Looking Back at 2018

Today I’m taking a look back on what I did in 2018. It’s mostly about my reading stats, but there’s some other info, too.

I worked as a precinct inspector for three elections this year. The last two elections I had really awesome clerks. As much as this introvert hates dealing with that many people, I love working the elections. I love seeing all these people come out and participate in the system, and I especially love watching new voters vote for the very first time.

This is my Instagram Top 9. As you can see, there’s a lot of my Wonder Woman scarf. And, my favorite, is Jo and I during the trip to San Diego right in the middle. It’s mostly knitting-related photos, which is funny because I didn’t knit much this year.

A collage of 9 pictures. Left to right and top to bottom: Wonder Woman scarf completed on a black table; Wonder Woman Scarf on a white comforter; A repost of JustRunKnit's photo of a blue shawl; A repost from O_wow_Waite of author Jess Russell at the RWA Rita awards wearing a skirt with the image of every nominated book printed on it; Me and Jo in San Diego; Wonder Woman scarf in progress; A close up of my face with the Welcome to Stitches sign; A collage of various pics of my mom; Figure skaters with the woman spinning in the air parallel to the ice and the text "So you catch Footballs in your sport? Aww. That's cute."

Speaking of what I knit this year, I only finished 4 things this year. My Antarktis shawl, Wonder Woman scarf, Honey cowl, and my Find Your Fade shawl. I wear my fade shawl A LOT. It’s pretty much with me everywhere. Because I did the scarf pattern, but used a lot more yarn, mine is more shawl-like than scarf-like.

A collage of 4 pictures. Clockwise from top left: Antarktis shawl folded and knit in a bright blue yarn with some purple specks; Honey Cowl in a multi-colored yarn; Wonder Woman scarf which looks like the Wonder Woman symbol. Knit with red on the top, then yellow W logo, and blue on the bottom; Find your Fade shawl knit in 10 miniskeins of a rainbow colors with black.

Here are a few of the things I’ve started knitting this year and are still languishing on the needles. And of course my Citron is still in progress. I’d knit on it more, but the rows are SO DAMN LONG at this point. Ugh.

A collage of four pictures. Clockwise from top left: The cuff of a ribbed mitt in blues and purple; the start of a hot pink shawl; the start of a purple shawl in a half moon shape; and the another purple and black shawl about halfway a long

I also did some cross stitch at the end of the year. Just a couple ornaments, and I can’t find the Santa I finished, darn it! It’s really cute, too.

A square with four images, but it's the same two pictures are repeated in alternate corners. Upper left & bottom right is a cross stitched snowman with a hat and scarf stitched on a wooden ornament; Upper right and lower left is a Christmas tree with blue, pink, and green striped "leaves" and at the bottom it says "Merry & Bright"

Professionally, I edited/proofed 479,269 words. And for series bibles it was 772,287 words. Which means for work I read 1,251,556 words. That…seems like a lot. But really it wasn’t. I’m shooting for more for next year.

SHAMELESS PLUG: I have openings for edits in February, or if anyone needs a series bible done, e-mail me for rates and info.

As for my reading, I have a bunch of interesting stats. At least they’re interesting to me. LOL. I read 228 books this year. My original goal was 250, but sometime in September I knew I wouldn’t hit that, so I changed my goal to 200. Out of the 228 books, 104 were new reads and 124 were re-reads. I knew it would be close between new and re-reads, but I think this is the first year I re-read more than read new.

38 books of the 228 were from authors of color. There may have been more, but those are the only authors I know for sure. I wish I could say I read more individual authors, but really most of those were me glomming Shelly Laurenston and Holley Trent. And now I have Farrah Rochon’s backlist to go through in 2019.

I read 42 audio books, 182 digital books (mostly Kindle and the rest ARCs/manuscripts), and 4 physical books which total over 64,000 pages.

My shortest book was Tabula Rasa by Ophelia Bell (30 pages) and my longest is the Desert Guards compilation by Holley Trent (1,175 pages). The oldest book I read was The Vow by Dallas Schulze, which is a Silhouette Intimate Moments from 1989. The most popular book I read was Becoming by Michelle Obama. No surprise there. LOL. According to GR, 45,850 other people also read it.

