It’s WIP Wednesday again? Already?

I do not know where the time is going. I really don’t. But all of a sudden, it’s late August. In a way, I blame not being in school and not having kids — it was a lot easier to keep track of the days when a change of seasons meant a change in my schedule. But since, as a childfree adult, it’s all work all the time, there’s no seasonal change to remind me where we are in the calendar.

Anyway, since it’s time for a WIP Weds again, how about we jump right into it? First up is the current progress picture of my Hedera socks. (This one is current, unlike last week.)

WIP Weds 8/24/16

I just need to decide how long I want to make the leg, and then I can start the heel. I kinda want to make the leg as long as I can, but I also don’t want to run out of yarn. (This is why I prefer toe-up socks in many cases.) I did weigh my yarn before starting, so I can at least know when I finish sock #1 if I will be able to knit a second sock with the amount of yarn left.

Next up we have the newest Geek-A-Long square. This one features Carmen Sandiego:

WIP Weds 8/24/16

Did any of you play the Carmen Sandiego games? Or watch the TV show? I did both. And I (well, my parents) bought the TV show soundtrack CD, though that was more because of Rockapella than Carmen Sandiego. Anyway, I loved this game (we had “Where In Time Is Carmen Sandiego” for the Commodore 64) and so HAD to knit the square. Loving it so far!

And speaking of loving it so far… here’s the current progress of the Geek-A-Long blanket as a whole:

WIP Weds 8/24/16

Knitting each square individually makes it easy to lose track of how much progress I’ve made on the blanket as a whole! It’s getting so big. I’m very happy with it.

The latest square is the Kingdom Hearts square:

WIP Weds 8/24/16

I really like how this one turned out. I’m not sure which side I like best yet. They’re both really cool.

Happy hump day!

Friday Reads: City of the Lost

26114566._UY200_City of the Lost: Casey Duncan #1
2016 Book Challenge: A book at the bottom of your TBR list
by Kelley Armstrong
(contemporary fiction, mystery/thriller)

About the Book Challenge category first: the only reason this book was at the bottom of my TBR list was because I heard about it from Kelley’s newsletters and a book-blogger-friend‘s posts early on, and I added it to my TBR list, and then I forgot about it. And I didn’t read book release notes for a while, and then the next thing you know I see the book on the “new books” shelf at my library. So of course I had to check it out, even though it hadn’t been in my reading plan for the month. (Yes, I this year have a reading plan. With this year’s Book Challenge I have to have a reading plan, or I won’t complete the challenge.)

Now, about the book itself: it’s fun. It’s a lot of fun. And there are twists, some of which you see coming and others which you don’t. It’s really hard to write this part of the review because I don’t want to give away any spoilers. The “mystery” part was accurate, I feel. It kept me guessing all the way to the end. It wasn’t as much of a thriller as I expected it to be, though. Maybe that’s because I’m used to Kelley’s writing style, but I’m not sure. (For the record, I feel that her Otherworld book HAUNTED definitely fits the bill for the thriller category.)

I enjoyed getting to know these characters, and I look forward to book 2 when I will get to read more about them. There were some predictable moments with the character development, but I still enjoyed reading them even though I knew they were coming. I will admit that the main characters did a couple of stupid but convenient-for-the-plot things, but at least they weren’t unbelievable stupid given that they were done in anger. We all do some pretty dumb things when we’re mad. Their stupid things just happened to serve to further the plot.

The setting was also interesting, and it was a neat look at how someone could theoretically hide a town in the forest somewhere. I’ll be interested to see if we get more of the town’s background in the next book(s) or not – it could happen, but isn’t necessary.

What about the plot? Well, talking about it would be getting into spoilers. Let’s just say that, given a fiction novel, it was believable and easy to follow. It was well-paced, as I have come to expect from Kelley. My only problem with it was that the pacing definitely picked up toward the end (as you would want, of course) and I found the book nearly impossible to put down. And I guess that’s not really a “problem” problem. It’s the kind of not-really-a-complaint that you make while grinning ear to ear.

