Book Review – His Majesty’s Hope

Back to writing book reviews!
I’m in the process of writing a blog dedicated to book SERIES….and mainly how much I love them. I don’t like saying good bye to characters in books. This pretty much sums it up:
With series-books, it’s different. You read a book and then get reunited with most of the characters in the next adventure. Now luckily, I’ve started reading a lot of series when the author was at least onto book nine. That way I don’t have to wait for the next book. It’s often waiting for me right there in the nearest bookstore/library.
Not so much with the Maggie Hope mysteries. I started reading this as soon as it came out. I was able to read an ARC of the second book and the good folks at Netgalley gave me the opportunity to read the third one that will be released this May.
What I’ve recently finished:
**His Majesty’s Hope by Susan Elia MacNeal**
What is it about?
So Maggie broke codes in newspapers in book one and saved Princess Elizabeth from being kidnapped in book two. For book three, Maggie goes International!!
At first that might sound exciting however she’s heading to Nazi Germany undercover as part of the Special Operations Executive to plant bugs in offices of elite Nazis…some of whom make it difficult for Maggie to maintain her cover because the temptation to mix personal and professional runs quite high. I’ll leave it at that
Why did I read this?
Simple: I read book one a few months ago and I HAD TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED NEXT! (That’s literally what I said for the last Maggie Hope book I reviewed.)
What impressed me about this book?
Again, MacNeal writes of strong females from both sides of the war and coming from different points of view. Primarily, we see this in Maggie, obviously. Additionally we see it in the characters of Ms. Hess and her daughter, Elise Hess. The former is a higher up in the Nazi party and the latter is a young German woman who challenges the state by joining the Nazi Resistance.
There was a realness to this book that I really appreciated. I won’t include any spoilers but I will say that Maggie, at the end of the book, is not the strong head-fast woman we’ve loved in the previous books. Many of her personal skeletons come out of the closet in addition to seeing some pretty horrific things in Nazi Germany. To be blunt, at the end of the book, her shit is a mess, but in a very real way, which I appreciate! I have no doubt that she’ll get her situation settled… we all have those moments, right? But, by the end of the book, our girl Maggie is left confused about personal issues in her life, some of which she wants to deal with and others she’d just as soon sweep under a floor. She is also left with dealing with horrific acts she witnessed first-hand in Nazi Germany.
What disappointed me about this book?

I didn’t quite see a connection between how one of the elite Nazis was told of her daughter hiding captives the state wanted. (I’m purposely vague because I don’t want to give away too much, so, apologies if this leaves more questions than answers.

Historical Relevance:
KNITTING SAVES LIVES!!!!!!!!!!!! TRUE FACT!
So I’m friends with MacNeal on Facebook and she taunted—I mean jokingly told me that knitting plays a role in this book. While it might not have saved her life knitting did let Maggie get messages across to Britain. …which led me to this site that lists some historical events where knitting played a role. Or this gentleman who has a pair of size 13 needles to thank for helping him escape.
and, not for nothin’, my buddy Sidney told me that a size 1 DPN has helped her pick a lock when she misplaced her keys.
What reading challenge(s) did this book apply to?
I just got some sad news about this series. It started with two books a year but now they’ll only come out once a year. The author now has no right to complain that we have to wait till January for season 4 of Downton. (Said with love, of course, Susan!! )
Overall Grade?.

A Finished Object that I wish didn’t have to exsist

I’m not a watcher of news. I should be but I often am just so disgusted by it because so much of it is bad.

Well if I was ever wondering if it could get worse, I was shown just how bad it could get in the afternoon of December 14, 2012 when the children of Newtown Connecticut lost some of their innocence. The fourteenth of December was the terrible day a gunman came into an elementary school and killed twenty children and six adults at that school.

What do knitters do?

We can not undo what happened, as much as we want(ed) to. God…who wouldn’t want to undo it? But since our knitted items give some degree of comfort for its recipients, why not make things for the surviving children?

That’s when 600 Monsters Strong came to life. I am a very proud member.

