Random Rambling 22 March 2017

I mentioned something about roadblocks in the last post, so, of course, something had to happen to hinder my momentum. My left arm is now hurting for no discernable reason. To the best of my knowledge, I haven’t injured it but it is stiff and aching at the elbow region, radiating outward. So, this puts a dampener on my knitting.

 

Not being daunted from my challenge, I have other WIPs that need clearing out that don’t require the heavy use of both hands/arms. Yay.

 

For the present, until my arm heals, I am working on the In Love With Color Throw I started and nearly completed late last year. At this point, I am weaving in the ends, which is an assignment sprung from the loins of Hell if ever there were one. After that, all that’ll be left to do is to put on the border and weave in those ends.

 

Right now, I have fourteen Octagon motifs sitting on my desk, waiting to be processed. I’ve been bingeing on Buffy the Vampire Slayer while doing this which has helped tremendously with the monotony of weaving in these ends. Got to love Buffy.

 

It has been a lot of fun taking this trip down memory lane in watching these episodes. I was in my tenth grade year of High School when Buffy the Vampire Slayer premiered on television. As a side note: Oh, I am so glad to be an adult. Even with the responsibilities adulthood entails. I wouldn’t go back to my school days unless you paid me a lot of money to do so.

 

Freeeeeeeeeeeeedooooooooooooom! Yes. Anyway…

 

Not much else is happening here. My plants continue to grow. For those of you who follow me on Instagram, know that I harvested those early peppers even though they were greenish. Even greenish, they were most delicious. I cannot wait to taste them once they change colors.

 

The tomato, despite only having come up a little over a month ago, has flowers coming in. I’m looking forward to the tomatoes but not the pollen festival between the two plants giving off a considerable sneeze factory in my room. Ah well, one cannot win them all. I get good peppers and tomatoes, so I won’t complain.

 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to my WIPs and Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes. Take care. Have a fantastic day!

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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.

It’s Getting Real Rather Quickly

I had quite forgotten I’d finished a significantly long (for me) story at around this time of year in 2013. Thank you, Facebook’s On This Day, for reminding me. I’m going to take that as a positive indicator that I can do NaNoWriMo and stop panicking.

 

Also, new vlog coming up soon-ish. I got a 128gb card for my phone which freed up my 64gb card (999 minutes) for my camcorder rather than the 2gb (30 minutes) card I was using. Now, it’s only battery life holding me up and my camcorder can film while plugged in so…it’s just a question of finding a good angle to position the camera or cord with length to make that possible.

 

Yesterday was the twenty-seventh anniversary of the death of one of my greatest friends. She died in a fire in 1988 ten days shy of her eighth birthday. For the first time since then, I haven’t gotten hyper morbid or super depressed. I suppose that’s progress? When I finish this novel, I’ll see about dedicating it to her memory.

 

Come 15 October, I’m not going to be online as much as I normally am as I’m fully dedicated to completing this novel. I’ll try to check in from time to time though and I’ll definitely be back after 30 November hopefully with a completed book under my proverbial belt.

 

The Rainstorm II socks are a little over half complete now. I should have them done just in time for my semi-hiatus. I sincerely hope, because everything except dear ones, eating, bathing, and other necessities is getting put on hold starting 15 October.

 

 

Anyone got any good writing music recommendations to keep me motivated during this?

 

Oh yes, I’m getting a newer, better desk on Wednesday. Finally! Yay!

 

I’m lugging 124lbs of material up my stairs by myself tomorrow before doing a two person effort by my lonesome. I reckon I’m good for it though as I’ve previously put together the television stand mostly by myself and two bookcases completely by myself and they’re all by the same manufacturer, South Shore.

 

I think that’s everything. I wish you all the best during this month and a half of minimal communication. Now I go to knit. Later!

Consequential Clicking

Who would have thought that clicking the Add Friend button on Social Media could be so difficult? I’ve been semi-compulsively hovering my mouse over that button on my sister’s profile page for the better part of two months now. I haven’t seen her in person since 2003 and I haven’t talked with her since 2004. I’m just hoping that the subterfuge I use to keep my identity secret doesn’t dissuade her from adding me to her friends list.

