The one thing that I find very interesting about the red afghan I’m making for the Red-Headed Kid is that the 364 yards promised in each skein of yarn is, apparently, a best guess. I should be able to get thirty squares and three triangles out of each 364 yard skein, with room for one or two extra triangles. That allows for some variation in length and some variation in how I make my squares.
But the difference is actually much more substantive than that. I have a few reds that I got everything out of and still have enough for one or two more whole squares. And yet, last night I finished up a skein out of which I got thirty squares and two triangles.
It made me glad I’m not trying to write up a specific pattern, because it doesn’t seem like you can really count on the length being the length. But I’m excited to see how it all comes together, because there are enough reds to really get the tone on tone effect I wanted.
So, I have kind of decided I’m not submitting anything for the rest of the year. I only have one thing out now and it’s a long shot, and I just don’t want to think about that stuff at the moment.
I have entered all my corrections into the Ben & Sue project and I have read through it and I’m less depressed about it than I have been. I’m going to ask a couple of people to read it and then I am also going to set it aside for a bit.
I’m working on a red afghan for the Red-Headed Kid, which should be cool.
I’m hoping to see more art from Project X.
And here’s what I’m turning my attention to–I’m going to try to write a children’s story. A spooky, ghostly children’s story, so that I have something to read to kids if I’m asked to come read creepy things to them.
I spent a lot of time thinking about what scared me as a kid and I have to tell you, it was the green pants with no one inside them. I could not read that story by myself when I was a kid. The picture of the pants riding the bike by themselves? Scared the shit out of me. I was terrified of accidentally seeing it. That’s what I’m kind of wanting to do. Something like that. I have an artist volunteering to illustrate it. But whew, I am excited and intimidated.
I think the trick is going to be adding borders until it’s the right size. It is really pretty, but I’ll have to take a picture of the back and show you guys how hilarious it is. I mean, you all know how much I hate to tuck ends and I have made an afghan that requires tucking at the end of every single row.
I’m going to make an afghan for the Red-Headed Kid next. Fittingly, he wants it to be red.
I finished entering corrections into the manuscript. I’m going to give it read-through when I have some quiet time and then send it to nm. I have–as you’ve probably noticed–really mixed feelings. When I’m reading the manuscript, I feel caught up in it, like, yes, this works. But when I’m just thinking about it, all I can do is fret and feel like it doesn’t, in some fundamental way, work. It may be that I’m just not there yet. I might not yet be the writer who can write that book.
But I don’t know. Maybe, also, I’m looking for an excuse to chicken out because the next part–sending it out to try to find an agent and getting rejected over and over and over again sucks so bad.
I think I may have managed to salvage the cooking pot of my grandmother’s I thought I ruined by burning beef stew in it. But I took oven cleaner to it last night and it seems to have finally gotten the carbon off the bottom.
Oh, and this will be exciting. My dad is planning on him and my mom going to Thanksgiving down at my brother’s. He doesn’t think that the Butcher and I can come, because they don’t have a table. So, the questions this raises are as follows. 1. Does my dad not realize that my brother is going to try to sucker him into getting my youngest nephew in North Carolina and bringing him down? 2. How much do you want to bet that he has NOT said that out-loud to my mom, because you know she would throw a fit at the idea of us not being made welcome at Thanksgiving? 3. How long between that phone call and another phone call in which my dad, having endured the “What the fuck”ing of my mom, makes plans for us to join them on Thanksgiving? 4. Do we want to join them? I don’t know. I do want to see that baby, though. And I don’t get to see my nephews often enough. And what are the holidays for if not being too cramped in inadequate places while people fight?
This isn’t the greatest picture in the land, but it lets you see all the important elements–how the border looks, how the seams on the back turned out, how you get just a tiny hint of red on the front. I’ll take a couple of pictures of it all spread out this weekend, in better light, but I couldn’t refrain from bragging now.
All of the pieces of the black, white, and gray afghan are in place and I have one round of the border done. The other round is about a fourth done. Then I just have to tuck the ends of the seems and wash it and it is done.
I am pleased. I’ll have pictures when it’s ready.
My only thought is that I’m still not completely satisfied with my attempt to do a tone on tone afghan. There weren’t enough different shades of black, white, and gray to quite get at the itch I was trying to scratch. I’m calling this a success with further experimentation needed.
And my Thanksgiving article is turned in.
And so I just have to come up with one last thing to write about for Think Progress and I am done with all my massive things for a minute.
I think this weekend I am going to go to the park.
My red yarn is here. I return to finishing the afghan!
Two things lead me to believe I may not finish the black, white, and gray afghan. One is that I don’t have enough red to finish it. I have enough red to come very close to finishing it, but not actually putting on a border or, perhaps, securing the last row. I have ordered some more red, though, so this isn’t the project-stopping roadblock it might appear.
