Saturday, 3 December 2016

Things I should be working on and things I get distracted by

So, I'll be good and start with the project that I'm meant to be working on, and I've been good, this is my second time this week working on it, and I've done four whole rounds this evening (a miracle by my standards, I had to stop when I realised I was clenching my jaw as I concentrated, patterns are not my forte - I like blankets!). Anyway, this is a child/baby hat that will one day look like a sheep, and looks more like a sheep than it has done up until this point, so I'll take that as a win. And it's currently being modelled by my knee, because I looked round my house and realised I had nothing the size and shape of a childs head (which sounds a lot creepier when I actually run that sentence through), the closest thing, rather disturbingly, was my own know. It's like the weirdest version of the hotdog legs game that you'll ever play! 
Secondly is what I'm getting distracted by, I've been trying to find something that works with this neon yarn, and I think I've finally found something that seems to look right. I can (almost) justify the fact that I got distracted last week, we went away last week and granny squares are much more portable (and take a lot less concentration) than the sheep hat. Also, as we were flying it meant that if they took my hook off my for the squares, I have three in that size and it wouldn't be an issue, if they'd taken my hook off me for my hat it's the only one I have and I'd have been lost. This is also the first time that I've attempted to get a hook onto a flight (albeit only a domestic one), I was told it was fine as long as it was in a secure case. I've yet to meet someone with a 'secure' case for their hooks, so I took everything else out of my hook roll and took that with one lonely hook in, I think even that was a wasted effort, airport security seemed more interested in my deodorant than my hook.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Black Key - Amy Ewing

So this is the last in the series for the Lone City Trilogy, although I am hoping for one last novella as this book made me quite curious about the back story of one character.
I found this much slower to start than the last two books in the series. As this book started at the White Rose, planning the revolution, I was worried that this was going to be how most of the book was going to go, and I felt myself starting to wander off, but when Violet decides to be back to the city to try and get to her sister, things suddenly started to happen again, and we start to see more conflict, and therefore more action.
Violet disguises herself to return to the House of the Lake to try and find and rescue her sister, meaning we see more of Garnet, who has fast been becoming my favourite character, although this also meant that we saw less of Raven, who I did miss.
As Violet goes back to the city she comes back into contact with characters we've seen before, Garnet, the Duchess of the Lake, Cora and more. I won't lie, I was also glad that it kept Ash and Violet apart for a lot of the book, as I have little to know interest in their relationship.
This is the first time that Violet really realises what revolution is, she sees first hand the death and devastation caused by the uprising, and it's also the first time that she has to take responsibility for her actions, both good and bad. As she is back in the city we get to see some interaction with Lucien, and it's the first time I've really warmed towards him as a character, because of the life he's lived he's made himself rather cold, but we start to see a little more of him than we have in the past.
This felt like the book where the series grew up, the characters grew up and started taking responsibility for what is going on around them, and we don't have to watch so much lovesick mooning. The little glimpses of Hazel that we see through out this book show a scared child who doesn't really know what's happening, and that's what forces Violet to do more, her fear for her sister.
The Duchess of the Lake plays quite a key role in this book, as you'd expect, and it's her that I'd love to see a novella for. The back story that we start to get for her is quite tantalising, and goes a long way towards explaining how she has become the way she is. I'd love to see a novella that actually showed it happening though.
I have very mixed feeling about the last chapter of the book, which, without giving much away, is some of our main characters looking at what they've achieved. I sort of understand why Ewing has written this chapter, but I don't personally feel that it really added anything other to the book.
Over all though I did really enjoy this and felt that this was a strong finish to the trilogy, tying up all the end, but leaving a couple of interesting options for telling back story, both recent and more distant history.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Just a wee bit this week

Just a quick update, firstly I think I've finally found a pattern that I like the variagated yarn in. I've was contemplating doing it as one big continuous square, but I think that lots of little squares will work better, especially if I use black for my joining. Plus it means I can make the blanket the shape I want rather than it having to be square. I've never actually tried a solid granny square before, and I have to say I like it a lot more than I expected, and it turns out it works really well with this yarn. Although I admit that this was my second attempt, I had to play a little but with the corners as I was starting to get a bit of a ripple in my square.
Also, I've done another couple of rounds on the sheep hat, which seeing as it needs to be finished by next weekend means I'm probably doomed, but it's grown, so I'll take that as a win. Other than these I've not really had much time this week, so a bit of crochet is all I have to show, the joy of the run up to Christmas.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

