Author Archives: Anna

Too much purple yarn is never enough

I was delighted when my friend Margene decided to destash, because she set aside some awesome purple yarn for me!

purpleyarn

That is some incredibly high quality purple (and pink, and reddish pink) yarn there. So excited! Some of it might become….SOCKS! It could happen! My one pair of finished socks accidentally got sent through the washing machine two years ago, so I feel like I have been failing myself as a knitter because have not produced more socks.

I have also reached the home stretch, or stage three of Joker and the Thief, where the purple yarn becomes more prominent again:

stagethreejoker

Soon it will be all done, hopefully when it is still cold enough outside so I can actually wear it!

January knitting update

I have finished one thing and made good progress on a new project.

The thing I finished was a belated holiday gift – it is a sockhead hat made out of 1.25ish skeins of Koigu KPPM from my stash! Hooray for using up stash yarn!

sockheadhat

The other thing I’ve been working on is The Joker and the Thief. This is from some yarn I picked up at the knitting retreat last fall from Marianated Yarns. I’ve made faster progress on this project than is usual for me, because I was horribly sick last week and wasn’t able to do much other than sit in bed and watch Netflix and knit.

jokerandthethief I really like the way this is coming out with the grey gradient yarn and the vibrant purple.

2015 Year in Reading

I need to post about my reading adventures for last year before January gets away from me! I read (or at least managed to track on goodreads) 77 books last year. Highlights include:

The Raven Boys series by Maggie Stiefvater – So much more creative than most YA fiction out there, and so well-written.

Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny – I’ve been meaning to start reading this series for a long time and blew through around 5 volumes in short order.

The Winter Sea by Suzanna Kearsley – Nice historical time travel cozy book.

Magnificent Devices Series by Shelley Adina – Non-annoying steampunk romance series. I’ve only read the first four or so, but they feature an unconventional heroine with a yen for science who inadvertently finds herself in charge of a gang of child thieves.

 

Kicking off the new year with some knitting

I finished my long koigu entrelac scarf of doom!

20160104_194554This was six skeins of koigu, I started it way back in April 2013 and finished it Jan 1st! This was very much a background project that I worked on occasionally while knitting other things, and it felt very good to be starting off the new year with a finished scarf.

I’m making a sockhead hat, right now, using even more koigu.

20160104_194708All this yarn comes from my koigu collecting years of many years ago, and I have to admit, it feels good to use up some stash yarn. Maybe now that I’m putting much more of a dent in the koigu stash, I’ll now start to use up some of my Wollmeise.

Knitting plans for 2016 include:

We’ll see if I can do all that!

 

Knitting Retreat fun

I was very excited to be able to go to the Alta knitting retreat for the first time. My knitting buddies have been going to this for years and I’ve always wanted to go but never managed to block off the time before. It has been a long time since I’ve had a solo vacation, and I came back from the retreat feeling very refreshed and relaxed!

I came up on Friday with Cheryl! A ton of knitters come up on Friday to check in and get lunch, but other folks arrive later. Here’s a view from the deck of the Alta Lodge where I was knitting, check out the aspens!

deckCheck out those aspens!

Thai influenced salad with chicken and peanut dressing with rice!

saladbaba

I went on a hike to Cecret Lake. Here’s one photo taken partway along the trail.

20150926_105004Here is Cecret Lake! It exists!

20150926_110349It was a nice hike, and great to get out and walk around a little bit after spending most of Friday sitting and knitting.

I worked on one old project and started a new one, even though I brought around 4 potential projects with me just in case. You never know what you’re going to be in the mood to knit! It was just great to hang out and knit, and drink some wine, and hang out and knit some more. The rooms in the Alta Lodge don’t have TVs in them, but I brought along my iPad and got caught up on a few season premieres (How to Get Away With Murder & Scandal) and got a bit further along in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer rewatch marathon I just started recently.

I got a substantial amount done on my 3 colorway koigu entrelac scarf of doom. You can see the three colorways mixing together below. Should finally be done with this soon!

20150928_191747

I started a new project, an easy hat called Wurm. It uses a folded brim, which I haven’t done before. I was worried I would accidentally pick up the stitches unevenly, but it has turned out great so far. I’m finding the pattern very entertaining, and I’ve knit several more bands since the photo below. I think it will be done very soon.

wurm

It would be somewhat impossible to go on a knitting retreat. I brought 5 skeins of Woolmeise, which I ended up selling before the actual stash sale, which was partly stashed yarns from knitting retreat attendees along with some great indie dyers like Intrepid Tulips and Marianated Yarns. Then I turned around and bought some new yarn with the money I made selling my old yarn, my photo does not do it justice:

marianatedyarnThe purple yarn is called Amethyst, so of course I had to get it. I’m going to see about making Joker and the Thief, although I will need to fudge a little bit with the gradient pattern for the darker colors.