Quick WIP Update

Today there will be an extremely quick WIP post. (Partly, I’ll be honest, because progress has been limited. But also because my time is in high demand this week and I don’t have more time to write about knitting, no matter how much I want to.)

First up is the current progress on the Kingdom Hearts GAL square that I showed you last week:

I’m still loving it, but have less time to knit on it than I would like.

Next up is the not-quite-current picture of a new WIP, the Hedera socks by Cookie A.

I am enjoying the knit so far. I’m using Scout’s Swag sport yarn, in a colorway dyed specially for Miriam Felton. I won the yarn in a giveaway many years ago, and have finally decided on a project for it. I love it, and will get you a more current picture… as soon as I have the time to do that.

Happy hump day!

Friday Reads: A Clockwork Orange

orangeA Clockwork Orange
2016 Book Challenge: a book with a color in the title
by Anthony Burgess
(dystopian, classic fiction)

I finished this book, but it felt like an obligation to do so. I did not enjoy it. It feels like the kind of book you’re not supposed to enjoy, though. It felt like a morality tale. Yes, I suppose at this point it is a classic. And yes, there is enough action in the book that it’s readable for the modern reader, unlike some very slow paced older classics. However, the slang-talk which the narrator uses just grated on my nerves. (Yes, it’s more-or-less understandable and very consistent, once you get used to it. I just didn’t like it.) I also didn’t sympathize with the main character at all, and for me that’s a deal breaker when it comes to enjoying a book. If this one had been a longer book, or had taken me longer to finish, I probably would have returned it to the library unfinished.

So, the plot… there are three acts to this book. In the first one, we follow our narrator around as he (a then-fifteen-year-old boy) gets into trouble by causing all sorts of violence. He beats people up, rapes women (and girls closer to his age), and steals stuff, and gets away with almost all of it. Real likable kid, yeah? Then he gets caught, and Act Two is two years later, in prison. And he doesn’t get any more likable after that. Even the tortuous rehabilitation he undergoes (which felt to me like the reason the author was writing the story) didn’t endear him to me at all. Act Three was noteworthy in that it included the final chapter which was left out of the original American publication (and therefore also left out of the movie). It was interesting to read that and try to figure out why it was left out and why the author wanted it back in.

Is it worth reading? Well, that all depends. If you want to read it (as I did) because “it is a classic” and you want to experience it, then go for it. If you have watched the movie and want to see more of the world or see how the author wanted it to end, then yes, read the book. If you are looking for a fun read or a likable (even sympathetic) main character, however, skip this one.

WIP Weds ~ Kingdom Hearts & Triforce

One of the 2016 GAL squares features Kingdom Hearts. Now, this is a game I haven’t yet gotten to play, so it seems kinda silly to include it. However, I want to play it, so I’m including it for that reason. Besides, it’s a video game with Disney characters. That just suits me, right?

Here’s my progress on the square so far:

Kingdom Hearts GAL Square 2016

I used the same self-striping yarn I had used for the Triforce square, partly because it was already out, partly because I enjoyed using it so much for the previous square, and partly because it seemed like an appropriate color combination for this square (given that I haven’t played the game yet and don’t know if there are more appropriate colors). I’m enjoying it, and as with the Triforce square it seems to be moving pretty quickly.

Speaking of the Triforce square, it is now done! Here is the finished square:

Finished GAL square: Triforce from the 2014 blanket

I really liked knitting this one. I didn’t play much of any of the Zelda games, either, though I did at least try the original Legend of Zelda. However, you can’t be a gamer geek and not know about Zelda. Also, Mr. Wyrm has played some of the games while I watched and knit, so that was fun. He played the games partly for his sake and partly for mine, so I consider myself an accessory to Zelda if not an actual player.

And because it’s been a while since I linked back to them, here is a link to the Lattes & Llamas blog. This is where they post all about the Geek-A-Long, and where they have links to donate to their sponsored charity, Child’s Play.

Ten On Tuesday ~me!

I didn’t do last week’s Ten on Tuesday, but here’s this week’s post!