600 Monsters Stong’s Ravelry Page
600 Monster’s Strong Facebook Page

Sarah Waller Martin created this group to “bring monster-friends for children affected by gun violence and other traumatic situations through the generosity of crafters worldwide.” About a week after this tragedy, the town of Newtown was stating that they’re overrun with donations, making me wonder if our monsters would be put to good use. Martin decided to use this tragedy and give monsters to children affected by gun violence world wide. I hate that it was so easy to find another population of children to donate out monsters to. :-(

At first I was all “monsters?? Really?? ” But, unlike some, I took a few seconds before I jumped the gun. I looked at the pattern pages and just fell in love. This book was mentioned:

Oh my goodness!! HOW CUTE ARE THEY?!?!? They remind me of monster’s from the movie, Monster’s Inc.

I was so proud of my friend, Jess, too, when she said she wanted to join in and make a monster! Look at our finished ones:

Since we met in the office, I only found it appropriate to take a shot of our monsters near our time-stamp thingie in our office

The blue chica on the left is Ginny (Turnip in the book More KnitWits) and my monster on the left is Scout. She’s a dragon and can be found in the pattern Fireball. :-)

Pattern: Fireball by Katie Boyette from the book More KnitWits
Yarns(s): Lion Brand Cotton Ease
Colorway(s): Peach Pink
Needles(s): US 7 – 4.5 mm
Casted On: December 22, 2012
Casted Off: March 17, 2013
Modifications: None
Notions: I got the felt from Amazon and if anyone reading this needs some felt for a monster, let me know in the comments and I’ll send you some.
Making this was bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s a super cute toy but man did I hate why I was making it! Doesn’t help that ignorant people who clearly do not know me couldn’t get over the word monster. Sure…if I were creating this foundation, I don’t think I would have used the word monster just because of the instant association. People who say Adam Lanza was the monster are not wrong. Also, when most would ask me about the monster, I’d quickly say “think Monster’s Inc….not Thriller” and that would be it. Some wouldn’t. I got upset at one person in my life over an ignorant comment she made but then I realized…she doesn’t know me. If she thinks I’d add to anyone’s trauma by giving them something scary, much less do this to a child, she doesn’t know me. I wouldn’t want to have a violent sneeze around anyone who has been through a trauma.
This is how I help people. I knit for them. I’ve knit shawls for friend’s mothers to wear when they get chemo treatments. If you’re cold, I’ll knit for you. That’s just how knitters roll
If you want to help but can’t make a monster, they can use some help through other sources. Take a look at their Amazon Wishlist and help them out!

Finished Objects: Bebeh Stuff

I have a rule when it comes to knitting:
 
I don't knit for people/pets I'll never meet. It's a self-preservation thing, really. If I won't meet these people, how can I tell they're knit worthy to me? They might be to the person asking but if that connection isn't there, than I can not make something for them. Same with pets too, believe it or not. If I won't meet their dog (most of the time it's dogs), then that says something about our relationship. If we'll never be in a position where I'd meet your dog, then, one can gather we're not friends. We might be totally cool but we're not friends. And if we're not friends, I'm not making something for this puppeh I'll never meet. (or cat but I can't say I've gotten many requests for cat stuff. And I certainly know how that'll end…making a cat a sweater….
 
Babies are the exception. Why?

THEY'RE HUMAN BARBIES TO KNITTERS!!!!

 
I can't think of another way to say it, really. I love making cabely-cardigans but I also appreciate that there isn't the pretty significant time commitment as there is with an adult. I must know the parents well enough…so as to avoid random requests “hey Laura, can you knit my neighbor's kid's granddaughter this?” and luckily, I've been able to gift two cardigans and a pullover to the short people in my life. :-D

First off, I'll start with lil Eva's Sweater:

 
Remember Hurricane Sandy? Well after that massive storm we had last summer, and this happened a few doors down from me:
 
tree
 
So needless to say I was FREAKING OUT when Sandy came through. I was nervous that the above would happen to us and then my brain started to get really creative–our stuff! our cats! where in God's name will all of us stay if that happened?!?!
 
