Sunday, August 31, 2014

A New Wanda Brunstetter...

I recently got the opportunity to read Wanda Brunstetter's latest book in the Half-Stitch Amish Quilt Club series, The Healing Quilt.  I enjoy this series and have even seen book one in a musical form at Bird-In-Hand.  Mrs. Brunstetter writes a lot of Amish fiction.  A couple weeks ago I told you about another book I read which was very different from many of her Amish fiction.

The Half-Stitched Amish Quilt Club books are also slightly different because the Amish woman featured in the books as the quilt teacher is really a secondary character to the class members who attend her quilting class.  The "english" class-members are where the story lies.  You follow them in between classes.  As their relationship unfolds, you learn more about each class member's life and problems.  While the class continues, the plot thickens, the characters intermingle and you get attached to these people.

I enjoy these books very much.  They are not super-heavy reading, but they are full of spiritual truths. I want to be Emma, the quilt teacher.  She has endless amounts of patience and just wants to do God's will.  She is charming and sweet.  The characters in the book are interesting and their problems are challenging.  As with the first two books, there is an interesting plot twist when you learn how some of the class-mates connect to each other.  There are also visitors from past classes, but you really don't have to read the first two books to follow the plot of the third.

Give The Healing Quilt a try.  It's well-written and enjoyable to read.  As I do with most Christian fiction, this book prompted me to think about different character traits I want to see developed in myself.  You can find the book at most bookstores and online.  If you give it a read, come back and tell me what you think.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

And some slippers...

I have been a crocheting-fool today!  I told you earlier about making a hat on a whim.  So I just scrapped the whole day and made these booties too!

This was a pattern that my friend Brenda kept in her hook case.  When she passed her husband gave me her yarn and her hooks.  Those hooks are my treasures.  I also have a case of thread hooks from my husband's grandmother.  If the house catches fire, I'm saving those hooks.

Anyway, I dug out that pattern and some old acrylic worsted I had sitting around the house.  In a couple hours I had a slipper.  After dinner with the family, I stitched up the second.  They're pretty retro, but they are very warm.

Saw a Pattern...Made a Hat

When I should have been working this morning, I made a hat!

I just couldn't pass up this hat.  I dug through my worsted stash and found a partially used skein of Loops and Thread Ombre.  I didn't know that the yarn would stripe, I thought it was variegated.  I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the yarn made diagonal stripes with this crochet pattern:

It took a few hours, but I stitched away on this hat, with an I hook and this worsted acryllic.  The band is single crochet.  Sometimes I will knit a ribbed band on a crocheted hat because I like the stretchy-ness of ribbing.  But this band really pulls the hat in to make it more slouchy.

The pattern is an alternate V-stitch.  The size of the hook and the weight of the yarn makes a really squishy fabric.  When I saw the pattern here, I thought it was a chunky weight.  But it is indeed worsted and so worth a few hours in a morning!  I named the hat on Ravelry, "Saw a Pattern Made a Hat."  If we're not friends on Rav...we should be!  Find me on Ravelry as Crochetlu.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Woman of Courage

It's been a long time since I've reviewed anything around here.  When I got the opportunity to review A Woman of Courage by Wanda Brunstetter, I just couldn't res
ist.  Even though the to-be-read pile beside my bad is tall, I dropped everything to read this novel.  I'm a Wanda Brunstetter fan.  My mom got me started reading her books after we had gone through all the Beverly Lewis Amish books that were available.  I have enjoyed Wanda's style of writing and her stories immensely!

A Woman of Courage was a bit different, though.  This is historical fiction.  Although the lead character is Mennonite, the book doesn't really focus on the annabaptist culture like some of the other Amish Fiction books would.  So if you shy away from Amish Fiction, don't think that A Woman of Courage can be lumped into that genre.

This book does not quit.  The action starts at the very beginning when our heroine, Amanda, is left by her fiancee the night before she is to be married.  It is this pivotal moment in her life that causes her to examine her calling.  She and her father sell everything, leave New York, and head west to join a missionary couple already ministering to the Nez Perce Indians.  I don't want to spoil it for you, but suffice it to say, you will not believe what happens to Amanda on the trail west!  And after she connects with a couple trappers and one trapper's wife, the action does not stop there.  As a matter of fact, the twists and turns in the story don't really stop until the very end.

If I offered one criticism it is that the way the Indians are portrayed seems a little stereotypical.  Maybe Indians of the time period really did talk in the stilted, "Me not know about that..." way of speaking, but it did sometimes seem a little trite.  But that is easily overlooked with the story line.

