Happy New Year?

Happy New Year?

Did you miss me? I sure missed you all!

My plans to end 2017 did not include falling off the blogging map! I did have some rather nice posts planned to close out the year. However, they were only plans in my head and not plans in the form of ready to go blog posts.

Sickness and that lack of preplanning made for very quiet days at Casa delKatKnits as 2017 ended. A HUGE thank you to those who messaged me asking if I was alright! Yes, I am back among the land of the living…barely, but absolutely on the upswing!

In my absentia, besides sleeping an inordinate amount of time, I managed to finish my epic yearlong stitching project. I am stitching away on my new stitching project with mixed feelings. I have not taken any stitches out, but I am not feeling much love for this project in its current state. I spent some time meditating yesterday while I untrimmed the tree and I think I have figured out a way ahead and I am excited to stitch today, so I hope I might be on the right path. More on both projects later this week!

I also managed to finish the body of Treysta and I am working on sleeve one! This was accomplished while binge-watching Strange Things on Netflix. Sometimes, mindless, in the round knitting and unbelievable television are the best companions for the sickly!

Reading absolutely won in 2017, because I only managed to finish 15 projects last year…5 hats, a pair of mitts, a pair of socks, 3 shawls, a necklace, and 4 sweaters. Not a lot of knitting for me for an entire year. I hope to rectify that this year.

There are parts of me that would like a bit of a do-over for some things last week, most especially NYE. Steve found a recipe for Milk Street Kitchen’s version of a French 75. I was determined to not be a total party pooper NYE and I did make us a drink to have with the homemade soup, but it was just not quite right and would have been ever so much better with some actual celebratory eats! Perhaps this weekend we can make them again – this time with more fitting accoutrements…(and perhaps even pictures!)

Now, I have an insanely long, sort of out of control, catch-all list from hell that has my name burned on the top of it. I better get to it before I self-destruct! Doing laundry is tops on the list as I am almost out of clean jammies. Perhaps getting dressed might also be a good idea today!

See you back here tomorrow for some Unraveling!

P.S. To the brilliant commentor who quickly saw my ginormous math mistake, thank you! You won the day and are absolute proof that finishing blog posts that include math while deathly ill is not the smartest thing ever. But, thanks to her genius skills, I was even happier to find out that my reading success was even MORE successful!

Unraveled Wednesday, December 27

Unraveled Wednesday, December 27

This week its all about my reading and a review of the best books I have read all year. It was so much fun to go back through my books and do a little memory lane reminiscing with all the incredible books I have read!

I will end up with 85 books finished this year, which includes Urlula K. Le Guin’s No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters. I have about 20 pages to go, so this will be super easy to finish. This is impressive for me because I began the year slowly and was 11 books behind my goal of 60 books when Summer Book Bingo started. So, to end up exceeding by 15 books ummm, that would be 25 books!! I am quite proud of myself!

I had hoped to finish Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach, but I don’t think that is likely to happen, but that means it will be #1 for 2018 and give me a very good start for next year!

Now, on to my best of books (and really, these were the best off – all books here received a 5-star rating from me!), starting with books I should have read long before I did:

  • 1984
  • Moby Dick, The Whale
  • Animal Farm
  • On the Road
  • The English Patient

If you have not read these, I highly recommend doing so. I listened to all of them and they had incredible narration (even Moby Dick which I listed to via the Moby Dick Big Read. Now, I understand that having 136 different narrators might put some people off, but they were ALL excellent.

Up next are books that are part of a series:

  • And, in first place is Louise Penny’s series with Armand Gamache. I read 4 books in this series this year: The Cruelest Month, A Rule Against Murder, Bury Your Dead, and The Brutal Telling. It seems incredible, but each story in this series is better than the one before. If you like a good mystery, this series is WONDERFUL!
  • Next, is Jussi Adler-Olsen’s Department Q series. His latest installment, The Scarred Woman was SO GOOD! And, I love Carl Morck almost as much as I love Armand Gamache! Nordic Noir at its best!
  • I also loved Viveca Sten’s The Sandhamn Murder Series, especially Tonight You’re Dead.
  • Finally, Lotte and Soren Hammer’s series with Detective Konrad Simonsen, I found The Hanging to be the best one I have read thus far, but I enjoyed the other books in this series too.

I delved a bit into poetry this year, and was so pleasantly surprised by how much it resonated with me. I devoured two Mary Oliver Books: A Thousand Mornings, and Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver. I also loved Wendell Berry’s A Small Porch: Sabbath Poems 2014. Expect to see more poetry in 2018!

I also snuck in a children’s book: The Night Gardener, which was lovely in word and picture.

I read one biography: Hillary Clinton’s What Happened. It was cathartic for me and beautifully read by Hillary herself.

Now for the rest of the list and there are many, but trust me each of these books has stayed with me, they are thought provoking, moving, and at times uncomfortable. But, good books should stretch us and sometimes take us out of our comfort zone. These books do that and more:

  • The Secret History
  • I am the Messenger
  • A Gentleman in Moscow
  • The Nix
  • 4 3 2 1
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
  • And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer
  • Lincoln in the Bardo
  • The Help
  • South of Broad
  • Beach Music
  • Millard Salter’s Last Day
  • Life After Life
  • Little Fires Everywhere
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing
  • Elmet
  • The History of Love

So much good reading this year, and I am equally excited about next year. I am participating in Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge, because one thing I learned this year was that those books that were outside of my comfort zone were some of the best books I read all year long!

