Yarn Along: Addictive Knits & Reads

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At the end of the day, I look forward to my knitting time.  It’s a time to relax, slow down, and let the act of knitting help clear my mind of the day’s events.

This project is simple with just enough going on to keep me paying attention.  I started it on our family vacation last week, and it was the perfect travel companion.  After the first repeat or two, I didn’t need to look at the pattern all the time, which made it great to work on by the pool, in the room at night, and on the airplane.  Now I’m playing an intense game of yarn chicken as I try to use up as much of this beautiful yarn as possible.

What would you do if you found out a treasured piece of artwork had potentially been stolen during World War I?  What would you do if faced with serving German soldiers and being seen as a traitor was your only chance at being reunited with your husband?  It’s been a while since I’ve read any sort of historical fiction, and I’m finding this version to be very good.  It’s been thought provoking and entertaining all at once, the perfect kind of reading for me right now!

Knitting: Shaelyn byLeila Raabe in Madelinetosh Pashmina, Forestry

Reading: The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

What’s on your needles and on your nightstand this week?

Yarn Along: Travel Insomia

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The night before a trip always finds me feeling a little bit unsettled. My brain is zooming around from what is or isn’t packed yet, did I turn on my vacation responder, remember to take out the garbage tomorrow, is the camera charged, remember to bring the prenatal vitamins, and on and on.

Last night I woke up for a bathroom break (the baby has found my bladder) and couldn’t stop thinking once I was up. After tossing around for a while, I decided to get back up and deal with the question of vacation knitting. I had been worrying about having the right amount of knitting with the appropriate ratio of interest to mindlessness. So I utilized this time between 2:30 and 4 pm to think, start a knitting project, and catch up on a couple of blogs. Thankfully, I went back to sleep eventually, and there was some coffee waiting for me when I woke up.

Knitting: Wurm in Freia

Reading: The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

What’s on your needles and on on your nightstand this week? 

Yarn Along: I’m Baaack!

Well hello again, friends!  It’s good to be back.  So sorry to disappear on you like that, without any notice or explanation.  All I can say by way of excuse is that I was going through a hard time personally, felt stuck creatively, and couldn’t muster up the motivation to try to force it.

But that’s over now.

I’m going to ease back into the blogging with one of my favorite weekly traditions, Ginny’s Yarn Along.  During my hiatus, I thought about Yarn Along nearly every week.  And I read some of the other posts, and always gleaned a few new ideas for things to knit and books to read.  I’m almost always doing both, so this is the perfect platform for a little sharing.

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My blogging friend Katie Gibson is a formidable reader, moving along at an enviable pace. She posts regular updates and reviews on what she’s been reading, and I’ve often taken her lists along to the bookstore or library.  You can see her 2014 book list here.

She recently recommended a book by Jojo Moyes.  After looking through all of her titles, I decided to start with Me Before You.  When I picked it up at the library, I was a bit embarrassed to see that it had a romance sticker on the spine.  Not my typical genre, but I do enjoy a good love story.  So far, it’s not romancey in the heaving bosom sort of way at all.  It didn’t take long to get hooked, and now I can’t wait to read her other books!  Don’t you love it when that happens?

There have been a lot of baby knits on the needles the past couple of months.  Not only am I pregnant (yay!  more on that another time), but so are a couple of my friends.  After a first trimester with my head stuck in the toilet and zero knitting mojo, it’s a relief to be back with my wool and needles.  Here are two finished Puerperium cardigans awaiting buttons.  Both are knit in Madelinetosh, one in DK the other in Vintage for two different sizes.  This is a  fun, free pattern that takes just one skein of DK weight yarn. Win!

It’s good to be back, friends.  Thanks for stopping by!

Yarn Along: A Spree

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From Ginny: ~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

I have been knitting and reading up a storm this winter. Something about the weather sends me to the couch in the evenings for knitting, curled up in front of the fire watching something on tv with my sweetie. And then to bed early to curl up with a book.  There has been plenty of both the past couple of months, and it feels really good.  Good to take care of myself and make time for the things that bring me comfort, peace, and creativity.

Currently I’m reading The House Girl. It’s a rich story of the complications of two women, generations apart: life as a young slave, and life as a young career woman.  There’s a lot of complexity to the story that I’m really enjoying, even early on.  I can’t wait to see how it all ties together.  Some other recent reads that have been a treat: DivergentLove Walked InBelong to Me.

