Reading Crochet

Friday marked the beginning of the CftC Makealong and I went out guns blazing. Or, I tried. It took me awhile to remember how to half treble crochet or double crochet or whatever it is called. Then, it took me awhile to actually read the pattern and figure out what I was supposed to be doing when.

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And, then I had the problem that I had the last time I tried to crochet: I have no idea where the stitches are to count them. I picked the pattern Northmoor Lock somewhat flippantly because it is supposed to get big and then get small. I might accidentally get it right! So, you can imagine how proud I was of myself when I was getting it right. My stitches weren’t the most consistent but I was feeling good about myself. I thought I had figured out where the stitches were (which is so much easier in knitting because, barring catastrophe, they are right there on the needles) and I kept counting so I was only increasing when I needed to and not before. I was so sure that I had it that I stopped counting.

And, then this happened.

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Isn’t that a lovely decrease? So lovely and so completely unintentional. So, I’m back to counting. But, this is a quick pattern to crochet up and I am very happy with my progress so far. Also, don’t you just love this yarn? It is Manos de Uruguay!

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Hooking?

I took a break from statistics this evening to buy The Shawl Project on ravelry. With Crafts From the Cwtch’s Make Along starting in just a few hours I thought I should get the pattern squared away.

I’m very excited to be taking this opportunity to practice my barely-there crochet skills. I have it narrowed down to two patterns: Northmoor Lock or Transposition, both of which are in the book.

Mostly I just can’t wait to work with that eye blindingly colored yarn from Manos de Uruguay. With the warm weather come the bright colors. I don’t want to jinx it but winter might actually be on its way out!

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Looking Forward to Making

Friday marks the beginning of May and the beginning of Crafts from the Cwtch’s Make-along. I’ve decided I’m going to try to up my crochet game. (Since my crochet game consists of exactly one complete project as an adult which is unintentionally hourglass shaped.) This weekend I bought some new fingering weight yarn and I’m really getting excited to start crocheting! Now all I have to do is choose a pattern!

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Gratitude

I imagine that all crafters, nay all people, feel like this. The world is so interesting and I just can’t help but trying and liking new things. So, I’m a knitter and a spinner and I like to make jam. Oh, and sometimes I cook. Plus, I like to tat and I crochet.

There are never enough hours in the day.

When I first bought my spinning wheel I tried to buy all my fiber from local producers (very easy in Western New York. I just had to hit a few fiber festivals and I was done). And, I tried to zero out my stash before the fiber festivals the following year. This actually turned into a really nice cycle for a few years. I would buy roving, etc in the Fall and every summer I would do the Tour de Fleece and kill my stash. That is, until last year when a combination of things happened. First: I went crazy at the fiber festivals and bought out of everyone’s bargain bins. I bought huge bags of Shetland and romney and discounted braids in colors that excited me. Even though my budget didn’t change I ended up with more than usual because I bought things that producers had marked down. The second thing that happened was that I spent my summer away from my spinning wheel for work. First, I was in Texas at a field school beefing up my skill set. Then, I was in the field collecting data for my dissertation. I had some wool and a drop spindle with me but my drop spindle broke in transit. (Even if I had spun the whole time I was away, I’m a much slower drop spinner than a wheel spinner so I would not have made the same amount of progress.)

There’s also a third thing: I added to my stash during this year’s fiber festivals.

I mentioned to a friend, Joy Killjoy, the ’52 Spitfire, that I was woefully behind on my spinning and that it didn’t look like I’d bust my stash this year either. Which makes me think I should just forgo this year’s festivals (which don’t start until September so it might be premature of me to worry about). Then, an amazing thing happened: she busted her own stash. And, after busting her own stash she decided that she didn’t want to buy new roving. But, then she got a hankering of spinning. So, she asked if I could lend her roving. And, she’s just returned the most beautiful lace weight. Before she spun it she asked me what it was going to be. We had a conversation about technique and formed a plan for it. A plan which, by the way, was different than my original plan when I bought the braid and a plan which I think is so much better.
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I’m pretty sure that I even know what this wool is going to be now (this was a braid from Llady Llama Fiber Co). I think it is going to be Mercury in Retrograde by Deborah Frank.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have a friend who is such an amazing spinner. And, I can’t tell you how grateful I am that I live near so many fiber producers. And, I can’t tell you how grateful I am that life keeps giving me opportunities to try new things.

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Another Awesome Woman Singing

I'm Only Happy When It Rains by Garbage (cover by Kawehi) from Kawehi on Vimeo.

Kawehi is amazing. She has probably the best cover of Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box ever recorded. I recommend taking a look at her stuff.

