Ten on Tuesday: Drop everything and read!

This week, Carole’s prompt was 10 books that made you drop everything and read. I’ll tell you that I fought the very strong impulse to make #1-7 Harry Potter books. Because they are seriously and forever my favorites. But for the sake of variety, I chose the two most important HP books to me, and threw in a few others!

  1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – I happened across this book very serendipitously after school one day. I had never heard of Harry Potter before, but I finished this book before I went to bed that night. I was seriously enthralled with every bit. I don’t think I spoke to anyone the whole evening. And after that, Harry Potter was part of my life. It’s brought me a lot of joy, and connections to great people, and the books are the best!
  2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – This book came out two weeks before I moved to England to marry Mr Snips. I bought it at midnight when it came out and then practiced immense self-restraint and did not start it until I got on the plane. Then I sat by a poor, confused teenage boy who was traveling with his soccer team – wondering why everyone else got to sit with friends and he got stuck with the overly emotional stranger (in my defense, I was sobbing because of Dobby – it was terrible!).
  3. Something Missing – I read this for a book club, and it had me hooked. At the time, we were the thief’s target audience – a busy couple with predictable schedules who never would have noticed small bits of our stuff disappearing. I still think of this book regularly, though according to the book, he would have stopped stealing from us after we had BK.
  4. Suite Francaise – I was reading this on a plane and was so enamored with the complete beauty of this book that I did not notice we never stopped circling the city I was supposed to be leaving. The landing gear never came up, and we ended up having to land again at a very nearby airport, but I honestly didn’t realize it for a long time. I thought we were halfway to the destination when they announced we basically hadn’t moved because the book was that beautifully written.
  5. The Eyre Affair – Very witty and wonderful and about books. Genius idea. LOVE. In fact, read the whole series while you’re at it.
  6. A Life in Stitches – The best knitting memoir I’ve ever read. I really love Rachael Herron’s writing! I’ve read another of her books, and enjoyed it a lot, too.
  7. Snow White by Donald Barthelme – This is one I discovered in college. And though it’s a little trippy (Snow White is in a relationship with ALL of the dwarves), it hit me at the right moment and made me think differently about literature.
  8. The Little Prince – I bought this in English during the summer because I knew I would have to read it in French during the school year, and I honestly didn’t trust my French was good enough to understand any of it. But it turned out totally charming and wonderful and worth reading twice in two languages.
  9. The King in the Window – I read this when I worked at the library because I came across it when it was ready to be shelved. It was a captivating and magical read.
  10. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – Yes, it’s a silly but brilliant concept that a great President could also be a vampire hunter. But the author made it fit into Lincoln’s life, and I really enjoyed it.

Ten on Tuesday: Keep calm and knit on

Today’s Ten on Tuesday topic from Carole Knits is 10 things you do to calm down.

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A few of my favorite calming things – including my current WIP.

  1. Knit. I’m not sure if she does it on purpose, but I think knitting has been an answer to every Ten on Tuesday I’ve ever participated in (with maybe the exception of the one about shoes. I don’t have special knitting shoes.). Anyway, getting in a couple of rows is sure to take the edge off almost anything.
  2. Go to Starbucks and order a tall, soy, no water, extra hot, Chai latte. If things are super dire, a grande. But this is most definitely my comfort drink.
  3. Make a cup of tea. This is an interesting one for me. I’d almost always pick coffee over tea, but the process of making tea is actually really calming. I didn’t know that until I moved to England. We used to communally make tea in my office (if you wanted one, you went round and asked everyone else and then usually commenced a rather large tea-making operation). But the process of putting the kettle on to boil, digging out tea bags, sweeteners and milk, and waiting for the tea to steep really gives you some calm time. Once my office got an instant hot water thing, it got way less relaxing. But I have an electric kettle at home, so I can still get the benefit somewhere!
  4. Take some deep breaths.
  5. Do yoga. Every time I do yoga, I am always surprised at how good it feels and the calm I feel afterwards.
  6. Read. Getting lost in someone else’s words crowds out the space in my mind where I have an annoying internal dialogue that could be keeping me from being calm.
  7. Eat chocolate. Sometime emotional eating is the way forward.
  8. Find a way to get some alone time. A few minutes in a room by myself can do wonders.
  9. Listen to music. Sometimes the right song is all you need.
  10. Take a cat nap. I am a master at 10 minute naps. And they work. For pretty much everything!

