Favorite Projects & Books of Summer (so far!)

Here is what I love about summer:

  • extra daylight
  • iced drinks 24/7
  • sunsets
  • ice cream
  • napping

Here is what I don’t love about summer:

  • fire season
  • heat
  • feeling sweaty
  • heat. have I mentioned heat?

I made this insane goal that before the temperatures get cool (which is like…November) I want to have a little wardrobe of new knit goods to wear.

I want:

  • a hat
  • a cowl
  • a shawl
  • a pair of fingerless gloves.

I’ve accomplished one! I finished the cowl this weekend, I made Zuzu’s Petals from Madelinetosh DK Twist in Modern Fair Isle. I thought the pattern was fun and well written and I know I chose yarn that doesn’t do the pattern justice (I’m forever picking yarn that doesn’t show off lace…eek!), I’m looking forward to wearing it!

I started knitting the fingerless gloves. I’m using zombie ViXen by Susan Claudino and it’s been REALLY fun! Have you ever looked through her patterns? She is so good at knitting creatures, she gives them freaking eyebrows. That detail kills me! I forgot how great cables are to knit. The yarn is from Spun Right Round and it’s called Combat Boots & Babydoll Dresses. Totally 90′s and I *love* it. It’s kind of a pale oat-y color with tiny flecks of orange, aqua and mauve.

I have no idea what I’ll do for a hat or a shawl. I really love Moonraker, it’s super unique and looks like it would be a really fun knit!

One of my favorite projects from this summer so far is my Quilt to Read Under. The pattern is ModBlocks by Johanna Masko. I had literally ONE weekend to make a quilt. My sewing time is super limited so when I have time, I want to make the most of it and get something great accomplished. I *love* Joanna’s patterns. They are direct and to the point. Really clever. Easy to understand. Sometimes I just want to read the directions and end up with a great quilt with zero math or thinking on my part. It drives me nuts when I buy a quilt pattern and it has a ridiculous amount of waste and strange cutting instructions.

I picked a bundle of colors that I normally wouldn’t go with but this year I’m crushing on lilac REALLY hard. Patchwork is always a very special thing to me, I like to take my time picking fabric to tell a story. I really wanted a new little lap quilt to take on a road trip to Modoc County we went on and I knew I wanted it whimsical and a tiny bit edgy. It has some silk. Some chambray. Linen. Double cotton gauze. Some old favorites and some new. I wanted the size to be small but the fabric to have a big impact. And maybe have a little fairy tale sweetness without being too saccharine. I love this quilt. FIERCELY.

I named it a Quilt to Read Under because I like dragging it to my chair and having it in my lap while reading. And this summer is alllllllllll about reading.

Here are my very favorite books I’ve read this summer. You should read them. Seriously. They are all very different and very good!

  • To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before- Jenny Han It was quirky and sweet!
  • Sinner by Maggie Steifvater I’m a huge fan girl of Maggie Steifvater and I went into this knowing that it wasn’t meant to be part of the Shiver series but more of a stand alone and wowowowow. With each book she writes, she just gets better and better.
  • The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson I was so confused for the first 1/2 of this book trying to put the name to the character. Who was the prince and who was the assassin. Just when I thought I figured it out…nope. This was a fast read for me, one afternoon! I just was super into it! And it’s an excellent cliff hanger.
  • The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen I went into this book knowing nothing about it, only that I wanted to read a fantasy with a strong female lead. This is one of those books where you watch the character go from UGH to YAY. I love good character development.
  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr This book. If you read just ONE book this summer, make it this one. Truly. What a beautiful and haunting story. It took me about two weeks to read this simply because it’s lushly written, I didn’t WANT to stop reading it but it’s such a HARD subject (WW2) that I’d find myself having to pause to catch my breath. It’s incredibly paced as well. Marie’s story is going to stay with me for a long time.

We have about A MILLION new patterns in the shop. Truly. So many people asked about my scissor fob that Ashleigh made me last summer that we did the pattern for it. And The Mysterious Halloween Town club is now two clues in and I LOVE IT! Once Upon a Time is growing and it’s insane! It feels like just yesterday we were stitching January’s block! My birthday is next month and we always pick our favorite things for our birthday month, mine I think will surprise people and I super hope everyone likes it! And speaking of birthday months! It’s Ashleigh’s birthday today! We always have a BIG promo code on her birthday- this year it’s 26% off your entire purchase with promo code BIRTHDAY

Print

It expires on Monday, July 28th at noon PST. Also, Picture This Plus has a huge fabric sale on July 25th so it’s a good opportunity to stock up on patterns + supplies!

:):)

 

Summer Reading

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2014 is the Summer of the Book around here at Casa de Porkchop.

I’m just sitting over here, reading & obsessing over books. 24/7.

I want to visit my local bookstore that Saremy introduced me too and pick out books based solely on their covers, pretty much EVERYDAY.

