Monday, May 30, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge: Week 22

Wow - you know what?  I NEVER put a book down - I make myself finish what I start - but The Biographer's Tale wins the prize for making me run screaming away from a book.  I couldn't even get through the first chapter.  A fairly dubious honor, eh?  I put in a hold for Circling the Sun at our library, which I had wanted to read and apparently should have just chosen instead of being impatient to start a new book.

So, in the meantime, I grabbed The Scribe by Matthew Guinn (for week #32 - a historical fiction).  Much better!  A murder mystery set in Atlanta during Reconstruction.  Lots of great historical back-story in this one and a decidedly creepy tale.  I zipped through this one in a couple of days while I was knitting stockinette.

On tap for the next week are 2 books:
The first is for week #6, the Goodreads highest rated to-be-read book, which is The Clockmaster by Betsy Tobin, who is the author of Iceland that I read last year and LOVED.  This one happens to be a short story, so I suspect it will be a quick read.
The second is for week 16: A book from the top 100 mystery novels.  I picked The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman.  I haven't read any of his books, and they are all set out here in Santa Fe and in the Southwest, so I thought I might enjoy that.


24/52

The 2016 List
1. A book you meant to read in 2015, but didn't.  Entwined by Heather Dixon - DONE.
2. A book set in a different continent: Circling the Sun by Paula McLain.
3. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2015 (winner or nominated) - The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (audio)
4. A book by an author you discovered in 2015: Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr - DONE.
5. A book with a title beginning with the 1st letter of your name:  Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose - DONE.
6. The highest rated on your TBR: The Clockmaster by Betsy Tobin.
7. A book about books - Gutenberg's Apprentice - Alix Christie - DONE.
8. A classic book with less than 200 pages:  Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence - DONE
9. A book that was mentioned in another book
10. A book by an author you feel you should have read by now
11. A book from the Rory Gilmore challenge
12. A childhood classic:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling - DONE.
13. Reader’s Choice:  Vienna Nocturne by Vivien Shotwell - DONE.
14. A book with one of the five W’s -or H in the title (Who/What/Where/When/Why/How) What She Left - T.R. Richmond - DONE.
15. A book set in the past (more than 100 years ago):  Cervantes Street by Jamie Manrique - DONE.
16. A book from the top 100 mystery novels:  The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman.
17. A book with a beautiful cover: Bluebeard's Egg by Margaret Atwood
18. A book on a summer/beach reading list
19. A non-fiction book - Lives in Ruins by Marilyn Johnson - DONE.
20. A book with a first name in the title
21. A book from the Goodreads Recommendations page
22. The first book in a new to you series
23. The next book in a series you are reading
24. A "between the numbers" book of a series (0.5, 1,5, 2.5, etc.):  The Three Monarchs by Anthony Horowitz - DONE.
25. A book whose main character is in a profession that interests you
26. A book everyone is talking about - Knitlandia by Clara Parkes - DONE.
27. A book with a beautiful title (in your own opinion): Belle Cora - Richard Margulies - DONE.
28. A biography, autobiography, or memoir: Jack London: An American Life by Earle Labor - DONE.
29. A book by an author who writes under more than one name:  The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) - DONE.
30. A fairytale from a culture other than your own
31. A work of young adult fiction:  The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge. DONE.
32. A historical fiction book: The Scribe by Matthew Guin - DONE.
33. The 16th book on your TBR
34. A book about mental illness: Adeline by Norah Vincent - DONE
35. An award winning book: River of Doubt by Candice Millard - DONE.
36. An identity book - a book about a different culture, religion or sexual orientation:  Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides - DONE.
37. A book that you've seen the movie of but haven't read
38. A book about an anti hero:  Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace - DONE.
39. A previous suggestion that did not make it into the list
40. A novella from your favorite genre:
41. A book about a major world event (fiction or non-fiction): The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure - DONE.
42. A top 100 fantasy novel
43. A book about a thing that goes bump in the night
44. A book you're embarrassed to read in public
45. A book related to a hobby or passion you have
46. A crime story:  The Cutting Season by Attica Locke - DONE.
47. A book with a type of food/drink in the title
48. A dystopia
49. A book with a great opening line
50. A book originally written in a language other than English:  Tove Jansson's The Summer Book - DONE.
51. A short story from a well-known author
52. A book published in 2016

