The Peacock Pillow

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Except for whatever buttons will go along the top there, the peacock pillow is done! Well, peacock pillow case. I love using teal instead of olive on the outside of the motifs. It really lets the detail of the green row come through as the kind of decorative surprise I always wanted it to be. I’m not 100% in love with that gold, though. I can’t figure out why, because on the color wheel, it looks like it should work. Green compliments red. Blue compliments orange. So a really orange-gold gold like that one should be perfect.

But, and I’m no artist, so I’m not sure if I’m using the right terms but there’s a kind of richness to the dark blue and a richness to the teal and a richness to the gold that are all at the same level, while the silvery blue and the green have a kid of bright, sharpness to them. And I kind of feel like three rich colors on something this small feels clashing, even though clashing isn’t quite the right thing. Maybe it’s too many loud things? At the least, I wanted your eye to be drawn to that dark blue in the middle of the motif and I feel like my eye is drawn equally to the blue and gold.

I wonder if I could find a more green-gold and if I would like that better? Or maybe, ha ha, no one notices but me.

Beauty

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I really love how this turned out. I enjoyed working on it. I’m enjoying staring at this photo of it. I just have to wash it today to see if it is as great as it looks. I did make one mistake, but you can’t see it in this picture and I recovered from it okay, so I’m not going to point it out.

I’m also going to make another one of these as my next afghan, because I can’t bring any more yarn into this house until I have used up the yarn that’s here. It’s just become unwieldy.

Plus, I want to make something beautiful for my friends who’ve had an unimaginably rough year. Not that an afghan makes up for losing a child, but this is what I have to offer.

My other brother is getting married. He bought an engagement ring and gave it to his fiancee.

The Butcher would really like to marry his girl. He is slowly saving up for a ring. He asked my parents for help. No help came. My dad sat here and gave a recitation of all the good jewelry floating around my mom’s family and all the reasons the Butcher could not have a piece to use. I told the Butcher to bring it up to my mom, alone, again, and see if that pries something loose.

Then yesterday, I went into the other room and I brought out the ring I have from my great-grandma and I told the Butcher that he would need to take it to a jeweler and see what it is–maybe an aquamarine, maybe a light sapphire, maybe a costume piece of paste–but if it is something, then he’d just be saving up to have it reset, and it’s a nice size and has sentimental value.

I’m just so pissed. I can’t even deal with it. The world is so hard. Life sucks and is short and it hurts. Why can’t we watch out for each other? Why can’t we be kind when we can? Why can’t the boy get the girl with a ring his family helped him come up with? Why can’t we warn each other when there’s danger? Why can’t we just try, a little bit, to not be assholes?

Sleep Tight

I had been super impressed with the fact that my medication wasn’t fucking with me too much during this joyful/stressful time.

Last night I went to bed at 10:30 and rolled over this morning to see if I could afford to sleep for a little while longer and it was 8:00!!! Ha ha ha. Lord.

Our other brother got engaged yesterday. I really like his fiancee. I hope she is eyes-open about what she’s getting into.

I’m just about done with this afghan. I have a couple of people waiting on specific things in line, but I think I’m going to make another one of these for a friend who’s been having a hard year first because I want to and this afghan makes me really happy and I need to get my stash way down before I bring more yarn into this house.

This Day

I have to talk on the phone to everyone today. I’m already running late but I didn’t want to not post anything. My parents are about to arrive. I am worried there’s going to be some kind of interrogation about my mental health. I just want to be able to respond with the generosity and calmness and reassurance that will make them less anxious. But maybe they don’t care. Maybe I’m just projecting onto them.

The dog seems to be getting this whole “come when he’s called” thing and, best of all, he seems to really enjoy it. I know it can’t last or be counted on, but I’m enjoying it.

Also, I love this afghan so much. I feel very fortunate to have hit a string of afghans that give me great pleasure.

