Saturday, September 8, 2012

Have a Kindle? Three Great Blogs for Free Books

I've been doing a lot of reading in what little free time I've had lately.  The beautiful thing (since like most people, I'm watching my wallet) is that most of the books I have been reading I haven't paid a dime for.  Below are three blogs I read that post about bargains or free books available out there.

Books on the Knob - Recommended by my knitsib and fellow Kindle Fire owner, CaughtKnittin, Books on the Knob is a great resource for Kindle users.  They also list deals for the Kobo and Nook as well, so still check it out if you aren't a Kindle owner.  I find the posts really comprehensive and very easy to browse through quickly.  There are short descriptions of the books as well as the publishers they come from.  As an added bonus they even post about any free audiobooks through

Pixel of Ink - I just recently started reading Pixel of Ink after it was recommended to me by my friend RisenPhoenix.  This blog is specifically for Kindle users and is similar to Books on the Knob in format, though the updates range a bit more throughout the day rather than all at once.

Kindle Nation Daily - This is another blog I stumbled across recently that again is only for Kindle users.  The format for their updates is a bit longer than the previous two blogs.  There are more reviews and sometimes samples from the books that can be quite lengthy, so if you are looking for more in depth info about the books, you might want to check this one out.

By following all three of these blogs I do see a fair bit of repeat info, but I don't mind.  Someones one will post about something that the other doesn't.  Anyway, that's it from me today... so HAPPY READING! :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tour de Fleece Days 4 through 6 - Cape Cod!

In my little corner, happily
spinning away!
So I'm a little behind on the whole posting thing for the tour, but hey, at least I'm spinning!  I started off day 4 spinning with several fellow Tour de Fleece competitors at my usual Tuesday night knit night.  When I spin there I get soooooo much done!  It's nice to only have the distraction of laughter rather than all the normal chores which so easily pull me away from my wheel when I am at home.   I just love my knitsibs!  They are a wonderful group of ladies that sympathize,
I was so on a roll I actually finished up with my 2oz of roving in less than two hours!  It was a good thing too because after I got home, hubbie and I headed to the Cape to spend time with his family for the 4th of July. 
12oz of singles done!
On the 4th we spent the day at the beach where I relaxed in my camping chair and did quite a bit of reading on my Kindle.  I just love having multiple books with me wherever I go.  I don't have a ton of books on there yet, but I have a good selection of fantasy and classical literature, which are two of my favorite genres.  Lately, I've been re-reading Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind so that I can pick up the second book in the series and continue reading that.  I'm trying to read better quality literature rather than the easy to read romances I have trended towards for the past few years. 
The 5 seconds our sail was going
just fine!
Most recently I read North and South (free Kindle edition) by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell which was written in the 1850's.  I really liked the story, which is a bit like Pride & Prejudice (free Kindle edition), however it took me more than a few chapters to get to the point where I was taking in all that was reading.  The prose is very dense and required my full attention until I got used to it.  Once I got into the mindset though, I flew through the book.  Gaskell has written several other books, which also happen to be free for the Kindle, so I'm hoping to read some more of her work over the summer.  
My first 340 yard 2 ply skein
After beaching it throughout the afternoon and getting some quality time in with our nephew and the extended family, we went back to the house to watch the Pops and fireworks as per usual.  We didn't have the opportunity to see live fireworks due to the 4th being in the middle of the week, but I was content to spin away listening to all the great music performed. 

The next day, hubbie and I went out for a sail on the family's sailboat.  Let's just say that itwas not the best sail we've had and leave it at that... Hopefully the next time we make it to the Cape, sailing will go much more smoothly.  Other than, that I just spent the rest of my time on the Cape spinning away on my roving.  I made tons of good progress and was able to hang out with family and chat at the same time.  All in all, it was a nice little trip.  Hopefully we'll be able to go back very soon!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tour de Fleece: Day 3 - 6oz of victory!

