Emily M. DeArdo

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Yarn Along #88

books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdo4 Comments

Linking up with Ginny!

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I’m in the last stretch of my Feile shawl. I’ve really enjoyed knitting this so I’m sort of sad to see the end coming, but I can’t wait to wear it! It’s so pretty!

I’ve heard about Peace Like A River for YEARS—seriously, a child life specialist told me about when I was probably 20 or so—so I figure it’s time to read it.

Once I finish the Feile I’m not sure what I’ll do! I want to use the yarn I got at Williamsburg but I don’t know what to make with it! I’m thinking I might go simple and make a cowl or a scarf. Or maybe a hat.

Ash Wednesday Yarn Along!

books, knitting, Lent, yarn alongEmily DeArdo2 Comments

It’s Yarn Along Time!!!! :)

And it’s Ash Wednesday, so happy Lent to you! And yes, I do mean “happy” Lent. I really like Lent, probably because: 1) I’m a spring baby, and 2) I was born on Good Friday. So, I like Lent. And I also need discipline every once in awhile (who doesn’t), and the spiritual rigor of it, the peeling away of the non-essential, is a good thing.

Anyway, to the yarn!

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OK, so the details:

This is the Feile shawl, which I am loving. I love how the stripes change—do you see how they had a sort of neat pattern going on, and then switch to solid stripes? Love that. Eventually, the contrast color, the blue, will become the dominant color as I work toward the end of the shawl, with the white being the contrast. This is a really easy shawl, but the fun is in the slight pattern changes. The thing that’s going to be a pain is all the end weaving in! But oh well.

I’m using Frabjous Fibers yarn, the Mad Hatter base (sport weight). The white speckled is Victorian China, and the blue is called “Muchness” (seriously, isn’t that great?). I’m using Knitpicks sunstruck needles, size 4, on one of their interchangeable cables.

The book is a great one for Lent, I think: Catherine Doherty’s The People of the Towel and Water. It’s about doing every day activities as prayer—really being present in the moment, and allowing everything you do to be prayer, working for God, even when you’re sweeping or cleaning or writing (or knitting!). Catherine founded Madonna House, and I’ve been reading some of her writing lately. I recommend it!

Yarn Along #86

yarn along, knitting, booksEmily DeArdo6 Comments

Linking up with Ginny!

I finished my shawl!

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I’m definitely getting faster at this pattern the more I do it; this time it took me a little over a month. Not bad. (And of course the crazy cold days when I couldn’t do anything but stay inside also helped.)

I’ve started my Find Your Fade shawl. Right now, this is a pattern where I have to pay attention to what I’m doing, because I’ve had to start it over twice—once because I had too many stitches, and once because I forgot what row I was on and knit the wrong thing….sigh…..so this represents my third attempt. Fortunately I love the yarn! (I’m doing this is Knitpicks Hawthorne yarn, on Knitpicks needles). If you click the Hawthorne yarn link you can see all the colors I’m using, because I used that kit. I’m hoping to finally get out of the first section today and start the lace bit. I’m a little nervous about this because even though I understand the technique involved, I’ve never done lace before…..so fingers crossed! My ravelry notes are here.

As for reading—last night I stayed up late to read The Winter of the Witch *, the last book in the Winternight trilogy, which takes place in Medieval Russia and blends fantasy and history. They’re so good, and if you haven’t read them, I do recommend it. I love Russian history anyway, so that helped me get into these when the first one came out a few years ago.

I’m still chugging my way through Villette although I’m getting a little annoyed with Lucy Snowe….not surprising, I get annoyed with lots of Charlotte’s heroines. I think I’m going to start The Terror next, or The Sea Queen, * but I think with The Sea Queen I’ll have to re-read Half-Drowned King first….just to make sure the story is really fresh in my mind again. Can you tell I’m on a myth/fantasy kick? (These books are Norwegian stories, based on myth and legend. Very cool and very well-written.)



*=Amazon affiliate link



Yarn Along #85

yarn along, books, knittingEmily DeArdoComment

Winter is really killing my soul this year—it’s been so cold that the cold is always in the house, you know? You’re sort of always cold, and I don’t want to crank up the heat because then I’ll have an astronomical bill in February (the heat company here is….um….rather iniquitous when it comes to their rates). So at least knitting my shawl helps keep me warm!


