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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!

 

Finished Object Knitting

Del Sol Tunic: Pattern Review and FO

September 14, 2017
Del Sol Tunic Pattern Review and FO

I announced last week that I was officially done with my Summer Reading List, and now I can say that I am officially done with my Summer Knitting list! Now that I’m done, and free to knit whatever, I feel adrift in an ocean of options and I have no idea what to do next! (Except you, Halloween Knitting. I’m coming for you next.) I can’t wait to show you my Del Sol Tunic. If you follow me on Instagram (@yarnsleylane) you probably heard me complaining about the 19″ of straight stockinette that I had to slog through. All that knitting was totally worth it, though,  because the Del Sol Tunic turned out great.

Del Sol Tunic Pattern Review and FO

The Pattern

Del Sol is a pattern by Veronika Jobe of YOTH Yarns that is designed to be knit as a tank, tunic or (eek!) dress. I chose to do the Tunic version, because I saw the tank at a YOTH trunk show and it was itty bitty. Veronika Jobe designed the Del Sol tunic to be reversible from front to back. It features a v-neck on one side (technically the front) and a scoop neck on the other side (the back). I’ve tried it both ways, and I prefer the v-neck in the front. The pattern includes an exposed seam, so pretty hem detailing and a side split. 

Del Sol Tunic Pattern Review and FO

When I started knitting my Del Sol Tunic, I didn’t realize that there was also a shoulder strap detail. The straps actually end up more like a tube that flattens out on either end to create the rest of the bust. Each straps is made by purling and slipping every other stitch. I had the. hardest. time. with it. I don’t know what it was. Once I finished the straps, I liked the effect, but for some reason I really struggled with the construction. 

The scoop neck, too, was a little confusing. In order to maintain the slipped stitch edging that is seen throughout the rest of the garment, the pattern calls for you to knit an I cord and then pick up stitches from it to join the two back straps. I can’t even begin to explain how it worked, but it did. 

Del Sol Tunic Pattern Review and FO

My favorite part of the patter was the little hem detail. By binding off and picking up stitches, you get a nice chain of horizontal stitches just above the hem. I think it’s a great little detail that adds visual interest in a minimalist way. It looks especially good with the side split in the hem. The end product is easily wearable, which I know because I work it all day Saturday. I wore a cami under mine, because the neckline was a smidge low. I was glad that I did, because the top relaxed a little throughout the day (and got some epic seatbelt wrinkles). It would have been really low without the cami.Del Sol Tunic Pattern Review and FO

The Yarn

I knit my Del Sol Tunic in the suggested yarn, YOTH’s Best Friend. It’s a cotton and wool blend with an emphasis on the cotton. I used the color Oyster, which is a pale blue.  I snagged this yarn at the YOTH trunk show. I’m really happy with how it knits up. The finished fabric is soft and pleasantly drapey. Despite the wool content, it’s cool enough to wear in the summer.

While I’m happy with the finished product, Best Friend was challenging  to knit with. The cotton means that the yarn has little to no give in it. It wore my hands out! I typically knit with wool, which has more spring to it than cotton. Best Friend doesn’t have quite enough wool to give it that bounce. Combine that with the straight back and forth knitting and I was begging The Hubs for hand massages.

Del Sol Tunic Pattern Review and FO

Another factor about Best Friend is that there are little bits of cotton husk (debris?) in the yarn. As a big fan of Brooklyn Tweed yarns, I’m no stranger to a little bit of plant matter in my yarn, but the cotton bits were sharp! I didn’t think that the cotton bits were excessive. However, I’ve heard from other people who felt like there were too many. 

I actually think that Best Friend would make a great warp yarn for weaving. The cotton keeps it from getting too stretching, but it doesn’t feel like twine the way that 100% cotton can. I’ve used in in a few tiny weaving projects, but I’d love to use my leftover yarn one something larger. 

