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2017 Reading List Reviewed

November 30, 2017
2017 Fall Reading List Reviewed

Well, Thanksgiving has passed, so I think we can consider Fall to be over. I’m sure it’s not technically over, but everyone is going crazy about Christmas, so it feels like Winter. I made quick work of my Fall Reading List and then some! I’ll talk about the “and then some” later, but I wanted to give a recap of the books of my Fall Reading List and let you know how I liked them!

2017 Fall Reading List

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

10/10, Do recommend. Dreamland Burning switches perspectives between past and present, highlighting racial tensions in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I thought that Dreamland Burning was thoughtfully done. It was well written and did not shy away from complex and difficult situations. This book would be really interesting to see taught in a classroom setting. That being said, it will definitely piss off whatever rascist old relative you have, so read and recommend thoughtfully.

2017 Fall Reading List

Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

I expected this book to be a good ol’ Christian Woman Encouragement Book, and I was right. Uninvited deals with those who feel a little distant from others and handles those feeling of not fitting in. It was nice and obviously close to the author’s heart. You can see her passion for reaching the left out. It’s sweet and encouraging but not a bit of it stuck with me. It’s a nice read where you’re in need of encouragement, but it probably won’t change your life.

2017 Fall Reading List

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

This book did not do much for me. The Nest revolves around four (wretched) siblings and their separate hopes and dreams for their nest egg inheritance. When one sibling wrecks their dreams by using up the money, they all have to deal with the consequences. I found this book to be tiring. Everyone in it is irritated, all the time. They’re all fairly selfish and perhaps that is the point. It just came across to me as a book that is trying hard to be an Adult Book for Grown Ups because nobody is happy and everyone drinks. Also, I found that there were a lot of characters to follow, especially since I didn’t care what happened to any of them.

2017 Fall Reading List

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children By Ransom Riggs

I enjoyed the concept of this book as well as the addition of vintage (creepy) pictures. Riggs does a fairly convincing job of integrating this fantasy into the normal world. The characters are interesting and complex for children. The only issue that I have with this book is the cliffhanger ending. It’s really more of a chapter ending than a book ending. I know the author does this on purpose, but it’s still annoying to me and seems cheap. I’m reading the second book in the series, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

2017 Fall Reading List

The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is always delightful. I have no complaint here. Her stories are like good rainy day reading. They are comforting, despite the facts that at least one person is usually dead. They don’t require a ton of emotional investment and they don’t stress me out. I usually give up on trying to guess the murderer, because I’m always wrong. I think that I prefer Christie’s Poirot mysteries to Miss Marple, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this book one bit.

2017 Fall Reading List

North and South by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Think Pride and Prejudice, but with a lot more class consciousness. Margaret Hale must adjust her county sensibilities to a new life in a manufacturing town. Margaret is much more of a proper lady than Elizabeth Bennet. She is less snarky, a little more noble and long-suffering, but every bit as tenacious. I enjoyed North and South, though it got a little slow in a few sections. A lot of depressing things happen to Miss Hale, which can be a bit of a downer, but I like that Gaskell didn’t shy away from the darker parts of manufacturing towns. 

2017 Fall Reading List

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beaty

This is a kids/young adult book that takes place at the Biltmore Estate. Since I’ve visited the Biltmore, I found that this was extremely interesting. Even if you haven’t seen the actual setting, this book was fun and engaging. It was not overly simplistic for a kid’s book. The suspense felt read and I enjoyed the main character, Serafina. I would recommend this to a younger child or any adult who is young at heart.

2017 Fall Reading List

Emma by Jane Austin

I am officially a good Austinite again, as I have read Emma. And man is she annoying! I think that’s the point, that Emma is a bit of a know-it-all, but she’s definitely a harder character to root for than Pride and Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennet. But it’s still Jane Austin, and even if Emma is kind of annoying, so still want her to end up happy. Emma is humorous without compromising real emotion, and I still enjoyed the read.

2017 Fall Reading List

All is Grace by Brennan Manning

Brennan Manning is a broken man who still proudly proclaims his message that God loves you just as you are, not as you should be. I found his memoir to be honest and endearing. It is clear that Mr. Manning does not have any illusions about who he is as a person. He is brutally honest throughout the memoir about his alcoholism, his denial of it, and the effect that it had on his loved ones. He does not hide his selfishness as his tells his life story, and I appreciate the complexity of his journey. Brennan Manning would be the first to tell you that he is a walking contradiction, but he would also be the first to tell you that peace from that can be found with God.

