Monthly Archives: December 2012

2012 Year in Review: (Non-crafty) Books!

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One of my goals for 2012 was to read more.  Last year around this time, I was feeling like some sort of statistic – you know, featured in all those doomsday articles you see online about how people don’t read anymore.  Then my colleagues gifted me a Kindle Fire for Christmas and I hoped it would be the inspiration I needed to read (non-crochet and non-knitting) books.

I read 7 books in 2011.  (I’m defining “read” loosely here, since 4 were audiobooks.)  I was hoping to read at least 12 in 2012, and I was able to (slightly) exceed my goal!  So without further ado, here is the list of non-crafty books I read in 2012.

  1. The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke
  2. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (my review)
  3. Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents, 22E
  4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  5. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
  6. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson (my Millenium Trilogy review)
  7. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain (my review)
  8. Halfway Human by Carolyn Ives Gilman (my review)
  9. Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg (my review)
  10. The Righteous by Michael Wallace (my review)
  11. The Year of the Flood: A Novel by Margaret Atwood
  12. How To Love Your Job Or Find A New One by Joanna Penn (my review)
  13. Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline (my review)
  14. The Last Man by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (my review)
  15. The Brief History of the Dead: A Novel by Kevin Brockmeier (my review)
  16. Here by Denise Grover Swank (my review)

I found out about many of these books through Wednesday’s Yarn Along with Small Things.  I’m looking for more books to read in 2013, and I’m always interested in finding more recommendations on Goodreads, so feel free to stop by my profile page and add me to your friends!

 

What was your favorite read of 2012?

Giveaway: Knitting with a crochet hook (KWACH)/knooking hooks

This is the last in my series of giveaways leading up to the New Year.  I’m now selling the specialized crochet hooks for knitting – also known as knooking or knitting with a crochet hook (KWACH) – in my Etsy shop here.

If you’ve been wanting to try knooking, this set will get you started!  It includes 5 hooks (in sizes 4.0 mm, 4.5 mm, 5.0 mm, 6.0 mm, and 6.5 mm) and 5 waxed cords.  Each cord is at least 40 inches (100 cm) long.

These hooks are a delightfully smooth bamboo and are very comfortable to use.

This giveaway is open to all readers.  Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, January 6, 2013.  

Giveaway and Book Review: Modular Mix by Edie Eckman

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I recently received a review copy of Modular Mix: 12 Knitted Mitered Squares to Mix & Match by Edie Eckman from Annie’s.  If you’re interested in learning more about mitered squares or modular (or domino) knitting, or if you like to knit sampler projects, this may be the booklet for you.

The booklet opens with a three-page section called Mixed Miters which walks readers through the basics of creating mitered square projects including materials, gauge, and techniques for casting on, decreasing, and joining squares.  Fans of Edie know that she likes to include the knitting math, and in this section you will also learn how to design your own mitered squares and determine the appropriate number of stitches to cast on.  Edie also explains why you might want to use different cast on methods, which is helpful for other projects, too.

The next several pages are devoted to the Modular Mix Afghan, made up of 20 blocks (some of which are formed by 4 to 16 smaller blocks).  Because modular projects are joined as you work, this overview is helpful before diving into the square patterns if you plan to recreate the sampler featured on the cover.

The 12 module patterns are presented in the next section.  Each pattern includes a brief introduction, information on the stitch multiples in case the knitter wants to adjust the size, the color sequence, and the pattern.  The patterns are simple, but Edie doesn’t do as much handholding as some modern knitters may expect.  These patterns are written like recipes, not as line by line instructions.  I found them easy to understand, but a beginner (or beginning pattern reader) might be confused when reaching the last set of decreases, for example.  Each square is also clearly photographed, so it is easy to see the differences in the patterns.  Each square is available in 3 sizes (3 inch, 6 inch, and 12 inch).  The projects all use medium (worsted) weight yarn and size 9 (5.5 mm) knitting needles, but of course could be adapted to other size yarn and needles for a different effect.