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Playlist

The Love Your Blog prompt this week is ‘ugly’ and as soon as I read the word this Juliana Hatfield song popped into my head. When I was a teenager (a long time ago. Back when you got AOL disks in the mail and everyone who was cool had a juno email address) I was obsessed with Juliana Hatfield and Björk and Courtney Love and Shirley Manson (and really, any and every woman who got on stage and raged. Or, had emotions. Or, was just awesome). Given that Live Through This turned 21 last week, I decided it was the perfect time to for a walk down music memory lane. (Besides, this is how I deal with ugliness. A little rage, a little avoidance, and a little tenacity) I started with Juliana Hatfield. Just a girl and her guitar. Hatfield’s voice made her seem young and her songs felt honest. Everything a teenager could want. This song fills me with nostalgia and I’m glad I’ve grown up a little. 

Then, I graduated a girl and her band.
I know Courtney Love is oft maligned (and she’s definitely made some mistakes, who hasn’t?) but I loved listening to Live Through This when it came out and I’ve been able to go back to it in the years since then and still get something from it. I’ve been angry and full of DGAF. And, when I’ve felt that I’ve been able to scream along with love.

Shirley Manson just seemed so impossibly cool when I was a teenager. I mean, gave interviews where she talked about being depressed and getting bullied at school.  Anyone who is willing to tell you about their experiences and not care what you think is cool.  Knowing that your experiences are shared experiences can be really comforting. Plus, she rocked the red hair, the boots and dresses and she owned the microphone.

I then bounced back to a woman and her… creativity. Björk is a genius. She’s always been a genius. She will always be a genius. Sure, she might seem “out there” or “weird” or “strange” but she never fails to make music that gets your attention, that touches you, that moves you. Her album Homogenic is beautiful from start to finish but my introduction to her was her second album. “Army of Me” just clicked inside me when I first heard it. It’s full of great advice: Stand up. You’ve got to manage. Björk wants you to get in there and get it done.

Finally, I stopped playing around on youtube and did the only thing a sane person could do: I built a list on spotify. Who rocks your world? Which songs and artists from your teen years have stuck with you?  

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Adventures

National Pet ID week starts today and I decided it was time to do something about my pets and their identification. Lily and Cooper are indoor cats but disaster can strike. They can (and have) wiggled out of collars. And, one of my neighbors could forget to turn off his stove and the cats could end up finding their own way out of our burning house. These are not comfortable ideas to consider. The local pet store has a drop-in vet clinic and this month they’ve been giving away coupons to use at the clinic for a free microchip if you buy ten dollars worth of pet stuff. No problem. That’s a bag of cat food. So, I got my coupons and went to round up my cats to go to the clinic. The first thing I noticed was that our oldest carrier was not seaworthy. I would not be defeated, so the cats had to share a carrier.

This was not a problem until we were in the car and halfway to the vet clinic. Cooper started crying. Then he started heaving. And, since he was sharing his carrier with his sister he had no place to move. So, he vomited on his sister. Thankfully, I have napkins in the car and we were at a stoplight. Lily was surprisingly zen about the whole experience. She even gave Cooper a little bath and a cuddle after he was done being sick. She really is a classy cat.

We got to the clinic about ten minutes after it started. There was a line, but it wasn’t too long. We checked in and waited quietly while dogs bounced excitedly on either side of us. I kept the cats well above the doggy fray. Finally, it was our turn to see the vet. The microchipping went really quickly. The cats were so good with it. No one cried or growled or hissed. No one took a swipe at the vet or the vet tech or me. They calmly sat there and waited for the ordeal to be over.

For dinner they got special tuna and gravy. They are now ignoring me. The whole process was stressful but not horribly painful and I’m happy knowing that if somehow the cats get out in the world, they have my contact info with them. I believe most vets offer microchipping services. The pop-up clinic we went to in Buffalo was at a Pet Supplies Plus and the signage suggested that the clinics were a regular occurrence. So, if you have a pet and have considered getting them microchipped, keep your eyes peeled. Having some kind of identification on your pet is important. If they ever get lost, you want them to be able to find their way home.

As an aside, I picked up a new carrier while we were out and now that we’re home they love the new carrier.

