Website Update

Once upon a time a college student started a blog (which, really, happens all the time).  But we're not talking about any blog, we're talking about my blog.  I started this little corner of the internet five years ago, and I've grown a lot over these years, but I've decided that it is time to take this to the next level.

So if you've liked anything that you have seen here I hope you'll follow me to the new home of all things Faithfully Geeky, faithfullygeeky.com.  That's right, I got a real big girl website!  Hope to see you there!



Do you ever have those times where it seems like everything comes back to one central idea or thing?  Like you don't mean to but everything you are carrying somehow has foxes on it and suddenly you are the fox girl?  This week for some reason I have been all about Sherlock.  I mean I love Sherlock in pretty much any incarnation (particularly the stories they did on Wishbone where he wore the little tweed hat), but for some reason it has been popping up a lot lately.  Maybe because the latest season of the show is now on Netflix?

I watched the episodes when they first aired, but I admit that I did not do a full scale rewatch before hand because I had grown weary of the years of prolonged anticipation.  But now, now I can watch it all again and revel in its existence.  Perhaps while knitting out of my new Sherlock bag!

Though I won't be working on these socks as they are currently bus knitting exclusive and getting a ton of mileage.  I would not be surprised if I complete them quite soon.  But the bag!  The bag is too cute to live in my backpack all the time.  This is from Noteable Needlework who from what I can gather is a newcomer on the bag scene.  If you have any interest at all in a cute sock size bag for a seriously good price, you should check out her stuff.  I saw this fabric at Into the Wool on another bag, so when I heard about this one there was no question I was picking it up.

And then, in more Sherlock fun, there is this Kickstarter campaign that you need to check out.  My friend Tabz is working on an effort to create a set of playing cards inspired by Sherlock Holmes featuring some pretty awesome original artwork.

The thing that makes this project worth backing is not the actual cards themselves (which are awesome), but the passion these folk have for original work.  I have heard Tabz talk many a time about how Sherlock was a founding part of her geek and how it shaped her passions and gave her a community.  And the people she has gathered to work on this project are just as passionate.  From contributing writers (oh, did I mention that there is an essay collection attached to this?) to project backers to the artists themselves, this is a love letter to the content.  If you want to know more, you should check out this interview she gave to Gamer XP.  And then go check out the project.  Because we all need a  bit more Sherlock.  Right?


FO: Bonnie

It's amazing how much knitting I can accomplish when I really put my mind to it.  This weekend I finished two garments and got a fair bit knit on a shawl.  I guess there really is something to be said for having Saturdays off.

I absolutely loved knitting Bonnie.  Well, with the exception of what felt like very real stockinette hell when I was about 80 rows in.  Note to self: buy a yarn counter before your next lace weight project.  Counting over 100 rows at such a fine gauge was not my finest hour, but the result is lovely.

I've had this skein of Madeline Tosh Lace kicking around the stash for almost two years.  I bought it at Webs on our honeymoon and it has been waiting for the perfect project.  It was originally intended to be a Nevis cardigan, but that was just not working.  So it sat, in its cake, waiting for love.  And then along came Tin Can Knits.

Obligatory selfie with the photographer because hello, honeymoon yarn
Bonnie must have crossed my path a million times before I finally realized it was the one.  The pattern my yarn had been waiting for.  It is open and lacy while still chic and slimming.  And the construction is genius.  There's no actual shaping in this knit.  It is all an illusion of the lace panel.  How cool is that?

I'm really glad I chose to take this with me to Into the Wool.  All the fun and conversation helped me to power through those long stockinette rows before I finally got to start the chart.  And now when I wear it I have two sets of happy memories -- the memory of Chris laughing when I realized he'd worked freaking Webs into our honeymoon and the memory of laughter that can only come when knitters spend days huddled together for warmth.


Summer Top Duo

Ever since I returned from Into the Wool I've been dying to knit all the things.  I've been plotting and planning to the point that I have knitted a million things in my head.  I have grand plans for several sweaters, a smattering of socks, and shawls for days.  I've been matching things up in my head and shopping patterns I really don't need.  And did I mention that a lot of this has been happening at work?  Yeah.  Luckily most of it is in my mind and has not taken away from my ability to be productive.  But still, it's become an obsession.

The reason for all of this, I think, is not just the exposure to an abundance of new ideas at camp but also the fact that I am hard core garment knitting.  I have two summer tops going and am trying my hardest to stick to them until at least one is complete.  Both of these projects are a lot of fun and totally lovely, but man am I a fickle knitter.

I started Bonnie at the beginning of the month and have been pretty much monogamous to it with the exception of my camp project.  I even worked on it at the retreat, which I was not expecting to do.  For those of you unfamiliar with the pattern, it is a gorgeous lace weight top from Tin Can Knits.  The magic of the garment is in the lace panel, which you really cannot see well because I haven't blocked it out.  This garment has taken what I know about shaping and turned it on its head.  Once again knitting has shown me that there are no rules that cannot be broken.  I also learned that counting a large number of rows in lace weight is not my favorite thing ever.  In fact I am pretty sure I'll be investing in a row counter before I take on anything else with large swaths of stockinette.  I'm halfway up the back from where I split for the armholes and I cannot wait to be done so that it can be blocked.  Maybe this weekend?  I'd say I want to wear it for Memorial Day fun, but I work that day and don't want to commit to a deadline.

