Monday, February 6, 2017

2017 Reading Challenge: Week 6

This week, I read Summerlong by Peter Beagle for week 12 (A book based on a myth).  I'm a fan of this author's writing, and this book is definitely in the same "voice".  A lovely, somewhat bittersweet retelling of the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades (with Demeter thrown in for good measure.  I don't think this book was as strong as The Last Unicorn (which is one of my favorites), but I enjoyed it and appreciated the subtle plot twists that intertwined the myth and it's characters with contemporary day folks.  What was it Karin Blixen says in Out of Africa?  When the gods wish to punish you, they answer your prayers.  Yeah... that.  The characters are slowly revealed with all their human issues and it turns out the gods aren't so perfect either. 

Next up, week 51, a collection - in this case of retold Fairy Tales, sent by my dad since he knows what I like.  :)



The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016
2. A book with at least 2 perspectives (multiple points of view): Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce.
3. A book you meant to read in 2016
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  
5. A historical fiction
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017 
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title
8. A book written by a person of color
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list:
10. A dual-timeline novel: 
11. A category from another challenge: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.
12. A book based on a myth:  Summerlong by Peter Beagle.
13. A book recommended by one of your favorite authors
14. A book with a strong female character
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland)
16. A mystery
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
18. A really long book (600+ pages)
19. A New York Times best-seller
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read
22. A book by an author you haven't read before:  The Secrets of Wishtide, by Kate Saunders.
23. A book from the BBC "The Big Read" list (
link)
24. A book written by at least two authors
25. A book about a famous historical figure
26. An adventure book
27. A book by one of your favorite authors
28. A non-fiction
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (
link)
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre
32. A book with a long title (5+ words, excluding subtitle):  I Shall Be Near to You by Erin McCabe.
33. A magical realism novel
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (
link)
37. A book you choose randomly
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature
39. An epistolary fiction
40. A book published in 2017
41. A book with an unreliable narrator
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far)
43. A book with a chilling atmosphere (scary, unsettling, cold):  Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase.
44. A recommendation from "What Should I Read Next" (
link)
45. A book with a one-word title: Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
46. A time travel novel
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (
link)
48. A banned book
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) 
52. A book set in a fictional location

Monday, January 30, 2017

2017 Reading Challenge: Week Five

Finished reading Prairie Girl and thoroughly enjoyed this one!  I loved all of the historical notes and tidbits, photos, drawings and generally in depth footnotes.

I take back what I originally said about I Shall Be Near To You (week #32) topic.  The first half was a bit of a tough go, but I'm glad I perservered and read this one through to the end.  The author really found the main character's voice in the second half of the book.  Not an easy read - this one made me cry, which doesn't happen very often - but the last 3 chapters were beautifully written and pulled this one together for me.  Recommended for historical fiction/Civil War buffs.  If you do decide to pick up a copy to read, zip to the back and read the 2-page author's note about the actual historical person she based this story on.  It doesn't really give away the story, and I felt like I would have enjoyed the first half a bit more knowing a back story on it. (See last week's post for a bit of a synopsis of the plot.)

And finally, I absolutely consumed Uprooted by Naomi Novik, which I read for week #45: A book with a 1-word title.  I LOVED this one!!  Not exactly a retelling of a fairy tale, but it draws on the fairy tale tradition, with lots of epic adventure, well-developed characters, magic, and great writing.  A win/win kind of book as far as I'm concerned.  I think it would even work as a "young adult" kind of book, but it's not really juvenile either (so adults will enjoy it).  Although it's early in the year, I think this one likely will go on my Top 5 list for 2017.  The author has several other books, so I may check those out as well.  This one I was devastated to see end - I wanted to spent more time with the Dragon and our heroine, Agnieszka, and wish I could spend a weekend with her wandering in the Wood. 


The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016
2. A book with at least 2 perspectives (multiple points of view): Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce.
3. A book you meant to read in 2016
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  
5. A historical fiction
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017 
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title
8. A book written by a person of color
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list:
10. A dual-timeline novel: 
11. A category from another challenge: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.
12. A book based on a myth
13. A book recommended by one of your favorite authors
14. A book with a strong female character
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland)
16. A mystery
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
18. A really long book (600+ pages)
19. A New York Times best-seller
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read
22. A book by an author you haven't read before:  The Secrets of Wishtide, by Kate Saunders.
23. A book from the BBC "The Big Read" list (
link)
24. A book written by at least two authors
25. A book about a famous historical figure
26. An adventure book
27. A book by one of your favorite authors
28. A non-fiction
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (
link)
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre
32. A book with a long title (5+ words, excluding subtitle):  I Shall Be Near to You by Erin McCabe.
33. A magical realism novel
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (
link)
37. A book you choose randomly
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature
39. An epistolary fiction
40. A book published in 2017
41. A book with an unreliable narrator
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far)
43. A book with a chilling atmosphere (scary, unsettling, cold):  Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase.
44. A recommendation from "What Should I Read Next" (
link)
45. A book with a one-word title: Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
46. A time travel novel
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (
link)
48. A banned book
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) 
52. A book set in a fictional location

