101 in 1001 ~ update the fifteenth

It’s time for the 15th update on my 101 in 1001 Challenge! If you haven’t been following along on this journey so far or have any questions about what the challenge is, you can check out this link for details.

YAY! This month included the completion of a 7-year-task: I finished the Babette blanket! But more on that later. This month also saw progress on other challenge tasks, plus my third blood donation (which completed that challenge item).

Here’s this month’s challenge progress:

September 2017
3 items completed this month
22 items currently in progress

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Arts & Crafts #6: Finish crocheting Babette blanket ~ 9/3/2017

I started this blanket in April of 2010. That’s way too long for a project to linger, and yet I could never seem to bring myself to finish it. So now, I finally did! I’m not sure how much of it was due to this challenge, but at least some of it was. (If nothing else, this challenge kept the Babette blanket at the front of my mind.) It’s not as large a blanket as I really would have preferred, but I also didn’t want to make any more squares. (And since this was intended as a scrap sock yarn project, I wasn’t going to change the yarn weight, either.) Nevertheless, it will be a great desk chair throw for when I’m working and need a little extra warmth. If you want more information about the blanket, it can be found on the FO blog post for Babette.

Personal #51: Donate blood (do 3 times) ~ 9/23/2017

This is something that I intend to keep doing even now that the challenge item is finished. However, I figured 3 times was a good number for the 101 in 1001 challenge. Still – with all the ugly stuff in the news, it’s nice to be able to do something to actively help people in need. If you are able, please join me in donating blood. It doesn’t take long – under an hour from check-in to walking out the door (which include the intake evaluation and the snacks afterward) – but it could be the difference between life and death for someone.

Reading #84: Read 10 books by new-to-me authors ~ 9/29/2017

This is one of the ways I’ve been trying to branch out and read new books instead of re-reading books as often as I used to, or reading only the same handful of authors that are in my comfort zone. I guess I get stuck in reading ruts as much as anything else, and for a while I was barely reading anything new. So this was a good way to discover new authors. I found some great books that way, too! (Though there were misses, too. Maybe one week I’ll do mini-reviews of all of the books from this challenge item.)

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Autumn is officially here! Yay! I love that season — spring and autumn are my favorites, so I’m always happy to see them arrive. I hope that you had a great end-of-summer hurrah, and enjoy the cooler weather to come! (Unless you’re one of my blog readers from the Southern Hemisphere, in which case I hope your upcoming spring is lovely!)

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WIP Weds Oops

I thought I had posted a WIP Weds post yesterday. Apparently I did not.

To compensate, here is a picture of my most promising WIP: the East of the Sun, West of the Moon shawl by Nim Teasdale. This is probably my favorite fairy tale ever, so when I saw the shawl name I had to knit it. (Helps that the shawl is so lovely, too.)

I’ve been working on this one for a while. Part of that time it’s been hibernating because the rows got really long. But I want to wear it this year, so I pulled it out of the WIP pile and have been plugging away on it. I’m to the point now where I either need to bind off or hope that I have enough yarn left for another 12-row repeat. I really want to get to the last gradient color change, so I’m hoping I have enough yarn. But just in case I don’t, I added a lifeline so I can back up to this point if necessary.

East of the Sun, West of the Moon

It’s hard to see the beads in that photo, but they’ll show up better once I block the shawl. I am so excited to have this one almost done! The plan is to finish it this weekend, if I can. By the end of the first full week in October at the latest.

The shawl is designed so that you can put together the pattern pieces in any way you like. It tells you how to make a shawl identical to the sample, but I wanted to use up all my yarn, so I made mine a little differently. I love the lace pattern, though, and it looks like it will block out beautifully.

I do have other WIPs, but they’re not getting quite as much love as this one right now. (And I don’t have any new pictures.) My Vanilla Latte socks are still my travel knitting, and I’m closing in on the end of the first sock (I really need to start 2-at-a-time sock knitting). And the Star Wars GAL square is still getting worked on sometimes. I’ll be able to focus on the GAL blanket again once this shawl is done.

