Something to tide you over…

Ok, I doubt anyone is just checking this blog everyday just to see the next post, but I do feel bad about not having posted in a good week and a half. I will try to get some more posts up in the next few days.

In the meantime, this posted on YALSA’s The Hub today (and was a large part of why no other blogging got done in the last week):

http://www.yalsa.ala.org/thehub/2014/01/14/literary-knitters/

It was a fun chance to combine two interests in one project. While you’re there, you can check out the many other Hub posts, including a reading challenge for finalists of the William C. Morris Debut Award (for a first time YA author) and the Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction Award. The ALA Youth Media award winners (including those from YALSA and ALSC–the latter include the famous Newbery and Caldecott awards)  for this year get announced on January 27, so stay tuned!

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Library Books Enjoyed, 12/12/13

Some recent finds at the library; 2 we only found because we heard them at story time first.
Chloe, InsteadChloe, Instead by Micah Player

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A cute, colorful story of sibling rivalry that is also a very quick read-aloud. I think my kids liked Chloe’s antics that upset her sister as much because they’ve gotten in trouble for some of them as anything else. Fun and touching.

One Little Lamb One Little Lamb by Elaine Greenstein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very short, simple book (each page has a phrase rather than a complete sentence) that takes children through the process of wool becoming yarn and then mittens. The beautiful pictures are probably more than half the appeal, and this also happens to be a nice picture book for any knitters in your life.

The Missing Mitten MysteryThe Missing Mitten Mystery by Steven Kellogg

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don’t know how long it’s been since I read a Steven Kellogg book, but this was featured at story time last week and we then checked it out. I think it’s cute and fun, but I don’t like it nearly as much as the kids. Obviously, they like the snow, because their firsthand snow experience is still very limited, but I also think they like the elaborate scenarios the girl dreams up and the mystery that has to be solved. A good winter-time read.

View all my reviews

In which I meet the Yarn Harlot

I have picture proof, although anyone conducting an investigation would be within their rights to question the veracity of the photo:

She's the one at the front who's head is slightly higher than everyone else's.

She’s the one at the front who’s head is slightly higher than everyone else’s.

I get an interesting mixture of star-struck and desire to play it cool when I meet celebrities. In this case, it resulted in not asking to get a picture with her in the book signing line (even though she had been very nicely posing with people all evening) and not remembering to tell her anything I had wanted to say about her books. I thought about telling her that I first discovered them for myself this summer right after a death in the family and that she provided some much needed laughs at the time. If that seemed to personal, I figured I’d at least tell her that I enjoyed and appreciated her parenting commentary as much as her knitting commentary. Instead, I muttered something vague and brief about enjoying her books and hoping she had a safe trip home, and that was it.

Despite my disappointment in not making any kind of real conversation, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is just as entertaining in person as she is in her books, plus almost the whole audience was sitting there knitting while she talked, which was completely awesome. I’m so excited that I got to see her, and grateful that my husband took the kids for the evening, even if it came at the price of a few “there’s a world-famous knitter?” jokes.

Finished Stocking!!

Voila!

Behold and rejoice: I have finished a stocking! I thought that once I turned the heel, the rest would go pretty quickly, but it actually took me longer to connect the heel stitches back to the instep stitches, and I forgot that there’s still quite a bit of foot after a heel to be knit. I have not blocked it yet (washed it and let it dry to get it in just the right shape), and while I don’t think you have to with an item that’s not going to be worn, it might make it look a little nicer. Plus, it will give me practice for whenever I finish the shawl I started in class.  Nevertheless, even if I never get around to blocking it, if we hang it by the chimney on Christmas Eve, Santa will fill it with treats!

Hopefully in another 2 Christmases, the other two children’s stockings will also be complete. Don’t worry, we have stockings to hang for them–just not hand knit, personalized ones yet. I am quite happy, though, just to have gotten one finished for now.

Knitting Class and the Yarn Harlot

One thing I didn’t put on my Durham list last week was “take a knitting class at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop.” That’s because I COMPLETED this item over the summer. I’ve been wanting to do this since I discovered the shop in early 2011, and I’m so happy I got it in. It was everything I’d hoped it would be: an outing by myself, a chance to learn a little more about knitting, and an excuse to do some shopping at the store. As a bonus, the project is something I’ve been wanting to make for myself but didn’t know how (a shawl–at church, it always seems to be cold, whether because the AC is up too high or because the heat isn’t on!) and is something I can make with alpaca yarn that my husband brought home from a trip to Peru this spring. Here’s the work in progress:

Beginning of shawl.

Beginning of shawl.

It obviously has a long way to go, but I feel like I learned enough to confidently continue the pattern and do the blocking and finishing when it’s done. (And if now, well, then I’ll have to make another trip over to the shop…)

In a somewhat related category, I finally discovered the Yarn Harlot this summer. That would be Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, a knitter and writer from Toronto who writes about knitting, mostly humor and stories rather than patterns (although she has those, too, I understand). I read her first book during some unexpected traveling in July, and I was laughing out loud and making my mom listen while I read her sections. In my defense, my mom laughed, too! Although I realize (and so does Ms. Pearl-McPhee, for that matter), that knitting humor is a very specific genre, I wholeheartedly recommend her books to anyone who does any kind of crafting, or if there’s a crafter in your life who you are trying to figure out. If you suspect someone is hiding yarn around your house, Yarn Harlot will tell you where to look!

Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a KnitterYarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here’s the original. I didn’t think you needed my whole review since I basically told you everything already.

And here’s some text to make the pictures

line up correctly.

All Wound Up: The Yarn Harlot Writes for a SpinAll Wound Up: The Yarn Harlot Writes for a Spin by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Little More Knitting

I have been working on another knitting project: a Christmas stocking. Here is the evidence:

The rolled part is going to be the top of the stocking.

The rolled part is going to be the top of the stocking.

This is a soon-to-be-temporarily-abandoned project, because I have signed up for a knitting class at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop that will be this month and next, and I will probably need to knit double-time to catch up with whatever homework I have for that. (I should just state for the record that I am not complaining; I am very excited about taking my first true knitting class.) Also, I have not gotten to the hard part of making a stocking, namely the heel, yet, and that will take awhile to get through.

Still, I’m happy with how it’s turning out so far, and I’m happy to share that I actually have done some knitting in the last month.

One Dishcloth: Check

So, I thought I’d be using this space to occasionally blog about knitting, which is my current craft of choice. However, I’m such a slow knitter, that I haven’t had anything really worth sharing. I’ve been working on a prayer shawl for church that is taking forever. I got some neat alpaca yarn to make into a shawl, but haven’t got past a first swatch on that. I’m also still swatching to get gauge on a Christmas stocking project, and that got stalled when I needed needles a size smaller than I had, and needed to wait for an auspicious day to take all 3 kids to the yarn shop. Plus, I have a quilt for my sister that’s 6 years overdue (I had her college friends each make a block when she graduated and was going to put them all together) that I really need to finish piecing.

Naturally, the solution to all this was to do something completely different.

So here’s a dishcloth:

Pretty pink dishcloth.

Pretty pink dishcloth.

I made it last week, and it only took me 4 days. At least I accomplished something!