Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012: Improving Your Skillset

Day Six of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week! Today’s code, if you wish to follow along the other blogs also participating, is 3KCBWDAY6. You’ll need to enter that into the search engine of your choice and if everyone tagged their posts correctly, you’ll find other bloggers talking about the same subject! Fun, right?

Today’s post is: Improving Your Skillset

Eskimimi says:

How far down the road to learning your craft do you believe yourself to be? Are you comfortable with what you know or are you always striving to learn new skills and add to your knowledge base? Take a look at a few knitting or crochet books and have a look at some of the skills mentioned in the patterns. Can you start your amigurumi pieces with a magic circle, have you ever tried double knitting, how’s your intarsia? If you are feeling brave, make a list of some of the skills which you have not yet tried but would like to have a go at, and perhaps even set yourself a deadline of when you’d like to have tried them by.

I feel pretty confident in the skills I have. Usually on the surveys you find on yarn sites and such I label myself as an expert. That’s not to say I don’t still have things to learn. I think true experts recognize that there are always things to learn in their chosen field.

I still struggle with pattern grading. That’s the fancy term for taking a pattern you’ve designed for one size and doing the math to be able to write the directions for other sizes. Without then working the sample to make sure. Don’t get me wrong, I know how to do it. I just don’t trust myself with it yet. My numbers feel off and it makes me nervous. I have done it, and it’s worked, but it still feels weird. If I ever get back into designing, I will likely give this another go.

I also really want to learn how to do hairpin lace. There are some amazing designs coming out lately with hairpin lace. I know the mechanics of how to do it, I just haven’t worked with it enough to be able to really give it a go.

One of the other skills I really want to pick up is to spin. I have used the drop spindle, and did really well at it. I also own a spinning wheel. But, I’ve never really given it a go. Mainly because when I did have time it was 95 degrees outside (which meant it was 85 in the house) and it was just too hot to play with wool. When it was cold, I was swamped with deadlines. So, hoping to get the spinning wheel moved over here soon (gotta get the room ready for it first) and then give it a spin (ha!).

This may be the year I also give knitting a go again. I did learn how to knit continental a while back and that was passable. I also really like using the Knook to knit with, so maybe I can use that to knit with while I build the muscle memory.

That’s pretty much it for this post. I know, compared to the others it’s kinda short, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

Please join me tomorrow for the last post in the Knitting and Crochet Blog week. You can find other posts on this topic by using the code 3KCBWDAY6 in your search engine. See you tomorrow!

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012: Something A Bit Different

Day Five of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week! Today’s code, if you wish to follow along the other blogs also participating, is 3KCBWDAY5. You’ll need to enter that into the search engine of your choice and if everyone tagged their posts correctly, you’ll find other bloggers talking about the same subject! Fun, right?

 

Today’s post is Something A Bit Different

 

Eskimimi says:

It’s back, and this time it has the most amazing of prizes (look for the prize for ‘most creative post’). This was a massive success last year, and for many it was the highlight of the Blog Week, so this year you are challenged, again, to find a new way of blogging.
This is an experimental blogging day to try and push your creativity in blogging to the same level that you perhaps push your creativity in the items you create.There are no rules of a topic to blog about but this post should look at a different way to present content on your blog. This can take one of many forms, but here a few suggestions:

  • Wordless, photographic post
  • Video blog post
  • Podcast
  • Cartoon/sketch of an idea
  • Write about a subject from a different perspective (for example, you could write about a day in the life of a knitted sock from the point of view of the sock).
  • Interpretive modern dance (why does someone always suggest this?)
  • A poem or piece of rhyming verse
  • Stop motion animation

 

I am actually going to share both some photos, a video, and a poem I wrote at a poetry workshop a few months ago. They all relate to that wonderful time I experienced at Cama Beach last year at the Crochet Liberation Front Retreat.