And then I see that my ex-co-worker and his wife were heading into the hospital to give birth to their first child in the midst of this craziness:
 
 
So naturally I used their kid as a coping mechanism to get through the storm, if I can be completely honest. Instead of having a panic attack over things that may or may not happen, I made this:
 
 
Apply anxiety to a good cause!
 
Pattern: Assisted Hatching by Elizabeth Ditchburn Dew
Yarns(s): Cascade 220 Superwash
Colorway(s): Purple
Needles(s): US 7 – 4.5 mm
Casted On: October 29, 2012
Casted Off: November 25, 2012
Modifications: None
 
The one thing I nag…I mean ask for when I send bebeh items is a picture of them wearing it. I looooooooooooooooooove pics of babies swimming in an item I've made them because it means they have a lot more time to enjoy it, right? But with this particular sweater, I was nervous because it's a pullover and therefore harder to get the little one in there. dooh. So when John and Kyley sent me this picture, I was quite pleased that no bones had to be broken to get lil Eva in there:
 
 
Wook at heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Evidently she liked wearing this at a ski lodge.
And since knitting this for John's and Kyley's cutie pie, I have enjoyed getting to know Kyley. They're good peeps. Keep the pics of Eva and their adorable dog comin'!!

Secondly, we have Emily's Cardigan

 
I love me some fair isle. People think it's hard. It's not. It's fun. I found this pattern on Ravelry and this just looked like something my friend's Megan's and Stephane's youngest would like.
 
Bláithín (junior)
 
Pattern: Bláithín (junior) by Kate Davies
Yarns(s) & Colorway(s):
Patons Classic Wool Worsted – Natural Mix
Cascade 220 – Purple
Elann Peruvian Highland Wool – Green
Needles(s): US 7 – 4.5 mm
Casted On: December 9, 2012
Casted Off: January 23, 2013
Modifications: None
Buttons: I got them at G Street Fabrics. If you can believe it, this was a hard sweater for which to find buttons. I ended up with a pretty basic button, which is good given the smallness of the recipient.
 
I sent it out to my friend's house and then I got the PICTURES. Look at lil Emily!
 
Emily
 
There she is…keepin' it real.

Finally Lil Mikey's Grandpa Cardigan

 
First off, making a cardigan named a Grandpa Cardigan for a fourteen month old kinda cracked me up. It cracked up his mom too, my cousin's fabulous wife, Jeannie.
 
Gramps CardiganAll this cabely goodness in one little sweater!
 
Pattern: Gramps Cardigan by Kate Oates
Yarns(s): KnitPicks' Main Line Yarn
Colorway(s): dark blue
Needles(s): US 6 – 4.0 mm & US 7 – 4.5 mm
Casted On: January 27, 2013
Casted Off: February 19, 2013
Modifications: None
Buttons: I got the buttons off Etsy here. In my picture, they appear to be more grey but they weren't when I received them and that was a good thing! They were a blue-ish grey, which, as you can see, matches slightly better with the rest of the sweater.
 
Now darling Mikey, very much like his dad, my cousin, has issues staying still for photo time but here's a pic, nonetheless of the recipient wearing this sweater:
That's it for baby stuff for a while at least. It feels odd making baby sweaters as temps start to increase.
 
Next entry might be about hats, books, more socks or about a lil Monster I made…..
 

Finished Objects: Socks

Oh mi goodness. Last entry was from late December?!

As I type this, I think I’ve come to the realization that I enjoy doing said hobby more than writing about them. I hope to get back into the swing of adding new projects and describing the new books I read. I did get a lot of enjoyment out of that before. I guess I just have to reintroduce myself?

I won’t make some promise though- No “I’ll-blog-twice-a-week!” promises because that’s the first way to shoot myself in the foot.

To catch up, I’ve noted what I haven’t shown off:

  • 12 knitted objects
  • 3 necklaces
  • Various works in progress
  • The six books I’ve read since my last blog entry
  • The other countless ones I read in 2012 and didn’t get around to reviewing

Whoops

I haven’t quite figured out how or if I’ll showcase everything. From October till about…April…I’d say? Between those months, it is so very busy at the office, so when I get home, I just want to crash. It happens. I really do want to work on making this loverly blog more of a habit.