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

WIP Wednesday: May 25, 2016

This week's podcast episode is now live wherein I talk about all the things (and I mean ALL the things) that I've got on the needles right now:


For those of you just here for the drive-by version, I'm working on:

Sekret Knitting:

  • Fall 2016 design collection sweater #2: I've got the body just about done on this.  I have half the front to finish shaping at the neckline and about 14 rows to knit of the back.  Sleeve #1 is done, so I plan on working on sleeve 2 this weekend.
  • Fall 2016 design collection shawl:  On the needles currently.  I just cast this one on (it's not even mentioned on the podcast!), but it's my focus project this upcoming week. 
Personal Knitting:  A caveat that I have several things at the 99% done stage - I'm waiting for Stash Dash 2016 to start on Friday (05/27/2016) to cast those off to be able to count the yardage.
  • The Lizzie Shawl: I have 1 repeat of the knit-on lace edging to do and then this is done!
  • Hermione's Everyday Socks:  I have just the final toe decreases to finish and then these are done!
  • Espresso Macchiato Socks: I have 1 final heel to knit and then these are done!
  • Handspun Targhee socks:  New to the line-up.  I'm not using a specific pattern, per se, but just a plain vanilla sock over 60 sts with size US 2 needles. 

  • Whirlwind Romance shawl: Cast this on using one of my oldest stash yarns, Lisa Souza Sock!, 100% SW merino wool.  I'm using some silver-lined clear beads for this.



Sunday, May 22, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge: Week 21


This week, I finished up Lives in Ruins (for week 19).  This book wasn't what I thought it was going to be about.  I assumed from the tagline "Archeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble" that the book would cover interesting archealogical finds, things hidden in the everyday flotsam and jetsam that came to light in a dig.  Uh.  No.  This book is about archeologists in the 21st century; which is to say, this is mostly a book about being underfunded and having to do a lot of paperwork.  I "get" that today's archeologists are not Indiana Jones, all swashbuckling adventurers, but geez... there is SOME excitement in finding things undiscovered that tell you about a past society, or the lives of people who came before, isn't there?  Not really if this book is any indication.  I finished it.  That's all I've got to say about that.

Next up, I zipped through Entwined by Heather Dixon for week #1's topic: A book I meant to read in 2015, but didn't.  I had this one sitting on my Kindle, so I decided to read that this weekend.  This YA book is a retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses fairy tale.  I had a hard time getting into this one.  The first quarter or so has a lot of whining and teenage angst.  However, I stuck with it and was rewarded with a lovely, beautiful story by the end.  All the things you love about fairy tales - and I appreciated the fact that, while the eldest princess (our heroine, Azalea) comes into her own at the end of the book, it stays true to the (fairy-tale-ized) Victorian feel of the story in terms of social rules and etiquette.  A wonderful interwoven story with lots of dancing and magic, and the power of true love.  One of my favorites so far this year.

On tap for this week is The Biographer's Tale for week #2 (a book set on a different continent - both Africa and the Artic).