 

 

The view from the airplane

 

The view from our cabin

 

The view from our hike

 

Words to live by found on the sundial

 

Recovery found in lace and water

 

My souvenir

 

The video, taken the first day we were there. I wanted to capture that sound because it spoke to me so much:



 

And finally, my poem:


Standing on the shore
I struggle to find my balance
Smooth stones below my feet
Majestic mountains in the distance
The two joined together by the sea.
Icy cold wind carries its own perfume
Mixing with the salty, woody minerality of the air
Pervading silence punctuated by the rhythmic rushing
Of water crashing against the shore
Before dancing back to the sea.
The smooth stones were once
The majestic mountains in the distance
Now worn down to their essence by the waves.
My tears come unbidden
Mixing their own salt with the sea.
Like the stones, I feel the cleansing power of the waves
Crashing into my soul
Pulling out the pain
Returning it to the sea
Leaving me at peace.
~ Tracie Barrett, March 2012
 

 

Please join me tomorrow for the next post in the Knitting and Crochet Blog week. You can find other posts on this topic by using the code 3KCBWDAY5 in your search engine. See you tomorrow!

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012: Crocheter for All Seasons?

Day Four of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week! Today’s code, if you wish to follow along the other blogs also participating, is 3KCBWDAY4. You’ll need to enter that into the search engine of your choice and if everyone tagged their posts correctly, you’ll find other bloggers talking about the same subject! Fun, right?

Today’s post is A Crocheter For All Seasons?

Eskimimi says:

As spring is in the air in the northern hemisphere and those in the southern hemisphere start setting their sights for the arrival of winter, a lot of crocheters and knitters find that their crafting changes along with their wardrobe. Have a look through your finished projects and explain the seasonality of your craft to your readers. Do you make warm woollens the whole year through in preparation for the colder months, or do you live somewhere that never feels the chill and so invest your time in beautiful homewares and delicate lace items. How does your local seasonal weather affect your craft?

I live in Florida. Florida is hot. Now, this week we had a bit of a cold snap where we went from temps in the mid 80s to mid 70s for a few days. It was chilly. I sat outside at a baseball game on Monday night, crocheting on my Lace Recovery Shawl, freezing to death. lol.

Because we have very mild winters, sweaters are right out. There’s no point in making them when I can only wear them maybe one day a season and only if we’re going to be outside the entire time. Doesn’t stop me from wanting to make them. And sometimes it doesn’t stop me from actually making them.

 

My first crocheted sweater

 

I tend to make a lot of small, lightweight accessories. Shawls and wraps are great for here in Florida. I tend to make mine out of fingering or laceweight yarn which makes them light. They’re great for cooler mornings and evenings, or for places that run the a/c a little too strong.

 

Diamond Lace Shawl

 

Hats and fingerless gloves and scarves are perfect here for the winter. Often, it’s all I need for a bit of warmth. Fingerless gloves are my favorite because my hands get very cold very quickly, but I often need my fingers free. You’d be amazed at how well they can warm your hands.

 

My favorite Fingerless Mitts

 

I do also love to make blankets (and I do use them now in this house). But, blankets and afghans get really hot when you’re working on them. My trick? Use a table. I learned this when I was designing full time. See, designers tend to do their work in the opposite seasons. I was doing winter items in the summer time. And it was during that time that I learned my trick for doing afghans. If you sit at a table and let the table hold the weight of the afghan, you won’t be as hot. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re in Florida, you’re going to be hot, but at least this way only your hands get hot. I have sat there with two fans blowing on me and an afghan on the table.

 

Zen Waves - made on a table

 

I hope you enjoyed this post! I’d love to hear how the seasons affect your crafting.

 

 

Please join me tomorrow for the next post in the Knitting and Crochet Blog week. You can find other posts on this topic by using the code 3KCBWDAY4 in your search engine. See you tomorrow!

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012: Crochet Hero

Day Three of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week! Today’s code, if you wish to follow along the other blogs also participating, is 3KCBWDAY3. You’ll need to enter that into the search engine of your choice and if everyone tagged their posts correctly, you’ll find other bloggers talking about the same subject! Fun, right?