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I’m re-reading Villette and trying to see if I like it better after about 15 years have passed since I read it first. Charlotte Bronte was pretty anti-Catholic, and this book highlights that, so there are definitely parts where I just have to roll my eyes. It’s also annoying that there’s a lot of French in it which is translated in the back. (My French is decent, but not perfect.) Maybe that’s just this edition. But anyway, it’s a typical Gothic novel/ghost story/crazy romance in the Bronte sister vein, and it’s good reading for winter.



Seven Quick Takes

7 Quick Takes, behind the scenes, current projects, knitting, life issues, memoir, Seven Quick Takes, Tidying Up, writingEmily DeArdoComment
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Linking up with Kelly!

—ONE—

I haven’t done this in awhile, so, hey, time to do one! Especially since we’re supposed to get a big old snow storm with insanely cold temperatures this weekend, so if you never hear from me again, at least you have this. (I’m kidding. I’ll be fine.)

This cartoon made the rounds a few years ago, but once again it looks like I’ll be living in Hoth:

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—TWO—

There’s been a lot going on over here. I’m moving, so that’s the first thing—in March! So I have two months to get my place packed up. Which means that yes, I’ve been watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, and I love it. (And no, she’s never said that you only need 30 books, where did people get this?! I have WAY more than 30> I have more than 30 cookbooks, probably—yes, I might have a problem.)

But I’ve really enjoyed the process. If you haven’t heard of her, the idea is that you get rid of everything that doesn’t “spark joy”, or that you need (like, a screwdriver, for instance. Or copies of recent tax returns.). So you let go of things that you’re just holding on to out of guilt or uncertainty or “just because”, and it’s done in categories: clothes, books, papers, “komono “ (miscellaneous—she divides it down further), and sentimental items. I’m on “komono”, and it’s mostly household stuff and knitting stuff that’s left.


—THREE—

Speaking of knitting, here’s this week’s yarn along! I’m making a drachenfels shawl, again. :) Deets are at Ravelry, here.


—FOUR—

In other news, I’m very close to submitting my book proposal! Oh my gosh. This has been a few months in the making but I think I’m in the home stretch! Yayyy!

And you can help me!

Please subscribe to the blog! This is something that really helps me with publishers. It shows I have people who care about what I write! So do that, and then follow my author page on Facebook? Every follower/subscriber is important! If you already subscribe, thank you! Mwah!


—FIVE—

The proposal is a memoir about my life with CF and transplant and how it ties into the idea that life is always worth living, no matter what’s “wrong” with you. Today is the March for Life, so yes, I feel it’s a timely topic. I’ve had people tell me that I shouldn’t exist. But I DO exist and so there. :-p

—SIX—

I made a holy hour yesterday, since I might not be able to get to Mass this weekend depending on weather. If you don’t make a holy hour (Or holy half hour, or Holy Fifteen Minutes!), can I recommend that you start? It’s restorative, transformative, energizing….it’s time with the Lord who loves you so much! Get thee to an adoration chapel! Or get to Mass early, if you can. God wants to visit with you!


—SEVEN—

And, also, if you missed it, Take Up & Read has a new study! We’re starting on Monday but feel free to hop in whenever! It’s called Call Me Blessed (here’s my blog post about it!)—and you can get it at other bookstores besides Amazon! Yay!!!!! It’s all about our vocation as women, our dignity as women, using women in the Bible and the writings of Pope John Paul II. I do hope you’ll join us!

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Yarn Along #84: The Lambs and Wool Shawls

books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdo1 Comment
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I’m about to be living in Hoth again:

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Seriously, it’s going to be so cold—I’m hearing negative numbers for actual temps on Sunday and Monday. Time to batten down the hatches!

At least when knitting a shawl in winter, the shawl keeps you warm! I’m into the striping section which is easy and pretty relaxing so I can watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo or Home Town while I’m knitting and I can stay sort of warm.

The Lambs * was a wonderful book about a lawyer who decided to close her firm and move to a farm in Virginia where she raised karakul sheep. The story is wonderfully written, and the book itself is lovely, with color photographs and gorgeous design. If you like to knit, like sheep, animals, or farming, or just a well-written, meditative memoir, this is the book for you.

*Amazon Affiliate link

Yarn Along #83--shawl progress and Mary Magdalene

books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdoComment
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Progress is being made! Yay!