So. TWELVE knitted objects finished since the last blog! Pardon me while I toot my own horn but GO LAURA! :-)

I’ve decided to do a blog by type of object. Today will be socks. The tons of socks I’ve made. I finished a pair the night before last and last night so this entry won’t capture them all as I still have to get finished pictures.

Let’s go waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in 2012 and show off some socks. Shall we?

Pair #1

Herringbone Rib SocksLaura’s Herringbone Rib Socks

Pattern: Herringbone Rib Socks by Kristi Schueler from Knitting Socks With Handpainted Yarn
My Ravelry Page
Yarns(s): Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Multi
Colorway(s): Lakeview
Needles(s): US 1 – 2.25 mm
Casted On:
July 14, 2012
Casted Off: August 12, 2012
Modifications: I made these puppies toe up just to see how much yarn I could use. Lorna’s Laces packs a lot of yardage in their skeins so these socks ended up being quite tall. yay!

These socks are super warm and I think I’m in love with Lorna’s Laces.
This pair of socks taught me something about stitch patterns. See…I have tried this sock quite a few times and it just didn’t work out. The pattern takes a while to form while knitting it. I kept on working on it, this time, however, and wha-la! It appeared.

So…lesson learned: Just because it’s a two row pattern, does not mean it will immediately show after two rows. BE PATIENT, Laura!!

Well this lesson was learned. I’m on my second pair of them for a friend of mine. yay!

Pair #2

Embossed LeavesMaggie’s Embossed Leaves Socks

What is with this pattern? I just looooooooooooooooooooooooove it. I can’t get enough!!

Pattern: Embossed Leaves by Mona Schmidt from my most favorite sock pattern book Favorite Socks
My Ravelry Page
Yarns(s): JoJo Land – Ballad
Colorway(s): 205-Pink
Needles(s): US 1½ – 2.5 mm
Casted On:
September 10, 2012
Casted Off: October 7, 2012
Modifications: I extended the pattern from 64 stitches to 72…the yarn was rather thin. No big deal. Also? short row heel. Again, no biggie

I often wonder if I do so many repeats of one particular pattern, am I closing myself to other cool and groovy patterns? Perhaps a little. It’s just so gorgeous though!Embossed Leaves

Finally, Pair #3

RPMJess’ Socks

Pattern: rpm by Aija Goto from Knitty, Summer, 2006
My Ravelry Page
Yarns(s): Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Multi…Again!
Colorway(s): Ashburn
Needles(s): US 1 – 2.25 mm
Casted On:
September 10, 2012
Casted Off: October 31, 2012
Modifications: None.

I don’t know why but this yarn seems to have Jess’ name on it. She really likes blue. She had mentioned that her apartment gets pretty warm so it’s not like she needed a pair of worsted socks. Just seemed like an all around good fit for her.

RPM

This is my second pair of RPMs. It’s a simple enough pattern to be used for such a colorful skein of yarn. The wrapping the purl stitches make around the sock make it fun in addition to the color variations.

I made these socks for two women that are like little sisters to me. At one point they used to both work in the same office with me. Now Jess has moved elsewhere on campus but we all keep in touch. Merry Christmas ladies! I hope you love them! I certainly love being your friend!

The next few blogs will feature FOs in groups of three. One for hats. One for bebeh sweaters annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd another group of three socks. Now that work has calmed down, I really want to make a point to update more!

 

Where have I been??

It's been over two months since I've blogged!!! So much has happened and it has just been so crazy of late. That happens, from time to time, I guess. Sigh…
What have I/we been up to?
Jermaine and I took a very relaxing trip to the Florida Keys:
I basically spent a week in a hammock and it was fantastic! We spent our second anniversary at a very nice Lady-and-the-Tramp-like Italian restaurant in Key Largo…very delicious and romantic.
Then we came home just in time for Hurricane Sandy:
Fortunately we were fine but I can not say the same for my cousin and his family in New Jersey. They were without power for a week. So many families had more issues to deal with too with all the damage to properties.
Then there was the election.
Maryland legalized gay marriage. Wohhooooo!!!! I am so proud of my state!
Work has been so crazy for the both of us. The craziness for my job occurred a little earlier this year. Luckily, it will always be busy but the crazy, ER-quality pace has dissipated.