 

Today’s post is Your Crochet Hero

 

Eskimimi says:

Blog about someone in the fibre crafts who truly inspires you. There are not too many guidelines for this, it’s really about introducing your readers to someone who they might not know who is an inspiration to you. It might be a family member or friend, a specific designer or writer, indie dyer or another blogger. If you are writing about a knitting designer and you have knitted some of their designs, don’t forget to show them off. Remember to get permission from the owner if you wish to use another person’s pictures.

 

This one is pretty easy for me. My crochet hero is Kim Guzman. Let’s get some of the details out of the way first:

You can find out more about her through her various sites:
Her blog: WIPs ‘N Chains
Her main site: Kim Guzman
Her pattern site: Kimane Designs

 

So, why is Kim my hero? Kim is a fantastic designer, in both crochet and knit, and is one of the hardest working designers I know. Don’t get me wrong, all the designers I know work hard. But I’m constantly amazed at Kim’s stamina and ability to consistently produce amazing designs.

I follow her details on how much she’s working and it constantly amazes me. Some days it makes me exhausted just reading all she’s doing. She is somehow able to magically balance designing, teaching, raising her son and growing an amazing garden. And she seems to always balance them with grace.

I was lucky enough to meet Kim at the 2009 Knit and Crochet show. We didn’t have a lot of time to talk at that show, but we did get a chance to grab a photo together. I will admit, I was having a fan girl moment. I was having a fan girl moment most of the show.

 

Kim and Me outside the convention center

 

At the 2010 Knit and Crochet show we ran into one another again. This was my second show and I felt a little more confident and assured in my position as a designer and instructor. Which is evident by the fact that I didn’t take as many photos that year. 🙂 I did grab this one, though:

 

Rebecca Velasquez, Me, & Kim Guzman

Please forgive my lack of smile. I was already exhausted that day and was likely trying to talk to the photographer at the same time as the photo was being snapped. lol.

 

My favorite memory from that week? The last night of the show, sitting outside the hotel in the wee hours of the morning with Kim, having a very deep heart to heart about how hard this business is. I was already feeling the start of the burnout. It was something I should have listened to then so it didn’t get as bad as it did the following June. But, I will always remember that talk. The one thing that stuck with me (that I’ll share, ’cause the rest of it I’m keeping between us) was, “We do this because we love it, it doesn’t pay enough otherwise.” It wasn’t all serious conversation that night, there was a lot of laughter mixed in with those tears we shed together.

 

So yes, Kim is my crochet hero. She has helped me more than she’ll ever know. 🙂

 

 

Please join me tomorrow for the next post in the Knitting and Crochet Blog week. You can find other posts on this topic by using the code 3KCBWDAY3 in your search engine. See you tomorrow!

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012: Photography Challenge Day

Day Two of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week! Today’s code, if you wish to follow along the other blogs also participating, is 3KCBWDAY2. You’ll need to enter that into the search engine of your choice and if everyone tagged their posts correctly, you’ll find other bloggers talking about the same subject! Fun, right?

Today’s post is Photography Challenge Day

Eskimimi says:

Today challenges you to be creative with your photography, and get yourself in with the chance to win the photography prize. Taking interesting photographs in this instance isn’t about flashy cameras or a great deal of technical know-how, it’s about setting up a story or scene in a photograph and capturing something imaginative. Your photograph(s) should feature something related to your craft, so that might be either a knitted or crocheted item, yarn, or one of your craft tools. One example of setting a scene would be to photograph a girl in a knitted red cape walking through the woodlands with a basket of goodies, as in the Red Riding Hood tale, or you might photograph a knitted gnome hiding among the flowers in your garden. Photo editing is permitted for competition photos.