 

In other clicking, I’m back to the Rainstorm II socks. I’ve set a deadline of this weekend to be at or near completion and, for a change, I’m not laughing about this. I actually think I can achieve this goal with the proper application of hard work. I’m trying to build up a bunch of little achievements so I feel good enough about myself that I might actually successfully complete NaNoWriMo.

 

Onto still more clicking, I’ve been tapping away at the keyboard with a tentative story idea. Now all that remains is to flesh out the backstory, characters, outline and any other fluff and filler that might be required for this story to come to fruition.

 

Still more clicking, bear with me. I’ve been…what does one call “window shopping” when one is not in a brick and mortar environment? Anyway, I’ve been looking at clothing. I’m down to one pair of pants, no thanks to the Maternal Parental bogarting my pants from me. So, I’m going to get her and myself new pants before I put barbed wire and such between her and my new stuff.

 

Funny thing is, I would never have known Amazon had these pants had I not logged into my old K-Mart account. When I first bought these pants, I got them from the latter and had fully intended on going back for more. Since that time, they’ve stopped selling the ones I bought. Lucky for me, Amazon and a host of other merchants now sell them for cheapish prices.

 

In other news, I’ve finally made my friend’s son the bear I promised.

 

This makes the third bear of this pattern I’ve made. I’m resting this pattern for a bit while I go do other things. I’ll come back to it eventually but, for right now, I want to finish up other projects that are long overdue or calling to me like an resounding echo.

 

About the only other thing happening in my life right now is the fact that I’ve lost five pounds. Now, it’s just a matter of keeping it off.

 

Take care, Peoples of the Sun.

How I Lost My Fear of Crafting, Part Three

This is the final installment of the trilogy of how I lost my fear of crafting. Enjoy!

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Slowly but surely, I began to increase my knitting skills. Over time I mastered stitch after stitch, until the challenges were intermediate to advanced. I discovered many different learning media from Knit and Crochet Today (Later called Knit and Crochet Now), to DVDs available in the library and even videos on YouTube that all taught how to knit in easy to follow instructions. I was hooked from that moment on but, by then, a new fire was burning inside of me. I started seeing things on Crocheting and knew I had to learn how to do that as well.

 

Thankfully, I had resources from which to learn by this point. I bought a crochet hook set for myself and checked books out of the library on the subject. I eyed Drew Emborsky’s and Robin Chachula’s techniques like a hawk as I watched, what was then, my favorite knitting and crocheting television program. Yet, try as I might, I just couldn’t seem to pick it up initially. Unlike knitting, I didn’t do it until my fingers bled, but I did try hard. However, something inside me just couldn’t pick up the craft of crocheting.

 

So, thinking a class might help, I signed up for the first crocheting class I saw online at the Woman’s Industrial Exchange. I tried very hard through my nervousness but only managed a mostly through the back loops scrap of crocheted fabric. I needed something more in depth and searched online for another free class. Thankfully, the Baltimore Free School had classes available for learning to crochet. One class schedule in particular offered a month’s worth of classes and I jumped at the opportunity.

 

On 10 October 2009, I walked through the dark streets of Baltimore to the Free School’s class site. It was a pleasant night and a not so bad neighborhood but I was still cautious of my surroundings because of my history. I made it to the class site in one piece and was welcomed by a large class of men and women who were all interested in learning the art of crocheting. The teacher was a nice woman named Lissah Dee and she was instrumental in my learning to crochet finally. Through watching her and studying her stitch key, I was finally able to pick up the correct method of crocheting.

 

I immediately went home with this skill and practiced until I got the hang of it. By this point, I had a marginal yarn stash, so I took out some royal blue yarn and, eventually, made a soap cozy/scrubbing thing. This was my first completed crocheted project and I was very proud. I sent an e-mail to Lissah Dee and told her what I had done and she was very encouraging. Regretfully, I didn’t go to any of the other classes due to Bipolar downswing, but I credit this class with teaching me to crochet.

 

After I did this first project, I went back to watching Knit and Crochet Today and watched Drew Emborsky making the Blushing Grannies Afghan. I wanted to make a blanket and it seemed a good place to start to learn flat crocheting of motifs. At first, I really messed up but, after the third try, I finally got it right. Ultimately, I didn’t make that particular project but it did set me onto the path of making Five By Five – Crazy First Blanket and other motif containing projects. Over time, my allegiance switched from Knit and Crochet Now to Knitting Daily circa Series 100 – 1100 due to my appetite for knitting and crocheting needing more of a challenge.

