I might have spoken too soon when I said I was feeling better, so let’s just do Karmic Balancing gifts and try not to think about it. I’m taking today and knitting a sock, and working on catching up on paperwork, and trying to put my business to bed for the week that I’ll (hopefully) be away, and I’m trying not to whine. Thanks for the donations my petals, you guys are so amazing that I’ve now met my public goal – I’m looking now to blow it out of the water. Last year you guys took me way, way over my private and public goals, and I know that there’s no force out there like knitters. None. Every ding on my phone makes me feel a little better, and makes me more hopeful that this is going to be okay. Let’s hope that Karma works, and that trying to put something good out there does something good for how I feel. A miracle cure by tomorrow would be nice.
Anne at The Twisted Fleece has two beautiful gifts the first one is for Grace T:
100 g of handdyed Shetland roving. Dyed by Anne, and the fleece came from her friends’ flock. Comes with a handcrafted (again, made by Anne) orifice hook, of sterling silver, embellished with a handcrafted lampwork bead.
Anne also has 3 skeins of 100% merino worsted weight yarn. Dyed using food safe dyes. 120 yards/skein, 1.75 oz, 50 grams, and she’ll be mailing those to Kay W..
Belinda went for a stash dive, and came up with these two beautiful skeins of Malabrigo Lace. Turns out they’re for Helen H. Enjoy!
The Oswego NY Coffee Connection knitters would like to donate two skeins of Berroco Weekend in colors 5947 (salmon swimming upstream) and 5966 (blue sky in summer). They’ll be mailing it out to Peg L, and I hope she loves it.
Helle has two beautiful skeins, going out into the world to make a little magic. Heritage Yarns 100% tencel, colour is Sunrise Serenade 8 ounces; 1680 yards for Donna G.
and Knitted Wit Worsted, 100% Super wash Merino, Colour: She Persisted (how appropriate) 4 ounces, 200 yards for Lisa B. Thank you Helle!
Our good friend Kathleen Sperling has three lovely gifts of e-book pattern collections. First, her blanket trilogy, consisting of Cervelli, Around the Block, and The Celtic Knotwork Baby Blanket. That’s for Donna B.
Last, but not least, she’ll be sending her Darling Layette eBook to Maggie B.
Tim has a set of four 3 X 4 1/2″ wonder wallets, each with five pockets. They are great for extra credit cards or cash or for giving gift cards. Those are going to Pippi S.
Next, a copy of a great new book from Tracy Purtscher, Dimensional Tuck Knitting.
It’s not out until September, so there will be a tiny delay in getting it, but when Tracy H does, I hope she loves it.
We’ve got a few from an amazing person who would like to be an anonymous Balancer, one 8oz bag of Elsie’s Discount Roving & Dyes “Amethyst”, and one in purple. The secret Santa will be mailing those to Rhea K.
Our mystery person also has approximately 20 batts, each weighing about 40 grams, of a creamy white Finn-cross roving. Hand processed by Anonymous Balancer, those are for Robyn R.
She’s also parting with one 40 oz. bundle of Plum Crazy Ranch Fiber Art Mulberry Silk Sliver, and one 1oz bundle of blue-green, hand-dyed Firestar, and mailing it to Linda L.
Last but not least, she’s somehow parting with THREE braids of Upstream Alpaca “Hand Painted Combed Top 100% Baby Alpaca” in “Pinot Noir” – 4 oz each braid. Those will be winging their way to Kelly M.
Emily has an amazing gift. 8 balls of gorgeous blue angora, in its original box. Emily says “It is old, though I don’t know by how; I received it from a fiber artist friend who is retiring and downsizing. Her only condition of giving it to me was that I “make something awesome”, and since you are doing that with PWA and the Rally, it only seems fitting.” I hope Holly W makes something awesome!
Karen Fletcher’s got a good one, TEN free copies of her pattern The Texture Block Cowl. It’s a good one, takes a single skein of worsted weight yarn, and looks like a charming defense against the elements. (And a good Christmas present, if you’re in the mood.) She’ll be sending those along to Kathleen R, Cherilyn P, Sarah R, Barbara J, Tara W, Jaime P, Beth W, Maggie H, Alicia R, and Belinda H.