And here’s my photograph:

 

Surrounded by love

 

Now, I need to explain the photo (probably not in the spirit of the post, but it didn’t say wordless). 🙂

Both of my grandmothers and my great-grandmother crocheted. We have at my parents’ house a bag filled with handmade items, both knitted and crocheted (my maternal grandmother knitted more than crocheted, but my paternal grandmother was mostly a crocheter). The only thing we don’t have on these many many items are tags stating who made what. So, I have really no idea who made each of the blankets we have.

When I returned home last year, we found this bag and I snagged the lovely green and gold ripple blanket from it. This thing is heavy. It has some wool in it, which is evident by the felting that has taken place in parts. But it’s warm and it was made with love and I display it proudly in my home now.

The flowered motif blanket I found tucked in the sofa bed that was in my room. It was used to pad the horrid mattress to make it a bit more comfortable. I snagged it, too.

The white blanket was sent to me by my aunt when she found it among my paternal grandmother’s things. It still had the state fair ribbon she won with it attached to it. It’s delicate and lacy and huge for a baby blanket (I can wear it like a wrap). This blanket, along with some of her hooks and unfinished projects, made me cry when I opened the box.

In the middle, that pink granny square, is a blanket I whipped up one day. It’s one of our favorite lap blankets here and is often the first one the boy grabs when he’s sick and wants a cuddle on the sofa.

I chose this picture to showcase my grandmothers’ crochet (because even with the color choices of the day, they’re still freaking awesome) and to surround my own with it. All these blankets (an one more that I made) reside on the quilt rack in our living room. I know that while I didn’t learn to crochet from either of them, I have their skills running through my hands and I’m honored to carry on the tradition of the craft.

 

 

Please join me tomorrow for the next post in the Knitting and Crochet Blog week. You can find other posts on this topic by using the code 3KCBWDAY2 in your search engine. See you tomorrow!

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012: Color Lovers

This is it, the start of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week! I hope you’ll join me every day to follow along on the posts. Also, if you Google the code 3KCBWDAY1 you’ll see all the posts from this day. Each day there will be a different code and you’ll be able to use that to find the other posts.

 

Today’s topic is Color Lovers.

 

Here’s the prompt from Eskimimi:

Colour is one of our greatest expressions of ourselves when we choose to knit or crochet, so how do you choose what colours you buy and crochet or knit with. Have a look through your stash and see if there is a predominance of one colour. Do the same with your finished projects – do they match? Do you love a rainbow of bright hues, or more subdued tones. How much attention do you pay to the original colour that a garment is knit in when you see a pattern? Tell readers about your love or confusion over colour.

This one is easy. My favorite color, as many people know, is purple. However, it’s not just any purple. I like the deep purples, the plums and the grapes and the heathered tweedy purples. I am not a fan of lavender, unless it’s part of a heathered or tweedy colorway. I used to joke with a yarn store owner that she’d always know when I was buying yarn just for swatching because it would always be in purple. Always.

I typically gravitate towards purple when I’m going to make something for myself. Like my entry in the Winter 2008 Ravelympics:

 

Purple Mohair and Beads

 

But I’m not just limited to purple. I also love jewel tones. Deep blues, rich fuchsias, emeraldy greens, bold and deep teals. It’s the richness of those colors that attracts me. Especially when they are mixed with other tones in the same color family.

 

Rich Burgundy Jeweltone

 

Deep woodsy colors appeal to me as well. Any nature inspired color, really, but especially woodsy greens and browns. It’s calming to me.

 

The yarn from my Lace Recovery Project

 

I have been known to sneak some bright colors into my lineup. Usually in the form of sock yarn. I like how a pop of bright colored socks can help brighten any day and any outfit. I think currently these are my brightest ones:

 

Bright teal socks

 

Some pastels do find their way into my palette. Often those yarns need to scream loud at the yarn shop for me to fall for them. They often start by telling me exactly what they want to be so they don’t sit around in my stash for long.

