November 2016 My NaNoWrimo

How did my NaNoWriMo go? I wrote almost 28,000 words. I’m very happy with what I accomplished but I am a little sad I didn’t “win” with the 50,000 words. My month was also way crazier than I wanted/hoped for.

Accomplishments:

  1. I wrote 27,871 words of a novel. It was not my original idea, I changed my mind and then did not have enough time to do much outlining. That’s 27,871 words I’m still willing to look at and add to in December instead of just wanting to ignore the hideous conglomeration of ideas that may or may not belong together.
  2. I finally have my own personal set up in Scrivener for novel’ing, especially during NaNoWriMo – or when I don’t have that much outlined. I have to figure out how to make it a template and also update the character templates with more information/options.
  3. I started with clearer more fleshed out characters and what I wrote is less of a disaster and more of the start of something I can manage to finish.
  4. I can write 800 words a day fairly reliably regardless of how crappy or tired or exhausted I feel, as long as I have a decent outline or an idea of where to start.
  5. Stayed sane and didn’t freak out about my trailing word count.

What else I did in November:

  1. Attended a Lindsey Sterling concert. She’s a fabulous performer. She’s intelligent, funny, adorable, and down to Earth. She’s great with a violin too. I recommend her youtube channel for writing. Great music and something you can also watch if you happen to get stuck or need a break.
  2. Saw Dr. Strange. It was still a typical Marvel movie and therefore good and worth watching again because it was entertaining. However, I think the Dr Strange character was flat compared to other heroes in the Marvel universe, and other characters could have also had more depth/detail. I feel like the characters suffered because they needed more screen time for all the neat special effects.
  3. Saw Arrival. Fantastic movie! I cannot currently remember the title of the story it’s based on but I have it on kindle now and need to read it. I’m pretty sure Arrival inspired me to add some things to my novel. (I can’t remember now.) I recommend this movie, especially because it had a female character trying very hard to keep the world from going to shit (further).
  4. Took one of our cats to the vet. Discovered she has a tumor pressing on things in her neck. This is not good news but it’s probably not cancer at least.
  5. I had five different doctor appointments that were all specialists. In my experience specialist appointments always take longer. One appointment took 4 hours from the day – but was very productive. Another appointment took less than an hour from the day but was horrible and stressful and I cried in the car. (not going back there) There was also an appointment that involved receiving trigger point injections in my neck – much needed – but resulted in no computer use that day.
  6. I had two physical therapy appointments. Those last an hour.
  7. Learned the counselor I’ve been seeing for therapy for at least the last two years is on medical leave until further notice. Well, I had a lot of shit happen in October and was really looking forward to the counseling appointment I had scheduled the first week of November. Scheduled with a new counselor who may or may not work out for me.
  8. I had two chiropractic appointments. These were my first two ever appointments with chiropractor (and receiving acupuncture).
  9. There was, I think, two different visits to labs for blood work.
  10. There was getting a haircut and some shopping too.
  11. Read some comics and finished reading Ready Player One. The book was not amazing but it was solid. I enjoyed the world and plot, and the author’s attention to small details. I recommend it.)
  12. I dealt with six different migraines or headaches. None were severe so I would have averaged “losing” half a day and not being able to accomplish much. Severe migraines are losing 1 to 4 or more days to pain management.
  13. Went to knitting group twice because socializing is health, at least in small chunks and getting out of the house for something besides going to the pharmacy, grocery store, or doctors is vital to your sanity.
  14. I finished a number of knitting projects, including a baby gift for a previous coworker. (Good people receive hand knit gifts.)
  15. I re-visited/re-tried a coffee shop that’s not $tarbucks and managed more than one writing session outside of the house. yay!
  16. Of course there was Thanksgiving.
  17. And how could I forget Election Day and the rest of the week and being sad and scared about the unknown coming for the next who knows how many months or years. Will I lose my health insurance? Will I lose any rights or access because I’m a woman or will I be safe because I’m white (and married)? Will any of my friends be in more danger because they are different?
  18. Then there was a few days with major weather changes that affected my ability to focus because of causing me more pain and other similar problems.
  19. Started a few new knitting projects too, including some gift projects that aren’t on ravelry yet. (I should fix that.)

