Category Archives: Book Reviews

Week #1 of 52 Week Challenge & Some Finished Objects


First Glove….From a Chart!

First Glove….From a Chart!

Oh how my hubby had no idea what he was doing when he picked out his favorite pattern out of my newly acquired book. 60 Quick Knits was a Christmas present this year from my dad, his adorable opinion on knitting is that it all should be quick! I am actually really enjoying it so far, just remember to check Ravelry for errata – I have found a lot of entires that were just a little off. So this is the Cabled-Cuff Mitten Pattern, knitted with Patons Worsted Wool. So where did I learn something new this week? I learned (try not to gasp) how to read a chart!

~ You Couldn’t Read a Chart Before this Past Week? ~

Well, no. I have no problem following a chart in the round, at least in the past few months – but a chart knitted flat – akin to bamboo shards under my fingernails. I hated the idea that one symbol having two meanings, I just couldn’t understand why on earth they couldn’t just make a “knit as written” chart.

When they hubby pointed to the mittens that he liked the best, I saw that flat chart and cringed. I’m not gonna lie, the first 7 rounds were….difficult. I pushed through and by the end of the first repeat I finally understood the purpose. I was getting the hang of it after the second repeat and by the third I was gladly going left to right, right to left and realizing that there was a ligament reason for making a chart this way. Final thoughts – YEA FOR FINALLY BEING ABLE TO READ A CHART!

~ How About Some Finished Objects! ~

Christmas, birthdays, New Year’s …. blah blah blah…. has slowed my FO list down quite a bit. However, I still feel like sharing.

It may not be super interesting to look at, but this is a custom order for a new customer. Her sister-in-law went to school in Jamaica where her school colors where purple and gold. I took one of my stitch dictionaries and found a way to combine a standard rib with a zig-zag. I know that it would show better on smaller needles and s solid color, but it actually turned out really well. I added a slip-stitch border to keep the sides nice and clean and she was very pleased. *Dramatically wiping my brow!*

SInce WordPress isn’t letting me preview the post – and I cannot remember which order I put these in – please just roll with me.

  1. The three (rather boring/ rather repetitive) things I have been commissioned to do this week is  20 dishcloth – 10 Christmas Colors and 10 Pink (these are not done yet).
  2. Another Christmas Stocking – which is actually quite nice, but you’ve already seen a gazillion pictures of them. Sorry friends and neighbors.
  3. AND of course, a few ruffles. I have an order for 5 OSU Buckeye Ruffle Scarves – all done *insert deep sigh of relief*
Yea Cabes and Bobbles!

Yea Cables and Bobbles!

This is yet another concoction of the genius that is 60 Quick Knits – with some big changes on my part. The pattern is the Bobbles & Cables Cap by Suvi Simola and is a decent pattern. I changed the 1. The cast-on 2. The bobbles (which I made bigger) 3. The cable progression was continued another round 4. and I slightly felted the hat when I was finished (no pic of that yet…because I suck).

I made the hat larger and longer to felt the pattern because it does wonderful things to bobbles and finicky cables. It tightens everything up and gives is a delicious fit. I made the cap with Ella Rae Classic Superwash in Kiwi and chucked in into the dryer. The result? Pretty amazing – slight felting give the hat a denser feel and makes the bobbles seem more natural and less like a hanging hemorrhoid 😉

I need a Post-Felt Picture….bad Rachel.

I need a Post-Felt Picture….bad Rachel.

Okay friends and neighbors, that’s all for me today. I will be back with more on my sock stashing, thanks to Knitting Sarah and her #sockswithsarah year-long Sock KAL. I am working the instep on my fourth pair of socks – pretty epic! I need to finish those mittens (yea for reading charts!) and I’ve unearthed my Fiori Autunnali and my Jayashri Pullover. Until next time – remember, if the gimp can try it you can too! 🙂

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There is Always Time for a Quickie….