 

Fionnuala Cowl

 

I will confess a secret. I have a hard time putting multiple colors together. When I was freelancing for a yarn company, I often had to have my contact tell me how she wanted the colors to go together. I was sent a box of nine different colors and told to use six of them. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t figure out which of them went together well. So that was the start of “here’s the color sequence we’d like you to use” notes on my project assignment sheets. 🙂 It’s also why many of my designs are with one colorway or coordinating colorways. Or if I want it to be multicolored, I pick a variegated yarn. There’s my confessional for today.

 

I hope you enjoyed today’s post on the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week. Please join me tomorrow for the next installment. And remember, you can see all of today’s posts from other bloggers by entering 3KCBWDAY1 in your search engine. 🙂

Short list of books I’m reading

This week I don’t have as many books to report. I finished a couple, kept reading on some, and blew through a bunch of little books that weren’t worth mentioning (remember when I said I hoard books on my Kindle).

First of all, though, I finished The Night Circus. And I LOVED it! Oh, so good. I’ve passed it on to G to read so I can talk with someone about it. It was amazing. It is one of those few books I might just read again.

I also finished Turning Inside Out. Yeah, I’m not really sure what to say about this one. It was sad to read, because obviously what has happened to this woman in her childhood has really affected her. It was a difficult read and I’m not sure I can recommend it to many people. However, if you’re intrigued with how the human brain handles trauma, then give it a go. But have a light and fluffy book prepared to read after.

Still plugging along on Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values. This is a longer read because it is rather deep and thoughtful. I am still thoroughly enjoying it, though. I just get distracted by different books.

 

New book that I read quickly

 

Looking Through Lace by Ruth Nestvold is a quick little short story that really surprised me.

Description: “As the only woman on the first contact team, xenolinguist Toni Donato expected her assignment on Christmas would be to analyze the secret women’s language — but then the chief linguist begins to sabotage her work. What is behind it? Why do the men and women have separate languages in the first place? What Toni learns turns everything she thought they knew on its head.”

Now, here’s the surprising bit. It mentions crochet. In fact, crochet plays an integral part of the story. Pick this one up! This is another one that I’ve foisted on G to read. 🙂 It’s only about 20,000 words, so really, it’s a quick read.

 

Current book on the Kindle

 

Origins (Spinward Fringe) by Randolph Lalonde.

Description: “It is the distant future and one man, Jonas Valent, is letting his life slip by. He is employed by Freeground station as a port traffic controller, a job he took after completing a tour in the military. His only real joy in life is his participation in true-to-life military simulations with a cadre of friends who come together regularly to defeat challenges made to test the brightest military cadets and officers alike. These restricted scenarios stand as an addictive preoccupation that is so enticing that they ignore the potential repercussions of breaking in to participate.

When someone betrays their identities to the Freeground Fleet Admiralty, Jonas and his friends are faced with a far greater challenge: to venture out into the more populated regions of the galaxy to acquire technology and knowledge. They are tasked with laying the groundwork for the Freeground Nation in their efforts to reconnect with the rest of humanity, and to secure the armaments they might need to defend themselves from encroaching enemies.

Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: Origins is a collected trilogy that chronicles the early adventures of an ambitious crew. Their leader, Jonas Valent, has the least to lose and everything to gain as he tells the tale of his first tour as Captain of a ship tasked with making allies and discovering new technologies for the good of his people. This simple mission becomes more complicated as the crew ventures further into the settled fringes of the galaxy.”

I’m not sure what I think of this one yet. It’s interesting, and it’s keeping me intrigued. Science Fiction is usually not a genre I gravitate to on a regular basis. But, the story line sounded interesting. We’ll see how long this one takes me to read and if I get sidetracked by other Kindle books.

 

The other books I’ve gone through are either silly little books that didn’t excite me or tell me anything new, or books of a more personal nature that I’m not going to share here. 🙂

 

There won’t be a post next Saturday about books as I’m participating in the Knitting and Crocheting Blog week starting on Monday and running through Sunday. I’ll pick back up on the following Saturday. Hopefully with a lot to share!