Happy Wednesday Thursday!  🙂

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Books that Feature Knitters

Time for another Top Ten Tuesday! This one is a bit more open-ended again. Here’s the official prompt:

Ten Books That Feature Characters ____________: Examples: Ten books that feature black main characters, characters who hold interesting jobs, characters who have a mental illness, characters that are adopted, characters that play sports, etc, etc. Can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

Hmm. That leaves a lot of room for creativity. In a way it’s almost too much room; I’m having trouble deciding what to do. Let’s see… just to pull something out of a hat (and hope I can find enough examples):

Top Ten Books that Feature Characters Who Knit

  1. The Grand Tour by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer ~ the characters send knitted messages back and forth in this one. So much fun!
  2. Princess of the Midnight Ball by JessicaDay George ~ this one has magic knitted into a shawl. And it’s a guy doing the knitting! Love it, too.
  3. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling ~ Mrs. Weasley knits sweaters for every Christmas, and I think Hermione knits hats (and/or socks?) for house elves. I can’t remember the details. Guess that means it’s time for a re-read.
  4. Knit One, Kill Two by Maggie Sefton ~ as the first book in the “Knitting Mysteries” series, one would hope the characters knit.
  5. While My Pretty One Knits by Anne Canadeo ~ like #4, it’s the first in a knitting mystery series (“Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries” this time) so there better be knitting.
  6. Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton ~ I don’t remember all the details about this one, but I do know the main character owns a yarn shop. Plenty of knitting involved.
  7. Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee ~ this is non-fiction book of essays and anecdotes, while the others on this list so far have been fiction books. Also, she has written many books, and I’m only including this first one.
  8. It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons by Franklin Habit ~ another book that’s not exactly fiction, but it centers around knitting and is a lot of fun, so I’m including it.
  9. The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs ~ I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my radar so I can include it. Right?
  10. Last Wool and Testament by Molly MacRae ~ this is last on my list because the knitting content is superficial in this one. Yes, it’s the first of the “Haunted Yarn Shop” series, but the yarn is just a setting.

It’s a good thing there were only supposed to be ten items on my list… I can’t come up with any other definite books to add to this list without resorting to listing multiple books in a series! (I could have done that. I’ve read — I think — eleven of Sefton’s Knitting Mystery books, so I could have just made this list out of that series.) There are other books that I’ve read which I think had knitting in them, but in some cases (like A Wrinkle In Time) I’m not positive about the knitting content, and in others (like Great Expectations) I just can’t bring myself to include the book on my list.

Have a great day!

Misc Monday ~ in which Reyna is done

I have another FO post for you today!

Finished Reyna

This one is the Reyna shawl, which I’ll be giving to a family member as a gift this holiday season. (Remember, I haven’t decided if it’s birthday or Christmas but it will be in December, therefore “holiday season”.)

(For those of you keeping score at home, that’s 7 gift knits complete so far for this year. I have one more in progress, and a couple that haven’t made it past the “thinking about it” stage, so I’m in good shape for this year’s knitted gifts.)

Finished Reyna

I’m really pleased with the way it turned out. For me, I think this would be more along the lines of a shawlette, but since the recipient is more petite than I am, it should be a larger shawl on her than it would have been on me. And the colors will be great for her, I think. Hopefully she’ll like it. I think she will.

Finished Reyna

I haven’t determined if I’ll be making another one of these shawls. The pattern was easy enough to work, and yet also simple enough that it was easy to memorize. It didn’t even get mindless to the point of boring, so it was pretty easy to finish, too. However, there are so many shawl patterns out there that I want to make, so this one may be one of a kind for me. We’ll have to see – I guess I’ve determined that I won’t be making another one soon, but I might make another down the road when I need a fairly quick (or easy to memorize) shawl knit. It certainly looks like the mesh will keep the fabric lightweight enough for California weather.

Finished Reyna

However, for now I’m not going to think about whether or not to make more, and I’m just going to be happy that I’ve made this one. I like how it turned out, and I didn’t make any modifications to it, so I give this pattern two thumbs up!

The pattern is here (and free!) if you want to make your own.

Friday Reads ~ September 22, 2017

Remember last week how I told you that I’d been focusing on The Woman Warrior to the exclusion of my other books? Well, this week I looked at how much was left to read of the Magical Cats book, and the fact that both it and the memoir that I checked out of the library had due dates, and so I have been reading other things this week. It helps that TWW is set up kinda as connected short stories or essays within the larger book, so that there are self-contained sections and I can easily pause between them.

