Random Rambling for October 2017

Waiting for someone to return a DVD to the Library is such a test of patience. It was due back on the twenty-first and hasn’t been returned yet. I’m hoping that whomever is holding Intro to Lace Knitting it is alright and in good health.

 

  • 45+ knitted cast-ons & bind-offs with Ann Budd (Held)
  • Knitting daily workshop : one knit design, many versions : a guide to knitwear pattern and garment making (Held)
  • Aran lace knitting (Held)
  • Knitting daily workshop : getting started, basics and beyond, with Eunny Jang (Held)
  • Yarn to fit : keys to successful knitting. (Shipped)
  • Continental knitting (Shipped)
  • Join as you go knitting (Shipped)
  • Knitting workshop (Shipped)
  • More than two : a practical guide to ethical polyamory by Veaux, Franklin (Shipped)
  • Intro to lace knitting Active (since 10/19/2017) (Hold in Waiting)

Not much else is happening in my life.

 

I have read almost fifty books this year. I’m presently at book number forty-eight.

 

Tomorrow, I’m making a telephone call to start the process of re-entering college after untold years of being out. To be honest, I am not looking forward to this but my life cannot move forward without facing this. In order to get the jobs that will pay for the medications which keep me functional AND in the lifestyle I’d like to maintain, I need to go to college or trade school. Living the way I am now just isn’t sustainable in the long term. Doing studies, while fun, takes a toll after a while, especially regarding traveling. 

 

The second call I make will be to get my eyes checked by an eye doctor for the first time since I turned eighteen. I’m now thirty-six. My primary care physician was insistent that I do this. My vision has been blurry for going on two months now only I didn’t notice it until I started knitting the sweater. I was spending so much time being uncharacteristically happy and outside prior to then. It didn’t dawn on me that everything was getting hazy. Thankfully, as best as I can tell, there are no blind spots in my vision, so it could just be a matter of my age catching up to me and me needing glasses.

 

In the meantime, I work as best I can. I’m taking a short break from working on the Flax sweater to work on a Hobbes doll. The Pharmacy delivery guy will be coming within the next two to three days and I want to have his replacement gift doll ready for him before tomorrow is over. Seeing the stitches is a bit of an issue but, thankfully, I have been able to use a combination of feeling for them and seeing the light coming through the holes in the crochet work.

 

Mind you, look at the progress I’ve made on the Flax sweater. I still think that I’m going too slow for what I know my abilities to be but considering the distractions I’ve had over the past few weeks, I think that this is pretty good progress. Not bad for an English thrower, eh?

 

20171020_214407

 

Speaking of my knitting style… that’s about to change. As soon as the library gets that video on Continental Knitting in, I’m switching on all projects except this sweater for tension reasons. I want to knit faster and more efficiently. I’m also sick of getting this callus on the tip of my index finger on my left hand whenever I knit. Hopefully, learning to knit in the Continental style will eliminate the appearance of said callus. Once my tension matches, if I haven’t finished the sweater by then, I’ll switch hands.

 

My plants are all growing well and my plan is to give one of my Pineapple babies away. I’m just hoping that it isn’t too cold outside when I’m due to give it away this coming November.

 

Oh yeah, I’m back to posting videos on YouTube with a new and improved introduction and a video about…my Flax sweater…up so far. I don’t really know where I’m going with this. Everyone is pushing me to do a podcast but I’m lacking in ideas and stamina to keep it going by myself. Now, if I had a partner or a regular interview segment or something, maybe it would work. I’m not sure but I’d be willing to give it a try. I’d be the first to admit that I’m not the most charismatic person on the planet but I can learn and am willing to try.

 

If I do start a show, I’d be spoiled for choice on subjects. I have so many things I’m interested in or involved in. From Gardening to Fiber Arts to Linguistics and beyond, I’d never run out of topics, that’s for sure.

 

Well, I can’t blog all day. I’d better get cracking on this Hobbes doll.

 

Until the next time, have a safe and fantastic journey around the Sun. Take care, my friends. Rolling on the floor laughingRed heartRainbow

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I’ve Finally Found It…

My second language has finally been discovered. True, it took trepanning and a good deal of mental excavation to find it.

 

That language is…German. In truth, I should have known better. I did try to teach myself this language when I was ten. I have been practicing daily, about three hours per day, for thirty-seven days now. If you’d like, you can follow my progress on Duolingo. I’m now at the point where I can just barely make out what people are saying or what is written down. I definitely need to practice more if I’m going to be fluent but it is a good start.

 

I just need to find some Germans. Yoo hoo. Germans? Are you out there?