The 2016 List
1. A book you meant to read in 2015, but didn't.  Entwined by Heather Dixon - DONE.
2. A book set in a different continent: The Biographer's Tale by AS Hyatt.
3. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2015 (winner or nominated) - The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (audio)
4. A book by an author you discovered in 2015: Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr - DONE.
5. A book with a title beginning with the 1st letter of your name:  Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose - DONE.
6. The highest rated on your TBR
7. A book about books - Gutenberg's Apprentice - Alix Christie - DONE.
8. A classic book with less than 200 pages:  Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence - DONE
9. A book that was mentioned in another book
10. A book by an author you feel you should have read by now
11. A book from the Rory Gilmore challenge
12. A childhood classic:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling - DONE.
13. Reader’s Choice:  Vienna Nocturne by Vivien Shotwell - DONE.
14. A book with one of the five W’s -or H in the title (Who/What/Where/When/Why/How) What She Left - T.R. Richmond - DONE.
15. A book set in the past (more than 100 years ago):  Cervantes Street by Jamie Manrique - DONE.
16. A book from the top 100 mystery novels
17. A book with a beautiful cover: Bluebeard's Egg by Margaret Atwood
18. A book on a summer/beach reading list
19. A non-fiction book - Lives in Ruins by Marilyn Johnson - DONE.
20. A book with a first name in the title
21. A book from the Goodreads Recommendations page
22. The first book in a new to you series
23. The next book in a series you are reading
24. A "between the numbers" book of a series (0.5, 1,5, 2.5, etc.):  The Three Monarchs by Anthony Horowitz - DONE.
25. A book whose main character is in a profession that interests you
26. A book everyone is talking about - Knitlandia by Clara Parkes - DONE.
27. A book with a beautiful title (in your own opinion): Belle Cora - Richard Margulies - DONE.
28. A biography, autobiography, or memoir: Jack London: An American Life by Earle Labor - DONE.
29. A book by an author who writes under more than one name:  The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) - DONE.
30. A fairytale from a culture other than your own
31. A work of young adult fiction:  The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge. DONE.
32. A historical fiction book
33. The 16th book on your TBR
34. A book about mental illness: Adeline by Norah Vincent - DONE
35. An award winning book: River of Doubt by Candice Millard - DONE.
36. An identity book - a book about a different culture, religion or sexual orientation:  Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides - DONE.
37. A book that you've seen the movie of but haven't read
38. A book about an anti hero:  Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace - DONE.
39. A previous suggestion that did not make it into the list
40. A novella from your favorite genre:
41. A book about a major world event (fiction or non-fiction): The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure - DONE.
42. A top 100 fantasy novel
43. A book about a thing that goes bump in the night
44. A book you're embarrassed to read in public
45. A book related to a hobby or passion you have
46. A crime story:  The Cutting Season by Attica Locke - DONE.
47. A book with a type of food/drink in the title
48. A dystopia
49. A book with a great opening line
50. A book originally written in a language other than English:  Tove Jansson's The Summer Book - DONE.
51. A short story from a well-known author
52. A book published in 2016

Friday, May 20, 2016

Spinning Friday: May 20, 2016

I haven't had a spinning Friday post in a while - but here's what I've been up to most recently!

This past week, I've been spinning the singles from the May Wooly Wonka Fibers club, which are a lovely soft blend of 80% merino wool and 20% silk.  The colorway was inspired by Salvadore Dali's painting "Persistence of Memory".


I've spun up the first half of the singles, which I'm trying to keep fairly fine with the aim of producing a 2-ply fingering weight yarn from this.


I'm going to try to get the second half of the singles spun up over the weekend, and while I normally like to ply things up fairly promptly, I'm going to hold off on these and ply them after StashDash 2016 starts, so I can count the yardage.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

WIP Wednesday: May 18, 2016

Happy WIP Wednesday, y'all!  If you want a bunch of details, you can pop into my podcast, Episode 14, where I talk about the things I'm working on here:



Show notes can also be found in my Ravelry group here.

For the short version, here's what I'm working on:

Sekret Knitting:

  • I've finished up the cardigan for the 2016 fall design collection.  That's heading off to my TE and testing shortly. 
  • I've cast on for the pullover for the fall design collection.  This is a DK-weight pullover and I've got one sleeve just about done (I need to finish shaping the sleeve cap) and started on the body.  I'm hoping to get through at least half the body this week so I can hopefully put in some focused time and have that completely done by the end of the first week of June.
Personal Knitting:  In general, I'm gearing up for StashDash 2016, which kicks off May 27th,  and trying not to cast off very much right now, so I've got a bunch of things on the go!
  • May self-striping socks in the "Kiva" colorway on Wooly Wonka Fibers Aerten Sock, using CC Almon's Espresso Macchiato Socks pattern. IOne sock is done (just needs blocking).  I've got the other one finished except for the afterthought heel - which I'll do after StashDash starts.
  • Hermione's Everyday Socks knit from Spun Right Round's 80/20 Sock in the "Dirty Denim" colorway.  One sock finished and the second one is OTN, about a third of the way done the leg.  My plan is to try to get these done except for perhaps the toe on sock #2 so I can cast those off once StashDash starts.
  • The Lizzie Shawl, a reknit of one of my designs with updated increases and a new colorway.  Working this up on Nimue Sock in the medium size in the Miss Elizabeth Bennett colorway.  I'm a bit further along than this progress photo.  This is at the end of the garter-stitch section, and I've done half the knit-on lace edging/border already.  Again.... I'm planning to try to have this done except for the last lace edging repeat, so I can cast it off for StashDash yardage.
  • I'm also working on squares for my Cozy Memories/mitered square scrap sock yarn blanket.  Those are ongoing and I'm shooting for 4 a week or thereabouts. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge: Week 20

