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

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Autumn Fern Möbius

Finished!

The Autumn Fern Möbius is finished…well, at least the knitting part is done! It took me a little longer than I anticipated, but I made time to finish the knitting today. All I have left to do is graft the two ends together in the möbius twist shape and then lightly block it. I will get it shipped out on Monday.

It really has been an honor and a privilege to knit this Autumn Fern Möbius for Chelsea’s Light. Thanks again to Dream in Color yarn for coordinating the volunteer effort and for the yarn!

Have a happy weekend of knitting!

Signature

June 7: FO Friday Downton Pullover

FO Fridays Tami

My Downton Pullover is finally DONE!

(And there was much rejoicing…)

I finished it Saturday night. Just in time for summer. But we’ve had a cool spring, so I might even get to wear it before the summer heat arrives here in Northern Minnesota.

I’ve been waiting almost a week to show my finally finished sweater off here on the blog. Needless to say, I’m pretty happy with the finished results. I didn’t even end up shortening the sleeves.  Once I got the buttons attached, they look and feel just fine. If anything, the Downton Pullover fits a tad wide in my shoulders and chest.  I know it was fitting me rather snugly back in January and February, so I think it must be because I’ve lost a little weight in the last couple months.  Despite that, I’m pleased with it and therefore it must be good enough even for the perfectionist in me.

Never stop learning

I know I still have lots to learn about sweater construction.  Maybe by the end of summer I’ll be ready to tackle another sweater project–especially since I just purchased The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters by Ann Budd.  And until I’m a bit more comfortable with sweater-making, I think I’ll stick to child-sized sweaters.  My 6 year old son will love that.  🙂

A huge thanks to my fabulous photographer. Who just happens to be my 13 year old son.  🙂  Didn’t he get some nice shots today?  As you can see our kitties were looking for lots of attention while we were out doing the photo shoot. And yes, there were several cat-only pictures. And a few of the 6 year old being silly too. Of course.

Anyways, thanks for stopping by and letting me brag a bit today!

And if you’ve got a little time, be sure to check out the FO Friday link up on Tami’s blog to see what other great projects were completed this week!

FO Fridays Tami

As always… I’d love for you to leave me a comment and tell me what you think of today’s FO!

Happy knitting and have a great weekend!

 

June 5: Sock Knitting Master Class

WIP Wednesday

Book: Sock Knitting Master Class by Ann Budd
WIP: Almondine socks

It’s Wednesday again…time to show off my most recently started work in progress:  a pair of socks!

Sock Knitting Master Class

I’ve been reading through my copy of Ann Budd’s Sock Knitting Master Class a little here and there for the past month or so.  I even watched the included instructional DVD. But I haven’t wanted to start another project until my Downton Pullover was finished.  I’m happy to say that the Downton is done! (But you’ll have to wait until Friday’s post to see photos!)  After making a sweater, a pair of socks was the perfect choice for my next project. Socks are small and portable. And with summer swim lessons starting this week, it’s nice to have a project to take along with me.

I bought this skein of Cascade Heritage Paints a couple months ago and have been really looking forward to some serious sock knitting ever since. After looking over the various patterns in the book, I finally decided on Almondine.

WIP Wednesday & Yarn Along

Almondine Pattern by Anne Hanson

Although a part of me really wanted to learn something new, I really liked the look of the Almondine lace pattern and knew I could easily adapt this pattern to my favorite sock-knitting method:  knitting them 2-at-a-time on one long (40″) circular needle. So, no new techniques for me this time around, but with all the other excellent patterns in this book, I’m sure to learn something new eventually!

Books books books

I’m still in the middle of Dragons of the Valley (see last week’s post here), but I also finished another book I’d been reading on my Kindle:  Stepping into Sunlight by Sharon Hinck.  It’s an interesting and insightful story of a woman who witnesses a shooting and is struggling with post traumatic stress disorder. Everyday things suddenly become challenges and she has a hard time even leaving her home. While not a super-fun read, I’m glad I read it and believe I’ve learned a little about PTSD and facing one’s fears because I did.

Have you read any good books lately?  Leave a comment below to tell me about it! My summer reading list is a mile long, but I’m always on the look-out for good reads!

And be sure to check out Ginny’s Yarn Along and Tami’s WIP Wednesday link ups.

Happy knitting! And good reading too!

Downton Pullover: knit project

A few weeks before Christmas I was perusing all the winter and fall issues of Interweave Knits magazine that I have. And I fell in love with the Downton Pullover {sweater} in the Fall 2012 issue.  I, like many of you I’m sure, am a Downton Abbey fan and this lightweight sweater is reminiscent of the Downton time period without being out-dated looking.  It was exactly what I wanted.  You see, I’ve only made one sweater before this…and it didn’t work out so well. That sweater, although it turned out as well as it should have, doesn’t fit me. It’s too wide in the shoulders. So it disappointed me that I put all that work into a sweater only to have one that looks awful on me.

Anyways, I looked hard at the measurements for the various sizes of the Downton Pullover and determined that the small should fit me really well. And so I asked my hubby if he would let me get the yarn as my Christmas gift from him. He agreed. (Easy gift for him–no worries I won’t like it!)

The yarn came; I wrapped it and put it under the Christmas tree and waited.

Right after Christmas, I started knitting my gauge swatch. The pattern calls for size US5 and US3 needles. My knitting is generally tighter-than-average, so I tried a few sizes just to be sure I had the right needles. It worked out that the US6 (and US4) were just right and I just so happened to have them in my Knit Picks options.  Perfect! I didn’t need to buy needles.

So I’ve been working on this project for nearly 3 months. I have the body knitted and am currently working on the first sleeve. It sometimes feels like really slow going. And sometimes I’m just not in the mood for knitting the honeycomb pattern. So I could be further along on it than I am. But that’s okay. When I work on it, I am enjoying seeing it take shape.

downton pullover sleevedownton pullover colorwork downton pullover colorwork downton pullover

The yarn is Classic Elite Yarns Fresco just as the pattern recommends.  My colors are very similar, however the mallard blue wasn’t available so I purchased blue teal instead.  It’s still quite lovely combined with the taupe.

And if you’re drooling over the lovely yarn bowl, I must share that it was a wonderful gift from my potter friend, Patty.  You can check out her work here.