Escaping Into a Good Book

Is there anything better than a good book, to be able to be transported into different times, places, utopias and dystopias?  Perhaps one of the best gifts I have even received was my e-reader.  I was skeptical at first (because there is nothing to compare to holding a book and physically turning the pages), but now my purse is not complete without my e-reader inside it.  At any given time, I have over 100 titles to choose from, over 100 adventures just waiting to sweep me away with them.

If I’m not perusing Ravelry and searching for knitting patterns, I’m often online on Goodreads.  My sister introduced me to it, describing it like ‘Twitter for books.’  Perhaps both Ravelry and Goodreads show that I seem to be searching for inspiration, whether for creativity or for a literary escape.

It is so comforting to re-read certain series; I have re-read Harry Potter more times than I can count, I can usually blow through the Hunger Games trilogy in a weekend, and I have re-read Anne of Green Gables about once a year since I was 10 years old.  The outcome is known, the endings are happy, and our hero/heroines evolve, change, and are ultimately victorious, either over Voldemort, Snow and the Capital, or their own stubbornness and they FINALLY forgive Gilbert.  I will forever ship Anne and Gilbert.

I’m also happy to discover new books and series, and for 2015, I’ve ‘challenged’ myself to read at least one new book every month.  Goodreads allows you to set up challenges for yourself, and this one is mine.  The act of finding new books and getting into them can often be challenging for me, but so far I’m on course for the year.

In January, read Laurence Hill’s Any Known Blood, and I couldn’t put it down!  This wasn’t the first book by Hill that I’ve read; back in 2011, I read The Book of Negroes (or Someone Knows My Name as it was published in the USA).  Before reading this book, I was somewhat familiar with Hill and his family’s history, so when I began reading Any Known Blood, it was clear that the author used his life’s story as inspiration for this tale.  It told the story of five generations of a Black family, all through the protagonist who was searching to know more about his family.  It utilized different narrations and often had the present day in contrast to the past.  As I said, I couldn’t put this book down, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good read.

In February, I quickly read The Farm by Tom Rob Smith.  I’m part of the a Ravelry Knitters group on Goodreads, and this was the recommended group read for February.  It sounded interesting, so I gave it a try. Again an interesting tale, this time told through the eyes of a mother, and while reading it, I found myself questioning the tale if it is true or an invention of an unsound mind.

Finally, and this is going to make me sound bad, but I forced myself to read The Chrysalids… Yes, I know! It’s a classic!  I found myself struggling to truly connect to the story and to follow the narrator.  But, I read it, making it three new books I have read in the first three months of 2015.

What’s next?  I’ve just started Oryx and Crake by the incomparable Margaret Atwood.  It usually takes me a few chapters to get into an Atwood book, but once I’m in, I cannot put it down.  If you haven’t read Handmaid’s Tale or Alias Grace, stop reading this immediately and go read Atwood.

I’m always looking for good book suggestions – have you got one for me?

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The Year That Was 2014

As the holiday season draws to an end and the new year approaches ever so quickly, all I can think is that 2014 was an amazing year for me, and I have so much to be thankful and grateful for.  So much happened over these 365 days, many ups and a few downs.

The year started with the celebration of my beloved grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary.  Sixty years.  It was an amazing milestone, and I consider myself so very, very lucky to have grandparents who a) have reached this milestone to celebrate, and b) are in good health, and c) love each other every day. My grandparents are genuinely two of my favourite people in this entire world.  Celebrating this milestone was amazing.

Later on in January, I did something, well, adventurous… I thought I would try my hand at roller derby. Side note to this story – I’m klutzy.  Very klutzy.  Long story short, my first night, I fell and spent over 3 hours in emerg and had a pink cast for over 3 weeks.  My illustrious roller derby career was over before it began. The worst part of this was that cast was set in a way that made holding knitting needles near impossible. Desperate to hold yarn, I took up crochet.  Hats off to those who crochet because I cannot stand it.  I was happy to get the cast off and get needles back in my hands!

My pink cast.  My solace when my arm was injured was that the cast was pink.
My pink cast. My solace when my arm was injured was that the cast was pink.

This was apparently the year that I met famous people!  As I posted about last week, I met members of the Barenaked Ladies after their show in December in Toronto and they signed an album of mine in April. I had my picture taken with Nathan Fillion at Fan Expo (he liked the Cunning Cap I made – squee!!), and through a series at the Toronto Library, I met author Diana Gabaldon, politician Justin Trudeau, and singer Alan Doyle!  My boss told me a story, and the gist of which is if you want to meet someone, you need to make it happen, and that’s what I did this year.  I made it happen.

Me, Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea, Katie and BFF Ash
Me, Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea, Katie and BFF Ash – his book is amazing, by the way

I have amazing friends in my life.  I have known my best friend since high school.  It’s not that we’ve ever fallen out, but this year, it’s as if we’ve rediscovered our silly side, and we’ve been closer this year than ever, and for that I’m so grateful.

Ash and I being silly on a Summer day
Ash and I being silly on a Summer day

I travelled to Quebec City in the Fall, and it was such a fantastic trip.  The history, the museums, the architecture, the food.  I fell in love with the oldest city in our country and with la belle province.

Awkward selfie in Quebec City - the lower city is in the background
Awkward selfie in Quebec City – the lower city is in the background

It has also been a busy year knitting wise.  I’m always trying new patterns and techniques, and this year I’ve made a few larger projects.  A new yarn shop opened up in my city, and I’ve met new, wonderful people by going to the knitting circle hosted there.  It has become my Wednesday night staple, and easily it is the highlight of my week.

Here is a sampling of some of my finished projects from the year.

The Firefly Cunning Cap I made for my dear work friend. This was the hat that Nathan Fillion said he liked!
The Firefly Cunning Cap I made for my dear work friend. This was the hat that Nathan Fillion said he liked!
Spats - they make me feel fancy
Spats – they make me feel fancy
A TARDIS ereader cover.
A TARDIS ereader cover.
A New England Patriots hat I  made for my brother for Christmas
A New England Patriots hat I made for my brother for Christmas
My Chateau shawl. My grandma gave me a gift certificate to my LYS for my birthday, and I made this lovely slouchy sweater  with it
My Chateau shawl. My grandma gave me a gift certificate to my LYS for my birthday, and I made this lovely slouchy sweater with it

Cast on, place marker, join

With everything, there is a beginning.  I suppose that’s true with a blog as well, a first post to introduce what this is all about.  If you didn’t glean from the title or the header photo, this blog is about one of my passions, knitting, and a little of everything else in between, otherwise known as life.

I began knitting in 2011, simply because I was too cheap (cost conscious?) to pay for a cover to protect my new e-reader.  I was in the store, looking at these, admittedly lovely covers, but thinking to myself, ‘I could make something at a fraction of the cost.’  And so I did.  I bought my first ball of yarn (good ol’ Red Heart Super Saver), and a set of 6mm needles, and slowly I taught myself how to knit.

The first thing I ever knitted, a cover for my e-reader
The first thing I ever knitted, a cover for my e-reader

I still have this e-reader cover, and I love everything about it.  There are the odd rows when I accidentally switched from stockinette to garter, without realizing I did it wrong; I look at those and think they add character.  While the yarn may not be the highest of quality, I still love the colours.  They make me happy.  I love the large button I added, and am proud of the first buttonhole I made.  This cover is a reminder of my stubbornness, my abilities, my dedication, and of how far I have come.