The books I’ve read twice this year are:

Kristen Ashley: Rough Ride, Rock Chick Reawakening, and The Hookup

Shelly Laurenston: In a Badger WayBeast Behaving Badly

Dana Marie Bell: Sorry, Charlie

Lila Rose: Breakout

Suzanne Wright: Lure of Oblivion, Wild Hunger


Is It Finished Yet?

Last week at knitting one of our friends had started a shawl. Just a basic shawl, but she’s using two contrasting colors. It looked like it was about 20 rows of dark blue and 20 rows of a wildly variegated yarn. It was fun and looked gorgeous, but she’s a new knitter (though she’s crocheted since she was young) and was carrying the yarn up the sides because she hates weaving ends.

Maridee showed it to the group and asked our opinions on whether to carry up the sides or rip it back and reknit, starting each section with new yarn. To be honest, I don’t think we even let her finish her question. Yes, she absolutely had to rip it back. No, she couldn’t keep carrying the yarn. She was disappointed, but she knew it was the right decision, she was just hoping we’d tell her what she wanted to hear. While we understood and empathized, no, we weren’t going to let her get away with it.

Friends don’t let friends knit badly.

That started a whole discussion on weaving in ends and blocking. I was the oddball of the group. I mentioned I loved finishing. I loved taking that finished object and weaving in all the ends. And blocking! I love blocking, too. I don’t do it too often, because furniture needs to be moved when I do, so I let it pile up, but I love it. I love the transformation knitted things go through when blocked, or even just washed and laid flat. Blocking is magic!

Heather stared at me a little confused. “It’s weird. You’re saying the same things about finishing I do, but…you sound CHEERY about it. I don’t understand.”

Me, happily: I let all the finishing pile up and then I’ll turn on the TV and sit for a few hours until it’s all done!

Her, grumpily: I let all the finishing pile up and then I’ll turn on the TV and sit for a few hours until it’s all done!

Me, happily: I weave in all the ends, and then it’s finally finished!

Her, grumpily: I weave in all the ends, and then it’s finally finished!

Tone is everything. I was mocked a little, but in a way only good friends do. And I KNOW Heather is trying to figure out a way to get me to do her finishing in the future. (Nice try!)

What about you? Do you love weaving in ends? Do you loathe it and wish you could get someone else to do it for you? Do you let them pile up and get them all done in one fell swoop, or do you do them as soon as the knitting/crocheting is done?

Lynda the Guppy
aka The Finishing is Fun Fish
aka The Fish With Sticks

Be Fearless!

One of the things I hear people say a lot about knitting* is “Oh, I could NEVER do that” or “That’s WAY too hard” or “I’m not nearly as smart/good/clever as you. I could never knit like that.”

What a crock of bull.

We knitters are not knitting because we expect to churn out store-quality items. Our stuff has mistakes unintentional anomalies personal design choices, and, really, we like it better that way. It assures us that all our projects are different. Even if 200 people choose the same pattern, all our projects will look different. Maybe we made it bigger or smaller or fuzzy or striped or random. Whatever we choose, we all choose to knit because it fulfills something within each of us.

As important as knitting is in my life, as much as I love it, as much as it challenges me and satisfies me, it is NOT rocket science. Nor is it brain surgery, or anything else where someone will die if I don’t finish this row of lace correctly. If I use the crochet hook method to attach beads instead of pre-stringing, I’m not going to be burned at the stake.

THERE ARE NO KNITTING POLICE. I swear. They don’t exist. If they did, I would have been locked up with the key thrown away YEARS ago.

Therefore, when people say they’re afraid of learning something new or taking a risk, I just don’t understand it. What’s the worst that will happen? You have to rip it out. Seriously? My first sock, I ripped out every day for two WEEKS. You know what happened? Absolutely nothing. Well, other than learning I don’t like knitting socks. LOL And there are a lot of ways to start a toe. The building didn’t collapse. The yarn didn’t explode because I ripped it out X many times. Was it pretty? Umm…No. It was so Fugly it made the Yarn Harlot’s blog. (She very politely suggested I had gauge issues). It WAS, however, a sock.

