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.

Reverse

I’m trying my first reverse single-crochet border. You literally single-crochet, but you put the next stitch behind the current one instead of in front of it. It gives you kind of a ropey-looking finish. I’m liking it. It eats up a lot of yarn, though, especially on an afghan.

My next project is a Catherine-wheel baby blanket. And after that, I’ve been asked to make an afghan for a kid I once made a baby blanket for. I’m mulling over what to do for him, but I’m not sure yet. I kind of want to do a bunch of polkadots, but I’m not sure if that’s something he will always want.

This is my seventeen-year anniversary of moving to Nashville. Seventeen years. I can’t really describe how that makes me feel. I have accomplished things I never thought possible. I also kind of feel empty-handed. Maybe that’s the truth of things.

Clinging to this Afghan

I got a tough rejection yesterday. It had been so long, longer than they said they were going to take, long enough that I got my hopes up that maybe, just maybe, I’d made it through the first hoop.

That was stupid of me.

And I’ve tried to rationalize–obviously, the fact that they had it this long made it seem like a plausible project. And I turned right back around and sent it out again. And I hyped myself up and said Year of a Hundred Rejections over and over again to myself, which, even though I’m not aiming for a hundred rejections, ever since I read that article has become a kind of mantra to me.

But I’m still really bummed. So, I took the evening to work on this afghan. I tucked tails like tails have never been tucked. I bought quart bags to put my rows in so that I can keep the color scheme straight. I found a sharpie so I can number the bags.

I also did a crap ton of dishes, because apparently the Butcher has decided that having a girlfriend is more fun than doing one’s household chores and I will do a crap ton more tonight.

But tonight I am also going to tuck the last thirty tails on these 600 squares and then sort them by color and put them into baggies by the rows they will occupy in the afghan. And it will be so satisfying and the person who gets the afghan will love it and I will feel like there’s one artsy thing in this world that I am pretty good at.

Because I’m just not feeling it with my writing at the moment.

The Existential Angst Afghan

Last night, I stared up at the ceiling, trying to fall asleep, wondering what things I do make me happy.

Reader, I could think of nothing! Which made me laugh. It’s good to have check-in moments with yourself where you realize that you’re down the path that goes to the outhouse, not the path that goes to the ice cream saloon.

I’m working on this afghan that is at once very simple and already shaping up to be so beautiful. But I have to keep track of 600 squares. And I have in mind for the pattern a gradient, which means I need to figure out which rows are which. So, tonight, I’m going to buy 30–one for each row–quart-sized ziploc bags to sort my squares into.

It’s going to be so satisfying.

Why Did I Do This Again?

Why would I make another afghan of tiny squares again?! I thought, well, if I do two rounds, it won’t be so bad. And, I guess, it’s not so bad, but every task seems never-ending. I have all my inner rounds made, but I need to tuck everything before moving on to the outer round and it’s just on-going. ON-GOING!

But I think it has the potential to be really beautiful. I’m imagining a spectrum of sorts. I’m just not sure what to do about the browns. A brown is never just brown, you know. Usually, with yarn, for whatever reason, it’s actually a dark orange, but some of the browns I have are clearly dark reds. And I know, occasionally, you can get a brown that has green undertones. So I’m a little nervous about sorting them.

Plus, I have 600 squares. If I pick a definite pattern to put them together in–i.e. the spectrum, I’m going to have to sort those squares ahead of time and make sure they stay in order. I’m thinking, with 600 squares, I’ll have a 30×20 afghan so I could get 30 freezer bags and use them for sorting. This gives me the ability to see the mix of squares in each row and I can write which row in a Sharpie on the outside.

We shall see. It’s going to be an organizational something or other.

Argh, This Afghan

I have four skeins of black left. I can finish eight squares with one skein. I have ten squares to finish, thus leaving me two and quite a bit of a third skeins to attach everything. That might get everything sewn together but it’s for sure not going to get everything bordered.

I just cannot correctly purchase yarn for this afghan. And, with my luck, they’ll discontinue the yarn or something before I can get it finished.

On the other hand, look at how nifty it’s looking: