Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday!  Can you believe it’s July already? Me neither. This summer is slipping away! This morning when I looked at the outside temp it was 44 degrees. Brrr. Because we have our air conditioning on instead of heat, it got down to 65 degrees in the house. Perfect for sleeping, so even my youngest who is usually up early stayed in bed a little longer this morning. But at least the sun is shining today so it should warm up. After 2 rainy days keeping us indoors, it will be nice to be able to go outside and play with our kittens.

Speaking of kittens…

We have four adorable kittens. They are six-and-a-half weeks old today. And so much fun to watch. I just love watching them practice their pouncing. It’s hilarious!

kittens

Yarn Along

Once again I’m going to link up with Ginny at Small Things for this week’s Yarn Along!

~ 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? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~

I know I get a bit long-winded at times, so this week I’ll TRY to keep it short and sweet! 🙂

On My Needles

1) Kingdom Gloves: PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE! Amazing. I know. But 2 days of administering my 8th grade son’s standardized tests (as required for homeschoolers by the state of MN) means a lot of time where I need to be present and quiet. So once I get him started on a test, I either read or knit. I decided to work on the gloves because the quiet atmosphere allowed me to really concentrate on the cable pattern.  Not only did I finish knitting the right-hand glove, I started the left one too!  Woot!

2014-07-02 09.12.12 cable knitting

{You can see I still have to do some weaving in ends and seaming between fingers as well as sewing the cuff’s inside layer where it belongs, so it’s not all done, but the knitting part is!}

2) Simplicity Socks: This is my take-along project. During the kids’ swim lessons, or whenever we’re going somewhere and I think I *might* have time to knit, I grab the bag I keep this project in. So I’ve made a little progress on these also.

3) Mendel sweater: Finished my swatch. After washing and drying, I think my gauge matches the pattern’s. I will check it once more before I cast-on this project though.

Reading

My Book Reviews:

I decided to quit reading Graceling by Kristin Cashore.  I don’t enjoy reading books with descriptive scenes of intimacy–it’s not my style. And it really disappointed me that the author had the {rather young} characters choose to have sex without the commitment of marriage.  Unfortunately, it’s a reflection of what a lot of people think is perfectly acceptable behavior nowadays.  But it completely ruined the story for me. I’m usually very careful to read reviews before choosing a book by an author I’ve never read before. But too bad for me…I obviously hadn’t read enough reviews on Graceling to know I shouldn’t waste good reading time just to get half-way through the book and quit.

Still Reading:

One Realm Beyond  Force Heretic Remnant cover

Although, technically I’m still reading the others in my last post’s list, these two have been getting my attention the most this week.

1) One Realm Beyond by Donita K. Paul I’m really enjoying this story now that I’ve gotten into it a little more. Bixby is such a funny and interesting character…can’t wait to see what more happens in the rest of the story! {And I know I can trust Donita’s writing!}

2) Star Wars The New Jedi Order: Force Heretic I: Remnant by Sean Williams Having read a TON of Star Wars books, I pretty much know what to expect with this one too. Just plodding along, seeing where the storyline goes next. 🙂

Show and tell?!

I’d love to see your current projects too! Once again, let me remind you that my Facebook page {perfectioKnits’ Facebook page} is open for you to share photos of what you’re working on. Or leave a link to your project’s Ravelry page if you prefer. Also, I’m using Instagram more and more these days {follow me: perfectioknits}, so tag me if you’re sharing project photos and want me to see them. Thanks!

And be sure to leave a comment below before you go! I look forward to hearing from you!

As always, happy knitting and reading!

~Steph

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Knitting and Reading: June edition

Yarn Along 6.18.14

I’m going to link up with Ginny again this week at Small Things for this week’s Yarn Along!

~ 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? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~


Evidently it’s been a month since my last knitting and reading update. Ugh. I can’t believe how incredibly busy I am, but how seriously neglected this blog is. I *want* to write posts once or twice a week at least…real, meaningful posts! But then life happens, I guess.

