Friday, September 29, 2017

Knitting Friday - September 29, 2017

October is almost here!  And I thought it might be time to get back into the swing of knitting/spinning blogging.  (Better late than never, right?)

I'm hosting a Socktober craftalong over in my Ravelry group.  Any pattern, any yarn is welcome as long as it's socks!  I'm going to be casting on a pair of Gravel socks using Wooly Wonka Beryl Sock on Sunday to kick off the event.  I'm using a skein of Under the Cherry Tree which is kind of a departure for me since I usually like plainer socks, but I love the colorway and thought these would be fun.


I've also been working on the Bailey Cardigan; pattern by Amy Christoffers.  I've gotten all of the knitting done and seamed up the body.  I need to knit and attach the pockets and finish the I-cord edging on the front edges and cuffs but I'm hoping to finish that up this weekend.


This was a stashbuster project as I'm trying to get my yarn and fiber stash down to more mangeable levels.  To that end, I reorganized the stash over the last week, pulled some things out for giveaway-ing, and repacked/reordered bins to tidy things up.  I have a LOT of sock yarn I need to make use of, as well as a bunch of sweater lots of things I'd also like to get knit up into actual wearable garments.  In reorganizing, I didn't realize (but I do now!) how MUCH 2-ply jumperweight/fingering yarn I have for colorwork projects, so I think 2018 may be the year of stranded knitting to try to use up a bunch of what I've got.  I earmarked several Alice Starmore patterns that I want to work up, so I may tackle one of those next.

I did also get back into my spinning groove this week, but I just finished plying up a small skein and I need to work on the companion skein to go with it, so I'll wait and share those next week!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Stitching Wednesday: September 27, 2017

Trying to get back in the blogging groove after our vacation mid-month.  I'm switching up a few things and changing my rotation for the next few months until the end of the year.  (If you are interested in more than you probably want to know, feel free to check out my YouTube channel - I uploaded a new plans/works in progress video this week over there.)

Essentially I'm going to move to a smaller group of projects to rotate through for the rest of 2017 so I can finish up a holiday gift.  I'm going to work on 2 other projects - my Chatelaine Desert Mandala and the Under the Sea SAL interspersed with the focus project - my Star Weaver storykeep from HAED.

I did get the September block finished for the Under the Sea SAL from Lakeside Needlecraft. The September block gets us to the bottom left-hand corner of this piece with an uber cute sea turtle.  I think this block might be my favorite so far.


Here's the whole sheebang so far.  Three more blocks to go!  I'm stitching this on a custom-dye 25-count evenweave that was available from Lakeside Needlecrafts in an ombre-dye.  It's showing grayer in these pictures than in real life.  I'm using DMC floss as called for, and stitching this 1 over 1.


My focus project is my Star Weaver storykeep with artwork by Tom Cross, charted by Heaven and Earth Designs.  I'm stitching this 1 over 1 on 28-count Monaco. Here's my progress up to last night.



This piece is basically 3 full pages. Pages 1 and 2 are complete, and I've started page 3.  I've got about 6000 sts left on this one, so I'm going to keep plugging away on it because I really want to have it finished and framed for Xmas this year!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Reading Challenge: Sept 25, 2017

I haven't progressed further on A Death in Sweden for week #15 - a book written or set in Scandinavia - but this is in my plans to pick back up this week to listen to in the evenings in the hopes I can get it finished!

I'm about halfway through Lady MacBeth by Susan Fraser King for week #38 - a book inspired by a work of classic literature.  Off to an excellent start, but kind of bogged down mid-story right now.  I'm going to push on and try to finish this one this week as well.

In the meantime, I started and finished A Beautiful Poison while on holiday earlier this month.  I loved this one (for week 40 - a book published in 2017).  Set in the early 20th century, this book features 3 strong main characters, who are childhood friends and now set on 3 very different life paths.  It ties in World War I history, early NYC history (with a nod to the hospital where my grandfather did his residency and he and my Gram met), the radium girls, early CSI-type analysis and the Spanish influenza outbreak.  One minor niggling detail bugged me at the end, but otherwise, a great plot and good pacing with lots of historical trivia thrown in for good measure.  A recommended read!

I also tackled By Book or By Crook, by Eva Gates for week 16 (a mystery).  This is a "cozy mystery" type read.  It was cute but a little "lite" for my tastes.  Bonus points for a Jane Austen tie-in and an honorable mention to the cat hero of the book.  If you like that sort of genre, you'll probably like this one.  It's set on the coast of North Carolina and is the first of a series by this author. 
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: 
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:
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
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)
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
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)
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:  Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon.
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (
link)
48. A banned book

49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition
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

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Stitching Wednesday: 09/06/2017

I've been working mainly on 2 projects over the last week.  I finished up a 6-day rotation on my Star Weaver, and needed to move my frame, so I took the opportunity to grab a current picture of it completely off the bars.



I'm planning on working on this after I finish up my current rotation project, which is my Under the Sea SAL - September clue.  This month we've finally reached the bottom of the piece.  The motif is a super cute sea turtle but also includes some of the sandy bottom of the image.


This is my day 1 progress, and again, I'll be working on this for 6 days and plan to get this clue finished up completely.

For the first 6 days of September, I worked on my Desert Mandala Chatelaine.  I've done all the cross stitching in the center section.  I have a bit of backstitching to do for the coyote and hawk, but otherwise the center piece is done.  I plan to work on the remainder of the floral border in the hope I can get that finished up when this comes back up in rotation in October.



If you are interested, I'm also doing a vlog-style chronicle of my work on this piece, discussing the different threads and techniques used in this design.  The videos are available via my YouTube channel (along with my normal knitting-themed and more general xstitch-themed podcasts).

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Reading Challenge: September 5, 2017

I finished Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adams for week #24 - a book with at least 2 authors. Definitely worth a read if you are interested in the time period (late 18th into the early 19th century) in terms of social history.  Some bits and bobs about the wars on the Continent and in Europe with an eye to how they influences certain aspects of society - unemployment, fashion, taxes - but not a military history focus particularly.

I grabbed The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe to read for week #5 - a historical fiction.  It is probably some indication of how much I loved this book that I finished it in 3 days.  All the things I like - early Colonial American history, with a contemporary tie-in, lots of history tidbits, a bit of the supernatural, good characters, great plot - I'm highly recommending this one for any of you who might have an interest in the genre.  Also some excellent information about the Salem witchcraft trials tucked into the fiction.

Still working on A Death in Sweden for week #15 - a book written or set in Scandinavia.  I'm reading this via audiobook, so it's a slower go since I don't pick it up as often.

And just started Lady MacBeth by Susan Fraser King for week #38 - a book inspired by a work of classic literature.  Although to be honest, this is sort of the reverse; there was an actual MacBeth who inspired Shakespeare's play, and this book, while an historical fiction, is still based on the woman who was his queen.  Art imitating life?  Nothing to report on this one yet, as I've just read the first chapter, but I'm hoping to enjoy it as well since I like the time period.


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: 
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:
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
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
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)
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
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
41. A book with an unreliable narrator: His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet.
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:  Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon.
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (
link)
48. A banned book

49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition
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

WIPocalypse September Check-In

I think, thanks to randomly adding a day here and a day there in Arbitrary August, I wound up with a bunch of finishes for September. Octo...