So, that was some exciting stuff, some totally normal stuff, and eleven medical/health related appointments. I had wanted to keep this month clear of doctor appointments and I hoped for less headaches. Neither happened. Basically, I had wanted no more than two appointments each week.

After four different doctor appointments this week, time spent with a friend, and time spent with my husband outside of the house (dinner, shopping, etc.) – I guess there’s no surprise that I am TIRED. Fatigued. Exhausted. Sore. I plan to spend December focusing more on knitting. I have three (smaller) gift knits and I want to swatch for my first adult sized sweater (for myself!)

Too Many Hobbies October 2016 edition

Or, unofficial nanoprep to do list.

Mostly this is to order things in my head and if I put it here maybe it’s easier to find later!

  1. Finish the surge shawl WIP. It’s close.
  2. Actually finish that one baby knit that I had so much trouble with before I switched patterns.
  3. Play Civ VI
  4. Wind the Cascade Yarn worsted merino so I can gauge swatch for the Harvest sweater by Tin Can Knits. DEFINITELY start this December 1st.
  5. Decide on one idea for NaNoWriMo 2016. (Or nanoprep step 1)
  6. Finish Nanoprep blog post?
  7. Write up an Act 3 outline of said idea in step 5.
  8. Flesh out the outline as described in steps 5 and 6.
  9. Type up my “rules and reminders” for NaNoWriMo participation. Put on blog and or print out and hang up with NaNoWriMo word count calendar.
  10. Block the everyday shawl in green gradient.
  11. Visit the Ross Perot museum.
  12. Prepare to see Lindsey Stirling first weekend in November.
  13. Color some posters, in November too when I’m needing breaks from NaNoWriMo.
  14. Note any doctor appointments on NaNoWriMo word count calendar. (Post-Its if necessary)

Knitting: Learning a new cast on

For me provisional cast ons seem to be extra tricky. It’s the kind of thing where I usually search YouTube every time a pattern calls for one. This time I finally found one I think I’ll be able to stick with.

I really liked this video and it was also easy to play a number of times.

After the first time I succeeded at knitting thus provisional cast on I found I had left myself with a knot that would end up in my yarn.

So I tied a slip knot instead of just a regular knot and slipped in a safety pin/stitch marker to keep it… Safe. Heh.

image

I also ended up with 4 extra stitches somehow. You know, because I can’t count? The picture is the provisional cast on and the first row of knit stitches.

Book Review: Giving Away the Farm

giving away the farm

In Giving Away the Farm: How Kindness, Critters and Yarn Knit a Community Together, Cindy Telisak talks about how she started a small farm in Texas, not far from the suburbs of the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. Her story is filled with love and told in an honest and down to Earth nature. She talks about what she’s experienced as she’s learned about starting a small farm, and becoming an even craftier individual. She shares personal experiences like the time she broke her ankle, or her first sheep purchase.  Other experiences include growing a knitting group and how compassion, empathy and friendliness helped knit a group of people together. (Pun intended!) I loved the last chapter about how an unwelcome stray dog wiggled his way into Cindy’s heart, appointing himself a farm guardian while asking for not much of anything in return.

This book is proof that Cindy has left a mark on her local community, changing many people’s lives for the better and she illustrates that anyone can do so, with just a little help from some friends. Cindy also provides advice, should you choose to want to grow your own community like she has. Included in this advice is how she has developed yearly events.These yearly events include “farm camp” for children and events that support local business owners. I think that with a small amount of research done via the Internet, and this book, an individual could quickly come up with some craft making related activities to start a group or meeting for people.

Best of all, Cindy’s stories renew your faith in humanity. She tells about people who are compassionate, free of judgement, and sharing. She reminds us that we can find such people in our own neighborhood or general community. It’s also worth nothing that her book, since it’s about experiences, has a lot of pictures. The pictures bring a warm loving feeling to the experience that is reading her book.

If the book isn’t enough for you, check out Jacob Reward’s Farm own site or Facebook page. The Little Red Barn knitting group is even on meetup.