WHAT I READ

This week I finished Curiosity Thrilled the Cat, the aforementioned Magical Cats #1 by Sophie Kelly. It was really cute, and a nice change to have actual magical cats in a cozy mystery. (Usually the cats are “abnormally smart” but otherwise normal cats. It gets unbelievable after a while.) The full review is here.

WHAT I’M READING

I am technically still reading The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston. It’s not on a time-out or anything, just being paused while I read library books in an attempt to finish before the due date.

The same is true for my current ebook, Dragon’s Egg by Robert Forward. I can read this places when I don’t have my paper book with me, but I’m trying to focus on the last of the library books I have checked out right now.

Speaking of… said library book is Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard. I love his comedy, and have seen many of his taped specials and one live show, so I’m hoping I’ll enjoy his memoir as well. (So far I do, at least.)

And my audio book is still The Spaceship Next Door by Gene Doucette. I haven’t been listening to it a lot this week, but the concept still fascinates me and I want to see where the book goes with it.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT

Since I’m reading two paper books already, I think the “next” book is already in progress.

For ebooks and audio books, though, I’m not reading/listening fast enough to have any plans for the next one. We’ll see when I get there.

WIP Weds for September 20, 2017

Well… enough FO posts in place of WIP Weds posts for a while. Time for an actual works-in-progress post!

Though, random note, I have to say that I LOVE having 6 holiday season gifts finished already and it’s only mid-Septmeber. (I say “holiday season” because I have Christmas plus 5 birthdays all very close to each other, so I tend to knit for “the season” and then decide what to give for which occasion as the time gets closer.)

Okay, enough with the rambling. On to the knitting!

First up, we have some new socks. When the Hyrule Socks ended up being the wrong size for the person I was making them for, I cast on some Vanilla Latte socks to take their place. They’re a fun and fast knit, and here is my progress on them so far:

Vanilla Latte progress

There was one problem with these socks, though. I got careless part-way through knitting the leg and ended up with the garter stitches being offset by one. I was able to fix it by laddering down to the mistake and then re-working the stitches. Do-able, but annoying.

Vanilla Latte oops

I have also been getting some work done on the Reyna Shawl. Since the rows are longer now, though, I haven’t been taking this places, so it only gets knit on at home. Still… there is progress!

Nearly Finished Reyna

And the Star Wars GAL square… is a WIP, but hasn’t been worked on lately. So there will be no new pictures of the square, since it is in essentially the same place as the last picture.

Believe it or not, that’s all the current WIPs for now. I have other things on the needles, but they’re not currently being worked on. I think once I finish the Reyna shawl I’ll pick up the East of the Sun, West of the Moon shawl and see about getting that one finished. I’d love to wear it this winter. And after the Vanilla Latte socks, I’ll either pick the Minecraft socks back up or cast on another pair of (hopefully quick) gift socks. I haven’t decided yet, partly because I’m waiting to see how long the Vanilla Latte socks take me.

Have a great rest of the week!

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Books On My Fall TBR List

Time for another Top Ten Tuesday! This one, unlike recent topics, is more specific:

Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR List

Hmm. I don’t know that I really have season-specific books, but I do have books I want to read sooner rather than later. I’ll count those as my Fall TBR list, since Fall is sooner rather than later.

  1. The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (#1 in the Prydain Chronicles)
  2. Rest in Pieces by Rita Mae Brown (#2 of the Mrs. Murphy books)
  3. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
  4. Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard
  5. Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn (Tales of the Otori #1)
  6. The Inexplicable Universe by Neil deGrasse Tyson
  7. Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire
  8. Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire (#3 of the October Daye series)
  9. The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card (Mithermages #1)
  10. Matched by Ally Condie (Matched #1)

Some of these, obviously, are higher on the TBR list than others, and the order in which they’re written only partially reflects that. The ones I want to read most came to mind first; beyond that, they’re in a much more random order.

And also obviously, I retain the right to completely change my mind when it comes time to select what book I’ll read next.  😉