Just a quick post tonight as it is very late. I've finally caught up on my daily spinning goals!!! I was able to spin another 2.5 oz this evening and now this very full bobbin has 6oz on it. Not too shabby. Now I have a fighting chance of getting it all spun into singles AND plying. It's been a good night! Hope yours was an productive as mine :-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tour de Fleece: Day 2

Day 2 Progress - 2.5oz
Today was another pretty full day for me.  I went to go see Pixar's Brave with a couple of good friends after going to church in the morning.  Brave was absolutely awesome!  Pixar does such great work.  There were multiple times in the movie when in some of the wide shots, the animation was so good, the people and scenery looked real!  The storyline, voice acting and music were all top notch as well.  So, if you are itching to go to the movies make sure you check Brave out.  It is a good movie for all ages. 

The title does say Tour de Fleece, so I guess I should talk about spinning huh?  :-)  Unlike yesterday, I got to sit down at my wheel reasonably early in the day and was able to spin for about 3-4 hours altogether, which was really nice.  I got a nice rhythm going and was able to watch Mirror Mirror starring Julia Roberts as I happily treadled away throughout the evening. That was enjoyable movie number two for the day.  I was on a roll!

While I didn't completely catch up on my spinning goals for both yesterday and today, I did make a ton of progress, spinning about 2.5 ounces in total.  Tomorrow I'm hoping to finish up the little bit I have leftover from today's bump of fiber and then attack another one :-)

Below are the trailers for the two movies I saw today.  Mirror Mirror is now out on DVD and Brave just started in the theaters last week.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tour de Fleece: Day 1

I spent most of today with my husband taking care of my friends' 3 month old son, which I might add, was an awesome way to spend a Saturday together :-)  After that we went to my favorite Italian restaurant, Polcari's, for dinner.  We then wended our way back home where I had to sit down to prep some music I'm singing tomorrow.  Finally around 8pm is was time for me to get spinning!

My spinning setup & Dr. Who on Netflix
Day 1 Progress - 1oz
Because I had such a full day, I wasn't able to spin up a whole 2oz bump of fleece as I had hoped.  Nevertheless, I am a happy camper for actually sitting down to get Elphaba, my wheel, up and running and also reclaim my spinner's mojo.   It always takes me a bit of time to get back into the steady rhythm of treadling and drafting, but it's kind of like riding a bike (ha ha ha, Tour de France, do you see what I did there? Yes, I can hear you groaning at my horrible joke) so you don't forget how so much as need to reacquaint yourself with the mechanics of things.

I was hoping to be able to spin my singles pretty thin so I could ply two or three together to get a DK or worsted yarn for the final product.  So far it looks like that might actually happen - HUZZAH!

Anyway, just a quick update for you.  I'm hoping to get way more accomplished tomorrow.  Although, I've got a pretty full day planned again.... /facepalm.  Anyway, g'night!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ready? Set? Wait!

My Romney fleece before processing
It's that time of year again.  The time for some friendly competition.  Our weapon of choice? Spinning wheels.  That's right, it's Tour de Fleece time!  I think this is the third year I have taken part in this fun spinning competition organized by volunteers on Ravelry.  It's a great way to challenge yourself and find some motivation at the same time. Fortunately, three of my fellow knitsibs will be taking part in the games, so knit night should turn into a veritable wheel-a-palooza for the next three weeks. 

My team for the Tour is Team Sasquatch, which consists of knitting and spinning podcasters and their listeners.  It's nice to be on a big team of people with a common interest (well, other than knitting).  Competitors cheer each other on, offer advice and encourage those with spinning injuries or equipment failure.  Having your drive band snap just when you are just getting your spinning groove on is just not cool.  You need moral support for that kind of tragedy!

My goal for this year's Tour is to spin up a beautiful Romney fleece that a friend and I bought at Rhinebeck a year and a half ago.  We sent the fleece out to be processed and split what came back, each getting about 2.5 lbs of gorgeous wool, which is the most fiber I've ever purchased at one time. I want to spin all of it up on the 23 days of the tour and if I have time I'm going to try to ply it as well. 