2017 Fall Reading List

You are Free by Rebekah Lyons

I’ll admit, I tried to read this on the plane on the way home from San Francisco, but I couldn’t do it. It was too much. It found it to be too trite, too sugar coated. Maybe at another time it will be a good fit, but I didn’t jive with me.

Along with these books, I have read scores of others. I may include my favorites in a separate post, because I’m not exaggerating when I say that there have been at least three separate series and a few other unrelated books. I just recently got a library card since moving to my city over a year ago, so let me know if you have recommendations! I’m currently into young adult fiction, because I’m tired of adult books needing to seem so grown up and cynical about everything. What are your favorites?

Finished Object Knitting

Bearly Bonnet: Pattern Review and FO

November 9, 2017
Bearly Bonnet

Hello everyone! I hope you’re having a good week. This week we have reached “it finally feels like fall” weather. Somehow we have also reached “Halloween’s over so let’s go straight to Christmas” with everything else. Come on, people! Respect Thanksgiving! If we extend the Christmas season too long, it won’t feel special. Speaking of seasons, I’m currently in the Everyone is Pregnant (but me) season of my life. Old coworkers, new coworkers, college friends, that girl you used to talk to a few years ago before she moved away. Everyone is preggers. The one perk to the everyone is preggo season, is that it allows for lots of cute baby knits. Like the Bearly Bonnet.

I swear, I tried to resist the Bearly Bonnet. It’s knit on size 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 needles, which is obnoxiously small. But it’s also obnoxiously cute. Look at those ears! Plus it’s a great unisex baby pattern, for those people who don’t know what they’re having. (Maybe it’s a pterodactyl! I hope so…)

The Pattern

Bearly Bonnet

First of all, the adorable Bearly Bonnet by Pure Stitches pattern is free. Score! I love not paying for patterns! (Like, freely given. I don’t steal them…) In terms of good free baby patterns, this one is going in my archives as a solid pattern. I will be making this again. Possible with leftovers from every section of my fade shawl, because it’s that cute.

Like I mentioned before, the Bearly Bonnet pattery is knit on ridiculously small needles. I used some mystery double pointed needles (DNPs) with no markings whatsoever for the ribbing. I have no clue what size they were, but they were smaller than my size 3 circular needles. Then I switched to the size 3 circulars for the rest of the hat.

Bearly Bonnet

 

I made a mistake on the pattern and didn’t join in the round as soon as I was supposed to, but I just sewed that section up at the end. The Bearly Bonnet pattern uses centimeters, rather than inches, so I just blazed through the section where it said to combine in the round. Whoops. The pattern is meant to fit like a bonnet, not like a beanie, so the brim is not a complete circle. Instead it has cute little tassels. 

The only criticism I have about the Bearly Bonnet pattern is that is was extremely vague about how to sew the ears onto the bonnet. I wish it had given a bit more detail about exactly where to put the ears, and maybe some help on the best type of stitch to use to sew them on. I used a whip stitch to attach them, but found that the edges were a little wonky that way. 

The Yarn

Bearly Bonnet

I used Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in the Thunderhead colorway. I used this color in section 1 of my fade shawl (still pending) and I had a lot left over. Some people have mentioned that this bonnet in gray has a tendency to look like a little mouse more than a little bear, but that doesn’t deter me. It’s still super cute. This would actually be really cute in any color. Maybe a bright red or a creamy white…You could even contrast the ears with the rest of the bonnet!

Bearly Bonnet

 

I like Stroll Tonal for this because it’s washable, and therefore good for babies. It’s not the softest yarn out there, but it’s not rough or scratchy either. It’s a fairly sturdy yarn and it gets the job done. I have noticed with Stroll Tonal that the texture is not always consistent between different skeins. I have a skein in green that feels much softer than this skein in gray. I’m not sure if the difference is in the color or when I bought the skein, but I believe that there is a bit of variation within Stroll. 

I would happily knit this pattern again, and in fact, I expect to! The whole thing took me maybe a weekend of casual knitting to finish, so it’s not a huge time commitment. I will probably consider buying circular needle in a size smaller than 3 for the ribbing on this. Doing it on DPNs was not the greatest decision. Once I get those, I’ll be unstoppable! Expect to see more Bearly Bonnets in the future, because it think it make the perfect baby knit!

