Knit and Crochet Blog Week, Day 4 – Color Review

4KCBWDAY4 Colour Review 

What are your favourite colours for knitted or crocheted projects. Have a think about what colours you seem to favour when yarn shopping and crafting.

Only after writing this part of your post should you then actually look to see what colours you have used in your projects. Make a quick tally of what colours you have used in your projects over the past year and compare it to the colours you have written about. Compare this, in turn, to the colours that are most dominant in your yarn stash – do they correlate?

Now think back to your house animal – do the colours you have chosen relate to your animal in anyway – if you are in the house of peacock, for example, are your projects often multicoloured and bright?

I naturally gravitate toward greens, blues, and the occasional purple. I’ll throw in a muted red or pink sometimes, but cool colors are my jam.

However, my stash is a bit misleading, thanks to 1. yarn clubs and 2. my willingness to get a bit bolder when it comes to sock yarns. I love that with yarn clubs, you get colors that you might not be drawn to, but usually end up kind of loving. Plus, there’s the added challenge of matching those yarns with projects!

 

Knit and Crochet Blog Week, Day 3 – Infographic

4kcbwday3 Infographic 
There are many ways of conveying information on a blog; text and images being the two most widely used. Many infographics combine both these elements to provide a visual way of presenting text information.

So, I tried making a cool looking thing with infogr.am, but it wouldn’t embed correctly. Instead, we have a slightly less exciting Excel graph, representing the year I started projects and their current status. It’s nice to know that once I start a project, I’m pretty good at seeing it through.

jb2

Knit and Crochet Blog Week, Day 2 – A Mascot Project

4KCBWDAY2 A Mascot Project.

Your task today is to either think of or research a project that embodies that house/animal. It could be a knitting or crochet pattern – either of the animal itself or something that makes you think of the qualities of that house. 

Alternatively it could be a type or colour of yarn, or a single button. Whatever you choose, decide upon a project and blog about how and why it relates to your house/creature.

As a Bee – someone who flits from project to project – my first thought went to something that was a quick and satisfying knit (and as a sometimes Manatee, something smooshy). What better than a hat, with a “treat yo’self” yarn?

Preach, Donna.

My very favorite hat is the Habitat, by Jared Flood. I made mine almost two years ago with a gorgeous skein of Aslan Trends Royal Alpaca. I love the classic look of the cables, which were fun to play with and that yarn is pretty darn smooshy.

Now, there are a few other Jared Flood hat patterns that I like, but for this I want to go with one by the queen of hats – Woolly Wormhead. I’m particularly drawn to the Castiel. Pretty lace to keep things interesting and of course, the excuse to splurge on a yarn like Tosh DK.

What’s your mascot project?

Knit and Crochet Blog Week, Day 1 -The House Cup

KCBWDAY1 The House Cup.

A bit like Harry Potter, but not quite, this year’s Knitting & Crochet Blog Week is split into 4 houses. Don your favourite knitted or crocheted hat and let it guide you to which house you will be in.

The House of Bee: Bees are busy and industrious, but can flit from one interesting project to the next as bright and shiny things capture their interest.

The House of Manatee: Manatees are gentle, calm and cuddly. Relaxed and unflashy they represent the comfort and soft side of knitting and crochet.

The House of Monkey: Intelligent and with a fun loving side, Monkeys like to be challenged with every project presenting them with something new and interesting.

The House of Peacock: Peacocks take something good and make it brilliant. Buttons, embellishments and a bit of sparkle prove that perfection lies in the details – like a Peacock’s Tail.

So choose your house. You may be a combination of more than one of these noble beasts, but think about which house best embodies your qualities and declare your place. You can use one of the graphics above to display your house crest, if you like (though this is totally optional).

You could of course decide that you are so unlike any of these creatures in your style of crafting that you set up a rival faction and adopt your own house, though whether you get invited to the end of term disco remains to be seen, you rebel.

