Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Books

My reading goal for 2013 was 50 books. I met that goal, sort of, if I include novellas and audiobooks. Yep, sure do.

My stats:
50 books (up from 38 in 2012)
12,874 pages (up from 9399 in 2012)
4 books were published in or before 1900, filling another goal to occasionally read some classics.

I can't pick just one favorite, so I will give you 3.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
This was a book club read about a young woman, recently aged out of the foster care system, and how she overcomes her own obstacles and helps others using her knowledge of flowers and their meanings.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Whoomp. Talk about your unlikeable characters. Unlikeable, but compelling. Gah! No spoilers, but no wonder it has topped Best Of lists for the last few years. 

The Circle by Dave Eggers
There is no blood, no gore, no monsters under the bed in this book, but gah! Scary! Scary! Scary! This book starts in near-present day and tells the story of a social media company that went from sharing lolcats to controlling social engineering. This has a similar feel to Ready Player One(also excellent) and Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. I loved the audiobook version.

Molly Harper was my most read author. Despite protests that I don't like vampire, romance, or Southern fiction, I consumed her books like candy. The narrator, Amanda Ronconi, was at least half of that. The Half-Moon Hollow series is more comedy and friendship than vampire or romance. It reminds me a lot of the Maggie Sefton Knitting Mystery books. Sure, there is mystery & mayhem, but mostly the story is about a group of friends hanging out a a local bookshop and their shenanigans. Start with the Jane Jameson series. Don't let the cover art put you off. They are cheeseball coverart of the cheeseballiest variety.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Holiday Gifts

I feel like I've been eating party food for weeks. I am stuffed beyond all reason. Someone take the sausage balls, pies, crackers, chips, and various pork products out of my kitchen, please. I'm done. Uncle! 

Let's talk handmade birthday & holiday gifts while I slowly digest over the next 364 days.

The two wreaths above are the Cable Vision wreath made from Lion Brand Thick & Quick. I used a size 15 for both, but next time I'm going up to a 17 so I have a little more play in the fabric when sewing it to the wire frame. I am so pleased with how these knit up! One was for a knitting friend and the other for my mother-in-law. I love how easy it is to tuck adornments in to the wreaths or wire decorations in to it. Ann tucked a sprig of colorful berries and added a big ribbon.

Hitchhiker shawl knit from Noro Katsura for my mom. Mom loves Noro and I love garter stitch.
Lichen kerchief knit from linen for my kerchief-loving knit friend.

Scott wanted a scarf that tied his black jacket together with his brown leather hat. Side-to-side garter stitch stripes to the rescue! I improvised this pattern and you can, too. Pick 3 colors. Go to the random stripe generator, choose how wide you want your stripes, and go. I choose stripe widths 1-8 and made the repeat 70 rows total. Using even & odd with numbers creates the bi-color garter ridges on both sides, making the scarf truly reversible.

I gave several handmade gifts that I can't take full credit for, but I do get half-credit! I dyed yarn for most of the projects, and did much of the finishing work for the scarves above and on the cute jacket below.

Kara, who writes the monthly Finished Object posts for me, wanted slipper socks. That works for me. I had been dying to try out the Tin Can Knits Rye pattern. 
And finally, the dog nieces needed something warm.  All 4 pictures of these little monsters are blurry because the dog nieces are furry, adorable perpetual motion machines

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cyber Monday

The sale continues on through the end of the day today!

  • $2 off mini-skein grab bags
  • $1 off patterns (through Etsy or Ravelry)
  • $2+ off in-stock yarns
  • $2+ off in-stock fibers
  • $1 off perfumes
  • $2 off rolags
  • sales & seconds marked down even further
Discounts have already been taken. Shop here!