I thought I’d go back and give a quick review of the books and projects I was working on when I wrote my last Yarn Along update today. And then share what new things I’m working on too.

Knitting Update

Old projects

1) Kingdom Gloves:  I’ve lost interest in this one…for now. I know I’ll come back to it. But I’ve only finished one more finger since I wrote about it last month.

knit gloves

2) Mystery Mitts, size Large: Still working on this too…but it’s mostly hibernating right now as well.

(no photo–its’ still a secret!)

New projects (you know–the ones I’m actually working on right now):

3) I’ve started knitting my hubby a new pair of socks. Same yarn as the only other pair I’ve made for him, but this time I’m using a toe-up pattern “Simplicity” by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. Pattern is in her book Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks.  Hopefully this new pair will fit a tad better–his other pair is a just a smidge too large and get a little loose when he wears them.

toe-up 2-at-a-time knitting

4) Mendel:  I’ve started swatching for this sweater project, but need to finish the swatch and then wash/dry it to make sure that the gauge doesn’t change significantly. So far, it looks like my stitch gauge is right on with the US 6 needles I have, but my row gauge is off a little so I might need to do a little math to make sure it’s shaped correctly.

knitting swatch

Reading Update

Last month I wrote about the EIGHT books I had in my currently-reading list. Crazy, right? Well, I finished a few, started and finished a few more, and am currently reading a total of  (only) SIX right now.

Finished (my reviews)

1) Heiress by Susan May Warren Honestly, this was not my favorite book by Susan May Warren.  She’s still one of my favorite authors, but I much prefer her Deep Haven series. I ended up giving this one 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.  The characters and setting were realistic enough…perhaps too realistic for my fantasy-loving taste? I liked how it ended, but getting there–especially about mid-way through the book–was a struggle for me. A couple times I was so mad at the characters that I didn’t want to read any more! But I’m glad to have finished it and to see how the author redeemed/resolved the different situations.  If you really love Christian historical fiction, you might really enjoy this one.

2) Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James This one only got 3 stars from me. I really liked the beginning…how the characters were developed and the murder mystery revealed. But there’s a point in the book where it gets rather dull and boring. Not enough action, just a lot of talking. Eventually, it gets a bit more action again and my interest picked back up, but getting through the dull part was a bit tedious at times.  Still, as a huge fan of Jane Austen, it was fun to see how another fan used her characters and setting for a story like this. And learning that P. D. James wrote the book at age 91…impressive!

3)Uncovering the Logic of English by Denise Eide  EXCELLENT! I can’t say enough of how exciting it is to me to read a book that actually makes sense of the English language. I’ve always been a good reader and speller, but I’m a visual learner and remember easily the shape of words. For my younger son who really has struggled with reading, I have hope that this method of teaching the foundations (starting with phonograms or “sound pictures” and then learning to put them together into words and then sentences AS WELL AS learning rules for spelling!) will be the program that actually gets him to learn how to read.  We’re only about halfway through the Foundations of English Book A (the curriculum by Logic of English for younger students) and we’ve found the lessons engaging and fun for the most part. I love that they teach handwriting along with learning the phonograms…no need to get a separate handwriting curriculum!

4) How Am I Smart:  A Parent’s Guide to Multiple Intelligences by Dr. Kathy Koch  Another helpful book! This has been my introduction to the concept of multiple intelligences. I love that Dr. Koch writes from a Christian perspective and explains the different intelligences with examples and easy-to-remember labels such as “body smart” or “picture smart”. It’s been fun to try and see which “smarts” are my sons’ natural strengths and which smarts maybe need a little development. Being able to encourage my son who struggles with reading by reminding him he has other areas where he naturally excels has helped me as a parent. I can remind him that we all have different smarts that don’t come easy–for him it happens to be reading which is probably a combination of his word and picture smarts needing developed–and they require a bit more effort to learn. The cool thing is that we can develop those areas that aren’t natural strengths.