Weighing one of my Tribbles!
While the Tour doesn't start until Saturday, there are things I can do to get ready.  Yesterday, I started prepping my roving and gathering all the various bits of equipment I'll need to spin and ply my yarn.  I split up the roving into 2oz bumps so that I could pace myself throughout the Tour.  I ended up with 20 of them, so that means I could spin just a bump a day during the tour and meet my goal.  My little bumps of roving look suspiciously like tribbles according to my husband... What do you think?  So, what I need to do in the next two days is check over my wheel and do any regular maintenance that I probably haven't done recently, like oiling all the moving part and tightening up the joints that inevitably work loose as you spin over long periods of time.  I already gathered up all the free bobbins I had available to me, so I think I'm doing pretty well. 

Now I just have to be a patient little spinning and wait until Saturday evening to get my spin on!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hexipuffing Along!

Back in November I started work on a project that I know is going to take me quite some time to complete.  I know I know, I am the queen of long term abandoned projects, but I don't think that will happen with this one.  The pattern is the much loved Beekeeper's Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits which is made up of hundreds of small hexagonal puffs (dubbed hexipuffs) that are stuffed with fiberfill so they are all smooshy and skooshy.  The beauty is that the yarn for the project is just leftover sock yarn scraps.  Lets see if I can manage to use said scraps rather than letting the quilt be an excuse to just acquire more sock yarn, lol.

I really like the Beekeeper's Quilt because its a large project, but at the same time, you just work on it one puff at a time.  In the words of two of my favorite podcasters, the Knitmore Girls, it's "potato chip knitting,": You can't just knit one.

Let me tell you, over the past few days I've found out just how addictive knitting these puffs up can be!  I've made about 12 of them so far and did a good 8 of them in the past two days. I'm guessing I probably make one in about an hour, which isn't horrible, but not exactly quick either.  That's ok, since the pattern is so easy to memorize and it is quite possibly the tiniest project to carry around ever; perfect to stuff in a purse and go!

Anyway, I'm off to knit some more hexipuffs and enjoy all this lovely weather we are having.  Ta!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Attitude is everything

So, it's been awhile... about three months if anyone is counting.  Probably not, but a girl can dream right? :-)  Basically I've spent all this time not blogging... just living.  Since I last wrote a post I have had to make some big changes in my life, specifically with my diet and exercise.  At first I really wasn't happy with these changes.  I didn't think things were fair; Why should I have to work so hard to be healthy when it seems like most everyone else has it easy?  Bad attitude?  Um, that would be a resounding YES!

My husband and I also lost our kitty just a few weeks ago.  Molly was the first pet we had together and she truly was part of our family.  Losing her was so horrible... and I think it is really only within the past week or so that I have been able to be at home and not feel like something very important was missing.  It's amazing just how integral to your life a 17 year old cat that yells at you for food can be.  It's been a pretty rough few months around here...  and I have had a whole lot to think about.

With so much on my mind, there wasn't a lot of time for knitting or spinning or anything really.  I don't think I touched a project for at least a month if not two.  I just couldn't settle down enough to enjoy the process.  I did do a fair bit of reading during my blog hiatus.  Maybe that was because it would occupy my mind so I didn't have to think about the serious stuff that was going on.  I read The Hunger Games, The Help and a whole bunch of other less serious books on my Kindle.   It was really nice to get back to reading for awhile.  In middle and high school, my nose was constantly in a book and quite honestly I really miss having all that free time to read.  Nowadays I seem to read voraciously for a few weeks and then switch to some other form of entertainment for much longer periods of time.  I think that's because when I'm knitting, spinning or weaving I can talk with people or watch tv and still keep my hands busy.

