Showing posts from November, 2015

Reading Challenge Recap

I am really proud of the fact I actually finished this reading challenge.  I wound up finding several great new authors and enjoyed a large number of books I probably never would have picked up.  To recap a few of the notables this year:

My top 3 favorite reads:
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth.  A wonderful retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale.
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  A completely unexpected favorite this year.  I chose it to fulfill the category need, but wound up becoming completely immersed in it.
Iceland by Betsy Tobin.  I loved this combination of Norse mythology with historical fiction.  I was inspired enough by this book to design a shawl for my Heroines Club for 2016!

My 3 least favorite reads:
The Hours by Michael Cunningham.  Meh - I don't think this lived up to the hype AT.ALL.
Magic America by C.E. Medford.  Depressing and not in an enlightening way.  More violence and cancer than I really needed to read about.
Beloved by Toni Morrison.  Is this b…

WIP Wednesday: November 25, 2015

Sekret Knitting:

I'm in the home stretch on the first Heroines Club Shawl pattern for 2016.  I have a couple more hours of knitting time to put in on it, and it'll be done and ready to head off for tech editing/testing.  I'm looking forward to sending this one out into the world - it's a really fun set of gradients!The yarn just arrived yesterday for the next deadline project, which will be a fair isle/stranded knitting garment.  Lots of knitting to do on that with a pretty short deadline, so I'll be focused on that for the next couple of weeks. Waiting on yarn for 2 other deadline projects that got accepted for Fall 2016 publications - one is small-ish and the other is a men's garment, so I have plenty on the deadline knitting front to keep me busy for a while. 
Personal Knitting:  Because I suffer heartily from the Cobbler's Wife syndrome (as in... I knit constantly, and hardly ever have knitwear to wear myself), and I needed a new hat, I cast on for a Felic…

WIP Wednesday: December 2, 2015

Sekret Knitting:

I finished the shawl for the Heroines Club January kit.  That is off to my TE and test knitter. I started the big stranded garment knitting deadline project this weekend.  I've got 1 sleeve about half-knit and I've started on the body, with about 2" of that finished).  I'm going to get sleeve #1 done completely and cast on for sleeve #2.I have 2 other deadline projects, 1 large, 1 small, that I'm waiting on yarn to start. Personal Knitting: The handspun Felicity hat is done!  It's maybe a wee bit dense with this yarn (which is more like an Aran then a worsted), but it's SUPER warm because of that and the mohair content.  This was a really quick and easy project.  I only used half of the yardage of this handspun, so I could either knit another hat, or might knit a pair of gauntlet-length fingerless mitts, or a pair of mittens.

I also finished my Mesa Verde Shawl #2, which I knit out of Rowan Scottish Tweed from deep stash.

2015 Reading Challenge - DONE!

I am done!  Before I left to vend in Texas, I actually finished up both Muse and The Last Unicorn.

Muse was just the kind of historical fiction I like to read.  Set in 14th century Avignon, and filled with lots of historical detail about the time period, the author also created wonderful characters and filled in the storyline about Petrarch's mistress with tidbits of fact she was able to glean from extant resources (and granted, there is very little known about this woman, but I liked how the author created a strong female voice within a very male-dominated time period.)

I finished things up with The Last Unicorn.  I'm so glad I had this book to close out the year's challenge.  Lovely, lyrical, filled with magical things and a fairy-tale based in reality, this was one that I will keep close to hand when I need a smile or an uplifting moment in my day.  Peter Beagle writes well, and his turn of phrase and choices of words make this one a definite favorite of the year for m…

Spinning Friday: November 20, 2015

This week, I finished spinning up the combo spin from FatCatKnits "Famous Couples" club.  This was the September 2015 installment - Sam and Dean.

I got two 2.5-oz braids of a superwash merino/sparkle base, which are shown coiled around each other above.  The "Sam" colorway is the red/black/white/yellow one, and the "Dean" colorway is the purple/black/teal/white one.

I spun each of the colorways up separately, and then I plied them together to get:

This crazy bright 2-ply yarn!

Yarn Specs:
Fiber:  Superwash merino wool/nylon sparkle - 5.0 oz.
Colorway: Sam and Dean (2.5 oz of each color).
Ply:  2-ply.
Weight: Fingering weight with 504 yards and 4.9 oz in the finished skein.

I originally thought I'd make socks from this, but 504 yards is WAY more yardage than I need for socks.  I might do socks AND a pair of mitts, or maybe try to figure out a really simple shawl pattern that would play nicely with this.

