Archive for October, 2016

When Things Come Together

Several years ago, now, I formed an organization at my local church.  It was called, for want of a better name, the Crochet and Knitting Group.  However, I always wanted a name for it.  Somehow, having a name opens up doors.  We can feel more official if we aren’t just the Crochet and Knitting Group.

This past year, I really started to think about the problem in earnest – searching for possible names that we could use to refer to ourselves.  I wanted something that would bring in several different crafts – since we aren’t just knitter or crocheters.  We do both.  I also wanted something that would easily reference the fact that we are a mission group within our congregation.

A few weeks ago, I began crafting a scarf that was done with rows of cross-stitch (crossed double-crochets).  I looked through pages about knitting and there it was: the basket weave stitch – also called the Cross-stitch.  Of course, there is also the cross-stitch found in embroidery and its related crafts (which members of our group also do).

So, now I’m thrilled: after years of being the Crochet and Knitting Group, we’ll have a name.  Going forward, we can be the Cross Stitchers.  Now, we can make a little logo to put on our brochures for the Prayer Shawl Ministry and the cards we tag to our prayer shawls.  We can send off items to our various missions with notes saying our name!

Review of Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King

Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare KingNicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King by William Joyce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Long title… short review.  So… I came back now to edit my review and add to it a bit.

The other books I’ve read from William Joyce were picture books and were definitely intended for parents to read to very small kids.  This book reads more like something an older elementary school or middle grade reader could read by themselves.  The writing is more descriptive and the characterization is richer.

There’s definitely some overlap between the plot of this and the plots of the picture books.  I’m really enjoying seeing how the characters of Nick St. North and Katherine become the Guardians that I know they will be. The little scenes with Nightlight/Jack Frost are also fun to read.

Katherine is a really likeable character and I love her interactions with both Nick and Jack.  I didn’t quite understand why she’s stated as being so lonely.  While she’s an orphan, she was too young when her parents died to remember them and she’s surrounded by people who love her.  I loved the transition that Nick undergoes, however.  It felt very… real.  I am really looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

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The Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival

For the last several years, my sister and I have gone to the Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY.  Now, generally, I’m not one of those people who is very elite about the yarn I use.  In fact, most often, I use acrylic yarns and cotton yarns.

Part of the reason for that is… I have a strange reaction to handling 100% wool yarn: my fingers go numb.  My theory for this is that the wool is processed in something to which I’m having this reaction.  That means, I generally stick with the alpaca wools and angora wools when I go outside of the acrylics and cottons.

Over the years, I’ve focused on getting tools: a nostepinne, a yarn bowl, a nalbinding needle.  Last year, I got safety eyes and two kits, as well as a couple skeins of yarn.

This year, I got some merino wool.  I didn’t have the immediate reaction to it that I normally do, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to make something nice out of it.  I also picked up a few little odds and ends – buttons and some tools.  I also got a kit from a vendor that I visited last year.  I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get some more of her kits going forward.  They’re intended for a baby doll that she also has a kit for, but the hat I made last year fits my 14 inch doll quite nicely.  I’m hoping that the vest I go this year will be the same.

My sister and I went both days and Saturday was really packed and busy.  It meant we spent a lot of time rushing and buying things before they sold out.  Sunday was much less busy, so it was nice to be able to just take my time and look over things.  That’s part of the reason why I like to go both days.

My goal for this year is to use up the skeins that I’ve gotten last year and this year.  I also want to make the doll vest.  Next year, I want to visit that vendor, provided that she’s back, and get some more of her kits.  I’d also like to look into Russian spindles this year.  If it looks like something I can do, I might pick one up next year, along with some wool to spin.  (I don’t react to roving, which is why I think it’s something in the processed wool to which I’m reacting.)

OctoOctober

The Blog Circle question for the month: If you are a planner, what part of planning is your favorite? If you’re a pantser, what is your favorite part of pantsing?

Bonus: Show us your NaNo planning – handwritten or computer screen!

Ah, NaNo!  The mad scramble to actually complete a novel in a single month… There always seems to be planners on one side and pantsers on the other.  However, I’m kind of a hybrid.  I do some planning – enough to know my characters and my world and… kind of have an idea what I’m going to be writing for the month.  However, I also do some pantsing, since my outline is usually super flexible.

From the planning side, I love figuring out the characters that I’ll be working with for the month.  Who are they?  Why do they do the things they’ll be doing?  What’s their motivation?  What are their fears?  I have a lot of fun creating characters!

On the pantsing side, I find that extensive outlining can suck the fun out of the writing process.  If I know every detail about the story, there’s no discovery left.  For me, that discovery process is part of the fun of writing.  On top of that, I’ve learned that I am only able to go so far with any outline.  Invariably, I’ll get a different – usually better – idea while I am writing.  Having a very loose outline keeps me from getting stuck, but keeping it loose gives me the flexibility to follow those tangents that invariably come up.

This year, NaNo is acknowledging people like me.  I’m what’s called a plantser – somewhere between planning and pantsing.  It’s nice to finally have what I do in preparation for NaNo acknowledge.  I’m not quite sure how to do the bonus…