If you’re new, it’s the Drachenfels shawl in Quince and Co’s chickadee yarn—here you see peacoat (a dark navy blue, not black), and camel. The third color that will be incorporated is gingerbread.

I’m reading (well, one of the things I’m reading) Saint Mary Magdalene Prophetess of Eucharistic Love*. It’s really good, in that it talks a bit about the history of Mary Magdalene, her presence in the gospels, and how that relates to Eucharistic Adoration today. I’m underlining an awful lot! I’m pretty passionate about the Eucharist, so this book is definitely inspiring me to get to Mass and adoration as often as I can!

Today I’m getting another package from KnitPicks, which has the needles I need to start either Felie or Find Your Fade….which one shall I start first?!?! The Drachenfels shawl is in a good place to stop; I have to do one more repeat of the main section and then I’m done with the first page of instructions. Which one do you think I should cast on first?

*Amazon affiliate link

Yarn Along #81 (Not the swatch post!)

books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdo3 Comments

This is NOT the swatch post that I promised here. That’s coming. So you’ll have to come back if you want that!

This is the “Yarn I got for Christmas and projects I’m planning with it” post. Also, “Books I got for Christmas”.

But let’s talk yarn first.

First of all, I got delicious Chickadee Yarn from Quince and Co., which you know I love for yet ANOTHER Drachenfels shawl! But this one is going to be autumnal in flavor. These shawls are really done based on colors I see and want to do—the Sage shawl was in part Sage influenced, but also influenced by early spring in Ohio.

Anyway, the colors for this one:

Gingerbread

Gingerbread

Camel

Camel

Peacoat

Peacoat

This is autumnal, but also inspired by Eowyn’s wardrobe in the Lord of the Rings movies. One of her outfits is that gingerbread color, she wears a dark blue robe in Return of the King, and her hair is the sort of camel color, but it also echoes some of the embroidery on her Rohan gowns. So again, this is a doubly-inspired shawl!

The next two projects were financed by my dear friend Sarah, who gave me a gift certificate to Knitpicks, which meant I could take advantage of their yarn sale and buy enough yarn to do a Find Your Fade shawl! I know I’m late to this party, everyone else did this years ago, but now I know the skills needed to do it (thank you Aunt Sue for your tutelage yet again!).

So here are all the colors for THAT. The yarn is Knit Pick’s Hawthorne line, in various types—kettle dyed, multi, and their speckled.

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Whew! So the fade goes from top to bottom, and the colors are: (KD=kettle dyed, S=speckled, everything else is the multi)

Sellwood

Goose Hollow

Delphinium (KD)

Alameda

Abernathy

Turkish Delight (KD)

Berry Smoothie (S)

I sort of adore these colors! Which is good because this shawl is SO big that I’ll be using them for a long time!

The last project is the felie shawl, where I’m using Frabjous Fibers yarn—their speckle in Victorian China—and the Hawthorne Turkish Delight you see above.

So, WHEW! Is that enough yarn for you?

As for books:

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I adored Marilla of Green Gables. I also got The Gown, News of the World, The Terror, and Book Girl either as Christmas gifts or bought with Christmas gift cards/money. So I’ve been reading a lot, and, as I always do at the beginning of January, I’m re-reading One Thousand Gifts. (those are Amazon affiliate links) I will report on the others as I read them, or you can follow me on Goodreads!

What are you reading/knitting?


Yarn Along #80: Shawl finished!

Barton Cottage Crafts, books, knittingEmily DeArdo2 Comments
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I’m so pleased with how this little guy (well, not little!) turned out! My ravelry notes are here. And, yes, Santa is bringing me more yarn so I can make a third Drachenfels shawl. :) Can you tell I love this pattern?

I’ve also finished two Barton Cottage Craft orders. This one, below, was done in Knit Picks’ Chroma Twisted Lakefront:


And I finished a cowl! Well it’s not done done, it needs blocked, but it’s off the needles. Ravelry notes here.

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Also, I’m planning on making more cowls, to really hone my circular knitting skills. I’ll be using lots of this yummy Quince and Co yarn:

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As for what I’m reading:

Right now I’m rereading the Anne of Green Gables books, and I’m on the last one, Rilla of Ingleside. When I first read it as a kid I didn’t know much about World War I, and it’s been a long time since I re-read it, so I’m thinking that this time around I’ll have a much richer reading experience.