Next I'll be starting the last blended roving offe…

WIP Wednesday: November 18, 2015

Sekret Knitting:

Thanks to a couple of evenings in my hotel and not going out to be social after a day of vending, I am on the final repeat of the large lace project.  That should be done and blocked by this weekend.  It's already been reviewed by my TE, so it's ready to roll out of here to the publication shortly.I've been working on the first Heroines Shawl Club 2016 pattern.  I'm done the first lace pattern on that and just started the second.  I'll be feverishly working away on that while I wait for yarn to arrive for.....Another deadline project that's a long jacket with colorwork.  That'll be a dash and a half to get it knit by the end of December's deadline but I think I can get that accomplished. Personal Knitting:  I've been working a bit on my second iteration of Mesa Verde, and I've got one more full and one half pattern repeat left to finish up.  If I have some down-time this week, I'll see what I can get knit on that, but re-entr…

Reading Challenge 2015

In the home stretch!  This week I finished Musewhich is a historical fiction novel about the woman who fathered the poet, Petrarch's, children.  Set in 14th century Avignon, this story imagines what type of young woman was the mother of his children, and follows this character, Solange Le Blanc, from her days in a nunnery where she learned to be a scribe, through her years as Petrarch's mistress, and eventually her return to the nunnery where she grew up.  It ties in all sorts of great history including the years when the plague came to Avignon, and Pope Clement's reign in the city during that time period.  There is virtually nothing known about the actual woman who was the mother of Petrarch's children, but this story ties in enough details of the time to create a believable character.  I really enjoyed this one. 

You'll also note that I read a graphic novel this week.  I'll come clean here and say I don't "get" these.  Are they comic books?  Regu…

Spinning Friday: November 6, 2015

This week, I finished spinning the singles and plied the gradient I was working on last week.

Yarn Specs:
Roving:  Hilltop Cloud gradient pack in "Lake Shore" colorway, a blend of 50% merino wool, 37.5% shetland wool and 12.5% linen (flax).
Weight: Fingering weight.
Ply: 2-ply.
Yardage: 574 yards/5.1 oz.

I hadn't spun this particular blend before (it's a custom blend from Hilltop Cloud), but I loved it.  Rustic look with the flax, but enough merino in there that it's still passably soft.  I did pretty well on spinning the singles evenly.  I had only about 2-1/2 yards of singles left on one bobbin after I plied, so the color shifts lined up pretty nicely!

With this spin, I'm within a pound of reaching my 7.5 pounds spun in 2015 goal!  I'm hoping I can finish up the next 14 ounces in the next weeks before the year's end!

WIP Wednesday: November 4, 2015

Sekret Knitting:

Still working on the first deadline project.  I've knit about 1/4 of it and started in on the second quarter.  That's my primary project right now.I have the Annika sweater up to the point I'm ready to bind off for the front neckline and sleeves.  If I have bandwidth, I'll see if I can get that done this weekend, but I'm in the throes of a LOT of dyeing right now to get ready for the Kid N Ewe show in Texas next weekend, as well as finishing up some other custom orders. Personal Knitting:  Hey! I have something!  I decided to cast on a Mesa Verde Shawl in a darker colorway using some (ancient) stash Rowan Scottish Tweed.  I picked a dark heathery chocolate brown with flecks of blue and yellow and a dusty mid-range blue.  I've knit 2 of the repeats so far and it looks like: 

I'm taking that with me to knit night tonight!  (And if any of my readers are interested, I'm hosting a KAL for Free Spirit Knits over in my Ravelry group from mid-No…

Reading Challenge 2015

This week, I finished the audiobook of Cinder.  This is a retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale, but set in the future, and Cinder is a cyborg who works as a mechanic.  If you haven't covered your eyes and run away based on that description let me tell you what I liked:

Clever reworking of the story - I liked the tidbits the author pulled in from the original story.
The characters are well-developed and strong.
Entertaining - I zipped thru the audiobook!

And what I didn't like:
Ugh - I guess I didn't realize this was part of a set.  This volume finishes just after the ball, but I think if you commit to reading this, you'll want to read the rest of the series.  (Which I likely will pick up at some point, but I've got some other things to read first.)
I asked D what he thought "young adult" meant, and he said almost the same thing I thought - 13 or 14 years old.  But I think there are too many intense themes in this for 99% of the 14 year olds out there.  M…