The other garment I'm working on is a test knit for Andi Satterlund.  This does not look like much right now, but I've already learned a new technique, sewn elastic, and changed colors -- twice.  I don't want to say too much just yet, but let's just say it is knit out of Quince and Co Chickadee and there's no way to not love this yarn.  Believe me.  I have the swatches to prove that I've tried.

All of this is great, but I really just want to be knitting a giant navy cabled sweater.  Or maybe socks.  Or a shawl.

Someone stop me.


Back from the Woods

Hello again, my lovelies.  I hope you had a fun fiber-filled weekend and enjoyed the rest of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.  It was great fun to take part again, especially in the week leading up to Into the Wool Fiber Retreat.  I got back Sunday night, but as Chris has Mondays off as well we spent yesterday hanging out and watching even more Breaking Bad.  Can I ask why people love this show?  We're up to season four and I just don't get it.  But I will persevere because the more Breaking Bad I watch the more Harry Potter Chris will watch and I refuse to reach our second anniversary still married to a Muggle.

Before I even begin to tell you about the insane amount of fun that was had over the weekend let me take a moment to thank the organizers and sponsors once again.  This was my first retreat and Dana, Brittany, and Jess did a wonderful job of keeping it fun, chill, and very welcoming.  I love that they went out of their way to be sure everyone won a door prize and goodie bag stuffed to exploding while keeping the emphasis of the retreat on the people, not on the stuff.  Thank you ladies for making it such a special weekend for all of us.

So the retreat.  I traveled with a group of ladies from North Carolina, including one who lives very close to me.  My goal going into this was to meet other knitters, maybe even some from my area because even though I've been here three years I still don't really know anyone outside of work.  As soon as I got in the car I realized that I had hit my hope of one new friend and surpassed it.  I had three fabulous roommates, four awesome road trip buddies, and tables full of new Ravelry friends to communicate with when I got home.  I wish I had taken more pictures, but if you go to Instagram and search with #intothewoolfiberretreat you can get a glimpse of the fun.  It was much colder than any of us really expected, so we spent our time huddled together around tables, knitting and laughing and learning from each other.

My other goal was to learn to spin.  There is no way I can get a wheel any time soon, but I signed up to take the drop spindling class with Melia from the Yarn Raising podcast.  You might remember my sad attempt to teach myself to drop spindle a few years ago -- it did not go well.  Clearly this is something that I needed to see in person and have someone guide me through.  Melia is a wonderful instructor.  It was a mini workshop, only lasting an hour, but she loaned me a teaching spindle to practice with for the weekend.  I was hooked.

No one was selling spindles in the vendor market, but Diane of Suburban Stitcher was looking to sell hers so I offered to buy it from her.  The morning of the last day she leaned over and handed it to me, saying "Merry Christmas."  I was and still am overwhelmed by her generosity.

The kindness of knitters was a recurring theme for the weekend.  I have been struggling personally with many things that don't need to be blogged, but top among them has been loneliness.  I don't have the kind of friend base I always envisioned for my adult life and that has been hard.  Going to this retreat was a complete refresh for my spirit.  It was like God reached down and said "Here.  You seem a little down lately.  Let's see what abundance can feel like."  The women I met were all generous and kind.  Many people joked that I was unusually lucky in my winnings, but I was not lucky in just material goods.  I was already blessed with the opportunity to spend time with amazing women who just happened to share my love of yarn and fiber.  And the fact that it happened in the backdrop of gorgeous Lake Frances?


I said before that the emphasis of the weekend was on the people not the stuff, but I would be remiss if I did not share with you some of the other goodies I came home with.  First there was the goodie bag.

I mean seriously.  The only thing that I paid extra for was the tshirt, everything else was either included in the cost or donated by sponsors.  I came home with new patterns, yarn, fiber, and a wealth of coupon codes all generously donated.

I also participated in the sock yarn swap.  Again I say, luckiest weekend of my life?  I put in a skein of Zen Yarn Garden BFL that I liked but was never going to use.  I drew the second to last number, which meant that I waited and waited while everyone drew out lovely and amazing yarn ahead of me.  And then it was my turn.

I drew Wollmeise!  Evidently I was a sight to see.  I opened the bag, realized what I had, and the next thing I knew I had run down to the end of the porch.  I've never even seen Wollmeise in person, let alone thought I could own any.  Like I said, these woman were beyond generous.

And then there was the vendor market.  I didn't shop till I dropped, but I almost did.  I hit my budget before I got to all of the vendors, but I plan on doing some online shopping once a few shops are reopened.  Here are my goodies from Unwind Yarn Company, Fibro Fibers, Jelby, Suburban Stitcher, and Hiyawasee Creek.

Oh!  And my door prize was a gift certificate to Yarn Patch, the nearby LYS, where I picked up a skein of Jilly.  I'm pretty sure the retreat attendees bought them out because it was such nice yarn.

Overall I loved this retreat.  It was small and fun and full of amazing women.  I cannot wait to go back next year.  Is it 2015 yet?


Conversations Between Workers (5KCBWDay4)

So I have this ball winder.