I’m also reading The Cozy Minimalist Home, and re-reading Circe, by Madeline Miller.

Yarn Along No. 79

books, journal, knittingEmily DeArdo3 Comments

Yayyy October yarn along!

So, first, since it’s October, I’m deep in knitting gifts. This one is for a little friend (I do mean little—it’s a little boy, although he’d probably bristle at being called “little”)—he picked the color and the type of yarn. It’s Carrie’s Yellow from Quince, in their Lark line. I haven’t worked with Lark before, so it’s a new experience, but it’s going well so far! (If you love Quince like I do, I highly recommend getting their color cards—they’ve been SO helpful, especially when it comes to gifts! Feeling the yarn and really seeing the colors in person as opposed to on a screen is so helpful).

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I’m reading Make Something Good Today, which has been like having a cup of coffee with good friends. I love Home Town on HGTV, because Erin and Ben seem so real, and this book just proves they are. You’re probably thinking, “Of course they’re real, duh”, but I mean real as in, authentic. And the last chapter on their baby girl will make you cry. Seriously. Too much.

When I work on Christmas gifts, my own projects get moved to Sunday. So that means the shawl’s progress has slowed, but I’m reaching the end!

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The end work on this shawl is sort of slow, though, because of the detail level-it’s not just the lovely garter stitch I’ve been doing for most of the shawl! However, it is pretty. This shawl is being knit in Quince’s Chickadee. (Carnation—special edition—Frank’s Plum, and Sage)

As it gets colder—maybe, it’s going to be in the 80s this weekend (OH weather is insane), I just am drawn to knitting more and more. It’s so cozy! Once I finish the shawl I’m going to —gulp—cast on a hat! My first one!



Yarn Along No. 78

knitting, yarn along, booksEmily DeArdo2 Comments
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Many projects being made with it! Yayyy!

So the first thing was the Kate cowl, and for that I used all the gray, deep red, and some of the yellow yarn (they are Quince and Co. Owl in Abyssinian, Cranberry, and Steppe). I didn't use the provisional cast on the pattern called for; instead I just whipstitched the edges together. She's currently on the blocking mats and then she'll be done! Yay! This is a great project for introducing colorwork, because the changes are really easy. 

The purple and green (far right) are going to be used in a second drachenfels shawl, which I've started knitting. (Colors: Frank's Plum and Sage, Quince and Co. chickadee) The third color I'm using is a Quince special edition color called carnation, which they released on Mother's Day this past May--and they only had a little bit of it, so I had act fast! 

This shawl has a few special meanings for me: I had a friend, Sage, who was very special to me, and she died two years ago this August. So getting the "sage" color was a no brainer. Purple was her favorite color--so that led to the Frank's Plum. And we both have CF, and the CF awareness color is purple--so double meaning there. The pink is just a color I enjoy. So working on this shawl is going to be special for me, as will wearing it. 

(Oh, the brightish pink? That's Chickadee in Pomegrante, and it's going to be used in a beret pattern! My first hat!) 

As for what I'm reading: 

A ton

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The Melissa Wiley books are about Martha Morse, Laura Ingalls Wilder's great-grandmother, and I'd always wanted to read them--the library, thankfully, had most of the "good" copies (apparently the ones with the photo covers are edited/abridged in some way from the illustrated covers), so I sped through the four of them (the third one isn't seen here). Quite enjoyable. 

Queen of Hearts was good, even if I did find the ultimate "reveal" a bit weak. If you like medical drama, you'll like this book, since it was written by a doctor and thus you don't have the medical errors you find in a lot of other books, but if you're squeamish, you might want to pass on this one!

I also read The Widows of Malabar Hill (OK. A decent mystery, likable main character, a few too many modern references for a book that takes place in 1920s India) and I'm about to start Us Against You

 

Yarn Along: The yarn overfloweth!

yarn along, travelEmily DeArdo6 Comments
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Guys. Look at all that yarn

Isn't it delicious?! 

I picked up all this yarn yesterday at Sewickley Yarns in Sewickley, PA--they are a Quince and Co. flagship store, and I adore Quince and Co yarns, but there are no flagship stores in Ohio--meaning, a place where you can get more than their linen line. I wanted their wool! And it can be hard to color-compare on a website. So, when we made a trip to Pittsburgh for my grandma's 88th birthday, I really wanted to stop here. My parents graciously obliged me, in the middle of a crazy heat wave, and I got to look at and feel lots of squishy wool!