Simple Garter Stitch Baby Blanket

This is sort of a summary of a relatively simple garter stitch striped blanket that I made for my niece (in-law) who’s having her first baby (a girl) – probably this week. I picked colors to not be particularly girly because that seemed better.

There’s probably a million of these posted on Ravelry. I just wanted to summarize what I did and what yarn and needles I used.

baby blanket with cat

 

I used Caron Simply Soft Yarn and a #8 circular knitting needle.

At first I was making the stripes 6 inches wide but then I realized I was varying just a little so I started counting ridges instead. (Ridges comes from Elizabeth Zimmerman. One ridge is 2 rows and super easy to count.) I ended up with 24 ridges per color/stripe.

Before blocking (washing and drying cause it’s Caron Simply Soft after all) I ended up with a blanket that’s roughly 36 inches square.

This gives you a simple garter stitch blanket that isn’t mind-numbingly boring. It’s also more interesting because you end up with diagonal stripes. I did it while watching Netflix mostly.

CO on 8 stitches
Knit 3 rows

Increasing:

Slip 1, Knit 3, YO, knit rest of row (turn)

Repeat

Once you reach halfway then start decreasing. That was one stripe repeat for me because I did really wide stripes.

Decreasing:

Slip 1, knit 2, K2tog, YO, K2tog, knit rest of row (turn)

Repeat

*Remember to stop the last stripe a little sooner so you can knit the 3 rows and cast off at the end. Knitting at the beginning and end lets you keep that border around the whole edge.

baby blanket 1
baby blanket 2

More knitting UFOs

Recently had the realization that using UFO instead of WIP makes more sense cause then I have the matching FO and I like that.

It’s also fun how knitting has jargon.

More UFOs, these are just the crazy zauberballs I have cast on.

This is a seed stitch scarf for my husband

image

I’m also using Norwegian purl in it and that seems to make my gauge fluctuate a bit. Don’t think it’ll matter for a scarf.

Next is another hitchhiker. I wholeheartedly recommend this pattern, especially for a ZOOBERBALL. This one might also be a gift.

image

Last one, this is a purple and orange zauberball and I adapted my own pattern with some inspiration from tentaculum. (free pattern)

image

Hard to get the colors to show up on this one.

I have way too many active UFOs. Again.

My knitting project box really should have a latch

Bad cell phone pictures ahead. Ignore the quality…and the laundry baskets.

So, I walked in the door this afternoon and was greeted by cats.

greeting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is quite normal, but there was also another sight. One of those things that every crafty person doesn’t want to come home or wake up to. One of those things every knitter doesn’t want to ever see. I took a deep breath so I could stop the mental string of OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG from even getting up full speed, pulled out my phone and started taking pictures. (Especially since I’d come home alone and my husband wasn’t around to see it.) ….So of course I follow the yarn! From the kitchen….

number 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then the living room where I found my dumped project box.

number 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The kittens probably charged through and knocked it over…and I think it ended up further into the middle of the floor last night after I put away the last thing I was knitting… Here I took mental note of what was missing/not missing. I was glad to see only 1 bit of yarn that was amiss. What’s up with cats and sock yarn? And fuzzy yarn? And moving yarn? And that thing in the bottom right corner of the picture? I think that’s a cat. But, you see, the yarn continues!

Two more pictures.

hallway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s like the cats are following me, laughing. Like I said, ignore the laundry baskets.

bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See how the yarn is wrapped around the foot of the bed frame?

I ended up with little damage done. The yarn dragged about wasn’t an actual project, I had 8 stitches cast on 1 needle. I might have to trim the yarn off that one because it got frayed up quite a bit, but I have enough for my intended project. The sock yarn that was chewed on was actually the end of the yarn, not the middle of the ball! There are worse things to clean up.

Knitting Projects Updated – ANOTHER POST!

In giving my blog some love I caught the old post with projects from last summer.