What I’m crocheting this week

My utmost apologies for not posting this week. We got hit with a nasty cold bug here at home and I was fighting it off as well as trying to take care of a sick child. I’m just now getting caught up on everything.

I did manage to get some crocheting in this week, though.

For one, the boy has now decided he likes being a car rider (before this, he was still going to the Boy’s Club after school for about an hour to play). I don’t mind because I have learned the secret that crocheting moms everywhere have been using. Crocheting in the car rider line. See, I figured it out. It’s better to get to the school thirty minutes before the dismissal bell because then you get a good spot in line. And bonus, you get about thirty minutes of uninterrupted quiet time. I usually put the windows down, turn off the car engine, listen to a podcast, and crochet. It’s fantastic. So, I’m working on the Lace Recovery Shawl while I wait. I just started the second repeat of the edging (there are three before the final two rows). My goal is to get it done before our anniversary on May 5th.

Last Friday was also our gaming guild night. Because we did a “College of Gaming” night (which means it’s a lecture and discussion on some aspect of game play, this last time it was being a good player), I was able to sit and crochet without any interruption. It was great. What was not great was ripping back two rows two different times because I kept making mistakes. Remember, a shell is not always five double crochets. Sometimes, it’s seven. And this doesn’t become apparent until you’re on the next row. Oh well. It was a great time and I got about eight rows done (would have been more, obviously) on my Forever Shawl. We also discussed how my crocheting at the table makes me a better gamer. It gives my hands something to do so my brain can focus on the task at hand.

I also got to showcase the latest thing I actually finished, a dice bag. G got a new set of dice a couple of weeks ago. He has a huge dice bag filled with all manner of dice, but it takes him forever to find what he needs for the game. So, I decided to make him a smaller bag that he could carry his new dice in, plus some extras. Since the dice he got were “Urban Camo”, I dug into my stash and found some Urban Camo Red Heart Super Saver. I crocheted with a smaller hook than called for so I could get a sturdy bag.

G's new dice bag

He showed it off like a fantastic boyfriend and I got two commissions before we even started our meeting. So, this week I’ll stash dive again and make a couple of bags. I haven’t decided yet whether or not to write up a pattern. It’s really simple, just a circle and then build up the sides. It only took me about 90 minutes to crochet and used up stash yarn, so a win win all around.

This weekend I hope to get some crochet time in, but I doubt it. I have a cooking class tomorrow morning and then plans for the evening. Sunday is church, but we do have our Annual Meeting and I try to crochet during those so I can stay out of trouble. 🙂 We’ll see.

Next week starts the Knitting and Crocheting Blog Week 2012. I’ll be participating again this year, so plan to see posts every day!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Books I’m Reading

Welcome to a new post called Books I’m Reading. I’m a voracious reader and I thought it’d be neat to share with you all the books I’m currently reading (or have recently finished).

Small note before we begin, all of these links will lead you to Amazon and do go through the Amazon Affiliates program. Whether you buy any of these books, or something else, if you use these links it’ll throw a little money my way. I’d greatly appreciate it. Thanks!

Let’s go, shall we?

 

 

Most favorite book EVER!

My current obsession is a book I wanted to get for a while and when it hit our local library’s new shelf, I snatched it up. It’s The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It sat on the side table for nearly a week because I was trying to finish up another book. When I finally sat down on Wednesday afternoon to read it, I started flying through it. It’s so absolutely good. I finally had to stop myself on Wednesday night or I would have stayed up all night to read it. Very very rarely does a book grab me like this.

But it’s beautiful and vivid and amazing and I can’t tell you much without giving stuff away. So, instead, we’ll use the description from Amazon:

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.”

I need to finish this, but I almost don’t want to. It’s so good I know I’m going to be sad when it ends.

 

 

The book that’s making me think

Another book I’m reading right now is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig. It’s…interesting. I don’t know how else to describe it yet. I’m just over halfway through it. It’s really challenging me to think, and I like that.