Post! Your dirty minds should have seen that coming a mile away! 😉

I cannot believe I have somehow managed to neglect my blog for a week and a half – it this blog was a child the state would be involved. There was drama but frankly I am just not in the mood to dissect all of it at the moment (or ever). Not to mention the fact that whenever I go near my computer I am bombarded with all the things that need to be done of the silly machine like:

  • Making new business cards.
  • Making care instructions for all the new knits.
  • Updating my Ravelry page.
  • Updating my Etsy page.
  • Replying to a million emails I would rather avoid (the ones I want to respond to I try to do in a more timely fashion).
  • and of course…Updating my blog.

It’s been a bit of a struggle since I’ve been on a ruffle scarf binge again. I wanted to be able to buy a pair of needles for the Katniss Cowl. I got the needles but managed to much up the pattern so badly that I am seriously considering just doing it all over again – I owe it to my niece  and more importantly I owe it to Lolly over at Lolly Knits. Silly genius made me a perfect pattern and I’ve mucked it up.

Let’s talk about what the hell I’ve been up to – if you’d like to, of course.

** BOOKS **

  • I read Delirium to see if it would be something Gloria would be interested in, since I have heard such wonderful things about Before I Fall. The whole romance thing is something she wouldn’t be interested in and I found it a bit lacking, especially since reading quite a bit of really good YA fiction. If this can count as a review here it is – this book is the first in a trilogy and I haven’t bought any of the other books yet. Enough said.
  • The End of Your Life Book Club was…Amazing. It is one of those that after you finish reading you almost cannot start a new book, it feels too close to cheating. I love this book, and if you are a lover of books, reading, family and life then seriously go find a copy.
  • I am so glad I am almost done with The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club – it’s bloody awful! Set outside of London the completely formulaic story may not have sucked that bad if the author would capitalize ever-single-solitary word she wants to emphasize. Every time I saw something Capitalized it took me right out of the story.

** MUSIC **

I could try to explain why I love this music but eh, I just wanna share what I’ve been listening to. Here is Imagine Dragons Radioactive though, the music video is painfully stupid but if you just listen to the song it’s all good!

** KNITTING AWARDS **

The lovely bloggers who’ve nominated me for these wonderful awards deserve a proper “Thank You” shout out, which I will put in the Award section on the upper part of my blog. But if I blog it here their blogs might get read twice!

Go check out some amazing blogs and keep posted for their long overdue tributes on the Awards section of the blog.

** KNITTING **

  • The Reversible Cabled Scarf was a stash-buster which made me so utterly happy that I made two. I found it on Ravelry originally, but when I went to find the link it’s gone. I remember it was free though so if you have an interest lemme know.
  • The Herringbone Stitch cowl is made with the same roving yarn was the cabled scarves, in honor of Lolly and her Katniss Cowl pattern. Plus, I wanted the yarn out of my stash.
  • The cowl was a purchased pattern from my LYS and it turned out amazing! And yes, I did find another WIP in the bottom of my bag – it’s like Mary Poppins’ freaking knitting bag!
  • The baby hat was from Itty-Bitty Knits with a few alterations on my part, when the I-cord is place I will get a proper picture. I am pretty sure it is going to be adorable.

** THE END CREDITS **

If you’ve made it through my ramblings good for you because I don’t think I could! I can’t wait to get down and dirty with the Knit Along details, get some more knitting under my belt and do Lolly some justice with that cowl. You know, if I didn’t have a full-time job I could get a lot more done! 😉 Well Friends and Neighbors, hope all is well, cannot wait to catch up with all of you and hope to hear from you soon!

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This is the scolding look I get from Max when I don’t blog enough. Scary, isn’t it?

Two Attempts at Book Reviews


There will be more pictures soon of all the goodies I have been knitting – I have been far more productive than normal here recently. I need to take pictures and update my Etsy store, but all I really want to do is knit….and read.

I am horrible at book reviews. Second only to reading books I love to discuss them, which typically means I am giving away the ending, spoiling it for readers everywhere. I have been pondering how to go about this weakness, how I can give you a glimpse of what enthralled me with the book without ruining the story? So, friends and neighbors, here it goes.