It was a great three day weekend, and I’m already looking forward to going back next year!

Summer Knitting Action

I have been knitting here and there this summer, although I’ve been mega busy.

I made a berry baby hat for a co-worker who is going to have a baby soon!

hat

When I was getting the yarn for the hat, I bought some extra yarn to take advantage of Webs’ crazy discounts.

madelinetosh

madelinetosh

I got some Madelinetosh yarn in the colorway Steam Age, which I have been wanting for some time.

I might actually finish this endless entrelac koigu scarf soon, I think I started it last fall. This is a mix of 6 skeins of koigu, with 3 of one colorway, 2 of another, and a lone skein to finish up the scarf. It will all look very ombre yet crazy when I am done with it.

20150823_164827

In other long-term projects, I am still working on a throw for my youngest sister, but I haven’t been able to knit on it very much in the summer because I don’t often feel like sitting with a blanket in progress on my lap when it is 90+ degrees outside. I predict there will be more progress with that project once the temperatures drop.

I’m going to knitting retreat in September! I am excited, because most of my knitting buddies go every year and this is the first time I’m going. I need to strategize carefully about which knitting projects to bring.

Kawaii Box July 2015

What came in the July Kawaii box? This is my second to last box, since I have a 3 month subscription. I do so enjoy the messages on the cards, this one promises that the contents of the box “are as cute as you.” Well, we’ll see now, won’t we?

20150823_164931

These were the items I was most excited about, a toast coaster and a keychain with cute alpacas on it that matches the bag charm from last month.

kawaiiboxjune2015toastcoasteralpacakeychain

The toast coaster is one of those perfect things to get in a random subscription box, because I didn’t realize that toast coasters existed. I have also been meaning to bring in a coaster for my desk at work, so it will be practical too! Also, I just want to have the excuse to say to people, “Check out this toast coaster!” TOAST COASTER!

The alpaca keychain matches perfectly with the bag charm from last month, and who doesn’t sometimes need a new keychain? It is super cute.

Here are a couple things I was less excited about, candy and pencils.

candypencils

The candy was from the same company that was included in last month’s box, and the candy consisted of slightly chalky tasting links that were a bit harder in consistency than gummy candy, yet still somewhat gummy, if that makes sense. It was not that great.

Also cute pencils. I feel like I will have enough pencils to last for quite some time now.

There usually seems to be something absolutely surreal and ridiculous in these boxes, with the smiling pink poop pencil sharpener serving in that category last month, this month there is a doughnut pocket mirror. There was a pastel bracelet I will save for the next time I’m in the presence of tiny girl who likes bracelets. The sprinkles on the pocket mirror seem like they would wear off pretty easily if you actually threw it into a handbag.

Also, there is a plush mushroom with a somewhat tortured expression, which I find amusing. I enjoy erasers with weird shapes, so I did like the cupcake eraser.

doughnutmirrormushroom

I can really take or leave glitter glue, but this looks like a good set, if I did want to glue glitter to anything. I really enjoy the sticker set, which features cute pandas with bizarre facial expressions.

glitterstickers

I was also happy to see this Rilakkuma post-it set, it is a little book of post-its that unfolds accordion style with a bunch of different shaped post-its. Super handy!

rilakkumapostits

Overall, I still think that a yearly subscription would result in someone getting too much plastic stuff, but a three month subscription or just buying a random box now and then is a nice treat, especially if you live hundreds of miles away from a good Japanese import shop.

Recent Media Consumption

Movies

I saw The Man From UNCLE, and I liked it. I think that anyone who enjoyed the old TV show would enjoy it, if they don’t mind seeing the characters recast. It was pretty restrained for a Guy Ritchie movie, the costume design and soundtrack were great at evoking the 60s, and overall it was amusing in a low key way. I kept getting distracted by how large Armie Hammer as Ilya Kuryakin was, because TV Ilya was so tiny. Also, I am uncertain about the choice to have new Napoleon Solo vaguely mimic Robert Vaughn’s distinct line delivery. Still, fun and worth seeing for a summer matinee.

