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Filtering by Category: Books

Book Review: Sherlock Knits by Joanna Johnson

Andrea Sanchez

I'm happy to share with you today a new book, Sherlock Knits by Joanna Johnson! You might know her from Phoebe Knits or Henry's Hat. This newest book of Joanna's is not a picture book, but a complete book of patterns inspired by Sherlock Holmes!

I want to start by saying I think the best thing about this book is that there is something for everyone. This 10 piece collection includes garments, accessories, and home items. I love that these pieces are inspired by Sherlock Holmes (I earned an English degree in my previous collegiate life so I have a strong and proud nerdy side) but yet they are still so attainable for a knitter who might not be as big a fan. 

Socks for Mary is probably my favorite piece from this collection and the one that I want to cast on for as soon as I can! These socks are knit from the cuff down and feature and relatively easy lace and texture pattern. They are available to knit in two sizes and have both written and charted instructions (that's just the best). I am super taken with the lace pattern and think these socks are just the right amount of lacy, understated glamour. 

Scotland Yard Vest is another favorite and has me seriously considering doing the math to size this to fit my kiddo! The herringbone colorwork thrills me. Can you imagine all the color combinations?! This vest comes in adult sizes 36" chest circumference to 48". While it is intended for men, I believe, I follow Joanna on Instagram and she has been knitting on for herself. She's modified it for a woman by adding some waist shaping and I have to say, it's looking pretty smart. 

Copper Beeches Cowl is one of the pieces that will appeal to all knitters. How beautiful is this cowl?? So simple and elegant. If you can only knit one accessory this season, let it be this. It's also knit in one of my favorite yarns, TECHNO from Blue Sky Alpacas. This yarn is a bulky weight but light as a feather. 

There are still more great patterns from this collection. You like shawls? Check out Speckled Band Shawl. It is just the sweetest shawl (shawlette?). Are you looking for a more classic men's sweater? What about a Sweater for John? I've come to really love some great garter stitch placement. 

Take a few minutes to check out these patterns on Ravelry and tell me which is your favorite! I'd love to hear what you'll be making first. 

January Book Club: Feeding the Sheep

Andrea Sanchez

This post contains affiliate links.

It's been a while but I'm back with a new book club pick for January: Feeding the Sheep by Leda Schubert.

I picked up this gem at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in 2015 and have been waiting for the right time to share it with you and it's finally here! 

Feeding the Sheep is what you would consider a circular plot. This means that the story begins and ends in the same place (think, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie). In this case, that place is feeding the sheep. 

The story follows a mother and daughter team through the seasons as mom tends to her sheep from feeding them, to shearing, to washing the fleece, carding and spinning, dyeing, and finally knitting a sweater for the little one. The language is simple and repetitive while bringing in some great new vocabulary related to the fiber arts. I love how with only a few simple lines on each page, the text has a wonderful sing song quality to it (What are you doing, the little girl asks. Feeding the sheep, her mother says. Snowy day. Corn and hay.). 

What makes texts like Feeding the Sheep really special is its ability to capture the attention of our littlest readers. When I purchased this book for D, he was just a bit over 2 and a half and this quickly made its way to our #1 regular bedtime story. Because of the predictable text, after several readings he was able to help me "read" the story by reciting the "What are you doing?" line on each page.  

My favorite thing about Feeding the Sheep is the ton of fiber related vocabulary I was able to teach D. Each time we read a new page I'd ask, what is the mama doing? And he would reply with knitting, or spinning the yarn on her spinning wheel, etc. I also loved that we were able to relate a lot of the process of shearing and wool prep with things we had seen at Maryland Sheep and Wool. I know I keep saying love, but this book really is one of my favorites. We have read it over and over and over again. 

Repeated readings are one of those things that you love, and also drive you completely nuts. Raise your hand if you've ever read the bedtime story with your eyes closed mumbling "How do dinosaurs say goodnight..." while turning the pages at all the right parts! Yea, me too. But repeated readings are so very important for early literacy development. They encourage vocabulary growth related to the text as well as greater text-related comprehension. This is the reason you can read Kitten's First Full Moon about 50 times and your child still has something different to say about it. Books that also have that special sing song quality (I'm looking at you Goodnight Moon) are enjoyable to listen to. Children like hearing your voice reading that rhyming story. Here is a short study that gives some tips for making the most out of those repeated readings. 

Feeding the Sheep by Leda Schubert

I hope you have a chance to get a copy of this book. Right now it's less than $4 for the hardcover on Amazon! SO totally worth it! Grab a copy and get ready because I have a new pattern coming for you and some fun fiber related activities! If you join us this month please share on Instagram using #klbookclub. Happy reading (and rereading)!