I've had it since I learned I needed more yarn than one project at a time would suffice.  That puts it at about 5 years old, which is getting up there for plastic ball winders.  It came to me at Christmas and has always had a bit of a lofty opinion of itself.  It was not content to wind yarn off of the backs of chairs.  No, it needed a swift.  But it also refused to properly clamp onto a table or said chair back and so needed to be held.  It's very demanding, my ball winder, and we've developed a bit of a co-dependent relationship it and I.

Take this week for example.  I'm doing some test knitting and so needed to wind up some yarn rather immediately, which the ball winder did not like.  It likes to be prepared for anything as strenuous as winding yarn.  It needs time to stretch its gears and size up the skein before it begins winding.

Me: I need to wind this yarn

Ball Winder: I'm sorry, I must have misheard you.  You need to wind this yarn tomorrow?

Me: No, I need to get going on this swatch so I need to wind this yarn now.

Ball Winder: But you already have a garment on the needles that you swore you'd be monogamous to.  Clearly this is you just falling back on your promises.  You do not need to swatch.  You do not need to wind this yarn.

Me: Who is the knitter around here?  Designer needs this test knit and I'd like to have it done before June so I need to get swatching.  Please.

Ball Winder: Sighs dramatically Fiiiiiine.  But you'd better remember this next time I say I don't believe you can be a monogamous knitter.

Me: Just wind, will you?

Ball Winder: Sulks its way to the swift and starts winding.  Immediately begins clicking.  Oh, I don't think I can do this, my gears are clicking.  Didn't I tell you I need to warm up or my gears will click?

Me: Grits teeth and tries to ignore the whining

Ball Winder: Continues clicking and finally separates.  See! I told you this wouldn't work.

Me:  Seriously?  You did that on purposes.

Ball Winder:  I did not!  You take that back!  

Me:  You are getting to be too much of a hassle.  I think it's time you finally retired.  Picks up pieces and looks at them.

Ball Winder:  No!  I can do that.  Sucks in breath while I put it back together and begin winding again.  See?  We're winding.  We're almost done!

Me: Looking unconvinced.  Ok.  We'll see.

Ball Winder: Aaaand we're done!  Whew!  I'm tired.  This is why you have to let me warm up to these things.  Put me back on my shelf!

It goes like this.  Every time I go to start a new skein.  But somehow my little ball winder keeps working, denying me the ability to buy a new one.  It's manipulative like that.

This post is a part of the fifth annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week hosted by Eskimimi Makes.  To see more posts from fiber lovers around the world, just Google this tag: 5KCBWDay4

This will also be my last post for the week -- I'm off to Into the Wool in the early morning and will be having far too much yarnie fun to write.  Thanks to everyone who took part and to Mimi for coordinating once again.  It's been fun!


Experimental Photography and Image Handling (5KCBWDay3)

This post is a part of the fifth annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week hosted by Eskimimi Makes.  To see more posts from fiber lovers around the world, just Google this tag: 5KCBWDay3


Dating Profile (5KCBWDay2)

Unfinished Sweater Seeking Knitter

Hi, I'm Rosemary.  I am a green sweater knit out of Cascade 220 and am approximately half completed.  My age?  Well, we ladies don't talk about our age, you know that.  But I promise, I look as good as I feel.  You won't even notice that I came from destashed yarn. I still need sleeves, but I promise I can make your cables pop.  And my stockinette?  Soft as a feather and flat as a board.

I'm a bohemian girl.  I like walking through fields of tall grass and ducking into local coffee bars.  Doing both of these things on a mountaintop would be ideal.  My heathered green goes well with flowing skirts, high-waisted shorts, and I love a good pair of boots.  I see myself one day on an epic road trip.  Just me, a single carpet bag, and a good book hitting the road.  Care to join me?

Turn offs include country music, the use of carpet bag fabric for anything other than carpet bags, and novelty yarn.

This post is a part of the fifth annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week hosted by Eskimimi Makes.  To see more posts from fiber lovers around the world, just Google this tag: 5KCBWDay2


A Day in the Life (5KCBWDAY1)

You told me I was special.  You told me I was your favorite.  And like a fool I believed you.  I came to you like an innocent fool, content in my skein, looking forward to spending time with you.  You wound me up and I thought we could really be something.  Socks, you said.  Alright.  It sounded like an interesting joint venture.  We spent hours together, curled up at home watching tv or reading a good book.  You even snuck me into work, sneaking me out when no one was paying attention.

And so I became socks for you.  You bragged about me to all of your friends.  Calling me your favorite and showing me off.  I even let you take pictures of me to put online.  I'd never done that for any other knitter.  I really believed that I was your one.  For a time things were great.  I fit in great with all of your other socks, sliding nicely into the space you made for me in your sock drawer.  Even when they whispered to me that your affection was fleeting I paid them no mind.  What did they know of our connection.  It was deeper than that between sock and wearer, I would swear it.

But then, slowly, the months warmed and your heart grew cold.  No longer would I get washed first so as to go back to the top of the rotation.  No, now I went into the pile, with all your other cast off socks, discarded and unwanted.  You started wearing sandals and talking about the impracticality of wool socks in a Southern Summer.  Had you lost your mind?  Surely you cared too much for me to mind a bit of discomfort.

So now I sit, just like all the other socks, watching pair after pair enter our drawer.  Some are striped, some even sparkle, all are drawn to your professed dedication.  All believe that they are the one, the only pair you will ever need for the rest of your life.  They do not notice as you glance slidelong at your yarn cabinet.  They are oblivious to your insatiable need for more sock yarn.  But I notice.  I see.  And as you turn out the light on our once happy home I wonder, how much more could you possibly need?