Old list:

Current projects:
1. Socks for me in green tea – completed
2. Socks for me in disaster at the Drycleaners – still waiting
3. Red shawl for my mom – no deadline – completed/gifted
4. Askew in looks like rain – moves pretty quick – on hold
5. Fingerless gloves in purple that might work as a gift – attempting to improve on style I want – frogged
6. Racing stripe scarf for hub – by the time it’s cold? – completed/gifted
7. Shiny rainbow shawl in different lines – unknown if will be a gift – frogged
8. Stripe study in blue/black – but I haven’t worked on this for so long and I’m not sure I did switching colors so well, tempted to frog it – going to frog
9. Purple shawl in crazy yarn started for SIL, might need restarted, could be for Christmas – successfully restarted, finished, gifted

Planned
1. BSJ for coworker, their baby is due in September – completed/gifted
2. More sock weight socks for me for slip on shoes – have the yarn
3. Worsted weight pair of socks for hub – not yet, it’s been warm this winter
4. Sweater top for me – still planned

adding to planned:

  1. lace
  2. large shawl – like 1000 yards or more large
  3. more interesting socks

Current Knitting or Knitting Soon

So far my allergies have been causing my knitting projects to be kind of all over the place… And life happening has meant today will be the first day this week where we will both be home before the sun is down.

I feel like I have some many things rattling around in my head and I just want to have a day of knitting, comic reading, netflix, and the couch. Maybe in 2 weeks?

Current projects:
1. Socks for me in green tea
2. Socks for me in disaster at the Drycleaners
3. Red shawl for my mom – no deadline
4. Askew in looks like rain – moves pretty quick
5. Fingerless gloves in purple that might work as a gift – attempting to improve on style I want
6. Racing stripe scarf for hub – by the time it’s cold?
7. Shiny rainbow shawl in different lines – unknown if will be a gift
8. Stripe study in blue/black – but I haven’t worked on this for so long and I’m not sure I did switching colors so well, tempted to frog it
9. Purple shawl in crazy yarn started for SIL, might need restarted, could be for Christmas

Planned
1. BSJ for coworker, their baby is due in September
2. More sock weight socks for me for slip on shoes
3. Worsted weight pair of socks for hub
4. Sweater top for me

On hold
1. Hat for me
2. Something else I think

New Knitting Project

So I wanted some new sock yarn. I want more lighter weight socks that will work with slip on shoes. I decided I’d buy from etsy instead of like getting some tosh sock. Bought 2 skeins of two different colors. One skein has since turned into not socks. Once I had this yarn in my hands and realized I had 500 yards of it… I decided the color was too awesome for socks. I’m going to try making a shawl out of it instead, with a NEW (to me) pattern I have ooo’d over but not yet used.

Since my first baby surprise jacket is OFF THE NEEDLES, I might start the shawl today. I still need to finish the BSJ – nervous about the sewing bits – but I’m figuring the rav wiki will be great.

Knitting for your husband

I’m making a racing stripe scarf for my husband. It started with swatching out colors/stitches. Grey – orange – gray or orange – gray – orange – in stockinette or garter stitch. He didn’t know how he wanted the colors striped…..

It is fairly easy, just had to measure out based on wanted size/stripe pattern. It’s just taking awhile cause he’s not exactly short.

Finally got around to starting on the second color. 2 rows in on the orange and what does he say?

“you’re gonna make me a hat too right?”

Me: hah! Snort. Humph!

Him: “you’re going to have extra yarn right?! I’m just thinking of the yarn!” … For real, I’m quoting here!

Me: *dying with laughter*

Need I say more? I have made a monster. Gods I’m glad he doesn’t wear sweaters! Well that and I feel like this should be a reason for me to buy more yarn. Maybe for socks.

In which I complain about not having enough time to…

I want to blog more but life keeps being crazy. I’ve been knitting regularly and getting tired regularly and reading comics, sort of. Spring time is hard to because of allergies and spring storms popping up. (Spring is definitely interesting in TX. See tornadoes in April 2012. Go, ask Google.)

Ultimately, I think I’m just happy to have an income again – as long as I don’t think of the horrendous amount of student loan debt I have from 2 college degrees, very little scholarships and not very much grant money. Money leads to yarn, yarn leads to knitting, knitting leads to happiness. Does that make yarn part of the force?

