Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2018 Wipocalypse and beyond!

If you watch my podcasts at all that are stitching related, you'll know I'm planning on participating in several online-hosted stitchalong-type things in 2018.  Nicely enough, my plans fit together pretty well for all of these to triple-dip as I work on things this year.  I'm planning on participating in Stitch from Stash 2018 and since I'm the group founder/moderator of Full Coverage Fanatics, of course I'll be working thru most of the yearly SALs I created over there.  I'm also doing my own indie Year of WIPs challenge, basically following the guidelines in the Soulful Stitchers group, but not all of them, so I'm going rogue on that one. 

In addition, I'm going to be participating in 2018 Wipocalypse - it fits in really nicely with my work down the WIPs goals, and I'm of the opinion that any sort of public forum helps keep me accountable and on track. For 2018, I've set up a separate page here at the blog, which has all of my current works in progress.  Pictures there of what they should all look like when they are finished.

Here's my grand plan for 2018:

  1. Finish 6 of the small-sized pieces. That will include: 
    1. A Bowl Full of Scaries.
    2. Believe.
    3. February Word Play.
    4. Every Heart Beats True.
    5. Welcome Autumn.
    6. Key to My Heart. 
  2. Work on each of the other pieces that are not full coverage designs for a minimum of one 5-day rotation over the course of the year.   Those will include: 
    1. Autumn Leaves.
    2. When Witches Go Riding.
    3. Winter Garden.
    4. Desert Mandala.
    5. Shoot the Moon.
    6. The Star Gazer. 
    7. Village of Hawk Run Hollow.
    8. 12 Days of Christmas.
  3. Work on my full coverage designs as pertinent for the SALs in Full Coverage Fanatics.  Overly optimistic, but a goal I'm going to shoot for is a page finish on each one of these:
    1. Winter's Encounter.
    2. Six of Swords
    3. Stitching Shelf.
    4. Witch Way
    5. River's Edge
    6. Gypsy Firefly. 
I've got a 5-day rotation set up.  I'm going to try that at least for the first couple of months and see if I can make that work for myself in terms of making some progress but not getting totally burned out on any one piece.  Since the Wipocalypse SAL is mostly blog-based (although they do now have a Facebook group - see link above), I'll be posting progress as I go along here - and will hopefully also help me remember to actually post posts during the year.  

Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

2017 Reading Challenge - FINISHED!

Hello and happy Christmas Eve to you all!

I'm super delighted to say that I've finished all 52 books for this year's Around the Year in 52 Books challenge.  I finished up the final one, The Time Traveller's Almanac yesterday.  I'm really looking forward to next year's prompts and I've already got the first couple of months' worth lined up (tentatively at least).

Some highlights from the year:
1.  The Raven Boys.  A surprise sleeper for me.  I am not normally a huge YA fan, but I LOVED this book and will definitely be reading more of the series at some point.
2.  Daughter of the Forest and Tower of Thorns.  Really happy I found another author whose entire body of works I would happily read going forward.
3. The Settling Earth.  Without this challenge I would never have picked up this book - it probably wouldn't even have ever hit my radar, and it was so good!  This, in a nutshell, is the reason I love this challenge.  It spurs me on to select books I wouldn't ever pick up and to find some excellent writing that would have stayed unknown to me.

I hope that whatever reading choices you make for next year for yourself, they are all good ones! 

Happy holidays!


The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016: The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel.
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: A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott.
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  Longbourn by Jo Baker.
5. A historical fiction: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe.
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017:  Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout.
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title: The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht.
8. A book written by a person of color: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list: Speaks the Night Bird by Robert McCammon
10. A dual-timeline novel: The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor.
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: The Lodestar of Ys by Amy Durreson.
14. A book with a strong female character: The Ornatrix by Kate Howard.
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland): A Death in Sweden by Kevin Wignall.
16. A mystery: By Book or by Crook by Eva Gates.
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
18. A really long book (600+ pages): The Time Traveler's Almanac, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.
19. A New York Times best-seller: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading: Just One Damn Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor.
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read: A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor.
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) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
24. A book written by at least two authors: Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adams.
25. A book about a famous historical figure: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg.
26. An adventure book:  The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.
27. A book by one of your favorite authors: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
28. A non-fiction: The Lost World of the Old Ones by David Roberts.
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions:  Wool by Hugh Howey.
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (link): The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre: Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster.
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: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere: The Settling Earth by Rebecca Burns.
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty: The Shadow Queen by Rebecca Dean.
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (link): The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Kowal.
37. A book you choose randomly: A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell.
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature: Lady MacBeth by Susan Fraser King.
39. An epistolary fiction: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
40. A book published in 2017: A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang.
41. A book with an unreliable narrator: His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet.
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far): The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
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): Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier.
45. A book with a one-word title: Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
46. A time travel novel:  Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon.
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (link) - A book you saw a stranger reading: The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.
48. A banned book: So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins.
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition: Anna of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett.
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) : Beyond the Woods; Fairy Tales Retold by Paula Guran.
52. A book set in a fictional location: Stronger than Magic by Melinda VanLone.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Reading Challenge: December 11, 2017

