June 2023 Bookclub: A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting

Cover art for a lady's guide to fortune hunting by Sophie Irwin

I didn’t dislike this one, but I didn’t like it either. While it’s true there’s a comfort in predictability (for example I read all 8 Bridgerton books and loved every second of the formula), I found in this case it took too long to get to the point. Probably not a book I’m going to recommend anyone read in the future, however, it was good enough to finish.

Kitty is, if nothing else, incredibly practical. She isn’t chasing a fortune to change her lifestyle, she’s chasing a fortune to pay off debts and secure her sister’s future after the death of her father. Though an admiral goal, I found it made her approach to everything a little sterile, even though it went hand in hand with the goal of blending in. It also causes her to be blind to the desires of her sisters and those around her.

That being said, when considering the options of a woman during the time period this story makes sense. It makes sense that Kitty’s only option is to attempt to marry rich in order to quickly pay off her family’s debt. It also makes sense that she needs to be single-minded in the goal and crafty at putting herself out there.

One moment in the book I find particularly human is when Kitty takes a second to really think about her actions in comparison to those around her. Is she being kind? Can she achieve her goal while being kind? Does she need to be kind if she’s trying to put the needs of her sisters above all others?

Kitty and Radcliffe protecting each other’s siblings reminded me of Mr. Darcy protecting Elizabeth. I enjoyed that both parties put themselves out there and that both situations could have been avoided if they had been paying closer attention.

It’s hard to believe that I finally finished the Wheel of Time series and have the freedom of not knowing what book to read next. Let’s spend June reading Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler while I think about whether or not I’m going to start a new fantasy series or reread an old favorite before book 5 comes out.

Cover art for Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

A dazzling novel that captures all of the romance, glamour, and tragedy of the first flapper, Zelda Fitzgerald.

When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the “ungettable” Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn’t wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame.

Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner’s, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and take the rest as it comes.

Bloomer Sewing Pattern Comparison

This was supposed to be finished in time to be posted this past Wednesday, so there will be two posts this week! No excuse, just spending as much time outside enjoying my family and the nice weather as I can.

Full disclosure: I don’t know how many pairs of bloomers are too many pairs of bloomers. It has come to my attention that I have made our daughter bloomers from 3 different patterns and I’m starting to have my favorite. Not necessarily a hard and fast favorite, but a favorite never less.

The first bloomer pattern I ever used was creative by Ashley Nickels for her CreativeBug class. Though I dislike the effort it takes to make this pattern, I do like that they’re on the larger size and I’ve gotten two summers out of all the pairs I made while pregnant. The weirdest thing about working this pattern is probably that it looks like you’re going to make a pair of women’s underwear until you’ve added the elastics in.

The second pattern I’ve used, and probably my favorite, is the Wiksten bloomer pattern. I like this pattern for several reasons:

  1. It’s not as finicky as Ashley Nickels’ because the shape is on the square side.
  2. The sizing goes up to a 3, bloomers for all!
  3. They look like shorts.

That being said, it’s super hard to find this pattern because it’s not being printed anymore. It looks like Oh Me Oh My has a comparable pattern?

The last pattern I’ve played around with actually comes in two styles and is made from knit fabric. Bummie Shorts Pattern wears like a cross between shorts and bloomers and take like, 3 seconds to whip out. Though I like both designs, the elastic version seems to be the most practical for hot summer days. Fair warning on Oh Me Oh My patterns though, they run large!

Pseudo Stripes

A light brown, almost white, fingerless mitt with blue/black dashes across it in an almost stripe pattern. Next to the mitt is the cuff of the second mitt on a pair of circular knitting needles.

There are so many different patterns these days for assigned or planned pooling. The first that comes to mind is Pool & Conquer by Martina Behm which manipulates a coveted skein of Rohrspatz & Wollmeise to create vertical stripes, the second is Calico by Dawn Barker with the Rocket Pop Shawl by Stephanie Shiman a close third. No matter the pattern, each calls for a skein of yarn where the color repeats within the skein (this is usually discovered by opening the skein and taking a look at how the yarn was dyed).

Though having worked with several patterns and yarns that would be perfect for pooling, it never occurred to me to manipulate the number of stitches in a pattern to create stripes. Considering I’ve knit socks that have pooled into stripes before, this admission seems a little silly and like I missed something obvious.

