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I lied last week when I said I was finished with 2014 finished objects. I covered all the knits, but I never posted the quilt that I made for my sister. I started it sometime after I moved in with George, so between 5 and 6 years ago. I pieced the top pretty quickly, and then I was too scared to try machine quilting for a very long time. Then I made Storm at Sea, and a baby quilt… and realized it really wasn’t that scary at all. So I quilted this one, and mailed it off to Alaska so she could finally enjoy her Christmas quilt. She said she likes it, and she was stunned that I had the time to make a quilt with a baby!

Ha. Should I tell her that it was a work in progress for half a decade? The quilting (and borders and whatnot that were left to do) were finished in a few days while vacationing at my parent’s house last May, and then I did the binding at home the ten days after that. So this may be my fastest quilt ever in hours worked on the actual quilt, but one of the longest in terms of start to finish dates!

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I think I am finally caught up on finished objects from 2014!! Woohoo! This last one was a quick knit in the last few weeks of December, because my mom decided Gabe really needed mittens. From Mommy. And since she loaned me the best mitten book, I figured I could sacrifice for her whims. They came out very cute, and they fit, but Gabe pretty much avoids all mittens. Even the handknit ones from Mommy.

So there, Mom.

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He did survive wearing them a few times, briefly- so at least there’s photo proof!
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ToB 2015

Hurray! Huzzah! Tomorrow is the kickoff to the Tournament of Books for the year. It really is one of my favorite events all year long… book geek that I am. Last year I read 8 of the books… but I think I only read 4 or 5 before the tournament was over. This year I’ve read 8, started two that I decided not to read (at least, not anytime soon), and have begun another already. Brilliant! Here are the 16 books with my take on them. Because.

Silence Once Begun by Jesse Ball – I started this and meh. I only made it 5 or 10 pages before I decided that it might be worth reading a long time from now, but certainly not before the tournament.
A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall by Will Chancellor – I made it 50 pages in this one and hated the two protagonists. Boom! Done! Life’s too short, it’s not like I don’t read a variety of literary fiction, right?
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – on my Kindle, but I haven’t read it yet. The buzz is great!
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante – I haven’t read this, the third in the series, but I liked the first. Not at the beginning, but by the end. I’m very excited to read book 2, but am stuck in an endless loop of holds at the library, so it’s pretty unlikely I’ll get to this until much later in the year.
An Untamed State by Roxane Gay – read this before the ToB list was announced, and found it hard to read but very well written. Also, Roxane Gay is on GoodReads and reads a TON- I’m constantly seeing her reviews on there!
Wittgenstein Jr by Lars Iyer – this book would be super interesting if you took philosophy in college. I did not, so the in-jokes were lost on me. Definitely not a fave, and I think it will get creamed in the ToB.
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James – I got nothing.
Redeployment by Phil Klay- Oh, short stories. I found it interesting, and I liked the new perspective on veterans and what war really means now. But not my fave.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – My top pick thus far. I can’t help it, this is squarely in my wheelhouse. Post-apocalyptic? Check. Shakespeare and literary references? Check. Characters who are interesting (if not very likeable?) Check check check. I really did love it.
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell – Haven’t read, again with the library holds (I had it out once but couldn’t get to it timely… oh well). I’m sure I’ll like this one, and it’s likely to do well in the tournament.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng – I’m sorta meh on this. We read it for book club, pre-ToB announcement, so bully for us. I think it won’t go far.
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill – Marital drama. A very quick read (bonus!) and enjoyable. How many books in this tournament are about professors?!
Adam by Ariel Schrag – Just finished this, and enjoyed it. I can see why it gets a lot of hate for its depiction of transexual issues, but it’s YA that deals almost entirely with trans and gay issues. Come on! Also funny as heck.
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters – Apparently this isn’t getting a lot of love, but I just read her Tipping the Velvet and liked it very much. So I’ll get to it soon. Probably won’t last in the tournament, which is a pity.
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer – This was good enough that I have started book 2 of the trilogy after reading book 1 last week. Yep. Don’t know how it will play out for the ToB… it’s a lot of suspense and wackiness, but it was a good read!
All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld – Huge positive press for this one, and I’m enjoying it. But since I only started it last night, I will neither finish it before the Tournament nor be able to give a real review.

Only one book has really escaped my radar since they announced the shortlist. I’ve also read a few others on the longlist (and have another out from the library, which I started before and put aside for the sake of the nominees). Oh my do I love the ToB and my own brand of March madness! I’ve already read 15 books this year… I guess 45 is a pretty doable annual goal after all, hmm?? My knitting has certainly suffered as a result (hats notwithstanding) but it feels really good to be reading again. Even if I’m not reading nearly as critically as I would have a decade ago. I wonder if I enjoy the books more or less by not engaging with them all in as great detail as I did as a student?

I’ll post about the Read Harder challenge another day. For obvious reasons (15 books!) I’m doing pretty well on working through that challenge, too!

Hatathon The Final

I did finish the last two hats for my hatathon (go me!). Another baby gift (Aviator pattern) for number 12…
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And a Calorimetry for myself.
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Done and done! Until next year…

One of my goals for 2014 was to knit myself a stocking. Not a Christmas stocking, because I’m still a Jew despite our blended household and the Christmas rigamarole that entails. But a Chanakamus stocking. In blues, of course.

I still haven’t added a name, because I got very involved in deciding whether it should say Jen or Mommy. After much thought, I just didn’t add anything, since until George has a stocking up at our house it’s not like there’s much question who it belongs to!

For the record, we have a believer in our house. Santa definitely came down our chimney this holiday. He brought a “big choochoo” and some play food, and goodies in Gabe’s stocking, too. But nothing for Mommy. See what happens when your stocking isn’t labeled???

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FO Friday: Tea Leaves

I am nothing if not repetitive when it comes to baby sweaters. My grandmother was the same way- she knit the same few patterns over and over, since they were easy for her and she didn’t really need the pattern. For today’s old finished object review, I have another Tea Leaves. It’s another superb sweater pattern, and I’m sure I’ll knit it again. This one was knit as a Christmas gift for Mabry, the daughter of my dear buddies Dan and Jo who left us for the West Coast before Gabe was born. Sniffle. Yarn is Berroco Vintage from stash, and I finished it December 11, to get it in the mail on time!

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Hatathon

I haven’t quite finished my half hatathon… But I have knit 11 hats so far this month. That’s crazy!! Let’s see what they are so far.

A reflective running hat (gift!)

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And one for George.

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A teensy baby hat to gift later…

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And another, more boyish.

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A huge hot pink beret I meant to give away but keep wearing

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And another future baby gift

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A gray owl hat for Gabe

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And one to gift to a baby

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Blue owls for Gabe, in case of loss… I’ll note both of these are in my car. Somebody likes tossing them away as soon as he’s strapped in his car seat…

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A cozy hat for George

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And another baby gift

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So many hats! Two more to go… One is nearly done already. And lots of used up yarn from stash.. Huzzah!

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