No, here is the thing that’s preventing me from finishing the afghan. I’m very close to being done. Just six more rows and then the border. This means that, to properly work on it, I have to spread it over my lap and let it drape over my knees. Last night, the Butcher asked me if I was crocheting or napping and I realized that I didn’t know.
I was, perhaps, crochapping or napcheting?
What I do know is that the afghan isn’t even done and the lure of napping under it is so strong that it may prevent the finishing of it. On the one hand, I am deeply pleased to have made an afghan so conducive to napping. On the other hand, the thought of the Butcher having to box it up unfinished and send it to Jess with a warning written on the outside of the box so that she doesn’t try to wrap up in the afghan while driving or trying to do her taxes, while I fight him for just a few more minutes in its comforting warmth makes me worried that I’m making an afghan too powerful in its napping to safely exist in the world.
They refuse to accept that the back is the back, because it looks “awesome.”
I finished up tucking ends yesterday and am now putting squares together. I decided to crochet them together rather than sew them together both because I want the blanket to have some structure to make up for all the different yarns and how they’ll wash and loosen up over time and because I wanted the red to be dramatic.
Here’s how it looks on the front:
Note that the red is visible but not necessarily dramatically so (though I imagine it will be pretty damn striking even in this small way over the course of a whole afghan). But now check out how the seam looks on the back:
Wild, right? I’m so pleased. The back is going to be amazing. Which, when it comes to granny square afghans, is not something you can normally say.
I had imagined the black, gray, and white afghan like some kind of giant wing from a mottled raven or like storm clouds–dark.
But I’m tucking ends as we speak and I’m really afraid it’s going to be very white. I did just 24 rows down, but that means that nine of those rows are whites–white, off white, and off off white. It really feels like it’s half the blanket. Which, I know, it’s not quite, but ugh. I am worried that it’s going to end up feeling mostly white nd not well-balanced.
But I’m also excited to be tucking ends. And I keep reminding myself that the magic is going to be in the red, which should really stand out, amazingly, between the squares.
And, fuck it. If the whole thing looks hideous, I’ll just make her a different one.
All I have left are the black squares in the afghan. They are slowly coming along. I don’t know how many rows I’m going to end up with, just that I need an even amount. I’m halfway through row 24 now. I thought about just stopping here, but I’d like to see if I can get 26 rows. Then I have to tuck all those ends. But then I get to start sewing things together and seeing how this shapes up.
My dad called to say that their cat’s been missing since Thursday. It got out and ran off. This is unlike the cat who usually ventured no further than the garage or porch and only when my mom and dad were with it and wanted to come back in the house with them. They’ve got a neighbor kid watching to see if it turns up at the old house and they’ve been leaving the garage door open in case it’s still around the neighborhood and today they’ll go and check the shelters. But the running off is so unlike it that my dad and I are both of the opinion that it went off somewhere to die. Simon was a kitten when Mrs. Wigglebottom was a pup, so I guess that’s pretty old for a cat.
I’m sad for my parents though, and hate for them that they don’t know for sure.
Hope can sometimes be a fucker.
I do my reading tomorrow night. I have 15 minutes and I guess the band gets 30? I just decided that I’m taking 20. Fuck it. I want to read three things and, even if they’re just five minutes a piece, things take time between.
A dude who’s never met me painted my portrait. You can go see it at East Side Story, if you want. I have mixed feelings about it. I think he got my smile right. S. says he doesn’t do my hair justice.
I feel weird, with my lack of success, being called a Nashville writer, except for in the political blogger sense. And I’m not sure I quite understand why anyone would want to paint a portrait of me. But I’m trying to be gracious because it’s kind of a fuckerly thing to do to let your own hangups get in the way of appreciating something in the spirit in which it was given.
I was/am a little nervous about the guest witch things. I really want the authors to feel that kind of anxiety–will people like it?–and then delight–woo, they do!–that I feel when a story I think works really well. So, I’m glad that’s happening.
The afghan has officially been moved to a box, so that I can bring my orange bag to the Southern Festival of Books and work on my black squares. And it’s a good thing I have said box, because, obviously, if I need it to hold the squares, that’s the size thing I’m going to need to ship the afghan.
So, yesterday, I gave a reading at the Root Wise Reunion in East Nashville. It was a perfect day for ghost stories–cool and rainy. And yet, I still had back sweat like you wouldn’t believe. I know this is a somewhat gross topic, but I’m still going to broach it. I, in general, don’t have a lot of back sweat. If I’m exercising and sweating all over? Sure. But just specifically sweating down my back and no place else? That is ALWAYS nerves. So, even though I didn’t feel myself to be particularly nervous, there was that one bead of ticklish sweat rolling down my back.
