Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 bookshelf

i didn't get quite as much reading time in this year. i think my knitting took over a little more of my free time. i also was not as good at recording my books. but, by my list, it looks like i read 16 fiction books (6 of these were classics) and 8 nonfiction (including knitting books, cook books, and biographies) for a total of 24 books.

here is a summary and my year end review:

In Search of the Source by Neil Anderson. this is a fascinating story of missionaries translating the Bible into the languages of papua new guinea. the light of God's word penetrating the darkness of men's souls. powerful.

Half Broke Horses by jeannette walls . a story of survival and resilience. this was quite an adventure with a strong and brave female heroine.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skoot. what a fascinating book! it is a combination of medical miracles and a human interest story with a little bit of mystery as the main character attempts to uncover the past about her mother. highly recommended.

Free-Range Knitters by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. wacky and very funny! the author pokes fun at herself and her obsession with knitting.

The Knitter's Book of Wool by. i loved this book which delves into the unique characteristics of wool and its importance as a fiber. i guess only the die hard knitters and sheep keepers would want so much information about wool.

a fine fleece: knitting with handspun yarns by lisa lloyd. beautiful patterns and yarns in this book. very inspiring to me!

Knit Socks! by betsy lee mccarthy. working on a pair of socks for my mom. didn't quite get them done for christmas! great patterns and tips for knitting socks.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl by ree drummond. yes. i read cook books, and this is a fun one. not only do you find great recipes here, but entertainment as well. you should check out ree's blog. it is hilarious and tasty!

fiction classics:
Lady Susan by jane austen. an early, relatively unknown work by jane austen. a fun read, but definitely not as good as her famous works.

Sense and Sensibility by jane austen. a re-read of a favorite.

Frankenstein by mary shelly. not my usual genre, but worthy of reading. it is not the hollywood horror story that you might expect. rather, it was a thoughtful look at beauty and outward appearances versus the inner man and the need to be loved and accepted.

To Kill a Mockingbird by harper lee. yes, i read this book again! what can i say? i love this book!

Animal Farm by george orwell. i read this aloud to the kids. it was fun connecting the dots of this satire to historical people and events. especially since C had just studied that period in history and written a research paper on stalin.

The Bell Jar by slyvia plath. an interesting look at mental illness, but rather depressing. still i enjoyed the writing; it is no surprise that the author was actually a poet. i think i may try to read more poetry next year...

other fiction:
That Distant Land by wendell Berry. this is my favorite new author! this book is a collection of short stories revolving around the fictional community of port william arranged in chronological order. as i read through this series i was struck by the way the characters were woven together in community, a tribute to the american spirit. there was also a strong sense of generations. and like many of my favorite books, the port william stories have deep character development.
Nathan Coulter, A World Lost, and A Place on Earth are novels that follow the same community of characters. i will continue to read his stories next year.

Austenland by shannon hale. just fluff. but i suppose any austen lover would enjoy all of the references to P&P (even if it is more closely related to the BBC movie version.)

Ella Minnow Pea by mark dunn. what a unique idea. throughout the story, letters of the alphabet are eliminated. it must have been quite a challenge to write in the end! a fun read.

The Gournsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by mary ann shaffer and annie barrows. loved this one! a story told though letters, you know, correspondence.

Lottery by patrica wood. this is a great story with memorable characters. my only complaint is excessive bad language.

Prayers for Sale by sandra dallas. enjoyable read.

Resurrection in May by lisa samson. looking back, i can't believe that this is the only christian fiction that i read all year. i know that i am choosy about christian authors. it is just that i am easily annoyed when a book reduces the christian faith to one dimensional characters and unrealistic situations and solutions to life's problems. but still, i do love a good story that brings to life a deep faith and love of God. lisa samson is one of the authors that does this well.

everyday gift: beautiful words on paper... or the kindle, as the case may be!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

sculpted snow

Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.

Isaiah 1:18

my favorite Christmas gift? Jesus! who makes my sins as white as snow!

Friday, December 17, 2010

small joys

these little stocking ornaments represent a large victory for me. i set out this year to learn new knitting skills, and making socks was at the top of the list. painstakingly, i deciphered the abbreviations; flipping back and forth between the glossary and the pattern. i had my Knitter's Companion by my side as i figured out new stitches. i even turned to youtube as i learned to use double pointed needles and how to turn the heel! one step, or should i say, one stitch at a time and i saw my goal accomplished. lately, i carry my knitting bag with me where ever i go, stealing a few minutes here and there to make these miniature stockings. i can make one without even using a pattern, and it wasn't so long ago that i thought socks were complicated and near impossible. life is like that sometimes. a problem seems insurmountable, and yet all i really need to do is take it one step at a time rather than allow myself to become overwhelmed by the entire task.

stocking ornament made with a single-ply handspun wool

i embellished each one with an antique button from grandma's button box.

merry christmas, everyone!
may you find joy in the small things!

Friday, December 3, 2010

aura borealis scarf

i am so pleased with the way my scarf turned out. it was a very ambitious process which began with roving from our very own cheviot ewe, roxie. the roving was hand painted at a workshop held by our local guild. i hand spun the yarn and then knit the scarf with a pattern specifically chosen for an upcoming display that the guild is working on. following, i have documented the steps... (although in reverse order!) :

here is a close-up of the stitches.

all year i have been choosing knitting patterns that would teach me a new skill or stitch, including using double pointed needles, circular needles, the trinity stitch, gussets on mittens and socks. and, in this case, the drop stitch. i think the variegated yarn is well suited for the wavy effect of this stitch. it was the look i was going for in keeping with the theme of moving colors of the aura borealis.

on the spinning wheel

my hand painted roving ready for spinning

in july our weaving and spinning guild held a dye workshop. it was a beautiful day to work on our goal of creating hand painted roving to spin and warp for weaving projects. we will be creating a display at next year's midwest convention in the theme of "moving colors of the northern lights." we had a very successful and enjoyable day working together! here are a few pictures from our day:

i am in the top left picture and B on the right. we are squirting dye onto our prepared roving.

B really loved the workshop and created some beautiful roving.

everyday gift: creating!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

happiness is...

hand knit socks!

everyday gift: knitting up love for my girl