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March 2018

Books

2017 Winter Reading List Reviewed!

March 24, 2018
Winter Reading List Reviewed
 

It’s officially Spring! Since it’s Spring, I guess it’s time to finally review my 2017 Winter Reading List. I had been holding back for a while because I hadn’t quite finished, but now that Spring is officially here I think it’s time. Here is my 2017 Winter Reading List Reviewed

Knitlandia

Knitlandia by Clara Parks

Knitlandia was a lovely little travel read. I now officially want to go to Iceland. Clara Parks is an excellent storyteller,who makes you feel like you’re actually getting to know all of these (incredibly famous) knitters she writes about. More than that, Clara Parks instills such a love for knitting and yarn in every chapter. It’s obvious how passionate she is on the subject and how knowledgeable! If you’re a beginning knitter, this will definitely motivate you, and if you’re a knitting veteran it will inspire some new projects.

Murder for Christmas

Murder for Christmas by Francis Duncan

Murder for Christmas was just what it promised to be: a tidy little Christmas mystery. While it was a little slow at times, the characters were enjoyable and the mystery puzzling enough. It won’t change your life, but it will help you pass the time on a cold evening. 

Still Life

Still Life by Louise Penney

Speaking of changing your life; here’s a mystery that actually will! Still Life is the first novel in the prodigious Inspector Gamache series. Set in the tiny town of Three Pines, Still Life manages to be peaceful and soothing while tackling the very un-peaceful topic of murder. I am not exaggerating when I say that every character in this is delightful. Since reading this Still Life, I have read the next two in the series. I’d be further along by now if I the books were easier to get a hold of. They’re nowhere to be found at either the library or Half Price Books. Clearly people know what’s up!

Option B

Option B by Sheryl Sandburg

If you don’t cry within the first couple chapters of Option B, we need to have a talk. After the tragic and sudden loss of her husband, Sheryl Sandburg was forced to pick up the pieces of her life. She was motivated to process her grief not for her sake, but for the sake of her children.  Sheryl Sandburg dealt with incredible loss with so much grace. Along with this, she was totally honest about the moments that she didn’t handle with grace. I appreciated how Sheryl Sandburg recognized her own privilege even within her hardship. Option B is full of wisdom and full of love. I would recommend it for anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one.  

All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See is the one book that I have no finished on my reading list. I had to wait forever to get a hold of this at the library. I’m still reading through it now. So far it seems somewhat slow. I don’t usually enjoy books that switch between different points of view, though Doerr does it well. What’s more confusing is that he switches back and forth between timelines for the same characters. Since it’s set in World War II, a jump of a few years makes a huge difference. I’m think it’s all going to converge soon, but it’s taking it’s sweet time right now.

Heartless

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Heartless is a fairy tale retelling in the same vein of Marissa Meyer’s other books. It’s not cyberpunk, but is set in the magical world of Wonderland, in the land of Hearts. Catherine finds herself rebuffing the romantic efforts of the bumbling king of Hearts, only to fall in love with his court jester. All she ever really wanted to do was become a baker, but no one seems to be listening. I enjoyed the way Marissa Meyers weaves in bits of the Alice in Wonderland story. The book is pretty dark compared to Meyer’s other works, but if you enjoyed the Lunar Chronicles, Heartless is worth a read. 

Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I can’t help it; I love A Christmas Carol with a passion that can only come from childhood tradition. Every time I read it I fall in love again. The message is so relevant, even today. If you’ve never read it, you really should. It’s so small, you can probably finish it in day. Around Christmas, I took to posting long quotes with illustrations on Facebook and I enjoyed it so much. My new favorite illustrator , P.J. Lynch, has a whole illustrated version of the book, which I will be buying to read to my children someday. 