** Double Feature by Owen King **

You may enjoy this book if the following scenarios tickle your curiosity.10001

  • Seeing a movie where a male satyr having sex with a tree.
  • A pyromaniac ruining your life one match at a time.
  • A father that is way worse than your own (or at least I hope).
  • A sister who maces people at random.
  •  The quirks of actors and swords.
  • Anything involving fake noses or Orson Welles.
  • A complicated family life that is both sweet, annoying, heartbreaking and hysterical.
  • Fears of being crushed to death by a very large man’s thighs.
  • My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Okay, hopefully I still have your attention and haven’t ruined anything for you yet. Let’s try another shall we?

** The Execution of Noa P. Singleton **

Here I am going to lay out what I really liked about the book.

The Execution of Noa P. Singleton

The Execution of Noa P. Singleton

  • The writing, while a bit stunted and jumbled, still propelled me to continue on. Lackluster writing usually puts me off a novel, but it was easier to overlook because I wanted to see what would happen next.
  • At some point in the novel I wanted to 1) smack 2) hug 3) cry for and 4) condemn each and every character.
  • The plot development is slow, but in a really delicious manner. There is no rush, which (for me) was how I imagine sitting on death row would be like. Why rush to the end when you know it’s coming?
  • While I didn’t particularly “like” any of the characters I was still emotionally invested in them. Again, this is something rare for me.
  • While the last few chapters were both equally surprising and slightly odd – I didn’t mind it. It seemed to fit with what the author was trying to get around – in a very roundabout way.
  • My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

***********  ***********  ***********  ***********

So there it is. I have been reading more and more blogs that review books since the Read-a-Thon only to find myself envious of their ability to give a complete and compelling summary without disrupting the elusiveness of the story. I am tying to figure out how to approach review books for this blog – or even if I should be reviewing books on my blog. I love reading more than I love knitting – it has seniority in my life.

So friends and neighbors – honestly – what do you think? Any constructive criticism (or out right criticism) would be great. I want to share my love of reading the way I share my knitting and photography. What could be better? Did you like one style more than another? Should I abandon all hope and stick to knitting? Bring it on – I’m ready! 😉

The Flood


Before I begin the retelling of this story I want to get you in my mindset – why this was so frightening. Trevor. Cannot. Swim.

Something Mild

Something Mild

The vacation was a surprise gift from my mother and father in law, something neither one of us saw coming. After seeing how difficult this year has been for us they wanted to give us the vacation we crave, and what we craved more than anything was the cabin in the woods. This was where my family always escaped to in the summer, the place where Trevor and I went on our honeymoon. This was our happy place.

Luckily, before the sky opened up I remembered to take some photos.

As you can see the cabin we stayed in was built up on the hill, away from the lake. We never thought in our right minds that this was going to be a saving grace.

The first day it rained, but only slightly. It was more like a humid blanked had been draped over us, we couldn’t have cared less. It was our place, and it was our time to be away from phones, computers, work, money and every other care in the world. We listened to music, we danced (I know, so darn sweet it makes my teeth hurt), we cooked, we read, we walked….we did all the things we always did when we came here. This was Friday. By Saturday, things started to change.

By the time we lost power on Saturday we had 5 inches of rain and the lake, a runoff from the river, had risen to engulf what was left of the land between cabins. Our cabin was the highest of them all, and thus suffered the least amount of damage (and no damage to the car). We though this was going to be a great story! We played Scrabble, took a nap and went about preparing to read for 24 hours straight – heaven in our books.

But it just kept raining.

We kept reading, eating fresh fruit and drinking copious amounts of coffee, and we listened to it rain. We came to the decision very early in the morning that it was time to get out.  Well, that just wasn’t going to happen.

road-river

At this point, the Evil Dead was playing over and over in my mind. Trapped in a cabin, no phone and no way to contact our family. We were trapped here – and my husband cannot swim. I will be the first to admit that after I took the photo my Panic Monster reared its ugly head and I had a full-fledged meltdown on the road. Trevor was calming, comforting, and more than anything he was reasonable. We would go back to the cabin and read, waiting for the storm to stop. Ash Caves floods all the time, and the flash floods dissipate in hours due to the great civic engineers that plan for this.