Jessi Zazu has cancer. The hits just keep on coming this year, I tell you what. I was watching her video where she talks about her diagnosis and shaves her head for her next round of chemo and I couldn’t help but feel like this is offensive, this cancer. Zazu is really trying to make the world a better place. She works so hard for her community. Her music is amazing. And she’s so young. There are so many old sacks of shit in this world. Let cancer take them.

I know I’m not alone in feeling this way about this year, but I feel like the things that are supposed to make us happy–a very wanted baby, for instance, or our friends and mentors–have been shown to be so easily stripped away. And that we’ve lost many of the people I would have turned to in order to make sense of our current moment as a nation and as a world. We’re going into this next year, these next four years, without the people I’ve counted on to make sense of this stuff.

To find beauty and meaning even in very dark days.

I feel like all these massive floodlights have burned out or are burning out and it’s just left to those of us who still have matches to light the way. As the song says, this little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, but fuck if I know which way to shine it. Or if anyone can see it. Or if all I’m doing is giving away my position.

Family Traditions

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My aunt sent me this picture of an afghan my great-grandma Sadie made for her. It’s a simple five-round granny square with a picot border. I wish I could better see how the squares are put together, but that’s okay. I suspect this is just a scrap afghan, with yarns left over from other projects.

It’s hard for me to put into words how this makes me feel. Sadie is my great-grandmother on my dad’s side. I learned to crochet from my mom’s mom. I know this is just because crocheting was ubiquitous. It’s not weird for people on both sides of your family to have done it. But it makes me feel something. Like here is a message that works on a level beyond words and at that level, I am reading it, and then I have to wait to see how it might translate into something I can make sense of.

Like I am doing something we do.

And you see that square that looks like a campfire? I want to make a whole afghan like that someday.

My aunt told me that my dad and his younger brother didn’t get afghans. I wonder if that’s because there was a certain age she gave them at (I know my grandma, her daughter, gave us all something she needlepointed at a certain age, though I can’t remember what age that was) and she died before my dad and uncle reached that age?

Anyway, it makes me glad I crocheted an afghan for my dad last year.

Bwah ha ha ha ha

Lord almighty, I took some cold medicine and that was pretty much it for me. So, let’s put “medicines will hit you differently” on the list of things they don’t tell you about going on this shit.

I had weird dreams. One of which is that I was on some dangerous adventure and I kept thinking I’d forgotten to take my birth control pills, but, like the adventure was a crawling through some dangerous undergrowth near some lava alone adventure, not a James Bond adventure, so I kept popping them like candy and at some point in my dream, I look down and it’s clear I’ve just been eating them all day, not even in any order.

My subconsciousness is both “must not forget to take medicine” and “must definitely not get pregnant while crawling near lava.” Which, you know, both good things.

In related news, the Butcher introduced me to Uber Eats, which has made being sick a whole lot less annoying, though I feel like such a capitalist pig every time I use it.

In unrelated news, I love this afghan I’m working on so much. It’s just so beautiful. It is a perfect scrap afghan, though I have to admit, I’d also love to try it with a color scheme.

Anyway, here’s a picture of the interior part and a picture of the octagon part. I didn’t lay out the triangles or the weird shapes, because I’m not sure how they’re all going to work. It’s going to involve math, though, and I’m already pissed about it.

 

Daring

Y’all, have I been misinterpreting what the dog wants from the hill? Today it was raining, so the hill was slick and he threw himself down, as he does, and wiggled/slid his way down the hill on his back head first and then he leaped up like “Ta Da!”

Has this been it? Not rolling down the hill but sliding? Did I get to see the culmination of months of effort today? I can’t be sure.

I called my parents last night and told them about the anxiety and the drugs. Basically because I realized there’s a good chance that I’m still not going to be 100% at Christmas and obviously they would notice.

It was awkward and in the middle of it my dad switched mid-stream to talking about when they were going to come down for Christmas. And I said, “So, just to be clear, this makes me crazy.” And my dad said he already knew that about me. And we laughed. It was awkward and uncomfortable. Or, at least, I felt awkward and uncomfortable and I wasn’t sure what to make of their reactions. They didn’t really have any questions. My mom volunteered to drive me up and down windy mountain roads to see if the medication was working.

