2016 Finished Reading Challenges

Since I really only do two challenges a year anymore, I think it’s safe to record my finished challenges for 2016:


Once Upon a Time X 3/21/16 – 6/21/16 – finished 6/14/16


RIP XI Reading Challenge 9/1/16 – 10/31/16 -finished 10/26/16


Sewing Notes


It’s impossible to buy gift bags that aren’t either rigid, or the size of a car seat box.    I’m shipping the things I bought for BF’s cousin’s baby, and I would very much prefer a bag I can mush into a shipping box.     So, I had to sew to my own.    (As a measure of how much I like K and J, I stood in line at Joann Fabric the Saturday after Black Friday with one bolt of fabric to cut.   Hilariously, they had run of numbers in the deli counter number system they usually use for the cutting table…)

Falling Free- Lois McMaster Bujold

61csft7tdmlThis story takes place in the Vorkosigan universe, but takes place about two hundred years before Miles is born. It’s the story of the development of the Quaddies – genetically engineered humans with a second set of hands instead of feet, bred to live and thrive in zero gravity.

It’s very much a cautionary tale of genetic engineering – the Quaddies are a project within a gigantic galatic corporation, and when they’re made obsolete by new technology, the fact that they are a thousand human beings is buried so deep that they face real extinction.

Fortunately, some of the regular humans assigned to their project aren’t so callous, and find a way to help the Quaddies save themselves.

This is actually a pretty hard story to read, because it’s a very good portrayal of some of the worst of human nature. But, I think that’s what makes it an important story, because someday, we are going to be able to do the things in this book, and we need to think really hard about that means for the future of what we think of humanity.

Knitting Notes

So we were supposed to go to VT this weekend, but one very sick BF kept us home instead. (Fortunately, if you can call it that, we had a fair inkling of where things were headed on Wednesday night, so I was able to run to the store to stock up on food for the next day. We had Thanksgiving pizza, and brownies for dessert.)

So, I had plenty of time where I hadn’t actually planned on getting anything done, and it was rainy. So I’ve caught up on as much knitting as I could. The above is the final dispensation of the Malabrigo Sock in the Stonechat colorway. Since it is red, I wanted at least one knitted ornament out of it, but I also figured it would be nice to have a fair number of hexipuffs out of it, since I usually tend towards blues in my sock yarn choices.

Knitting Notes


Pattern: Traveling Stitch Legwarmers by Lisa R. Myers
Yarn: Knitpicks Stroll Tweed in the Down Heather colorway
Needles: Size 3 DPNs

After taking a summer long break between legs, the Traveling Stitch Legwarmers are done. I liked this pattern – it’s got some relatively complicated cables, but with enough repetition that you can get used to the pattern and the stitches.

The long break does mean that my gauge is slightly different between the two, but not enough that that should be visible when I have them on.

I used way less yarn than the knee highs that I originally made with this yarn, so I have a fair amount left over. I forsee some nice, gender neutral baby hats in my future.

Garden Notes


After a rather impressive rain storm on Tuesday (probably mostly impressive because we’ve been in a drought), the last of the leaves are finally off the trees.


Which translated to this.


That stacked into this.


And along with two bags with from the driveway, translated to another thirteen bags, bringing the total for the season up to twenty one bags.


So that’s at least done for the year.

That did take pretty much all my energy yesterday (and it’s raining this morning), so there’s still some garden clean up to do, especially since it’s been so warm that my herbs are still green (well, not the basil – but it is basil), so I don’t want to put them in for the season yet.

Cherries in Winter – Suzan Colon

030747593x-01-_sx142_sy224_sclzzzzzzz_This is the story of how the author’s family used food to get through hard times, framed with her experiences being laid off from her magazine job during the Great Recession in 2008/2009. It’s a really nice story of family, and sticking together through hard times. I really just picked it up because it was next in line in the stack, but it turned out to be what I need this week.

I don’t write a lot about politics and the like in this blog, because I don’t feel like that defines my existence, but that’s not to say I don’t have strong opinions on it, and the election (and the season leading up to it) last week was definitely a low point in our modern political history. I don’t know what’s going to happen with soon to be president Cheeto – I’ll do my best to respect the office, but I cannot respect the man – but this book was exactly what I needed to counteract the general air of depression hanging over a lot of us right now. In that general spirit, I’m going to focus on positive things – like the 17th annual Mocksgiving last weekend, and all the friends that make that happen, as well as the soon to be niece or nephew who is now officially my niece M. Those are the kinds of things that are important.

Knitting Notes


Pattern: Beyond Puerperium by Kelly van Niekerk
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in the Stonechat colorway
Needles: Size 2.5 and 4 circs and DPNs

Here’s the cardigan for BF’s cousin’s impending little boy. We might be seeing them over Thanksgiving weekend, or if not, this is being shipped to her mother for her shower on 12/3.

It’s a nice little pattern – very versatile – it’s written for three different yarn weights, and a ton of sizes. Well worth the money.


My feelings on the yarn haven’t changed – it’s still awesome. I had a fair amount left over, so made a Cabled Baby Hat by Pam Allen to go along with the sweater.

Legacies – Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill


Spirit White wakes up out a coma after a car accident, to find her parents and sister are dead, and that her parents had made arrangements to send her to Oakhurst Academy in the event that they both died before she turns twenty one. Turns out, Oakhurst is a school for magicians, and that one of Spirit’s parents had to have gone there.

It’s a weird place – rich prep school in the middle of nowhere, Montana. And Spirit doesn’t seem to have any magic. But, she does make friends, and all seems ok, until a few students disappear. Spirit and her friends investigate, and come to interesting conclusions about the school.

This is very much a set up book – the end game of this story is clearly only the beginning. There’s definitely a lot of things these kids aren’t being told, and it sure looks to me like a lot of parents are dying when they don’t need to – I’m actually surprised no one talked about it in this book, but I’m sure it’ll come up again later.

My favorite part, and I don’t think I’m being too spoilery here – the Wild Hunt as zombie bicycle/ATV/assorted other wrecked vehicle gang. Loved that.

I’m interested to see where this goes. It’s clearly laying some Authurian groundwork, but is still open to nearly endless potential.

Jane and the Man of the Cloth – Stephanie Barron

99e353bc7b934ce59396d6e5a77434f414f4141This is the second of Barron’s Jane Austen mysteries, and we find Jane, her parents, and sister Cassandra off to take the sea air for the month of September in Lyme, which is where her novel Persuasion is partially set. On the way, a storm overturns their carriage, injuring Cassandra, and forcing them to take refuge at a nearby manor, where Jane meets the darkly forbidding Geoffrey Sidmouth.

This is meant to be a sort of love story, and Sidmouth is probably a sort of proto-Darcy (the conceit of these books is that they’re a lost trove of Austen’s letters, so they’re meant to inform how she came up with ideas for her books.) There’s also smuggling, and interesting society asides.

It’s diverting – I’ll give it that. And in some ways, the history and setting is well thought out. In other ways (Jane going out at night just for the heck of it to see what the smugglers are doing), it’s a little far-fetched. The anachronism was a bit strong at times. Still, it was a diverting read.