I finished up Gutenberg's Apprentice by Alix Christie for week #7 - a book about books. I guess I thought I knew about the basics of the first printing press, but I was wrong!  Tons and tons of the mechanics I hadn't thought about were interwoven into this story about Gutenberg and his apprentice, Peter Schoeffer, who later became one of Germany's foremost book printers/sellers.  I will say that it is helpful to have at least a passing knowledge of European history in the 1400s.  There are a lot of references to the Crusades and church politics that influence the events in the story and if you aren't at least basically up-to-speed on the overlying history, some of it might be a bit confusing (or at least send you off to look up some footnotes).  I really enjoyed this one - enough meat in the story to really sink my teeth into and I won't ever take the written/printed book for granted again having followed all the challenges I hadn't even thought of in getting everything to work correctly.

Next up, I started a book for week #19 - a nonfiction book: Lives in Ruins by Marilyn Johnson.  The subtitle for this one is Archeaologist and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble.  I picked this one up because I thought it'd be about specific archeaological finds - burial mounds, bog people, underwater wrecks - but it's really more about the people who are archeaologists and not about the finds, per se.  Not exactly what I thought, but I'll plow along through it and see if it redeems itself a bit further on. I'm about a third of the way through this one so far.


22/52


The 2016 List
1. A book you meant to read in 2015, but didn't.
2. A book set in a different continent
3. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2015 (winner or nominated)
4. A book by an author you discovered in 2015: Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr - DONE.
5. A book with a title beginning with the 1st letter of your name:  Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose - DONE.
6. The highest rated on your TBR
7. A book about books - Gutenberg's Apprentice - Alix Christie - DONE.
8. A classic book with less than 200 pages:  Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence - DONE
9. A book that was mentioned in another book
10. A book by an author you feel you should have read by now
11. A book from the Rory Gilmore challenge
12. A childhood classic:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling - DONE.
13. Reader’s Choice:  Vienna Nocturne by Vivien Shotwell - DONE.
14. A book with one of the five W’s -or H in the title (Who/What/Where/When/Why/How) What She Left - T.R. Richmond - DONE.
15. A book set in the past (more than 100 years ago):  Cervantes Street by Jamie Manrique - DONE.
16. A book from the top 100 mystery novels
17. A book with a beautiful cover: Bluebeard's Egg by Margaret Atwood
18. A book on a summer/beach reading list
19. A non-fiction book - Lives in Ruins by Marilyn Johnson.
20. A book with a first name in the title
21. A book from the Goodreads Recommendations page
22. The first book in a new to you series
23. The next book in a series you are reading
24. A "between the numbers" book of a series (0.5, 1,5, 2.5, etc.):  The Three Monarchs by Anthony Horowitz - DONE.
25. A book whose main character is in a profession that interests you
26. A book everyone is talking about - Knitlandia by Clara Parkes - DONE.
27. A book with a beautiful title (in your own opinion): Belle Cora - Richard Margulies - DONE.
28. A biography, autobiography, or memoir: Jack London: An American Life by Earle Labor - DONE.
29. A book by an author who writes under more than one name:  The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) - DONE.
30. A fairytale from a culture other than your own
31. A work of young adult fiction:  The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge. DONE.
32. A historical fiction book
33. The 16th book on your TBR
34. A book about mental illness: Adeline by Norah Vincent - DONE
35. An award winning book: River of Doubt by Candice Millard - DONE.
36. An identity book - a book about a different culture, religion or sexual orientation:  Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides - DONE.
37. A book that you've seen the movie of but haven't read
38. A book about an anti hero:  Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace - DONE.
39. A previous suggestion that did not make it into the list
40. A novella from your favorite genre:
41. A book about a major world event (fiction or non-fiction): The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure - DONE.
42. A top 100 fantasy novel
43. A book about a thing that goes bump in the night
44. A book you're embarrassed to read in public
45. A book related to a hobby or passion you have
46. A crime story:  The Cutting Season by Attica Locke - DONE.
47. A book with a type of food/drink in the title
48. A dystopia
49. A book with a great opening line
50. A book originally written in a language other than English:  Tove Jansson's The Summer Book - DONE.
51. A short story from a well-known author
52. A book published in 2016

