Oh, y’all, I forgot to tell you that I finished American Elsewhere. It was fine. It’s fantastic for the first 5/8ths of the book and then is just good. And I don’t know why that was so disappointing to me, but it was.
BUT it does contain the most hilarious misstep in the characterization of a character ever. I mean, hands down, ever. About 5/8ths into the book, we are told that the main character is an avid crocheter. So avid that she even crochets clothing. And yet, though her movements in this little town are well-described and the important detail of the town is that it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to leave, never once has she either gone looking for a place to acquire yarn or panicked about whether she could live in a place where she couldn’t at least get some RedHeart.
I just wanted to take the author aside and be all “Dude, that’s not how it works.”
I mean, it’s like throwing in a detail about how your character is a major stoner at the end. Oh, really? Then where has all the pot been all this time? Where’s his bong?!
Anyway, it’s not a meaningful detail that somehow kills the book. It’s just a funny moment when you realize that the author doesn’t understand a trait he’s just given his character.
Argh, I am loving this so much! The trick is these half-squares. Or at least, I thought that was the trick until I got to the bottom corner and realized I had to come up with a quarter square. Luckily, I think I got it. Anyway, It’s officially half done. I’m going to do a multi-colored one to use up all my winter yarn (or maybe two, depending on how much yarn I have left over. Either way.)
I sewed the first two rows of the squiggle together. I kind of love brown yarn. So, getting to play with it a lot is lovely. I’m really excited to see how this turns out.
–It’s pretty boring. Making a zigzag afghan. I was going to make just a baby-sized one, but Christ. Even that is so dull. And you can’t quite not concentrate on it–or at least I can’t–so it can’t give your fingers something to do while you watch tv, because you have to pay attention to your count. But, obviously, it’s not complicated enough to keep my interest. The most fun I had was figuring out how to tell how many initial stitches you need if you don’t have a pattern.
–After all this time, I’m kind of afraid to get back to the Sue and Ben project. I’m afraid I’ll see that it sucks. I’m also afraid that, since I stole from it a little to make a couple of more conventional werewolf stories–”Allendale” and Project X–that it has implications for the Sue and Ben project. And I’m afraid to figure out what. And I feel like a baby for admitting that I’m afraid.
–Sometimes it just seems like a lot of work for something no one is ever going to read. I guess is what I’m saying.
–I’m going to work on a story or two, I guess. Just to be writing something.
–Bah, I’m actually not that down about it. Just have some nagging worries. Like that I suck.
–Or worse, that I’m good but just not good enough.
I have decided I’m going to learn the infamous zigzag afghan. They were ubiquitous in the 80s and have fallen out of favor because they just look so 80s-ish. But I feel like that’s no excuse. I can do all kinds of afghans. This is one I need in my repertoire.
I chickened out of washing the afghan last night. It’s the final thing I do before I give them away–make sure they can withstand a regular washing and drying.
And though I know this will be fine, I just couldn’t do it.
Otherwise, it just starts getting awkward.
The afghan is not done. It is so close to being done that I’m a little embarrassed that I didn’t stay up and finish it, but I didn’t. Everything is sewn together and because I tucked ends as I went, all the ends except the border’s are tucked. I’m doing two rounds of a single crochet as the border and I’ve just got one and a half sides of the second round to go.
The thing I find interesting about borders on any kind of granny square afghan is that it gives you a chance to see the tremendous (well, tremendous for an afghan) forces acting on the yarn–what pulls in which direction where. A border is important then for two reasons. It takes some of the tension off of your weakest points–the ends of seams–and it helps pull those outside squares square.
Anyway, I am really tickled with it. I’m hoping to remember that I want to get a picture of this afghan and my afghan side by side so that you can see the differences.
I am still marveling at how quickly it comes together and I stand by my assessment that it is the saving grace of the afghan. The terribly boring stuff was long enough ago that it’s very easy to finish up and think “Wow, that turned out great. I should do another one.”
The afghan is about done. Just need to sew all the big squares together. I watched The Gift and The Frighteners. I read almost no fiction, except for the new issue of Apex. I got a new purse to replace my new purse that I bought in December, which fell apart on Thursday.
And today, I got word that a person who needs to like Project X likes it and has thoughts about it. I’m going to go talk to him about it on Wednesday.
A thing that delights me is that it’s clear that Tilda, the maid of the Allens, who is briefly a werewolf, is the character from the project that sticks with everyone. There’s something about her people like. It almost makes me feel bad for the other characters, because they’re just not the ones people first mention.
I feel proud, though. Creating something memorable is pretty awesome.
I finished up the Square Es last night, which, you might note, look very similar to the Square As of the other day. They are, in fact, the mirror opposites of each other. And, if I remember right, the most time consuming squares. But just to give you a sense of how fast this part goes–there are only twenty squares. It feels like I both just started these this week and that I’m not doing them very quickly and I have eight done. Bam. Just like that.
This is my favorite square so far. It’s got what is to me the Platonic Ideal of big squares up there in the left hand corner, just being awesome. Then it’s filled with squares that compliment it so beautifully, but then there’s the blue and the orange trying to remind you that life is not all sitting around listening to Neutral Milk Hotel wondering where we went wrong as a species and crying over how such terrible fuck-ups can still make beautiful things.
The most interesting part to me is that said blue doesn’t really behave that way when it’s not next to the orange. If you check out the little sliver of it down left of the orange, you can see how it is lively but not that lively when paired with the other colors in the afghan. I simply cannot wait to piece this whole thing together. It’s going to be so nice, I think.
I forgot how quickly this part of the afghan comes together compared to the month of tucking tails into squares that precedes it. As you may recall, there are four blocks each of five different kids of blocks. So, all Block As are done. And it just took two days of lollygagging and half-assing it. I’m excited about laying it out and just comparing it, color-wise, to mine. Because I am a nerd.
This is the trick of the afghan. There’s a long kind of tedious part that, if that were the end of the afghan, wouldn’t encourage you to make another, but then you finally get to piece things together and it looks so nice and you can’t wait to see what happens next and then it’s like “Woo, look at this amazing thing I made!”
Did I tell you how we picked these colors? I had the yarn left over from the last afghan, so that was already set. But then Rachel sent me her wish list on… um I forget… maybe Etsy or Pinterest? Anyway, it let me get a wide view of colors she liked, and then I tried to match it with what was available in the yarn I’m using. Neither orange is quite right, which I’m a little bummed about, because she likes this really awesome orange that just isn’t matchable in this yarn. And I was worried this bright one looked a little too emergency road-hazardy.
But now I’m really liking it.
I don’t know how long I will continue to make variations of this afghan, but for now, the work to pay-off ratio is still really high. It looks so good, starting about now, that it’s hard not to sit around and wonder “What if I did one that was all shades of blue?” “What if I did one that was all variegated yarn?”
Bridgett hooked me up with this picture of Vincent Van Gogh, where a Lithuanian dude took one of Van Gogh’s self-portraits and made it into a realistic looking photograph.
From it we can discern three things–Van Gogh had beautiful hair he needed to wash; he really liked blue; I wish I had a blue vest and jacket to wear.
I’m not an artist, so I don’t actually know that much about color. But when I’m working on afghans, I do think a lot about it. So, I have all the squares made for Rachel’s afghan (the tail tucking begins!) and it makes me think a lot about pink. I’m not very fond of pink as a color, but I like it in this pattern, because it has a color, but it lacks any intensity. To me, pink gives your eye an opportunity to rest. And in a busy work like this afghan, you want an effect, I think, not of overwhelming chaos–which you’d get if all the colors behaved the same way–but of first one thing jumping out and then another. So, you need somethings–like the orange–that insist you notice it first. And then you want all the beautiful colors to start to come into focus. And then you want the faint colors to bring up the rear.
Pink is a great color for that third role. White can be, too, if it’s an off-white. Too crisp and it’s in the first or second camp. But pink is pretty good.
So, that’s weird. After all these years, finding a love of pink
This weekend has an element of dud-ness to it. I did get the bestiary finished and I am only two squares away from being done with all the medium squares for Rachel’s afghan, but my brain is just not cooperating with me getting as much writing done as I would like. It’s undermining me like undermining me is its favorite hobby. And I really need this front to come through, because it’s giving me a headache.
This is a tad cute for my tastes, but I kind of think it’d be delightfully hilarious to have in the house someplace.