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" butt…

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!

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&…

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 wil…

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…

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) …

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…