Finally, a gorgeous “Rainbow is the new black” project bag from Jan Smiley. (Peek at her shop, it’s all lovely.) This bag is for Janis M, and I hope she loves it.
Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I’m going to go lie down and wait for my miracle. I’m sure it’s on its way. Cross your needles, everybody.
2. The "New Beginnings" playlist that heresluck made for me last year, to which I am listening even now.
3. Setting a pretty Shabbat table for tomorrow night.
4. The many excellent things that have been recommended to me in the last 24 hours! I devoured The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe (a truly lovely novella) last night, and am now beginning to read Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman, which, um, yeah.
5. I'm gonna pour myself a glass of pink wine, because it's wine o'clock, y'all.
Now that I'm back to looking at places, I've started looking at furniture again, and right now, all the apartments are painted white, so there's no background to match, so I've expanded my color horizons just a little (I was mostly looking at gray or sage green for sofas previously, and gosh are there some lovely gray sofas so I wouldn't count it totally out) and since blue is my favorite color, there are things like this, this, this, and this to admire, not to mention this if I had an unlimited budget (which I sadly do not).
I also have always liked the beach bungalow look, and this sort of stripey thing appeals to that sensibility.
But then I thought, why limit myself? Maybe I want an orange sofa! And I mostly am not into leather furniture, but the lived in look of this sofa is very appealing to me.
Otoh, I can also have walls painted once I've moved into a place, so I could do an accent wall as necessary (both the apartments that were removed from my list yesterday had beautiful blue accent walls in the living room), and have whatever color scheme I choose, so who knows what will happen!
Probably not red though. I've had a red sofa and chair for fifteen years. I'm ready for something new.
It's also fairly easy, relying on garter, M1, and kfb for most of the shaping. The points of the Ws are made by double decrease. However, it does use short rows. This is, apparently, a reason many people I know do not want to make it.
This is like my at least fifth short row project in a year. I really love short rows. I was, thus, exceptionally confused a couple months ago when someone at the knitting table said, "I don't do short rows. They're difficult and fiddly and I don't like them."
So I poked at them to explain this. And this is when I discovered that this person was under the assumption that there's only one technique for short rows. Guys, here is where I admit: every person I know who likes short rows has their own personal favorite technique. But most people who have met short rows and run away screaming have never said, "I hate this technique, but maybe I won't hate another technique." Mostly because there are like five different ways to do it, but since they evolved in different places, not everyone's heard of them. So, this is me, giving resources in case you want to knit the above project (or a different one) and you just really cannot bring yourself to like short rows.
I loathe wrap and turn with every fiber of my being. It doesn't work for me. It just doesn't. My first couple projects used the yarnover technique. Unfortunately, this doesn't work for all projects. So the first project I made that used wrap and turn I dropped in a heap and said, "NOPE" at very loudly. And then I got a book from the library and studied all the different options to try and figure out what might work for my brain.
And when I found one that worked for me, I hung out at the knitting table, checked my phone a couple dozen times to make sure I was doing it right, and clung to it like it was the best thing ever. Now, I use that particular technique any time there's a short row project I'm doing. It saves my sanity. (It also means I've never had to use safety pins in my work; there was a project where I may have, in frustration, snarled out the words who the hell thought that the Japanese short row technique was the fastest technique on the planet and or their favorite. However, there are people who do so, and this is fine. [When I am not being introduced to new and fun ways to torture my brain mid-project setup. I am not at my best mid-project setup.])
For me, German short rows are my very favorite thing. This is a good tutorial for them: http://www.lamaisonrililie.com/
This is a good instruction for wrap and turn: http://knotions.com/techniques/how-to-
This is a free class by the author whose book saved my sanity: https://www.craftsy.com/knitting/
And this is the book in question: https://www.amazon.com/Short-Row-Knits-
As an important note, for patterns like the Wonder Woman wrap, where they use w&t, you knit the stitch you're supposed to wrap, flip around to the other side, and do the german short row technique on that side.
So, what's your opinion on short rows? Or Wonder Woman? Or both? :)
*This is, I note, not a "I don't like fingering" but "I have two projects in fingering right now, and even on size five or six needles (let's not talk about the idiocy of the size 4 project), it still makes my poor, abused hands [thank you chronic illnesses] make me nauseated and need more pain meds." But some yarn is really pretty, so I do about three projects a year in fingering and the rest in medium, chunky, or bulky yarns.