I find more and more that I can't just sit and watch tv, I need to have a project to work on.  At parties I almost always bring a simple project to work on so that I can chat with people and not be completely immobile.  It's funny that I used to get so annoyed at my mom for not being able to sit still and watch a tv show without getting up 5 million times to fold laundry or organize something while she was watching.  Apparently it just took until my 30's for that particular genetic foible to kick in...

With that I have been able to get into crafting of all kinds again in the past month.  I finished up a sock yarn shawl which I still need to block and take final pictures of and have started another small project for a friend of mine.  I also took an advanced weaving class and learned about using a pick up stick to make warp and weft floats in my weaving.  It's a neat technique especially because no matter what, the two sides of your woven project are always different.  I'm hoping to weave and spin much more this summer when the heat makes me not want to drape anything knitted on my lap.  I also have a afghan I am slowly crocheting.  That would be a very good summer project as well since the blocks are only 12" by 12". 

To go back to where this post started: In reflecting on everything that's happened in my life recently... I think I've grown a little wiser.  Admittedly, it's hard to change your mindset from feeling like a victim to realizing you are really blessed.  It's even more difficult to understand that the struggles you have been handed in life can mold and change you into a different and better person.  But, I have had wonderful people surrounding me and praying for me through all of this and my attitude has truly made a 180.

So, if you need the cliff notes version, this blog post is a very, very long way for me to tell you

Life is good and I am back on track!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hey Look! I finished something... or maybe a few things

Finally I have something (or a couple things) to post about, yeay!  Blogging has gotten placed firmly on the back burner lately, but since I have some new and cool stuff that have just come off the needles, I thought I would share  :-)

The favorite of the bunch is my Estelle cardigan.  Isn't she pretty? (And man do I need to do some sit ups! But that's beside the point...)  I started knitting this beauty back in October of 2011 and worked on it steadily for about a month before moving on to more pressing projects.  I had managed to get through the lace yoke, separate for the sleeves and start the miles of stockinette needed for the body of the cardigan before I put it down, I had about 1/3 of the whole thing done.  

Then Christmas and New Year's came and went and my cardigan stayed all wrapped up in her little project bag patiently waiting for me to remember she was there.  Finally this past week I came into a bit more free time than I would normally have and decided it was time to finish my cardigan.  I mean seriously, I had to finish it before what little winter we have had in New England goes away: It would be heartbreaking to have a finished cardigan just in time for the weather to be too hot to wear it!

I got to wear Estelle today for the first time and people really seemed to like how she came out.  I'm just happy she fits and looks good on me.  It's the small things that count you know :)

The other project that I'm really proud about finishing is my first completed pair of hand knit socks.  I seem to really have an issue with knitting my own socks.... the problem is specifically called second sock syndrome, which means I have no problem knitting the first sock, but that second one really has a slim chance of ever making an entry into the real world.  I basically just get bored doing the same thing over again.  So....  to trick myself into finishing both socks, I learned how to do two socks at once! It also didn't hurt that most of these socks were knitted while I was on a trip when I had lots of time to myself waiting for planes or hanging out in my hotel room.

I looove my tube socks and since completing them I have cast on another pair of socks that I have been drooling over for quite some time.  Hopefully now that I know I can actually knit a pair, I'll use that momentum to keep going and get better at working with such tiny yarn and needles.  

Well, now that I have finished two pretty sizable projects, I am taking a much deserved knitting break!  Now off to enjoy a book or maybe a bit of playtime on Star Wars: The Old Republic.  Ta and happy crafting!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WIP Wednesday - The neverending scarf, airplane socks and finally getting to weave on my flip

The beginning of 2012 has been a little odd for me.  Instead of selfishly knitting up a storm for the entirety of January as all knitters would prefer, I have instead been trying to catch up on projects that refuse to be completed, such as this lovely column of leaves scarf that I have been working on for almost two years now.  Yes, you read correctly... TWO YEARS!!!  /facepalm

I don't know what it is about this scarf, but it truly seems to want to be a work in progress forever.  Admittedly, when I first started working on it, the patter  was quite challenging for me. I had a very hard time remembering to put in all the yarn overs and there were a few funky stitches in there too, just to keep me paying attention.  I used to have to work on the scarf only when I really could concentrate on it otherwise disaster and the massive amounts of frogging would occur.  So, I started to add a lifeline after every 8 row pattern repeat.