Spring means new yarn!

My local area just wrapped up our yarn crawl, and while I admit I only “crawled” to one shop (the one I go to every week!!), I did score some pretty great stuff.

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First of all, my LYS got in some Frolicking Feet DK gradients. Smitten does not even begin to describe how I felt about this yarn the instant I saw it. I went home after a knit night dreaming of the Day’s End colorway, but ended up going back for Maine Tourmalines. I was worried that Day’s End, while incredible in the skein, may end up being a bit too rainbow-y for me, and Maine Tourmalines would work with my existing wardrobe better. I am now working on Boneyard Shawl v2.0 combined with some leftover Venezia Sport as a stripe. I am currently waiting with anticipation for the first color change in the gradient!! (P.S. – I am also in love with the pink tulips I bought at the store, and my HP nerdy bag that my lovely friend Sarah got me a while back :-))

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And, last but certainly not least, my very good friend Heather and her cousin have started making their own self-striping yarn, Brenda and Heather Yarns. I am insanely excited for Heather, and her yarns are beautiful! Brenda and Heather hosted a trunk show event at my LYS, and I was all over it. I bought some Purple Pop, matching 50g skeins to make matching socks. They also veer a bit toward pink on the lighter half. I have several pink and purple lovers in my life, so I will have no trouble finding someone who’d love to have whatever I end up making with this beautiful-ness (maybe even me?)! I was sorely tempted by the Tiny Toes skeins, and I still may cave for one of those… and maybe something else, too!

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I’ve recently wrapped up a couple of projects, and I’ll be sharing those soon – just as soon as I get some nice photos!

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things you love to do outside

Joining in again with Carole’s Ten on Tuesday topic! This time it’s 10 things you love to do outside. Right now, we’re see-sawing between gorgeous weather and chilliness, so it’s nice to focus on the fact that we’ll be getting more gorgeous weather soon!

  1. Swim. This is an easy one. We love our pool!
  2. Float around on a raft in the pool. This is different then swimming, because it requires no effort.:-)
  3. Run around the yard with BK. She loves to run laps around the house.
  4. Ride bikes around the neighborhood with BK in the trailer.
  5. Watch BK ride her trike around our cul-de-sac.
  6. Take a walk. I love to take a walk in the evening light on a mild day.
  7. Play basketball. I’m very out of practice, but every once in a while Mr. Snips and I do a little shooting in the driveway. He’s much better than me. We’ll pretend it’s because he’s a lot taller than me.
  8. Eat on our deck. It’s lovely to have a relaxing meal in the sunshine.
  9. Knit. This had to be on there somewhere, right? Preferably in a comfy chair.
  10. Read. Again in a comfy chair.

WIP Wednesday: Playful Stripes Cardigan

I bought the yarn for this lovely little Playful Stripes Cardigan back in the summer for BK. I chose colors that made me think of spring, Easter, fresh crayons, and the fun of being a little kid. She loved them – particularly the pink.

But once I started knitting it up this winter, she asked where the green was.

You see, me, Mr Snips and my mom and dad all have “assigned” favorite colors that BK has determined for us. And it so happens, that by complete accident, I picked the assigned colors of BK (pink), me (purple), my mom (yellow) and dad (blue), and not what she has assigned Mr Snips (green).

So… she asked for green to be put in for Daddy. How can a knitter refuse?

I had already done the small stripes of color at the cuffs and the hem, so I am going to have to be a little creative with the green placement. My current plan is to stick a couple of rows into the yoke patterning somewhere, and then do the button band in green. It won’t be visible when the cardigan is fully buttoned, but will be a cute peek-a-boo of color when it isn’t. And I already have yellow and purple buttons for it, so I think it will really pop!