Monday, May 9, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge: Weeks 18 and 19

I really enjoyed the biography of Jack London, An American Life, for week #28's topic: A biography.  This was a well-written, extensively researched biography on the American writer, who died at 40, leaving behind a long list of novels and short-stories that appear on the "Must Read" list for a lot of American students.  London was really a man of his times - an adventurer, a self-made man, really the first writer to make a living specifically from his writing (and not someone who had money already in the bank that allowed him to write without worrying about a paycheck).  I always like a book where I learn something new and this one definitely was that.  I had at least a passing reference to London's exploits in the Klondike (and about which White Fang and The Call of the Wild were based), but I was unaware of how much time he spent in the South Pacific.  He was definitely a troubled soul - an alcoholic and subject to long bouts of depression.  He certainly had a difficult relationship with his daughters, particularly the elder daughter, Joan (and there are a lot of references to letters between Jack and his daughter in the latter portion of the book which do not present him in a particularly good light).  A very good read - I'm glad I picked this one up.

This week, I've started reading Gutenberg's Apprentice by Alix Christie.  I'm about halfway through and fascinated by this historical fiction about the development of the printing press.  Lots of great little tidbits about the process of printing in this one so far!  Just the kind of geeky details I like!!

21/52


The 2016 List
1. A book you meant to read in 2015, but didn't.
2. A book set in a different continent
3. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2015 (winner or nominated)
4. A book by an author you discovered in 2015: Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr - DONE.
5. A book with a title beginning with the 1st letter of your name:  Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose - DONE.
6. The highest rated on your TBR
7. A book about books - Gutenberg's Apprentice - Alix Christie.
8. A classic book with less than 200 pages:  Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence - DONE
9. A book that was mentioned in another book
10. A book by an author you feel you should have read by now
11. A book from the Rory Gilmore challenge
12. A childhood classic:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling - DONE.
13. Reader’s Choice:  Vienna Nocturne by Vivien Shotwell - DONE.
14. A book with one of the five W’s -or H in the title (Who/What/Where/When/Why/How) What She Left - T.R. Richmond - DONE.
15. A book set in the past (more than 100 years ago):  Cervantes Street by Jamie Manrique - DONE.
16. A book from the top 100 mystery novels
17. A book with a beautiful cover: Bluebeard's Egg by Margaret Atwood
18. A book on a summer/beach reading list
19. A non-fiction book
20. A book with a first name in the title
21. A book from the Goodreads Recommendations page
22. The first book in a new to you series
23. The next book in a series you are reading
24. A "between the numbers" book of a series (0.5, 1,5, 2.5, etc.):  The Three Monarchs by Anthony Horowitz - DONE.
25. A book whose main character is in a profession that interests you
26. A book everyone is talking about - Knitlandia by Clara Parkes - DONE.
27. A book with a beautiful title (in your own opinion): Belle Cora - Richard Margulies - DONE.
28. A biography, autobiography, or memoir: Jack London: An American Life by Earle Labor - DONE.
29. A book by an author who writes under more than one name:  The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) - DONE.
30. A fairytale from a culture other than your own
31. A work of young adult fiction:  The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge. DONE.
32. A historical fiction book
33. The 16th book on your TBR
34. A book about mental illness: Adeline by Norah Vincent - DONE
35. An award winning book: River of Doubt by Candice Millard - DONE.
36. An identity book - a book about a different culture, religion or sexual orientation:  Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides - DONE.
37. A book that you've seen the movie of but haven't read
38. A book about an anti hero:  Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace - DONE.
39. A previous suggestion that did not make it into the list
40. A novella from your favorite genre:
41. A book about a major world event (fiction or non-fiction): The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure - DONE.
42. A top 100 fantasy novel
43. A book about a thing that goes bump in the night
44. A book you're embarrassed to read in public
45. A book related to a hobby or passion you have
46. A crime story:  The Cutting Season by Attica Locke - DONE.
47. A book with a type of food/drink in the title
48. A dystopia
49. A book with a great opening line
50. A book originally written in a language other than English:  Tove Jansson's The Summer Book - DONE.
51. A short story from a well-known author
52. A book published in 2016

April 2018 WIPocalypse Update

April was full of a lot of travel and work stuff - but happily, I think those are going to slow down for at least a couple of months.  Here&...