Now? I can knit this thing anywhere!  I just need to keep track of my row and I'm fine.  It's not really much of a challenge at all.  I guess that's what two years of practice brings, lol.  Right now I am about halfway done with the scarf and an supremely unmotivated to work on it, but honestly, two years is way to long to make a scarf that isn't all that challenging to me anymore.  I need to get my act together!!!

In an effort to curb my continually wandering knitting hands, and to ensure my poor little brain doesn't get too bored by working on the same 8 rows ad nausium, I have limited myself to working on only one project other than the scarf, which is a pair of tube socks.  I know I have a history with socks... not finishing them to be exact, but I started this very simple pair because I knew I needed something to do my trip to North Carolina.  My flights weren't long, only 2 hours at the most, but I had a layover that was substantial and I really didn't want to bring a project that I was truly invested in, just in case someone in security decided that my knitting seemed threatening in some way.  

So, I cast on for the socks a couple of days before heading south.  I then proceeded to swear and fumble my way through learning to knit two socks at a time on one very long needle.   At this point, I can tell you that the first inch or so of knitting socks like this for the first time is truly awful.  It is awkward, hard on your hands, and you feel like you have no idea what you should be knitting next.  But after that first inch was done, I started to get it and by the time I headed to Logan for my trip I could work on the socks without looking like a total idiot or swearing every time I had to switch sides. 

I am very happy I decided to make the socks two at a time.  The beginning was a bit rough, but as you can see, I now have a pretty respectable portion of not one, but two socks completed.  Now, I do have quite a bit further to go, but there are no heels to turn since I'm basically making two long tubes and when I'm done... I'm REALLY done!  Two socks, not just one.  I truly think this technique might be the answer to my sock knitting problem :-D

The last thing I have been up to is weaving on the lovely 25" flip loom I got for Christmas.  Just last week I was able to warp it for a sampler scarf made from the yarn I made my first hat out of.  I haven't been able to work on it for more than an hour or two since I'm trying to focus myself on finishing other things, but it is turning out quite nicely.  Honesty, I think it is good to change your craft up every once and awhile. That way your hands get a break for the repetition and you are less likely to injure yourself. 

I even have a deadline for this project!  This shouldn't be too difficult as weaving seems to go so much faster than knitting.  My scarf needs to be off the loom by the end of January because I have distinct plans for it in early February when I will be taking an advanced weaving class at The Weaving Shed.  This one day class will focus on learning to use a pick up stick to weave patterns in our projects.  I'll come out of the class with a nice sampler of what we have learned and yet another set of techniques to practice to keep me busy :-)

Can you tell I am a firm believer always being busy?  Anyway, I hope you are having a great week and are keeping those crafty hands busy!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2011 Project Roundup and Goals for 2012

Looking at all the the images of the projects I completed in 2011 I'm starting to think that it was a pretty productive year.  I completed 31 separate projects and started quite a few more that will be completed in 2012 (one can only hope).  I continued to knit and crochet, but also learned the basics of weaving towards the end of the year with 16 knitted projects, 12 crochet, and 3 weaving. 

As for my crafty goals for 2012, I would like to learn more about weaving and continue that on my new 25" Schacht Flip Loom.  I'll shares pics of it later. It is already warped for a scarf and has about a foot of woven material completed on it already.   I'm taking an advanced weaving class in February, so I am very excited about that because I don't really know all my options with this loom although I suspect that they are many.  As for knitting and crochet I  want to tackle some larger projects like sweaters or shawls that will challenge me as well as create more items for charity so that my crafty habits help others rather than being selfishly motivated.

Well, that's about it for now.  I wish everyone a very happy and healthy 2012, even if it is a bit late, lol.