The Ten On Tuesday prompt for August 9, 2016 is to write a list of 10 words that describe you. The catch is that all the words should begin with the same letter as your first name. Use nouns or adjectives or a mix of both – whatever floats your boat!
Have fun!

This could be … interesting. Well, let’s see how many words I can come up with to describe me that start with “N”…

  1. Nice.
  2. Naughty. (Sometimes, anyway.)
  3. Nor-Cal girl.
  4. Nerdy. (duh)
  5. Nature lover.
  6. Novice weaver.
  7. Non-performer in the theatre realm.
  8. Nearsighted (though not too badly… I need glasses but my prescription isn’t too strong).
  9. Nocturnal, when I’m allowed to be. (Sadly the day job doesn’t usually allow for this.)
  10. kNitter. (Okay, so I cheated. But that one was a gimme!

Bonus Sunday Reads ~ While My Pretty One Knits

knitsWhile My Pretty One Knits: Black Sheep Knitting Mystery #1
2016 Reading Challenge: a book with bad reviews

by Anne Canadeo
(cozy mystery)

I will admit it: ever since I read my first of Maggie Sefton’s Knitting Mysteries, I have been a sucker for the style. I’ve been trying to find another series that captured my interest the way those early Knitting Mysteries did. (I will admit that Sefton’s series went on long enough that I got bored with them. But the first several – I think the first 7 or 8 – were books I enjoyed reading.) I had hoped that this series would be another like that. It might yet be, we’ll have to see. I may read the next one in the series too, and see what I think of it. This first one, however, I’m not sure about.

(Book Challenge note: I didn’t read this knowing about the bad reviews. I only went looking at the reviews later, when I had my own misgivings about the book, and I found that several people agreed with me. This book has many 4- or 5-star ratings, but it also has lots of 2-star ratings. One of the big complaints with the book is its need for better proofreading, which I completely agree with. Another big complaint, though, is that it’s too predictable, even for the cozy genre.)

So, the basic, spoiler-free plot: a group of friends who met during a knitting class all meet at the yarn store owned by Maggie, one member of the group for a book signing and demonstration by a local girl who’s made it big and moved into the city. (Boston, I think, but it really could have been set anywhere. There was not a big sense of place in this book.) The start of the demo, however, is interrupted by news that the other local yarn shop owner – who considered Maggie her arch rival – has been killed. Police investigate, Maggie is among the suspects, and Lucy (another member of the knitting group and our main/POV character) is determined to help Maggie out because she knows Maggie is innocent.

One of the things that I liked best about this book was that Lucy managed to solve the mystery without too much illegal snooping about. Many cozy mysteries get a bit loose with what the average citizen would be able to do in order to solve the mystery. Lucy managed to solve this one with a bit of luck and some nosy gossip, but without any actual illegal activities, and that was refreshing. However, it was on the predictable side, even for a cozy mystery. I had my suspicions about who dunnit pretty early on, and the only thing that was lacking was the motive. Once a hidden piece of evidence was found, however, the rest clicked into place.

I mostly enjoyed the book, and found it a quick read. The proofing errors, though, were a bit jarring when I came across them. Things like verbs being in the wrong tense grate on my nerves. I know, I know, errors happen. I still don’t like them. I mentioned that the setting was nondescript – fortunately the characters were a bit more fleshed out. I am glad, though, that this was a library rental.

Oh, and about the yarn content of this book: unlike the LAST WOOL AND TESTAMENT which I reviewed earlier, there is plenty of knitting content in this book. Some of it feels real, too. They even mention intarsia. However, I’m glad that the bulk of the knitters in the group are relatively new knitters. None of them (even the teacher) felt experienced. And I must agree with some of the reviews I’ve read: the description of the yarn store and its contents felt like someone had done research about it, but not really talked to passionate knitters. The biggest mention about yarn was how “organic yarn is more expensive”. Wha? You want expensive, where’s the cashmere? Qiviut? Angora blends? Hand-dyed art yarns? So, yeah. This was a fun book, but when I want a knitting mystery, I will still (so far) stick to Maggie Sefton.

(If you have other recommendations for me, please pass them along!)