Del Sol Tunic Pattern Review and FO

Did you reach all of your summer knitting goals? What was your favorite project of the season? What are you looking forward to knitting in the fall? Let me know in the comments!

 

Books Lifestyle

2017 Summer Reading List Reviewed

September 7, 2017
2017 Summer Reading Review

Now that it’s September, Summer is officially over in my book. If someone could please inform the state of Texas, that would be great, because I’m ready to go into basic-white-girl-who-love-fall mode. I refused to be ashamed of it either!

I’m wrapping up all of my summer projects and lists now that summer is ending and I am desperately looking forward to fall. However, I wanted to give you a follow up on my summer reading list to let you know how I, and the books, did. I am pleased to announce that I accomplished my summer reading list and then some! I’m not just going to leave you with that, though. I’ve got to tell you how I liked them all. You ready? Hold onto your kindle, here we go!

The Favorites:

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery (Finished 05/23/2017)

The Blue Castle was, hands down, my favorite book from my summer reading list! Call me a romantic. I loved it. The Blue Castle tells the story of a young woman named Valancy who receives a startling diagnosis. Even though the diagnosis a death sentence, it frees her to finally live her life on her terms. I think deep down we all love it when the shy character bursts out in confidence (Hello, Neville Longbottom!), and Valancy giving zero shits is delightful. Think Elizabeth Bennet levels of attitude. And of course, there’s a little bit of romance for our heroine as well. This book is easily accessible for a high school level reader, and can be found online for free! I do wish I had it in print though, because I like it that much.

Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie (Finished 06/14/2017)

I might be a sucker for Agatha Christie, but I loved this book! It goes without saying that this is a murder mystery book. After an unsavory character is found dead on the snowed in Orient Express, Hercule Poirot must determine the killer before snow thaws and the killer escapes. I’ve read a lot of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie, so I like to see if I can figure things out on my own, but this book totally got me! I never would have guessed the ending, and it was delightful. This book is being made into a movie this fall so you should totally read it. It’s a totally satisfying, easy little read.

At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider (Finished 08/15/2017)

I loved this book. It was definitely the most summer reading-esque book on my summer reading list. In At Home in the World, Tsh Oxenreider chronicles the 9 month trip that she and her family took around the world. In it, she finds a delicate balance between the love of constant travel and the need to be a homebody. Besides making me want to travel to all the places (especially New Zealand) and eat all the things, At Home in the World wisely makes the point that sometimes restlessness says more about who we are than where we are. I thought this was a great summer read, but if you don’t have any travel plans before you read it, you’ll wish you did by the time that you are done!

Food for Thought:

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance (Finished 08/06/2017)

Hillbilly Elegy sticks out as one of the more meaningful reads on my summer reading list. J.D. Vance is both nostalgic and brutally honest about his upbringing in America’s rust belt. He does not flinch away from deeply troubling scenes of poverty and abuse, but he also doesn’t assign them more meaning than they deserve. In telling the story of a poor, white, American boy who pulled himself out of poverty, Hillbilly Elegy could have come out as self righteous and pious; but J.D. Vance is a humble and thoughtful narrator. He does not shy away from his message, but never gets preachy about it either. Hillbilly Elegy is a complex, thoughtful memoir and I highly recommend it.

 The More of Less by Joshua Becker (Finished 08/11/2017)

I love a good minimalist book. It makes me want to clean out my closet. And then actually do something with the clothes other than bad them up and leave them on the floor of my closet…

Joshua Becker is my go to minimalist writer. He doesn’t over romanticize it and promise that you’ll never struggle. Instead, he encourages you to think about what your ideal life looks like, and asks you to eliminate the barriers to that. I enjoyed his biblical perspective, which was approachable to Christians and non-Christians alike. He wasn’t preachy, but used biblical stories more like parables or fables. Did this book totally change my life? No. I find it hard to reconcile my minimalism with my this-could-be-used-in-a-craft-3-years-from-now. But for someone wanting to know more about the mentality of minimalism, this is one of the better books I’ve read.