I’ve become obsessed with taking my Studio Calico bits & bobs and making bookmarks with cross stitched pieces from our Summer Sampler. I think frappuccino is going to be next because it’s adorable. I’m also slowly but surely working on sewing a book cover because my books keep getting smushed in my backpack.

Here is my summer reading bucket list:

  • Read a classic I’ve never read before! I started Jane Eyre this morning and I bought a super pretty copy of Sense & Sensibility
  • Read more YA! Favorites have been: We Were Liars, Sinner, Ruin & Rising and These Broken Stars.
  • Tackle unfinished books! It’s very, very, very rare for me to not see a book through. I was slagging along with the first Game of Thrones FOR TWO SUMMERS NOW and I can finally say not only did I finish it but I loved it!
  • Finish trilogies! I am the worst at loving the first two books in a series and being afraid the final book will make me hate the series so I just don’t read it and then inevitably I get spoiled and super annoyed. Terrible right? But I’m also the girl who (spoiler alert!) once I saw Mary & Matthew get married, stopped watching Downton because to me- that was the perfect ending! I finally finished Hunger Games with Mockingjay (loved it) and Immortal Instruments with City of Fire (blah!). I have 3-4 more series that I have to finish up.
  • Read more physical books! This is a big one for me. I’ve owned a kindle since they started selling them and I *love* e-reading. But I do think a lot about indie vs amazon so I am buying more locally and supporting the library. Also, we are house hunting and I heard a rumor that Chop is going to help me build some bookshelves so clearly it’s my job to buy more books ;)

I’ve been going back & forth about updating my blog this summer. Part of me wants to take the summer off and part of me feels like I shouldn’t. We (The Pumpkins) have a ton of new patterns (and some are limited edition!) and have been super busy getting stuff ready for this winter so I feel like I have a LOT to say but at the same time, I don’t want to sound like an ad 24/7!

In knitting news, I’m working on Zuzu’s Petals in Madelinetosh DK- the color is Modern Fair Isle (it’s the project that isn’t a sock in these photos!) and it’s pretty! One of my summer goals is to make a “fall wardrobe” of knit goods. I want to make a cowl, a shawl, a hat and a pair of mitts. I have until about November because that’s when it starts to get cool-ish here. I’m just knitting away slowly but surely, a few rows here and a few rows there. It’s nice!

Also, I find myself listening to this concert over & over through out my day. It’s funny because I technically think of them as a winter band (do you do this? think of certain bands and albums for different seasons?!) but I just love listening to this! I also recently got the audio version of my favorite book, The Raven Boys and o m g. It’s read by Will Patton and just fantastic, so if you are looking for a new audiobook, pick that one!

:):):)

Verilux Lamp Review

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I was *really* excited when Verilux contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing one of their lamps!

I typically do *not* knit or stitch at night because I find it really hard to see. I wear glasses with bifocals and while we have good overhead lighting in our home, I still struggle with evening crafting. I’ve stitched entire chunks of projects with the wrong color, accidentally thinking dark brown was black! Worst! I recently knit my mom a dark purple shawl and knitting lace with dark yarn at night?! Not so much fun.

My stitching space is in front of a small window so during the day I pull my chair up to my table and stitch, using natural light as much as possible. During the winter it’s a little rough because the days are so short and gloomy.

I’ve been wanting a full spectrum lamp for a really long time. I’ve heard so many mixed reviews of Ott-Lite’s. One of our sample stitchers bought one this December and has found the light to be really harsh. I always look when I visit JoAnn’s & Michael’s and I can never decide if I want to spend money on one! Even with coupons, they are expensive. Also, their marketing kind of kills me- if you can offer something to me for 50% off constantly, I want to know HOW & WHY. I also am picky and I don’t want a craft lamp that looks chintzy or when you look at it you think “CRAFT LAMP”! I had NO idea there were other lamp options out there so I’m really glad they contacted me. They’ve been in business since 1956 and they also sell lamps for light therapy and sanitation!

I’ve had the Verilux Lamp for about a month now and I’ve used it every.single.night. since I got it. I wanted to really test it out before I said anything about it because I genuinely don’t understand when bloggers have an item for 5 minutes and are praising or cursing it from the roof tops. Real life experiences here folks!

Initial thoughts:

  • I picked the Nickle Heritage Natural Spectrum Desk Lamp. I chose this one because it doesn’t look like a craft lamp and it’s adjustable.
  • It has three settings all with the same energy use.
  • It was easy to put together.
  • It was well made.

I’m sharing with you four photos taken two consecutive days in a row. They have all been taken with my iPhone with zero editing except to add text over lay.

You can see my first photo I took at 9 am in natural light in my usual stitching area. The colors are normal and true- this is my ideal crafting light. I let my stuff just hang out, I didn’t touch anything (I had errands all day, lol) and at 9 pm I came back to take another photo and stitch for an hour before bed.