I’m mostly a Bee, with a small dash of Manatee. I have four active projects right now (and two that are much less active) – the Honey Cowl, Honey Badger socks, a Lauriel sweater, and the Horai scarf. I had been working on the Lauriel steadily for a while, but set it aside ’cause I needed to wind the next skein of yarn and didn’t feel like getting those tools out. So, I ripped out another project that wasn’t working and cast on the Honey Cowl. The socks and scarf get picked up every now and again, especially when I need something that will travel with ease. And let’s not get into my queue on Ravelry… (Okay, it’s at 231 dream projects and counting)

But, much like the Manatee, I go for comfort and classic items. I want things that I’ll want to wear for years. Where would the sorting hat (I’m sure it’s a lovely cable/lace number) put you?

Eclectic Reader Challenge/#CRB5 Review #4: Easy, Tammara Webber

Tammara Webber’s Easy is sort of a pillar in this weird “new adult” fiction genre that’s slowly blowing up. On one hand, it’s great that authors are filling the void between books about high school romance and full-on adult romance. On the other, these books can be just as dirty as proper adult romance novels (not that is entirely a complaint, though, if that’s your jam). Usually, the characters are college-aged (not necessarily in college); the female protagonist is either a good girl looking to live it up a little, or a former bad girl who wants to be good but can’t fight her innate attraction to trouble; the male protagonist almost always hits every possible “bad boy with a heart of gold” trope there is. Relationship drama that is more or less appropriate to someone 18 to 23 years old then ensues (and is usually much darker than typical YA fare).

So, Easy. Our story opens with Jacqueline as she’s leaving an awkward frat party (she’s just been dumped by the boy she followed to this state school instead of pursuing her talents at a proper music school) and gets sexually assaulted in the parking lot by a winner named Buck. She’s saved by a mystery hot/emo-looking fellow – who turns out to be all-around swell guy with a past, Lucas (He’s an artist! He’s smart! He rides a motorcyle!). Things proceed with the fall-out of Jacqueline’s attack, Buck raping another girl, and Lucas sorting out his crap.

The book is actually pretty okay. Webber made the right choices with how she developed Jacqueline and the process of dealing with her trauma (she and friend take self-defense classes, she steps up when the second girl is attacked, but is still full of self-doubt and guilt). Reading this is in the wake of the Steubenville  rape case probably elevated my emotions a little; however, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it along with other upper-YA lit that tackles the same subject.

Self-Imposed Book Club/Eclectic Reader Challenge/#CRB5 Review #3: Legend by Marie Lu

Set in some undetermined future version the United States, the land west of the Rockies has formed its own country – the Republic. To the east is the Colonies.

As things go in dystopian societies, there is a major divide between the economic classes. June was been raised by a wealthy family and is a military prodigy. Day comes from a poor sector and, at 15 years old, has become one of Republic’s most wanted criminals (and he is, in a Robin Hood sort of way).

After a raid on a hospital for medical supplies, Day is accused of killing a soldier he thought he had only injured. That soldier is June’s beloved older brother. June makes it her mission to track down Day, but in the process learns that the Republic is willing to do just about anything to keep secrets from its people.

Marie Lu has created a fairly plausible future (though, I think we’re more likely to split North/South, rather than East/West. Also, are Biggie and 2Pac represented on the respective flags? Just wondering…). June and Day match well intellectually but they still make mistakes like any 15 year old. Aside from smarts, loyalty is a major defining  element of each character – June to the memory of her brother and (at first) her country; Day to Tess – his Little John – and his remaining family (only his older brother has a notion of what he’s up to).  Lu keeps moving at a good clip, while introducing elements that should carry through the series. I’m all in on this one.

Eclectic Reader Challenge/#CRB5 Review #2: Austenland by Shannon Hale

After discovering her love of Pride and Prejudice (especially the epic BBC movie with Colin Firth), Jane’s great-aunt leaves her an all-expenses paid trip to Penbrook Park. Penbrook is an English country manor, all dolled up in every Austen and stocked with actors doing their best to fill the Regency fantasies of their guests.