I finished The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon for week 42, a best book of the 21st century so far.  I really enjoyed this book.  Definitely not an easy one to pigeonhole and I'm not even entirely sure how to describe it other than to say it's worth a read. From the Goodreads page synopsis: About a boy's quest through the secrets and shadows of postwar Barcelona for a mysterious author whose book has proved as dangerous to own as it is impossible to forget.

It is all that, but the back story is intricately crafted and as engaging as the front-end story.  The characters are memorable and multi-layered.  I loved the stories intertwined together in this one but I also really appreciated the author's craft - Zafon has an amazing way with words.  His opening paragraphs encapsulate exactly the lyrical style his words carry on throughout the book.  His description of the watchmaker's ancient mother was priceless. 

This book hit two major "good read" buttons for me:  1.  A story I will think about over and over.  2.  Writing that doesn't just advance the story (although it does that impeccably), but that I would find myself savoring in order to just enjoy the word choice or turn of phrase.  I'll highly recommend this book and I'm really happy I closed out (almost!) the year with it.

That brings me to my last read of 2017 for this challenge: Book 52 of 52, The Time Traveler's Almanac for week 18: A really long book. I'm not quite half finished, but reading along on this most evenings, so I feel 99% sure I'll be able to finish this up in the next couple of weeks. Enjoying most of the stories - some are better than others - but overall an easy, albeit long read to cap this year off. 

I'm really looking forward to the topics for 2018 too!  I've started a list for several titles I've found that fit into the prompts, and I've got the first 10 weeks' topics books nailed down to start as soon as Time Traveler's is done.  While I will be reviewing books on a weekly blog post as I've been doing in 2017, I also have the entire list (which I'll be updating as I go), on its own separate page here on the blog. 

The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016: The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel.
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: A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott.
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  Longbourn by Jo Baker.
5. A historical fiction: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe.
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017:  Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout.
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title: The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht.
8. A book written by a person of color: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list: Speaks the Night Bird by Robert McCammon
10. A dual-timeline novel: The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor.
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: The Lodestar of Ys by Amy Durreson.
14. A book with a strong female character: The Ornatrix by Kate Howard.
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland): A Death in Sweden by Kevin Wignall.
16. A mystery: By Book or by Crook by Eva Gates.
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
18. A really long book (600+ pages): The Time Traveler's Almanac, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.
19. A New York Times best-seller: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading: Just One Damn Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor.
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read: A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor.
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) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
24. A book written by at least two authors: Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adams.
25. A book about a famous historical figure: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg.
26. An adventure book:  The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.
27. A book by one of your favorite authors: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
28. A non-fiction: The Lost World of the Old Ones by David Roberts.
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions:  Wool by Hugh Howey.
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (link): The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre: Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster.
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: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere: The Settling Earth by Rebecca Burns.
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty: The Shadow Queen by Rebecca Dean.
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (link): The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Kowal.
37. A book you choose randomly: A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell.
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature: Lady MacBeth by Susan Fraser King.
39. An epistolary fiction: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
40. A book published in 2017: A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang.
41. A book with an unreliable narrator: His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet.
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far): The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
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): Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier.
45. A book with a one-word title: Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
46. A time travel novel:  Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon.
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (link) - A book you saw a stranger reading: The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.
48. A banned book: So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins.
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition: Anna of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett.
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) : Beyond the Woods; Fairy Tales Retold by Paula Guran.
52. A book set in a fictional location: Stronger than Magic by Melinda VanLone.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Stitching Update: 12/07/2017

Hat trick for this week:  My stitching update.

I have two finishes this month.  The first is for an ATC swap in the Cross Stitch Card and ATC group on Facebook.  I stitched this on a 25-count opal Lugana I hand-dyed myself using a limited edition hand-dyed floss from Colour and Cotton.



The pattern is from the 2016 Ornaments issue of Just Cross Stitch. This and a few other goodies will be shipping out to my swap partner this week.

