Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Where do I begin? I know that many of you have been wondering that since the middle of November. I can’t believe it’s been that long since I blogged. I kept meaning to, but it seems like “life” just kept getting in the way. I have been dealing with “stuff” (how’s that for vague) and my blogging & emailing seemed to be the thing that suffered because of it.

I know I should have done a quick post to let you know I was going to be absent for awhile, but to be honest, I really didn’t think it was going to go on for this long. Here’s a quick recap of the highlights of my life:
  • Weight Loss: To date, I have lost 15 pounds in 2 months. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to see this weight gone, and I’m almost halfway since I only have 21 more pounds to go. Yes, NutriSystem works …. even around the holidays! (Then again, I only allowed myself very few “cheats”)
  • Fibromyalgia: The medication I started 2 months ago is definitely working and all of my symptoms have improved by 50% or more. I still have some “bad” days, but they aren’t more than twice a week and it used to be four or five times a week, so I’m thrilled. I now feel like I’m in control, instead of the fibro.
  • Knitting: I have been knitting quite a bit, and I definitely got a lot of knitting complete while driving from Southern California to Southern Idaho for “vacation” the week before Christmas. At one point, I was up to my elbows in scarves, hats, and gloves, but since all these items have been gifted now, I’ve realized that I missed out on photo documenting some of these items. I will try to get photos of the items I’m missing and post a holiday knitting recap as soon as possible. By the way, all of the knitting on the road was accomplished in our new 2008 GMC Envoy.
This is what my husband wanted for Christmas, and since our mechanic stated my husbands car was only going to last another 3 months or so before we’d have to start replacing the major items, I reworked our budget so we could afford it. The evening we drove it home from the dealer, my husband had the same smile on his face that I last saw 4 years ago ….. when we got married. I’m still not sure what to think about that.
  • Family: As I stated, we recently spent some time in Idaho to visit my parents, siblings and their families. The main point of the visit was to get a photo of all of us together which is only 20 people, but logistically, it’s still tricky to coordinate with every ones schedules. The photos went pretty well, but a situation presented itself that evening that really messed up the rest of the trip. I don’t want to get into the details here, but I will say that the thought of what happened still brings a pang of hurt to my heart. As a side note and personal recommendation, when you are hurt, upset, or mad, please take a moment and think before you open your mouth. Sometimes words said can be very hurtful and it can time a very long time to heal the wounds the words left behind. Enough said. It’s difficult to admit, but I was never so happy to leave and come home.

We spent Christmas Eve & Day with DH, my step-daughter, son-in-law, grandsons, step-daughters mom, and her husband. We made some wonderful Christmas memories and although that would’ve been enough, I was still thrilled when I received this:

It’s a brand spankin’ new MacBook Pro. “Yes Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus”. Now I can blog and email and everything else from anywhere. This hopefully means that you’ll be seeing a lot more of me. I’m still getting used to my new “toy”, so bear with me if I don’t get to all of your blogs this week.
I also received quite a few other wonderful items for Christmas, but I bet you’ll be most interested in this one:
History*Technique*Design (Vogue Knitting)
When I was visiting family for a week, each day I looked forward to stopping in at the Barnes and Noble bookstore since it had wonderful gift ideas, and it was the only place I could find decent coffee since my family doesn’t drink it. I flipped through this book several times and hinted to my husband that I would like it. He shared that information with one of my sisters who ended up gifting it to me. Yeah!
I guess that’s enough of an update for now. Since I haven’t been at your blogs for over a month, I hope your holidays have been wonderful and I’d like to wish each of you a happy and prosperous New Year. For now, I best be getting around to each of your blogs and catching up on your lives.

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Here’s my quickie post to let you all know that I’m going to be missing for about a week. Hubby and I are leaving on Monday for a “mini” cruise to celebrate our 4th anniversary. It’s nothing exotic at all, especially if you’re living in Southern California, but for the curious we’re sailing out of Los Angeles Harbor and will be stopping in San Diego, Catalina Island and Ensenada, MX.

In Stash Enhancement news (because I seem to have that quite frequently lately) I received a 33 skeins of Valley Yarns Colrain from Webs to knit two sweaters.

