The Triangle Afghan

I finished it!

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The Franklin Masonic Hall

I’m bummed I didn’t get to go on the tour, because apparently there’s a ton of Civil War graffiti upstairs and I’m sad I missed out. But I’m so excited they’re figuring out ways to restore and save this building.

The conference I went to is in the very same room where Andrew Jackson and the Chickasaw Nation negotiated the treaty that led to their removal. And the conference was, in part, about Indian removal.

It was the best small conference I’ve ever been to. Every talk built on what came before and gave information relevant to the talk after it. At least the day I was there, they stayed on schedule. The talks were all top-notch and interesting.

And I learned new stuff. Like massive new stuff. Like the fact that all the Native American tribes I’ve been taught were ancient and Southern–Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, etc.–developed in the 1700s and 1800s in the wake of massive, massive slave trading that cleared out a lot of the local population. Which is the other thing! The reason a place, say, here, was empty of Native Americans when Europeans got here (though we can debate about how empty it was) is because there was a massive, massive trade in Indian slaves and whole towns were wiped out so that the populations could be sold into slavery in the Caribbean.

So, basically, these tribes formed from the survivors of the slave trade banding together and fighting back. But it took all these disparate people and nations seeing themselves as a group with common interests that needed to work together. And then they did fight back enough to mostly end the Indian slave trade.

Which white learned from when they scaled up the African trade. And, in fact, apparently, it was the fact that they chose everyone with a common feature (black skin) from a whole continent that made it so hard for Africans to fight back against it. Like, there had to be a whole paradigm shift in Africa about why people were being enslaved. If you’re enslaved because your enemies captured you and sold you to white folks, then your neighbors learn that the trick is not not be enemies with the enslaving group. But that’s actually no help, because people weren’t being enslaved because they were at war with the wrong folks. They were being enslaved because they were black/Africans.

But no one in Africa–a whole fucking continent, after all–viewed themselves as having some huge commonality with other “Africans.” Just like we wouldn’t feel like we were in any grave danger if someone invaded Mexico and started kidnapping everyone with blue eyes. It would be weird and a shame, but it would take a long, long time for blue-eyed people in Alaska, say, to realize they should be terrified.

Anyway, super fascinating and I’m sorry I couldn’t go to the second day.

Adventure

I’m going to the Franklin Masonic Hall today. Me and Andrew Jackson putting our butts in the same seats.

I’m so close to being done with the triangle afghan. So, of course, I spent the week spinning.

I just don’t want beautiful things to be over.

That’s probably a metaphor for my life right now, but it is also true.

But Do I Want a University?

Y’all, I am heartily considering going to law school hoping that I graduate before Becki Fallwell decides to get divorced, because, whew, her lawyer will be set for life.

“My husband passes intimate pictures of me around to his buddies without my consent.” “My husband brags about hurting me during sex.” “My husband threatens anyone who opposes him with FBI investigations.” “Here’s every news story in which he’s doing these things.”

If I had a quarter of Liberty University, the very first thing we would do is have a big lawn dance to “Truth Hurts.”

Nice

I had a really nice weekend. On Friday, my coworkers surprised me with a 20th Anniversary party at work. I got good advice on the book. I got my garage cleaned up so I can put my car back in it. The weather was amazing.

The only hard lesson I had to learn was that alpaca fiber is way, way dirtier than llama. I made a skein of yarn yesterday mostly from alpaca and it hit soap three times–when I first picked it, when I set the twist, and this morning when I was alarmed at how dirty the rinse water was.

I’m using Dawn, but I kind of wonder if I should switch to dog shampoo.

I think I’m about done with the triangle afghan.

I had been thinking about squaring it off but I really like the hexagon shape.

The Hood

So, I did make a tiny prototype! And it does give you a cute point at the back! And I’m lucky my cat didn’t murder me.

I’m also 3/4 done with this bad boy. Maybe more. Once I finish it and the circle afghan, which, bless its heart has just been languishing in my basked, I can start on the cloak.

The Final Gradient

My only worry is the hood, now. I’m half-heartedly working on a prototype, but it’s really boring and I have a lot of other (okay two other) interesting projects I should be working on).

But basically, imagine a U. My neck and head will go in the U, as if we’re looking down on the hood from above. Like (o). When I make the hood as tall as I want, do I put in a seam or do I want a flat panel at the top?

I don’t know. Maybe I should do some smaller prototypes.