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Yesterday’s car knitting!

I’m trying to get it ready for Easter… so stay tuned.

FO: Pinky reindeers

Just popping back in to say that I finally DID manage to finish BK’s hat (and block both mine and hers). And remember how I complained that it wasn’t cold enough to wear mine? Well, it is now! Winter arrived on Sunday, and we had a fresh, beautiful layer of snow.

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BK and I celebrated by bundling up and going outside for a little play. She has been desperate to play in the snow for weeks! We’ve had a couple of outings this week in her hat to play in the snow. It finally melted yesterday, but we’re meant to have more this weekend.

She loves her new hat. I put it on her to take her to my mom and dad’s the other day, and when we arrived, my dad playfully asked, “Who’s in my driveway?” BK announced, “Me and the pinky reindeers!” Hence the name of the finished product.:-)

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I did make some mods to make it more shallow for her little head. The circumference seemed right on when I had her try my hat on, so I left it the same and cast on the same number of stitches on size 2 needles like I did for mine, and switched to 4s for the colorwork, just as the pattern said.

  • My ribbing is only 1″ long.
  • After the ribbing, I knit three rows in grey, instead of the 1 row called for in the pattern to have a bit more of a break since I knit the ribbing in the CC. (As a note, I originally was going to make this hat the opposite of mine. But as much as I LOVE this pink color, my eyes were about to bleed after the ribbing, and I decided there could be too much of a good thing. And switched back to grey as my MC :-)).
  • I skipped rows 1-2 of the chart.
  • Then I skipped rows 4-9 of the chart.
  • After that, I followed the pattern exactly.

At 2.5 years old, she still has some growing room in this hat, and I think it will fit her for at least another year or two.

Sine we both have a little extra space at the top of our hats and they are not quite beanies, I keep wondering if we need pom poms. Still undecided. What do you think?

FO: Reindeer wish you a happy new year!

I LOVE reindeer. Just love them. They are the main theme of my holiday decor, to be honest. I think it stems from my obsession with the 1964 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie. It is tied for my favorite Christmas movie (original Miracle on 34th Street is the other). And nothing says Christmas quite like Santa’s support staff.:-)

So even though I had a couple of projects on the needles that I planned to take to England when we went in mid-December (a Playful Stripes cardigan and Adrift fingerless mitts), my plans changed rapidly the day before we left when Ravelry displayed Donder and Blitzen in my pattern highlights. Reindeer, hearts, colorwork – I was already on board. I knew immediately that I had just what I wanted in my stash already, and it happened to be very similar to an already completed project. I had grey left over from my somewhat ill-fated Wildflower cardigan in Cascade Venezia, and some pink that I had been hoarding dyed by my good friend Mary Ann from A Good Yarn a few years ago.

I cast on in JFK airport during our layover, and powered through the ribbing. Then I attempted (and failed miserably) to sleep on the plane. Once I hit the colorwork at my in-laws house, I thought I was going so fast, I should have packed a few other projects. That progress slowed down significantly during the week, as we had activities of some sort nearly all day. So on the plane ride home, I didn’t watch any movies and just buckled down on this sucker. I wanted it done before Christmas, and we were flying on December 21. And I finished it! Boom!

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Then we got home, and it was nearly tropical. I didn’t even get to wear it before Christmas.😦

But I’ve worn it once since then. Even though I would normally celebrate this strangely warm weather, having a lovely finished hat I can’t wear is making me a bit irritated. I guess you can’t have it all!

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These are unblocked shots, because honestly, if I wait to block it before taking pictures, the pictures will never get done! So here it is. I LOVE IT.

I love it so much I’ve started another one for BK. Though I’ve made so many foolish errors on the colorwork it’s unbelievable, so progress has been slow. I would like to blame it on the few mods I’ve made to the chart to make the hat more shallow for her little head, but that’s not been the real issue. I just need to focus! Hopefully, I’ll be back soon with a wee coordinating one!

And happy new year! Wishing everyone a fantastic 2016, filled with joy and fun!