Here’s the book description (again, from Amazon):

“Acclaimed as one of the most exciting books in the history of American letters, this modern epic became an instant bestseller upon publication in 1974, transforming a generation and continuing to inspire millions. This 25th Anniversary Quill Edition features a new introduction by the author; important typographical changes; and a Reader’s Guide that includes discussion topics, an interview with the author, and letters and documents detailing how this extraordinary book came to be. A narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, the book becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions of how to live. The narrator’s relationship with his son leads to a powerful self-reckoning; the craft of motorcycle maintenance leads to an austerely beautiful process for reconciling science, religion, and humanism. Resonant with the confusions of existence, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a touching and transcendent book of life.”

 

 

The book currently loaded on the Kindle

The two books above are the rare regular books I’m reading. I typically read everything on my Kindle. I love my Kindle because I can hoard books and not take up space. 🙂 I tend to go through and find books in big batches online, load them on the Kindle, and then read every night before bed. I have weird taste in books, and I like a lot of non-fiction books. This is one of them.

Turning Inside Out by Phyllis Lily Jules is an autobiography by the granddaughter of the guy who created the Master Cleanse. I just started it Thursday night, but so far it’s very interesting. If I finish it by next week’s post, I’ll tell you what I think.

Here’s the description from Amazon:
“In an outer world that is impossible, an inner world grows out of the wreckage. Built by a little girl too young to know how it might be done, she did it her way and then lived with it all. This is her story. Searing, shocking, yet holding treasures deep where it matters.

Granddaughter to the man who invented The Lemonade Diet, the Master Cleanse, she knew a different man from what the world pegged as a new-age healer. Behind Stanley Burroughs’ public face was another one. That was the face she saw. That was the man she knew. Knew too well.

This is an autobiography set in the present, during the time of its own writing, but rich with the experiences of a shattered childhood. It shows the consequences of abuse, corruption, and evil on a small child and the woman she grew into – a woman saved by her unique means of engaging with her own psychology. And equally saved by her unique appreciation of beauty. Beauty that can be found even in an ugly world.”

 

 

The book I’m proud to have finally finished

Long book was long. Really long. I’m a fast reader and this one took me nearly three weeks. I think some of it was the writing style. Not that it was an older book, I’ve read plenty of classics and can easily follow older styles of writing. I think it was because the author would get me to a point where I was really following something and then jump to something else. But, I really did enjoy this book. It’s a classic and I’m trying to read all of those that I didn’t read as a kid. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray. I almost didn’t think I’d get through it, but I’m not one to quit a book once I pass a certain point. So, I got through it.

Description:
“Becky Sharp is a poor orphan when she first makes friends with the lovely Amelia Sedley at Miss Pinkerton’s Academy for Young Ladies. She may not have the natural advantages of her companion but she more than makes up for it with her wit, charm, deviousness and determination to make a success of herself whatever the cost. Vanity Fair is the story of Becky’s spectacular rise and fall as she gambles, manipulates and seduces her way through high society and the Napoleonic wars.”

 

 

I hope you enjoyed seeing what I’m reading and may think about checking some of these out. If you do, let me know what you think!

What I’m working on

Hey, look, a crochet post!

I was going to post yesterday, I had a rant brewing for a while. But when I sat down to write it, it was coming out a bit too ranty and that was not good. So, you’ll have to wait a bit for that. Apparently I’m really good at ranty type posts. 🙂

Anyway, I wanted to post on the things I’m currently working on. Now that I’m not designing, I’m able to enjoy other designer’s patterns. There’s something freeing in just being able to sit there and follow directions and not have to think about it.