This post is a part of the fifth annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week hosted by Eskimimi Makes.  To see more posts from fiber lovers around the world, just Google this tag: 5KCBWDay1


A Year of Reading: Month Three

Month three!  (Let's ignore the fact that we're in the middle of month five, shall we?)  March was a pretty good month in the reading department, starting with After the Golden Age, a fun twist on the traditional superhero story line.  Celia is the daughter of Captain Olympus and Spark, the leaders of her city's band of supers.  Only they are ageing and she has no powers.  She is an accountant who is tired of being used as a way to get her parents' attention.  And then there's an evil villain, and distressed cops, and a dark past to overcome.  Written by a woman and featuring a strong female lead who uses her brain?  Yeah, this one was a treat.

Continuing our tour of strong female leads, I also read Insurgent, the second in the Divergent trilogy.  I figured that if I was going to see the movie I should be one book ahead of the game.  Just in case.  I actually enjoyed this one more than book one.  Maybe because we didn't have as much origin to go through and just jumped right into character development.  And I'm happy to report that I did not guess everything that happened, which always makes me like a book more.

March is also the month I discovered the Kindle First, which releases four books one month early for Kindle users for about $2 (If you have Amazon Prime you can pick one for free).  I was low on reading material so I decided to try Gilded, which evidently is the start of a series.  It was not exactly my cup of tea, but it was a fun weekend read.  And the fact that it takes place in Korea instead of in a major US city or in a post-apocalyptic future makes it a nice change of pace.  The heroine is at an international high school, and gives an interesting glimpse into a culture that she does not fully understand, pulling the reader along as she learns more.

Rounding out the month was probably my favorite book of the year -- The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line, book one of the new post-movie Veronica Mars series!  Seriously, I cannot say anything about this without spoiling the film, so let's just say I loved it.  I loved it, I loved it, I loved it!  The story is well written, the characters are still fresh, the tension is in all the right places, and the crime is full of twists and turns.  If you've seen the movie, read it.  If you haven't seen the movie, what are you waiting for?

At this rate I may have to up my goal from 25 to 50.  But, let's not get ahead of ourselves, just yet, shall we?


Finding Inspiration

Is there anything as lovely as sitting on a back porch on a cool spring evening, rocking and knitting the night away?  I think not.  Which is why my grandma stock is skyrocketing at the moment.  But seriously.  It is one of the best things I can imagine.  If I concentrate on my book hard enough I can almost convince myself that I am back on my parents' porch reading by starlight rather than just off a major city road.  Clearly I did not appreciate my rural childhood enough.

I've been feeling rather uninspired in my knitting lately.  Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup started a new term this month and I'm determined to have a better showing than I did last term.  That being said, I did not actually start my project until this morning, six days into the month.  I'm forgoing an OWL attempt this term in light of my spectacular failure last term and am instead looking to knock out one good yardage project a month and use Quidditch to do some charity knitting.  I kept trying to start something new and continued to fall short.  I was going to knit another Trillian -- turns out I only had that pattern in hardcopy and threw all my paper patterns away when we moved (like an idiot).  I wanted to start some socks but was too annoyed by the two I already have on the needles to start another pair.  And I still cannot find half my crafting supplies which are piled haphazardly around the corner of our bedroom.  All in all it was an icky few days.

But last night I finished my Jilted and finally found some inspiration in my surroundings to cast on another garment.

I bought this skein of Madeline Tosh Lace in the Curiosity colorway at Webs on our honeymoon.  It was already wound because I was going to knit a cardigan with it but then decided against it.  I honestly was beginning to think that I would never get around to knitting any of my honeymoon yarn.  Turns out the yarn was just waiting for the right pattern to come along.  As I sit on the porch listening to Haim, reading my book, and feeling the tension of the yarn sliding around in my yarn bowl I cannot help but look forward to sitting out here wearing my Bonny.  It should fit right in.


May the Fourth

Happy Star Wars Day!  I hope you are all enjoying a Star Wars filled Sunday be it marathoning a trilogy or reading a favorite book or just wearing a tshirt as you go about your day (If you need one, Her Universe is having a fantastic sale).  It's a day the geek community bands together in celebration of one of our greatest stories.

One of my favorite parts of Star Wars is the wealth of stories that has grown around the films.  The Expanded Universe has developed to the point that it can feel very overwhelming when you come upon it for the first time.  And now with the new films Disney has come out and declared that moving forward everything will be tied together -- which is great except that all the stories preceding that announcement were already tied together.  All of the authors involved in creating the EU, now to be known as Star Wars Legends, have worked together for decades to keep their novels from contradicting one another and to fit together in a larger landscape.  Even though I understand why this decision was made it still felt like a slap in the face to all of the work put in and all of the time we as fans have spent pouring over these books and sharing them with one another.