I enjoyed A Woman of Courage by Wanda Brunstetter very much.  It is very good historical fiction.  I learned about myself and how I want to be the type of woman who does not give up when she knows God is with her like Amanda did.  I learned that I give up too easily.  And Amanda is an inspiration to me.

Give it a try!

disclaimer:  This is my honest opinion of A Woman of Courage by Wanda Brunstetter.  I was given my copy by Handlebar for the purpose of posting this review this week.  But I was never told to give an only positive review.  This is my true opinion.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Finishing Things

Today I finished an afghan that I never started.  Weird huh?  Not really.  A little over a year ago one of my very good friends passed away. Brenda and I shared a love of crochet along with a lot of other loves.  When she passed, her husband gave me all of her yarn and hooks.  As I was organizing the totes of yarn, I found several unfinished projects.  The first one was the snowman blanket.  I finished that and gave it to her husband for Christmas the first Christmas after she died.

Many of these tiny granny squares were complete, but I finished the squares, pieced them together and put a border on the afghan.

Around the same time I found some larger pink and mauve squares.  They weren't something I would ever do, but they were something Brenda must have thought were interesting.  I set them aside and worked on other things.  But last week, I pulled out those squares again.  There were ten of them.  So I took nine of them and made a small throw.  With the odd square, I made a small pillow.  The light in the picture isn't great, this is in our guest room that we call the study.  But it gives you the idea.  I didn't have matching yarn, but I found some complimentary yarn and put a granny border around the throw and a granny back on the pillow.

Like I said, I didn't have the actual colors in the squares.  So I used a sage green to put the squares together and then used it again in the granny border.  I found a darker mauve to use for the border too. It works to make the throw look a little more complete.  Well, Penguin likes it anyway.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Say Yes! Yes!

Last night I finished this shawl.  It's the Yes Yes shawl from Caron.  You can find the pattern here.

At first I really needed to stick to the pattern.  But after row thirteen it's a four-row repeat.  It was easy to memorize the repeat and work without a pattern after that.

 One of the things I really like about this pattern is that it has a little texture.  One row of every repeat has a front post double crochet.  So that creates a little texture on each of the little fans.  

I used a sportweight acryllic, but this shawl would be beautiful in any weight or material.  It will definitely need blocking if you are using a natural fiber, however.

In the winter, I love having a shawl to wear as I would wear a scarf, this shawl would be perfect for that.  But I also love the open work for this time of year.  Spring in Central Pennsylvania can bet pretty cool.  The Yes, Yes shawl is great for a cool spring evening.

I did work a few more repeats than called for in the pattern and I finished the edge with single crochets.  Other than that, I just followed the pattern.  I'm happy with how it turned out.  What do you think?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Opening Day Baby!

It's opening day!  It's opening Day!  The Big Dog and I love baseball.  We watch the Phillies' games whenever we can.  So, we love that first sign of spring affectionately known as opening day.  When he was at his previous job, Big Dog would take the day off of work and we would eat hot dogs and cracker jack with the boys and watch the game if it was televised.  Today, Big Dog's working, so we watch alone.

Whenever I'm watching baseball, I'm usually working on a knit or crochet project.  I even take a project along with me to the stadium when we watch our local AA team.  So I was really excited when my friend Karen told me about a blog post she read about creating a conceptual afghan from the wins and losses of your favorite team.  If you want to read all about it, click here.

I couldn't wait to tell my family about my idea for this project!  Do you ever have one of those projects that just lights you up?  You can't wait to start it.  The endorphins are flowing.  It's just fun!  Well, this is how I feel about making a afghan based on the Phillies' wins and losses this year.

We discussed it as a family and chose red for home wins, white for home losses, blue for away wins, and grey for away losses.  A trip to the yarn shop and I'm ready to go.  So as I type this, I'm watching the game and worried about what color I will cast on and knit first.  The plan is to cast on 150 with size 10.5 needles. I may alter that if it doesn't seem to be wide enough.

I'll keep you posted?  Have any of you ever done any conceptual knitting?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Snow Day!

Two days ago we had a lovely snowstorm that iced every limb with heavy white snow.  It was beautiful.  

We made the most of the day by starting our mystery puzzle, "A is for Arson."  We also made snow cream.  It's an easy recipe, basically it's just a big bowl of fresh ice cream and you mix in a can of sweetened condensed milk.  And it's very yummy with some chocolate sauce swirled on the top.  

It was one of those great winter days where we snuggled in a warm living room and watched the snow fall.  To top of a nearly perfect day, I found a pattern here for these tiny hearts.  I whipped up 3 in no time.  I can see myself making a whole bunch of these!  

What do you do on snow days?