Anyway, the reading went really well, I think. A number of people came up and complimented me and I sold a book. I think they really liked the Project X excerpt I read and I really liked it, too. I met a rootworker who’s moved here from Chicago and I told her a little about Jack Macon and how I thought he was the most overlooked rootworker in Nashville’s history that we know about. I’d also love to know who was actually in Mrs. Overton’s garden out at Traveller’s Rest. On the one hand, I’m willing to believe that she was practicing her own magical-medicinal plant cultivating. On the other hand, that kind of assumption could be erasing the woman actually doing the work. But, I think, whoever set up that garden and worked with it has to be Nashville’s earliest semi-known rootworker.
So, that was cool. The people, Leah and Joel, over at High Garden Tea are who were organizing and running the Root Wise Reunion, so I was glad to be able to publicly thank them for their help concocting a werewolf tea.
Meanwhile, at home, the black, gray, and white afghan continues. I just have three colors left–white, charcoal gray, and the black. I have 160 squares. I think–think–I have enough yarn to get me to 240, possibly 250. Friday, when I’m outside in a booth at the Southern Festival of Books all day and can be working on the black squares will tell a lot.
My goal, which may be way optimistic, is to be putting this together by November.
1 For an afghan I perceive of as being mostly black, it is not yet.
2. It is not yet, because the black and charcoal are impossible for me to crochet at night. I’m planning on using my time at the Southern Festival of Books to get those squares together.
3. I had thought that the blanket would be 290 squares, making it roughly 10 by 15, but I decided 15 might be a little long. I might cut down to 13.
4. Also, I’ve only got three colors left. I think I’ll more easily get 25 piles out of the yarn than I will 29.
5. In that case, I’m just over half done.
6. No, I have not tucked any ends yet. Yes, I will regret that with all my heart.
7. I’m definitely going to outgrow my orange bag.. Into what, I’m not sure.
8. It somehow feels like it’s going very quickly and very, very slowly.
9. But I am very pleased with how it’s looking.
Today I’m reading a story from A City of Ghosts to some 4th graders. At the last minute, I think I’ve decided to switch to “Dodge City” while leaving out the part where the kid wishes he could have a gun. My reasoning is this: it’s genuinely spooky and it’s about kids their age.
In unrelated news, my dad read “Beyond, Behind, Below” and was like “So, what happened at the end? The guy just took the kid because he could see him, right?” And I said something about him being the seventh kid from the neighborhood and my dad actually whatevered me. “I figured it out.” He said. This may be a big difference between me and my dad. I view the ending as somewhat ambiguous. I don’t really know what happened. My dad views it as mysterious, and like any mystery, there is a solution.
In other, unrelated news, my beautiful orange bag, which so easily holds the fixings of any baby blanket I’m working on, is already stuffed to the gills with the black, gray, and white afghan and I have at least fifty squares to go. I’m either going to have to get a bigger container or just start piling squares around the house so that it looks like a coaster convention broke out in here.
Anyway, I’m nervous about reading to the kids. I hope they like it.
I forgot to share this last night! I’ve now got squares of all the colors in the blanket, so you can see how they go together. And you can see how sitting them right next to each other really brings out the non-gray-ness in some of them. That one third from the bottom looks practically green. And you can see a noticeable difference between the two lighter grays. I can’t remember if I said this before, but I think it’s because there’s so much yellow in these colors, it really makes the palate seem warm in real life. More gray cat than gray raincloud.
I have been spending some quality time with the black and white blanket and the seams have to be red. It needs a kind of vibrant shocking counterpoint to all the sameness. And don’t get me wrong. I love the sameness. I want you to see the very subtle ways the grays, especially, are different. But you’re going to need something to carry your eye along, to break up the sameness over such a large area. The small blue blanket I made for Dr. J. worked, in part, because it was small. It could be all blues because your eye had what was beyond the edges. With something as large as an adult afghan, you need something on the field, so to speak, to break things up.
That’s got to be the red yard tying it together.
It just occurred to me that “What’s black and white and re(a)d ll over?” doesn’t really make sense as a joke anymore. So, that’s kind of depressing.
Anyway, here’s my favorite thing about this afghan, even as I am not very far into it. If you look to the right of the pile, you’ll see two medium grays–one big and one small. In this picture, as in real life, I can’t immediately see that those are different colors. If I stare at it long enough, I can finally tell that the smaller gray has more green in it. To the Butcher, those grays look very different and he has no problem distinguishing between them.
But to me, the three whites look very different. The one on the left being the most “off-white,” with a real tannish tinge that makes me a little nervous about using it in the blanket, for fear it won’t look right, the one in the middle being a softer, off-white, and the one on the right being a crisp pure white. The Butcher thinks they all look almost the same and cannot, at all, see a difference between the middle one and the one on the right.
I cannot tell you how much I love the idea of making an afghan and knowing that, whatever blanket I’m seeing is probably different than the blanket you’re going to see. I mean, I know it’s a common stoner question–”What if the color I see as green is not the color you see as green, man?” But in this case, it’s pretty easy to prove that different people are going to see different things when they look at it.
I’m curious, though I don’t have the black lined up next to it, if people will have similar issues differentiating between the black and the charcoal gray tucked in there on the end.