Well, I finally got a chance to make a yarn run for the first time in a long time this week! I was able to make it to my local Walmart Supercenter, my first time setting foot in it in about 6 months (we’ve been going to a Walmart Neighborhood Market for groceries in that time period, which unfortunately does not carry yarn or books), and I went there because our air conditioner (which was repaired last week) needed some new filters (and as far as I can recall, our Neighborhood Market doesn’t really carry air filters, or at least the ones in the size we needed, 18″ x 18″ x 1″). So, while I was there, I also made the opportunity to pick up some yarn and add a couple of books to my collection (one cake of yarn and the books were bought with my own money; the other skeins only added about $10 to the grocery bill, not a huge dent).
So first, the yarn (which you may have seen in a layout version on my Instagram).
I got another cake of Lion Brand Mandala, this time in a colorway called “Mermaid”.
(Apologies for the bad lighting here; you’ll get to see a better picture of it a little later in this post.)
I knew as soon as I had started my Unicorn shawl that I wanted to knit a shawl in the same yarn, but in another colorway. Oh, and I love that this colorway has its own emoji as well, 🧜♀️.
I also picked up some more Red Heart Super Saver for Rock Me on the Bias, which is still very much in progress and nearly approaching the halfway point (but I think I’ll hold off on posting a WIP pic for that one right now). Again, apologies for the bad lighting.
The solid one is Soft White (which I’ve been using as an accent color here). The pink variegated is called Tourmaline, and then the purple and orange one is a Red Heart Stripes in Flamenco Stripes. You may see more of these in a future post.
(And you are not seeing things: that is a Bobblehead of Curt Schilling, a Buddha, and a Hawaiian hula dancer on my windowsill. The Buddha is there for financial good luck, as supposedly he is at his most powerful on a windowsill. Okay, I’m superstitious, and I will readily admit to that.)
Now, I do have a WIP on the needles, and it is a knitted shawl pattern called “Close to You” by Polish designer Justyna Lorkowska. Her pattern (whose Ravelry page I am linking to) is available as a free download on Ravelry, but if you’re in the position to where you’re able to buy patterns, I strongly suggest you at least check out her pattern store, where she has all sorts of shawl and hat patterns available for purchase. Her original pattern uses fingering weight hand painted yarn (The yarn for the shawl shown on her pattern page was actually hand-painted by her own husband!), but several Ravelers have used Lion Brand Mandala and larger needles to a very nice effect in their own projects. I’m using U.S. #6 circular needles (4.25 mm, as these are Boye needles) and I’m already into the second color on this cake, which goes from dark blues to light blue to white to gray to lavender back to the dark blues.
The bottom pic here shows the transition between the first color in the cake and the second (which is a darker blue).
I am a handful of repeats into this one, which calls for 19 repeats of the edging (a 12 row pattern repeat that I already have memorized, and I only cast on for this yesterday) before a picot bind-off, but if the wingspan (for those of you non-crafters, this refers to the length of the shawl from end to end horizontally) is a little short for my liking, I do have enough funds available for a second cake of Mandala if needed. The structure is basically an asymmetrical triangular shawl knit from end to end, a structure I have never knit before. (For comparison, the Unicorn shawl was a triangular shawl crocheted from the center out, and I have knit a few shawls in this style in the past as well.) I’m a bit excited to see how the gradient plays out with this one (especially since it’s being knit in a completely different style, direction, and structure from the Unicorn Shawl)!
I also bought two more books for my collection, although I won’t be reading these immediately. I am still in the midst of A Farewell to Arms and have Lord of the Flies, Catching Fire, and The Fountainhead to read before getting to these books, but I’m still glad to have added these two to my collection. I teased at these on my Instagram feed as well.
Looking for Alaska by John Green
I am familiar with John Green, but not in the way that most people are used to. I discovered the Crash Course series of videos on YouTube a couple of years ago and have watched or attempted to watch several of the video series on there, including (but not limited to) the Astronomy series (hosted by Phil Plait), both World History series, and all of the Literature series (those series being hosted by John Green himself). It has introduced the phrases “…and it’s not cursing if you’re referring to a donkey…” and “…unless you’re the Mongols…” to my lexicon. I first heard of John Green’s books through their film adaptations, The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns (though I haven’t seen either film), but I had never read any of his books. I’ve found out that Looking for Alaska was Mr. Green’s first novel. I’ve been assured by Cassidy of A Raisin’ in the Spun (via Instagram) that it’s a good place to start, and I’m gonna have to take her word for it, as she is a huge John Green fan. I’ll see if this leads to me wanting to read all of his other novels.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This one is more of a wildcard. If my memory serves me correctly, this book was in a Recommended list on Goodreads because one of my favorite genres I had selected was Historical Fiction. This novel revolves around a blind French girl and an orphaned German boy and their unlikely bond in the midst of World War II. I had never heard of Anthony Doerr before seeing this book pop up on my list, but the plot overview interested me enough that I added it to my “Want to Read” list. I think these two books should round out the reading list for the year pretty nicely, and perhaps if I come into enough money, maybe I’ll be able to make a whole new haul for next year.
If you didn’t get the reference in the title, it’s the title line in the chorus of the song “Close to You” by The Carpenters. I’ve had this song playing over and over in my head since starting the “Close to You” shawl, both in The Carpenters’ version and in the style done by (the now husband and wife pair) Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis in character as Michael Kelso and Jackie Burkhart in an episode of That ’70s Show (in a fantasy sequence where when he sings during a dinner party the line, “In your eyes of blue”, she corrects him by saying, “They’re brown!”, and he replies with, “I know” in time to the music). I tend to associate a lot of things with music, if you hadn’t caught on to this blog by now. Have a great day, everybody!