I also finished the December block for the Lakeside Needlecraft Under the Sea SAL.  I stitched this on the custom-dyed fabric from Lakeside Needlecraft, which was a blue ombre' 25-count evenweave.  I used the called-for DMC threads as well.  Design is by Durene Jones. 


I swapped out the DMC Light Effects for a sparkly green blending filament I had, which worked MUCH better.  I also used small clear opalescent size 12 seed beads for the water bubbles (rather than just DMC stitches).  I have a frame on order for this which would hopefully be here next week!

For the rest of the month, I'm going to be working on 3 pieces.  First up, my Desert Mandala Chatelaine. Sadly, the designer of this piece, Martina Rosenberg, passed away unexpectedly yesterday - she was an amazing artist and she is definitely going to be missed in the community.  I had this on tap to work on this week anyway, but it's a nice little tribute to her design skills to think of her while I stitch on it this week. 


I have the center medallion done except for beads, and I've started working on the next ring, which are various cacti.  The colors are absolutely spot-on for the high desert!

Next week, I'll be focusing on the 12 Days of Christimas, with design by Jim Shore.  I only made a small start on it this year when I began it during Maynia, but it feels appropriate to work on it during the holiday season. It currently looks like: 


Finally, the Full Coverage Fanatics first quarterly SAL is kicking off on 12/21/2017. It's a winter-themed SAL that will run from them until the spring equinox on March 21, 2018.  I'll be working on my Winter's Encounter piece, with artwork by Linda Prindle and charted by Heaven and Earth Designs. 

I had also started this originally during Stitch Maynia, but I was unhappy with my fabric choice, so I restarted it in October on 25-count Easy Guide and like that much better.  I've only got about 500 stitches in so far, so I'll be working on the upper right-hand corner with all.that.pink for a while.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Knitting Update: December 5, 2017

I'm currently working on a sekret design project so no info/photos about that until it's ready to be released, but here are some things I can show you.

In my ongoing stashdown quest, I grabbed a partial and full skein of Rowan's Yorkshire Tweed DK leftover from a sweater I knit... oh... about 8 or 9 years ago.  I used all of that yardage up to knit Lete's Knits Tied Knots hat (which is a freebie pattern on Ravelry).  Super well-written pattern; charting and instructions are both very clearly done, and I had fun knitting a little cabled project.


Warm and cozy, with a good fit and fun to knit for the win!  (And another skein and a half out of stash.)


Currently, I'm working on a pair of plain vanilla self-striping socks (56-stitch circumference) in Gynx Yarn's Strong Sport in the Gingerbread House colorway. 


Another stashbuster project for me and holiday-themed to boot.  I'll be working on these this week. 

I'll have a 2018 planning post next week - one I'm really excited about!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Reading Challenge: December 4, 2017

I finished The Settling Earth by Rebecca Burns this week for a book set in the Southern Hemisphere.  I absolutely loved this book.  The characters are all well drawn and I love the way the author skillfully intertwined all the stories.  Nine of the 10 short stories are written by the author of credit - Rebecca Burns.  The final one is written from an aboriginal perspective by an aboriginal author, which was a nice way to tie up some of the loose ends of the stories.  I was appreciative of the deft way the author handled the development of the immigrant experience on multiple social/economic levels in the early 20th century and all the stories (to me at least) had the mark of a great short story - that is, you were able to immediately immerse yourself in that person's life within the first couple of sentences.  Really glad I found this one to close out the year.

I then started Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind for week 42, a best book of the 21st century so far.  I will start off by saying that I am generally suspicious of books labeled "a best book of the century", especially when the century is 17 years old and we have a whole lot of time to finish the century out.  That said, I can see why this book made the short list.  A mix of historical fiction, literary fiction, some Gothic horror, and a coming of age vibe - it's hard to specifically place this book in a genre.  So far, it reminds me a bit of The Historian, but I have yet to hit a point (which I did in The Historian) where the plot drags.  Enjoying this one immensely and I'm about 50% through - so more info and a review to come when it's finished.

I'm also still slowly tackling The Time Traveler's Almanac but feel sure I will wind up spending the last several weeks of the year with this one.

Currently standing at 50/52 books read with both of my remaining titles started!