These are destined for three projects: The four skeins on the right are Quince Chickadee for a new Drachenfels shawl, with a light pink yarn. (The colors here are Sage and Frank's Plum) 

My first Drachenfels scarf, also made with Quince Chickadee. 

My first Drachenfels scarf, also made with Quince Chickadee. 

The pink skein (chickadee in pomegranate) will be used for my first hat, a day beret. 

The other skeins are Quince and Co's Owl, which is wool and alpaca together, and I love it already, even though I haven't knit with it yet. This is for a Kate Cowl, and I chose the Abyssinian (gray), cranberry (red), and steppe (yellow) color ways. The Abyssinian is fabulous in person, hence the reason I was so glad that I could see these yarns! I never would've selected it otherwise. 

Kate cowl--abyssinian will be the large gray section, cranberry the green section, and steppe the stripe! 

Kate cowl--abyssinian will be the large gray section, cranberry the green section, and steppe the stripe! 

Just looking at all that yarn makes me so happy. :) 

I'm planning on doing a TON of knitting today so I'll have finished projects to show you soon!

And also, what I've been reading.....

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A Friday surprise--quick takes!

books, behind the scenes, current projects, Seven Quick Takes, travelEmily DeArdo2 Comments

I haven't done one of these in forever, so maybe it's time to do them again? :) Linking up with Kelly! :) 

1. 

Dad just got back from his trip to London for a DevOps conference (DevOps is IT related stuff, for you non tech geeks out there). I was a just a little jealous, especially since he got to go to Westminster Cathedral for Mass and see Buckingham Palace and just be in London, which is really the greatest city in the world. 

Westminster Cathedral 

Westminster Cathedral 

2. 

He also brought me back the papers, which delight me to no end. I love getting papers from other countries. The first thing I noticed is how big they are? No American paper is this big anymore. It's amazing!

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So yeah, I'm slowly savoring the reading of the papers. Because it's just fun, and that probably makes me a nerd. But a nice nerd. :) 

3. 

I always knew that London was fairly far north, but in checking the weather for my dad's visit, I noticed that it's a LOT farther north than I thought--the sun was rising at 4:30 AM! That's just amazing. But also, in the winter, London has to get dark pretty quickly. Sort of sobering. But I do think it would be cool to see one of the white nights, or even a sunrise at 4:30 (provided I could go back to sleep after seeing it. :-) 

4. 

Yes, my "desk"--my kitchen table--is a mess. I've got SO many things going on right now. I've started writing a new book (YES! Wheee! Let's hope someone wants it!) about churches and accessibility. I've been getting new library books like every day since the library actually has books I want to read, and they can be delivered to my local library so I don't have to drive all over creation to get them (our library system is huge).  I've been working more on my sketching, and I've been packing because we're going to Pittsburgh later today. So yes, it's nuts, and my table is crazy. 

5. 

Also, Catholic 101 is currently on sale for FIVE BUCKS! If you don't have it, you can grab it here. This is the cheapest it will be all year! 

6. 

I've been knitting, too, even though the hand thing took a bite out of that, but I finally got some more yarn for my scarf project so I'm back at that. I promise a Yarn Along next week!

7. 

And I also promise to do a reading round-up soon. I've been reading so many books that I need to talk about them. Soon, I promise!

 

Thoughts on The Great American Read

booksEmily DeArdo2 Comments

Let's talk books!

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Summer is a great time to talk about books, but this year it's especially so, because PBS has come out with the The Great American Read. It's an eight-part series on PBS that talks about the "100 best" American books--but this is where it gets confusing, because it's not 100 books by Americans, and it's not the most influential books--it's 100 "best-loved novels (as chosen in a national survey)." 

So, here are my thoughts: 

  • I've read 54 of them. I've linked to the list above. Obviously, I am thrilled Pride and Prejudice is here--go America!--but I'm shocked that there's no Shakespeare. There aren't any plays at all. BOOOOO. 
     