Started and Finished since last post

5) Lemon Meringue Pie Murder (Hannah Swenson, #4) by Joanne Fluke  I started this series  a while ago. My public library has them on their ebook site, so they’re easy to check out and read on my Kindle.  An easy to read whodunnit…somewhat predictable, but I like the characters and still enjoy reading them.

6) Fudge Cupcake Murder (Hannah Swenson, #5) by Joanne Fluke  Obviously, I continued in the same series and read the next book too! Another enjoyable, quick read.

Still Reading…but with rather slow progress

Force Heretic Remnant cover A Princess of Mars cover Say Goodbye to Survival Mode cover Praying for Boys cover

1) Star Wars The New Jedi Order: Force Heretic I: Remnant by Sean Williams  My bathroom read. I enjoy it one or two pages at a time.

2) A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs  I still like reading this on my iPhone when I don’t have another book with me and want to read fiction.

3) Say Good-bye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine I need to get back into this one! I got the e-book version when it was on sale, thinking I’d read it on my phone. But I’ve been on a fiction kick lately so it’s just sitting there, waiting.

4) Praying for Boys by Brooke McGlothlin Same thing goes for this one…just haven’t been reading as much non-fiction the past couple weeks. I’m sure I’ll get back to it someday soon.

New books I’ve started recently

One Realm Beyond Graceling

5) One Realm Beyond by Donita K. Paul Another of my favorite authors, Donita writes Christian fantasy. This is her newest book. I’ve only read a few chapters, but I can tell it’s going to be good! (My 14 yo son has already read it and says it’s very good!)

6) Graceling by Kristin Cashore  Checked this fantasy book out from the library e-book site. Because I only have it for two weeks (unless I need to renew it), I tend to read library e-books much faster than paper books. I think I read faster when I read on my Kindle too.

So that’s this week’s (month’s?) update.

It’s show-and-tell time!

I’d love to see your current projects too! Would you be willing to share photos of your projects on my Facebook page? If it’s a knit or crochet project, be sure to tell what pattern and yarn you’re using!

And be sure to leave a comment below before you go! I look forward to hearing from you!

Happy knitting and reading!

~Steph

Knitting and Reading Update

Yarn Along 5.14.14

I’m going to link up with Ginny this week at Small Things for this week’s Yarn Along!

~ 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? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~

Knitting Update: On My Needles

1) Kingdom Gloves by Becky Herrick.  I’ve only made it through 2 fingers at the time I’m writing this.  Perhaps I’ll work a little on the next finger tonight. Or not.  My brain is tired.

knit gloves

2) Larger version of my Mystery Mitts  (new design I’m developing) Due to the nature of my wanting to reveal it when the pattern is ready, I’m not posting any pics!

And that’s ALL.

Which is rather weird for me.

I think I need to cast on a pair of socks just so I have another project in progress!

And since the Kingdom gloves have so much detailing–fancy cuffs, cables, fingers, cabled fingers!–a simple or easy sock pattern would be a nice go-to project for when my brain is too tired to concentrate. After a quick peek at my extensive queue, I’ve decided Cookie A.’s Monkey socks look like a great pattern. I’ve seen lots of other knitters have made pairs of Monkey socks over past few years, but for some unknown reason I haven’t.  Perhaps it’s time.

Reading Update:  The Many Books I’m Reading

As usual, I’m working on a BUNCH of different books.  {I’m only including the ones I’m reading on my own. If I added all the homeschool books I’m reading with/to my kids, you’d probably think I’m insane.}

Fiction:

Force Heretic Remnant cover  A Princess of Mars cover  Heiress cover  Death Comes to Pemberley cover

1) Star Wars The New Jedi Order: Force Heretic I: Remnant (A book I’ve been reading off and on for…ahem…2 or 3 years. Have finally put it where I can read it on a regular basis: the bathroom! Ha! Seriously though, I’ve gotten interested in the Star Wars series again.  I think I just needed a break from it for a while. I’m looking forward to the new movie, but knowing they’re basically scrapping the whole Star Wars Extended Universe makes me a little sad too.)