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Stitching Thursday: January 26, 2017

Here's my progress on various and sundry things this past week:

I put about 900+ stitches into my Decorating the Wreath by Heaven and Earth Designs.  It now looks like this:


I watched a really helpful tutorial on YouTube by Pam of Pam's Crafty Corner about working a single color of thread cross-country per page, and the lightbulb went off for me, so I'm going to try working the remainder of the page in this fashion.  It seems to speed up the stitching (or at least it appears that way), since you aren't changing out colors and starting/stopping threads as much this way.  I figure it's worth a try to see if I can make some more focused progress on this piece.

I'm also thinking of switching up my rotation going forward in February, and making this my focus for a finish piece by working on it during Fri/Sat/Sun of every week, and then keeping the other 3 projects I've got going on a weekly rotation for the other 4 days.  It will mean those other projects won't potentially get finished as quickly, but it will mean I will finish this one up faster (that's my hope anyway!).  I'm going to give it a bit more thought, but I'm leaning towards that.

This week in my current rotation was time to work on The Drawn Thread's Winter Garden.  When I last worked on it, I had finished page 1 of 3 (with a bit more on page 4, but not a full page), and here's where I am on it currently (about halfway through page 2).  The center of the design is the middle of the red door (located over the word "winter" pictured below).


I'd thought I'd get through most of page 2 while it was out for rotation this week, but the house is taking a lot longer to complete than I thought it would, so likely that won't happen.  I'll have another day or two to work on it, but then it'll go away for another couple of weeks until I rotate back to it in February.

Next week part #2 of the Under the Sea SAL comes out on February 2nd, and this Friday the next clue in the Welcome mystery SAL will be released as well, so I'll have those to work on here in the short term.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

WIP Wednesday: January 25, 2017

An overview of what I'm currently working on:

Sekret Knitting:
  • Just about done the shawl sample I'm taking to Stitches West.  Worked up using a new speckled dye colorway and a tonal solid, this is a fairly easy elongated crescent-shaped shawl that I'll have as a featured kit in the booth.

  • I have (I think) 2 more rows of increases to do for the cabled sweater I'm working on for a Filament magazine issue.  I'm working this one up in a yummy merino/cashmere/silk DK weight from Shalimar Yarns in the Water's Edge colorway.  
  • On deck is the sample for the March Sweater club, which will be knit up in my Freya DK (100% BFL yarn).
I've got no personal knitting on the go right now, as I'm mostly just attempting to get thru the deadline knitting that I've got queued up for the next 2 months.  Once I get the shawl finished up, I'll cast on for a hat/mittens set that's for the same Filament magazine issue since those are a fairly easy project (comparatively speaking).  All of the above need to be finished up by the first weekend in March, so until I get to that point, I'm going to not put anything other than work knitting on the needles!

Monday, January 23, 2017

2017 Reading Challenge: Week 4

I'm still reading my way through Prairie Girl (and loving every tidbit of every note!), but hoping to finish that up this week.  I've just finished the chapter on The Long Winter (1880-1881) and it makes you appreciate your local grocery store, even if they do run out of milk and TP during winter storms occasionally!

I've also been reading I Shall Be Near to You by Erin McCabe, for week #32: A book with a long title.  The author drew from a group of existant historical documents of American women who dressed as men (for one reason or another) and went off to fight in the Civil War.  The book is fiction, so it's a mashup of several of the stories she researched.  The main character leaves her family to follow her young, newly-wed husband off to war, and they've marched from New York to Virginia to fight.  (They are fighting for the Union.)  Rosetta (aka Ross) is a strong female character, but so far the book is a little....adrift?  She's also more than a little annoying (she makes me want to smack her a lot).  I'll reserve further judgment on this one until I'm finished it.  Not awful/not great - but definitely not a book I have been highly engaged with up to this point.

