Well, that went a little long.

I set a goal in the beginning of July to try to post to the blog twice a week.

Hah.

Well, here I am after a whirlwind of cross country trips.  Back to NJ, drive to CA, fly to WI, fly back from WI, fly to NV, fly back from NV, drive around CA some more… it was a crazy month and a half.  But!  My sister now lives in CA, at least for the next ten months, so I have a cross stitching buddy!  I also had plenty of time to stitch, and am onto the backstitching!

Only, I have found a mistake and it bugs me so much, I may need to frog a bit and fix it.

I know.

I’ve also been trying to focus some on making headway on writing fiction.  I’ll admit this currently has priority over StashCache, although I continue to monitor for bugs and still have a huge list of features I would like to implement eventually!  The reality is, however, that StashCache doesn’t make any contributions to the family finances, and our hope is that the writing will.  In return, however, I can offer the news that there are several new stash building files available for download, including Kreinik, Gloriana, Needlepoint Silks, and Dinky Dyes!  Check them out over on the imports page.

Hopefully now that the travel chaos has somewhat settled down, I can start to make some progress on some other things. Fingers crossed!

Alas, vacation is always too short.

Well, that’s my experience, anyway. This one especially – I think The Other Half has really needed one for a while (and I have too) and …this just wasn’t long enough. It was good, just …not enough.

On the flip side, longer would have been less good too, because there were two new bug reports to squish when we came home. I have fixes to both of those out, and there’s a very tricksy one that continues to haunt around (it’s been reported twice so far, but I can’t successfully replicate it, which makes debugging …very challenging). I have a tentative fix for that pulled together but I am going to save it until there’s another update that needs to go out, since I’m not 100% certain it will fix the problem.

I did get some stitching time this trip. The advantage of the Sea Of White, of course, is that it doesn’t require a lot of thought or counting, so it’s very easy to fill in as I sit and listen to an audiobook or we’re driving along. Even these photos are a little out of date, because I filled in another pile while we were driving back home.

stitch_trailer

You can see our trailer, of course – our little teardrop! We had a great time camping in it for the entire trip, starting in the Sierras and ending up in the north, by the redwoods. There were a few short hikes too. I especially loved Fern Canyon. You walk along the stream and on wooden planks over the stream. It was wonderful, with the beautiful sound of the water babbling over the stones and the ferns on either side.

fern_canyon

The kittens were pleased to have us home, of course, although now they’re whining at me because it is dinner time and they get wet food tonight (as an apology for us not being home for a week). The house is mostly back in order (with a few exceptions) and at some point I will get a dinner menu planned so I can go grocery shopping tomorrow.

And, of course, the planned updates for StashCache, which will take quite a bit of development work this week. I’m still working out the specifics and beginning to look at what it will all involved, but hopefully I’ll be able to get started on that tomorrow. Watch this space for updates about what’s coming!

Waiting on Santa.

The Mill Hill Santas for this year have been announced (and probably released) and I have to say I love them. Of course, the Other Half and I go to our local Scottish Highland Games every year and so in some ways it’s absolutely perfect. I’m planning already to take that to stitch there this year.

Of course, it also means I’m waiting for them to show up online so I can add them to my cart and hit the order button.  Also in that cart, of course, is the hank of Anchor that I’m going to need to finish the Sea of White.  It’s become very apparent I will need it, and I’d really like to order it all together to save on shipping, so that project is sitting aside so I don’t run out while working. Besides, I have lots of little kits I can work on in the meantime, and the last season of Mythbusters with the Build Team arrived last week, so that’s some nice stitching listening.

Also the next book in my favorite series by one of my favorite authors.  I’ve read it through already, but the audiobook is still being worked on!

I’m trying to balance working on my next project (and we’re going to see where that goes) and the changes I still want to work into StashCache. Along with healthy eating, getting the house in better order, getting the financial stuff in order, making the summer travel arrangements, and supporting the Other Half while he’s dealing with work. Not sure I’m always getting it right, but I’m trying. Maybe tomorrow I will take a break from the next project to work on StashCache some. The changes I want to make are turning out to be a little more complicated than I thought they would be, but I still think they’re doable.

Some updates and more thinking.

I had a lovely e-mail conversation with a user of StashCache last night, dealing with some difficulties with how the app sorting works.  We got it straightened out, and I am thinking about how to make it easier to select information that you have entered previously, to avoid problems like extra whitespace tripping up the sorting.  (Another possibility is to set the sorting to ignore whitespace, which I might consider doing in addition.  Comparisons too …something more to consider. And then there’s the changes to sorting which I’ve talked about before and I’m still mulling over. Anyway.)