The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016: The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel.
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: A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott.
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  Longbourn by Jo Baker.
5. A historical fiction: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe.
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017:  Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout.
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title: The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht.
8. A book written by a person of color: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list: Speaks the Night Bird by Robert McCammon
10. A dual-timeline novel: The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor.
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: The Lodestar of Ys by Amy Durreson.
14. A book with a strong female character: The Ornatrix by Kate Howard.
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland): A Death in Sweden by Kevin Wignall.
16. A mystery: By Book or by Crook by Eva Gates.
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
18. A really long book (600+ pages): The Time Traveler's Almanac, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.
19. A New York Times best-seller: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading: Just One Damn Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor.
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read: A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor.
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) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
24. A book written by at least two authors: Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adams.
25. A book about a famous historical figure: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg.
26. An adventure book:  The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.
27. A book by one of your favorite authors: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
28. A non-fiction: The Lost World of the Old Ones by David Roberts.
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions:  Wool by Hugh Howey.
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (link): The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre: Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster.
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: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere: The Settling Earth by Rebecca Burns.
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty: The Shadow Queen by Rebecca Dean.
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (link): The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Kowal.
37. A book you choose randomly: A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell.
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature: Lady MacBeth by Susan Fraser King.
39. An epistolary fiction: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
40. A book published in 2017: A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang.
41. A book with an unreliable narrator: His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet.
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far): The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
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): Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier.
45. A book with a one-word title: Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
46. A time travel novel:  Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon.
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (link) - A book you saw a stranger reading: The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.
48. A banned book: So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins.
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition: Anna of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett.
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) : Beyond the Woods; Fairy Tales Retold by Paula Guran.
52. A book set in a fictional location: Stronger than Magic by Melinda VanLone.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sunday Spinning (12/3/2017)

Haven't done a spinning update in quite a while, so I thought it was time to get one posted.  I'm still (wo)manfully working on my stashdown. (More on that momentarily.)

I'm currently spinning up a braid of Finn wool from Bride Flight Studios (I don't think they are any longer in business.  A Google search didn't find anything current anyway.)  This is from a shop update in 2009, and the colorway is Alchemy of the Word.


I decided to spin this up into a fractal spin, so bobbin #1 has multiple thin strips spun up and bobbin #2 has only 5.  I split the braid in half, and then split each half into those thinner long strips before spinning.  All the singles are spun up.


My plan is to get these plied this week and then pick one more stash fiber to spin before the end of the year.

Looking forward to 2018 (which is one of my favorite things about this time of the year - planning ahead for another year), I'm definitely sticking with my stashdown goal.  One of the things I really am going to make myself accomplish is getting all of my current personal stash - both yarn and fiber - to fit in the 3 cubbyhole-type bookshelves that I now have for my office/crafting space.  When we had the floors redone last month, I went through and sorted all the stash, sold some things, and I got most of the stash redistributed into the bins. There are, however, a few larger Rubbermaid containers still lurking in the garage and I would like to get the point in 2018 where all of that stash can get put into my new storage shelving and have it all in one place and nicely organized.

I've got a few -Alongs I'm going to be participating in next year to try to keep me motivated.  I really find I do better at sticking with goals if I have a public forum to be accountable to. I've joined the Blaine Fleece and Fiber Ravelry Group's Spin Your Goal-Along for 2018.  My goal for next year is to spin 5 pounds.  That's 20 four-oz braids or their equivalent and that would be about a braid and a half per month.  I thought that way months like February, which will likely not be very spin-friendly, and months like July with Tour de Fleece, which will be more spin-heavy, could balance each other out.

And if I can accomplish that, it will free up about 2 of these cubbyholes in the current stash set-up.

Stay tuned for more 2018 plans to come this week in knitting and stitching.  I'm on a mission.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Reading Challenge: November 29, 2017

Still working my way through week 18 - a really long book:  The Time Traveler's Almanac.  Enjoying most of these stories, although some are better than others, but I've got about 175 pages read so far.

I started and finished Anna of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett for week 50 - a Penguin Modern Classic.  Not one of my favorites this year.  Slow and stodgy, but I finished it.  Very Victorian moralistic-driven plot and a lot of navel gazing. You can pop over to Goodreads via the link to see if it'd be your cup of tea, but it was not mine, so no recommendation for that one.

This week, I'm reading The Settling Earth by Rebecca Burns.  This is for week 34, a book set in the Southern Hemisphere.  This is a collection of short stories set in New Zealand.  It's a set of 10, but all of the characters are interwoven in some fashion.  I just started this last night, but I can't wait to read more of it.  The stories are all set in the colonial period (early 20th century) and cover multiple immigrant, as well as native peoples' experiences in the country.  The three I've read so far range from a homesteader's wife to a native trader in Auckland, to a "fallen woman" in one of the whorehouses in town.  Glad I found this one (thanks to a Goodreads Listopia search)!  A fuller review when I'm finished it.

Currently standing at 49/52 books read with 3 left to go (and 2 of those started!)