My fall sweater has been seeing a lot of action recently.  I started this as part of a Stash knit along, but it got set aside in favor of another sweater and holdiay projects.  The Anzula For Better or Worsted is a dream to knit with; once I start, I don’t want to touch anything else!  So now I’m pointing my laser focus at it and trying to get the pieces finished asap.

And yet…I just wound up yarn for 4 new projects.  We’re heading out on a sunny vacation soon, and I may have gotten a bit carried away.  But you know what? Each of these projects has been on my mind for ages, so why not have the yarn, pattern, and needles ready to go when the mood strikes?!  I’ll probably take 2 with me on vacation.  Or 3. We’ll see.

Yarn Along

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Over the weekend I finished both the book and knitting project I shared last time.  Both were a real treat!  Before I even bound off my shawl, I started plotting my next 2 projects.  The golden-yellow yarn in the back is a swatch for a sweater; I’m on the fence about this, so should probably finish off the swatch and block it already.  Next, I pulled this rainbow yarn from my stash and cast on a quick hat.  You know, just to have something ready to go.  I wouldn’t want to be caught without a portable knitting project!  After knitting the brim in a strip and picking up stitches for the body of the hat, this will be perfect potato chip knitting.

The book’s a quick read as well.  I have already watched season one of Orange is the New Black on Netflix and loved it.  It is rare that a television show have so many rich and nuanced female characters in one show.  The book is Piper Kerman’s account of what led up to and including her spending a year in federal prison.  She is respectful and empathetic for the most part, even when describing unimaginable treatment by the prison staff or the circumstances of her fellow inmates.  I find it fascinating and upsetting all at once.  I’m learning a lot about one person’s experience, and it is shocking to me how people are treated in prison. After having seen the show first I keep wondering how much from the show parallels her real life experience.  I’d recommend reading the book first, maybe, so there isn’t that fact/fiction comparison.  Although it would probably happen in reverse, too.  Either way, I recommend both, so choose your own adventure!

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As an aside, I’d like to mention that we have a shiny new Stash blog with a great interview with knitting designer Susan B. Anderson.  You should head over and enter to win a copy of her most recent book, Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys!

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This Yarn Along post, as ever, is inspired by the lovely Ginny over at Small Things: ”Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?”

Yes, do tell! What’s on your nightstand and project bag this week?

 

Yarn Along:: Road Trip Wips

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From Small Things ~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

We took a family road trips last weekend.  This meant lots of knitting time in the car and short bursts of it in many places along our way.  I knit by a pool, in a restaurant, in our hotel(s), and by the ocean.  This pile of green knitting you see is destined to be the Sweet Bunting cardigan. I’m knitting it out of Acadia, and I have to say it is lovely stuff.  It feels luxurious yet rustic with the bobs of silk that come along every so often.  Yes, I’m knitting another baby sweater out of really nice yarn.  Why not?

I also started a new book on the trip, Jamrach’s Menagerie.  It’s set in 19th century London and is told from the perspective of a young boy who first finds himself in the jaws of a tiger and then working for the man who deals in exotic animals.  I’m only in the first third of the book, and it’s already captured my interest and I’m curious to see where the adventure goes.

So what’s in your project basket and on your nightstand this week?

Yarn Along:: Mysterious Cables

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Chambord by Thea Coleman in Plymouth Tweed

Chambord by Thea Colman in Plymouth Tweed

I picked up this book on an impromptu trip to the bookshop recently.  I had been in a full on grumpy-mama mood and was essentially banished from the house to clear my head.  It was for the best, and after just a few minutes browsing the aisles of one of our local book stores I felt much better.

While at the store my mind was completely blank, however.  The titles of all the books I’d been meaning to read fled my brain, and the handy list of notes I keep for such moments was uninspiring.  Having seen a recent post on Katie’s blog about what she had recently read, I turned to her for a recommendation.  Her praise for Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore made the decision easy, and a few minutes later I left with the book.  It has proven to be a fun thrill ride through the mysterious stacks of Mr. Penumbra’s book store, filled with codes, adventures, quirky characters, and intrigue.  I’m down to the last two chapters and can’t wait to see how it ends!

On the needles this week is a new project: the Chambord Pullover.  Excited after my recent sweater win, I decided to excavate some deep stash yarn and cast on another.  This tweedy yarn and cozy sweater are such a good combination that I couldn’t resist.  The knitting has been fairly straightforward, which is always nice. I only just noticed a mis-crossed cable that must have happened while I was knitting with friends during the Oscars on Sunday.  I’ve decided to leave it.