 

For that task, I’ve done the unbelievable. I’ve opened a new OKCupid account. This time around, my task isn’t really dating. It is finding a language pal/study buddy, so hopefully, I won’t have any trouble with anyone at all. Wishful thinking, I know. It is the seat of comedy but I’ve gotten rather a lot of matches to Dutch people. I don’t mind. It is a bit mentally rich carrying three languages around in my head at once in the name of politeness but you do what you do.

 

The friends I’ve made have gotten a hilarious chuckle out of this one. I’ve been learning a lot of German from the lyrics of Rammstein. Someone…might listen to them for more time in the day than they study on Duolingo. Angel 

 

Those same friends suggested I expand my musical tastes, so they gave me a small listing of artists that they liked. I then combined their favorites with the Get Germanized listing of popular German music artists (YouTube Link) for later exploration. Some [who I won’t name] I really didn’t like, but others sound very good.

 

One group I’m going to be giving my ears next is Die Ärzte. They came up on multiple lists as highly recommended. Anyone out there have any other recommendations? Please, leave them in the comments. Smile

 

Aside from the above, it has been a summer of Plantar Fasciitis in both feet, crochet, strange propositions, lather, rinse, Repeat.

 

Until the next time, have a safe and fantastic journey around the Sun. Take care, my friends. Rolling on the floor laughingRed heartRainbow

New Year, New-ish Things

A modified list of projects. I’ve removed the projects marked completed and deleted. Now, my mission is to finish these off. At the end of last year, I busted out a quick Valentine Teddy Bear with Heart Shaped feet, called Bertie the Bear, for my neighbor, on the occasion of her birthday. I’m not going to include it in this listing as it was finished prior to the New Year.

 

Mommy Sox Junior (Loading…)
Plastic Fantastic socks for myself
AHA Little Hats, Big Hearts Project
Blodeuwedd The Hat for me
Little Boy Blue Blanket (Loading…)
Cosmos Doily Madness: Doily Three (Loading…95%)
Child-bearer’s Cardigan (Loading…messed up but still loading at 90%)
Boba Fett Amigurumi Doll
Yoda Amigurumi Doll
Rose Doily #804
In Love With Color Throw (Loading…90%)
Bigger on the Inside Shawl
Gloves for myself
A scarf for myself
Villimarjatar Shawl (Loading…)
Large Pineapple Doily
Monster Slippers for Valerie
Socks for The Maternal Parental x4
Socks for Myself x4
A Shawl of my own design
Wings for Nightbird Shawl
Dragon egg
Hobbes doll for April
Inishturk Sweater x2
Long Weekend Cardigan
Simple Shells Cowl
Fan Lace Tunic
Revontuli -huivi/Northern Lights Shawl
Scrap Yarn Shiver Stopper 2017

After six months of growing and four months of harvesting, I am taking down the Mega Cherry Tomatoes. Aside from the fact that I’m allergic to tomato plants and have been sneezing up a storm since they’ve grown, I’m just ready for a change. So, I have ordered the needed parts, that being the filters and plant spacers. Everything else, the Grow Your Own kit, the Liquid Nutrient, the seeds, etc. are all here already. All I need do is clean the Aerogarden out on the ninth, when I get the remaining supplies, and set the new garden up.

 

This next garden, I’m planning on leaving in for quite a while. Actually, I may leave it in for upwards of a few years, if the plants last that long. Things in the Pepper family are supposed to last a while and Sweet Pickle Organic Pepper looks like a good plant to have growing for a long period of time.

 

In addition to all the things I’ve been focused on doing, I’m also adding the title of “tutor” to the mix. The Maternal Parental, apparently, wants to learn about computers (again), so I’m going to teach her everything I know about Computer Know-How, Getting on the Internet, etc. She was supposed to take classes at the Library but, owing to a previous day’s extended exposure to the extremely cold temperatures, she was unable to find the strength to get to the class the following morning.

 

Hopefully, I can come up with a lesson plan that is good for her. One that will enable her to learn and take charge of her own learning.

 

As if my plate weren’t full enough, I’m also going to begin attending meetings at a local organization that matches my philosophical beliefs, or at least seems to. We’ll see how much we actually gel once I get there. If we all do get along, it’ll be nice having good, secular voices to talk with for a change. Being agoraphobic and cooped up with someone who is, shall we say, religiously obsessed, is a bit on the tedious side.

 

My problem isn’t with the religious aspect. I’m fine discussing religion as I am fine discussing non-religious subjects. However, when one begins using it as a sledgehammer to try to convert people one feels aren’t living up to the ideals according to ones own beliefs, then we have a problem. I’ve stated myself as plainly as I could regarding not joining a religion, not having a specific belief structure, etc. but it is still attempted, in spite of my kindness or perhaps because of it. I don’t want to be rude or derisive but it is irksome to keep getting that.

 

In trying to understand, I’m guessing that, perhaps, people have an idealized vision of what I should be like, based on stereotypes and assumptions, and balk when I don’t fit the mold of what they think someone like myself should act like. Well, limiting expectations have never been my cup of tea.