Of Mess and Moxie

Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker

I decided to read Of Mess and Moxie via audio-book. The audio book version is read by Jen herself, which definitely makes a difference. It’s also fun because she reserves the right to go into off the script tangents, which I enjoyed. It’s also nice to hear the passion in her voice in certain sections. It definitely gives the words a weight they might not have simply reading them. I think Of Mess and Moxie is probably Jen Hatmaker’s strongest book. It seems to have a more universal focus than some of her previous books. I still think that Jen Hatmaker is strongest as a blogger, since she can get distracted easily, but there’s lots of good stuff in Of Mess and Moxie worth reading.

Station Eleven

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Out of all the books on my reading list, I think Station Eleven was my favorite. Station Eleven is a post apocalyptic novel that takes place after an outbreak of disease wipes out the majority of Earth’s population. The book focuses on several characters who are all linked by their knowledge of one actor who died before the outbreak even began. It was beautiful and interesting and I would read it about 5 more times. I highly recommend it.

 

So what should I read for Spring? I want to hear your recommendations! I’m still trying to adjust to my new job and new schedule, so I’ll probably keep it light. What’s been getting you through life lately?

Finished Object Knitting

Bryant Shawlette: Pattern Review and FO

March 17, 2018
Pattern Review and FO Bryant

Hello again! It’s been a while. Between the new job training and a nasty little bug I caught I’ve been out of commission for a while. My reading lists have been on hold for a while too(literally) as I’ve waited months for my books to become available at the library. While I’m not totally back to full health, I can’t put off blogging any longer. I have to share my latest FO with you. 

Meet the Bryant Shawlette! 

Bryant Shawlette

The Pattern:

Bryant Shawlette is a petite shawl by Lavanya Patricella featuring lace and brioche. It’s a perfect kerchief sized shawl and I’ve been wearing it non-stop since I finished it. Despite being such a small project, Bryant took me a long time to complete. I actually started it last year, before I got distracted by my Weekender Sweater. I got a little bogged down with it during the brioche sections.

In short, I am not a clever lady. The Bryant Shawlette is designed to feature two different colors in the brioche section of the shawlette. Since I had made two-color brioche one of my 2018 goals, you’d think I would have used this as an opportunity to try it. You would be wrong. I did the two color brioche section with one color. I knit it like you would knit two colors, but I only used one color, pulling from the inside and outside of the same ball of yarn. This is not smart! I do not recommend, especially if you haven’t done two color brioche before. 

Bryant Shawlette

In terms of finished product, though? Gorgeous. I love it. It’s the perfect size, not too heavy, and amazingly comfortable. The increases in the brioche section give it just enough curve to drape around your shoulders. It’s definitely meant to be worn like a scarf or kerchief, but I usually wear my shawls that way anyways. The only downside is trying to explain what a “shawlette” is to non-knitters. 

Bryant Shawlette

The Yarn:

I used some of the yarn that I won in the 2017 DFW Yarn Crawl for this project. If you remember, I won two particularly large skeins of beautiful Twisted Owl Yarn. Twisted Owl is a small fiber studio from the good ol’ state of Texas. Their Lux Sock is a 80/10/10 Merino, Cashmere, and Nylon blend and comes in an extremely generous 600 yarn skein! I was able to make all of my Bryant Shawlette with one skein and I still have plenty left over.

Bryant Shawlette

The color of this Twisted Owl Lux Sock is just amazing. It’s not something that I would have picked out for myself, but now that I’ve knit with it, I really love it. The color is called Koi Pond. I just love the image it evokes. The bright flashes of orange and gold on that blueish green base really do seem like koi in a pond. 

The other thing that struck me about this yarn is how soft it is. Not just in the finished product. Twisted Own Lux Sock feels amazing to knit with. I mean, duh, cashmere. But I was still pleasantly surprised at how smooth and soft it felt in my hands as I knit with it. If have a chance to get your hands on some Twisted Owl yarn, definitely do it! I’ve been really impressed by it.

What have you been working on lately? I’ve got some baby knits to finish up. My new office is going to keep me busy. Two pregnancy announcements already! Somebody send me some new suggestions for baby knits!