So back to the cabin. The rain never relented its beating on the roof and slowly the pages of our books begin to wilt with moisture. Between the two of us though (I figured I should add this) we finished:

By noon, the poor couple across the lake tried to make a run for it. Their car seemed to disappear into the mud and the water rose very, very quickly. The clawed (yes, they clawed) their way out of the car and back to the cabin. This is when the network of people trapped in the valley went to their canoes and began helping one another. I wish I had taken pictures of this, but truth be told I was so scared of having Trevor in that water that I forgot to breath. With my foot he was adamant I stay inside, so me and my panic attack medication became old friends again.

We traded food, books, movies (some had portable DVD players and laptops that still had batteries) and board games. It wasn’t long after this that the man who owns the property showed up in his boat, ready to get us to the pay phone to call whoever we needed. Trevor took this picture when he made it up and called our parents and my brother respectively.

View from the Phone.

View from the Phone.

As you can see the rain had finally stopped, but the damage was done – we weren’t going anywhere. The gentleman told all of us not to fret – I am going to quote verbatim here:

“Of course I’m not going to charge you! Trying to leave here is as useless as tits on a nun!”.

So we ate marshmallows, read, played massive amounts of Scrabble and waited for either the cabin to go into the water or the water to recede. Finally, the next day the water seemed to be going down at a comical rate, like a giant stuck a straw in the lake and was taking monster gulps. The irrigation systems were back on track, we still had no power but who could care about that! I should thank my Dad for instilling in me the need to 1) Over-pack both clothes and food and 2) have a small, odd fetish for flashlights/lanterns/candles and everything else you could need to see in the dark.

We called home again, this time able to walk more than we paddled and for the first time in days I took a big deep breath. This was still our happy place – some stupid flash flood wasn’t going to take that away from us. When we were finally able to maneuver the car out we thought we were footloose and fancy free.

Ha!

The funniest (or saddest, I am choosing funniest) is that when we hit a hole backing out the trunk popped open and the bag with my knitting and our books when right into the water. I got out of the car and just hollered and laughed, go figure huh? We waded in thigh high water to retrieve what we could (we lost two books and two and a half knitting projects) but who cared? We laughed the whole way home.

Looking back it is already taking on the quality of a good story, a damned good story in my opinion. If all works out, this is what my NANOWriMo novel is going to be this year, there are too many “what if’s?” to ignore the possibility of a great story. As for Trevor and I, we are glad o be home, clean, feed and curled up with Max who refuses to leave our side. All in all, I have to say it was a truly epic anniversary!

 

RaT Day #5 – Cover Title Scramble & A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On!


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TitleScramble2

So the challenge for today is pretty self explanatory – Love.Life.Read has given us the lists and we are to try to crack 5 for each month. I have to say that my OCD driven mind is SO PLEASED with this challenge – this type of puzzle is right in my wheel house! Do I have it in me to figure it out? Well, lets give it a whirl shall we?

May Titles:

  1.  hte   h5t   vewa – The 5th Wave ( By Rick Yancey)
  2.  eht   scetrsahnen – The Enchantress (Michael Scott)
  3. ginwre – Winger (Smith Andrew and Sam Bosma)
  4.  sujt   neo   skis – Just One Kiss (By Susan Mallery)
  5. yan   shduesc  lwil   od – Any Duchess Will Do (By Tessa Dare)
  6.  ti   dha   ot   eb    uyo – It Had To By You (Jill Shalvis)
  7. tols  dan   dfnuo – Lost and Found (Nicole Williams)
  8.  het   yelbon  gnki – The Boleyn King ( Laura Andersen)
  9.  neoc  noup   a   niprec – Once Upon a Prince ( Rachel Hauck)
June Titles:
  1. het   nomo   dan  remo  – The Moon and More (Sarah Dessen)
  2. egies  dna   ormts – Siege and Storm (Leigh Bardugo)
  3. rtas    dsceur  – Star Cursed (Jessica Spotswood)
  4. teswe  lsat   ira  – Sweet Salt Air (Barbara Belinsky)
  5. het   crenwmeo – The Newcomer (Robyn Carr)
  6. veorfre   oto   rfa – Forever too Far (Abbi Glines)
  7. het  miatng   fo  deyrr  uanacvhga – The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh (Stephanie Laurens)
  8. wot  fo  a  dnki – Two of a Kind (Susan Mallery)
  9. neo   etswe  deri – One Sweet Ride (Jaci Burton)
  10. hwta  hte   kedu   sesdeir – What the Duke Desires (Sabrina Jeffries)
  11. 11) kifagn   ti – Faking It (Cora Carmack)
July Titles:
 