A Lone City Novella - Garnet's Story by Amy Ewing

Garnet's story came out after the first two books in the Lone City Trilogy, and follows in the trend for teenage fiction, of giving us a novella from a different character's point of view.  This follows the same time period as the first book in the series 'The Jewel' so it doesn't particularly move the story forward any, but it does give us a lot more insight into Garnet, son of the House of the Lake.
We don't see much of Violet in the book, which I'll admit suits me as, as is often the case, I find the main character the least interesting.
Turns out that Garnet's motives were more self-centred than I had originally assumed, but for all that I found that I liked him more for it. Garnet is one of the more interesting characters in the series anyway, so finding out that he wasn't just an idealistic teen was quite a nice change. It also turns out that almost every assumption I'd made about why he did things was wrong, which I like, it's nice to be wrong and not always know what's going to happen.
This novella also gives us a bit more information about Garnet's relationship with his wife to be, Coral, who I had pretty much forgotten about, so that was interesting as well. I think I'd like to head the second and third books for Garnet's point of view as well, he and Raven are (for me) the most interesting characters and anything from their Point of View gives a very different look at things.
This novella is more coherent than the one based around Raven, because of what that was about it was very easy for that to become disjointed as she did, for a time, become quite an unreliable narrator, you don't have that problem with Garnet.
I am really enjoying this series and am currently half way through the final book in the series, so chances are I'll be talking about that one in the next few weeks as well.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

A tucking away and a welcoming

So, firstly I've had a bit of a grumble with Dragon Rider just recently which meant I didn't want to work on it and was putting off stitching because of it. so I've finished the colour I was on and decided to tuck him away for a while, work on a couple of other projects and then hope that the love for him returns. 
And we all know the best way to get out of a stitching funk, with something shinny and new of course! So here it is, the shinny new to make me happy! Once again, I've not had a massive amount of time so there isn't much to show, so you can't really tell what it is, but believe it or not that slightly egg shaped thing to the left is a shoe, although not a shoe that I could walk in.
This is from a desginer that I have liked since she started, and this is my first start from her so I'm looking forward to seeing how it stitches up!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Things I Want my Daughter to Know - Elizabeth Noble

You can summarise the plot of this quite quickly. How a family deals with the loss of their mother. Barbara dies leaving her four daughters, Lisa, Jennifer, Amanda and Hannah to manage without her. Each daughter has her own issues to deal with, and has only her sisters, her(step) father and her mother's letters to help her through. Knowing that she is dying Barbara has written letters for her daughters, that she hopes will help them in later life.
Lisa is scared of commitment, Jennifer's marriage seems to be falling apart, Amanda is a traveller, unable to settle down anywhere and Hannah is still young, struggling to deal with the loss of her mother and the teenage rebellious years at the same time. Add to this Mark who is trying to help his step daughters and understand his teenage daughters, as well as trying to deal with the loss of his wife and you have quite a simple set up.
This is the second time that I'm saying I struggled to keep two of the characters clear in my head, for some reason I struggled to keep Lisa and Jennifer straight. Amanda and Hannah were very clear characters with their own personalities and issues to deal with. I felt that Lisa and Jennifer could easily have been merged into one character, despite the fact that they're supposedly dealing with very different problems, it all seemed the same to be somehow.
I think I struggled with this book because I struggled to like most of the characters. Hannah was a brat, granted she was a teenager and I'm sure most of us were brats at some point but that's my defining memory of her, she was a brat. Jennifer and Lisa, were also mostly brats, and I struggled to respect the decisions that they made. Amanda I probably liked the most, but even she wasn't exactly a positive character, a woman who runs away when she doesn't know what to do.
I did quite like Mark, the man trying to hold everything together through the loss of his own wife, but even some of his choices and decisions seemed puzzling to me, and I couldn't always respect what he did or why he did it.

