The Cloak Begins

I had to frog the hood three times, but I finally made it work. Now I’m working on the cape part and debating whether I want hand holes or not.

You might get a better sense of the gradient here:

I can’t remember if I told you, but I’m using those clusters to hide the shaping of the cloak. Those are where the increases happen when they need to happen.

I also ordered a cloak pin from Etsy.

The yarn is so soft. An so beautiful. I know I made it, but I’m still in awe of it.

I am curious about how you block a non-flat object, though. It’s going to benefit from some shaping, but I’m not sure how to do it.

Small Updates

I was on the “I Don’t Speak German” podcast. So was Sonnyboy, but hopefully that’s not very noticeable. It was hard work, but I managed to say “like” nearly one million times. (Ugh.)

I finished the circle afghan!

That was very hard. So much counting. But I love it. It’s very sturdy, but I also love how fragile it looks, like it might pop apart at any moment.

And I’ve started the cloak. I love the yarn so much it makes me want to cry.

This is the hood, so the plan is for it to be a little more plain than the cape part.

But up close on the yarn!

Look at how weird and beautiful that is. Look at how relatively uniform in size it is. Look at all the little bits of color. The silk threads! God damn it. I’m so proud of this. The stitches look so great.

An Artist Needs Me

I got an email from an art professor yesterday whose student needs some yarn that looks a little rustic, with thick and thin parts, and red to kind of resemble blood vessels.

This is exactly the kind of yarn I can spin!

I also recorded an episode of “I Don’t Speak German” about the book. It should be out on Wednesday.

Pushed It

I’m feeling slightly lousier today. Maybe going from death’s door to two full days of work was not the way to go.

My goal for this weekend is just to take it easy.


The truth of the matter is that I really love how this looks, but I’m not really enjoying making it. It’s a lot–A LOT–of end tucking and there are no shortcuts on the construction. You just literally have to count and recount everything.

Did the Masons and the Triangle Afghan Try to Kill Me?

You know, sometimes I write shit like that assuming it’s obvious that I’m joking, and someone will make a comment to me in real life about how I’m paranoid.

And it makes me wonder if I’m not as funny as I think I am (seemingly impossible) or if some of my friends aren’t as funny as I think they are (also seemingly impossible).

And yet, even though I know this may be chalking in the ledger of ways I think “everything is about me,” I’m still going to title this post that, because I still think it’s funny.

Anyway, coincidentally, after spending the day in a room still tainted with the stale farts of Andrew Jackson and then finishing up the triangle afghan, I got sick. Sicker than I’ve been in a long time. Like, I’m still not entirely sure what day it is kind of sick.

Sometimes you get sick and you can still lay on the couch and crochet with a Kleenex up your nose. And sometimes you get sick and you stay in bed for three days, not quite asleep, not quite able to pay attention to the podcasts you’re ostensibly listening to. This was the latter.

But I’m still alive. Masonic Devil Farts be damned.

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.


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.