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Blueberries for Daniel

Andrea Sanchez

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen that we went on a little blueberry picking adventure recently.

Even though we try to do everything timed just right so we can be home (or at least back in the car headed home) at noon for lunch and nap, the morning was insanely hot. I was carrying the baby in my most favorite baby wrap ever and trying to keep up with D while he expertly picked the ripest berries. I was really impressed but I think it's because he's such a blueberry lover he was able to quickly and easily spot the ripest berries even though many of the bushes had been picked over.

Not everyone loved the experience. 

Not everyone loved the experience. 

And you know me, always thinking how can we extend this experience? And immediately the most perfect blueberry picking book of all time popped into my head: Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey (affiliate link).

Of course I own this book, it's a classic! Despite the fact that Sal is a little girl and even as a child I couldn't get over the fact that she was named after my great grandfather and a male cousin (or maybe it's short for Sally? Who knows?), or that it's a wee bit long for a children's book, it's one of those books that every child should hear and quite possibly add to their library. My copy was at school (and no way was I driving 45 minutes to get it, let alone go into a school building in mid-July) and since it's just a flimsy Scholastic paperback that I got for $2 I figured now was a great time to get a sturdier copy and add it to our home library. 

I wanted to pick it up the same day so I called 3 book stores. Funny thing was, the first two I called made me repeat the authors name twice as well as the title ("Blueberries for Sale? By who? Can you spell that?"). I was feeling a little incredulous. It's a classic. When I called the third book store (which is actually a children's specialty bookstore) the woman immediately said, "I may have one copy left, let me check." I should have called them first.

After our much needed nap, D and I sat together sharing the story and the fruits of our labor. In the story, Sal and her mother can the blueberries at the end so I thought a cooking activity would go great. The tiny half quart we brought home did not long last and luckily I had 2 quarts in the fridge already. We went ahead and used those for a fruit salad to go with dinner.

But would you believe that same evening I cam upon the What's Cooking With Kids blog? She also hosts Kids Cook with Books, a monthly book club that features a children's book and recipe to use with your kiddo! A woman after my own heart! And her June pick was Blueberries for Sal! Kismet, I tell you. 

So if you're looking for a sweet summer read, check this book out. And if you're looking for some wonderful and super easy cooking activities to do with your kids, try What's Cooking With Kids too!

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Sophie's Masterpiece: Book Club Week 3

Andrea Sanchez

I hope by now you've had a chance to read our June Book Club pick, Sophie's Masterpiece. If not, head over to this post to read a review and find out about this book's companion patterns!

I love art projects. Really, who doesn't? But what I like even better are easy art projects. I'm lucky because I tend to have access to a lot of craft supplies that most might not readily have in their homes (liquid starch, check!) - those are the perks of being a kindergarten teacher I suppose. Even as that is, I like being able to say, Hey! let's marble paint! After D wakes up from nap. And so we have it, marble painting. 

What You'll Need

  • marbles
  • craft paint (we like this)
  • spoon
  • cups or small bowls
  • box lid or tray
  • paper

Set-up

I started by letting D choose a couple paint colors and counting out 6 marbles (2 per color). He probably would have chosen 100 had I let him. 

After pouring the paint out into the cups/bowls, we put our marbles in. I used the spoon to stir them around a tad.

I trimmed our craft paper to fit just inside my box lid so there's not a lot of empty space.

I let D pick the color that he wanted to start with and gave him two at a time to get rolling. I kind of pointed out that in order to roll them you'll need to move the box and he picked up on it right away. 

Then paint away!

In the End

While we were working we talked about how in Sophie's book, she made masterpieces with her web but we were using paint and how the lines might look like a spider's silk threads. D has already decided we are making another tomorrow using black. 

If you don't have marbles, other washable balls will do but they need to have a little weight to help them roll through the paint. I have a whole box of marbles I collected as a kid and of course couldn't find them so ran out to the store and picked up a bag in the toy section for a couple dollars. 

I love how easy this is to get going and clean up. It also supports building hand-eye coordination, can easily be self-managed by older kiddos, and is an open ended project. These are the best. One of the things I really miss about teaching preschool is the opportunity to do open-ended art projects on almost a daily basis. The children were creating, exploring with textures and materials, and had all the time in the world to do it. 

If you are following along with our bookclub, please share photos on Instagram and tag them #klbookclub. We'd love to see what you're doing with this book!

Do you know we are having a KAL this summer? Read more about it here. 

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Use code ANDREA20 to get 20% off any capsule wardrobe. Free shipping on orders over $50.

Use code ANDREA20 to get 20% off any capsule wardrobe. Free shipping on orders over $50.