I came upon the Star Wars EU the summer before my first year of high school.  By that time I had read almost everything in the young adult section of the library as well as any classic novel I could get my hands on.  I was going to the mystery section of our tiny library and happened to notice a Star Wars title in the midst of the science fiction novels as I passed.  It was the novelization of the original trilogy.  I picked it up, started reading, and discovered that there was so much beyond the films I had memorized.  I was hooked.  That Christmas my grandfather gave me a five dollar bill to buy a present for myself and I took it with me to the bookstore.  I decided to pick a Star Wars book, any book, and see if I like it (I had read Zahn and thought he was awesome but was still hesitant about anyone ruining my favorite movies).  That day I bought The Paradise Snare, the first in A. C. Crispin's Han Solo Trilogy, and read it in under 24 hours.  The rest, as they say, is history.

I will be the first to say that I have not read anywhere close to all the books.  At the time I started on the EU the New Jedi Order was in full swing and there have been several large collaborative works since.  I also discovered what I liked and didn't like in my Star Wars and developed certain rules for myself.  My one pervailing rule to keep myself from upset is that I don't read anything past a point where the original characters have aged beyond a reasonable life span (is that non-spoilery enough for you?).  I don't want to read about how they die or what the world is like once they are gone.  For me the characters are why I fell in love with the universe and I'm too selfish to let them leave me.

If you are interested in the EU then please, give it a try.  Anything by Timothy Zahn is golden and everyone always thought his trilogy would be the basis for Episodes VII-IX.  The X-Wing series is great and does a wonderful job fleshing out some minor characters.  And of course I have a personal bias towards  A. C. Crispin.  She recently passed away and the community has yet to heal around the hole she left in our lives.  I had the privilege of meeting her at Dragon*Con where she graciously signed my tattered copy of Paradise Lost and treated each person in line like she valued us individually.

So enjoy Star Wars Day.  Go check out a book, a comic, or even just watch the movie again.  There is always new content to be had while we wait for December 2015.  And May the Fourth be with you.


Handmade Raleigh

Happy Saturday!  Today I am writing to you from my couch on a rare Saturday off from work (I say rare but I actually work only one Saturday for the entire month.  I'll be pulling a lot of Mondays in May).  The weather is lovely, the days are getting longer, and I went on a crafty adventure!

I had never heard of The Handmade Market before yesterday.  The cookie vendor we carry at work mentioned that she was going to be there and it piqued my interest enough that I did some googling.  Google told me that it was a market full of items from both artists and crafters, so I decided that I had to check it out.  I tried to get someone, anyone, to go with me as I am less inclined to spend money on the buddy system, but alas it was not to be.  There was no way I was skipping though, as I missed the Carolina Fiber Festival due to our spontaneous move and will be missing Artsplosure this year because it's the same weekend as Into the Wool.  So I got myself up this morning, got my run in early, and treated myself to a date with myself (That sounded way better in my head but I'm not changing it now).

This event was so cool!  It is now my favorite art-related Raleigh event.  Everything there was hand made and ranged from leather to pottery to soap to screen printing.  And of course the first thing you saw walking in the door was the Muddy Heart booth, featuring her stunning yarn bowls!

I swear, I did not intend to spend much money at all.  I went in with cash and the intent to only pick up a few gifts and maybe something for myself.  Well, that plan went out the window.  I talked to Melissa, who was so cute and very sweet, and then convinced myself to walk away.  Then I came back and detoured to the neighboring booth and walked away again.  The third time I gave in and bought it.  Not only was the color sense perfect, but her bowls have handles!  How cute is that!  I just could not resist.

Not even five feet inside the door and I already met a knitter.  Then I went one more booth and happened upon Little Birdie, run by Mary Ann, who creates and sells artisan soaps that are certified organic.

I have never seen such beautiful soaps in my life.  I bought these as gifts, but I was dying to buy one of each to have as "artwork" in my bathroom.  As we were chatting I just happened to mention the gorgeous yarn bowls next door to which her antenna immediately went up.  Turns out that she too is a knitter and would normally be at Maryland Sheep and Wool if not for this event.  Her husband asked if I knew of "stash", like it was a secret phrase only the true knitters would understand.  I just felt so welcome at their booth and I had only known them for maybe three minutes.  Some might argue that they were doing whatever was necessary to make the sale, but I honestly believe that crafters and fiber artists are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. 

This feeling continued throughout the entire market, where artists sat at their booths and engaged everyone in conversation.  Everyone was smiling and happy to be out on such a lovely day promoting what they clearly love to do. I wish I could have bought something from everyone, but it just was not possible.  But I took a lot of cards from vendors like Bird and Beau who made stunning jewelry (I did pick up two of her leather feather hairpins), Fleur de Lee Lee whose paper flowers were to die for, and The Penny Runner, whose eco friendly and recycled headbands have me ready to do some online shopping.

I did make one other purchase for myself from Flytrap Studios.  Jody, the artist behind the gorgeous screen-printed tops and scarves, was an absolute delight to meet.  We started talking because she like the print of my dress (I dressed up of course because why not) and then just continued talking for close to half an hour about all sorts of stuff from work to how much she likes lemurs.  While I loved her screen print work, what I ended up purchasing was a leather scarf cuff.  This product is genius for someone like me who has a lot of scarves as it adds a different dimension to the typical scarf with top outfit.  Of course me being me, I picked a color that matches some handdyed yarn, so now I need to make a cowl or scarf to go with my cuff.  Until then I can just wear it as a bracelet.

There is another market in November and from what I hear it is even bigger than the spring market.  I may or may not have already started to make plans to go.  I cannot wait.  I love the opportunity to support local artists in such a tangible way and get to know them as well.  All that was missing was yarn and fiber.