We rented The Duff the other night, and it was a solid teen movie! Nice if you have fond memories of John Hughes movies, but want to see something more modern that actually references tumblr.

K-Dramas

Having finished Healer recently, I moved on to Jeju Island Gatsby, the latest drama from the Hong Sisters. The mayor is my favorite character. I’m around midway through the series and enjoying it, although I don’t think it is in any way as great as You’re Beautiful or Masters’ Sun by the same writers.

Netflix

I’ve decided to rewatch 30 Rock! I actually missed several episodes here and there so it is fun to go back and watch it again from the beginning. I love netflix.

Kawaii Box June 2015 Review

I’ve been curious about subscription boxes, but I hadn’t found one that I thought I’d enjoy. I can’t subscribe to the boxes where one gets sent a random assortment of makeup and beauty products, because I tend to be overly sensitive to fragrance, and I figured those boxes are likely to have perfume samples and lotions that I would never be able to use. While I like the idea of yarn clubs, I have a crazy amount of yarn, and am also picky about the color of yarn I like to buy, so that also doesn’t seem like a good fit for me. When I realized that there was a box subscription that sent you random cute things from Japan and Korea, I thought that might be the box for me, simply because there are not a ton of store options to buy random cute things where I live. My sisters got me a 3 month subscription to Kawaii Box for my birthday!

So now, I will review the contents of the June box, exactly as a blogger does when they have no other blog content ideas than to post the contents of a subscription box.

20150722_184507

I like the way the card that came with the box listing every item says “Thank you for being so cute!”

Here’s what it looked like when I opened the box:

20150722_184522

This is what was in the box:

20150722_184552

A pink alpaca bag charm, tiny pillbox, and an eraser in the shape of smiling pink poop. I was particularly taken with the alpaca bag charm, and I put it on my knitting bag immediately. Many of the ladies in my knitting group have the same Sherpani tote bag for their knitting (because that is how we roll), and the bag charm will make it easy to pick out my bag in the crowd.

I use a larger version of the pink pillbox for knitting stitch markers and things, but I could see this mini one being handy for pills, or other teeny tiny supplies. The pink poop pencil sharpener is hilarious, I am not sure yet how well it sharpens anything.

20150722_184628

On the squishy side of things, there is a kawaii bean mini plush, and a squishy chocolate strawberry charm, both of which have a little strap you could use to attach them to a cell phone or whatever.

20150722_184648

There’s a mini sushi to plug into a headphone jack! Also a purple Hello Kitty mechanical pencil which is very nice.

20150722_184745

On the stationary side of things, there’s a blue pencil, pen, eraser, and sharpener set, some cute animal sticky notes, and some puffy stickers.

20150722_184705

There is also a “bling bling” Korean nail art set that I’m going to send to my little sister who enjoys nail art, and a Kracie Bubble Jelly Candy thing I will make with my kids.

Overall, I thought this was a good mix of items ranging from squishy things to cute office supplies. I could see how someone might have way too many bag charms if they got a yearly subscription, but I was quite happy with this random selection of cute stuff. My favorite item is probably the alpaca bag charm.

Vacation Reading: Magnificent Devices Series

It is nice to stumble across a long, entertaining series when on vacation. The first book in the Magnificent Devices series is free, and after I finished it I promptly bought a book bundle that contained the next three books.

The Victorian setting is typical of the steampunk genre, with the British class system split between Wits and Bloods. Claire is born in a family where she is expected to make a good marriage and settle down and raise a family, however her natural interest in Engineering makes her dream of attending a university. When her family falls on hard times, Claire finds herself free to make her own way in the world, and she accidentally becomes an adoptive mother to a large group of orphans, despite her only being 17.

Claire is unfailingly intrepid, securing a mysterious weapon to defend herself and her charges, setting up a school to teach the orphans how to read and write, and running poker games and intelligently investing the proceeds so she has a means of supporting herself independently. While the first book takes place in England, the next part of the series takes a detour to North America, both the Wild West and Canada. The extended cast are all well-characterized, and while Claire is the main focus of the books, this means that some of the sequels can focus more on the orphans as they begin to grow up. There are plenty of quirky touches, like the hen that follows Claire’s adoptive family about, and her engineering prowess ensures that most of the time she just saves herself instead of waiting to be rescued whenever she gets into a threatening situation.

While there are hints of romance, for the most part the books in the series that I’ve read so far focus much more on steampunk adventure and character development. I’m finding it very relaxing to read this series while I’m on vacation, and I recommend it if you enjoy steampunk as a genre.