  • Some of the books I love, some are meh, some I hate, and some I would never, ever read (DaVinci Code, looking at you). If you're curious, my love list is: Anne of Green Gables, The Giver, P&P , Book Thief, Narnia, Rebecca, Charlotte's Web, Grapes of Wrath, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, 80% of Jane Eyre, Little Women, Memoirs of a Geisha, Outlander, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Sun Also Rises, and Wuthering Heights.
     
  • Books on the list I hate: 100 Years of Solitude, Moby-Dick, The Lovely Bones
     
  • Some of these are clearly "hot" books that people are currently reading or have been popular: Twilight, Ready, Player One, Fifty Shades of Grey. These are not books that will last, I'm willing to bet. 
     
  • I would like it very much if everyone would read 1984 and The Handmaid's Tale and then write papers about the two. And then realize that we do not live in the world of Handmaid's Tale. (Hulu, looking at you....)
     
  • There are books on this list that I need to read: Catch-22, War and Peace, Call of the Wild, and Crime and Punishment. (Well, I have to finish Crime and Punishment.) I gave up on Don Quioxte because the book itself is Quixotic. :-P
     
  • Conversely, books I will never touch with a 39 and a half foot pole: DaVinci Code, Fifty Shades, Left Behind --because it is vehemently anti-Catholic-- and The Shack.
     
  • No Henry James, Edith Wharton, or Nathaniel Hawthorne? I think The Scarlet Letter is MUCH better than Moby-Dick, personally.  

How about you? Which of these have you read? Do you have a favorite? Any you're meaning to read? 


Yarn Along No. 76

Barton Cottage Crafts, books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdoComment

It's May, and that means--Yarn Along with Ginny!

So I've been finishing a commission for Barton Cottage Crafts, but for my own knitting, I'm working on the Skye Cowl from Quince and Co., with their Puffin yarn. (My ravelry page here) I'm using the sorbet colorway, because I wanted something fun. 

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Yes, my nails are terrible. Sorry. 

Above, the project is with the Magnolia Table cookbook (birthday gift), and I've been reading various things all month--the spring Bella Grace, which is a great magazine, Ann Voskamp's The Way of Abundance, and the fifth Outlander book, The Fiery Cross. So I'm all over the map. 

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And, Barton Cottage Crafts (my little knitting shop) is taking commissions! I do the basketweave scarves, shawls (basic ones), and plain garter stitch scarves. You get to pick the colors for anything you commission, obviously. Plain scarves are $30, basketweave's are $35, and shawls are $40. That price includes shipping!

I don't have a good picture of the "plain" scarf--bad me--but it's really lovely. I use Quince's osprey yarn, so it's very plush and squishy! 

If you'd like a commission, contact me and we'll get started! 

Yarn Along No. 75: Back to basics

Barton Cottage Crafts, books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdoComment
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So, after finishing the shawl, I wanted to go back to basics, this is about as basic as you can get--a garter stitch scarf in a nice, squishy yarn. This is Quince and Co.'s osprey in winesap, which is just a gorgeous true red. I adore it. It's really relaxing knitting. No pressure, no difficult pattern, just knitting with beautiful yarn. 

The next project I'm working on is their Skye cowl, so I can work a project in the round. It's basic stockinette stitch, and I wanted something basic to ease me into a new technique. Once I knit this, I have some plans for other cowls, with other lovely yarns. 

Also: Barton Cottage Crafts is open for orders! Basketweave scarves, shawls, and even this scarf are available. You can choose your color. Shipping is included in the price. This scarf is $30, basketweave scarves are $35, and shawls are $45. Drop a note in the comments if you'd like to talk about an order! 

Some birthday gifts

Some birthday gifts

As for what I'm reading: Birthday books! I read Force of Nature and Unmasked over the last few days and I'm into The Bronte Cabinet, which I'm really enjoying. It appeals to my English Lit Geek Nature. The book discusses the lives of the three Bronte sisters (Charlotte, Emily, and Anne) within the context of nine of their possessions. Really intriguing. 

 

Bookshelf: World War II Books

booksEmily DeArdoComment

Bookshelf is a new series that will focus on books that cover a particular topic or time period. I'm trying to recommend only books I've read, but sometimes I'll throw in recommendations from my friends and family members! 

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Today we're talking about World War II books. Unless you're my mother, who is a WWII nut, you are probably rolling your eyes. Every other book that comes out seems to involve WWII, even tangenitally. I'm a little burned out, myself!