I think it should be relatively straightforward to convert the text boxes where you enter information into ones that can access a list of previously entered information, filtered based on the letters you’ve already typed. Of course, you can always enter something new, as well.  The main challenge is keeping incomplete data out of the overall list, which I have an idea or two on. Still trying to think through all the details. The Other Half will probably get an earful about design tonight, assuming he is willing to listen. Having some idea of the framework I’m trying for before I start mucking around in the code generally helps.

There was also an update pushed out yesterday that added a check to make sure the file selected for import is one the program is actually equipped to import – namely, a text file. This prevents adding gibberish to the stash and/or crashing the app by trying to import a file the app can’t read, like a PDF. I added a note about this to the FAQ. I continue to keep my eye out and watch for crashes, and I’m doing my best to get those all addressed within 24 hours.

On the stitching side of things, I have made progress on the sea of white. Not as much as I would like, but progress. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m probably not going to have enough white thread so there’s a skein of the Anchor tossed in the next shopping cart I’m ordering from 123stitch. Just waiting for the new Mill Hill kits to be available so I can toss those in and get the biggest bang for my buck shipping-wise.

I am trying to step back from working on this as constantly as I have been the past few months, since I need to start gearing my time towards something that will let me contribute some to the household. I had actually written this in part as a portfolio piece, something I could show prospective employers, but now things are more unsettled and I am looking at writing. I’m grateful The Other Half is being incredibly supportive and I’d like to be able to contribute something back.

I also thought that I’d really know what I wanted to do when I grew up by age 30, but …it’s not looking too likely at this point.

I am not sure I made gauge on the crochet pattern.

My afghan is trundling along, and I am on the third of the four skeins.  Looking at it, I’m not sure I’m going to achieve the desired measurements.  I mean, ideally it should be almost half the full length at this point, if not more …and I’m not sure it’s over two feet.

Oh well. The advantage to using the mottled yarn is that if it doesn’t matter if I fail to match dye lots perfectly, so I can just throw more yarn at the problem to get the length I want. It is coming out thick and plush, the kind of afghan that it will be wonderful to snuggle under on a cold, rainy day. (Except for the fact that CA never gets them anymore, sigh.)  And there’s enough texture in the piece to keep it interesting, despite it being easy enough for beginner-me to figure out the pattern reading.

great_wave_white_update

I have gotten some stitching in on the Great Wave piece.  Filling in the white isn’t very exciting, but it’s at least mindnumbingly easy? I’m trying to find some things to do while I’m working on it, but I’ve been unsettled recently and so the normal technique of audiobooks hasn’t been effective. I watched a few livestreams of tornado chasers this weekend while I got a little bit of stitching in, and that helped some. Maybe I will try to sneak in a little more today between bits of housework and planning.

Thursday saw a major bugfix done for StashCache; the app is now substantially less likely to crash if you (say) edit the quantity of the thread in the thread info page (so that it’s not in the stash anymore, for example) and then hit the back button to return to the stash list. Also, your changes will now be displayed on the list. I think that should fix the crash reported on Wednesday night, but since I wasn’t able to replicate it exactly, I can’t be 100% sure. I’m keeping an eye on the crash reports to see if it shows up again.

I’m seeing enough tablet users that getting a tablet layout designed is moving up on the list of goals, along with the sorting changes I talked about earlier. This is probably a bit off in the distance though, depending on how other life events are happening. The app, as much as I love it, pays no bills. Writing might. Something has to.

Switching gears, for a bit.

In search of my mojo, I’m tackling a different project for a bit. I bought some of the Bernat Blanket yarn a few months ago – several different colors, but two skeins in the variegated grays. I’m not a great crocheter, but I have a little bit of experience, and I’ve been teaching myself to read crochet patterns. I went by Michael’s on Monday and picked up two more of the same color (it’s variegated, so the dye lot isn’t as important) and I’m crocheting my first afghan.

It’s actually a reasonably fast project, so far – I’ve finished the first skein and am working on the second – and because it’s such a thick yarn it’s nice and cushy and should be plenty warm when I am done. I’m going to be thrilled when it’s done because I’ve never finished anything larger than a scarf, but this definitely feels achievable.

Just like the change in projects for the past few days, I’ve also been focusing on work other than StashCache, although I always check the bug reports first thing when I get up. Fixing bugs is a top priority! Today I aired out all the bedding though, and cleaned off my desk. Tomorrow I’m going to work on getting our trailer into shape for a trip again, and also the garage. If I end up with extra time, there’s the linen closet that needs to be sorted through and my end table in the living room.

Housework never does stop, does it?

I’ll try to have a few photos for the next update, both of where the current project is and the one I should be stitching, and just life in general. Also, maybe a few of the recent stash additions. There’s been a few, there will probably be a few more. Whoops.

Anyone seen my mojo?

My stitching mojo is not with this piece. Granted, I have been busy on any number of other things, which is why it is almost midnight and I have just finished up the to do list for the day, but. I have at least put a few stitches in on it this weekend, which moves it just a little bit closer to done.