And then they wanted to eat dinner, so we got off the phone.

I don’t know. I don’t know what to make of it or how to feel about it.

The afghan I’m working on now is really beautiful, though, and it makes me happy. Also, my little cousin got her afghan in the mail yesterday, while she was home sick from school, and she loved it. So, those are the feelings I’m going to glom onto.

The Hardest Afghan I’ve Ever Made

I’ve made afghans that were like endurance tests and I’ve made afghans that forced me to learn a lot of new skills. I’ve never before made an afghan were I was like, whew, I will NEVER do that again. Until this one. But it’s done and it looks great, except for the weird ripples, which I am just thinking of as ruffles. But look at that awesome border!

And I think it does look like the picture my cousin’s daughter drew.

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For Christmas for me, the Butcher had his DNA done at Ancestry.com. They advise you to have a relative of each gender do it, to try to pick up on everything from both sides of the family, so I may have mine done at some point.

But, it turns out that we’re pretty boringly white. It has us at 31% “Europe West,” which is Germany/France, northern Spain/Great Britain; 25% Scandinavia; 22% Ireland; 9% Iberian Peninsula; and 9% Great Britain.

In some ways, this differs from what I know of our family history. Hulda Anderson, my great-great grandmother, came over from Sweden. She married a guy who came over from Germany. Their daughter married a guy whose parents came over from England. The Riches were British way back, but had been in America for centuries.  Clayton Rich, my great grandfather, married an Irish woman. So, my mom should be 1/4 Great Britain, 1/4 Irish; another 1/4 Great Britain; 1/8 Swedish; 1/8 German, with some Dutch we know of thrown in there.

My dad’s family is also pretty well-known, except for the Phillipses, though I have some educated guesses about them, and I think they were originally British. So, my dad’s side of the family should be the Robinsons–came over from England–1/4 British; the Sanborns–old American family, but originally from England–1/4; the Phillipses, probably English, 1/4; and the Heistands, who were originally German–1/4.

So you can see why I expected to find a lot more Great Britain in the mix. Maybe the Butcher just takes after my mom a lot? Or, my working hypothesis is that, if you look at the places you find people with our DNA and the places you find the Germanic tribes, you’d find those were the same places. We could be old Saxons or even older members of the Lower Rhine Groups and the people they fucked.

Anyway, fascinating. But as of yet, no help in contextualizing the Phillipses.

How Can I Keep from Singing?

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The ripples are killing me! I think they might somewhat resolve in the wash, but I blame those three rounds of back-post-double-crochet, where you can see the afghan already not taking on a square shape. But I think the weight of it will eventually pull those rows straight. We’ll see. If it were wool. I’d figure blocking would fix it. But one drawback to acrylic is that you have to live with a certain amount of “I do what I want!”

I’m liking it, though and I think I’m almost done. I mean it’s for a kid. It doesn’t have to be huge.

So, on the other matter, the crazy-pants matter, I have decided I do notice a difference, aside from the fact that, if I sit down for too long, especially in a sunny spot, like right here on the couch, all I can think about is napping. No, also, I feel like singing again in the mornings. I’ve made up a song for the dog. I tried out a Lana Del Ray-ish version of “Wild Rover.” I realized I knew all the words to Liz Phair’s “Polyester Bride.” I have thoughts about All Them Witches.

That’s nice. I missed that.

A Difficult Thing

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I made this whole inner part to the third square before I realized I had accidentally base-13ed a square I needed to have base-12. I didn’t bother to frog it. I just turned it into a hat for the dog. He found it far, far less amusing than I did.

I think the thing that is hardest about these squares is that each one is unique. You don’t learn much that aids you in the next from the one you’ve just done. But I think I’m going to sew the four squares together and then just build an enormous border on it, until it is the size I’d like it to be. It’s for a child, so it doesn’t have to be huge.

