Tag Archives: knitting

My 100th Post: The Best Of Blog Tour

This is my 100th post, and so I have decided to try and get 100 views to my blog today!  I have been failing to have much traffic lately, barely a handful of viewers per post, which means that even my dear friends and family may not be reading anymore.  It’s ok, I still love you – but I want you back!

The goal of 100 views is perhaps a too high, since so far the only post of mine which has gotten close to that was my Eurovision post on Conchita Wurst, and that got 90 views that day.  And that was only because of random people who had searched for the busty Polish girls and instead got my post.  Sorry, fellas.

So I’m going to have to try really hard to get people interested in the nonsense I spew forth from my keyboard.  Let’s just consider this post a Best Of Blog tour, in the hopes that at least some of what I write is appealing to the general public.

Every post you read gets me one step closer to 100!  So click away!!  Read, enjoy, or roll your eyes and look at pictures of hilarious animals instead.  Just do it after you click.

So perhaps you’re reading this because you like writing, and that is what this blog is supposed to be about.  Maybe you want to read topical posts like Worldbuilding with my discussion of Ursula Le Guin’s awesomeness or The Mirror of Fantastic Vanity in which I call out Neil Gaiman.

Or maybe you, like myself, struggle with finger-stalling brain-demons and would appreciate Mental Bran Flakes.

Perhaps, instead, you’re only here because I have Facebook press-ganged you into it, or a friend of a friend has posted this link.  In that case, maybe you’d rather read something random and potentially humourous like The Spider and the Flute: a sleep-deprivation-inspired tale of arachnid tragedy about which critics, by which I mean the only person who commented (looking at you, md456), have proclaimed: “I have not felt this sympathetic for a spider since Charlotte’s Web.” Or maybe Hobbies, or “the tale of the boob coaster” where I had an R-rated yarn-craft disaster.

Are you one of my falconry friends?  Or have a passing interest in things raptorial?  How about A Falconry Rant where I bitch about the ignorant masses at my old job as a display falconer, The Austringer’s Lament where I wax lyrically about the hunt, or There’s No Such Thing as a Stupid Question – No Wait, There is where I give up on people in general as having common sense at all.

Maybe you’ve read all these before because you’re my mother and read everything I ever post (I love you!), or maybe you’ve never read any of them and have a new-found appreciation or concern for my mental state.  Whatever the case, thank you for taking the time to read what I write.

This will also be a test of how far this platform reaches.  I have decided that the avenue of self-publishing is the only way for a new writer to break into the industry currently, as much as I long to one day hold one of my books in solid printed paper.  So without the weight of a traditional publisher behind me I will be needing to do all my own marketing and advertising, and that’s the real reason I created this blog.  An author needs to be in charge of her own online presence and so this kind of self-advertisement, however uncomfortable it makes me, is part of the game.

So read, my pretties, read!

Hipster Collie Approves

The Almost-Sock, Drunken Yarn Shopping and (Sober) Chicken-Sitting

If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t posted in a few days, I’ll tell you now:  Socks.

Or rather one sock.

Well, one almost-sock.

This sock:

This will not be another boob coaster incident.

Yes, my friends, after my last yarn-craft disaster I am actually attempting to knit a sock.  Well, two, ultimately.  And so far it’s been going unprecedentedly well, despite my disbelief at this magazine’s claims of “easy” and “quick” in reference to said project.  This has been actually taking up all my time since after Valentine’s Day when I bought the yarn.

Which brings me to another point.  Getting a bit tipsy on a glass of wine at lunch can be delightful.  And going shopping afterward may be a bit dangerous.  But getting tipsy and going yarn shopping?!  Now that’s a recipe for disaster cookies.

I bought 8 balls of yarn.  And this is despite the fact that they didn’t have the yarn I was actually looking for to complete my fuzzy scarf.  I also somehow decided I was ready to knit socks.

Several days later, however, this is surprisingly fabulous.  And I may have had to unravel my very first attempt, and then backtrack a couple of rows when I discovered that the stocking stitch is done completely different in the round – something that this magazine should have been more clear about, I feel, since directed at beginners to sock-knitting – but, regardless, here we are.  A pretty goddamn awesome almost-sock.

And in other news, you can tell you live in the country when you’re asked to chicken-sit.  True story.

Seasonal Prose, Lack of Productivity and The Scarf That Looks Like A Scarf

*

Before long, Cobault’s streets were swept by the high winds that characterised Autumn’s approach. Debris rattled on the cobblestones, thrown under the wheels of carriages and making the streets somewhat more hazardous than usual. Ladies’ long skirts twisted around their legs, tripping the unprepared and making men stare with knowing smiles to see the outlines of appendages hitherto unseen. These men had to be careful to remain at least somewhat self-aware and mind their hats, however, for not a few were stripped from their wearer’s very heads. Chill fingers of air groped pedestrians, raising gooseflesh in their wake.