Oh, and lest you think I forgot about Chris, I bought him a treat as well.  Monster Cookie is a must anytime you see them.


A Year of Reading: Month Two

I know, it's been increasingly quiet around here.  But I have a good reason, I swear.  Every time I felt motivated to write I got distracted.

And with so much obsessive reading it has been really hard to knit anything of blogging interest because all I want to work on is stockinette.  I was working on a pair of stripey socks, but then I had the horrid realization when beginning the toe that I knit two identical socks, rather than two mirroring socks.

I would show you a photo but I don't really remember where I stashed the project.  It was that traumatic of a moment that I think I blacked out.  One minute I was knitting and reading Sleep Donation on our porch and the next I was on the couch watching something stupid and eating my weight in sugar.  Don't tell me I can't eat my feelings.  That was an entire Easter weekend's worth of knitting.

But what I lack in knitting content I can more than make up for in books!  Let's talk month two, shall we?

Actually, February saw the least amount of reading of any month this year.  But not for lack of trying.  I had two false starts in the beginning, first with Fever Pitch and then with Oryx and Crake.  If you look at my Goodreads (oh yeah, I've started using Goodreads again / actually using for real this time -- I have a grand total of two friends), you'll see that I have Oryx and Crake still listed as "currently reading".  I am hopeful that I was just in a bad concentration place when I started reading it and that I will be able to finish.  I adore Margaret Atwood and this is the first of her novels I have been unable to get through.  Fever Pitch, on the other hand, I will never be able to finish.  The writing style infuriates me to no end.  I know it is a style, but my inner editor wants at least a subject and a verb in most sentences.  It's just not for me.

I am most proud that I conquered The Dinosaur Feather in February, the latter half while we were snowed in.  It is a pretty engrossing novel, but is quite large and translated from Danish into British English (at least my copy was), which made understanding some passages a little difficult.  The basic premise is that a scientist at a premier university is brutally murdered --  As the details of his death unfold it becomes pretty sickening.  What a lot of reviewers seemed to dislike I actually enjoyed.  Yes, the backstory of all the characters got a little long, but it was fascinating to take a look at each new character and see how they figured into the overall crime narrative.  That coupled with the extensive discourse on the scientific study of birds made it a nice departure from the typical murder mystery set-up.  I did end up throwing the book across the room when I finished, but that was because I figured it out and then spent the second half of the book hoping to be proved wrong.

After The Dinosaur Feather I switched back to urban fantasy with Seanan McGuire's Indexing.  I found this one on a must-read list for January and was fascinated by the concept, even if it felt reminiscent of Once Upon a Time.  The only similarity between the book and the show is that in both universes, fairytales are real and are not what we thought.  In Indexing the protaginist works for a secret government organization that looks for active fairy tales and tries to stop their development.  Every fairytale is an entry in their index and fairy tale incidents are categorized according to the story.  I read this one on our business trip to New York and it hit just the right balance of engrossing and lightness to make it perfect airplane reading.  I've read a lot of good books so far this year, but this was one of my favorites.

The other book I read in February I am almost embarassed to admit.  I keep an eye on the Kindle Deals section and try to have something to read on my phone at all times just in case I find myself stuck somewhere without a book.  In February that book was Witches of East End, which I was intrigued by because I really enjoyed the Blue Bloods series.  This one did not hit the same level of world building, but it was still a fun read.  The idea of witches forever reborn in a world in which they are forbidden to use magic was intriguing, though their decision to refute the rules was rather predictable.  I don't really recommend it for those looking to get into urban fantasy, but for the $2.99 I paid it did the trick.  If the second book is ever marked down that far I will probably pick it up as well.

March and April have both been busy reading months and I'm hoping to get those updates up soon.  But until then if you want to be up to date you can check out my Goodreads page.  I don't post reviews but I have kept everything current with progress and ratings.  We'll see if I can keep it up.



All is quiet on the blogging front, but not really in reality.  We are busily going through our hastily packed boxes and trying to find spaces for everything.  The clothes are in the closet, but not all of them because it's, you know, cold again.  The dishes have been put away but the crockpots are still looking for a place to call home.  The crafting supplies have no idea what they are doing since the death of my sewing desk, but the stash is safely hiding in its cupboard.  The one part that is without a doubt, one hundred percent done?  My books.

There is already talk of a fourth bookcase coming into our lives on account of just how many books I have.  This may be the third time Chris has moved them in our year and a half of marriage, but I never fully unpacked them before now.  I guess I always worried that he might judge me on the sheer number of books that I have collected over the years.  But happily there has been no judgement.  He even helped me unpack, sorting out the final half of the alphabet and reading random lines of Tolstoy and Mead.

My favorite part of the new place is probably the kitchen.  It is exactly the type of kitchen I've always wanted -- small but not too small, with a wall of shelves and real cabinets with real handles (You laugh but there were no handles on any of the cabinets in our old place).

I love that the place is painted with all white trim/fixtures/whatever you call cabinets and such.  I'm sure it is impractical but it makes everything so much brighter.

As we've unpacked we've also enjoyed Chris' new work schedule that has allowed us to eat dinner together every night this week.  That combined with a new kitchen can only mean one thing.  Cooking!