I made it to the end of the book, but it took me quite a long time, I kept losing interest and putting the book down, then coming back to it for a while, then getting bored again, before eventually using it as the book I read on my break on lunch at work then taking it on holiday to finish. I think I just didn't warm to the characters and so didn't really care about what happened to them, and I couldn't understand most of the decisions that they made.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Little bits

Firstly I have a tiny update on Dragon Rider, I didn't have as much time to stitch this week as I intended, but there are a few more stitches in there! 

Secondly I've been experimenting with flowers this week, I'm intending to make my bouquet, so this has been my first experiments with a couple of different designs.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The School for Good and Evil - Soman Chainani

I'm going to actually start doing book reviews again, I know that I keep saying this, but I'm going to give it another go. I was on holiday recently, I read actual books, now is the time to try this again.

So, The School for Good and Evil is as it sounds a School where you train to be either a Princess or Princess or the Wicked Witch, or if you don't qualify to that level a side kick or a henchman, every year students turn up excited to learn, already knowing which school they're going to be from and two people come from the forest, kidnapped by the School Master.

For the first half of the book I went through phases of really enjoying it and getting really frustrated with it. Our two protagonists are the Beautiful Sophie and the Ugly Agatha, Sophie wants to be kidnapped because she wants to be a princess and escape her boring normal life, Agatha wants to protect her friend and so ends up getting kidnapped with her, however Sophie ends up in the School for Evil and Agatha ends up in the School for Good. The reason I kept changing my mind about this was because it kept feeling like it was being dealt with n a very black and white way then swapping back again. Black and White as in "you're beautiful, you must be good" and "you're ugly, you must be evil", and every time it started to veer away from that I enjoyed it again, and every time it went back to it I started to get frustrated that it really was going down that route.

Very early on you start to see signs that Agatha is the good one and that Sophie is the evil one, but both girls find it hard to accept, Sophie because she's beautiful and therefore believes that she's good, and Agatha because she's spent all her life being told that she must be evil because of how she looks.

I have to admit that I struggled to like Sophie, in fact I spent quite a lot of time wanting to slap her, mostly because she's a selfish brat, although that is pretty much the point. Within each school with have other characters, of course, we have Tedros, Arthur and Guinevere's son in the school of Good and we have the Sheriff of Nottingham's daughter. I have to admit that I struggled to keep some of the character's straight and to which name went with which character, but I have had that problem a couple of times recently so I'm willing to accept that that might be me rather than the book.

As you get to the final showdown, characters switch sides, page by page, so you never quite know who believes what, so I rushed through the last few chapters in one sitting, and of course I'm not going to tell you how it ends, suffice to say that it's set up the next book nicely and I'm now considering getting the next one to find out what happens next, and I@m still not completely certain whether I'm happy or frustrated by the ending.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

It lives and it grows!

I've actually had time, there's actual progress, I'm so excited.
There's a tyre, and some stuff in the middle, and some little bits of confetti, which never look worth the time they took, but every little helps.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

A little more to show this week

Not the best picture in the world, but I have some semblance of progress this week, so I'm quite happy to be posting it. Although I can't quite shake the feeling that the edges of the tyre aren't going to meet up. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Late update

I've been such a bad blogger recently, but I'm trying to be good again. The trouble is I've only got so many things that I can post on my blog, there's the odd secret project knocking about as well, so I can't show those.
Firstly, I accidentally started a new blanket, I'm so weak, I know, but I've been in love with this yarn ever since I saw it at Yarndale and it jumped into my shopping bag. It feels amazing, and it's chunky, so it's making up really quickly, this is already three or four inches wide and I've hardly spent any time on it, but I'll have to go shopping for more yarn, I knew my three skeins wouldn't be enough, but I hadn't factored in how quickly chunky makes up and so uses up. So, my favourite blanket pattern makes another appearance, Cosy Stripe from Attic24. 
Secondly I am trying to put a little bit of time aside each week for stitching,  this was only a couple of hours last week, but at least it's something, and I am loving working on it when I can. And looks, I see a tiny bit more motorbike making shape, I'm so happy! I have (as per usual) such ambitious stitching plans, so a little progress makes me so happy!