Jermaine and I are enjoying a nice Christmas. Here is a picture of our Christmas tree:

 

It's what tress often turn into, no? :-)

Craft-wise and book-wise, I've:

  • Finished 11 books. No idea if I'll be able to write reviews for every single one
  • Finished three pairs of socks for girlfriends and one pair for moi.
  • Made two fairly nice necklaces for my boss and my mom. I've come a long way since making necklaces out of macaroni teehee
  • Started knitting a monster for the 600 Monsters Strong group. Inspired by the terrible traders in Newtown this December, this group aims to send these knitted monsters to kids impacted by gun violence.
I hope to share more here in the upcoming months. I feel bad that I have gone MIA both with my blogging and my commenting. I hope to change that.
 
Happy 2013, everyone!!!
 
 

FO – Claire Bear’s Mittens

Happy Autumn everyone! Thought I’d start this, my most favorite of seasons, with a Finished Object for chillier weather :-D

I have a friend I met actually in high school. We went to rival schools. :-) Her name is Megan and we would see each other from time to time when the area Catholic high school bands would get together for the Honors Band program. Then SURPRISE we went to the same college!Anyway thanks to Facebook we’ve been able to keep in touch. This past summer I was able to meet her adorable children and I fell in love with her lil one Claire. I mean how can you not?

So when the new Twist Collective came out I wanted to make her something. The Horatio and Oren mittens were perfect!

Pattern: Horatio and Oren by Barbara Gregory from The Fall 2012 Twist Collective
My Ravelry Page
Yarns(s): The Loopy Ewe Solid Series
Colorway(s): Indigo & Ice
Needles(s): US 2½ – 3.0 mm
Casted On:
August 16, 2012
Casted Off: September 3, 2012
Modifications: None. But might I make a suggestion? This pattern is knit with 44 stitches. That’s pretty small so please please keep gauge in mind as you knit this. I k is these mittens will fit Claire just fine but if I were to do this pattern all over again I think I might have selected a more sport-weight yarn or maybe even a DK weight. With the stranded knitting, it can make for a tight pair making the mittens even tighter so keep that in mind when you got to select yarns ;-)

Super cute pair of mittens. I can’t wait to see lil Claire in them!

I’ve opened Santa’s workshop quite early this year starting four pairs of socks for loved ones of late so expect more socks in future knitting posts!

 

Book Review – Princess Elizabeth’s Spy

What I’ve recently finished:

**Princess Elizabeth’s Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal**

GoodReads
Amazon
World Catalog

OK I read this book in June because I received an “Advanced Reader’s Copy.” Words cannot express how excited I was!

But…

Kermit can:

I’m not someone who is usually picked for something special but I received an ARC of the book and I was just so excited!!

What is it about?
Last time we left Maggie, she was training to be part of MI5 after spending some time being a secretary to Mr. Churchill. Unfortunately, while Ms. Hope is amazingly bright, she ran into some issues with physical training. Anyone who spends more time with her nose in a book as opposed to running must know that that can be a…humbling experience

She thinks her first mission is going to be on the front line of the war but unfortunately she is sent to be a tutor to young Princess Elizabeth in Windsor Castle.

She is asked to be an “‘undercover sponge.’” This does does not sit well with Ms. Hope. There was a particular time when she stands up to her handlers who are simply trying to give her her assignment and not allow her any context:

I’m through allowing myself to be confined to so-called ‘women’s work.’ I’m also through with patronizing men giving me half-truths and withholding information. This will end here and now.” [page 43]

Go Maggie!

One might think that this is a fluff assignment but they’re quickly proved wrong when they read of the murder of one of the ladies in waiting at court. The murder at court puts everyone one edge and Maggie realizes that not only is she to be a tutor to the Princesses but she’s instructed to be a body guard of sorts as well.

Why did I read this?
Simple: I read book one a few months ago and I HAD TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED NEXT!

