I wrote a similar post last year, and I thought I’d compile a new, updated list of the best possible gifts for the Austen lover in your life. I, of course, still stand by all of my recommendations from last year.
(NB: I am not compensated in any way for this post. All opinions are my own, and I am only recommending things that I like.)
Brookish (who I mentioned last year) has P&P ornaments for sale. And I would highly recommend them. Actually, I would like some for himself, but this isn’t my Christmas wish list.
Over in the world of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, you can buy related merchandise. I highly recommend the “Everyone deserves tea” mug.
Andrea of The Bookish Life has plenty of Austen-related paraphernalia. I really want a Pride and Prejudice necklace to go with my P&P bracelet from The Bookish Life, but again, this isn’t my Christmas life.
Out of Print has plenty of Pride and Prejudice related items.
For further ideas, check out last year’s post that’s linked at the top of the page. I have plenty of links to Amazon ideas there (like books and movies) and a few recommendations from Cafe Press.
If you have an idea I didn’t post here, feel free to comment below. I’d love to see more Austentatious gift ideas!
At the end of March, one of my favorite designers published a new sweater pattern, the Jackson Creek Cardigan. I fell instantly in love with the pattern (which I immediately owned due to purchasing the Urban Collection, vol. 2 when the first pattern was released) and I immediately went over to TFA and bought six skeins of yellow label (dk weight) in frost, a wonderfully icy blue with just the loveliest hints of grey.
And then I left the yarn in my closet until about two months ago when the TFA group on Ravelry started a Knit-A-Long for the Urban Collection. (The KAL ran from September 14 to October 14.) I immediately set to work knitting my Jackson Creek, and while I didn’t finish within the time limits set for the KAL, I’m finally done. I finished the sweater on Friday night, blocked it, and I wore it to work today for the first time. I’m in love with it. Another teacher told me it was lovely. (There was also the coworker who told me it looked terrible when the first teacher told him that I had made it, but I’m going to ignore that comment.) Long story short? I love it. I absolutely love it.
I know my head is chopped off, but it’s the best pic I could get of the sweater itself.
I made a few modifications for this. I lengthened the sleeves to make this a more wintery sweater rather than the spring sweater it’s written to be. I also knit the body as one pieces because I wanted to. For more info, see my Rav project page.
Below are two photos (taken on my iPod, so please excuse the quality) of my newest project. I’m modifying a pattern that I have previously published to be larger and to use a heavier weight yarn. I’m double-stranding two yarns together to create an interesting color effect. And I can’t wait to show you the finished product.
In June, I released Mary, the first pattern of my Swan Thieves collection, and September saw the second release, Beatrice. Now, late October is bringing you Kate.
The character of Kate Oliver from Elizabeth Kostova’s novel, The Swan Thieves, inspired this lightweight shawl. Kate is a crescent-shaped shawl worked top-down in simple garter stitch and ending with a simple lace pattern. It is designed to reflect Kate’s practical nature and determination to persevere against all obstacles.
Kate calls for 350-400 yards of a fingering weight yarn. I used Stricken Smitten Smitten Merino Twist in Splendor. However, it appears that this yarn is no longer available. I would recommend using Tanis Fiber Arts either blue or purple label or Malabrigo sock instead. In fact, I intend to knit another Kate in at least one of those yarns.
You will need US size 4 (3.5mm) needles to make Kate.
Pattern available for sale here.
I have gone on a quest, a noble quest, a quest to find the best pumpkin spice latte in the greater Ann Arbor area. I have traveled near and far and sampled many lattes. I love pumpkin and I love coffee and I adore their intersection-the pumpkin spice/pie latte. I love the savory taste of pumpkin and the mixture of the various spices that go into a pumpkin pie. I also find the taste of soy milk to be an excellent addition to the mix of spices.
So where did I go to become an expert on this all important matter? And which latte did I like best? Read on…
- Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea-This latte is the perfect mix of sweet and savory. It has a delightful spice taste to it and a nice pumpkin taste as well. I love it. This was my favorite.
- Starbucks-very sweet, it has a nice mix of pumpkin and spice but it’s too sweet. Pumpkin ought to be more savory.
- Espresso Royale-very pumpkiny tasting, not strong in the way of spice but that’s fine since the name of the latte is “pumpkin pie” and not “pumpkin spice.” Also, the sweetened condensed milk gives it a nice pumpkin pie feeling. I enjoyed this one thoroughly.
- Biggby-very pumpkiny tasting, but not very strong in the way of spice. It has a very nice pumpkin flavor to it that is sweet but not too sweet. But it needs more nutmeg, allspice, and cumin.
- Panera-very good in the spice department, but not much pumpkin; I actually had to remove my lid and check to make sure that I had a PSL and not a chai latte.
- Great Lakes Chocolate and Coffee-This one was the roughest to drink. The latte was very poorly mixed, which made it mostly (unflavored soy) milk for about 30%, then about 60% of pumpkin, and then 10% spice. When I told her about my quest, barista told me that she thought GLCC’s latte would be an excellent option. I would definitely choose Starbucks or Biggby over GLCC. And I would obviously choose Sweetwaters.
So, in my humble opinion, Sweetwaters has the best pumpkin latte. I plan on revisiting it at least a few more times this fall.
Disclaimer: These are just my opinions. I was not paid for them. Anyone is free to disagree with me.
Last summer, I was privileged to visit one of Michigan’s little bits of heaven, Mackinac Island. While there, I asked my lovely friend, Kathleen, to model a cowl I had just designed that I was going to name Elise McKenna after the main character in the classic film, Somewhere in Time (Collector’s Edition). Kathleen was, naturally, a wonderful model, and the cowl flowed beautifully with the beautiful waters of Lake Huron. The cowl is worked flat and then seamed at the end. It uses US Size 6 needles and about 300 yards of fingering weight yarn. It is a relatively simple pattern, and I hope that you’ll give it a try. I have decided to publish this pattern as a free pattern until the end of 2013. The pattern can be found here and you can see my project page here.