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Beginnings

I am consistently a week behind with these posts from love your blog. It was hard to come up with something to write for beginnings. I found this funny because I am obsessed with beginnings. I have start-itis. Since the beginning of the year I have started five shawls. The memoria (which I’ve finished), the Boneyard which is sitting on my couch awaiting my return (it has been waiting for two weeks. Yes, it has been two weeks since I’ve sat on my couch), my fallen angel, which I think is by my bed? I don’t remember. I do remember that I took it out to work on it a couple of weeks ago but didn’t have my notes on where I was in the pattern so I put it back down, the swerve which I frogged so I could use some of the yarn in something else (and now I’ve decided I don’t need it), and The Fire Cake, which I started, frogged, started again, frogged and I’ve started a third time. Now I’m making the pattern up as I go along. I will do a post just about that soon. It is short rows and lace details and I am really very happy about it.

I really do love beginnings, especially in knitting. The excitement of working with new yarn and on a new project, the thrill of how quickly the first few rows come together (especially on a top-down shawl). I love planning projects and then kicking them off. There is something just so fun and so hopeful about them. Plus, I feel like it makes for better blog posts, telling you about projects I’m starting. Much more interesting than reading about projects in the middle. And, that’s the other thing. It is approaching the end of the semester. It is time submit abstracts for Fall conferences. It is also time to get ready for my summer trips to the places where my speakers live. All of these are beginnings are beginnings as well, they just aren’t beginnings I’ve ever blogged about. I’ve always tried to keep my academic life and my knitting life separate (or at least I’ve tried to keep my academic life off this blog) until recently. You may have noticed the Linguistics 101 posts. I did this because I wanted to keep a place for myself where I didn’t have to worry about school. But, now I’m starting to think that I need to talk more about this other exciting thing I do, partly because I am excited about it and partly because I think the world could use a little more linguistics in it. That was part of what started the Linguistics101 posts. I had some conversations with friends about what I do and I thought that it would be useful to try and write little primers to explain. We all use language all the time and thinking about the complexity can be challenging because, how complex could it be? We do it all the time! 😉

I’m really excited to think about this beginning, changing this space to reflect more of my life.

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Community and Interaction

I am pretty much always thinking about how people interact since in my life outside of knitting I’m a researcher who focuses on how people converse (specifically, how people change what they are saying to match what they know about who they are speaking to). So, when I saw the Love Your Blog challenge on Crafts from the Cwtch and that the first prompt was “community and interaction”, I was stoked.

And, then I was terrified. I was terrified for a number of reasons: this blog was originally started a thousand years ago as a place to post music reviews and showcase my photography and over the years I’ve grown and now I use this space for neither of those things. For awhile I used this space to review books, but I know review books over at Stacks Exceed Life Expectancy with my sister. Mostly now I talk about knitting, food, and language. ( Sometimes, I review products. Especially if I have been given products to review.) Since the space has undergone an evolution as I’ve grown as a person, I’ve been a pretty inconsistent blogger. Sometimes you just don’t put a lot of thought into what something is for, especially if it is something that you have done for awhile. This means I’ve never really found a consistent audience. (I’ve also probably not done the best job of engaging readers.)

But, when I started thinking about community, it occurred to me that part of the problem is that I engage a lot on social media with a number of different blogs but that I don’t post a lot about my blog to social media. Now, that just seems silly. If I’m an avid instagrammer and a user of tumblr and pinterest, shouldn’t I be connecting all of these experiences up? If I’m actively engaging with other bloggers who inspire me on twitter and facebook, isn’t it possible that they would also enjoy engaging with me? That seems completely reasonable.

I love the little communities of knitters, readers, eaters, and crafters I have found online. I’ve found so many patterns through cftc and Expression Fiber Arts. Sometimes, nothing is as inspiring as seeing what other people are working on! And, I would like to contribute more to the discussion of these topics that I find so fascinating. So, I’m looking into hooking up this blog to social media.

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Frogging and then frogging again

A couple days ago I was looking at my follow your arrow and I was thinking, “I should pick that up and knit it” but I just wasn’t feeling it. In fact, looking at it was making me unhappy. So, I decided to frog it.

I then found a scarf pattern on pinterest for a button hole scarf. It was a pretty fun looking thing with big round gaps where you cast off and then cast back on a number of stitches in the nest row. I started working on that but then I remembered that a friend of mine knit me a similar scarf in a similar color for Christmas a couple of years ago. I don’t know how I could have forgotten; I love that scarf. It’s like a beautiful fire you can wrap around your neck.

So, I decided to start a shawl and design as a I go. I thought that might be fun, seeing where the whimsy takes me. I’m now twenty rows or so into that and I think I need to add some short rows in a different color. And, I think the color I want to use is the contrast color in the swerve I started (and stopped) back in January. I’m okay with that, too, because that pink is just way too bright for that gorgeous naturally brown leicester long wool.

As much as I hate frogging, I have already done a lot of it this year.

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