But a friend of mine asked me for book recommendations about this time period, for kids and adults, and fiction and non-fiction, so I thought I'd comply, and list the good WWII books I've run across. 

 

Non-fiction

(I would recommend these for middle school and up. I read The Diary of Anne Frank young, and we read Night and Farewell to Manzanar in eighth grade.) 

  • The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom. This is one of my favorite books--I read it at least once a year. Corrie ten Boom and her family were part of the Dutch resistance, hiding Jews in their Haarlem home and procuring ration cards for Jews in hiding. Eventually, the family was arrested, and Corrie, her sister Betsie, and her father were sent to prison, and, eventually, the Ravensbruck concentration camp. The deep Christian spirit of the ten Boom family pervades the book, and that is what makes it stand out to me. Corrie isn't a paper Christian--her struggles are real, and she discusses them frankly. This would be a great book for family discussion with older kids, too. 

  • Farewell to Manzanar, by Jennie Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston. This book is different from all the others, in that it focuses on the internment of Japanese-Americans on the West Coast during WWII. Jennie, age seven, and her family were sent to Manzanar relocation camp, in the desert of California, during WWII. Their crime? Being Japanese-Americans. Jennie tells her story, beginning before the war, taking us through living in the camp, and ending with her family's release and attempt to settle back into "normal" life after their experiences. (A good book to dovetail with this, for younger kids, is listed in the next section.) 

  • The Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank/Otto Frank. Really, the quintessential WWII book. You have to start with this, I think. Anne's story has been made into movies, a stage play, and the house is preserved as a museum in Amsterdam, but this is the book that lead to all those. Anne's diary begins shortly before she and her family go into hiding, and ends a few days before they are arrested and sent to the concentration camps. Otto, Frank's father, published the diary after he returned to Amsterdam following his imprisonment. 
     
  • Night, by Eli Wiesel. Wiesel relays his account of life in a Romanian town before WWII, the arrest of himself and his family, and his experiences in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. 
Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.
--Night
  • Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand. A different book--this tells the story of Louis Zamperini, an Italian-American from California who competed at the Berlin Olympics, and then joined the armed forces as an airman. When his plane crashed over the Pacific, Zamperini and his crewmate survive--only to be rescued, weeks later, by the Japanese, and sent to a Japanese prison camp. 

Fiction: children/YA

  • The Molly series (book 1 and book 2), by Valerie Tripp. One of the classic American Girl stories--if you can find the original books, those are much better, especially for historical content in the back as a supplement. If you can't, the stories are still great. Molly lives in Illinois during WWII--her father is an Army doctor. On the home front, Molly's mom works at the Red Cross; the family has a victory garden; Molly and her friends participate in several events to help the war effort, and Molly's family takes in a British girl, Emily Bennet, whose family lives in London. The stories are rich in historical details, and Molly is a fun character. 

  • The War That Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Ada and Jamie live in London with their mother, who hides Ada in their rundown apartment because Ada has a clubfoot. When the Blitz starts, her mother sends Jamie off to the country to stay safe--and Ada sneaks away with him. They are assigned to live with a woman named Susan, who is reluctant to take them in at first. These stories aren't just great for their historical content, but also for the character of Ada, whose stubborn determination drives the stories.

  • Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry. Annemarie lives in Copenhagen with her little sister, Kirsti, and her parents, and enjoys going to school and playing make-believe with her best friend, Ellen, who lives in their apartment building. But Ellen is also Jewish. When her family hears of the plan to arrest the Jews of the country, Annemarie's family takes in Ellen. Can Anne-Marie's family save her best friend's life? This story is compelling, beautifully written, and is one of my favorite books, period--I re-read it a lot. I highly recommend it. Lowry won the 1990 Newberry Medal for this book. 
     
  • Dear America: The Fences Between Usby Kirby Lawson. To dovetail with Farewell to Manzanar, this story is the diary of Piper David, a "PK" (preacher's kid), whose father's Seattle congregation is made up of mostly Japanese-Americans. When most of them are sent to a relocation camp in Idaho, Piper's father announces that he is going with them--and is taking Piper. 
     
  • Dear America: Early Sunday Morning, by Barry Denenberg. Amber's family moves to Hawaii for her father's military job--he's assigned to Pearl Harbor. Her diary covers the months before, and after, the attack on Pearl Harbor. 
     