2) A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (I’m reading this via my Goodreads app on my iPhone.  It’s nice to have a book to read as long as I’ve got my phone with me!)

3) Heiress by Susan May Warren (I had paused in my reading of this one for a while, but have picked it up my old Kindle and continued the story where I left off.)

4) Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James (I’m reading this one on my Kindle Fire. Right now it’s my go-to book if I want to read before bed.)

Non-Fiction:

Uncovering the Logic of English cover  Say Goodbye to Survival Mode cover  Praying for Boys cover  How am I smart cover

1) Uncovering the Logic of English by Denise Eide (An amazing look at the English language explaining the various phonograms and the LOGIC…yes, that’s right…of how and when to use them for reading and spelling. Having a child who is a struggling reader, I’ve pursued finding the “right” method to teach him so he best understands. Not only did I get Denise’s book at a homeschool conference we recently attended, but we bought the Foundations series to teach him with.  And although he still complains about how he “hates reading,” once we start a lesson he *almost* enjoys it! So far, I’m really happy with it and am recommending the program!

2) Say Good-bye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine (I’ve just started this one, but am hoping to glean some tips for time management from her.)

3) Praying for Boys by Brooke McGlothlin (I’m also reading this one on my iPhone, but using the Kindle app.)

4) How Am I Smart:  A Parent’s Guide to Multiple Intelligences by Dr. Kathy Koch (I don’t actually have this book right now.  I started reading it a few weeks ago, but had to return it to the library before I finished it.  Have requested it again in hopes of being able to finish it! Hoping it comes in soon!)

Phew!  That’s quite a list!  It’s no wonder it sometimes takes me a long time to finish a book.  But I do find myself focusing on a single book when the story has drawn me in to the point that I don’t want to put it down!

Tell me:  what are you knitting and/or reading these days?

Let me know by leaving a comment below. Hearing from my readers puts a smile on my face! It really makes my day!

Thanks for stopping by the blog today!  Hope you enjoyed today’s post!

And as always, happy knitting (and reading)!

~Steph

Yarnbox #3

My Final Yarnbox (for now)

Today, the third and final Yarnbox from my Christmas gift subscription arrived in the mail.  Over the past 3 months, I’ve come to realize how much I love the yarn subscription concept. If you would like to read my other reviews, you can find them here (My First Yarnbox) and here (Yarnbox #2).  Once again I will reveal what came in my Yarnbox–the patterns and their designers, the yarn, and the cost compared to value.

yarn subscription

March Yarnbox Patterns

This month there are once again two patterns included as part of the Yarnbox package: one knit and one crochet.  The knit pattern is a lovely hat called “Sproinger” designed by Alexandra Tinsley.  Deja Jetmir’s “The Nesting Cowl” is the crochet pattern for March.  Both designers are offering a special discount for Yarnbox subscribers on their other patterns for the month as well. I do appreciate getting patterns as well as yarn with my Yarnbox.  Having patterns for both knit and crochet is especially nice for those of us who enjoy both.

yarn subscription

March Yarnbox Yarn

In this Yarnbox, I was pleasantly surprised to find another new-to-me yarn brand, Siidegarte, which is made in Switzerland.  A hand-dyed blend of 50% silk and 50% merino, Siide-Flauschig is a soft 2 ply yarn with the look and feel of a light worsted to worsted weight.  According to their website, “Flauschig” means something like “fluffy, soft, cuddly” in Swiss-German. Receiving two skeins  means I have 546 yards (or 500 meters) of this cuddly yarn to play with!  This olive-green based colorway is Äichblatt. Although I couldn’t find a translation to English for äich, blatt means leaf or blade.  The greens mixed with a little brown remind me of ferns for some reason. I look forward to knitting with this lovely Swiss-made yarn soon!