I’ll be knitting DH the EZ Seamless Hybrid in Majestic Blue with Steel Gray trim on the inside cuffs.

For myself I’ll be knitting the Radiance Cabled Jacket (Ravelry pattern link) in Chestnut. I really want to start on mine first, but since I’m almost finished with the Tangled Yoke Sweater, I should probably treat him to something next. Then again … maybe I could knit them at the same time?

Hubby and I went over to our local bookstore Thursday night to pick up a book a friend recommended (Fibromyalgia for Dummies) , but while I was there, I ran across a 50% off table of craft books. I got lucky enough to pick up the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume 1 and Volume 2 and have found some design inspiration for a scarf.

I’ve test swatched it in a few worsted weight yarns, and so far it works well for solid and multi-colored yarns. Since I’ll be knitting it on my mini-vacation, hopefully I’ll have some cruisin’ photos, knitting photos, and a scarf pattern for you all when I return.

And one last thing before I forget, you MUST go look at Laura‘s stunning South Seas Stole she designed. I can’t wrap my head around all the work that must have gone into the design of this, but it is definitely something I’m thrilled to be test-knitting, so watch out for more lace work here soon.

Have a great week!

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I’m actually leaving it up to Laura to write about our driving adventures to see the Yarn Harlot on Saturday, but I’ll give you the quickie-version.

I live approximately 30 miles south of Los Angeles and for those of you who’ve been to California before, I only live about 8 miles north of Disneyland. I now understand why I live closer to the latter … it’s easier to get there!

Not only did we run into some unexpected traffic (although with Los Angeles, why was I thinking there *wouldn’t* be traffic?), but we also thought we had missed our exit, and tried to create our own route which led to its own adventures through Chinatown and such. Luckily, the Yarn Gods must have been smiling on us, because we eventually ended up in a parking garage that we thought might be *close* to our destination and as we exited the garage, you’ll never believe what was directly across the street from us … the Los Angeles Central Public Library. The exact location we were looking for. Now, I won’t bore you with the details of trying to go home, but let me just say… never a dull moment.

As anyone who has ever written a blog post has stated, attending a Yarn Harlot event is definitely worth the drive, the time, the babysitting expense, whatever. Yes, her books are funny, but listening to her speak made me think I was at the Improv watching a stand-up comedy routine. People around me had tears streaming down there face because they were laughing so hard! The only thing missing were the hot looking waiters serving drinks!

I met a lot of wonderful knitters and it was also real treat to finally get to meet Jillian who not only frequently leaves me some very nice comments here at my little ol’ blog, but has been a huge help and support in helping me cope and understand fibromyalgia.

I must definitely give a HUGE thanks to Lynda, who let Laura & I join her group so we could get in to see the Yarn Harlot on Saturday. I was on the first page of the waiting list, but when Lynda offered her few extra tickets to join her group, I jumped at the chance. If you want to read and see all the wonderful photos of the Harlots visit to Los Angeles, the Lynda has a wonderful blog post about it. She even has a photo of me (YIKES)

And where is the photo of me with the Harlot? Hmmmm…. I was so damn excited just to meet her and have her sign my books, that I completely forgot. I’d blame it on blond roots, except at my age, they are gray now. And the most pathetic thing? The camera was hanging from my wrist! I got photos of Laura with her, but none of me. I did however, remember to take a photo of my California State dishcloth that I made for her, and she photographed me with it, which you can see on her blog post.

So what’s it like to be on the Yarn Harlot’s blog? Absolutely Surreal!!

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I just saw the most surprising and amazing thing! Lara at Yarn It nominated me for a Rockin’ Girl Blogger award. I’m completely in awe that she did this for me (since my blog only seems to “rock” once in awhile), but I’ll accept the honor anyway. I know I’m supposed to nominate others for this award as well, but honestly, I just can’t narrow down the list of awesome bloggers that I frequently read. I also know that quite a few of you have already received this amazing award.

I know it’s been almost a month since my birthday came and kicked me in the arse, and I’m yet to share with you some of my birthday treasures and since they are knitting-type related, I thought you might be interested.