I was thinking some today about the sorting in StashCache, and how to implement it so that the user can choose between different sorting schemes. Thinking through how I did things, it should be doable without too much adaptation, although I’m not sure where the selection for sort order will end up being. Of course, I should also provide a way for users to mark patterns as favorites, which are placed at the top of the list independent of sorting.

That, of course, ends up being a little trickier.  Still doable, just trickier and will take a little longer to implement. I have some ideas on where to start with it at least, but I’m thinking it will be time for me to learn what I am doing with branching in Git a little better when I start implementing that.

I also am seeing enough users with tablets that I should get the tablet layout implemented, although …well, that’s just going to be fun. Where by fun I mean some of the design tradeoffs I had to make are going to come back and bite me, I think. It’s still doable, just another of those things that will take some time.

In the meantime there is a pile of things to do around the house that got ignored in the lead-up to getting the app released, and the husband is still recovering (although doing much better at this point). The feature thoughts are percolating while I tackle some of that to do list, although I’m keeping an eye out for bug reports so I can get those fixed quickly.

It’s just about time to go keep an eye out for my pillow, though. Grocery list is made, so tomorrow are grocery runs. Fingers remain crossed that the supplies today allow me to rain death upon the ants, at long last.

Venetian Opulence

I fell in love with this piece the first time I saw a picture of it.

venetian_full

No, really. I don’t know how you can not fall in love with the gorgeous, rich colors. The beads, the elegance. (I know, I know, different strokes for different folks and all that. This piece just made my heart sing.)

venetian_face
venetian_detail
venetian_skirt_side

It was a no-brainer to start this piece as I finished up Shakespeare’s Fairies, and I never regretted a moment of stitching it. I stitched it on 32 count Light Exemplar linen from Picture This Plus. I admit to a small moment of panic when I started the skin tones, but I think it worked out well, especially with the backstitching. Without the backstitching, it might have been a different story.

venetian_daytime

I started this piece shortly before I started working on StashCache, so posting these photos today seems a fitting way to commemorate the fact that I have submitted StashCache to the Google Play Store. Stitching Mirabilias is what finally got me branching out from kits and started my serious stash building, and ultimately what drove the development of the app. I’m really excited (and terrified) to put it out into the world, but I think it’s just as beautiful as this finish in its own way. Maybe not to some people’s taste, but I’m proud of it all the same.

Proofed and up.

Ooof. Well, I meant to get this a little more together (and post) before we had the whirlwind cross-country trip to see family and a wedding, but time got away from me. We got home late Monday night to ants in the kitchen (they found the cat food – ugh ugh ugh ugh) so I have mopped the floor at least three times now.

Last night one of my favorite bands played up in the city, so of course we got tickets and went to that – and got home at 1am. Even with my normal hours, that hurt, especially since I’m still trying to stay vaguely on East Coast time until after the other half’s knee surgery on Friday. Hah. So the alarm slipped later this morning but will have to move back tomorrow make sure that happens.

Despite all of that, the tutorial and FAQs and template pages are up! My sister (bless her) has proofed them for me and I figured out what was going on with the image caching after wasting an hour on it, so I’m pretty happy with where we’re at. I just need to decide on one or two more potential changes to the main page and settle the e-mail issue, and then it’s a final code/comment pass (and a little more testing – I’ve hammered out a few bugs so far!) before I commit and get this up on the Google Play Store. It’s so close! I’m thinking end of next week.

I did take the Great Wave piece with me while travelling and made a small dent in the giant sea of white but there is still so much more to go. It’ll go with me to the surgical center on Friday, for sure. In the meantime, I need to produce a grocery list, mop the floor (again), find an exterminator to call (seriously, these ants), all those pesky reality bits.

Now the testing (and the website work).

The app is done!  Barring, of course, a major bug cropping up in the testing I’ll do this week.  The difference between where it is now and where it started is amazing and I’m really pleased with how this has turned out. I can’t wait to send it out into the world and see what others think of it – I’m hoping at least one or two folks might find it useful!

In the meantime, the website will also get some attention this week. Now that the screens are set, I can redo all the screenshots and tweak the tutorial to take into account the changes that have been made since I wrote it up. I also need to put together a pass on the FAQs and write up the page about importing and exporting.  In perspective, though, it’s so close!

The sea of white is …not even close.  We travel at the end of this week too, so it’s not likely to see significant progress for a bit; I’ll stick to smaller kits while flying, thanks, and especially with all the white stitching that needs to be done. It’s a shame, because it’s a giant area of essentially filling in the blank spaces …I don’t know. Maybe. It’ll be nice to spend some time stitching again either way, even if it is because I am sitting on a plane at 7am (ugh) traveling 3 time zones the wrong direction (double ugh).

I admit, there are times I could really get behind the concept of abolishing time zones.

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