Wednesday, October 16, 2019

NaNoWriMo 2019 and New Knitting No. 2!

National Novel Writing Month is coming!

The website is acting up at the moment, so I'm having some trouble entering this year's project:

The Antipodean Time, a contemporary romance featuring new character Kimberley Hamilton, and Simon Chevalley MacDonald, who had cameos in The Charm of Time and The Handful of Time.

I also can't seem to see any of my buddies at the moment. But if you're on there, let's join up!

In the meantime, I've squeezed in another knitting project, which wasn't part of my stated ROW80 goals, and which didn't turn out to be quite the right size...

Baby hat

At least the model is cute!

Next project is a secret gift for a friend!

Thanks to Knitty for the pattern. I'm going to try to do it properly this time, which means experimenting first and then knitting the actual gift, rather than simply diving in and hoping for the best.

Hmm, maybe that should be my NaNoWriMo approach, too -- plan first, write after. It'll be a twist on my usual pantster techniques.

Are you a plotter or a pantster?

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

IWSG Day, ROW80 Goals, New Knitting, and Diana Gabaldon's Rules for Writing

New projects!

Somehow there's always time to do something you really want to do.

In between the usual busy-ness, I found time to knit something!

I sorely missed knitting, and my daughter needed new mittens...

I love Marianna's Toddler Mittens pattern because it's not only easy to knit, it's also easy to resize as needed. It took a bit of experimenting (one mitten came out slightly wonky on top, and I haven't shown that in the photos!), but not much time overall.

It always feels good to finish a quick project.

Particularly relevant, as it's time to set our goals for the next round of ROW80.

Mine are to:
  • keep up with (complete?!) The Antipodean Time for NaNoWriMo
  • solve the plot hole in The Handful of Time
  • keep up with school and everything else
(A corollary to this is that it's been about a year since I've actively commented on other blogs. I'm really hoping to remedy this and get back to regular visiting and commenting by next summer, once school is over.)

And maybe knit something else! I've collected a few "I wish I had..." ideas from friends, including leg warmers and a tuque.

Today is Insecure Writer's Support Group day!

Very intriguing question this month: "It's been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don't enjoy reading? What are your thoughts?"

I think the only people who write, but don't read, must be those types who live, the ones who are busy building cabins or sailing around the world, or helping isolated communities in far-flung parts of the globe, or... Their stories are always exciting to listen to, and they might have a natural ear for storytelling that helps them translate oral tales into written ones.

Otherwise, I just don't think it's possible to write without reading. For one thing, how can you not want to read? It's so enjoyable and interesting and exciting! For another, you need to read often and widely, to learn (either actively or passively) all the tools and methods that are available to you.

Diana Gabaldon puts it best:

"Frankly, there are only three “rules” to being a successful writer:

1. Read. Read everything. This is how you learn both what you like, and what you don’t like (and you sure shouldn’t waste time writing stuff you don’t like, no matter how popular you think it might be)–and how you begin to learn what writing techniques are, and how they work.

2. Write. You can read all the books about writing and take all the classes about writing that you want (and I’m not saying these are pointless; they’re great for some people, not so much for others)–but the Horrible Truth is that nothing will teach you to write, except the act of putting words on paper. I naturally can’t guarantee that you’ll be published, successful, or rich–but I do guarantee that the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it.

and the third rule is the most important:

3. Don’t Stop!!"

Have you completed any projects recently?

Friday, June 28, 2019

Crafts! Bread and Cake and Knitting


Back in March, I promised an update on the fact that I've baked bread for the first time ever!

(Side note I: I was searching all bread-related posts on my blog, and came across the mention back in 2010 of one of my main characters, Austin, and how he got his surname of Cunnick. Rather apt, as the only writing I'm doing at the moment is a long, fun scene featuring Austin and his wife, which has no relation to any current WiPs.)

(Side note II: I was also reminded of this awesome beer bread recipe from Kait Nolan.)

Without further ado, here's the baking:

The recipe was based on Refrigerator Bread by Kelly Yandell.
450g flour
1 x 7g sachet of instant dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups warm water
Mix it all in a container. Let it sit for two hours. Put it in the fridge for two more, or until you're ready to use it (even overnight). Let it rise 40 minutes, then bake at 475 for 25 minutes, then another 10 without the lid.I used the same Le Creuset pot for the entire process!


Starting with the flour...

Mixing everything





I also made some Oreo cheesecake over Easter:

Supplies (upside down)


Ready to go in the oven

Wait, I forgot to take a photo!

Too late, I ate it!