I highly recommend the Southwest Mac n' Cheese from Budget Bytes.  It's the second meal I've made from her website in the past week and they've both been a hit.  A bit spicy for Chris' taste, but that's my fault.  I love some spice in my cooking.

All things considered, the move has been one of the best things that could have happened to us.  And not just because we now have a screened in porch for after dinner tea.

See?  There's still knitting and reading happening here.  But more on that later.


A Life in Boxes

This post has no pictures because I am posting it from work (shhh! don't tell!)  I have a million and a half things to do, but I thought you should have a head's up -- we're moving again.  This means there is sure to be some sort of disaster or life-altering event in the near future.  Be prepared.

You may remember when Chris and I moved back in July.  Just before our one year anniversary we packed our things, left our cramped apartment in the overpriced neighborhood in the north part of the city, and moved ourselves downtown.  We found a place in our budget.  Where if one of us lost a job we could still pay rent.  We found a place where we could finally have a dog.  A place big enough for the two of us plus a home office.  A place I could walk to work through a really nice historic neighborhood.  We thought we found a place that hit everything on our check-list.

What we also found was mold, mail theft, drug dealers, domestic disputes, teenage hooliganism, 76 hours without water, and gun shots.

I pride myself on my ability to make things work.  I may have had horrible living conditions in the past, but I always survived with the thought that someday this will make a really great story.  But with our bedroom now smelling like sewage, we have decided that it is finally time to give up our spiral staircase in favor of somewhere that won't poison us.  As we have told friends and family that we have a place to go the collective group has given a sigh of relief.  Evidently no one felt safe there.

We've been doing a lot of research on places, trying to find a place we can land once we convinced the current apartment to break our lease.  Sadly, everything in our price range has actually looked worse than where we currently live.  Until Monday I was resigned to burning candles and carrying my new taser until August when we would inevitably move to an even less desirable neighborhood.  But then we found it -- The Place.

I'm hesitant to talk up The Place too much.  I'm concerned that we will once again find ourselves with serious concerns, be they health or safety.  But so far it has hit everything on our revised list.  There is running water, the leasing office is consistantly staffed, and I think I can walk the dog without counting footsteps or listing appropriate body locations hit.  There is no tolerance for innapropriate behavior and we did not see a single cigarette (not one!) on the ground when we took our tour. 

As of yesterday morning we were hoping to break our lease and find an opening at The Place.  As of last night we were packing furiously.  We move this weekend.  I don't know how to explain it other than God looked down and decided that enough was enough.  This is our chance to escape and we are taking it.

I hope to be back soon with tales of my new screened-in porch once we have safely relocated, and I'm hoping that is sooner rather than later.  But in the meantime, let me leave you with this one awesome fact -- I fit the entire contents of my yarn cabinet in one box.  This can only mean that I need to buy more yarn!


A Year of Reading: Month 1

As the third month of the year comes to an end, I thought it would be nice to check in on my New Years resolution progress.  This year was very simple -- I'm going to read at least 25 books.  To date I have read ten books.  That is probably the number I read in all of 2013 (or at least close), so I consider this a great step for 2014 Faith, exceeding my hope of two books a month.  If you were talking to 2004 Faith she would be laughing in your face.  Ten books was maybe a month's worth of reading for her.  She read Terry Goodkind books in a week and took on the entire Star Wars EU in a summer. But she did not have a full time job, her own place, or this little problem 2014 Faith has with concentration.  All together?  We're getting there.

So January.  So far this was the month that saw the most reading.  Probably because of the books I picked. The Indigo Spell was a fun and quick read, taking very little time.  It's been a while since I read the rest of the Bloodline books, so I may reread them before picking up the next one. I liked seeing the evolution of the characters.  The way Sydney has gone from straight-laced Alchemist to questioning the very core of her identity feels very natural.  The ending, on the other hand, felt a little rushed. No make that very rushed.  It just seemed like there were too many plots crammed into one.  But the overall story arch is heading in an interesting direction, and what girl doesn't need a little Adrian Ivashkov in her life.

My favorite book was The Shambling Guide to New York City, a book I actually heard about on NPR (the author is local to our area).  It's been on my to-read list for a while and I finally picked it up.  Mur Lafferty tells the story of Zoe, a young travel writer, trying to make her way in New York after her personal life forces her to leave her reputable job in Raleigh.  Basic premise, right?  Except that Zoe ends up working on a travel guide for the undead (and various strains of fae).  I found it immensely entertaining and refreshingly original.  The sequel was just published and I have plans to pick it up soon.

Least favorite of the month is a tie between The Good, The Bad, and The Undead and The Casual Vacancy.  I really enjoyed the first of The Hollows, Dead Witch Walking, but this one did not do it for me.  The first reminded me of the Anita Blake series (The early books. I stopped reading after it turned from vampire hunter to supernatural erotica.  There are only so many times I will believe that your characters are a version of incubus and need very explicit sex to survive) but the second fell short.  I won't spoil it for you, but I don't like the way the demon storyline progressed.  It really annoyed me that things had to go that dire that fast.  At the same time, I'm curious to see what happens and I am not nearly as frustrated as I was when I finished reading.  I often find second books frustrating, so I am hopeful that book three will turn things around.