What’s on your nightstand and in your project basket this week?

p.s. Yarn Along is inspired, as ever, by the delightful Ginny.

p.p.s. The cover of this book glows in the dark.

Yarn Along :: Phoebe Mouse

 

 

Inspired by Ginny: ~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

I have a modest collection on knitting books for children, and keep them on a special shelf near my yarn.  Every special once in a while, PB asks if we can “read a knitting book,” and we choose one to read together.  Recently she requested we read Phoebe’s Sweater, a beautifully illustrated book by Joanna and Eric Johnson.

After the story, there are some beautiful knitting patterns for a girls sweater and a large stuffed mouse doll with a matching sweater and dress.  I’ve always wanted to make PB the sweater, but on this day it was the darling mouse that caught her eye.

Mama, will you knit me this mouse please?

Sure, sweetie.  What color should it be?

Let’s look in your yarn cabinet, mama. 

Be still my heart!  We proceeded to look through the stash and discuss color options, and she ended up insisting upon a relatively new-to-me skein of Madelinetosh Vintage in Moccasin.  I tried to convince her of other options, but she would not be swayed.  And she’s right; this chocolate-brown yarn was the best choice for a little mouse, perfectly matching the weight and yardage requirements.

Phoebe Mouse is a quick, seamless (except for the ears) toy, something I haven’t made before.  I’ve finished the body since taking this picture on Monday, and am on to the extremities.  The best part is, every couple of days she asks me to sit down and work on her Phoebe Mouse.  Gladly my dear, gladly.

What’s on your nightstand and in your project basket this week?

ps. The Johnson’s have since published two more, equally charming children’s books: Freddie’s Blanket and Phoebe’s Birthday. View them here.

Yarn Along:: Pros + Pecuiliars

After a month-long hiatus from blogging, I think it best to just jump back in with a new edition of Yarn Along! So here we go with what I’ve been knititng and reading this week:

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Out of long-term hibernation, my Hooray Cardigan has been enjoying a lot of attention.  This is definitely one of those projects that was cast aside after a few minor frustrations, and left to linger for months.  I started it last January, and it’s time to wear it already!  That yarn, those cables, oh it’s going to be a delicious handknit.  My goal is to work semi-monogomaously on this for the rest of the month and see how far I get.  I’m already about 6 inches into the body, so a finished sweater no longer seems so out of reach!

I’ve been reading a lot this month as well.  After finishing up The Twelve (over 500 pages!), I decided to set my sights on some smaller tomes.  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a haunting and tense novel so compelling I have been reading it late into the night.  Fiction mixed with bizarre vintage photography mixes well to create a special world quite unlike the everyday we know.  I hear Tim Burton is directing the movie version of the book, so if you like to read the book first, hurry and do it!

I’m also often reading books to inspire myself as an entrepreneur, and this is my latest favorite.  Turning Pro is Steven Pressfield’s follow-up to The War of Art, and is perfectly timed for me.  My theme for 2013 is Going Pro. This is a great book if you are an artist, a creative or a person who is challenged to move forward into the life you dream of.  It’s also helpful for people who have taken steps toward living their dream but need help showing up in a non-amateur way.  For me this means to stop procrastinating, make decisions, and play like I’m already in the big leagues.  It’s a quick read, and one I’ll be looking toward for continued inspiration.

What’s on your nightstand and in your project basket this week?

Yarn Along :: Cake + Knitting

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From Ginny: ~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

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I cannot stop reading this book.

I don’t usually go in for short fiction.  In the past, I’ve found short stories to be a little bit heartbreaking, pulling you into these rich worlds, only to spit you back out a few short pages later.  But Sarah Selecky’s collection, This Cake is for the Party, offers more comfort and intimacy than that.  I’ve felt transported to a new life in each story, and while I’m a little sad when they’re over, I’m never disappointed.

Cake is contemporary, honest, and wryly funny, with plenty of heart, sensuality, and ache mixed in.  The stories are just long/short enough to indulge in over coffee before work, or in the tub after a long day.  And not only is Selecky’s fiction work worth checking out, so is her writing project and website.  So much inspiration for writers and readers alike!

As for the knitting, well that’s still a holiday secret.  But I will tell you this: it’s almost finished, and I’m absolutely itching to cast on something that’s just for me.

So what’s in your project bag and on your nightstand this week?