First, my sister in Pittsburgh has only ever acknowledged my birthday with a card, but this year, I received a gift certificate to The Loopy Ewe. I chose to spend my money on something I would have forever, so I selected the sterling silver Eternity shawl pin from Designs by Romi. Although I only have my Clapotis shawl to use it with, since I’m still working on the Mystery Stole, hopefully this pin will work well with it.

Second, my baby sister at Bits and Pieces gave me a gift certificate to Amazon.com, so I picked up a couple of books from my wish list. Favorite Socks from Interweave Knits has been on my list since before it even released. I’ve already knit the Embossed Leaves Socks before and loved them, so next up I think is the Waving Lace Socks by Evelyn A. Clark.

And, since my sister is a crocheter that I taught to knit, I chose the Teach Yourself Visually Crocheting book so she can claim she taught a knitter to crochet. It counts. I’ve already started with a few practice swatches in this orange cotton yarn and the book has great step-by-step photo guides for everything. There are 14 chapters of over 273 pages of information regarding everything you ever wanted to know about crochet, so I’m giving this book a huge thumbs up!

In other news, I’ve been meeting with contractors and handymen the last few weeks for some desperately needed work on my home. Hopefully most of the work will be completed by the end of the month and hopefully I may even have some money left over for food when it’s complete!

I’m off to Salem, OR for a few days, so I’ll try to catch up with emails & blog reading and all of that when I get back, since I’ve decided to make it a computer-free getaway. Until then, I leave you with photo evidence of what happens at a family party when my dear husband feels it necessary to harass our son-in-law.

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No Sheep For You Review

I originally saw the No Sheep For You book at Stitches West and instantly knew I should add it to my very small knitting book collection. Although I’m not one of the very unfortunate people that is allergic to wool, I do appreciate the non-wool fiber options that are currently available, and I also appreciate the great designs this book has to offer. Marrying non-wool fibers and great designs into this book was a brilliant idea.

The first 3 chapters (about 25 pages) is an introduction covering information about the non-wool knitting fibers currently available, the differences between them, and understanding them for yourself. This section had so much great information in it, and it really helped me understand where fibers come from and how they may or may not work in my next knitting project.

The meat of the book is obviously the patterns and there are twenty of them ranging from simple to complex. There is a great variety in patterns and surprisingly there were even a few for men. As everyone I’m sure knows, the author is Amy R. Singer and she has contributed a beautiful shawl pattern, but I was surprised to see such other amazing contributing designers such as Barbara Gregory, Sivia Harding, Amy Swenson and Jenna Wilson, just to name a few.

I can’t say I like all the patterns in this book, because I don’t, but a few of them really stood out and if I were to choose a few that I would definitely knit, these are probably my favorites.

From left to right, top to bottom:
Bacardi, Tuscany, The Bag, Cables and O’s, Morrigan

I was surprised that the book inspired me to take the patterns I didn’t particularly care for though, and think of ways to change them to suit my needs. I definitely can’t afford to knit a bathrobe out of silk, but maybe I can find an different fiber that would produce just as beautiful an object at an affordable price. There’s also a cardigan that has wonderful lines, but I didn’t like the decorative design feature of the fleur-de-lis, so obviously if I knit it, I’ll omit that particular design. I also love the Bacardi cardigan, but I could never pull off that color palette, so won’t it be fun trying to find colors that suit me but that also blend together? There was even a cardigan for a man that my husband might even wear, but only after I change the neckline.

I think this book is perfect for those of you who are allergic to wool and I urge you to add this to your knitting library. And as for the rest of us, who couldn’t use a knitting book that opens our eyes to the world of non-wool fibers and provides some beautiful patterns as well? Won’t it be fun for us to knit these non-wool patterns into wool fibers?

Final note: I know I promised this review awhile ago, but my original post didn’t get saved and rewriting this just never seemed a priority. I’ve never written a book review or anything like this before, so please don’t be too harsh. This was extremely difficult for me to do and so I’ve definitely stepped out of my comfort zone.