 

As of today, I am successfully able to knit and crochet with minimal issues. I have even learned, via YouTube, to read patterns and charts.

 

The End. Rolling on the floor laughingRed heartRainbow

How I Lost My Fear of Crafting, Part Two

Note: There was no prompt for me to post this today. I just felt like it. Call it me getting ahead of the assignments, if you will. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do all the daily prompts in addition to the Writing 101 prompts with no problems. Anyway, back to the story.

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One day, around the time of my twenty-fifth birthday, I decided I must learn to knit. By then, we had moved into a stable neighborhood and I was mentally stable even if still ragged around the psychological edges. I had come a long way from near complete mental breakdown up to this point and I was determined to treat myself with a self obtained accomplishment. Knitting was to be this accomplishment even if I had to bleed for it.

 

So, taking my meager savings, I bought a pounder skein of black yarn from Amazon along with the cheapest straight needles I could find. I ended up with a pound of Caron’s One Pound Yarn and a pair of 10” size 8 Susan Bates knitting needles. I was overjoyed to finally have the implements of knitting but I didn’t know the first thing about how to knit. I searched high and low on the internet but to no avail. This was 2006 after all. There was nothing there excepting a few sites and a few videos online.

 

Not having luck with searching online, I decided to go to the library website to see if they had any materials related to knitting. Wow, am I ever glad I did. They not only had materials relating to knitting but they also had an upcoming class at the Catonsville Library being taught by a famous knitting woman. I had no clue who she was but the words “Free Knitting Class” had me rushing to register. Lucky for me, there was still room in the class for a few more people. I was given the requirements for the class as well as the date and time to show up at the Library.

 

I showed up at the appointed time in the neighborhood I was barely familiar with. I was about twenty minutes early, so I spent my time fiddling with my needles and yarn while waiting for class to begin. Once I got the all clear to go to the classroom, off I went to my first lesson with sweaty palms and a leaping frog in my stomach.

 

The class was comprised of all women of varying ages and backgrounds all there for a single purpose: To Knit. One of the Library staff was there to introduce the Famous Knitting Woman whose name I cannot recall beyond “Knight” as her surname. In addition to Famous Knitting Woman, there were three teaching assistants who did most of the teaching.

 

Once everyone had been introduced, class was started. There was a knot in a skein of yarn being use for demonstration purposes and I was given an opportunity to show my party trick of getting near impossible knots out of bits of string. Famous Knitting Woman had gone to retrieve the scissors and before she could make it across the room, I had already gotten the knot out. She could hardly believe her eyes. I just shrugged and said that it was my talent before getting self conscious.

 

The class went well and, after the last two students (a mother and young daughter) showed up, we all settled into casting on the initial stitches. I was so nervous about dropping my needles that I held on for dear life and casted on stitches so tightly, they could scarcely be pierced. After a few tries, I managed to cast on reasonably loose stitches via the Long Tail Cast On and began attempting to knit. Famous Knitting Woman saw how I was knitting with the stitches far from the point and suggested I move them up to the very tip to aid in my knitting becoming speedier. However, I was so nervous, I kept dropping stitches and eventually fell into a habit of keeping them back which has stayed with me even up to today.

 

Soon, the class was coming to its end and Famous Knitting Woman made suggestions of things we should buy, books we should read and tools we should consider acquiring to aid in our progress as knitters. By then, it was dark and, after saying goodbye to everyone, I walked back to the dark bus stop in a daze that I had finally learned something of the basics of knitting. However, on getting home, I began doing something wrong and I knew it but didn’t know how to fix the error. It would be from 20 June 2006 until 6 August 2006 until I finally found a fix for my problem.

 

All during the Summer, I focused on reading knitting books and practicing by knitting on “the Object” until my hands bled. I’m not kidding, my hands got blisters and bled from the amount of practice I got in on those needles and yarn. Yet, try as I might, nothing I did seemed to fix the problem of the extra stitch. I didn’t know what I was doing but, for some reason, I went from ten stitches to eleven and onwards until I had an unwieldy project sitting on my aluminium needles. Still, I kept at it even as my hands bled and my eyes turned bloodshot from so many hours of staring at the same project. I didn’t give up.