The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016: The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel.
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: A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott.
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  Longbourn by Jo Baker.
5. A historical fiction: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe.
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017:  Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout.
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title: The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht.
8. A book written by a person of color: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list: Speaks the Night Bird by Robert McCammon
10. A dual-timeline novel: The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor.
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: The Lodestar of Ys by Amy Durreson.
14. A book with a strong female character: The Ornatrix by Kate Howard.
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland): A Death in Sweden by Kevin Wignall.
16. A mystery: By Book or by Crook by Eva Gates.
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
18. A really long book (600+ pages): The Time Traveler's Almanac, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.
19. A New York Times best-seller: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading: Just One Damn Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor.
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read: A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor.
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) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
24. A book written by at least two authors: Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adams.
25. A book about a famous historical figure: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg.
26. An adventure book:  The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.
27. A book by one of your favorite authors: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
28. A non-fiction: The Lost World of the Old Ones by David Roberts.
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions:  Wool by Hugh Howey.
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (link): The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre: Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster.
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: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere: The Settling Earth by Rebecca Burns.
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty: The Shadow Queen by Rebecca Dean.
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (link): The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Kowal.
37. A book you choose randomly: A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell.
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature: Lady MacBeth by Susan Fraser King.
39. An epistolary fiction: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
40. A book published in 2017: A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang.
41. A book with an unreliable narrator: His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet.
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far): The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
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): Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier.
45. A book with a one-word title: Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
46. A time travel novel:  Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon.
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (link) - A book you saw a stranger reading: The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.
48. A banned book: So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins.
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition: Anna of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett.
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) : Beyond the Woods; Fairy Tales Retold by Paula Guran.
52. A book set in a fictional location: Stronger than Magic by Melinda VanLone.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Reading Challenge: November 21, 2017

I finished The Shadow Queen by Rebecca Dean from the library to read for week #35 - a book where one of the main characters is royalty.  I was interested to read this book as I didn't know much about Wallis Simpson except as sort of the maligned "other woman" who "ruined" the kingship of Edward VIII.  Obviously readers will know how it turns out in that Wallis does wind up with the Prince who becomes Edward VIII - but this book actually doesn't delve into their relationship that much.  Missing was the information on their German-supporting tendencies and his abdication, and everything about their life together really beyond how they met.  Even that is a little confusing in this book.  I understand it's a historical fiction; however, there are 2 major characters in this book - Pamela and John Jasper - who Wallis grows up with and who appear to be influential in her meeting Edward.  All well and good, except when you read the notes, these 2 characters are completely fictitious.  (huh? if that's a thing then how DID Wallis wind up meeting Edward?) 

The book is mostly focused, then, on Wallis's younger years, her somewhat topsy-turvey childhood, her education and her eventual bad first marriage and pallid second one.  I appreciated the portrait of her in her youth that definitely was mirrored in many of her adult-life choices, but I wish this one had been a little bit more on the straight and narrow in terms of historical facts and that it explored her relationship with Edward beyond the moment when she agrees to become his mistress.  3/5 stars for this one.

I then grabbed So Far From the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins for week #48 - a banned book.  This is an autobiographic memoir about the author (as a young girl) having to flee northern Korea at the end of WWII with her mother and older sister.  They are Japanese nationals - her father is a diplomat who is away from the family when the crisis occurs - and they are forced to flee as refugees back to Japan.  I actually am not sure why this book is a banned one.  Maybe it was at one time and isn't really found on school reading lists anymore?  Anyway, I'm sure at one point in time school kids were not supposed to read about refugees starving to death and people being shot and girls being raped, so maybe it's just a sad commentary that I didn't think there was anything really graphic in this book (events are mentioned but not described in detail) that would put off most high-school aged students today.  The story of her journey with her mother and sister is a testament to courage and strength, but the book really is lacking in terms of setting the events within the political context of the time.  The World War and the surrender of Japan are mentioned very peripherally, but the events of the story are hard to place within the larger context of the historical timeline. 

I decided to start week #18 - a really long book, so I've begun reading some of the short stories in The Time Traveler's Almanac.  My plan is to try to read 100 pages or so of these stories each week and finish this up by the end of the year while reading other things.

That leaves me with 3 other books to start.  I'm going to pop off to the library this afternoon and see if I can grab something suitable for the remaining weeks.

Currently standing at 48/52 books read with 4 left to go!