Hello Petals, and greetings from the other side of yesterday’s long, dark teatime of the soul. I don’t know if it’s the rest, ice, baths, massage, chiropractic, physiotherapy, drugs, whiskey, homeopathy or donations that helped, but today I feel hopeful and optimistic, and my arse and I have resumed speaking terms. It still doesn’t feel great, but it feels better, that much is sure, and last night I slept the whole night through. It took a lot of pillows, but when I woke up I felt like maybe things are improving for sure. (I will not be getting on my bike until Sunday to be sure, and I’m going to keep doing all the things I’m doing. One of them is working.) I also had a rather fantastic snuggle with Elliot this morning, and the healing impact of his glorious cheeks cannot possibly be understated. He is the most delicious chunk. Fat and happy, and slept the whole hour his mother was in the dentist, while I walked him up to the drugstore and back, and then, wonder of wonders, resisted the urge to scream in the car. (This is his favourite trick. He resents the carseat and all that it is, and generally acts like he’s experiencing death by a thousand cuts all the way wherever he’s going, then brightens right up the minute he’s free of it – though a minute before you would have sworn he was starving or had mere minutes to live. It’s really not hard to tell he comes from a cycling family.)
Also, a minor fibre miracle. The other day, tidying a basket I keep spinning things in, one tucked way back in the cupboard, I found two bobbins of camel/silk singles.
I pulled them out and for a minute, couldn’t even remember spinning them, but then it came back to me. They’re spindle spun, wound onto the bobbins to empty the spindle each time it filled, and I spun them at least ten years ago. Ten years! (Let us gloss over entirely what it means to my housekeeping skills that I can lose things for ten years in a tiny house.) My wheel was still right there, oiled and clean, and so I popped them onto my Kate (I refuse to call it a lazy kate. I has a sexist ring to it. Why is it always a lazy woman? Lazy Susan, Lazy Kate… how come nothing is called a Lazy Gary?) A little while later I had the most delicious tiny skein of laceweight camel/silk. Just a weensie 210m, but still, it’s delicious, and when I told Joe what I’d found and done, I realized that his conversion to Fiber-support-spouse is complete. “Wow honey” he said, “That’s like finding $50 in your winter coat pocket when you put it on in the Fall.”
That’s it exactly.
Karmic Balancing gifts? Let’s do them until I run out of time. Tonight is our last Steering Committee meeting for the Rally, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to say that. It turns out that my dedication does know bounds, and it’s meetings. Only because I can knit at them is this all possible.
First up, Gauge Dye Works has two beautiful skeins for Virgina Y. One skein of classic sock, one shawl. (Man, Catherine who runs that place is so clever. That’s the yarn my most recent pair of socks were knit from.)
Tia has three skeins of Shibui Knits sock weight yarn in 50’s Kitchen (I love that, it’s the colours of my kitchen!) that she’ll be sending to Susan G.
The lovely Suzanne Visch is donating the pattern of their choice to five lucky knitters. (Lucky is right, what gorgeous things!) Congratulations to Nichole B, Heather K, Mary Jo M, Anisa S, Jennifer W, and Susan D.
By the way, yesterday’s yarn went happily to the highest bidder, who asked only two things. That I not mention their name, and that the yarn not go to her, but to someone new to knitting who would adore it, and be inspired by it. I love that idea, and I know just the knitter. Thanks to everyone who bid, it was charming, flattering and made the world a better place for people who need help. You guys are amazing.
More tomorrow – It’s a desk day. Thank you all for everything, you’re my favourite.
I miss having a sense of active involvement in fandom. I have a few hours ahead of me with no kid to mind, and I obviously need to stop poking at social media (it's the emotional-intellectual equivalent of just eating endless bags of potato chips -- hours go by and then I feel sick to my stomach), and I know that once upon a time I would have seized on this time as an opportunity to make something for y'all, and I miss that. But I'm not embedded in any particular universes right now, and I feel tapped-out and devoid of ideas.
Read any good books lately, especially fiction or nonfiction that left you feeling lifted-up instead of dragged-down?
For those of you who are actively fannish, what are the things that are bringing you joy?