The second photo is of the same materials, same spot on my table but with NO other lights in my room on except the Verilux in the *low* setting. The lamp has three settings: low, medium and high. I’ve never used medium or high. I’ve found I just don’t need it. Low provides ample light for me personally.

For stitching, this lamp is so awesome. I like that I’ve been able to stitch in the evenings on 32 ct linen and can see perfectly fine. I don’t find the light bulb hums or buzzes. Quite simply: it’s a lamp and it’s doing it’s job!

For knitting, the following day I laid down my sock in progress on my table, took a photo, again with my iPhone with zero editing except to add text over lay and left it there.

9 pm, my sock looks the same! You’ll notice glare spot on my table, this is my tables typical behavior (can tables behave? idk!). It has a really glossy surface and I wax/polish it. You’ll rarely see this table in photos that I take with my DSLR because the stabilizing light causes spots in the photos. I think what this photo best shows is I’m knitting with white based yarn and the lamp keeps it white! It’s not cream. It’s not yellow-y. It’s still white! Cool huh?

I’m pretty pleased with this lamp. I told Chop that when we buy a home, I want one of the floor lamps in this style to keep next to the couch. I’m pretty curious about the light therapy lamps as well!

Verilux generously is offering 25% off with promo code PORKCHOP and is letting me giveaway a lamp! AWESOME! Just comment on this post and on Tuesday, I’ll close the comments at 12 pm PST and use a random number generator to pick a winner!

:):)

Sock Yarn & Book Covers

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Things I love:

  • reading!
  • knitting socks!

So today I thought it would be fun to sort through some of my stash and see if I could find yarn that matches book covers! The kind of yarn that even though the dyer didn’t set out to create book cover themed yarn, they totally did! There are dyers who dye yarns inspired by books, t.v. shows, pop culture, etc but these are just skeins from my stash that reminded me SO much of book covers! Sometimes you finish a book and you don’t want your time with the story to end…so socks inspired by books?! YES!

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(sorry this cover is so tiny!)

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  • The Selection by Kiera Cass!
  • Plucky Knitter in All Spruced Up!
  • You might just have to trust me that this color is an exact match to America’s dress on the cover- this yarn was super tricky to photograph. Plucky always has the most rich and full of depth solids. Also- the name! All Spruced Up! Yup. I went there. ;)

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  • Teardrop by Lauren Kate!
  • Hedgehog Fibres in Dragonfly!
  • Oh yes. This is the skein that sparked my curiosity of yarn+book cover matching. I saw Beata post a photo of this skein on facebook and I was instantly like TEARDROPPPPP! And it nails it! The ethereal water-y background of pale blues, aquas and pops of pink. So, so, so PRETTY!

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We launched a new pattern today- Cherry Blossom Sampler and as we were working on it I kept thinking about this Opal yarn I bought that reminds me of sushi. It’s not a book cover but that’s ok ;)

So how about you? Can you think of any skeins in your stash that might match book covers?!

WIP Mermaid Hair Socks

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The light tonight was just too pretty not to share with you!

I debated blogging but I feel like I have absolutely nothing exciting to share with you!!! But that’s ok right?!

Glitter/Sparkle yarn! Have you ever knit with it before? I have a few skeins in my stash and this skein of Mermaid Hair by Squirrel Stash Yarn was just begging me to cast on. Her yarn has the cutest names, the sparkle base is called Hazelnut Glitz and my order came wrapped all sweet with an adorable stitch marker. It definitely didn’t hurt that my yarn came the same day as my new DPNs!

I’ve been hemming and hawing about these needles, double pointed needles, trying a new way of sock knitting etc for months. Seriously. How many times have I asked you guys your thoughts on them? A million times. My very first sock was knit on DPNs and it was…rough. I knit the second sock on circular needles and it was like a light bulb went off in my head but lately it just isn’t working for me, especially two at a time.

For comfort reasons, I thought I’d try a pair of short DPNs and so far, I love them. Like, LOVELOVE. Also, I’m not sure how it’s possible but I’ve cast on for these 6 days ago and I’m already an inch above the heel. What?! That is SO fast and I’ve barely had any knitting time, this was a project just in my purse- meaning I work on it in the car, waiting at appointments and while looking at tumblr at Starbucks. If you’ve never knit with circular needles, as you knit you have to adjust the cord but it’s totally no big deal, I’m not sure if it’s the lack of cord adjusting, the crazy sharp points or what but I just feel like these socks are FLYING. I am *not* a fast sock knitter at all and I’m definitely enjoying each stitch of these. We’ll see if this keeps being awesome, I’ll definitely report back!

I do find purling to be tricky so I need some practice on that. This is definitely not the neatest sock I’ve knit but I’m enjoying it. It also happens to match the cover of a book I’m starting tonight, Plus One so that’s exciting.

:):)