The Calm Factor

The Calm Factor

Is it just me, or does this week seem to be moving along at warp speed?

This week I need an extra measure of calm and I was certain that if I tried to work on Rock the Lobster, there would be some ripping back…

So, I cast on A Pussy Hat by another name… and completed it the same day.

Then I wound, by hand, a skein of Miss Babs Deep Sea Jellyfish Yowza that I had been saving for a “rainy day” – it took a good bit of time.

But finally, I cast on another Honey cowl – this time using Kay Gardiner’s recipe for an extra 40 stitches (so I cast on 260 stitches rather than 220).

I started knitting and discovered that I had twisted the cast on row, so I had this Moebius thing going on. Yep, you guessed it – RRRIIIPPPPPP!

I cast on again – this time more successfully. On the fourth time of knitting a Honey Cowl – it is like sitting down with an old friend – comfortable, calming, and soothing. Just what I need this week!

On the reading front I finished The Nix yesterday and I loved it! I know it is too early to be saying anything about favorite books read this year, but I will tell you this – it is on the top ten list for favorite books ever. Yes. It is that good. It is chock full of so many good things – so many! And, I love how Nathan Hill tied all those things together! I highly recommend this book – really. It is a must read, imo.

I am still reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt – I really love her writing; however, I am still undecided about her slate of characters in this novel because they are decidedly unlikable. Now, that does not mean I am saying I do not like the story – because I do like it very much. Are you confused? I hope not, because it is very good and I am hoping that one of the characters manages to redeem themselves before the end of the story.

That is all I have for this Wednesday, where as usual I am joining Ginny in her Yarn Along.

What are you knitting or reading this week to get through?

A tiny post script on the conundrum of smelly vs. not smelly paper whites (or narcissus). Apparently there are indeed a couple of varieties that have low-smell or no-smell. More information can be found here and here. In other words, avoid the Ziva variety.

All the good reads

All the good reads

This week I hit the good reads bonanza – I finished Michael Chabon’s Moonglow and started two excellent books – in my ears is Nathan Hill’s The Nix (which I am LOVING!!) and the other excellent book I started this week is Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, which I am reading via Overdrive on my iPad.

So much good reading! So.much!

I enjoyed Moonglow – I laughed, I cried, and really loved this journey through the memories of a grandparent. I highly recommend this book and gave it 4 stars.

Knitting has also been on the very good level – post-holiday crunch knitting is all completed and I have got back to Rock the Lobster to get this finished. Sleeve one was completed on Monday and yesterday I managed to get a good start on sleeve two. It is at the perfect point right now, just mindless knitting – no counting yet, no remembering to decrease.

I also finished swatching for an upcoming project and I really love how this process can take me in an entirely different direction than was the original plan. I think this is where I have learned how to “make a swatch lie to me” to “get gauge” to knit a project – I have more than once done this and the end result was a sweater that did not fill well and I really did not like very much. I have discovered that if you look at swatching in a different way, you have better success. What gauge makes the best fabric? That was the “aha” moment for me – getting a fabric I like. I will be starting a new sweater as soon as I have Rock the Lobster done and I am excited about that which is just the perfect incentive to finish this up! Can I also say that I am in love with this yarn – Sheepspot CVM which will be coming soon. It is light and airy in feel, yet it will be a hard-wearing fabric. I have been giving these swatches some good abrasion and they are holding up well, are not stretching out, and have good structure without being heavy – and NO PILLING!! I know, I am seriously in love with this yarn!

I would have picked up Rob Roy last night, but the lure of The Secret History won over knitting (yes, it is that good!) The hat has been in a bit of a time out because of pattern confusion, however, I only have one pattern repeat to complete and although Mary shared there was more confusion on the crown decreases, she graciously shared her pattern notes here if you are knitting along. This hat is for Steve and I would like to get it done before we get more cold weather so I hope to finish this up today.

That is all I have for today and, as always, I am joining Ginny’s Yarn Along where you will find plenty of knitting and reading inspiration!

Triumvirate of New

Triumvirate of New

  • New Year Ö
  • New Project Ö
  • New Book Ö

Knitting progresses on Rob Roy. It is slow going right now, as I have not found a flow to the cables yet – nor have I memorised the symbols! Plus I ran into a bit of a conundrum with the chart on round three but Mary came to the rescue and it has flowed smoothly since.

I love the texture these cowls have!

I ended 2016 with 2 additional projects completed – Project Peace and Singing Beach. And, 2017 has it’s first item in the completion column – my first PussyHat is complete. I will be casting on another to share and I think I am going to give Laura Nelkin’s mods a go!