The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016: The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel.
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: A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott.
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  Longbourn by Jo Baker.
5. A historical fiction: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe.
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017:  Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout.
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title: The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht.
8. A book written by a person of color: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list: Speaks the Night Bird by Robert McCammon
10. A dual-timeline novel: The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor.
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: The Lodestar of Ys by Amy Durreson.
14. A book with a strong female character: The Ornatrix by Kate Howard.
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland): A Death in Sweden by Kevin Wignall.
16. A mystery: By Book or by Crook by Eva Gates.
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
18. A really long book (600+ pages): The Time Traveler's Almanac, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.
19. A New York Times best-seller: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading: Just One Damn Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor.
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read: A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor.
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) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
24. A book written by at least two authors: Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adams.
25. A book about a famous historical figure: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg.
26. An adventure book:  The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.
27. A book by one of your favorite authors: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
28. A non-fiction: The Lost World of the Old Ones by David Roberts.
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions:  Wool by Hugh Howey.
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (link): The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre: Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster.
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: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere: The Bone People by Keri Hulme.
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty: The Shadow Queen by Rebecca Dean.
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (link): The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Kowal.
37. A book you choose randomly: A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell.
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature: Lady MacBeth by Susan Fraser King.
39. An epistolary fiction: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
40. A book published in 2017: A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang.
41. A book with an unreliable narrator: His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet.
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far): The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
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): Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier.
45. A book with a one-word title: Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
46. A time travel novel:  Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon.
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (link) - A book you saw a stranger reading: The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.
48. A banned book: So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins.
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) : Beyond the Woods; Fairy Tales Retold by Paula Guran.


52. A book set in a fictional location: Stronger than Magic by Melinda VanLone.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Reading Challenge: November 15, 2017

I finished The 19th Wife by David Eberhoff, for week 47, a book you saw a stranger reading, last night. This book, which tells the parallel stories of two polygamist wives in Utah (both of whom were counted as wife #19 by the man they were married to), follows Ann Eliza Webb Young who was married to Brigham Young, and also traces a contemporary story set in a polygamist sect in southern Utah.  I appreciated the deft handling of this subject - the author does not cast any moral shadows on the decisions people made throughout - and I think he presents a fairly unbiased opinion of both sides of this issue.  He neatly wraps up all of the social and historical tidbits into two engrossing story lines; I would happily have read either story on its own but I liked how he used the historical story and the contemporary one to show how things have changed, but also how they have perhaps remained the same in some instances. A good historical counting of the growth of the Mormon church in the early 19th century.

One footnote:  The author ends the book saying that no one knows what happened to Ann Eliza but that's actually not true.  Perhaps he was unaware at the time he wrote the book, but at least as of 2017, it's been confirmed she moved to Sparks, Nevada in the early 1900s, passed away and is buried in the graveyard there. 

I just downloaded The Shadow Queen by Rebecca Dean from the library to read for week #35 - a book where one of the main characters is royalty.  This one is a novel about Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII of England.

Currently standing at 46/52 books read with 6 left to go!


The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016: The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel.
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: A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott.
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  Longbourn by Jo Baker.
5. A historical fiction: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe.
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017:  Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout.
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title: The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht.
8. A book written by a person of color: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list: Speaks the Night Bird by Robert McCammon
10. A dual-timeline novel: The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor.
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: The Lodestar of Ys by Amy Durreson.
14. A book with a strong female character: The Ornatrix by Kate Howard.
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland): A Death in Sweden by Kevin Wignall.
16. A mystery: By Book or by Crook by Eva Gates.
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
18. A really long book (600+ pages): The Time Traveler's Almanac, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.
19. A New York Times best-seller: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading: Just One Damn Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor.
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read: A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor.
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) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
24. A book written by at least two authors: Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adams.
25. A book about a famous historical figure: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg.
26. An adventure book:  The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.
27. A book by one of your favorite authors: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
28. A non-fiction: The Lost World of the Old Ones by David Roberts.
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions:  Wool by Hugh Howey.
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (link): The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre: Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster.
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: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere: The Bone People by Keri Hulme.
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty: The Shadow Queen by Rebecca Dean.
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (link): The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Kowal.
37. A book you choose randomly: A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell.
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature: Lady MacBeth by Susan Fraser King.
39. An epistolary fiction: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
40. A book published in 2017: A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang.
41. A book with an unreliable narrator: His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet.
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far): The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
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): Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier.
45. A book with a one-word title: Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
46. A time travel novel:  Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon.
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (link) - A book you saw a stranger reading: The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.
48. A banned book: So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins.
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) : Beyond the Woods; Fairy Tales Retold by Paula Guran.
52. A book set in a fictional location: Stronger than Magic by Melinda VanLone.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

FO: Timber Bay Hat

As another stashbuster project this week, I started and finished the Timber Bay hat this week.