  • Dear Canada: Pieces of the Past, by Carol Matas. Rose is a Holocaust survivor who is living in Canada with various guardians. Her diary relates her experience of arrest, living in the camps, and trying to survive and rebuild her life in a new country, without her parents, afterwards. 
     
  • The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. Liesel, a young German girl, is sent to live with a new foster family, Hans and Rose Hubermann. Distraught at the death of her younger brother, Liesel finds solace in books, as well as in the freedom fighter, Max, that the Hubermanns hide in their basement. A fabulous story with an...interesting narrator. 

Fiction: adults

  • The Nightingaleby Kristin Hannah. Hannah details the lives of two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, who live in German-occupied France. The two sisters are estranged from their father, and from each other, and both must do what they can to survive the war. I don't want to spoil it, but let's just say it's worth reading, and is based on the life of a Belgian woman. 

  • Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly. Based on the true story of "The Rabbits", Lilac Girls follows three women: A Polish teenager, Kasia, who is involved with the resistance; Caroline, a New York City socialite who works at the French consulate in New York City, and Herta, an ambitious young German doctor. All three of these women collide in a memorable story, based on events that most people have probably never heard about. 

  • La's Orchestra Saves the Worldby Alexander McCall Smith. Lavender, or "La", moves to the Suffolk countryside to escape both the Blitz and a horrible marriage. In her tiny community, she decides to start an orchestra to bring the people together against the ravages and fear of WWII. She also meets a Polish man named Feliks, who will end up having a far-reaching impact on her life. 
     
  • Everyone Brave is Forgiven, by Chris Cleave. Based on the experiences of Cleave's grandparents, the novel is set during the Blitz and the Siege of Malta, and follows two people: Mary, in England, and Tom, who has decided to ignore the war, until his best friend signs up--and then he can't ignore the war anymore. 
     
  • All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the novel follows Marie-Laure, a blind girl who lives in Paris with her father, and Werner, a German orphan. Marie-Laure and Warner's stories collide in Saint-Malo, a town on the French coast, in 1944. Doerr's storytelling is intricate and absorbing, with great attention to detail and plot. 

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Yarn Along No. 72 and My Lenten Plan

yarn along, Lent, knitting, Take Up and Read, books, Barton Cottage CraftsEmily DeArdoComment
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So, um, Happy Ash Wednesday? :-D

I do like Lent. We'll talk about that more in a second. First: Yarn!

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This is a completed Barton Cottage Crafts commission--it's my signature basketweave scarf in the weathervane colorway. The colors are much richer in person. In the line this is my "Jane Bennet" color--I think it suits Jane quite well. :) 

I'm currently working on a shawl for another customer, in a deep yellow color. When I have more of it to show, I'll post a picture. At the moment, it's a very small triangle!

My shawl is coming along gorgeously! I'm finally into the blue stripes! 

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What are you reading right now? 

My Lenten Rule

AKA, what I'm doing for Lent. 

1) Giving up book buying (except at the Catholic Women's Conference this weekend--and actually, my book buying has dropped off a lot this year since I'm focusing on my financial goals. So go me!)

2) Attending weekday Mass at least once a week

3) Confession every other week

4) Doing Nancy Ray's Contentment Challenge again. You can read ore about it on Nancy's blog here and here . Here are the first month guidelines!  I think Lent is a perfect time to kick this off. 

And of course, Above All. You can still join us! Order the book, pop into the blog, or join us on facebook, twitter, and instagram

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How about you? How do you "do" Lent? 

Yarn Along No. 71

books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdo9 Comments

Big progress being made in my shawl (pattern: the drachenfels shawl)

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I am finally done with the gray yarn! (In case you're just joining me here: I'm using Quince and Co. Chickadee yarn in Iceland (gray), bird's egg (light blue) and fjord (dark blue). 

The next section of the shawl alternates the two blues, and I'm excited about diving into that. I love the fjord color and I can't wait to get to use it! (Well, really use it. I used it for one stripe, which you can see above!) Maybe by the time we get to the March Yarn Along link up, I'll be done? Probably not. But you never know!

I'm reading two books on psychology, habits, all sorts of goodness. Really enjoying both of them. (It's actually my second time through the Peterson book. This time I'm taking notes. The way he talks about suffering makes me want to do a Baptist "Amen!". So accurate.) Since I'm back to living in Hoth, today is a good day for knitting and reading!