in my life sometimes, especially when it's such a good thing. :) So, inquiring minds, here you go:

I met Kenny at the farmer's market; he's the manager there (just one part of his job). I had a crush on him for most of last year and thought he seemed like a really nice guy. Last fall and into the end of the year, we started talking a little more, and he came over for supper with my family a couple times. He asked me out for New Year's Eve*, and we've been dating since eight months now.

2016 has been, by far, the best (and fastest!) year of my life, because of Kenny. (By the way, you can probably blame him for the blog being quieter this year, ha.) Honestly, I'd never dated before, so this has all been new to me. Being such an introvert, it's a new experience having this person that I love and just want to be with as much as possible. He gives me chocolate ice cream and has even more Psych references stuck in his brain than I do, and though he teases me about my obsession with British film and TV, he's willing to watch those things with me. :) But even better than what he does is who he is. He's sweet, thoughtful, and funny (not to mention handsome), and somehow, incredibly, he cares about me. I'm happier than I've ever been, happier than I even knew I could be, and I'm so thankful that God brought him into my life.

*Which, despite some mishaps, like being forgotten about at the restaurant and not getting our food for two hours, was basically the best first date I could have asked for.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Yarn Along

Reading: I'm rereading Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell. I really enjoy her books in general, but this one is my favorite. I first read it about four years ago, and thankfully it's just as good as I remembered! The 90s setting and email aspect remind me of You've Got Mail.

Knitting: My last hat to sell at craft festivals this fall! This is my 16th hat over the past two months, and honestly, I'm getting sick of hats. After I finish this and a pair of fingerless gloves, I'm hoping to squeeze in some selfish knitting before I start making Christmas gifts. (Maybe even Marion? A cropped, worsted weight sweater should be pretty quick.)

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

Monday, September 12, 2016

Spinning: Malabrigo Merino.

Some finished yarn! This is yet more fiber that I'd originally purchased to spin for myself, but decided to sell instead. (Because I'm knitting down my stash and it feels good.) If it doesn't sell at one of the craft fairs I'm attending this fall, it'll be listed in the Etsy shop.

Apparently blue is one of my favorite colors, especially when it comes to yarn and clothing. I'm always drawn to blue. This is some Malabrigo Nube, which is 100% merino fiber, in the Persia colorway. Merino always puffs up so much more than I expect after soaking it...I need to remember to spin it thinner. It's a two ply, I just split the fiber right down the middle. Sometimes the colors line up, sometimes they don't. The finished skein is about 150 yards of airy aran weight. I also had a few yards of leftovers to keep for myself, just enough to use with other yarn in a project.

I've heard mixed reviews about Malabrigo Nube. A lot of people say that it's really compressed and hard to work with. Mine was a little awkward at times, but not too bad. I just fluffed it out and pre-drafted it a bit before spinning.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Agatha and Violet.

This week, a pretty important fiber-y thing happened: I got two wool sheep!

I've been wanting sheep for a couple of years now. Back in the spring, I started looking into nearby farms and who had lambs to sell. In May, we randomly discovered that someone just minutes away had some wool sheep: Gulf Coast Native sheep (also called Gulf Coast, Louisiana native, etc.), and that they'd be willing to sell a couple of ewe lambs. So yesterday, months later, things finally lined up for us to go get them. (I also came home with two bags of alpaca fiber.)

I had never heard of this breed of sheep before, but they actually have an interesting history and they're a critical conservation breed. (Read more about them here.) And unlike most wool sheep, they're naturally suited to live in the hot and humid South. They're very resistant to parasites and foot rot, a fact that really impressed my dad. (He's the shepherd of the family and has a flock of St. Croix hair sheep.) I've only worked with a little fleece from this breed so far, but I like it. It's decently soft and easy to deal with.

Both of my lambs were born this several months earlier than the other, judging by the size. I thought a lot about names, as you can imagine. :) Ever since I wanted sheep, I've wanted to name one of them Agatha. I think it's a name that looks beautiful but sounds a bit strange when you speak it. (So basically, a name that I like enough to give an animal but not a child, ha.) I'm a big Agatha Christie fan, so that was probably an influence. Continuing on with the old-fashioned British name theme*, the little one is Violet. (Because yes, the Dowager Countess is my favorite character on Downton Abbey.) They're both very shy and skittish around people, and as much as I just want to love on them, that hasn't happened yet and probably won't. When I'm nearby, they're either pretending to ignore me or twitching nervously. So I try not to bother them too much.

I guess this means I'm technically a fiber farmer? :)

*Remember, I named my cat after Mr. Knightley. I had good intentions, but sadly my Knightley isn't kind, honest, and dignified like his namesake. He's odd, hilarious, spastic, and a bit of a troublemaker. My boyfriend says Mr. Bean would have been a more appropriate name, which would be insulting if it wasn't so true.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

What I Read: August

August was an okay reading month. For the most part, I enjoyed what I read. I just feel like the month got away from me and I didn't make as much time to read as I wanted. As always, click on the book titles to read my Goodreads reviews.

The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, by Helene Hanff. Earlier this year, I read 84, Charing Cross Road and loved it. This is the sequel, when Helene finally gets to visit England. I didn't love it as much, but it was still enjoyable. I like her writing style and her enthusiasm for England was fun.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne. So many mixed feelings on this one. I've been a Harry Potter fan since I was about 9 or 10, so I was understandably excited about this play. It had some good aspects (Scorpius! Who would have ever thought that the child of Draco Malfoy could be so endearing and generally adorable?), but was overall disappointing. It doesn't really feel like the "eighth Harry Potter book." More details in my review, if you're interested.

A Room With a View, by E.M. Forster. This book wasn't really what I expected! I enjoyed it, but I think I'll like it more after a reread. It was so short that I didn't feel like I knew the characters well enough. (Now I'm watching the adaptations...I watched the Helena Bonham-Carter one last week, and soon I'm going to see the newer Masterpiece version.)

Martha's Vineyard: Isle of Dreams, by Susan Branch. The last of this series of three memoirs I've been borrowing from someone in knitting group. The England one is still my favorite, but this one was probably in second. It's less sad than the first one, and it has a wonderfully cozy feel. It makes you want to hole up in a tiny home and surround yourself with the things you love. :)