A photo from our guest, the host of Nakki Spa

A lovely photo of our village beach, also by our guest

I haven't actually started, but I have two new knitting goals: leg warmers knit with cotton yarn, and new mittens for the kids for next winter. I'm looking forward to shopping for wool, especially since I only have one bag of wool left at home, and it's nice to have an excuse to buy some new skeins!

I've also signed up for Bold Beginner Knits from Kate Davies Designs, and look forward to receiving a new pattern each week! I really can't wait till I have more time, to knit some of these...

Which crafts are you exploring at the moment?
What are some of your new projects?

Friday, March 22, 2019

Year-end Knitting Review -- with added photos!, Tolkien Reading Day, and Lara Lacombe's New Release

Knitting round-up for year's end!

Last year I didn’t really set any knitting or other craft goals, except to not let them fall completely by the wayside. I mentioned that I needed an excuse to knit something as a gift...and a couple of friends got pregnant!

I did manage to knit a couple of Christmas gifts however: a hat and a set of leg warmers!

Some of my other posts throughout the year:

A Poem and a Few Songs for Burns Night, and ROW80, Including Knitting
Playlists, IWSG Day, Knitting in Public, and Elephants!
Kait Nolan's New Release! Also, New Mittens and Blog Plans Till January...
ROW80, A Completed Project, and The Enchanted April (a finished baby blanket)

ROW80 End of Round Wrap Up, and Visits to Yvoire (France) and Gruyeres, plus Photos from Vaud (Switzerland) (another finished baby blanket)

Why I didn't knit much:
I completed my second year of graduate school, and this guy came along:

Another friend also had a baby this year, and a group of mutual friends put together two quilts, one for each of us.

Here’s me starting to embroider my name on the square I contributed:

Here’re some photos of both quilts taken by the friend who did the finishing work:

Here’s what I wrote when I first shared a photo of the quilt, on the day I received mine:
I always say that one of the best parts of having read Outlander all those years ago was having joined the Forum and become friends with so many amazing people. This is a beautiful instance of that joy. Baby is kicking in happiness
PS close up of Kedi, because his and Austin's story was the first one I started on after I joined the Forum, following a two-year drought, and I'm still amazed by how many other characters have come to know him over the years.
And here are the photos to date:

1 month

2 months

2 months

2 months

3 months

3 months

3 months

4 months

4 months

For this year my goal remains the same, to simply knit something sometime.

My other ongoing goals are to:

1. Think about buying expensive wool to make, slowly, methodically, and properly, a gorgeous design by Kate Davies This is ongoing, and mostly on the backburner. But last year I read Handywoman by Kate Davies, and I’m currently enrolled in the Knitting Season club, which features a new pattern every week. I haven’t had time to make any, of course, but am storing them all up for later, and really enjoying the essays by Kate that accompany each pattern release.

2. Pick up crochet again, but I'm still stumped by the double crochet stitch. I need to watch more YouTube videos

3. Organise all our photos and print a few, especially for the grandparents
I have finally caught up with this! Now the trick is to not fall behind again...

4. Bake more!
I have been more successful at this lately. I’ve been baking every weekend! And I've made bread for the first time ever! I'll write up a separate post of that.

Lara Lacombe has a new book out!

Ranger’s Baby Rescue
“Who kidnapped Emma Foster’s baby?
When her daughter is abducted from her Texas home, Emma Foster turns to Matt Thompson to help her. Matt and Emma work together to retrieve little Christina from the clutches of traffickers. But it will be a race against the clock for the ranger and the nurse, who must risk it all to save the innocent infant…”

I love the way this story dives right into the action, yet from the start the reader has a clear view of who the characters are, what events have shaped them, and what they hope for the future. Both Emma and Matt are hesitant to take a leap, to hope for something between them, especially while doing their best to save Emma’s daughter.

If they can trust their emotions long enough to let go and open up to each other, all sorts of new possibilities might lie ahead. As they continue to work together to rescue Christina and keep her safe, an opportunity finally comes up for them to reveal their feelings. I was on tenterhooks waiting to see how they came together! Plus, I could completely relate to having to do everything with a young child in tow; all the baby-related scenes were very realistic!

Next Monday is Tolkien Reading Day!

This year’s theme is Tolkien and the mysterious...

I’ll either reread The Notion Club Papers, or some of the art books, featuring such lovely mysterious drawings as these:
The Shores of Faery

The End of the World

The first round of A Round of Words in 80 Days has ended!

I haven't gotten as far along in my edits of The Handful of Time as I'd like. Mostly this has been due to being ill and choosing sleep over editing time, but still! If I could do even a couple of sentences a day... It would be nice to have it done by the end of the year. Slow and steady wins the race!

Which crafts have you been exploring?
Do you enjoy reading suspense novels?