 

One day in August, we got a call that my Maternal Grandfather was in the hospital. Apparently, my uncle from my Grandfather’s second marriage contacted the family via my aunt. We were invited to a cookout to give the family a chance to know each other. Less than one week later, my Grandfather was dead from his illness. The stress of having to deal with so much during that time drove me to escape into the world of knitting.

 

Giving up on “the Object”, I searched high and low on the Internet again until I came across the KnittingHelp website. Amy Finlay’s videos quite literally kept me sane as I learned to properly knit for the first time since June. I practiced throughout the night until the morning of the Wake. Once we were at the funeral home, I retreated further into my knitting and managed a pretty decent looking beginner’s scarf. For the first time, but not the last time, knitting kept me from blowing my top at an inappropriate moment.

 

Part Three, the final installment comes tomorrow. Rolling on the floor laughingRed heartRainbow

How I Lost My Fear of Crafting, Part One

From the age of three, I have wanted to knit and crochet. When I was very young, the Maternal Parental was friends with a woman who put the “fun” in dysfunctional. In that friendship, came friendship with her three sisters and brother. One was just slightly dysfunctional while the other two were, for all intents and purposes, seemingly normal as was the brother. Slightly Dysfunctional Sister had three daughters, two of which were dysfunctional and one who was quiet and seemingly normal as well. It’s from her that I first witnessed the crafts of Knitting and Crocheting.

 

One day, while avoiding being bullied by the other two daughters, I came across Sane Daughter in her room doing something with a hook. Not understanding what she was doing, I quietly observed her as she used her metal stick and jabbed it into an ever growing piece of fabric. As it turned out, she was crocheting a blanket using what must have been a G hook but I didn’t know this at three years old. Seeing this happen was like magic to me and I watched her until I was called by the Maternal Parental so we could go home. From that moment on, I wanted to learn what Sane Daughter was doing.

 

Another time, I came across her using two metal sticks connected to a wire (this was the early 1980s) to make what looked to be a little sweater. Again, I was transfixed by what I saw and, for her part, Sane Daughter wasn’t annoyed with my presence. So, she let me watch her create this tiny article of clothing until it was, again, time for me to leave for home. I liked Sane Daughter.

 

Time went on and the Maternal Parental eventually fell out with Super Dysfunctional Sister over the financing of a television. After that, we lost contact with the whole family. I wasn’t too broken up over that because Super Dysfunctional Sister and Slightly Dysfunctional Sister had a majority of my early childhood tormentors as children. I was only really friendly with Super Awesome Lesbian Sister’s and Super Awesome Quiet Brother’s kids. The rest, saving Sane Daughter, would tease and pick on me.

 

Lost with the friendship though was my only connection to someone who knew how to Knit and Crochet. I didn’t, nor did I want to, know anyone in my neighborhood who might be able to teach me. No one in my family, that I knew of, knew these strange crafts. I also had no resources on where and how I could learn these two things. It would be a mystery to me for almost a decade but it would be omnipresent in the back of my mind.

 

One day, while in the high school auditorium, I watched as a frenemy turned friend of mine focused all her attention on two metal sticks connected by a wire while creating material out of pink yarn. She was making a little toy and I was, again, transfixed by what I saw. I asked her what she was doing and she explained that she was knitting. The puzzled look on my face caused her to follow her question up with another asking whether I had ever seen someone knit before. Not wanting to get into the entire history of Dysfunctional Family, I only nodded and watched as she continued knitting her toy.

 

By then, I had a name for one of the tasks I wanted to learn. Knitting was on my mind from that moment onward. I couldn’t learn it from school because they had rules against us having sharp objects without adult supervision. So, I kept it in the back of my mind until such time as I was able to follow through on my goal of learning how to do it. It would take me nine years before I first had a chance to hold knitting needles. By this point, I was twenty-five years old and in mortal terror of making the attempt at learning to knit. Thus began my fear of knitting but also my conquering of that fear.

 

Tune in tomorrow for Part Two! Rolling on the floor laughingRed heartRainbow