The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016
2. A book with at least 2 perspectives (multiple points of view): Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce.
3. A book you meant to read in 2016
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  
5. A historical fiction
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017 
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title
8. A book written by a person of color
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list:
10. A dual-timeline novel: 
11. A category from another challenge: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.
12. A book based on a myth
13. A book recommended by one of your favorite authors
14. A book with a strong female character
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland)
16. A mystery
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
18. A really long book (600+ pages)
19. A New York Times best-seller
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read
22. A book by an author you haven't read before:  The Secrets of Wishtide, by Kate Saunders.
23. A book from the BBC "The Big Read" list (
link)
24. A book written by at least two authors
25. A book about a famous historical figure
26. An adventure book
27. A book by one of your favorite authors
28. A non-fiction
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (
link)
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre
32. A book with a long title (5+ words, excluding subtitle):  I Shall Be Near to You by Erin McCabe.
33. A magical realism novel
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (
link)
37. A book you choose randomly
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature
39. An epistolary fiction
40. A book published in 2017
41. A book with an unreliable narrator
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far)
43. A book with a chilling atmosphere (scary, unsettling, cold):  Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase.
44. A recommendation from "What Should I Read Next" (
link)
45. A book with a one-word title
46. A time travel novel
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (
link)
48. A banned book
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) 
52. A book set in a fictional location

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Stitching Thursday: January 19, 2017

This week, I've been working on my Decorating the Wreath/Heaven and Earth Designs project.  I'm going to be switching up my weekly rotation a bit, as I've decided to participate in Terry/Stitching Petunia's challenge #2, and will be working on this full-coverage project a bit every week.  I calculated that I would need to work about 325 sts every week from now until the end of 2017 in order to have this project finished (which I really want to have happen!), so I'm going to put this in at the beginning of every week's rotation and try to stick to that.  I'll then work on whatever other project I have earmarked for rotation that week for the remaining days.

So... Decorating the Wreath now looks like this, and I'll be focusing on it for the rest of this week - thru Saturday.



Last week, I finished up the 2 clues that were released for the Tempting Tangles Welcome SAL, so that is caught up until the next clue releases in another week.  I'm loving the thistles!


I also finished up block #1 of the Village of Hawk Run Hollow, and I recharted the bits of block #2 I wanted to personalize, so I'll be ready to start that in February.



For next week, after I finish up my 325 +/- stitches on Decorating the Wreath, I'll pull out my Winter Garden piece from the Drawn Thread and put some time in on that one.  (Here's where I was when I put it away in December.)




Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2017 Reading Challenge: Week 3

I finished up Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce, for week #2: A book with at least 2 perspectives. While I can't say this was a book I was in love with, it's a book that I will be thinking about in the future and would recommend for thoughtful reading.  While the vehicle to move the story along is the old fairy tale about maidens being whisked off by the "people under the hill" during May Day, it's really an exploration of what is reality?  And whose reality is right?  I found this one well-written, and despite the fact the store unfolds from multiple view-points, it was easily followed and not disjointed at all.

Right now, I'm getting my history geek buttons pushed with Laura Ingalls Wilder's annotated biography, Prairie Girl, for week 17 - a book with illustrations.  This is exactly the kind of history book a like - lots of little details, photos of the people described, maps, handwritten diary entries and letters.  I'm having a hard time putting this one down!

The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016
2. A book with at least 2 perspectives (multiple points of view): Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce.
3. A book you meant to read in 2016
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  
5. A historical fiction
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017 
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title
8. A book written by a person of color
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list:
10. A dual-timeline novel: 
11. A category from another challenge: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.
12. A book based on a myth
13. A book recommended by one of your favorite authors
14. A book with a strong female character
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland)
16. A mystery
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
18. A really long book (600+ pages)
19. A New York Times best-seller
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read
22. A book by an author you haven't read before:  The Secrets of Wishtide, by Kate Saunders.
23. A book from the BBC "The Big Read" list (
link)
24. A book written by at least two authors
25. A book about a famous historical figure
26. An adventure book
27. A book by one of your favorite authors
28. A non-fiction
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (
link)
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre
32. A book with a long title (5+ words, excluding subtitle)
33. A magical realism novel
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (
link)
37. A book you choose randomly
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature
39. An epistolary fiction
40. A book published in 2017
41. A book with an unreliable narrator
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far)
43. A book with a chilling atmosphere (scary, unsettling, cold):  Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase.
44. A recommendation from "What Should I Read Next" (
link)
45. A book with a one-word title
46. A time travel novel
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (
link)
48. A banned book
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) 
52. A book set in a fictional location