The thing I most dislike about crocheting, though, is the sense I have that it’d be much easier if I had basic math skills. Everything is a story problem I’m going to not know how to solve except for trying it, failing, and fixing it. Possibly there’s a metaphor for life in there.

Something Beautiful

I really love how this turned out. The border, though, god, it took so long! I whooped this thing up in about a month and the border took a week! A week! One fourth of the time to do this whole afghan was the motherfucking border. But it turned out really lovely.

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Did I tell you guys about my next afghan? It’s still a little nebulous. I’m trying to translate a picture my cousin’s little girl drew into afghan squares. That part is going surprisingly well, at least so far. But the four squares are not going to make an afghan. So, I can’t decide the best way to enlarge it into something she can use. Still, look at how it’s going!

 

I Guess I Needed this Afghan

I can’t tell you how pleased I am about this afghan. I don’t know why. It’s not the most beautiful afghan I’ve ever made, but it’s really satisfying.

There’s just some shit going on in my life and I miss being able to mull through it here. But, needless to say, I am constantly amazed at people I barely know who are willing to demand they be the center of my attention and that I do my work to meet their needs.

The Greyhound is Not a Metaphor

This morning when I was walking the dog, a greyhound came sprinting across the way, headed toward the AT&T building. Sprinting is probably the wrong word. It wasn’t running down anything. It wasn’t the fastest it could run. It was a joyful trot. Legs in loping mode, not in sprinting mode. It still took me a second to make sense of what I was seeing, it was moving so fast. I have an unnaturally happy dog, so I wouldn’t say that greyhound was the happiest dog I’ve ever seen, but it was in its bliss. It was doing exactly the thing it was happiest doing and I thought, “That dog’s never going home. It’s going to run west forever.” And I was a little jealous of it.

I finished and washed the peacock afghan. I did one of the squares for the new afghan. I am already in love with the square and super pissed that the pattern insists I need two skeins of yarn in each color. I have a deep suspicion that it means you can work up the squares all in one skein and then you need another whole skein for the border, which…just… no. Maybe just take it easy on the border rather than ask me to buy six extra skeins of yarn to pull it off.Plus, when you have a border as beautiful as the one on that square, why are you going to fuck with that?

Mark my words, gentle readers, I will put that border on the whole damn afghan rather than buy six more skeins of yarn for some bullshit popcorn stitch nonsense.

The Peacock Afghan Comes Together

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The brownish green in this picture is not actually that brown in real life. My iPhone is trying to make an adjustment that doesn’t need to be made, but at least this way you can see how the bright green is a nice subtle accent now. I’m super pleased with how this is going.

It Strikes Me as Victorian

I’m not done putting my bright green row on my peacock motifs. I have exactly half the motifs left and I’m not sure I’m going to have enough green. I’m going to be so mad if I need to buy a whole other skein for like five motifs. Ha ha ha. We’ll see.

But I made myself up a column to see what it will look like with the green that will be the most plentiful green. I think I like it. I don’t think of this kind of dull green as being Victorian, but I think it’s the way it shows off the stitches or something. When I look ati it, it just looks very Victorian. I mean, I guess the peacock motif is very Victorian.

Anyway, I hope it looks okay. I’m nervous that it doesn’t look quite right.

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Yesterday I went over to the State Museum to see some artifacts for a “spooky things at the museum” thing I’m doing for the Scene. And, man, the things they have are so…I don’t know. They are really spooky, which is excellent for my story, but they are also these intimate, very personal items created, often, at the saddest moment of people’s lives.

I want to make sure I don’t lose sight of that.

Bad Year for Allergies

For the past three weeks, on and off, I’ve felt like I have a cold that won’t quite come into existence. I know it’s just allergies, but it’s bugging the crap out of me. Finally though, apparently, fall is here and the 90 degree days are over.