New book underway – Moonglow A Novel by Michael Chabon.

And, in its first few days the New Year is perking along nicely!

What are you reading and knitting in the New Year?

Joining Ginny and her Yarn Along.

A Year of Reading (with a side of knitting!)

A Year of Reading (with a side of knitting!)

First up – an update on my Christmas Bulb-a-thon:  Paperwhites are going gangbusters while the Amaryllis is going nowhere? The bloom and two leaves shriveled up and fell off. The remaining leaves have greened up some, but there is no new growth at all. I am not hopeful that this will be successful, but it has been a learning experience. Now, I am cheering on those Paperwhites, despite the smell that I have been warned about! LOL

Now, on to the reading of the post!! 2016 was a fantastic year for reading at Casa del KatKnits!

I finished 54 books this year and thanks to Summer Book Bingo, I stepped out of my “reading comfort zone” and read some books I would have not normally picked up – but did and I loved them! I might be able to get one more book read this year, rounding out the number at 55. I just got The Nix from the library, but it is unlikely that I can finish it before the New Year – we shall see!

Of the 54 books I read this year, some stand out still in my mind. To Kill a Mockingbird, The Paris Architect, A Man Called Ove, The Book Thief, and The Underground Railroad made a tremendous impact on me and I have thought about them all many times since I have read them.

I read books that made me yearn to visit other places – The Year of Living Danishly, and James Rebanks tales of his sheep and his land in England were excellent books to give you a different perspective on life on this planet.

I became enamored with Inspector Gamache and Three Pines as I worked through mysteries with him. And, Inspector Gamache is the perfect companion for my love of Nordic Noir novels – I filled my shelf with a good number of Scandinavian mysteries.

All this reading has inspired me to really step up my goal for 2017 and I have a well-stocked reading list to get me started!

The knitting this week saw the finish of gift socks, and the start of the first of two Rob Roy hats. My swatching has begun – in the form of the band of the hat. My gauge varies dramatically from flat knitting to in the round knitting, so this is the best way for me to swatch!

I also have almost finished my Peace Cowl.

2017 will be the year of the sweater – I have a couple in process that will be back in active knitting rotation now that the Christmas knitting is over!! And, there are plans for a couple more to be cast on in soon! I will be swatching this gorgeous Sheepspot CVM as soon as I get it wound into a ball! Yes, lots of knitting to usher in the New Year!

How did your year of reading and knitting end?

As always, I am linking up with Ginny’s Yarn Along, where you can find knitting and reading inspiration!





Peaceful Knitting and Reading

Peaceful Knitting and Reading

21 days of Peace Knitting have brought me to the bind off and, as you can see, I am going to do the suggested i-cord bind off. It is by no means a quick bind off, but I am enjoying the pace of this knitting tremendously – I will continue the bind off in the peaceful fashion that the cowl has been knit. Stay tuned for the matching i-cord on the bottom of the cowl. I am not sure how peaceful picking up 318 stitches will be, but I will let you know!

I really love the texture of this cowl!

I also FINALLY bought Slow Stitching, and WOW! I am almost finished reading it and my head is FILLED with ideas on how to incorporate this into my life. This is especially exciting because I did not do well with my resolution to stitch daily last year, however 2017 will bring a renewed purpose with stitching into my days. I hope to incorporate many of the techniques talked about in the book – I am really inspired and will spend some time between Christmas and New Year gathering things that I have in the house to begin this exploration.

David of Southern Cross Fibres has always been an inspiration as well, and when I saw this posted on his Instagram feed earlier this week I had a bit of an ah-ha moment!

I am excited to start this new journey in the New Year.

My reading this year has been nothing short of phenomenal. There are two people who significantly improved my reading this year – Carole and Bonny! Carole inspired me to join Summer Book Bingo and Bonny is always reading something interesting which inspires me to add another book to my “I want to read this” list on Goodreads. A huge thanks to both of them!

I began and finished Behind Closed Doors on Saturday (it is amazing what an electrical outage will do for your reading!!) and was excited to get an email from the library that Michael Chabon’s Moonglow is ready for me to pick up! This year I have read 52 books and with any luck I will be able to get that to 55 before year end!

Jeffrey Brown of PBS Newshour released a compilation of 31 books that you should add to your holiday reading list. There were several books that I will be adding to my want to read list for 2017. So many books, so little time.

As always, I am linking up with Ginny’s Yarn Along. Happy Wednesday everyone!

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