For the next three weeks, Jane will live and breathe the world of corsets, strolls in the garden, and trying not to make a mess of her embroidery project – on top of navigating a charming gardener willing to break a few rules (how very George Wickham of him) and Mr. Nobley, one of the actors who is giving his very best Austen hero face.

The plot is pretty simplistic and if you know your Austen, you can easily figure out how things are going to go (even not knowing your Austen, you’ll latch on fast). Luckily, Shannon Hale makes it easy enough to root for Jane to grow up (and out) of her Darcy/Firth obsession – she’s a sharp woman who happens to be in love with what a fictional character represents. Who hasn’t been there? And I think this may be a case where the up-coming movie could actually elevate the plot and characters. There’s great potential for some smart sight-gags and the cast is rather promising.

Self-Imposed Book Club: The Hobbit

Bilbo Baggins was a hobbit who wanted to be left alone in quiet comfort. But the wizard Gandalf came along with a band of homeless dwarves. Soon Bilbo was drawn into their quest, facing evil orcs, savage wolves, giant spiders, and worse unknown dangers. Finally, it was Bilbo–alone and unaided–who had to confront the great dragon Smaug, the terror of an entire countryside . . .

I feel a little bad that I didn’t absolutely love this. It’s charming and all, but very much a children’s story, especially in comparison to how dense the Lord of the Rings gets.

I did find that the book flows almost like serialized short stories. Nearly every chapter is a self-contained little tale with a classic rising action, climax, and denouement pattern. Which, from a narrative perspective, is kind of neat to follow. I have to wonder if the book and I would have jived better had I read it when I was younger…

My schedule is all out of whack, so the next book is for February (Hey, it’s my book club, I do what I want.)

Next:  LegendMarie Lu

 

 

#CBR5 Review #1: The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

In about 70, C.E., the Romans were stomping their way through Judea – burning Temples, slaughtering towns, and forcing Jews to take to the desert. A few hundred made their way to the mountain fortress, Masada, a great stronghold built a century before by King Herod. There, they are protected by a rebel group called the Sicarii. Among them are four incredible women – Jael, the daughter and sister of great warriors, and who is blamed by her father for her mother’s death; Revka, a baker’s widow, who is doing everything she can to care for her grandsons; Aziza, who was raised as a boy and trained to fight by one of the great Moab warriors; and Shirah, a woman raised on magic and mysticism. They all work in the dovecotes, caring for the birds who provide for the fortress in many ways.

The book is split into quarters, with each character telling her story as time passes. Jael takes us from her escape from Jerusalem through months surviving the desert to her arrival at Masada. Revka’s tale shows the beginning of the end and the women’s relationship with a captured Roman slave, as well as how she and the remaining members of her family came to the fortress. Aziza tells us how she was brought up to be a warrior and her daring choice to take her brother’s place among the Sicarii fighters. Shirah brings us to the final Roman siege and the decisions that led to only two women and four children surviving.

Based on the stories of Jewish historian, Josephus, author Alice Hoffman spent five years researching this book. She takes her usual themes of strong women and magic, and puts them on a grand stage. The book is dense and difficult in places, but a worthy read that will send you on a Wikipedia spiral afterwards.

2013 Reading Challenges

Goodreads

Goal – 100 books. I’ve done this one the past few years with success, usually upping my target number sometime in the fall.

Self-Imposed Book Club

Goal  - Business as usual, one randomly chosen book from my ever-growing Goodreads To-Read list

Eclectic Reader Challenge 2013

Goal - 12 books from 12 different genres

  1. Translated fiction
  2. Historical mystery
  3. Romantic suspense
  4. Made into a movie – Austenland, Shannon Hale
  5. New Adult
  6. Urban Fantasy - Storm Front, Jim Butcher
  7. Dystopian
  8. Memoir
  9. LGBT - Lover at Last, J.D. Ward
  10. Action Adventure
  11. Humour - Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, David Sedaris
  12. Published in 2013

Nothing out of my comfort zone, but a fun way to add a little variety to the proceedings.

[edit 12.27.12]

Cannonball Read V

Goal – Quarter Cannonball, 13 books/reviews