Fading In

I bet you thought this day would never come.

I know I didn't. But it did. It has. *drumroll please*

I finished my fade!

This shawl is so big I had to block it on our deck because there was not enough space in our house unless I wanted to have it going down the stairs.

And as you can see it is nearly impossible to get a photo of the entire shawl spread out (at least while also wrangling a baby).

I'm really proud of this shawl not only because it was so big, but also because it exclusively used yarns from my stash. A lot of these were either one-off colors that I had purchased without a plan or club colorways that had not told me what they wanted to be. There is even a skein in here that I dyed myself with kool-aid a few years ago.

But what are these fabulous yarns? Let me tell you.

Color A: Femme Fatale Fibers, Siren Fingering, Dumbledore's Cloak (discontinued)

Color B: Voolenvine Yarns, Strasse Sock, Neptunia. 

Color C: Lefthand Lass, Sock Ready, Claw Foot Tub.

Color D: Oh! Loops, Ascot, Butterflies in My Head

Color E: Kool-aid dyed Knit Picks

Color F: Lolo Did It, Everyday Sock, I Love Rock N Roll

Color G: Spartickes Dyes, Will and Grace Sock, Tell Me About it Stud

I absolutely love how these color combinations turned out. I'll be honest, I started feeling hesitant around the fifth color change, but I decided that I was this far along I might as well see it through and I am so glad that I did. I am not really much of a pink person. I exist most comfortably in the teal/seafoam/mint range, so it was awesome to use skeins I loved with skeins I was at a loss for and find something that will probably go with everything.

As for the pattern itself, I think the fact that I have already cast on another Andrea Mowry shawl tells you all you need to go. Her directions are clear and the shawl is broken down into sections so that you can more easily keep track of where you are in the pattern. As someone who spends a lot of her time dropping her knitting to run after a little one I can tell you that this is super valuable. Once I got the lace rows sorted in my brain I was able to knit practically direction free with just a quick glance to verify my numbers.

Overall this was a huge win at a time when I'll take the smallest of victories. And as an added bonus, I don't appear to be its only fan.

Shelved: What I've Been Reading March (Part 1)

There was a time when I was an obsessive reader

And then I went to college and got buried in school for the next five years. Like many students I was completely burned out and had no desire to read anything for quite a while. I made half-hearted attempts to start reading more, but for a while it seemed like I was never again going to read like I used to. Well, that seems to be changing.

The Versions of Us, Laura Barnett

This was supposed to be my Kindle book for the month, but I got the audio as well in a deal of the day and became completely consumed by it. I listened to it constantly. While cleaning, while taking Pasha for walks, while knitting. I've always loved the idea of diverging timelines, and this one really pulled me in because it set what is generally a sci-fi concept in a literary romance. The story centers around two protagonists, beginning with a specific moment in their lives and following the various paths their lives could have taken based on how that moment played out. The gothic romance-loving teenager in me was particularly pleased that there was no perfect version. Each had its joys and its tragedies.

The Pediatrician's Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers

For those of you not keeping track at home, Pasha is fast closing in on his first birthday, which means that we've started experimenting with solid foods. We began with the requisite smashed peas and banana several months ago and have slowly added in more and more foods. As a guide to when and how to mix more foods this book was ok. Mostly it dealt with allergies and how to deal with various health issues. Not really what we are dealing with, but it was nice to have our progress reaffirmed.

Getting to Yum, Karen Le Billon

I'll confess, I didn't read all of this book. I waffled on telling you about this one because I honestly did not like it. Some of it contained good advice -- give your kid healthy choices from the outset, teach them to try everything -- but a lot of it focused on "French parents are awesome, you Americans need to be more French." I'm sure there are a lot lessons we can take from French-style parenting, but I don't think anyone's time was well served by all of the stories of her French friend who served her kid elaborate and unusual foods that a lot of people cannot even access, let alone afford to feed their toddler.

The Turn, Kim Harrison

I devoured Kim Harrison's Hollows series, so when I heard that she had written a prequel I pre-ordered it without a second thought. There really is no way for me to explain the premise without spoiling large chunks. That, unfortunately, is the nature of prequels. I personally really enjoyed it once the titular event began to unfold. The protagonist is another strong female, but this time she is not a witch, which was a fun change from the previous novels. I don't know if it would be as fun of a read if you have no working knowledge of the world of The Hollows. I saw some reviews on Goodreads that asked why certain things were left unsaid, but which were plainly obvious if you had read the other books. So if you are a Harrison fan, give it a read. Otherwise start with the original series.

Homesick for Another World, Ottessa Moshfegh

Short story collections are something that I am starting to turn to more often. They are easy to pick up during nap time and drop when the dog goes crazy because the mailman dared to stop in front of the house. They also fit nicely in my purse for those times Pasha falls asleep in the car. I'm still trying to process this collection, because it was largely unsettling. Most of the stories were about unhappy people living what appear to be ordinary lives but with some sort of uncomfortable twist. And be prepared, they often end in medias res. It was good, just really weird and often disturbing. I highly recommend it. As long as that is your kind of thing.