So, what have I been working on? Well, as usual a lot of different patterns. I have a problem with starting projects and not really getting them finished. I do have an excuse for it, and it’s a good one. See, often my crochet time is limited to when I’m out somewhere that I need to keep my hands busy. Therefore, I need something that is portable, isn’t about to hit finishing status right away, and usually something I don’t have to pay very close attention to. My main crochet time is sadly at gaming guild night (yay, that’s tonight!). Which adds another kink in it that I have to be able to work on it without having to count too high. When people are shouting out numbers for dice rolls, it can easily screw up your internal counting. Ask me how I know. 😉

Right now I have four current projects, although one of them is kinda hibernating (I’ll explain in a bit).

The first project I want to talk about is halfway done. It’s actually to a point that I can stop, as long as we don’t have people over for dinner. I’ve made placemats for our table.

Granny Circle Placemat

I loved the simplicity of Purl Soho’s Granny Circle Placemats. I needed to make a wise yarn choice since we have a 12 year old at our dinner table. I needed something that would be washable, or at least easy enough to replace if it was something really bad. I started with Sugar and Cream cotton, but it was too thick and I didn’t like the way it was working out. So, back to the store for me. I found Joann’s Cuddle, which is a DK weight. I really liked how smooth it worked up. I got it in a lovely brown color. See, our dining room is a beautiful shade of lavender (I did not choose that color, it was like that before I got here, which I will admit gave Mr. G another point in his favor, lol). Our plates are a nice denim blue. I wanted something that would work with both of those colors and yet not show stains super easily. So, brown it was. These do work up pretty quickly. I am officially half way through as I’ve made three. I have four skeins of yarn (and I’m getting two placemats out of just over a skein) and I am planning on making a total of six with some coasters if I have yarn left over. I finished mine off with a round of single crochet in the back loop to give it a nice edge.

My second project I want to talk about is what I’ve called my Lace Recovery Project. It’s the Maia Shawl by Lisa Naskrent. I started this before I left for Cama Beach last October. I worked on it on the very long flights from Florida to Seattle, sat at the waterfront and crocheted, and worked on it the entire way home. I’ve worked on it off and on since then (it needed a little too much attention to work on during guild nights). I’m FINALLY on the edging. I’m using Knit Picks Shimmer Hand Dyed lace yarn and I love it. It’s a fantastic yarn to work with. I forsee using this again.

Lace Recovery Project
(My apologies for the slightly out of focus, our lighting is weird in the house and this isn’t a final project photo).

I’m hoping to get this project finished soon. I just have to make myself sit down and work on it. Unfortunately, I’ve had a book steal my crochet time at night (more on that tomorrow). But, I plan to really make an effort in the next couple of weeks to get it done.

The next project is another lace shawl, and was started two weeks ago for guild night. This lace shawl is easy to work on while gaming and talking, so it’s a great portable project. A simple two row repeat makes it super quick. It’s the Southbay Shawlette by Lion Brand. If you look at the projects listed on Ravelry, you can see that there are a lot of lace variations and they’re beautiful. That’s what convinced me to use this pattern for this yarn (Cascade Yarns Alpaca Lace). It’s moving along pretty well, and I think between tonight’s gaming guild, an annual meeting at our congregation in a couple of weeks, and hanging out at the LYS, I should finish it soon.

Forever Shawl

The last project I have no picture for. I also don’t forsee getting it done any time soon (sorry, love). It’s a pair of fingerless mitts for G. I started them when it was still really cold (for Florida, lay off). I used the leftover Cascade Superwash I’d used to make him a hat for his birthday. I got one finished (although I did not finish them off until he tried them on) and started the second one. BUT…I need to go back and change hook sizes once it gets to the hand part as it was a bit tight for him. That seemed daunting to me (not really, but I’d much rather crochet something new than rip out and start over) and then it got hot. We went from piling blankets on the bed to running the a/c pretty much non-stop in the span of two days. So, right now, I know he doesn’t need them. And when I finally organized the chaos that was my stuff piled up in the next room, I kinda put them in a bag under a lot of other things. So…no photo. 🙂

I plan on making this a regular type of post, since if nothing else it will keep me honest about finishing projects before I start another one (or four). So, now I ask you…what are you working on as we slide into the weekend?

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