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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Bellatrix Socks

Off my needles!
I finished the Bellatrix socks. I really didn’t like how they looked while I was knitting them (they’re not too bad now that I can put them on properly) and then I ended up starting my toe decreases just a few rows early. So this pair is a little snug on me. I’m not sure whether I’ll end up keeping them or if I can find someone with smaller feet to gift them to (I’m a size 6.5-7 so they’re probably perfect for size 6 feet). But I am done knitting this pair of socks and can happily start a new project now.

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What about you? Are you working on any yarn project(s)? Finished any recently?

Leave a comment below and tell me!

As always, happy knitting!
–Steph

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

On My Needles: Bellatrix

Bellatrix socks

Ever start a project and after spending hours working on it, you’re just not 100% thrilled with how it’s turning out, but you keep going because you just don’t want to start over? Usually if I don’t like how a project is turning out, I’m not afraid to frog it (rip it, rip it), but for once I just don’t want to start over even though I’m not satisfied with how the dropped yarn overs are looking. What I’ve figured out is this: no matter whether I love a project I’m working on or not, I’d rather be knitting! …than doing housework, than teaching my kiddos, than…well, you get the idea.

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As a Harry Potter fan, I was drawn to the Bellatrix sock pattern.  Since I’m currently re-reading the series (reading is about the only thing that still ranks up there with knitting and competes for my attention during my free time) and I just started book 6 (Half-Blood Prince) again, I thought it would be fun to knit something inspired by the series. I really liked how in the pattern photos, the dropped yarn overs look a little messy and, like the Bellatrix Black character, a bit crazy. My feelings as I knit Bellatrix, however, are more like it’s driving *me* crazy. It’s not a matter of whether I’m correctly doing the dropped stitches–I am. I’m just not totally thrilled with how they look. And that really bothers the perfectionist in me. But I’m pressing on in hopes that once I’ve finished knitting these socks they will somehow magically modify my initial impression and my Bellatrix socks will be beautiful.

I’ve reached the end of the leg portion of the sock.  It’s now time to make the heel flaps!  I have to decide whether I want to continue the dropped stitch pattern on the instep of the foot or just knit it in plain stockinette stitch, but I’ll probably follow the pattern and continue the pattern on the foot too.

Now it’s your turn to share!

Do you normally keep going when a project doesn’t quite meet your standards or do you prefer to stop and start over with something new? Leave a comment to say which you would usually do!

As always, happy knitting!

-Steph

Finished Object Friday: Almondine Socks

Finished: Almondine Socks

They’re DONE!  I’ve only been working on these Almondine socks on-and-off for about 4 months.  I even took them along on our trip to Hawaii!  Although I didn’t actually find myself much in the knitting mood while on vacation.  I think I needed the escape I found with reading much more! But I was glad to have no problems with TSA. Perhaps, those TSA agents are getting used to knitters taking their projects when they travel.  And having them half done probably helped too.

Anyways, here’s the finished pair.  Although I finished them last week, I wore them for the first time this week and finally took photos to share.  I think they look great!

sock knitting

They’re as comfortable as they are cute!  I love love love my hand-knit socks!!!

Finished any knitting or crochet projects this week?

Tell me about it in the comments below!  If you’re a knit-blogger like myself, be sure to share your FO Friday posts on Tami’s blog too!

Happy knitting!

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Yarn Along: Almondine Socks

~ 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! ~ Ginny at Small Things

Knitting Update: Almondine Socks

Somehow in the past couple weeks, I’ve found a bit of time here and there–in between knitting and writing up my tutorials for my Early Morning Mitts–to work on the Almondine socks too.  I’ve now completed the leg, heel flap, heel turn and am nearly finished with the gusset. I always feel like once I get past the heel turn and gusset I am almost done. That’s usually when I don’t want to stop working on them until they’re finished and I can wear them!

Knitting and reading

Reading Recommendations

A lot of the books I’m reading now are for our homeschool. But if I have a little time to read for fun, I will read a page or two of The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey.  I’m still enjoying the story. Albeit, slowly.

My hubby and I both love books.  So a few years ago when I was crocheting baby blankets like a crazy woman, we figured out a relatively easy way that we could enjoy reading some books together.  So we find a book that we think we’d both enjoy and my hubby reads it out loud to me while I knit or crochet.  Somehow this summer got so busy that we’d stopped.  But I recently found a new book for us to try and once again he has started reading to me. I just love it!  We don’t have time every evening, but when we do he will usually read a chapter or two.  The book we’re reading now is On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness to me. It’s hilarious!  Thanks to whichever blogger that was reading it a few weeks ago and recommended this book in her WIP Wednesday post. Of course, I can’t remember who (I really need to start writing stuff down more!) so I can’t even link back to her post.

Well, today’s post is short. I hope you’ve found it sweet as well!

I’ll be linking up with Ginny at Small Things today.  Be sure to stop by her blog and check out the other blogs that have linked up.

Happy knitting and reading too!

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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!