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Just a quick post

The titles says it all. I've managed the next round on my next set of granny squares. Nothing more I'm afraid.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

This and that

I've done a bit of everything this week, which means I have lots of little bits of progress to show, rather than one impressive 'look what I did'. Also my secret project is taking up quite a bit of time at the moment and I can't really show that off until it's done and gifted.
Firstly my Harmony blanket continues, second set of colours added to my second set of squares, slow and steady and all that. 
Secondly, I suddenly realised that one of our friends is due to have a small person soon, and as such I needed to decide what I was going to make for this, and this is what I've decided on, a small cream circle! I hasten to add that this is in no way finished. I've used this as an excuse to pull out a book that I've had for well over a year and have been looking for an excuse to use, and as I'm loving this one thus far I'm sure I'l be finding many other excuses in the future. The book is Crocheted Animal Hats, and it's great

And finally, while I'm not getting much time on my stitching at the moment I am loving what little time I am getting, especially as this is a page with quite a lot going on, you can definitely see the dragons tail taking shape, and there's a tiny patch of motorbike done as well now. It's slow, but it's happening.

And finally finally, I think I mentioned last week that I was going to Yarndale, well, I can't resist showing off my stash enhancement, I had a fabulous weekend!
In this picture, yarny goodness. The three solid colours are the softest yarn I have ever felt, it's  amazing, and I intend to make a blanket out of them (along with many more skeins). The pack of six I intend to have a go at this dragon scale gloves that are going round, and the big one it to take a show at a virus shawl to go round my shoulders for the wedding. Wish me lock on all of those.
In this picture are sillies, car stickers (stops suddenly for yarn shops and no yarn in kept in this vehicle over night), a mammoth pattern and yarn (how cute is the mammoth), a big wodge of batting for spinning and some stitch markers. I did manage to resist a spinning wheel, but I got batting knowing that I'll give in one day, I'm going to book onto a class somewhere to give it a go first, and then I'll buy one :-) 
And here's the 'practical' stuff. Two books of patterns, the blanket book is amazing, and so colourful, Edward's Menagerie is always ridiculously cute, I really didn't mean to buy this, but they were a lot cuter than I expected, and the girl offered me a deal on this and the stuff for the mammoth pattern.
There's a hook keeper, it hasn't come out very well on the picture, but the fabric is brilliant, those balls of wool are all actually sheep.
Oh, and a home dying kit, I'm a little ambitions about that. And a sill card that I bought for my other half promising him a pair of socks, one at a time, I gave him the first one last Christmas.
And now I'll finish with some other pictures from the weekend.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

A harmonious dragon

So, I do feel like I actually have something to show this week, how often does that happen? First off, here is Harmony from Attic 24, I've finished my first set of 9 squares, and started my second set, although I'm willing to accept that my second set looks more circular than square at the moment. Hopefully they'll square out a bit.
As you can see from my first set of squares, I'm willing to accept that they're not perfect, although the bottom left one is not so much smaller as it looks in that picture, I have some weird photography skills apparently, but once they're all joined together in a pretty blanket I'm sure they'll be a bit squarer.
My plan with this is to make it to the size that Lucy recommends first (single bed) but then I may add more to make it bigger. I bought this kit at Yarndale last year, and I'm back off to Yarndale this weekend, and I have spending money, who knows that I'll come back with this year, I still haven't ruled out a spinning wheel.

And in other news, look, stitching, and look who has come out to play. Yay!
I know, it's not much, but it's stitching, and I'm so glad to be stitching again. I have discovered my perfect Wednesday evening. Bake Off and stitching (for those in the UK, how upset are we about Bake Off on a scale of one to ten? I'm heart broken, it won't be the same, I'm hoping that the BBC will just create Strictly Come Baking and just carry it on with the stars that it looks like they're keeping. Okay, carrying on for the non-Brits). I do love Dragon Rider, and he is my focus piece, and so lovely at that, also the one that I'm furthest along with in all my projects, having said that, considering that I'm meant to work on this every third project, I'm ashamed to say that I haven't touched Dragon Rider since February, I hadn't realised that it had been so long, I'm quite ashamed of myself. My rotation has obviously failed me completely (again!). I've just looked back, I have cheated, there have been four other projects between this page and the last (bad Kim!) so that partially explains why it's been so long. Anyway, he's back out, I'm excited to see Dragon, and also much more motorbike on this page so generally squeeeee
Right, I'm off to break my credit card at Yarndale, have a fun weekend my dears. Yarn porn almost certainly to follow. (Occasionally I like to add inappropriate words to my blog, I find the idea of someone searching porn and stumbling across this blog strangely amusing. Especially as this is turning into a ridiculously convoluted story in my head where they discover an unknown passion and skill with need and thread or hook and yarn!)