How can it only be Wednesday? Yesterday felt like it was 8 days long in and of itself. Sigh.
What I've just finished
What I'm reading now
Still on Abaddon's Gate. I like it but not as much as the first two books so it's taking me longer to read (the fact that I haven't been getting a seat on the train hasn't helped). I feel like the new characters are not nearly as interesting as Avasarala and Bobbie, though I like Anna and Bull just fine. Melba, otoh... On the plus side, ( spoilers ) I'm about a hundred pages from the end so I'm guessing there's still some excitement to come.
What I'm reading next
Regardless, I did pick up the next book - Cibola Burn - because I do want to see what happens next. I just also wish we got the POV from the others on the Roci instead of all Holden all the time there.
"Hi! Please sign and return this page as soon as possible!! [happy emoji]"
"Page attached!! [excited emoji]"
"Got it, thank you!!!"
I think we're all a little delirious at this point. We might be down to nothing but emojis and strings of !!!!!!!!! by monday.
I have been accused, more than a few times in my life, of being overly optimistic. You wouldn’t think that such a thing could be a negative, but it works against me from time to time, as I persist (usually in the face of terrible odds) in thinking that most things will work out just fine if I apply myself to the problem. If something is properly doomed, this can occasionally spell heartbreak, and that’s what I’m thinking about as I sit here writing to you with an icepack on my left arse, chock full of pain meds, and pondering my week. The Rally begins on Sunday morning, and while I’m sure I’ll be able to ride, I’m not sure I won’t be able to do it without some suffering, and I’m reaching for my optimism a bit.
I’ve done everything I can think of for the last few weeks to try and clear this up. Apparently it’s my SI joint (didn’t even know I had one, but there you go) and I’ve had a bike fit, seen a sports medicine doctor (I know! I laughed all the way there. Me! At a sports clinic. I kept thinking they’d look at me like a sloth that had wandered into the gazelle pen at the zoo, but it turns out that when I told them how much I was riding, they wrote down that I was a “serious cyclist.” I almost had to bite myself to keep from laughing out loud.) The doctor prescribed physiotherapy, and I’ve been doing that, and all my exercises, and I felt like maybe things were getting better, but Sundays’ ride has left me whinging and limping around – and it’s hard for even me to be optimistic under these circumstances. Today after the gym I thought about having a bit of a weep.
I can’t tell you how disappointing it is to prepare for this for months and months, and then get a small but miserable injury right at the end. The whole reason I train is to prevent suffering. This week I’ve been prescribed rest, ice, baths, sleep, massage, anti-inflammatory stuff and… no bike. We’re going for maximum healing before Sunday, when everyone agrees that the worst thing that can happen is pain. I won’t do any permanent harm, and the great thing about going to a sports medicine clinic is that nobody has suggested I don’t do my sport, which is pretty reassuring. (I believe them too, the dude who has the appointment before mine is an Olympian. They must know what they’re doing if he’s there.) I’m going to pack, eat well, do as I’m told, reach for that optimism, and hope for the very best. I’m also going to keep my eyes on the prize, and that’s fundraising. Me on my bike doesn’t help PWA- it’s the donations that give it power, and they’re behind in the money department this year. I’ll heal, but a lot of the people that look to the agency for important help won’t have a the same chance, so – I’m going to focus on why I do this, and not let the circumstances get me down. I want to thank you all for your support and donations over the last while. It makes a huge difference, and I’m so grateful.
Enough of that, want to see some spinning? Sure you do. It’s way more interesting than my arse. Remember this?
It’s that gorgeous braid of Fiber Optic Yarns merino/silk. I sat down at the wheel with it when I had that devastatingly tiny cut on my finger, and worked at it a few hours a day. I wanted to preserve the gradient, and I tossed around the idea of spinning it all into one long single, and then chain plying it, but I was really hoping to get decent yardage, and a laceweight. I decided I’d split the whole braid down the middle, lengthwise, and then spin each half as it was, and ply them together afterwards. This sometimes works, and sometimes not so much, but I was (see above) optimistic. I launched.
When I was done, I had two bobbins full that I hoped were more of less equal, and then started to ply.