This is a slightly slouchy, very simple and quick to knit textured pattern hat.  I did not do a double-layered brim, as written in the pattern. I worked the twisted ribbing for 2" and then started the rest of the pattern.

Project Details:
Pattern: Timber Bay by Melissa Schaschwary.
Yarn: Madeline Tosh Worsted in the Moss colorway.
Needles:  US size 5 (for the ribbing) and 7 (for the body of the hat).


This one will go into the charity/giveaway bin.  It's not a great color on me personally, but I really liked the shaping and fit of the design, so I know it will keep someone else'e head warm this winter season.  Another great stashbuster and a quick knit.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Reading Challenge: November 8, 2017


I finished Stronger than Magic this week for #52 for a book set in a fictional location. (It's sort of a fictional location.  Philadelphia and Hawaii are mentioned in it, although neither of the places in the book with those names bear much resemblance to their actual locations beyond cheesesteaks and island beaches.)  I gave this 3 out of 5 stars.  It was just okay.  I really liked the premise of the story, but I had a hard time getting attached to the heroine of the book.  There was a lot of whining and I get it - she grows up as the book goes on, but I think she was a little too stereotypically whiny angst-ridden teenager.  The story line itself was a bit predictable.  Not a great read -  I was just sort of meh about this one. 

I also read Tower of Thorns by Juliet Mariller this week for topic #44 using a recommendation website on what I should read next. I should state up front that this book is #2 in a series, and I haven't read the first one.  Despite that, the main characters, Grim and Blackthorn, were so well developed, I had no trouble getting right into the story.  (Although I'm also now intrigued enough by their back story to likely pick up book #1 at some point).  This is sort of a retelling of a fairy tale, although I suppose it's really more like a new fairy tale told in a traditional style.  All the things you would expect - a wicked curse, the little people, a quest, herbs and brews, and lots of hidden meanings in everyday things.  The main character, Blackthorn, is a healer and is asked to try to rid a local tower (surrounded by a briar hedge) of their local monster who spends the summer days howling.  She and her faithful companion, Grim, set off to see what they can discover to help rid the local landowner, a lovely younger woman, of this menace.  The lady tells them only bits and pieces of what Blackthorn and Grim find out is the real story.  I won't say it exactly ends happily, but in the end, the monster is vanquished and the curse is broken.  I'm becoming a big fan of Mariller's writing style and stories which seem to seamlessly bridge the gap between a historical fiction and fantasy for me. Likely will put more of hers on the to-read list for the upcoming year. 

I just downloaded, but haven't started The 19th Wife by David Eberhoff, for week 47, a book you saw a stranger reading.  This book actually hit my radar when we were flying back to visit friends in Utah for their wedding several years ago.  (We lived in Utah for 4 years before moving here.)  I've always been a bit curious about Ann Eliza Young, who was the 19th wife of Brigham Young, and who divorced him (and, FWIW, went on to become a local businesswoman, which definitely was NOTHING like the norm for her culture and time).  This one seemed like an interesting read, so here it is on the list.  That'll be my reading choice for this week, and will report back next week on it.  

Holding out hope I will be able to get perhaps an exta week ahead and can still possibly finish the "really long book" before the end of the year!

Currently standing at 45/52 books read with 7 left to go!


The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016: The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel.
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: A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott.
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  Longbourn by Jo Baker.
5. A historical fiction: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe.
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017:  Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout. 
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title: The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht.

8. A book written by a person of color: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list: Speaks the Night Bird by Robert McCammon
10. A dual-timeline novel: The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor.
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: The Lodestar of Ys by Amy Durreson.
14. A book with a strong female character: The Ornatrix by Kate Howard.
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland): A Death in Sweden by Kevin Wignall. 
16. A mystery: By Book or by Crook by Eva Gates.
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

18. A really long book (600+ pages): The Time Traveler's Almanac, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.
19. A New York Times best-seller: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading: Just One Damn Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor.
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read: A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor.

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 (linkPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
24. A book written by at least two authors: Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adams.
25. A book about a famous historical figure: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg.
26. An adventure book:  The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.
27. A book by one of your favorite authors: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain 
28. A non-fiction: The Lost World of the Old Ones by David Roberts.
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions.  Wool by Hugh Howey.
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (
link): The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre: Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster.
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: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere: The Bone People by Keri Hulme.
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty: The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor.
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (
link): The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Kowal.
37. A book you choose randomly: A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell.
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature: Lady MacBeth by Susan Fraser King.
39. An epistolary fiction: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
40. A book published in 2017: A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang.
41. A book with an unreliable narrator: His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet.
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far): The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
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): Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier.
45. A book with a one-word title: Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
46. A time travel novel:  Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon.
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (
link) - A book you saw a stranger reading: The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.
48. A banned book: So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins.