What impressed me about this book?
The suspense. Like I’ve said, I haven’t read many suspense books but these stories continue to have a complex enough plot that it was intriguing but not too complex that it was a 900 page book you have to invest two months in.

Like always it was refreshing to see string females on both good and bad sides. That is always a plus in my book!

I also appreciated the upstairs/downstairs dynamic in this book. It’s the Downton Abbey fan in me coming out… Again… but it was interesting reading about the background of the British royalty during a war literally occurring in their back yard.

What disappointed me about this book?
Would you believe me if I say that I can’t think of anything? It was a wonderful ride! I remember having difficulty keeping people straight in the first book but it wasn’t much of an issue with this book.

Oh I’ve got a disappointment! There wasn’t a preview of book three at the end of the book because I was reading an ARC. 

Historical Relevance:
Marion Crawford was the Princess’ nanny wrote a book entitled The Little Princesses: The Story of the Queen’s Childhood by her Nanny, Marion Crawford. This book has sparked my interest because there has been so much written about the Queen’s reign as monarch that I can’t help but wonder about her childhood. Did she hate broccoli? Did she really need things she was working on while studying to be in a certain order like MacNeil alludes to in the book? This has sparked my curiosity!

What reading challenge(s) did this book apply to?

 

 

Overall Grade?.

I’ve recently started a series after more than a dozen books have already been published. Unfortunately with Maggie Hope, this is not the case. So this is a good representation of my thoughts right now:

taken from Random House’s Pinterest Board “Book Humor”

 

 

 

Book Review – The Midwife of Venice

What I’ve recently finished:

**The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich**

GoodReads
Amazon
World Catalog


What is it about?
Hannah Levi is a young, recently married young woman living in the Jewish ghettos of Venice, Italy in the 1500s. She is known in her community as being a very skilled midwife because she constructed “birthing spoons” that help her with some of the most challenging of labors. Late one night, a Christian count appears at her doorstep and begs her to assist her in the labor of his wife who was delivering her fourth baby. His desperation came from the fact that if he did not produce an heir before his fiftieth birthday, from which he was months shy, his title as well as fortune would go to his rather selfish brother. The previous three children his wife had, unfortunately, died in childbirth or soon thereafter. It is very well known that if a Jew assisted in this procedure that it is punishable by torture or even death. Hannah takes this request, however, because she needs the funds to get her husband back as his ship was overtaken in Malta. This story centers on the ramifications of her actions in assisting with this birth as well as encouraging Hannah to reunite with her husband.

Why did I read this?
I honestly don’t know. Hmmm. I think I came across it in Jermaine’s store and thought it was interesting so why not?

What impressed me about this book?
The story’s simplicity! I know that can almost sound like a bad thing but I certainly don’t mean it as such. 2012 has been a year filled with wonderful mysteries that are often complicated with a handful of plot lines. This story was written from the point of view, mostly, of Hannah and her husband and, as a reader you’re cheering them on as they get closer and closer to a reunion. There is, of course, disturbing anti-semitism that existed during this time period. That was rather difficult to read. For example, Hannah’s husband is rescued from the life of slavery in Malta by a nun. She brings him to her house and offers him a life at a convent if, and only if, he converts. She, basically, is offering her Christian virtue so charity so long as he converts. That of course was hard to read but unfortunately that much of the thought back then–that it was Christ’s teaching to punish Jewish people.

But looking at this at its basic levels this story was about a wife doing something rather dangerous to get her closer to her husband and, as a reader, I really couldn’t help but cheer them on.

What disappointed me about this book?
I know this seems odd to say but nothing really. The story was not too complicated so it’s not like I felt that the author could have done a better job at explaining certain components.