This was an unfriendly season, and Euphemia was more aware of that than her peers – because of her peers, in actuality.

*

So I think I can handle moving forward in time, now, to some degree.  It’s been one of my struggles, and I have to say it took reading all of Harry Potter to give me the idea.  Every single book, J.K. Rowling uses the time device of the seasons to shift us through the academic year:

“As they entered November, the weather turned very cold.” (The Philosopher’s Stone)

“October arrived, spreading a damp chill over the grounds and into the castle.”  (Chamber of Secrets)

“Two weeks before the end of term, the sky lightened suddenly to a dazzling, opaline white and the muddy grounds were revealed one morning covered in glittering frost.” (The Prisoner of Azkeban)

And so on.  Notice how much purpler the prose of these descriptions get with every book?  Oh, J.K. Rowlz, I suppose the fame started to get to your head a wee bit there.  Not complaining, mind – I think the word “opaline” is sorely underused.

It makes a lot of sense but I don’t want to rely upon it.  Just like I began to notice that every single HP book relied upon seasonal prose to move forward through time, it can become clunky and expected.

And readers are a fickle bunch, and you can’t let them get what they expect – they’ll get bored and leave you!  Contrary bastards.

In other news, as noted by the excerpt, I’m writing Cobault again!  It’s kind of a big deal, because I’ve been a bit Blah and not writing for a week or so now.  You can generally tell how productive I’m being, writerly, by how many posts I’m posting here in a given week.  I think this week there has been a grand total of two.  So not very productive.

However, I’m feeling rather proud of the scarf I’m knitting.  It’s very fuzzy and actually looks like a scarf.  It’s impressive.

Hobbies, or “The Tale of the Boob Coaster”

Today I’m taking a break from my usual writing-centric (or rant-centric) posts to babble about something completely different: hobbies.  We’ve all got them.  Myself, I’m trying to teach myself to knit and crochet, with the encouragement of my mother-in-law who bought me knitting needles, yarn and an instruction book for Christmukkah.  How’s it going?  Um…

My first attempt was quite frankly terrible.  I decided to try to knit a scarf, a simple and easy first project.  It seemed to be going alright until I started to notice that the edges of the barely-two-inch scarf were receding and increasing randomly.  I had been gaining and dropping stitches with alarmingly careless frequency.

So I scrapped that, and forgot about it for a bit.

Then a couple weeks ago my mother-in-law gifted me a knitting magazine, which came with a free crochet hook and three skeins of the most hideously clashing yarn:  sky blue, eye-burning orange and a weirdly mauvey pink.  “Learn To Make Your Own Granny Squares!” it promised.  I remember that my late Nana had a bag full of granny squares and various knitting needles and crochet hooks, which my sister learned to use when we were young.

“Sure!” I thought, “Can’t be that hard!”

Ha!

The instructions in the magazine were written in the shorthand of knitters world-wide, which is to say it was completely unintelligible to me.  “Make 4ch, sl st in first ch to make ring,” the first instruction read.  First I had to decode this alien demand and then figure out how to do it, all of which only possible with help from the internet.

Seriously, how did anyone know how to do anything before the internet??

Anyways, so I eventually figured out what I was supposed to do, and tried it.  My first attempt at a granny square has been termed “Crochet No. 1” by the Husband, and now sits beside his computer like a curled up mauvey-pink foetus.  My second attempt was a lot more encouraging, and by the third I actually completed what can be identified as a granny square by an objective third party.  Success!

The evolution of a granny square.

Emboldened by my victory, I crocheted two more just to prove it wasn’t a fluke.  Then for some reason I had the most foolish leap of logical reasoning known to man:

“If I can make a granny square, maybe I can make a hat!!”

I must have been high off of yarn fumes or something.

Using a nicer dark green yarn my mother-in-law gave me, I try to crochet a hat modeled on the methods of a granny square.  I stitched in circles, building upon each row as I went.  After a little while, however, I noticed that my “hat” has a rather protruding centre, a “nipple” if you like, from where I had started building stitches around a chain.

“Eh,” I muttered, “who cares if my hat has a nipple.”

I continued.  Remember when I mentioned before about my problems in gaining and dropping stitches randomly?  This happens.  Frequently.  I now have an uneven and wavy-edged areola to match my nipple.  Stubbornly, I persevere.  Hours pass.  Eventually I look down at my creation and go, “This is not a hat.  I’ve done something terribly wrong.”

So now I have a dark green crocheted boob coaster.

This is not a hat.

After that fiasco, I decided rather intelligently to resume my original, and more sensible, goals and am now knitting a new scarf.  I’m counting my stitches and everything.