Embroidery Notes

My William Morris Snakeshead cross stitch is done. I thought this was going to take me a year. I’m pretty familiar with how much time I’ll spend doing things on the side at home. As with many other things, this was the year I’d be wrong with that estimate.

This pattern had no back stitch, was was actually nice, since I hadn’t done much of any embroidery since 2001. It’s not perfect – it ended up a warping the fabric a bit so that it sits a little crookedly (I’ll blame having to move my hoop around over nine panels), but I’m ok with that. It really does look very cool.

Haven’t decided what to do with it yet. We’re still settling out on wall art after moving, so I’m putting it away in a safe place with my other embroidery, and I’ll think about it later once some of our other stuff is settled.


The Orphans of Raspay – Lois McMaster Bujold

And I’m back to the story of Penric – in this case, he and Desdemona are on the way back from a mission on behalf of the Duke of Orbas, when his ship is captured by pirates. By virtue of him looking like a weak scholar, he gets thrown in with the other vulnerable prisoners – two girls, recently orphaned, on their way by themselves to find their missing father.

They’re brought to an island in a nearby archipelago that seems to have been taken over by these pirates, and Pen does what he needs to do to get himself and the girls out of there. It’s as fun as usual – I’m so glad the author’s recently published more stories of Pen and Desdemona.

Emerald Blaze – Ilona Andrews

This was a fun book. Catalina Baylor has been called in to investigate a murder – several houses have gone in together to try and reclaim an area of Houston nicknamed the Pit, and when one of the Primes dies, all the others must be investigated. And what Catalina uncovers could be catastrophic for the entire city. Oh, and just when she’s gotten over Alessandro Segrado, guess who’s back?

The romance in this is nothing new – you can see what’s happening a mile away, but it’s satisfying to read. I really enjoyed the investigative plot – the authors brought in good villains for this story.

The Sisters of the Winter Wood – Rena Rossner

In an Eastern forest (it reads Russian, but you read the notes, you’ll see it’s based on things the author brings in from her Ukrainian roots), live two sisters. Liba and Laya are Jewish, in a mixed village. When their father is summoned to his dying father’s side, they’re given surprising news – Liba is also a bear, and Laya a swan. The two girls are left at home while their parents journey away.

What happens is a test of sisterhood, as well as them learning what it means to be Jewish, and to have their special creature roots. It’s really hard to summarize – you really do need to read the book. It’s lovely – told in alternating chapters between the two girls. I think it’s also worth reading the notes the author gives on her family history in the area the story is set in. While this story is pure fantasy, what happened to the Jews in that place is real, and colors her story. A really good read.

Knitting Notes

The Swan Islands Ikat Indigo Beetroot is gone – hexipuffed away.

I’ve actually gotten in on a test knit, but I’m waiting on the yarn for that, so in the meantime, I’m doing some Icy Seas ornaments out of Knit Picks Palette leftovers, to see if I can get rid of some of that. I’m going to do two sets in rainbow colors for my nieces, and then do some Christmas colored ones to see if I can get enough to include them in next year’s Christmas cards.

I also decided to frog the Woodland Walks socks I’d started for my MIL. I’ve selected better yarn and a pattern to go with it, but I have enough pending right now that I won’t cast that on immediately.

Angel Mage – Garth Nix

In an alternate Europe, magic is based on the ability to summon angels. In Ystara, something terrible happened, and their archangel has abandoned them. If any magic is used on the Ystarans, they either die of a plague, or turn into monsters.

A century or so after this happened, in the neighboring kingdom of Sarance, forces related to Ystara are stirring, and four seemingly unrelated young people are brought together. They’re linked by magic, and just might hold the keys to restoring the Ystaran people.

The world building for this story is great – it’s got a real Three Musketeers feel to it with a really interesting magic system. Where it falls a little apart for me is the villain, and the outcome to why the four young people are so special, and linked to Ystara. That whole side of things felt really rushed. If it had had a little more build up, I would have been completely pleased – the system of magic definitely deserves some building out.

Knitting Notes

Pattern: Bearly Bonnet by Pure Stitches
Yarn: Swan Island Ikat Collection Watercolors in the Indigo Beetroot colorway
Needles: Size 2 and 3 circs and Size 3 DPNs

Finally, a project done!    It did feel really good to get this done and dusted.    I’m hexi-puffing the rest of the yarn right now – I decided I needed to get one skein of leftovers out of the way before I did anything else.

Garden Notes

Here’s this year’s batch of seeds. I was really very good – I wanted to buy like three times that many, but I resisted. We’ll see how well that goes next year, once I get a better handle on what I’m dealing with with the new yard…