I will say though…this should be taken as a compliment to the author…she describes horrible living conditions of the ghetto as well as the bubonic plague quite well. Sometimes too well if you get my meaning :-& amp;

Historical Relevance:
Alright I thought I was going to have make something up with this component but a two second google search had me reading a rather interesting article on the history of forceps! Milestones in the evolution of obstetric forceps Bryan Hibbard asserts that in the Middle Ages the Church was often the only source to discuss midwifery and forceps were often used as a “last resort” when the child was likely dead and they were trying to save to mother. This “procedure” was believed to assist mothers in challenging births in the 11th century. (upon reading this you’ll be thankful for modern medicine)

When there is a difficult labour with a dead child place the patient in a sheet held at the corners by four strong men, with her head somewhat elevated. Have them shake the sheet vigorously by pulling on the opposite corners, and with God’s will she will give birth.

 

Interestingly enough the Chamberlens family in England at this time were fashioning some of the first versions of forceps. The article I linked is quite interesting. Give it a read!


What reading challenge(s) did this book apply to?

Overall Grade? Rating: ★★★½☆

 

FO – Orange Pekoe Socks

This summer I participated in the Loopy Ewe swap and I was paired with another Cookie A. fanatic, a young woman named Mandy. She and I had a pleasure getting to know each other during this swap. I’ve always been paired with really nice women but I think she and I had more in common than many of the other swaps I participated in.

I had some difficulty with her socks. I started a pair right before going on vacation and a few days into it, I wasn’t feeling the love between yarn and pattern. And of course I realized this a few states away from my stash. Then the storm hit and, honestly, I didn’t even want to touch wool :-(

But then I found the Orange Pekoe Pattern and it was smooooooooth sailing from then on out.

Pattern: Orange Pekoe Socks by Cookie A from her 2011 Sock Club. Pattern Available here.
My Ravelry Project Page
Yarn(s): Three Irish Girls McCellan Fingering, .8 skeins, 320 yards.
Colorway(s): Mountain Cathedrals
Needle(s): US 1 – 2.25 mm
Casted On: June 27, 2012
Casted Off: July 12, 2012
Modifications: None

It goes with without saying how much I love Cookie’s patterns and this was no exception!! While it might not appeared that these flew off my needdles because I took two weeks to make them, I still enjoyed knitting them!

The yarn was a perfect match and wasn’t a heavy wooly feel because of its bamboo content. I’m sure Mandy appreciated getting them in the summer time. Perfect pair for this time of year. The yarn also handled the pattern very well too. Because of allllllllllll of this i found it very hard to mail these puppies :-(

I will definitely be making another pair of these for moi soon! :-D

Book Meme

cuz why not? :-P

My buddy Sprite does this meme from time to time and I have to agree with her – It's one you can do a few times a year and have remarkably diverse answers every time.

The Book(s) I Am Currently Reading
I am currently reading “The American Heiress” about a young woman who travels to Britain in the 1880s in search of a titled husband. Cora Cash eventually finds a husband, the Duke of Wareham. It flatly says on the cover that this is the perfect book for folks going through Downton Abbey withdrawal and is it ever correct! Although set earlier than the show, this story is similar to the Countess of Grantham. She came to Britian and married an Earl. This book has, obviously a very similar premise but I don't the Duke and the Duchess are nearly as happy as the Granthams though. :-(

The Book I Finished Last

A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie King. This is the second book of the Mary Russell series. The book I finished before this one was the first book of the series–The Beekeeper's Apprentice. This is a mystery series centered on Mary Russell, an Oxford graduate in the early twentieth century and her companion Sherlock Holmes. King wonderfully picks up where Doyle left off with his novels and the two characters play off each other I such interesting ways!

The Next Book I Want to Read
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles or perhaps something a little farther back in time??? Hmmmmm. While not all that further back in history, I'm quite interested in The Yellow House. I know very very little about the Irish Revolution.

The Last Book I Bought
Teeeeeheeee what had happened was……

 

I wet a little crazy on Amazon and totally fell for the”get three books by Gwen Bristow and save. Tehe so I got:

Jubilee Trail

Calico Place

Celia Garth

The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen

The Last Book I Was Given
I tend to hock my books on to others ;-)

 

Pleas If you're a reader, repost! I'd love to see the answers!

 

Random Note

I'm writing this using a new app for my iPad. Please pardon grammatical errors. I'm usually pretty good at catching them but that doesn't mean a few won't slide by.

 

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