And, so, it is almost time to set my Goodreads goal next year, and I am going to challenge myself there as well with a goal of 100 books.

What about you? What was your favorite book (books?) of the year!

ALSO!! Because, simply-linked has been performing less than optimally (but what can I expect for a free application!) Please leave your blog link in comments. Thanks for your patience and participation as I work out the best way to make this work best for all of us!

P.S. Sorry about the bad photo today, but the light has not been cooperative at all. But, my sweater grows, I am almost done with the waist shaping and then have about an inch and a half before the colorwork at the bottom (and then on to the sleeves so, sadly there is no chance this will be done this year)

Finally, a White Christmas

Finally, a White Christmas

A short and quick post today! The weather man so kindly shared yesterday that Pittsburgh had its first white Christmas since 2010. I know, how crazy is that? But, the snow was the perfect thing to wake up to on Christmas morning!

My “to do” list today is short on tasks but long on reading and knitting, which is the best way to extend the weekend!

I hope your Christmas was all that you wished for and more!

Fiber Friday, December 22

Fiber Friday, December 22

Yesterday, I began my new stitching project and I am so excited about it, I had to share my humble beginnings with you all! I am happy to report that couching with hand spun yarn is the way to go!! And, I am maintaining my entirely “free stitching” and I used no tracing or no marking.

And, so Welcome to Winter! I have 88 more days to stitch and I am excited for each and every one of them!

Are any of you going to start a stitching project (or any project, really… I have semi-seriously been pondering this cowl) AND, there are some who talked about starting a Woman Must Make Her Own Arrows in January too! I thought it might be nice to have a little support group to cheer each other on. If you want to start a Year of Stitching and you don’t know how to begin, email me (kachrist37 (at) gmail (dot) com) and I would be happy to help you get started! If you are interested in a little group support for a year long project, leave a comment here and I will start an email thread of where to do that easily.

Now, how about some links?

Gentle Morning

I love the story behind this hat

A Lacy Boxy with heart

More good cause knitting, Girlfriendscardigan Anke

That is all I have for the Friday before Christmas. Go out and make some merry today! Have a great weekend!  I am debating about a post on Monday but, I want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

Three on Thursday, December 21

Three on Thursday, December 21

‘Twas the Thursday before Christmas, and yet on my list….

There are way more than 3 things on my list, but these things are in the “must complete” category:

  1. Choir tonight, so I have rehearsal tracks to practice which will cut into my reading time today. Darn it all! Haha! However, this is only bad because The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden is wonderful, laugh out loud funny, and entirely perfect for getting things done!
  2. Seaming… need I say more. The knitting might be done, but I still have a bit of seaming to do!
  3. WALK! This has been on my list multiple times this week, but strangely it is not getting done nor crossed off. I have prioritized it today, so it gets done (note, this is again all due to The Girl Who Saved Sweden as I have told myself that the ONLY TIME I CAN LISTEN is when I walk!) Oh, the bargains we make with ourselves! LOL

That is the peek at my list today. Want to see everyone’s lists? Head over to Carole’s!

See you back here tomorrow!

Unraveled Wednesday, December 20

Unraveled Wednesday, December 20

‘Twas five days before Christmas and all though the house…

Lots of stirring. Lots of last minute things I did not plan for, or expect, or yeah.

And, then my darling daughter wondered if I would just buzz over to Target to get something that my Target had in stock but hers did not.

Umm, I love her dearly, but Target five days before Christmas? I am pretty sure I won’t even be able to get into the parking lot! So, yeah… at least that was not added to the “must complete list” in fact, this one did not even make to the “in my wildest dreams list” (Thanks, Kym for that great list name, because prior to reading your post it was the “no effing way list” lol)

However, my super-secret knitting is DONE! Cross that baby off the list! Woo hoo!! Which brings me back to my regularly scheduled knitting, and I am making progress. I am through the beginning of the shaping decreases and onto just straight knitting for a bit. And, Mother Nature has turned the heat up outside so the urgent need for another sweater is not as pressing. But, I knit on!

Reading has been good and next week I will be sharing my favorite reads of the year!

I finished listening to Sing, Unburied, Sing. Wow. What an amazing, powerful book. Excellent narration as well! I gave it 5-stars.

I finished listening to Bonfire, which I also did not love. It did not live up to the hype and got 3-stars.

I also finished reading The Rules of Magic. I thought this was an okay read, but not my cup of tea and it only got 2-stars.

I am listening to The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden and I started reading The History of Love.

And, after Thursday night (my last choir rehearsal before Christmas eve) I am free to read to my hearts content! And, READ I will. I am 3 books away from hitting 85 books read this year and I am determined to do that! Also, to everyone who says, how can you read so much? Well, I am a rabid audio-book listener! I start shortly after I get up and have about 7 hours a day to listen. You can get a lot of “reading” done in that amount of time! It is truly the BEST!

But, I hope that crazy is not reigning at your house and that you are embracing the season and thanks for joining me today!

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