yarn subscription

Cost Versus Value

If you’ve read my previous Yarnbox reviews, you’ll remember that I received the 3 month Yarnbox gift subscription as a Christmas present from my mom. (Thanks, Mom!)   Siide-Flausching retails for $29 per skein, making the yarn value $58.  Alexandra is selling her Sproinger pattern on Ravelry for $5.50 and Dara sells The Nesting Cowl pattern on her site for $2.99.  Not counting the discounts available to subscribers, since they might not be used, the total retail value of my March Yarnbox is $66.49.  Compared to the $37 cost (when divided out) per month that the 3 month Yarnbox subscription cost, that’s a savings of $29.49 this month.  I would say that’s a pretty sweet deal and an awesome Christmas gift too!

My Review

After 3 months of getting a box of lovely yarns in my mailbox, I want more!  I’ve been happily satisfied with each month’s yarns.  Although I wouldn’t have chosen some of the yarns myself, I’ve enjoyed the surprise each month and ultimately being able to try something different.  I’ve even learned that a silk yarn with sequins isn’t as annoying to knit with as I had imagined. Getting free patterns each month has helped me either have ideas of what I might knit with the yarn I received or I can use them later on with another yarn of my own choice.   Sadly, at this time I don’t have quite enough fun money to order a 3 or 6 month subscription (which would auto-renew every 3 or 6 months) and I’d much prefer getting that extra savings of $2-4 per month than getting the monthly subscription at $39 per month or the bi-monthly at $42 every other month.  So for now, I’m going to start saving up until I have enough to subscribe again.

Now it’s Your Turn…Tell Me What You Think

Now that you’ve read about what I received in my March Yarnbox, what do you think?

Please leave a comment below answering my questions for you:

Do you see value in a yarn subscription service like Yarnbox?

Do you think you would ever subscribe to Yarnbox or a similar yarn subscription? And why or why not?

Happy knitting!

~Stephanie

 

Yarnbox #2

February’s Yarnbox

I got my second Yarnbox today!  I had actually forgotten about it, so it was a pleasant surprise when I opened the mailbox and found it inside.

Without further ado, here’s this month’s reveal:

yarn subscription

yarn subscription

yarn subscription

yarn subscription

yarn subscription

The Yarn

The yarn I received in this month’s Yarnbox is Caresse by Phydeaux designs.  It’s a lovely hand-dyed, four-ply worsted weight blend of 80% Superwash Merino Wool, 10% Cashmere, & 10% Nylon.  {Did I just say Cashmere?!?!? Woohoo! I’ve always wanted to try a Cashmere blend, but they’re usually too expensive.} The colorway in my box is called Calypso…it’s sooooo pretty! I am SUPER excited about this yarn and am going to have to find–or maybe even design–a special pattern for it!

The Patterns

This month’s free patterns are for a couple of lovely shawls…one knit and one crochet.  I’ll be taking a look at the designers’ other patterns too.  Speaking of patterns:  my only negative experience with last month’s Yarnbox is that the one coupon code I tried to use didn’t work for me. Each month, subscribers are given coupon codes for a discount off the purchase of other patterns from the chosen designers.  I looked through all the patterns for both designers and settled on one pattern I really liked.  But when I went to use my coupon (a few days before the code was supposed to expire) it said the code wasn’t valid and didn’t discount the total.  I immediately contacted Yarnbox via their Facebook page and asked about it.  They replied right away that they were trying to get a response from that designer regarding the problem. Unfortunately, last I heard, she still hasn’t responded to resolve the issue.  Let me just be very clear:  I don’t blame Yarnbox.  I believe it’s up to the designer to make sure her store is able to accept the coupon code as promised.  {And just for the record, unless I get the discount, I won’t be buying any of her patterns–even the one I really wanted.}

My Thoughts

Ultimately, despite last month’s coupon code problem, I’m still quite happy with my Yarnbox subscription (and am trying to figure out if I want to continue it after my gift runs out).  Oh and I almost forgot, this month’s yarn is valued at $33 per skein.  That’s $66 right there!  The knit pattern is priced at $5 and the crochet pattern is $6. That’s a grand total of $77!  Woot!  I am especially liking the value vs. cost of this club.