49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) : Beyond the Woods; Fairy Tales Retold by Paula Guran.
52. A book set in a fictional location: Stronger than Magic by Melinda VanLone.



Thursday, November 2, 2017

FO: Sagebrush Infinity Scarf

I finished up a great stashbuster project this week - the Sagebrush Infinity Scarf.



Project Details:
Pattern: Sagebrush Infinity Scarf, designed by Romi Hill.
Yarn:  Tendril from Tale and Tendril on Etsy.  Colorway is Gringots.  (Color looks a bit gray-er in the detail shot and a bit yellow-er in the above mood shot.  Color in the final photo is probably closest to real life.)
Needles: US size 3.


I used up all but about 3 yards of the 400-yard skein.  This cowl is worked back and forth, flat, from one end to the other, starting with a provisional cast-on.  The provisional cast-on is then unzipped and the 2 ends' worth of live stitches are grafted together with a 3-needle bind off to create the loop. A very straightforward pattern, nicely written, like Romi's usually are, and perfect for a stashbusting single-skein project.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

2018 Reading Challenge Topics

The list for the 52 Books in 52 Weeks 2018 Challenge has been released and I'm loving this year's list.  I'm definitely going to participate in this since I've enjoyed the last several years so much.  (Really thrilled to see the 4 element topics - I'm thinking I'll read one of those in each of the Full Coverage Fanatics FB xstitch group when we work on those quarterly SALs!)

Mostly posting this as a reference point for myself, but if you've got a great book recommendation for me based on any of these topics, give me a shout!

The 2018 List

1. A book with the letters A, T & Y in the title
2. A book from the first 10 books added to your To Be Read list
3. A book from the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards (link)
4. 4 books linked by the 4 elements: Book #1 Earth (in title, cover, content, setting, author...)
5. A book about or inspired by real events
6. A book originally written in a language other than English
7. A gothic novel
8. An "own voices" book*
9. A book with a body part in the title (heart, bones, teeth, skin, blood, etc)
10. An author's debut book (their first book to be published)
11. A literary fiction
12. A book set in Africa or South America
13. A book with a plot centered around a secret (forbidden love, spies, secret societies, etc)
14. 4 books linked by the 4 elements: Book #2 Fire 
15. A book with an unique format/writing structure
16. A narrative nonfiction
17. A book you expect to make you laugh
18. A book with a location in the title
19. A book nominated for the Edgar Award or by a Grand master author (books & authors)
20. A book rated 5 stars by at least one of your friends
21. A book written in first person perspective
22. A book you have high expectations or hope for
23. A medical or legal thriller
24. A book with a map
25. A book with an antagonist/villain point of view
26. A book with a text only cover
27. A book about surviving a hardship (war, famine, major disasters, serious illness, etc)
28. 4 books linked by the 4 elements: Book #3 Water
29. A book with a "Clue" weapon on the cover or title (lead pipe, revolver, rope, candlestick, dagger, wrench)
30. A short book
31. A book set in a country you'd like to visit but have never been to
32. An alternate history book
33. A book connected (title, cover, content) to a word "born" in the same year as you (link)
34. A suggestion from the AtY 2018 polls, that didn't win but was polarizing or a close-call (link)
35. A book featuring a murder
36. A book published in the last 3 years (2016, 2017, 2018) by an author you haven't read before
37. A Women's Prize for Fiction winner or nominee (link1link2)
38. A science book or a science fiction book
39. A book with a form of punctuation in the title
40. A book from Amazon's 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime list (link)
41. A book by an author with the same first and last initials
42. A book that takes place on, in, or underwater
43. A book with a title that is a whole sentence
44. A ghost story
45. A book that intimidates/ scares you
46. 4 books linked by the 4 elements: Book #4 Air
47. A book where the main character (or author) is of a different ethnic origin, religion, or sexual identity than your own
48. A book related to one of the 7 deadly sins (pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, sloth)
49. A book from one of the Goodreads Best Books of the Month lists (link)
50. A book with a warm atmosphere (centered on family, friendship, love or summer)
51. An award-winning short story or short story collection
52. A book published in 2018

*an own voice novel is a book about marginalised protagonists (by ethnic group, religion, sexual orientation, mental illness, etc) written by an author who shares that same identity. 

Book Review - Challenge Update - August 10, 2018

I finished up 2 books over the last week.  The first was Lud-In-The-Mist by Hope Mirrless. Book Summary:   Lud-in-the-Mist, the capital...