What I did on my summer vacation…

What I did on my summer vacation…

…or, my five-ish best reads of the summer!

For me, this was truly the Summer of Reading (Thank you, Mary for organizing another amazing Summer Book Bingo!)

This summer hearkened back to the days of my childhood and the joy and excitement that was summer reading. Growing up as a child, we had little money and we did not take vacations, so for me a good book would take me far away!

And, that was how I spent this summer – miles and miles away inside the pages of the books I read. It was a wonderful summer with 50 books and 2 Bingo Cover All’s! But, not all books are equal, and I thought a great way to wrap up the summer would be to highlight 5 books that I don’t think you should miss! And, if you have not read them – these are books that I would urge you to read and soon!

Number one on my list is Warlight by Michael Ondaatje in post-WWII London. I truly loved this story and I loved how Ondaatje told it. His way with words is masterful and his characters are so memorable! I truly hope that this book will win the Man Booker Prize this year. It is most worthy, in my opinion!

My second favorite book of the summer was The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner. This book drew me in from the first page with a line from Derek Walcot’s poem Islands: But, islands can only exist. If we have loved in them. And, so I spent a good number of days on the island Castellamare falling in love with it and the Esposito family. I truly did not want this book to end!

Coming in third was The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman. And, yes, I read all three books this summer because spending time in Brakebills and Fillory was so exciting! And, while I thought book two was not quite as good as books one and three, this series has stayed with me and the final book was just amazing and how Grossman wrapped up this series was spectacular and I highly recommend it! (After note… did you know there is a SYFY series about these books?? Yeah, I did not either and you can find seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix)

I was fortunate to be able to fit a good number of Louise Penny’s books with Armand Gamache in Three Pines on my cards (three this summer) and I am going to lump them (The Nature of the Beast, A Great Reckoning, and Glass Houses) together in fourth place. You can never go wrong with Armand!

Finally, I am at the truly hard choice of picking a final book to bring this summer to a close, and I have thought about this long and hard as to which book I will put on this Best of Summer list. It was not an easy choice because I read so many amazing books this summer. But, in the end Paris in the Present Tense by Mark Helprin gets the final spot. And, really… spending time in Paris this summer was not painful at all! This book was so much more than I expected and it made me laugh, it made me cry, and I fell in love with Jules Lacour! This book easily gets 5 stars!!

You can see my entire list of summer reads here. 

Happy Labor Day everyone!

Fiber Friday | 8.31.18

Fiber Friday | 8.31.18

Houston… we have colorwork!!

Yes, I am on the downhill portion of my Strokkur and my favorite part! I feel safe in saying that this sweater will be done next week! This despite the realization that I did too many decreases in the short-row section – I should have done NONE and did them not “as above” but “as the previous page.” All this meant that I considered ripping back 8 rows of knitting… (yeah, yuck). My option was to just drop back stitches in the decrease areas and re-knit them sans decreases. It was fiddly, but it is done. AND, yes… colorwork has started!!

Moral of the story…really read every word the pattern author writes… knit to marker means just that. I blame this entirely on Joe Biden’s amazing eulogy yesterday for distracting me!

Is it just me or have you all noticed the huge influx of new patterns on Ravelry over the past week? You’d think a new season was coming, or something… ha! It’s true, a HUGE influx of new patterns and, sadly, not all of them were anything to write home about… or link here. But, I did find some really fun things to share with you this week!

First up, a couple of non-knitting links!

If you want to show a little RESPECT today, Aretha’s funeral will be broadcast on television and online.

Next up: Crostini, 3 Ways was posted this week on he Laine blog…oh my. This might be coming to a happy hour table in my house soon!

Are you a sock knitter?

Sockturnal… think this is your typical sock? Think again… it starts in a very unique place: the heel!

Dip your toes might be too cute to put shoes on!

Intiaanisykst are sure to be a quick knit using Aran weight yarn!

Perhaps you are more of an accessory kind of knitter…

Glitch might mean malfunction, but this cowl definitely is NOT!

Enderby is most interesting!

Magnolia Hat is so cute!

So is Hari Hat!

Ysolda’s Knitworthy 5 will be out next week!

Quince’s Dune and Ridge

However, it was Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner for the sweater knitters:

Dale was the first pattern released from Quince & Co. Core Wool 2018 (also see Dune and Ridge above… these first patterns are all about gauge!)

Jane Morris by Carole Sunday

The Throwback by Andrea Mowry

Hoar Cardigan has two sleeve style options

And, finally…The Sweater Opus: Lindisfarne which is a “labor of love.” Wow!

That’s all I have for this week! See you all back here on Monday! Have a wonderful LONG weekend!