The book closes with a list of knitting abbreviations used in the booklet, charts showing recommended needle sizes for different yarn weights and conversions from inches to metric measurements, and an illustrated Knitting Basics section.  There is also a photo index in the back that makes it easy to find patterns in the book.  Like other Annie’s booklets, this lays flat and is easy to read while knitting.

Overall, this is a fun pattern booklet for anyone interested in exploring mitered squares.  While the booklet is brief (only 28 pages), Edie does pack in a lot of information, so it is suitable for knitters with a range of abilities.  An adventurous beginner would have fun learning new stitch patterns, decreases, and increases, and a more advanced knitter could follow Edie’s tips to design their own mitered squares.  I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Full disclosure: A free electronic review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. Although I accept free books for review, I do not accept additional compensation from the publisher, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. This also post contains affiliate links. You can read my affiliate and review disclosures here.

Giveaway

I’m giving away my review copy of Modular Mix: 12 Knitted Mitered Squares to Mix & Match by Edie Eckman, courtesy of Annie’s.  This giveaway is open to all readers.  Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, January 5, 2013.  

2012 Year in Review: Surmount the Stash

It’s been just over a year since I first learned about Revelations of a Delusional Knitter and her Surmount the Stash challenge.

This has been an interesting year for me in terms of stash.  I started using Ravelry’s features more actively, which helped me track my stash more closely.  I also started working with Galler Yarns, and I received more yarn support for upcoming designs in 2012 than in any previous year.  In spite, or because of all of these things, I’ve actually been able to make a noticeable dent in my yarn stash and am definitely ending 2012 with less yarn than I started with!

In December, I didn’t finish many projects since I’m working on a very large secret project.  I did manage to use up 112 yards on little holiday projects.

I also added 79 yards to my stash in yarn support remnants.  I reorganized my yarn bins so that I could store everything in 5 bins rather than having a box of yarn support on the side.  Overall, not a very significant month in terms of my stash!

During the course of the year, I learned a few things that may be helpful to you if stashbusting is on your list of New Year’s Resolutions.

  • Talking about my stash helped keep me accountable.  I kept track of my stashbusting efforts through my monthly Surmount the Stash updates and I am also active on the Surmount the Stash group on Ravelry.
  • Tracking yardage was more effective for me than tracking skeins.  For my first few updates, I talked about the number of skeins I used up or bought.  Later I learned that I used a lot more yarn in partial skeins (especially for charity projects), so I decided to track by yardage.  I compared the yardage used to skeins of Red Heart Super Saver so I could still have a visual reference.
  • Be thoughtful about purchases.  I approached yarn festivals and yarn crawls with a plan, including a monetary budget or skein limit (or both).
  • Let it go.  While it would be nice to sell every bit of yarn I don’t plan to use, it was often better to take a loss on what was spent on the yarn in exchange for more space and less clutter in my home.  I donated yarn to charity and gave some away.  I sold other skeins at a discount to move them out of my apartment.
  • Don’t forget about trades.  I needed certain colors for a project for a swap over the summer, and I was able to get what I needed by trading and buying partial skeins on Ravelry.  I ended up with just the right amounts and for less money.
  • Remain flexible.  Your priorities may change as your stash shifts.  I wasn’t worried about yarn support when I started my stashbusting efforts but now I plan to track it so I can keep a closer eye on my stash.
For 2013, I’m planning to keep whittling away at my stash to keep it more manageable.

What are your stash plans for 2013?

 

 

Giveaway: Artyarns Shawl for All Seasons Kit

Confession time: Before I started working on surmounting my stash, I pretty much entered every yarn giveaway I came along.  It was by winning one such giveaway from Jimmy Beans Wool that the Artyarns Shawl for All Seasons Kit became part of my collection.

This is actually a pretty cool kit in the Purple Velvet colorway.  Apparently, it usually sells for over $60.  It is even available for both knitting and crocheting.

So why am I giving it away? Well, I’ve discovered that I don’t need quite as much bling in my crochet projects as this kit provides.  And since I don’t plan to use it, I’d rather it ends up with someone else who might get a lot of pleasure from it.

This giveaway is open to all readers.  Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, January 4, 2013.