Knitting Lifestyle Local

Yarn Crawl Prize – What I Won

October 12, 2017

If you remember, I was having a bit of a rough week last week. The Hubs was sick. The world was falling apart. Tom Petty had died.. Well the world is still falling apart, and Tom Petty is still dead, but my little world is looking better. The Hubs has (mostly) recovered from his mystery illness. We never found out what it was, and I never caught it, but thank goodness it’s over. Then, on Friday, in the middle of all his sickness and my worry, I got an email. I’d won one of the prizes from the DFW Yarn Crawl! Silly me, I never remembered to check the website, so they emailed me to tell me I’d won!

DFW Yarn Crawl Prize

I like to think that the timing was not accidental. I found out about my prize on the week that I needed it the most. After a few emails back and forth with Cindy, I was able to pick up my prize the next day. And what a prize it was! 

Yarn Crawl Prize – The Bag

DFW Yarn Crawl Prize - bag

The first thing you need to know about this yarn crawl prize is that it came in the cutest little project bag! It’s made by Diana Couture in her Serena style. You probably know from my Instagram that I’m a fan of the Fringe Field Bags. However, I’ve found that they’re actually a little small for some of my growing projects, like my Find Your Fade shawl. This project bag is just a bit bigger, but not too big to make me feel like I’m carrying another purse. It’s got great pockets on the inside and a cute little place to draw your yarn out of the bag when it’s closed. I’ve transferred my Fade into this back and definitely recommend it.

Yarn Crawl Prize – The Yarn

DFW Yarn Crawl Prize - TO

Inside the (super cute) bag, there was yarn. Oh boy, was there yarn! I was lucky enough to win not one, but TWO skeins of Twisted Owl Lux Sock yarn. I had loved Twisted Owl when I saw the trunk show at Holley’s Yarn Shoppe, but didn’t have room in the budget for it. It made me sad to have to pass it up, but now I’ve got my hands on some! The bright springy colors are so pretty and the watercolor effect of the blending in the yarn. Plus, these are 600 yarn skeins! The possibilities are endless. I love the color names too. One is called Darkwing Duck (love), and the other is Koi Pond (even more love).

DFW Yarn Crawl Prize - Brazen

Even though the Twisted Owl yarn would have been a prize enough, my yarn crawl prize contained even more yarn! I also received 2 skeins of Brazen Stitchery sock yarn, in the Afternoon Delight colorway. Its a great blend of reds and blues that I can’t wait to see knit up. The Hubs saw it and immediately said, “I would wear socks in those colors.” So, I guess I know what that yarn is going to be used for…

Yarn Crawl Prize – The Rest

DFW Yarn Crawl Prize - Thing for String

I know, there’s still more to talk about. Can you believe this is the 5th prize that I won? Not only did this yarn crawl prize come with yarn, it came with roving! It’s a beautiful bit of roving by A Thing for String. The color is a gorgeous purple, and even has a slight bit of shimmer. At first, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, because I spin very poorly. Then, I remembered that you can use roving in weaving projects and that idea excites me a lot! 

DFW Yarn Crawl Prize - Shawl Pins

Yarnz2Go included some of their fascinating shawl pins in the yarn crawl prize as well. A chicago screw connects two plastic disks in this shawl pin. You push the screw between the stitches of your knitting and it secures the shawl with no damage to the fabric! It’s so clever. I’m so glad to have these, since they’re basically my first shawl pins ever.

DFW Yarn Crawl Prize

The remaining prizes in the bag includes a book on scarves and shawls and these sweet little designs that someone made. I don’t really know what they are. Cindy at Jacob’s Reward Farm told me that they were potholders, but knowing how we dirty up potholders, I’d hate to use them for that! I’m not sure how I’ll use them yet, but they’re adorable and I can tell that a lot of great work went into them. 

This yarn crawl prize created a perfect end to my first ever yarn crawl. I feel so lucky to have won, and can’t imagine what they other prizes looked like, since this was the fifth prize! It came to me at the perfect time when I needed some encouragement, and I’m so thankful to have won. Now, any suggestions of what I should knit with those Twisted Owl skeins? So many possibilities!