The peacock afghan is satisfying so far, in part because it looks really nice and because it’s really fun to come up with something and then have it work! I spent so much time tucking ends yesterday though, that I made myself a solemn vow that I would tuck my ends as I went from here on out with this afghan.

I’m glad summer’s over. It feels like it’s been a long one.

The Peacock Afghan Prototype

So, as we all know, this is what a peacock feather looks like:

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I spent the evening trying to come up with a motif that would kind of reflect this and that would utilize the skills I’m learning in the current afghan. I think I’ve got it.

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So, the purple part will be dark blue. The inner orange will be light blue. The first ring of beige will be some delicious golden brown. The next ring of orange, though, I think needs to be that kind of electric yellow-green, if I can find a yarn to match it. Then the decorative beige along with the outer beige (which will be the connective tissue of the afghan) needs to be just a fucking stunning green.

These motifs are slightly smaller than the motifs for the current afghan I’m working on, so I’ll need more. That part might do me in. The motif making on the current afghan went kind of delightfully well. Maybe I can fall into a rhythm with these. Fingers crossed. But no starting on this until the other one is finished.

Low-Key Week

Knock on wood, this week has been quieter and less stressful than previous weeks. I’m really enjoying working on this afghan. I’m also tickled because it’s so small compared to my normal afghans! But that’s only because I make giant, unwieldy afghans.

The other day I was listening to the NPR music podcast and the guys realized that there’s a certain kind of voice they like because it reminds them of Kermit the Frog.

I think there’s a certain size afghan I like because it reminds me of how I used afghans as a kid. I don’t think of an afghan as something you can just drape over your lap. I want you to be able to lay completely under it on the couch. I want it to make a good roof for your living room fort. And we are bigger than we were when we were small. Should our afghans not grow to fit out new sizes?

Still, I admit, I’m staring at this thing, wondering if it’s too small. I’m making it, though, for a kid who’s not even in pre-school yet. It will be fine.

But I have these thoughts because of the pending peacock afghan, which will use this afghan as its base.

Also, I think the hypnotism scene in this week’s Tanis is a master class in suspense. I am so jealous of their ability to make nothing happening terrifying. And the revelation at the end? It made sense of so much, I think.

Fantastic Afghan

People, this is blowing my mind. It’s been fun to work on. It’s turning out awesome. I feel like running around to all crocheters and yelling, “You can do this!” The pattern is free here. But the crucial part is that the woman who designed the pattern has a series of YouTube videos that takes you through the construction of the afghan and shows you a couple of tricks for making a smoother finish. I don’t know this Jesse at Home woman, but I hope someone buys her cupcakes whenever she wants, because this afghan makes me so happy.

If the peacock afghan works out how I think it’s going to, it’s truly just going to be a modified version of this afghan.

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I Should be Writing

I need to be working on my short story, but this week, man, this week. I’ve just come home and hidden and worked on my afghan and been an emotional mess and worked on my afghan some more. I am liking the shit out of it, though. It’s going fairly fast and the motifs have an interesting amount of variety and it makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something and no one hates me for doing it.

Yesterday, I went to the funeral for the father of one of my friends. It was sad and lovely. The funeral was in Sue Allen’s old house, which I found myself thinking about before the service and I wonder if she would have found that fitting–that her house became a funeral parlor.

I also thought a lot about the importance of ceremony in times like this, when you’re so flooded with emotion–knowing what to do, where to go, what to say, because you do and go and say the same things every time this happens–I think it’s part of what makes it possible to get through these things.

I hope, anyway, because I love these people.

Anyway, here’s to hoping that the weather breaks and that Fall is kinder to us than Spring and Summer have been.

The Next Afghan

It requires a seamless join because of how the rounds work. I am terrified that this is going to come undone in the wash. Beyond terrified. I was worried that the pieces look a little yonic, but now that I’ve done a couple, I’m actually more concerned that they might look like beautiful butt holes. I’m trying to convince myself that it’s just me.

Photos later.