Three on Thursday | 8.30.18

Three on Thursday | 8.30.18

Today it’s all about things on PBS you don’t want to miss!

Thing One

PBS has partnered with Chef Marcus Samuelsson in No Passport Required. The series follows Chef Samuelsson on his journey to some amazing cities across the US highlighting its unique immigrant culture. It comes at the most perfect time as well, this is the America I love living in… rich, diverse, and so delicious! I highly recommend it!

Thing Two

The Great American Read returns September 11 when America’s best-loved novel will be revealed! Have you voted yet? There is still time!

Thing Three

Finally, The Miniaturist debuts in September (at least at my PBS affiliate) and I am so looking forward to it!

There you have my things for this last Thursday in August! Want to see more, then head on over to Carole’s!

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.29.18

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.29.18

Greetings Unravelers!

I have the tiniest twinge of sadness that this is the last Wednesday of August, but my knitters’ heart is happy that soon the Season of Wool will be returning. My favorite time of the year is the Season of Wool and after taking a summer break from knitting things that feel “wooly” and picking up my languishing Strokkur again felt like the return of an old friend. My hands are so happy with the gentle scratchiness of the Lopi yarn. I realize that not everyone likes wooly wool, but it is one of my very favorite things!

And, here is the level of my happiness… I have one sleeve joined and have sleeve two well underway! I see colorwork in the coming days! Ahhhh! Now, I realize that it will be a good number of days before I can wear wool, or at least wear it all day… but those days are coming!

My reading is truly at a fevered pace…

First up, I would like to thank Mary for making the brilliant suggestion of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd which I listened to on Saturday… it was only an hour and a half long! PERFECT!! I enjoyed it, and yes… it had a very unreliable narrator. It was like listening to an old-time radio program, with multiple characters! I enjoyed it tremendously and it got 3-stars.

I finished reading The House at the Edge of Night. This was for my “set in a place you’d like to know more about” and Castellamare was the perfect place to spend some time on! I laughed, I cried, I mourned, and I loved the Esposito Family. I really want to spend some time sitting in the bougainvillea covered café in the House at the Edge of Night. I want to sip coffee and eat rice balls and just listen to the conversation around me! I gave this book 5-stars and I highly recommend it!

There was great sadness that I finished the third book of The Magician’s Trilogy: The Magician’s Land. This was perhaps the best book of the trio. This book tied up many things for Quentin, Fillory, and Brakebills. 5-stars all the way!

Finally, I finished The Wasteland and other poems by T.S. Eliot. I enjoyed this but had no idea that it would be so religious. I will be thinking about many of these poems for a long time.

The above books gave me a few more bingo’s which leaves me with my final two squares for the summer: Louise Penny’s Glass Houses (which I am just over half way through) and James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty.

This might be the best summer ever for reading! But, this morning – no reading for me! I will be helping a friend figure out how to put together her “Swancho” so that I can then pick up the stitches for her sleeves… wish me luck! Haha!

What about you? What are you making and reading this week? If you have a post to share with us, please leave your link below!

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Tiny Moment Tuesday | 8.28.18

Tiny Moment Tuesday | 8.28.18

“Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here. Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.

Farewell, fellow Americans. God bless you, and God bless America.” – John McCain

Senator McCain seemed to have impeccable timing in life and in death and while I did not always agree with his politics, I had deep respect for this man who gave so much to this nation.

The nonsense about flags yesterday set off my anger and my outburst at the news did not make me feel any better. But, then Mr. Davis read the Farewell Statement from Senator McCain and I realized that what position flags were in did not diminish the man that Senator McCain was nor the respect that this grateful nation has for him.

In death, he has lifted us all up with words that are both profound, comforting, and yes, inspiring. I am so glad that you, in the words of Dylan Thomas, “did not go gentle into that good night.”

Rest in Peace, Senator McCain.

Make it Monday | 8.27.18

Make it Monday | 8.27.18

This weekend was truly the stuff of dreams. Steve had a work function, so he was gone until Sunday, which meant I did what I wanted all weekend long!

There was so much reading! I am three books away from a second cover all…. Yes, you read that correctly! I am focused and can almost taste success even if it might come down to the wire next Monday so stay tuned!

I made a Beach Hair Don’t Care headband. I knit it at a slightly tighter than recommended gauge and now I am hoping that it stretches out as I think it will with a bit of blocking. But… In case it doesn’t, a second has been started at the recommended gauge! Ha!

I finished the lace work of Tegna, which means that it is now the perfect knit… just round, and round, and round… for 15 or so inches! Haha!

I also pulled out Strokkur and made some good progress on a sleeve!

All this weekend productivity has energized my Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend! Happy Monday!

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