 

Another “as if my plate weren’t full enough” thing is actually mentioned in the listing of knit and crochet projects in a sort of roundabout way. I’m getting back into volunteering. In this era of fear and greed, I need to do something brave and selfless with my time to counterbalance the aforementioned. I’m looking for “out of the house” positions but I am not opposed to doing an “work from home” position if it does good works and keeps me busy.

 

Right now, I’m making baby hats for the American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts drive. Basically, you make a lot of little red hats for babies, send them in before the deadline, Lather, Rinse, Repeat. I am fully prepared for the making of hats in 2017. I have a skein of Lion Brand’s Pound of Love yarn in Cherry Red and a few patterns with plans to get more of both. I actually love making little hats. Squeeeeeeee!

 

Other volunteer positions I’m looking at but still on the fence about are NAMI, the Library, and a few local yarn shops (if they’ll take me!), etc.

 

Speaking of the Library, I’m upping the ante on my Korean Language learning saga. Up until now, I’ve been learning words and a few phrases. I just put a bunch of language Audiobooks on hold at the Library so I could not only study the language more but also so I could learn sentence structure. My next step, after this, is going to H-Mart to get a newspaper to study.

 

Well, I think that’s enough writing for one day. I have a lot to do and not much time in the day to do it.

 

Have a fantastic New Year. Later!

Blodeuwedd The Hat…

…and various other things.

 

Since NaNoWriMo is now coming to a middle, I thought I’d get in high gear in finally planning my own Winter accoutrements. Long has the project page for Blodeuwedd The Hat sat in my Ravelry projects, uncompleted. Up until now, I’ve been making due with the hat pictured below that I crocheted years ago.

 

Crocheted Mexicana Hat v2_00006_001

Now, I’m not saying that this current hat hasn’t served me well. It has. I am just looking for something warmer and more air tight/heat trapping.

 

So, using the Beanie 212 pattern, I’m going to go completely off the rails with the color design, to the best of my abilities. This new hat is going to be made of washable wool. It’s going to be at least three different colors. I am going to get more in if I can via scrap yarn. Topping this off, the scarf and gloves I’m making to accompany the hat will match it, again, to the best of my abilities.

 

I can see it in my mind. I just need to figure out how to design it properly.

 

In other stuff, I am teaching myself to write knitting patterns. It’s the next step in this journey I embarked on a little over ten years ago. I figured it was time to take it to the next level and get my feet wet with learning how to properly write patterns. I have two books on the subject, both of which are very informative. The two books are:

The Beginner’s Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns by Kate Atherley

Teach Yourself Visually Knitting Design by Sharon Turner

 

I know that this is, by no means, the entirety of knowledgeable literature when it comes to pattern writing and knitting/crochet design. This is just the beginning of my long-term exploration of the subjects. There’s a lot for me to learn but I’m up to the challenge.

 

Also on the topic of new books and on the subject of personal challenges is my acquisition of a cookbook. I have Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking and I fully intend to use it. This is the first cookbook I’ve purchased. I’m hopeful I can get some food to make all these wonderful dishes.

 

Onward to present projects. Villimarjatar. I brushed against it the other day on my way to the keyboard to do some NaNoWriMo updating but, other than that, I haven’t touched it. I’m presently on the third row of the second pattern repeat. I’m hoping to get quite a bit done tonight since I’m finally ahead in other things. I live in hope.

 

As to NaNoWriMo, it doesn’t look like I’m going to get to the end of my story this year either even though I will exceed the 50,000 threshold. Still way too many characters and too deep a plot. Still, I like the story enough that I’m going to keep working on it beyond NaNoWriMo. I hope anyway. It’s a good bet my friend will be on me to write it because he wants to see it come to fruition too.

 

I’ve got to go now. My Aerogarden is whining for water. The tomatoes drink the level down almost daily now that they’re bigger and fruiting again. Later.

Ugh, My Memory…

When I first learned to knit in 2006, I was clueless about every aspect of the crafting world. I didn’t know who was who or what was what. So, I signed up for a class at the Catonsville Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library system to expand my skills.

When 20 June rolled around, I was frightened but determined as I sat in the Library waiting for access to the meeting room where the class was to take place. The starting time finally came. Panicking the whole time, I took my Susan Bates #8 straight needles and pounder of black Caron yarn and followed everyone else to the makeshift classroom.

We were, apparently, going to be instructed on the fundamentals of knitting by a famous knitting person and her three volunteer helpers from the local yarn store. I must admit, it was quite intimidating seeing one of the volunteers do what I now know to be knitted cast on so quickly. With a quickness that belied physics, she casted on enough stitches to make a scarf.