The Casual Vacancy was a different kind of frustrating.  I did not expect it to be another Harry Potter, but I also did not expect it to be nearly as long winded.  Maybe this is a story that will grow better with time, or maybe the reader needs to have read fewer books that deal with masturbating teenage boys (My Jewish humor professor seemed to think that this was an important part of all good fiction).  It hit the same tone as The Virgin Suicides, just with more politics.  Overall I would not say it was a bad novel,  it was often just either too melancholy or not melancholy enough to really hit its stride.  I would actually recommend it to adult Rowling fans, but with the caveat that it is a long slog full of characters you are just dying to slap.

I also read Infected, which was probably the most interesting reading experience I've had in a while.  I happened to be reading it when I stayed home with a really bad migraine.  I laid in bed and started to read it, only to realize when it was too late how stupid it is to read a book about a massive outbreak when you are home sick.  And the kind of outbreak that it is?  Well that just hit all my levels of paranoia, which should tell you just how brilliant of a novel it is.  I remember listening to the start of the serialized version when I was in college before it was published and being unable to finish the first chapter.  I have a vivid memory of walking to the library and becoming suddenly, irrationally, and unequivocally terrified.  The same thing happened when reading it home alone in bed only this time I could not put it down.  I've bought the second book because the ending was just that good but I haven't had the time to be that freaked out again.  Hopefully soon as we're looking to move again and I'm always more paranoid when we first get in a new place.

So that was January.  I'll try to start doing these check-ins in a more promptly, but I make no promises.  The more I'm reading the less time I am writing, and I desperately need to get back to these.


Lakeside Zombies

What was that I said would be my downfall with stash organization?  That I would be winding all of the things?  Yep, that's happening.  Yesterday I cast on not one, but two new projects and I am already plotting for more.

I've had this skein of 716knit marinating in the stash for far two long.  It was a part of the first Stockinette Zombies birthday kit (2012) and I was sooooo excited to get it when the package arrived.  I had (and still do) a very minimal self-striping yarn stash at the time -- as in this was only my second skein -- and it was just too special to knit at the time.  And then I was all hipster and didn't want to use the same pattern as the kit because everyone else would be doing that.  And then it sat.  And we moved.  And it sat some more.

Yesterday morning I found myself unable to resist the siren call any longer.  I am an epic fail on my OWL for the House Cup this term (I'll tell the tale when I can finally face reality), so I was desperate for something bright, happy, and very distracting.  This yarn certainly fits the bill, and the Buffy naming system she uses just makes it all the more charming.  Everything you see in this picture was knit on the past two work lunch breaks.  I am redeeming the Georgia On My Mind pattern from the memory of my sad, mauled Bitchin' Socks and it is taking to the striping quite nicely.

Then I came home from work last night with the kind of pain only a woman can understand and wanted desperately something to knit that would completely hold my attention but not be too complicated.  My poor neon sock was not going to fit the bill, so I went stash diving again.

This time I came up with one of my larger fingering leftovers, easily accessible thanks to my new organization system.  The pattern is Braids, a lovely headband with an overwhelming chart that is actually quite intuitive.  This little ball is also from a sadly departed pair of socks, the Time of My Life socks knit out of Unwind Yarn Company in the Lake Lure colorway (I can't find the blog post in which I detailed the death of this particular pair, but trust me it was gruesome and involved actual blood).  I really need to bug Dana to see if she will dye up more of this colorway because it is gorgeous and invokes great memories of time spent at home hiking and playing in the lake.

I think I am content with these two projects, but who knows?  Tomorrow I could decide I need something else from my knitting.  Probably in a color other than green.


Spring Fever

I think it is finally spring now.  Not because the calendar says so, not because I can finally run after work without fearing I'll be hit by a car (due to darkness, not inept drivers, which is still a concern), and not because the weather is struggling ever so much to warm up.  Our warm/cold spells continue but this time it only ducked down to around 40 rather than the 20s.  No, none of these indicate spring in my home quite as much as my sudden and desperate need to tidy all the things.  Last night found me at 10 pm embarking on almost two hours of organization and manic cleaning.  There's this thing that happens in the waning months of winter, and I highly doubt I am the only one who suffers from it.  This thing that saps all of your energy the instant you think about putting away clothes or sorting the mail.  I don't know if it has a name, but one day you emerge from this wintery haze and see a layer of just stuff coating every surface.  You realize that you have been mixing clean and dirty laundry for such a dangerous amount of time that you wonder no one has noticed a smell.  And you vow to never again fall under its sway.

Today I continued with my mania to tackle a task that I often dread -- I cleaned out my crafting area.  

I call it my craft area, but really it is still dominated by the stash.  New yarn, old yarn, leftovers, ufos.  It all needed to be put right.  The good thing is that I no longer feel the need to buy any more yarn.  I started with the intent to just put in the cabinet what had been floating around the sewing desk, but I ended up pulling everything out and doing a full airing of the stash.  Everything has now been examined for damage, bagged, and stacked neatly in the cabinet.  

I also organized my leftovers into various categories as I am making hexipuffs.  I have an entire bag of fingering weight, all of which is my own and most of which is much more than is needed for hexis.  There may be preemie hats in my future.

All of this cleaning and organization is great.  I feel less cluttered and I get to rediscover items I have not properly appreciated.  But the downside?  I need to knit all the things and I need to knit them now.  If you need me I'll be huddled in the corner, winding yarn madly while I chew off my hair.