I’m done talking, now it’s your turn!

In the comments section below tell me what you think!  Do you subscribe to Yarnbox or another yarn subscription?  Has your experience been good or not?  If you haven’t tried a yarn subscription, do you think you’d want to try it sometime? I look forward to hearing what you have to say!

Happy knitting!

-Steph

P.S. In writing this post, I’m simply sharing my experience and my opinions based on that experience.  I’m not in any way affiliated with Yarnbox and am not getting compensated in any way for writing this.  {So why write a review like this you might wonder?  Because I enjoy reading what others have to say about their experiences knitting and/or yarn-related companies and hope that you’ll enjoy reading about mine.}

Yarn Along

Knitting: 

Continuing work on the Bellatrix socks: I’ve finally started the heel flaps. 

Reading: 

Currently reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I think this is my third time through this one. I’ve found it more convenient to check out the ebook from my library–that way I don’t have to lug my huge paperback copy around.

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Linking up with Ginny at Small Things for this week’s Yarn Along!

Happy knitting!

-Steph

My First Yarnbox!

What is Yarnbox?

Yarnbox is a monthly yarn subscription club. You can choose bi-monthly, one month, 3 month or 6 month subscriptions with the option to cancel anytime (between payments).  You also have a choice to give a gift subscription (no auto-renewal).

{Just to be clear right from the start:  I’m simply sharing the details of what I’ve received so other yarn enthusiasts may know what getting a Yarnbox subscription is like.}

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What’s inside?

Yarn.  Yarn which, according to the label, may cause extreme happiness!

Seriously though, each month Yarnbox chooses luxury yarns to send out to subscribers. You also get free access to patterns that aren’t generally free.

My Yarnbox subscription

My mom knows I’m a yarn addict. So she likes to get me at least one yarn-related gift for Christmas each year. This year, I pointed her to a couple different yarn subscription companies as well as various yarns and other items I want/need.  Well, Mom decided her best and easiest option was to gift me a 3-month Yarnbox subscription. Today my first Yarnbox arrived in my mailbox.

Yarnbox Reveal:

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My glass drinking jar is there to show relative size. The box was much smaller than I had thought it would be!

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There are 2 designer cards with lovely photos of some of their designs.

Bonus:  Yarnbox subscribers can get a special discount off their other patterns too!

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Yarns included in my January Yarnbox: 1 skein Knit Collage Pixie Dust Mini in Iceberg Mist and 1 skein Knit Collage Stargazer Silk & Sequins in Blue Lagoon

Patterns included in my January Yarnbox (to download):  Snow Cap by Cheryl Kubat {knit} and Crocodile Stitch Hooded Cape by Lianka Azulay {crochet}

At Retail Prices that all would cost $73! So the subscription price is a pretty good value.

What do I think?

My initial thought as I looked at the yarns was that I would probably never buy them myself.  The colors are fabulous, but I’m not usually drawn to yarns with sequins or shiny material. But after a moment’s reflection, I realized that’s kind of the point of a Yarnbox subscription. To get new yarns that I might otherwise overlook and have the opportunity to work with them! Who knows? I might even fall in love with them as I knit or crochet with them.

Ultimately, I’m happy with my first Yarnbox and can’t wait to see what the next two will have!

Have you ever received or purchased a yarn subscription?

Tell me what it was and whether or not you felt it was a good value in the comments section below!

Happy knitting!

~Stephanie