If you look at something and decide it’s not for you or you just don’t want to try because you don’t like it, that’s one thing. Knitter’s Choice. But to not knit something because you think you can’t is, in my opinion, silly. Of course you can. All you need to do is find a good place to learn, whether that’s your local yarn store, your knitting group, YouTube, whatever. My knitting group is a big fan of the Debbie Stoller Stitch ‘N Bitch books. Every time we need to learn something, we almost always find it in one of those.

So the next time you’re faced with something in knitting which challenges you, TAKE THE RISK! And if you don’t like it/don’t get it/don’t want to do it, then rip it out and do something else.


The world won’t end.

I promise.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fearless Knitter Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks

*Every time I say “Knit”, “Knitter”, or “Knitting”, feel free to read it as “Crochet”, “Crocheter”, or “Crocheting.” Don’t want to be accused of being monofiberphobic.

Call Me The Bag Lady (2 of 30)

I have a confession to make. I was a Ziploc Knitter. You know the kind. Someone who has a ton of different little bags and pouches in That Drawer every knitter has. The one filled with little bags and pouches and 17 tape measures you can never find and a half-dozen yarn cutters even though you usually end up hand-breaking the yarn because you never have one with you. That Drawer. 

Even though I had all those little bags and pouches, the only one I really used with any regularity was the Stuff It Sack from Tom Bihn. And I did like it. It was a good size, shape, had a cord lock on the drawstring so it wouldn’t accidentally open and dump everything out in your purse. Let’s face it, though. It was boring. Just plain grey fabric. Snooze. 

Last Christmas my Tuesday Knitting Group had gift exchange. The rules were spend less than $10 and/or feel free to stash dive. I don’t remember who gave me my first Slipped Stitch Studios project bag, (Maridee?), but it was this great, but subtle, Day of the Dead fabric. It didn’t scream LOOK! SKULLS! It was perfect. It was an excellent size and shape. It held what I was working on easily. I could toss it in my purse and not worry about the contents. I totally and completely fell in love. Next I bought myself a couple that had movie monsters like Werewolves and Frankenstein’s monster. I picked up one in the sock size and one in the 2-skein size, which was the size Maridee(?) had given me. 

At this point I had come to realize nearly everyone in my knitting group had AT LEAST one bag from Laura, and mom was trying to steal the Day of the Dead bag every time I wasn’t looking. 

 Then…The L.A. Yarn Crawl. I might have sort of maybe gone a little insane. A little bit.


I bought 14 bags. 

You heard me. 14. 

Now, before you all flip out, not ALL of them were for me. In self-defense, I had purchased a number of them for mom so she would stop trying to steal mine. It didn’t work. She kept trying. LOL. 

Since then, I’ve added a Halloween bag, and then here’s where Laura knows how to get me. 


My geeky little knitter’s heart nearly exploded.

Here’s all my goodies. Feel free to click to make them bigger…on the outside this time. LOL

Sock bag… 

2-skein bag…

Pattern Wallet…

And magnets for the Pattern Wallet…

Stitch Markers. How cute are these?!…

Tin Box…

And since Van Gogh is my favorite artist EVER, and Starry Night is one of my favorite paintings EVER, and I found out Laura’s doing a “Vincent and Doctor Who” Bag of the Month? Oh, dude. I’m SOOOOO THERE. I’m so there I put in my order with her before she ever announced what was included or the prices. LOL.

Fabric gimmicks aside, I really love these bags. I haven’t used any ziplocs since I bought enough bags for my “regular” projects. They’re well made and the perfect sizes for your different knitting projects. 

 Lynda the Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks
aka The Fish With The Bag Addiction

Knitting for the Holidays (#13 of 30)

I’m currently going through a tough time. I REALLY REALLY want to knit things for me, but I have a lot of Christmas knitting to do this year. I have a small thing for my mom for her birthday (which was over a week ago), a big thing for her for Christmas, not to mention my annual Christmas Ornament for my family members. I have a lot of knitting in a very short time!!!!


I have a lacy thing and a plain garter stitch thing in my knitting bag as relief projects for when the gift knitting gets to me and I just have to have a hit of something else before I go mad. LOL

So what, if anything, are you knitting for the holidays? Are you knitting gifts? What do you do to keep yourself sane while knitting gifts? Are you knitting for yourself as a balm to the insanity of gift giving? 

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka A Holiday Knitting Machine (no, not really)