Sunday, July 29, 2018

July 2018 WIPocalypse Check-In

Just two projects that I've worked on this month:

First, I finished stitching Believe, which is a Mill Hill Buttons and Beads kit.  Super fun to stitch and I love the finished product.  I replaced the perforated paper with a 14-count hand-dyed Aida in Balsam from Hand-Dyed Fabrics by Stephanie (which was part of a Stitchy Box from 2017).  I also went ahead and finished it up with a "faux Xmas package" finish look this weekend.  I love how it turned out and can't wait to display it over the holidays.

The other project I've worked on in July is my Witch Way full-coverage piece, charted by Heaven and Earth Designs with artwork by Molly Harrison.  Here's what it will look like when it's finished:

And here's where I am currently.  Still working on page 1, and while I thought I might be able to get a page finish this month, I don't think that'll actually happen in the next couple of days, so I'll hold that over until September. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Tour de Fleece - Week 2

We are mostly thru week 2 of the Tour de Fleece, heading into the final days.  (The Tour finishes up this year on July 29th).

I finished up another spin, which is the 80/20 merino/silk roving from The Yarn Yard.  I finally dug out the information on it and it was from a co-op-type fiber club where we had 6 different indie dyers sending out packages that shared a common theme for the 6 months. The theme for this one was "Scottish Fauna", and I do think it did a great job of portraying salmon, red deer, rainbow trout and heather.

I spun up a 2-ply sportweight yarn with 294 yards/3.5 oz in the final skein.  I love the fall-ish colors in this one and the hues are close enough, I think it almost works as a neutral.  No specific plans (I'm a broken record with that, aren't I?) but one more out of unspun stash into yarn stash. 

Next up, I've put a Three Waters Farm SW merino/merino/silk blend on the wheel.  The colorway for this is "Satisfied With Summer".  Hoping to finish this before the end of July!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Book Review: Infernal Devices

This past week I finished up K.W. Jeter's Infernal Devices.  This is for the week #32 topic - an alternate history book.

Book Summary: He inherited a watchmaker's store and a heapful of trouble. But idle sometime-musician George has little talent for clockwork. And when a shadowy figure tries to steal an old device from the premises, George finds himself embroiled in a mystery of time travel, music and sexual intrigue. A genuine lost classic, a steampunk original whose time has come.

My Rating/Summary:  3 1/2 out of 5 stars. This book was one of the first "steampunk" books written - and if Wikipedia is to be believed, KW Jeter is the writer who actually coined the phrase "steampunk".

Steampunk:  A genre of science fiction that has a historical setting and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology. 

Interestingly enough, this book really doesn't have much in the way of steam-powered machinery.  Instead, the concepts are focused around sort of seismic vibrations and clockwork.  Both of which the main character is completely clueless about although he is thrust into an adventure that requires knowledge of both.  I basically enjoyed this one - lots of clever (although maybe almost too clever) plot twists) and interesting characters who kept me guessing.  Lots of adventures and romps across England and unlikely red herrings strewn throughout the book, so it was an entertaining read.  I felt the ending maybe tied things up a bit to easily/quickly, but otherwise, if you like steampunkery, you'll probably like this one too. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Tour de Fleece - Week 2

I'm pretty happy with my progress for the Tour so far this year!  I've been trying to have a goal of 15 minutes of spinning a day, or 30 if I can make that happen.

I finished up the Two If By Hand Polwarth roving, dyed in the "Calavera" colorway and LOVE how this one came out!

I wound up with 204 yards of a super squishy 2-ply worsted weight; final skein was 4 oz.  No specific plans for this one yet, but the little bright pops of jewel tones are so pretty.

Next up, which I just started yesterday is a braid from deep deep stash. This was part of a co-op type dyer's club where a different dyer sent out a braid each month based on a "nature" theme.  I can't remember what the inspiration for this one was, but it's 80/20 merino/silk and reminds me of fall leaves. 

This one went on the wheel yesterday, so not much in the way of progress to show yet. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Stitching Progress

I used late June to do a bit of a check-in on my stitching projects to see where I was with regards to my goals for my yearly stitching resolutions:

I am trying to get my active WIPs down to 12 by 2019.  Good progress on that front, as I am down to 13 as of this week. I finished the stitching for the Mill Hill Buttons and Beads "Believe" Santa. It needs a press and to be fully finished, but I'm counting it as done.  Super fun to stitch, but whew - a lot of work as it has tons of beads and is basically full coverage.  I did switch out the perforated paper that came with the kit to put this on a 14-count hand-dyed Aida.  I've got some blueish-green batik fabric to back this with.  Undecided on a flat fold or a little pillow, but since I'm waiting on the fabric, I've got time to decide.

Also got my The Winter Garden back from the framer and they did an amazing job - I absolutely LOVE how this one came out.  The combo of that antique barn red mat with the slightly distressed, whitewash-looking frame absolutely delights me!  I couldn't wait until the cold weather to display this, so it's out on my sideboard already. 

My other goal was to get a page finish on all of my full coverage pieces this year too.  I've currently got 4 in progress: Winter's Encounter, Six of Swords, A Stitching Shelf, and Witch Way.  All but Witch Way have had a page finish, so I'm tackling that one next.  Here's the current progress:

I'm going to work on this for the remainder of July or until I get this page done, whichever comes first. 

I'm looking forward to taking a bit of a break from monogamous stitching to participate in Arbitrary August.  That'll be a randomly-generated WIP to work on each day in the month (minus a few days I'm on travel), so I'll be able to at least put a few stitches in multiple different pieces and should be a nice way to work towards my final goal of the year which is to touch all of my pieces at least once. 

Still on the fence about a new start for my birthday this month.  I'm so close to reaching my magic number of 12 active WIPs, I sort of hate to bump that number up again - and since I've got a couple of weeks until my birthday, I 'm going to mull it over a while longer. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Tour De Fleece 2018

The annual Tour de Fleece is always great fun and a really nice way to focus on some spinning over the summer.  The Tour officially kicked off on Saturday, July 7th, and will run through Sunday, July 29th.  I'm a bit late getting started since I was in DC until Tuesday, but I did get home with enough time on Tuesday the 10th to at least put the start of a spin on my wheel.  (If you're a spinner and you'd like to come join Team Wooly Wonka, we've got a lovely small group of like-minded folks here.  Very casual - you can spin anything you'd like!)

My first spin for the Tour is another one out of stash.  This is Calavera from Two If By Hand, on Polwarth wool.

I decided I would try to get through a couple of braids in the next week or so at a DK-ish weight before I knuckle down and try to work on a thinner-grist spin.  I've got 2 Two If By Hand braids earmarked for the heavier-weight items and I think I'm going to tackle a small amount of a 50/50 angora bunny/silk blend I've got as my lighter-weight yarn - but that is subject to change based on my schedule of things around here. 

I've started the first half of the singles and hoping to get the first half finished up tomorrow.  Here's where that stands so far: 

I'm really looking forward to working on some more deep stash fibers for the Tour!

WIPocalypse October 2018 Check-In

I worked on a bunch of things this month as I've settled back into a 5-day rotation on my projects, which seems to be working pretty wel...