This is where the whole thing can go sideways. If I hadn’t split the roving equally, I’d have more of one of the other, and it wouldn’t match up as I went along. That happened a little bit, but as I plied, if it started to not match up, I’d break the single from the offending bobbin, pull out a metre or two until they matched again, and then rejoin and keep plying. (I had to do that three times, which is pretty good, considering that I’m human. One bobbin was about 10 metres longer than the other.) When I was done, voila.
It’s about 450 metres (492 yards) of a really lovely laceweight. Well, it’s a little heavy for laceweight, but it’s quite light for fingering, so I’m going with the former. It’s the tiniest bit wonky, like all handspun, but I’m totally in love with it. It is soft, and strong and pretty, and it’s going to make a beautiful… something.
I don’t know what it will be though – because I’m not going to knit it. You can, if you want. If it calls to your heart, let me know, and let me know what it would be worth to you. The knitter who makes the best offer of a donation gets it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line “that yarn” please) and tell me what you’d be willing to donate to my fundraising, and the highest bid gets it mailed to their house. (I’ll choose tomorrow afternoon. I’ve got to babysit in the morning.)
Happy Tuesday everyone. See you tomorrow, and I’m sure everything is going to be just fine.
2. One giant load of wash is in the dryer, another load of towels is in the wash, hallelujah.
3. I'm going to oven-roast salmon tonight, glazed with soy-sesame-miso-ginger-garlic and a smidge of maple syrup.
4. I had a morning of self-care (therapy followed by massage). My friendly neighborhood massage therapist tells me that she encounters a lot of people's necks and that they are not supposed to feel like corded steel cable. Well okay then. :-)
5. I got to have lunch with squirrelhaven, and will get to have dinner with sanj and kouredios. What a delightful day. :-)
How are y'all?
Last Monday, I lost a temp job that was supposed to last another two months. It paid pretty well, but I was only just catching up with my bills when I had to spend about $700 on repairs on my car in the last couple of weeks. Which would have been fine, if the job hadn't suddenly ended out of nowhere.
I don't start my unemployment payments for another two weeks and I'm already behind on rent and my electric bill. I literally have nothing left in my bank account until then. I was going to try and save up or raise some money to take a few months after my temp job ended to try and make writing and podcasting my main job, but this sort of came out of nowhere, and the car stuff didn't help.
Anyway, if you can and would like to help in the short term, my PayPal is here. If you can, thank you SO MUCH.
And then set up for the fallen Killjoys, all of them lying down, playing dead. He'd called action, and then...
And then what? He groaned, pushing himself up, looking around for the crew, the trailer, the reassuring paraphernalia of filming.
Barren landscape and sand blowing in a chilling breeze were all that met his eyes. "Shit..."
"Where'd everybody go?" Frank asked, still sounding way too calm for Gerard's piece of mind.
Gerard shook his head, turning in a slow circle. No evidence of the activity of filming. No trailers, no cameras, no craft services, nothing. Just a set of tracks leading up to where his band members lay, and another across from them, leading off into the desert.
- Thuri's Where the Fallout Lies
And yesterday, I watched Orphan Black: Gag and Throttle
( spoilers )
In SDCC news:
+ the Black Panther stuff all looks AMAZING
+ Thor: Ragnarok looks delightfully charming
+ Infinity War looks like a hot mess but features beardy Steve in a black stealth suit and Bucky with a new arm, so I'll get over Natasha's blonde hair, I guess. The ability of any movie to service so many characters, otoh...
+ Justice League looks like two separate movies being smooshed into one - I am into Wonder Woman and Aquaman, as well as Alfred and Jim Gordon, but skeptical of everything else. ( is this a spoiler? )
+ The Star Wars books in the lead up to The Last Jedi look like fun (CHEWIE AND THE PORGS! Legends of Luke Skywalker! A 16yo Princess Leia book! A Canterbury Tales-like anthology! With authors like Ken Liu and Elizabeth Wein and Saladin Ahmed in addition to Claudia Gray and Chuck Wendig!) I am excite!
+ I like that Captain Marvel is going to be set in the 90s - it explains why they cast someone so young as Carol, though I wonder if that means they'll recast for present-day Carol or what. And Nick Fury will be there! And maybe we could get a Peggy Carter cameo!
I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting atm, but work keeps interrupting. Sigh.