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Crochet is all

I had such high hopes for this week, and I've barely achieved anything. However I have at least got something to show, which means I can at least justify a post. The Harmony blanket is continuing. The middle square shows the final round (other than the joining rounds) for this set of squares. I wasn't sure about the dark and light purple together, when I saw the balls next to each other they looked really similar, but that's completely changed when I see it on the square, which is good. Hopefully I'll get this set of squares finished this week. 
I've also been working on my secret project, this is probably the last time that I'll show this. I don't think the person it's for generally watches my blog, but you can't be to careful. I'm basically showing this so you know what my excuse is when I have nothing to show in the weeks to come. These two projects are the reason why I didn't manage to get my stitching project worked on this week. I have the chart out, the fabric is on the frame, and I've highlighted the next colour, but nothing to actually show at the moment. Hopefully this time next week I will have some stitching, but it's also Yarndale next weekend, so I may not achieve much next weekend it self.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

I will be a good blogger, I will I will!

 First up is my mystery stitch, I know I'm the only person who is amused by this, so I'll stop being childish and dragging this out, especially as it's now been packed away so I can work on something else for a while. This is Always by Kordek from Tilton Crafts, this is my Alan Rickman from earlier this year, I still haven't quite settled on what my David Bowie tribute is, that are a couple of HAED ones that I'm thinking about, but I really shouldn't add any more new starts into my planned starts and rotation.
So, what is coming out to play I wonder, hmmm, what could it be? Again, I know that I'm the only person that this amuses, thank you for humouring me, or at least not telling me to shut up!

Secondly, and despite the fact that I haven't finished my Toft toy yet, my blanket obsession has won out and a new crochet blanket has been started. This is Harmony from Attic 24. Love this blanket, although I accept that it's not massively blankety yet. I hasten to add that while my crochet isn't brilliant, it's not quite as uneven as this picture makes them look, I think I must have had my camera at an odd angle. Despite the fact that this really isn't my normal sort of colour scheme (I tend to prefer bolder), I loved the colours on this and was really enjoying this. Most of this was actually one evening of work, but as per usual work has got in the way of crafting this week. Besides, if I want to justify starting the new blanket. This was bought at Yarndale last year, and we're only two weeks off this year, so I'm trying to start some of the stuff that I bought this year before I blow everything that I've saved this year. It's quite sad how excited I am about this!

Saturday, 3 September 2016

It's changed, honest

I know I say that slow and steady wins the race, but even by my standards this is ridiculously slow! But here is the tiny amount of progress that I have to show. Can you work out what it is yet? I know, there isn't really enough to guess at, clue, the little shmushes at the bottom are letters!

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Can you guess what it is yet?

It looks suspiciously like a wrinkled pear, strangely that is not what I'm crocheting (although I'm sure there's a pattern for one out there somewhere). This is my first attempt at one of the Edward's Menagerie's patterns, and as I'm still a bit of a noobe I started with the first one in the book as they're meant to get more complicated as you work through. This is a bunny... well, more accurately it's a bunny's belly.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Slow and Steady

Okay, I may have had a new start, but I noticed a mistake on Cara Mia that would have involved me unpicking half of it and this upset me, so Cara Mia has been put in the naughty corner to think about what it has done and I cheered myself up with a new start. Can you guess what it is yet? (if you can i'll be majorly impressed, because I know what it is and I still can't tell. 
Secondly is my next crochet project, I have technically started another blanket, but I'm not settling to it at the moment, so I decided to start my first Edward's Menagerie project while my brain also thinks about what it's also done wrong. I'm very much a blanket maker, but I have some amigurimi projects planned in my future so I figure it would be a good idea to do some other projects in the mean time to get my hand and eye in.