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry (Finished 07/21/2017)

Both Tsh Oxenreider and Sarah Bessey have recommended Hannah Coulter to their readers so I had high expectations for this book.  Honestly, though, I found this one to be a bit slow. Hannah Coulter is comes from the perspective of an old farmer’s wife looking back on her life and her decisions in the fictional town of Port William. It’s got the same dreamy, personal narrative style of a Laura Ingalls book, but with a touch more regret. The writing is beautiful, bittersweet, and full of wisdom. However, it’s best read a little bit at a time and digested. 

Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path by Erin Loechner (Finished 06/23/2017)

In her book, Chasing Slow, Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind is totally honest about her frequent inability to chase slow. Chasing Slow allows Erin to feel back the instagram perfect facade on her life and talk about the pressures we all face to look like our idea of success. Chasing Slow is the kind of book that tells women to have grace with women, including themselves. I happen to think that is an important genre, and I like books like this when I feel like I’m in a slump. I did think that this book lost some of it’s presentation on the Kindle, so I recommend getting the physical copy if you read this book.

The Fluff:

The Woman on the Orient Express by  Lindsay Jayne Ashford (Finished 05/26/2017)

The Woman on the Orient Express is a book about Agatha Christie that is not an Agatha Christie book. Agatha is grappling with the end of her marriage and fighting off a breakdown when she decides to book a ride on the Orient Express under a different name. On her way, she encounters some complex women with secrets of their own. The Woman on the Orient Express is part drama, part historical fiction and part travel book. I found it difficult to track with the multiple characters at times and definitely skimmed some parts. The ending was dramatic, but I found that some of the character’s story lines were a little contrived. It’s a nice mindless summer read, but I wouldn’t pay more than $5 for it.

 

For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker (Finished 06/07/2017)

I’ve mentioned before how much I love Jen Hatmaker. This is still true. However, I found For the Love to be a bit scattered and unfocused.  I didn’t see a lot tying the chapters together, and that make them feel too much like blog posts. It’s not that I disagreed with anything that she was saying, but I can’t really tell you anything about the substance of the book either, except that Jen’s got opinions about the leggings-as-pants situation. Jen is such a smart and heartfelt woman that I believe that she can deliver a more polished, meaningful (that’s “impactful” in church speak) message than this. I’m hoping that’s what has happened with her most recent book, Of Mess and Moxie.

In Praise of Women’s Bodies by Gloria Steinem (Finished 06/13/2017)

This is more of an essay than a book. I wish that I had read it in college, so I could have discussed it with others. I do think that it’s important to see women’s bodies as something other than attractive, but capable, strong and powerful.  Gloria Steinem points out that women’s bodies can be important in different ways for different women. It’s easy for feminists to put as many limitations on women as others so, and so I was glad to see Gloria Steinem calling out and praising diversity among women.

The Extras:

Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman (Finished 08/30/2017)

 This would make a great book club/small group/bible study book, but it was a little slow on its own.

Frederica by Georgette Heyer (Finished 06/12/2017)

Enjoyable. Good for Jane Austen lovers. Predictable is a good, comforting way. Read it when it’s raining, with tea.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (finished 08/16/2017)

Meh. Reliant on too many tropes. I’d skip this one.

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth (Finished 08/17/2017)

Do not, I repeat, do not read this book while your sister-in-law is in the hospital with post-partum pre-eclampsia. You will give yourself a panic attack. Other than that, it’s great. 

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Young adult book about the child of a Greek god. Funny and enjoyable, I want to read the rest of the series now. A little biased towards western civilization, but I can suspend belief for a young adult novel.

That’s the end of my summer reading list! I’m a little impressed at how much I was able to finish! Now you know I’m already lining up some books for Fall. I’m taking recommendations! What did you read this summer that blew your mind?