Shawl Dreaming

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

As a child of a proud Pennsylvania Irish family growing up in a world of Scotch-Irish descendants, I've always had a weird association with St. Patrick's Day. On the one hand we have traced our roots directly back to Ireland, but on the other hand no one actually believed you were Irish if you went all out. It was the height of impostor syndrome and caused me to view the holiday with a bit of skepticism. But things may be changing.

This little guy is 10 months old today, so of course we had to deck him out in his best green. Which is when I realized that I am very low on green in my wardrobe. I have a sweater I knit a few years ago, but that's about it. I have a green shawl that has been waiting in the wings for a few months, but I'm really trying to be good and finish my Find Your Fade.

I'm in the final lace section so I need to just sit down, put on a few podcasts, and plow through.

But this -- this yarn is calling to me. I've had it slated for a Boho Blush ever since I saw teaser photos on Instagram, and I'm dying to cast on. I have visions of wearing it on the back deck in the early morning, wrapped up cozy with a book and a mug of coffee. Which I will immediately dip the gorgeous fringe into. As you do.

Oh screw it. If you'll excuse me I have some winding to do.

Pure Joy

I love the moment when I can finally reveal my secret knitting.

For the past month I have had a project in the works that I was unable to share because *surprise!* it was for my sister. 

You see, my sister is getting married next month and though she did not request a wedding shawl I could not let the occasion pass without some form of knitted acknowledgement.

Yesterday was her bridal shower, so it finally got the big unveiling. Pasha gave her a photo collage of them to go with it, which I think might have won the award for favorite gift. I'd be mad, but how can you compete with adorable baby? Especially one who tried so cleverly to sabotage my progress.

This was knit out of Life in the Long Grass Fingering in Coastal and Spun Right Round Superwash Sock in Float on By. I'm proud to say this was my first stash acquisition of 2017. You might remember that I am only buying yarn in person this year rather than online, which meant that I got to have a ton of fun in Warm N Fuzzy playing with all of the yarn trying to find the right color combo. These are an interpretation of her wedding colors rather than a literal representation.

Overall I really enjoyed this project. It was a lot of fun, the short rows kept things interesting, and the super long rows did not tire me out too much. At least not until the last wedge.

Oh, right, you might want to know the pattern name. This is Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli, chosen because her middle name is Joy. The more you know.

Shelved: What I've Been Reading February (Part 2)

I could also call this post "So many books, so little time"

One of the latest episodes of the What Should I Read Next Podcast featured a discussion of the competitive nature of the online reading community, which I have totally struggled with lately. Now that I'm discussing my reading more I feel the need to always have new and interesting things to talk about, but that's a self-imposed pressure and not beneficial at all. I read what I like and sometimes it is deep and profound non-fiction and sometimes it is a light and frothy novel.

Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell

Ok, I don't know if I would call this a light and frothy novel, but after finishing Ghettoside I needed something that was more fun. Fangirl totally fit the bill. I have read it several times and opted for the audio version this time around. Even though I am *gulp* more than ten years removed from my Freshman year of college I still find something to connect with every time I return to this novel. The story of a girl who struggles with a penchant to isolate herself and exist in a fictional world of her own making is very relatable, especially now that I have the very real isolating circumstance of new motherhood.

The Animators, Kayla Rae Whitaker

I'm still not sure how I feel about The Animators. It was the pre-selected option for my February Book of the Month box, and the description intrigued me enough that I decided to add it on even though I selected The Possessions as my official book (seriously I still cannot stop thinking about that one). There was a lot in this book that I should have loved -- strong female characters who are friends and creatives, interesting world building, realistic portrayal of the rural South -- but it often just didn't quite click for me. Quite possibly because there was so much story that it was surprising when things fell into a rather standard formula. That is not to say that it is not a good book. It was. Just of a specific style. I will say that it was the book I was reading when I had the stomach virus and gave me a lot of perspective on how things could be when I felt like I might be dying.

Design Mom, Gabrielle Stanley Blair

An impulse library check-out, I may be purchasing a copy of Design Mom to have in my home library as Pasha grows older. This is intended as an interior design book, but I found it full of great ideas for parenting kids of all ages. Blair has experience on all ends of the housing spectrum and believes that practicality and beauty are not mutually exclusive as long as you approach your home with intention. The book is set up by room/area, so you can go to the chapter you need or you can do what I did and read the entire book in a day.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson

A friend gave me Furiously Happy for my birthday, and with a new publication on the horizon I decided it was high time I read Lawson's first book. I got the audio and found myself so charmed by Lawson's narration that I think I might need to get Furiously Happy on audio as well. I found the stories of love, parenthood, and mental illness to be particularly compelling because of my own struggles with PPD. I will issue a language advisory for the cautious, but if you are looking for a witty memoir I recommend this one.

Have you read anything fun lately? Tell us about it in the comments!