The best part of this afghan, even though it makes it practically unwashable, is the different yarns I’m using on it and the different ways they look. Not just in color, but in texture:
Remember that fond day when I thought I was halfway done with the endurance-test afghan and I was somewhat befuddled by it? But still proud and excited because I was almost done?
Yesterday afternoon, I stood with my piles of squares spread out on my bed and my calculator in-hand and I was like “The number I think I need is not the number that will make up a whole afghan.” And yet, I just could not figure out how to unfuck my thinking.
So, here’s the problem. I have my squares bundled into bundles of twelve. I want my afghan to be 36 squares wide by 48 squares tall (each square being just shy of two inches wide)–or three bundles by four bundles. So, how many bundles do I need to make?
My first guess was twelve. Much to my own pride, I realized that this was wrong, even before I spread the squares out on my bed.
But then I had been telling myself that, what I need is four bundles high, thirty six bundles across. And, well, I had thirty-six bundles–score one for me.
I make my post.
And then, all day, I’m like–this just cannot be right. It’s not enough squares. Even spread out on my bed, it’s not enough squares. But I can’t figure out how I’m fucking up. For the longest time.
And then I realize, I have forgotten to multiply. I don’t need 36 bundles–I need 4×36 bundles. I am only a quarter done.
I had a feeling of both extreme disappointment and extreme relief.
There’s nothing more frustrating than knowing you have the wrong answer but not knowing where the flaw in your thinking is to fix it.
I’m making an afghan that is 90% end-tucking, which, as we all know, is my least favorite part of afghan making. But I am dying to try this and see how it ends up. I’m making tiny granny squares–just the first round, so about an inch across–and then I’m going to tuck a million ends and join the squares all together. By my estimate, to make it the size I want, I will need almost four thousand squares.
I’m not sure if this means this is solely an afghan or if we’ve moved into performance art territory.
I have to get some pictures! It’s delightful, just as it is, in pieces. But tomorrow, my goal–after I get my oil changed–is to find a tapestry needle with an eye big enough for the yarn. Otherwise, I’m not sure how I’m going to get it together. But I’m kind of delighted with the problem! And I’m going to pick out buttons for the eyes.
And take pictures, because you all are going to laugh! It’s just really delightful. The ears, even now, are the greatest thing ever. But man, it’s going to be hot as all get out. In both senses of the word. Ha ha ha. Okay, mostly just in the “heavy wool” sense.
Making this bear hat is more satisfying than I suspected. I may switch to hats for a while. I may have pictures later.
I need to sew together my new baby hat, but I have to do that in strong light, so I was waiting until this weekend. Meanwhile, I’ve started on the hat for Sam (or, if I put it on the Butcher and it’s a little small, the hat for my mom!) It appears I was right and buying bulky yarn and going up a few hook sizes are going to let me pretty much use the pattern as written and get an adult hat. The biggest challenge with the hat is going to be finding a tapestry needle with a hole big enough to take the yarn and then finding buttons with the holes big enough to fit the needle. I’m going to end up at Joann’s with a long strand of this yarn.
I’ll take some pictures as I get further along. I really love the color of the yarn. It’d be a nice hat even if it wasn’t a bear.
Oh, I do have a picture of that, though.
I would have liked a hook one size bigger than what I have here, but I don’t own one. The only thing I have bigger is the enormous. I’d be worried about how dense it is, except that both people who are getting one live in the Midwest.
Anyway, that’s the main color (thought it might look a little more pink in the photo than it does in real life) and the color under it is the ear, nose, and border color.
My brother sent me a picture of a crocheted bear hat and asked me if I could make one for my niece. Over the weekend, I worked it up. Then the Butcher laughed at me because it was so big. So, I’m now making another one, in a smaller size, for the niece.
But my mom wants one and FOB (friend-of-blog) HFM (hunky-fireman) Sam wants one, so I’m trying to figure out how to take a pattern for a toddler and up it to an adult.
On my walk this morning, I had a thought. Couldn’t I just get some really chunky wool yarn and my big hood and follow the pattern pretty exactly otherwise? I mean, I might have to add a couple of rows, but nothing like trying to go from baby head to adult head.
I think that’s what I’m going to do. Plus, a wool hat for Midwesterners? They’ll love it.
I can’t concentrate to read or write, really. Which is bumming me out. I have two thoughts–I don’t want to start anything before I see if I die on Thursday and Holy shit, what if I die on Thursday and my Nashville book isn’t done?
Both thoughts then send me on this spiral of “I could die on Thursday. Better go ahead and listen to so Old Crow Medicine Show until I’m really fucking Kurt-Vonnegut-level depressed at the state of the world.”
So, instead, I’ve just been crocheting like a motherfucker, which just lets my mind dwell on counting a lot and not thinking about death.
So, I have two observations about that–it sure is easier to learn to do the broomstick lace stitch on Red Heart Yarn (I think because the strands stay so distinct from each other?) and with three loops per stitch, not five.
Ha, you know, I kind of feel like I’m in some kind of perpetual waiting room. Not doing anything, so I’m not busy when I need to go do something.