Still, I find myself reaching for smaller projects more and more. They’re easier to throw into a diaper bag and to pick up/put down. So perhaps, it’s time to start being more purposeful about how a dyer’s choices are being reflected in my projects. Realistically, I’ll keep knitting and letting the yarn talk to me, with the goal of at least being more purposeful in observing which yarns have what kind of effect.

Want to make one of your own? Use the discount YARNVIP for 15% off your total purchase from Wonderland Yarns (discount not eligible on sale items, with other discounts, or on yarn clubs). Pseudo Stripe Mitts is a free pattern, yarn is March Hare in Your Favorite Tee Shirt, Fresh From The Wash. No kickbacks for me, just discounts for you :]

Superhero Germanium

It’s hard to believe that two years ago I made my first Germanium in an online sewing class hosted by Notion Fabric. Harder still to think that the pieces I traced and cut for my niece are now the right size for our daughter. Time is a funning thing, it just keeps going.

I was originally going to add ruffles to this dress like I did with my niece’s, but then I realized I couldn’t bother finishing the edges and things fell apart from there. That being said, I think the sleeveless version of this dress looks a lot better than it would with a ruffle. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself to justify the decision.

It’s so fun, I cannot stress that enough, the final result of this dress is so fun. It’s long and loose so she’ll probably get two summers out of it, and rugged enough to keep up with her. Plus, she loves wearing it. From the colorful masks to the skirt having enough room to twirl in, our kiddo is all about this dress. Which is definitely motivation to make another one.

There’s also something to be said about the fact that I’m a better sewist than I was the first time I made this dress. I have more patience with the finicky parts (minus the ruffles) and understand the overall construction. I snagged fabric to make another one using the expansion pack during the same trip to Affordable Fabrics, it’ll be interesting to see how my gathered sleeves skills are these days. If my previous Emery Dresses are any indication, I definitely need the practice.

Serendipitous Garter Ear Flap Hat

One of the silliest children’s movies I’ve seen, and therefore one of my favorites, is Gnomeo and Juliet. I cannot actually articulate specific pieces I enjoy about this movie beyond the fact that it constantly makes fun of itself and doesn’t take itself seriously (which is exactly why critics hated it). Everyone I’ve shown the movie to finds joy in it too, although that may be because I offer companionship and commentary rather than letting them watch it alone on their own time. This isn’t a guilty pleasure, this is a sorry not sorry.

It should not be surprising to anyone when I say one of my favorite houses to run by was covered in garden gnomes. They were everywhere and on everything, it always made me smile to run by and a little sad when winter rolled around because they had to be put away. Despite many best intentions, I myself do not own any garden gnomes and there are limited gnome things around our home. I prefer them out in the wild, or at least I do for now. Perhaps I haven’t discovered the gnome yet.

I have, however, discovered the cutest gnome hat (Garter Ear Flap Hat by Purl Soho) and am in love. I’m not saying all babies will now be gifted this hat from yours truly, I’m just saying maybe they should be. For starters, instead of a classic brim, it has ear flaps. Not big floppy ones that can get stuck in various positions not covering the ears but small ones that should cover just enough to keep things warm. Next, it’s worked up in a squishy garter stitch which is warmer than stockinette because there is more room for air the be trapped. Finally, it works up to a neat little point — like a gnome hat — that is the perfect size for a well-placed pom pom.

For this specific hat, I did not use the suggested smaller needled and opted to work the entire hat using the larger one. It also took me about a day to work it up and required a mere 95 yards, aka perfect for a quick-knit gift. Check, check, check.

Finally, I caved and purchase Marshmallow by tincanknits so that I could make matching fingerless mitts (they’re not done). The set won’t be used until this fall, however, I’m super excited to see my little gnome wandering the forest still having use of her hands to pick up rocks and sticks.

Want to make one of your own? Use the discount YARNVIP for 15% off your total purchase from Wonderland Yarns (discount not eligible on sale items, with other discounts, or on yarn clubs). For this pattern, I used a single skein of Mad Hatter in Serendipitous and worked up the toddler size. A single skein should also be enough for me to work up the mitts.