Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Tuesday Book Review

The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Four star review of The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

In the same world as The Paper Magician and it’s sequels, and with a couple of the same characters. Alvie Brechenmacher from Columbus, Ohio, a place I know well, is an apprentice studying plastic magic with Mg. Praff in London. Her friendship with another young woman Ethel, whose arm was amputated, leads her to want to create a plastic prosthesis that’s more flexible. The creation of this prosthesis with Mg. Praff and demonstration at the magicians’ gathering is interspersed with the budding romance between Alvie and Bennet, who appeared in the Paper Magician series and is Ethel’s brother, and the efforts of the villain of the piece to steal and take credit for the invention. Lighter by far than the Smoke and Shadow series, as well as less complex than the Paper Magician novels, still I enjoyed it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Tuesday Book Review

Border Ambush by Melody Groves

5 star review of Border Ambush by Melody Groves

Although I’m not usually a fan of western novels, this was so filled with action and great characters, that I enjoyed it start to finish. We meet Trace and James, two of the four Colton brothers and the protagonists of this story, as Trace is driving a Butterfield coach with James riding shotgun. The stage is held up by four bad guys, who take James’ watch and shoot him. This incensed James and set off the story. Mrs. Groves knowledge of the history of the area of New Mexico and Arizona is apparent in the descriptions.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Sunday Knitting Blog

Ever wonder about the science of knitting?

Dating back more than 3,000 years, knitting is an ancient form of manufacturing, but Elisabetta Matsumoto of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta believes that understanding how stitch types govern shape and stretchiness will be invaluable for designing new "tunable" materials. For instance, tissuelike flexible material could be manufactured to replace biological tissues, such as torn ligaments, with stretchiness and sizing personalized to fit each individual.

At the American Physical Society March Meeting in Boston this week, Matsumoto will present her work on the mathematical rules that underlie knitting. She will also participate in a press conference describing the work. Information for logging on to watch and ask questions remotely is included at the end of this news release.
"By picking a stitch you are not only choosing the geometry but the elastic properties, and that means you can build in the right mechanical properties for anything from aerospace engineering to tissue scaffolding materials," said Matsumoto.

Matsumoto enjoyed knitting as a child and when she later became interested in mathematics and physics, she developed a new appreciation for her hobby.
"I realized that there is just a huge amount of math and materials science that goes into textiles, but that is taken for granted an awful lot," said Matsumoto.
"Every type of stitch has a different elasticity, and if we figure out everything possible then we could create things that are rigid in a certain place using a certain type of stitch, and use a different type of stitch in another place to get different functionality."

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Tuesday Book Reviews on Thursday

Smoke & Summons by Charlie N. Holmberg

Four star review of Smoke and Summons by Charlie Holmberg

This is very different from Holmberg’s Paper Magician series or the Plastic Magician. It has a darker, grittier feel. The two protagonists, Sandis and Rone, each have something they want more than anything else in the world. Those desires guide their actions. At the end, Sandis must wonder whether she should have been careful what she wished for. Getting to that point, though, is an action-packed, bloody ride that develops both the characters and the world, a polluted and corrupt city.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Current knitting projects

I write more than one story at a time, read more than one book, and also knit more than one item. I thought it was time to show you the diverse things I'm working on:

This started out to be a scarf, but it's narrow and, because I don't have more of the yarn, it's short, so I'll probably turn it into a cowl.

The pattern is Debbie Bliss' Paloma scarf

I'm also working on this shawl. The pattern is from the Craftsy Estonian Lace course by Nancy Bush.

I'm knitting it using the fingering yarns that were in my goody bag at last years knitting excursion,
including a couple of solids and a hand-dyed one.                                                                                     
Finally, I've just started the sleeves for a sweater I'm knitting with a Cascade 220 four-ply yarn using a pattern called Taina. I've finished the back and two fronts. This is the back.                                      

I'll post pictures of the finished products over the next weeks. Or months. Or however long it takes.