1) fi   het  ohes   tisf  – If the Shoe Fits (Megan Mulry)
2) eth   eegd   fo  vnere – The Edge of Never (J. A. Redmerski)
3) rfits  gisht   a   veonl  – First Sight: a Novel (Danielle Steel)
4) utre   lvoe  – True Love (Jude Deveraux)
5) ehtre   tletil   rdswo –  Three Little Words (Susan Mallery)
6) eht   gniht  si  velia – The Night is Alive (Heather Graham)
7) feprcte  gifln  – Perfect Fling (Carly Phillips)
8) scoeh  hte   gronw   ugy   veag   imh  het  gwonr  gefrni –  Chose the Wrong Guy Gave Him the Wrong Finger (Beth Harbison)
9) meoh  ot   kewihsy   kecre – Home to Whiskey Creek (Brenda Novak)

August Titles:
  1.  lafl   fo   veif – Fall of Five (Pittacus Lore)
  2. wrnco    fo    gdminhit – Crown of Midnight (Sarah J. Maas)
  3. hte   desah  fo  het   onom – The Shade of the Moon (Susan Beth Pfeffer)
  4. sero  bahrro   ni  mlobo – Rose Harbor in Bloom (Debbie Macomber)
  5. eht   rohe – The Hero (Robyn Carr)
  6. gib   ysk diwengd  – Big Sky Wedding (Linda Lael Miller)
  7. yatacasw  veoc  a  ltehrse  yab   venlo – Castaway Cove: A Shelter Bay Novel (JoAnn Ross)
  8. siht   rilg   a   veonl  – This Girl: a Novel (Colleen Hoover)
  9. mtetapinto – Temptation (Sherryl Woods)

Yes, I did all of them…the Panic Monster insisted that I finish what I started. I should also mention that I have never heard of a single one of these books….how out of the loop am I?

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 ** Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On **

Let’s do book shimmies! We made it through the week-long part of the read-a-thon!!! Congratulate yourself and your new bookish friends on their progress so far. Did you get as much read as you wanted to so far? Have you changed your goals for the 24-hr marathon read?
Despite what feels like doing loads of reading, I haven’t finished nearly as many books as I thought I would. So far I have finished:
And I am currently reading: Double Feature by Owen King
Joe Hill and author Owen King read "Double Feature".

Joe Hill and author Owen King read “Double Feature”.

So have I changed my plans for the 24 hour RaT? Not so much. I am going to read for a whole 24 hours, but I don’t want to feel pushed to put up big numbers. It doesn’t really matter how many books I read, just that I get to put aside time to catch up on all the reading that seems to have fallen by the wayside (or is buried under yarn). Either way I am very excited to participate – and also to see if I can sit still and read for 24 straight hours!

Read-A-Thon Day #4 – Book Spine Poetry & Tears on My Pillow


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SpinePoetry2Okay Dokey folks, time for some book spine poetry brought to you by Oh, Chrys!! I thought about going through my library and amassing this amazing poem…then I decided that would feel like cheating. As my Summer Reading List is always evolving – based on what we get from the library primarily – I tried to do the best with the actual books on my list. So, as sad as this may be (much like my real poetry, which is why I would never share it) here is my Read-A-Thon Book Spine Poetry Challenge!

Delirium in the woods,

Gulp.

The shinning girls double feature,

The good nurse.