The Gradient

I think I’m done spinning for the cloak. It will just be whatever size it is from the yarn I have. I’m prototyping the hood, just to make sure I feel confident before I use my good yarn on it.

This, basically, is my gradient. It’s not too bad, I don’t think. I’m really proud of how the yarn turned out.

Shoot, Y’all

I’ve been busy. I settled on all my photos for the book and I paid for permission to use all of them. So, that’s done. I had an awesome meeting at Fisk. I took my boss to Swett’s.

I had lunch with C. and M. I got my car fixed.

I spun all of the dark yarn for my cloak and I’ve moved on to the lighter yarn.

This week I’m taking a couple of days off to sit someplace different and work on my book.

I guess I should also do laundry and clean my bathroom.

Prototyping

So, this is my prototype for the collar of my cloak. My idea is that the shells will be where I hide my increases, which will also give my cloak a decorative element. Then shaping the cloak as I go will just be a matter of either using the shells for increases or not.

What I’m mulling over at this point is whether I’d be happier if the collar was a little bigger to start with. Right now it’s the perfect size and I know it will stretch out a little as it gets more weight, but I also want, I think, a drawstring at the collar and, as it stands now, I think that would need a little more room.

More Cloak Thoughts

My subtle gradient is working! Note that it’s lighter on the right and darker on the left.

I did some math yesterday, which sucked, but basically, I have nine bags of fiber that I’ve divvied up into my gradient. Each bag is giving me between 100 and 120 yards of yarn. According to my gauge, I need a foot of yarn for every square inch of cloak I want to make.

I remain unsure of how many square inches of cloak I’m attempting to make.

That’s outstanding question 1.

But I’m pretty sure I don’t have enough yarn planned for it. Which means I need to clean up some more of that gray llama and set up another gradient. I can’t match this one, since I used much of my good shit all up to make it, so I’m thinking of just trying to go from a very light gray to a dark gray and use that at the top of my cloak.

Question 2. Do I want hand holes?

Bah, Math

In order to make this cloak… nay, in order to even know how much yarn I need to spin to make this cloak, I need to do math.

Bah. Math.

And I have to find my tape measure, so it’s just bullshit all around.

Honestly

I’m just not that into blogging lately. I don’t feel like I have that much interesting going on in my life. I don’t care about my opinions on things. I don’t really feel like it’s doing what I need it to do.

But I feel like, in saying that, it’s useful to just acknowledge.

A guy at the grocery store stopped me and told me my car tire was flat and, you guys, I just don’t see it. I’m still going to get it checked out later this week (famous last words), but, like, I can’t stop wondering if this was some kind of scam, if I was supposed to… I don’t know. Kneel down and look at it so he and his partner could clobber me over the head or ask him for help so he could put me in his unseen murder van?

I mean, I was at Kroger. Okay, my tire’s flat. I’m still going to go buy groceries.

The Oracle

My new boss calls me The Oracle. I am so deeply flattered, I can’t even tell you.

But I’ve also been wondering if some of what people perceive of as psychic powers is just pattern recognition in overdrive.

Speaking of patterns:

I didn’t expect orange to play such a prominent role, but I like it.

Window

My favorite thing about my new office is that I have a window. I think, since we’ve moved in, I’ve only turned my office lights on a handful of times.

I’m taking a week off at the end of the month and spending it working on the book. My boss has given me permission to use my office during that week, because I’m at the point where I just need to look at it someplace else, on some other screen.

My editor at Third Man asked me if I wanted to start thinking about a short story collection. I haven’t written fiction in so long. But I kind of do want to start dipping my toe back into that.

Moping

I spent my whole weekend moping around, refusing to be a person who goes out into the world and talks to people and stuff. I got good work done on this afghan, though.

I really like looking at it. I find it soothing.

Baseball

My guts are fine. My uterine lining is as thin as it should be. We’re just going to wait and see what happens next month. Maybe we’ll switch pills.

I have a seven centimeter uterine fibroid. Like a baseball sized thing just sitting in my uterus. This is, apparently, also fine. Just a thing that happens in your 40s.

The transvaginal ultrasound hurt so bad I just came home and sat on the couch for the rest of the day. I’d had one before that was fine, so I was not expecting to feel like I’d gotten punched in my insides repeatedly.

I made some yarn and worked on the other afghan. I think, honestly, I’m just working on them both at the same time.

Different Circles

My only regret is that now that I know how it’s put together, it looks less random to me. I loved it best when I could see it as a wild clump of circles.