Anyway, that’s my life lately. But Thursday is the day. So, there it is.
Though I settled on three rows of broomstick lace as a decorative element, I ended up doing about seven rows just to get the three rows right. That shit is hard! Well, no, doing it is relatively easy once you get the hang of it. But trying to figure out where you’ve fucked up and how to rectify it? That’s hard as shit. I just kept tearing out and redoing until it worked, though I can’t say why it finally worked when it did.
And now I’m in this situation where the half-double crochet part is wider than the broomstick lace part, which, duh, now in retrospect, of course it would be. And I’m not quite sure how to fix it. Blocking will help some, but I think the other important thing I’m going to do is to put a really ruffly border on it, so the shorter rows aren’t as noticeable.
Still in love with that red, though.
Which means, if I procure a shower curtain, I can block the Kool-aid afghan out in the back yard. I really hope it doesn’t run.
I have done my first row of broomstick lace on the red afghan. I really, really like it. I’m going to do three rows. I love the color of this yarn, but I’m not really digging the yarn. It’s a little too stringy, too cotton-feeling, even though it’s mostly acrylic, wool, and nylon. So, I’m glad I got something lovely, but, eh, now I know I don’t like that.
I finished a draft of this year’s October thing. It’s not really scary. It’s just weird and funny. And it doesn’t take up all thirty-one days, but I’m hoping I might have something special on the 31st, just for y’all.
So, well, fuck. I guess I’m about wrapping up everything I need to have wrapped up before the surgery. I wish that made me feel better, but it kind of doesn’t.
I’m about halfway done because I have all this nervous energy but I can’t concentrate to read. I want to sit on my end of the couch and be as small as possible, as tuned out from the world as possible. Just me and this red blanket.
I think I’m going to do a simple half-double crochet and just accent it with broomstick lace, because doing a whole afghan that way for my first attempt was probably too ambitious.
But holy shit, the baby blanket is going to be red, because they had this red at the yarn store that is like… Oh god, I don’t even know. It’s dark and and rich. It’s a kind of red that, if blood were this color, you’d forgive vampires.
And I finished the Kool-aid afghan, with the exception of the little problem of how to block it, which should be funny.
Tell me if I’m biting off more than I can chew here, but I’m thinking why not send the lavender baby blanket to the family I know will get a kick out of it and making a different blanket for my cousin. A broomstick lace baby blanket. It would be my first foray into lace making of any sort. But I did a test swatch using a pen instead of a broom stick and it seems pretty easy and the results are pretty dang cool looking.
And I’m going to finish the Kool-aid afghan up tonight, for sure, so I need something to do while I’m fretting about upcoming events.
This is for my cousin’s baby, due in November. These are the same squares from the Kool-aid afghan (which still sits unfinished for want of a clean sink) but with five rows instead of four. I picked these colors because that light lavender was our grandma’s favorite color and the dark purple makes it little boy-ish. I ran out of both yarns, though, so I have to go back to Haus of Yarn and hope they still have the same dye-lots. Plus, I think I’m going to connect it with gold, just to break it up a little. I want it to seem sleek and blocky, not dire.
So, here’s where things stand on the Kool-aid afghan: I have three seams and a border left. I have the skein of yarn I need to finish it, but I need to pre-shrink the skein like I did all the others or it bodes trouble in the future, which means the Butcher needs to do the dishes so that I have a clean sink in which to soak my yarn. So, I thought I’d whoop some of the last bits of yarn together into a square which could, with what was left of the white yarn when I’m done with it, become a baby blanket for my cousin A. and her pending son.
The orange cat has adopted that afghan. He is, right now, squeezed down as small as he can get so that all his paws and tail fit onto that tiny half-done project and he’s sleeping on it. You’ll remember that the dog tried to adopt three red squares from the big afghan, so apparently, Kool-aid and wool is just irresistible to my pets. And that baby blanket is… probably not going to be sent to an actual baby.
But the other baby blanket! So, you know how I talked about doing the Kool-aid afghan with different amounts of color? Maybe not. But anyway, I’ve decided to try it with the baby blanket. I got two different purples and each square has a different amount of each purple. I’ll show you pictures when I get more squares done. But I think it’s going to be super neat.
Also, I got flowers yesterday from “Mina.” I had thought maybe it was just nm, misunderstood, but then I got to thinking, perhaps Mina Harker? Or someone here who needs to be thanked. I don’t know that I know any Minas but, if I do, thank you.
Also, my dad is convinced that all of my health problems are caused by my dirty bathroom. Which I find hilarious, considering that my health problems include–PCOS, sleep apnea, that fungus shit in my eyeball, that infected lymph node, and now this. Four out of which started before we moved here. Which I suppose goes to show you just how powerful and dangerous my dirty bathroom is–it can go back in time and bite me in the ass.
Raise your hand if you’ll be surprised that my Phillipses and H.P. Lovecraft’s Phillipses turn out to be the same. Me, neither.