I digress. Anyway…

Once we were all settled in, we began the lesson by casting on. Famous Knitting Woman went to show us how to do a cast on row but there was a knot in her yarn. That’s when my special talent finally came to the fore. I can usually get the near impossible knots out of things. Faster than she could get the scissors, I had the knot loosened.

From there, the lesson began. She demonstrated Backward loop cast on, Longtail cast on, and Knitted cast on. Knowing nothing, I was struggling from the start but managed a rather tight Backwards loop cast on before switching to a more difficult to knit but stable Knitted cast on.

The entire time I was learning, I never got the name of the woman teaching us. She had a few books out on the table and a few magazines, but I didn’t pay much attention beyond making a note to get them later to learn from. Dense as I am, I might have made the connection that the books and patterns in the magazines were all by the same person.

After two hours, the lesson was over and the class drew to a close. I walked through the darkened streets of Catonsville on my way to the bus that would take me home. The moment I got home, I promptly forgot everything, absolutely everything, I learned. It took me until the beginning of August before I was able to successfully make a scarf. The thing I had started that night became a sort of weird sleeping cap due to my accidentally adding stitches to every row.

Over the years, now decade, I have kicked myself for not remembering the name of the Famous Knitting Woman. I’ve a great memory for faces but I’m terrible with putting the face to a name. For a while I thought her last name was “Knight” but I just had a memory jog. It was Nicky Epstein. Like a flood, all the memories came back into my head of the book titles.

So, for what it’s worth, wherever you are, thank you and the three volunteer knitting teachers for the knitting lesson. I can honestly say that it has changed my life for the better.

Last Day of NaNoWriMo 2015

National Novel Writing Month 2015 is almost over but my writing escapades have only just begun. This was my first time doing this and I’m presently 139 pages into my novel, Forsaken Paladins, with so much more to go but I’m looking forward to the unfolding story as I write it. I’ve even done a foray into illustrations to make my own cover art.

I’m grateful to the NaNoWriMo team for sustaining this mission of creative writing for people from all walks of life. Without this as a tentative goal, I don’t think I would have made it to the point I am at now. I’ve never written more than 13,000 words in one document in my entire life and that was for a story. Now, I’ve got more than 60,000 under my belt. Something inside me has changed, thanks to NaNoWriMo and my own efforts, and I am very appreciative of this change.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must get back to writing. I’m determined to finish this book, however much writing I have to do.

Shining Brightly In The Dark

A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.

–Madeleine L’Engle

 

So, I have the beginnings of a book. It is nowhere near completion and I have more than the 50,000 words required for NaNoWriMo thus far. I validated on the 22nd of November. I’m dedicated to following this one through. This is the longest string of words I’ve put together in my life and it’s coherent. It’s solid. It’s pretty good actually. At least, I think so. As soon as I’m further along, I’ll update the PDF file and pass it along to my friend for his perusal.

 

One of my SOs asked me when it was going to be completed. I admit to being a bit peeved at the rush on the timetable. It’s not like there’s a deadline for me to write this. This book is for my own personal accomplishment in writing. As it stands, I am writing as quickly as I possibly can, as much as I can. For example, my plan is to do 6,500 words today, tomorrow, and Tuesday before giving myself a much needed break on Wednesday. I haven’t been sleeping like I should or doing things I normally would be doing in place of the writing. I’ve never felt this way before. It’s like something has smashed inside of me and opened the floodgates on the innate ability I have to write things. I love it. This feeling is exhilarating.

 

Waiting in the background for this novel to be completed are several projects and another story I need to write a continuation on. I wrote a story in 2006 and finally posted it to Adult-FanFiction and Literotica a little over a month ago with the title Unintentional Advances. The chief complaint about it has been that I didn’t flesh out one of the characters enough and that I didn’t give a less ambiguous ending. My intention with the story was mainly to write from the one character’s perspective, but I concur that more could have been said about the other character, so a revisit is warranted. The ambiguous ending was intended to give the reader a chance to make up their own story (hopefully a nice one) for the two characters but, apparently, everyone wants me to write it out. I’m up to it. I just need to get back into the characters. I laid them to rest in 2006 when I wrote the story and only dusted it off to edit for publishing and give it a title (Thanks, Brandon, for your help with the title).

 

On the project front, I have an unfinished Hobbes head staring at me with its Darice button eyes. It’s for my friend on the occasion of his birthday in less than a month’s time. I also still have socks, a doily, a stole, a blanket, a Boba Fett, and a sweater to make. In addition to this, December is supposed to be the month I start the In Love With Color throw. I also, still, haven’t made my winter gear. So, I’m going to be quite busy over the next few weeks.

 

At some point during all of this, I may do a vlog. A long vlog too. Not a short, update on the Aerogarden or anything but a proper scripted vlog featuring things.

 

For now though, I need tea. Lots and lots of tea. Later.