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I’m so thrilled that I finally received the Yarn Harlot‘s new book in the mail and I can’t wait to start reading it. The only thing that would make it even better would be to meet her in person to have her sign it. It’s not meant to be though, since she doesn’t have Southern California listed on her book tour. I’m so sad 😦

I’m currently knitting Cookie’s Baudelaire sock pattern with the Socks that Rock lightweight yarn in Jasper colorway. Of course since it’s a red/purple tone, it’s very difficult to capture the correct colors in the photo, but I think you get the idea. I’m loving knitting these since the pattern is written toe-up, so I don’t have to do any pattern converting. YEAH!

Laura and I went to our LYS on Monday so I could enhance my stash. One of my sisters is have her third little girl and has requested a white cardigan sweater. Personally I think a white baby cardigan is boring, but it’s what she wants. I tried to find Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and RYC Cashsoft in white, but since there was sadly none of that or any really “nice” yarns in white, I got stuck purchasing the Sidar Snuggly DK yarn. Little does she realize (she’s not a knitter) that had she let me choose the color, she would’ve ended up with a better overall sweater, but since she doesn’t know, I’m probably the only one sad about it. The pattern is the Matinee Coat from the Debbie Bliss Simply Baby book and although I’m knitting it in the smallest size, I doubt it will fit the baby until the fall since Debbie Bliss patterns are rumored to run a little bit big.

I also enhanced my stash at the LYS by purchasing another pair of Addi Turbo Lace needles in a 24″ size 3US. I noticed that quite of few of the lace patterns in Victorian Lace Today used that needle size, so I figure it may come in handy. I also found this navy blue laceweight yarn called Grignasco Regina which is listed as “merino fine” pure new wool. From what I can tell, this yarn is similar to Skacel Merino Lace since both are 100 grams and 2/25; the Grignasco is marked as 1363 yards and the Skacel is 1375 yards. Pretty close huh? I’m either going to make a lace shawl for my mother in law or my grandmother, but I haven’t decided on a pattern yet, so it will sit until I feel inspired.

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Since every Friday in blog-land (or blog-ville if you prefer), I see AMAZING photographs for Eye Candy Friday, I decided that since I don’t take amazing photographs (yet), that I’d start “NOT Eye Candy Friday” for myself. This may be a weekly thing, or it may be a one-time fluke for today, who knows.

I’ve now discovered that I live under a rock and that Amber is my neighbor. She posted about the jogless bind-off in the round and it is brilliant! I’ve never seen it before (because I must live under a rock) or if I had, I must have disregarded it. This is exactly the type of bind off that is perfect for toe-up socks and I can’t wait to try it on my current pair.

This pair of socks has been tossed aside and ignored for about a week though. I’ve either been burned out on sock knitting (perish the thought) or got so tired of ripping out the heel that I couldn’t stand to look at them any longer. Now I have renewed energy to complete them so I can try that bind-off. Thanks Amber! Now these socks may be finished in time for my March knitalongs. Just in case you’re wondering, this is the Zephyr Socks pattern knit in Regia Bamboo yarn.

The winner of my blogiversary contest, Abby, got to meet the Yarn Harlot on Thursday. I’m really happy for her, but I’m sooooo jealous. I found out the Harlot is going to be stopping in Northern California for her book tour, but not southern California. She didn’t come here for her last book tour either. Maybe I should move.

I have the BEST husband. The other day I was looking at my Amazon wish list when DH walked up to me and asked what I was doing. After stating that I was just adding books to my wish list, he asked me which ones I want. Why all of them, of course. I showed him my top five and next thing I know there was some button clicking going on and all the sudden there was a page about my order being sucessfully placed. WOW! And here’s what he bought me!

Most of you already own Socks, Socks, Socks so I won’t go into any details about it other than to say I was pleasantly surprised that there were so many sock patterns that I really loved and could actually see myself knitting about half the patterns in there. The No Sheep for You book really deserves its own review. I normally don’t review books, but of the blogs I read I haven’t seen anyone review it, so I thought.. why not me? So as to not “bore” you with it today, I’ll save the review for another day.

This weekend involves a library book sale, visiting a new knitting store,watching the grandsons at itty bitty t-ball, spending some much-needed time with DH, and of course knitting! I should have some fun things to blog about next week. Have a great weekend!

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