And yes, I somehow ended up apologizing to my mother so that she would stop being upset that she upset me. And yes, I know that this is ridiculous. And yes, I am going to outsource most of my talking to them to the Butcher for the next little bit. But I also want to say that a hard, weird part of this has been just how traumatic it is on them. I just feel like I’m letting everyone down. Not just them, which I know is bullshit, but I feel so bad about putting this on the other people in my department, making them pick up my slack when one of them, especially, is so new. I just hate that I can’t be more definitive–that I need her to do x on these dates and y on these other dates. I don’t know what will come up because I don’t yet know when I’ll be gone.
Which is the other thing that’s kind of stressful–they talked to my doctor on Monday and she was like “Yes, do the biopsy!” and then they faxed her all the paperwork she needed to fill out and she hasn’t gotten it back to them. So, no biopsy scheduled yet. I just want to have a plan and institute it. The waiting around for everything to fall into place is really stressful. But in that regard, it was good to talk to my dad because he’s really familiar with hospitals and he was all “Well, if they sent the fax to her office Tuesday morning, but this is her hospital day, then she’s not going to get to the office to fill it all out until late today, if not until Wednesday morning. I don’t think she’s dropping the ball at this point. It’s more likely that it’s just bad timing.”
I don’t have an equal number of squares of each kind done yet, but this will give you an idea of the three options I’m thinking of. I’m torn, but I’m curious what you guys think:
Last night, I had dinner with K. and B. over at the Mad Platter and for dessert, I had the Elvis… the Velvet Elvis?… the Black Elvis?…. Well, there’s only one Elvis dessert, so that one. They slice it thin and it has some kind of pretzel bottom crust and then a kind of brownie/torte/cake/pudding layer of chocolate and then a peanut butter mousse layer, and it’s just soaking in this blueberry sauce, so that it tastes really sophisticated and like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It may be the most perfect dessert I’ve ever eaten.
When I got home, the dog was carrying around my squares. In his mouth! Not gnawing on them or anything. Just carrying them gently around the living room. And then he apparently hid two in the couch. He apparently has just come to love the squares and wants some for himself. I don’t see how this doesn’t end with him attempting to eat the squares, but it’s annoying and cute in the meantime. I was hoping that this could lead to me teaching him to pick up the squares when I drop them and hand them back to me, but that doesn’t yet appear to be the case. When I’m done with the afghan, I may make him up a square in the left-over bits and we can work on teaching him to retrieve something that doesn’t cause me to have to cry if he ruins it.
Also, I think there’s been some forward movement on Project X. Please keep your fingers crossed extra hard for me.
I sent out everything I needed to send out. I processed my feelings on the Nashville book–paralyzing fear that I have no business doing this and I’m going to miss out on people who should be in the book because I don’t know enough coupled with it being really hard to write about people who are really sick fucks, but not acknowledged as such. Not that it’s easy to write about sick fucks in general, but there’s something easier about a sick fuck everyone agrees is a sick fuck.
I had a beer Saturday night (Tennessee Brew Works–hit them up for deliciousness), so I spent most of yesterday feeling like shit, which sucked because I had a lot to do. I just need to accept that my drinking days are over, but it’s so stupid. One beer and I’m hung-over? WTF?
And I feel pretty sure I don’t have enough white yarn to finish the afghan, which is a little frustrating, since I got so much! Anyway, I’m trying to decide if I want to do some kind of rainbow-ish effect–to give the afghan diagonal stripes–or if I just want to go with a random pattern to the colors. I’m still probably a couple of weeks away from needing to decide, though.
Here’s what each of the squares in my afghan will look like. I’m really pleased. I love this yarn so much. I know I say that. I wish I could get a picture that would capture just how beautiful it is, the way the plies wrap around each other is just about the most pleasing thing to look at. I can’t decide why. I like my cheap-o acrylic yarn, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something about wool that just feels more magical.
I am completely drained from yesterday. My meeting with the artist went great. I worry that I don’t seem excited enough, when really, I’m just kind of overwhelmed that this is even happening at all. Like my needle is buried in “excited.” I can’t really seem more excited, even though I’m really thrilled. When she starts putting the prints together, I’m going to go get to see her studio! And she’s going to make sure that there are crows tucked in the book. We’re hoping to have books ready for the Proto-pulp show in September, but, if not, we’ll at least have some prototypes to show people. And, holy shit, you guys, of course I want you to buy my book, but if she sells the art separately, some of you are going to fall over for the spread that’s poor Tom, just a skeleton entwined with the roots of a tree.
The reading went very well. I think the other guy who was there and I were both kind of on the same page, that we were there to support Sara and to make her day go well. And I think she felt that it did go well and that she was well-loved and I feel like that’s also about all you can ask of a book signing. I did laugh, though, as I was coming home because all of Sara’s people are people I think C. and his wife would really enjoy and I’m was like “maybe my job here is just to try to figure out how to make these people run into each other.” I mean, we had an awesome argument over Hamlet. I can’t remember what about, but people toasted at some points and slammed their fists on the table emphatically at others and what more do you want in a fight about Hamlet?
I said the truth about how I felt about Project X as true and straight-forwardly as I know how to be. I don’t know if it will make any difference, but I have now done everything I know how to do.
Now I need to come up with a grocery list.