January 2016: Books and Music

Books:

Faith #1 : Single issue comic.

 

Practice log (bass guitar):

12/28: 30 minutes

12/29: 9 minutes

12/30: 21 minutes

12/31: 21 minutes

1/1: 20 minutes

1/2: 55 minutes

1/3: 50 minutes

1/4: 16 minutes

1/5: 53 minutes

1/6: 30 minutes (lesson)

1/8: 1 h 19 minutes

1/9: 37 minutes

1/10: 12 minutes

1/11: 57 minutes

1/12: 49 minutes

1/14: 22 minutes

1/15: 17 minutes

1/16: 16 minutes

1/17: 1 h 18 minutes

1/18: 24 minutes

1/19: 22 minutes

1/20: 30 minutes (lesson)

1/22: 27 minutes

1/23: 20 minutes

1/24: 1h 5 minutes

1/25: 18 minutes

1/26: 17 minutes

1/27: 11 minutes

1/28: 28 minutes

1/29: 27 minutes

1/31: 35 minutes

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Finished a Few Things

I finished knitting a couple of things this week!

First, I took a hand-dyed “sock blank” from Knit Picks (dyed around Easter) and transformed it from this:

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Into these:

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The pattern is Twisted, from Knitty.

The sock blank was harder to work with than I realized. I had thought, for some brainless reason, that you could unravel the blank from either end. But in fact, you can’t– one edge gets tangled if you do that. So I had to wind a ball for the second sock, which was not a huge imposition, but it meant I was no longer knitting from a knitted thing to a knitted thing.

I also have smallish feet, so the full sock blank was too wide and too long before I’d get down to the bright red part. I wanted to gradually blend from the cuff to the heel, merging into that vibrant red and yellow for the toes. Instead, I had to cut about 3″ out of the middle to skip to the more reddish part as I went into the heels. It worked out, but there are a couple of woven-in ends. Fortunately, I can’t even feel them.

Then, I reclaimed a pair of socks that I’d knit for a friend of mine. These were finished in July 2014. He has worn them so much, he wore out the toes in a year and a half!

TobySock

Fortunately, he has big feet and when I knitted these originally, I needed to use a second yarn for the toes. What a blessing! They were easy to replace.

I cut the toes off, pulled out/frogged back to just before the stripy yarn, put the stitched back on my needles, and used a strand of thread and a strand of the same sock yarn held together to re-knit a reinforced toe.

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Next project: I have no idea. I have another hand-dyed (all natural dye) project I’m working on, doing a basic feather and fan scarf. It’s kind of my new “desk project” for when I need to do something with my hands during meetings.

2015-11-23 20.02.20

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December 2015 Books and Games

Books

#31: Act of God by Jill Ciment (f)

#32: Out of Sorts  by Aurelie Valognes (f)

#33: The Grinding by Matt Dinniman (m) – I really liked Dinniman’s book The Shivered Sky, but I was disappointed in The Grinding. As a second book (they are not a series), it’s good enough, but it just didn’t blow me away. It actually reminded me a bit of Ryan States’ book I read earlier this year. Oh, and there was more casual misogyny and transphobia than I was personally comfortable with.

 

Games

#88: Mint Tin Apocalypse (2 player, <30 min)

#89: Pass the Pigs (2 player, <30 min)

 

How did I do in 2015?

Continue reading

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Handspun maple leaf shawl of comfort

Recently on Google+, a group of us decided to knit and crochet the Maple Leaf Shawl as a Fiber-A-Long in December. People went about getting their yarn and needles together throughout October and November, and wrapping up any loose ends of crafting before the month started.

I started on December 1st and finished by the 15th. I used a bunch of handspun I’ve had for a while– some of it is silk, some is superwash, and the bulk is a purple and yellow wool/mohair blend. I’ve used all this yarn before, in making myself a sweater. Somehow, my handspun is either far too much for whatever I want to make, or not nearly enough. It’s never quite “just right.”

2015-12-15 07.27.08

In the process of knitting this, I realized that, while I was enjoying the process of knitting it, I wasn’t in love with the end result. It’s gorgeous– don’t get me wrong! But it’s just not me.

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Unfortunately, during this month, my best friend’s grandmother passed away. His mother, a lifelong knitter herself, is hurting pretty badly over the loss of her mother, and even though we haven’t met yet, I tucked the shawl in a gift bag with a note and sent it as a comfort shawl to her.

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Nothing replaces her mother, of course, but I hope a little thing of beauty helps comfort her in her grief.

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Writing about zombies

This week, I picked up Getting Buried in Vegas, which I wrote for NaNoWriMo back in 2008. It’s one of my unfinished novels that I’ve always wanted to get back to. I’ve considered revising it as a screenplay. I’ve also considered leaving it in the drawer forever. It needs a lot of work, but the premise is very sound. A nice, “normal” couple elopes to Las Vegas, taking their wacky siblings and friends along for the road trip. After they arrive, a zombie outbreak separates them and ruins their big day, and they spend the rest of the novel trying to survive, reunite, and escape.

To motivate myself, I put it up on Inkshares, which is a crowdfunding platform. If I get some followers, I’ll feel obligated to finish it. If I get 250 preorders (even just the ebook, at $10), Inkshares will provide some copyediting and hand-holding through the publishing process. If I get 750 preorders, they’ll do a more complete editing and marketing package.

Oh, and along the way, I get to post chapters and get feedback from readers. So, someone who wants to read along with the novel (or who did so in 2008) could do so and make suggestions for what direction the story should go.

That’s useful to me as a writer, since I know there’s a key scene that rather upends the comedy and makes the story more tragic, but which is… the only word I can think of is delicious. It’s emotionally delicious, but I’m not sure it belongs in this book.

Anyway, I hope if you’re reading this, you’ll hop over to the Inkshares page, make an account, and at least follow the book, even if you don’t pre-order it. Just having some followers and getting some folks talking about it would be encouraging for me.

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