Wow, that was painful! Hope you’ll stay with me through the second part of this post after that atrocity! Just trying to stay authentic, that’s how I roll! 🙂

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›››› Tears on My Pillow ‹

  • The Girl in the Green Raincoat

    The Girl in the Green Raincoat

    Author: Laura Lippman

  • Style: Quality Paperback
  • Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
  • Length: 158 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-06-193836-8
  • Year: 2008
  • Publisher: Morrow
  • Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Share a quote from your current read or tell us about a book that really pulled on your heart strings. What was it about that book/quote that made you cry?

She knew what it was like to fight for her own life, but this had been different. She was defending her daughter. Now she could only hope that she hadn’t killed her in the process.

Page 147

Obviously this quote was at the end of the book just by looking at the page number. I had invested hours of my time becoming immersed in this story – invested in the characters. Laura Lippman’s Tess Monaghan novels are of course part of a series, so this book brought me back to characters I have followed for years. I have been following Tess through all sorts of painful and dangerous shenanigans in Baltimore, so when this novella came out after being published in The New York Times Magazine I jumped on it.

In this book, my Tess – after years of rejecting the idea of settling down – is seven months pregnant and on bed rest. Firstly, I was amazed that Lippman went this direction with the character, as a private detective a baby just didn’t seem to fit. I went in a bit weary but Lippman didn’t disappoint me because Tess was as wary of it as I was!

This quote pulled at my heartstrings and indeed made me tear up because I understood, at a very personal level, the idea of protecting your unborn child no matter the consequences. She was so worried about becoming a mother, her lack of motherly instinct, but when the time came it just kicked in. I’ve been told that is how it really is when you have a child. We have never gotten to the baby part, and I was holding my breath to see if Tess did. Want to find out if she got there? Well…READ THE BOOK!

Read-a-Thon Day #3 – Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee!


Hello again friends and neighbors! I am really sorry to be doing this whole two posts a day thing but so much love and effort has been put into this read-a-thon that I think they deserve their own posts. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did!

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** Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee! Participation Post **

Introduce us to your favorite fictional female – What does she look like? Is there an actress that you think of when you think of the character? Is she tough or timid? You could do a mock interview with your character, or create a bio/resume for her.

With so many strong female character’s out there, how can I choose just one? Well, I can because I have to for the purpose of this post I suppose – so let’s see.

I think my all time favorite female fictional character (wow, try saying that one 5 times quickly) would be Frannie Goldsmith from Stephen King’s The Stand. I know I talk about this book all the time but I just love it! This is a collection of completely amazing characters facing the most horrific situations – good or bad they flourish in that role, right to the very end.

Frannie is…amazing to me. When I first started to write up how I felt about this character I was being overly dramatic about the whole thing. I was trying to write like a literary critic – which I am not – so I scrapped the whole thing. Instead, I would like to outline for you the reason that I love her as a character.

  • She remains undaunted by the horrible plague that swept the world. While it of course affected her, it was her resilience to take it day by day that I was so impressed with. Frannie did what needed to be done, stiff upper lip, strong willed and determined to keep living.
  • Pre-plague she didn’t want to marry Jess, the boy who got her pregnant. She was young, but old enough to recognize that what she wanted was the baby – not the man.
  • She fell in love with Stu Redman (my favorite male character in the book) in a very non-sensational way. They were thrown together and yes, she felt safer with a man, but she would not settle for Harold or anyone else. She found love in tragedy, and embraced it much the way she would have pre-plague.
  • She had the strength to carry on with a pregnancy that was a 50/50 shot of being doomed. As someone who has had so many reproductive problems – this strength was startling to me. She defended her life and the life of her child right till the end of the story.
  • Even after being confronted with copious amounts of reasons to just give in, she never – ever – did.

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↑ Molly Ringwald in The Stand Miniseries – NOT WHAT I PICTURED! ↑

I have often imagined Frannie in my mind, and these are the actresses that came closest to looking how I pictured her (if you morphed these three together in some way it would be perfect):

Well that about covers my love affair with my favorite female character. I hope you’ve enjoyed (or survived) this post. If you haven’t read The Stand – go read it – seriously! 🙂