But, whew, I love this so much.

Tomorrow I have to go in for a transvaginal ultrasound to try to figure out why I’m bleeding. I admire my reproductive system for being just a rusty pile of shit the whole way. It takes commitment to suck from my first period to my last.

I had been feeling like I was dealing very well with this, but I’ve been sucked into a tiny bit of despair about how I’m going to die alone, unloved, with cobwebs in my useless vagina.

I’m glad for all the therapy and the drugs that lets me realize that’s a fucked up headspace. Also, frankly I’d rather have two weeks of cobwebs a month than two weeks of bleeding. Both are very goth, but the webs wouldn’t make me anemic. Plus, if my body is going to be a horror show, I would rather have the haunted house vibes of a cobwebbed vagina than the slasher aesthetic of all this blood.

Plus, if we’re being honest, I feel like “I will leave you unsettled and unsure if what has just happened to you really happened” is a more honest assessment of sex with me than “I will leave you screaming and fearing for your life.”

Cobwebs in my vagina. Truth in advertising.

Circles

I guess I should say more about my dad, but I’m not sure what there is to say. He’s dying. He’s carrying on being his damn self. He’s “doing what the doctor told me and getting back to my normal routine.”

I don’t really believe that’s what the doctor told him.

But fuck it. If this is how he wants to go out, this is how he goes out, I guess.

Hobbs & Shaw

It was worth every penny. It was delightful. It was full of easter eggs for people my age. And it was very sweet. Everyone was slightly dorky and a little insecure.

Everything was wonderfully ridiculous. And it was funny. Not a comedy, exactly, but there were plenty of jokes that worked.

Also, I got new shoes and I swear, when I walked the dog this morning, I wanted to do some zoomies, like you do when you’re a kid and you’re convinced your new shoes are going to make you super fast.

Nashville Demystified

Here’s the podcast I did. I really like how it turned out. And this is how I want reading the book to be, too. Funny, serious, sad, happy, etc.

Twice this summer a guy has told me I have a beautiful laugh. Two different guys. One who I think was hitting on me a tiny bit and the other who was a kid and just seemed surprised and delighted.

And, you know, listening to this, I heard what they meant. It is beautiful.

Heh, I wonder how long that’s been true?

Truths, Lies, and Histories of Nashville

We figured out a cool name for my series!

I’m going to try to spend at least some of today trying to dig up historians and writes I don’t know to make sure I’m not just curating a series of my friends.

I’m really excited and nervous. What if no one submits proposals? What if all the proposals are great? How will I narrow them down to 25?

My dad remains in the hospital with his “mild” congestive heart failure. He’s dying. It might take a while, but he’s going to die of this.

And apparently he’s hell-bent on doing it 8 hours away from his closest kid so that he can bullshit to us about what the doctors are telling him.

Or because he’d rather die with his friends than with his kids.

And that hurts my feelings a lot.

Even though I don’t know how I would do with him here.

You Took My Joy. I Want It Back.

One of the hardest things for me to unlearn about the way I was raised, a think I have not unlearned, even now, is the belief that all goodness will be balanced with bad, that, if you have joy, you will have sorrow in equal measure, so it’s best to try to live a life of as few peaks as possible, in order to avoid the valleys.

I had a great week. I’m getting to work on a really cool project–as soon as I can come up with a name for it. I’m doing some acquisitions again, which I’d forgotten how much I really loved. I got to go up to Port Royal and learn a monstrous amount about the town (which no longer exists) and the park ranger’s dreams for it. I’m going to a cool presentation about Belle Meade at Fort Negley this morning. I’m doing a reading this evening. Tomorrow I’m meeting with a writer whose work I’ve long admired. Monday I have another acquisitions meeting. And I’ve made some beautiful yarn this week:

And I’ve got all the inner circles for my afghan made, so now I’m in the difficult, but fulfilling process of piecing them all together.

My dad is in the hospital with congestive heart failure. As he put it, “a little congestive heart failure.” My mom was in the hospital a couple of times last month.

My aunt is on-call so she can’t get down to see them. I’m here. Everyone is so far away.

I’m so mad at them for carrying on like they’re still in fine health. I’m so afraid things are going to get worse before they realize they have to make some major changes. I’m worried they’re going to kill themselves.

And, you know, if they were making a conscious choice to just push and push until they die, I would hate it, but I would respect it.

But I don’t think they’re being honest with themselves about what they’re doing and that upsets me, too.