The amount of books I’ve read so far this year saddens me. I should do a blog post about knitting projects…. I just need to grab the pictures on my phone and on my DSLR and get them on my computer. Something I was going to do last weekend. Turns out the whole writing thing isn’t working out like expected/intended since I’ve had to completely rearrange not at work/sleeping/eating time. I am still applying my creativity to something though, it’s just knitting instead of writing. Eventually, I suspect, I’ll come up with something I actually WANT to write about/on… even if I decide to take the time to do writing prompts. I guess I could do writing prompts 2-5 times a week sort of like exercising 3-5 times a week but then that’s probably the wrong approach. And on top of all that, I’ve restarted the food diary cause I’m wondering if there’s another food I’m allergic to. Increase in headaches is either spring time (and pollen allergies) or something else like food.

I did get to reading some of Anathem last weekend! I’m still not even halfway through!

I’m almost done with a(nother) pair of socks.

I think the next thing I need to do is buy that yarn ball winder and swift so I can wind yarn at home and continue with the projects I’ve got started. Then, once I can wind the yarn I can actually plan out projects. Wonder if I’ll bother?

Pictures don’t do this yarn justice.

I could gather up all the comics I’m reading too… Some are The New 52 (reboot) from DC but not all! I guess I haven’t done this yet because I haven’t gotten into a lot of the new ones. (Like Dark Shadows.)

edit:

I added a new category! COMICS! So yea, maybe I should write up something about being a woman and reading the DC reboot. (Batwoman’s anti-gravity breasts (in her armor) bother me.)

This job thing…

… really interferes with the time I can spend playing computer games, and well, life! Go figure I manage to upgrade my video card and make Skyrim playable my first weekend being employed.

I’m figuring once things calm down and aren’t so crazy at work and we aren’t waiting for the access we need to licensed software so as to do our jobs – I’ll have more free time in my brain. I’m still managing knitting which is awesome. It’s just not quite as much as I’d like; but that’s the way things work, usually.

Want to get back to reading regularly as well. I’ve read an amazingly LOW level of books so far this year. I’m 1/4-1/3 through Anathem which I ended up buying on kindle so I can read it in bed and not hurt myself. But hey that is partly due to reading comics. Comics count for reading too! Guess I could make a post of the new comics I’m reading – the as they come out every week/month variety.

This job thing is good for one thing though! Well, two things. Or three? Getting out of the house regularly is actually nice. Seeing/interacting with more people is useful and not always obnoxious. Anyways, I was getting to… money. Money doesn’t buy happiness but it does buy more yarn! And ways to wind that yarn into balls so you can more easily knit that yarn into happy things!

In a month or so I’m going to see about buying yarn for some new and interesting projects. This shawl and a BSJ. After I finish something, maybe the shawl I’m working on to have at work. I’ll start one of those new and interesting projects.

Knitting in Public

Alternate title: how I got a business card from a judo instructor who’s at least 50.

Knitting (or crocheting) in a public place where people are able to see what you doing eventually gets you comments, questions, stories, or etc.

Sometimes it’s “Nice, you’re crocheting!” and the person speaking looks at you proudly, because he or she knew what you were doing. Nevermind that you are knitting. ‘Cause then you have to smile politely and explain how you are knitting, not crocheting – or smile and nod – depending on your preference.*

Other times it’s a person who can completely appreciate the work you are doing and has some positive comment or praise for your work. Other times still you’ll have a highly amusing exchange with some random stranger who may or may not actually recognize what you are doing.

Today to get my looking-for-a-job self out of the house for a little longer I took knitting to $tarbucks. I’m working on a shawl with gorgeous hand-dyed (not by anyone I know! bought at LYS) multicolored merino yarn that I positively love. It’s soft and looks neat… and it’s to the point where someone is likely to notice and ask.

So today I got to hear a story about how an old guy beats up people for a living, but first he told me about a person he knew (maybe his son?) who decided to learn to knit by going to upstate New York and learning how to raise sheep, shear sheep, clean the wool from the sheep, spin it, dye it, AND then knit it. He said the first thing this person knit was a sweater for his mother – but he didn’t take into account the natural properties of 100% wool and so the sweater weighs like 25 pounds any time it gets wet.

Then somehow we moved on to how he beats up people for a living – meaning he teaches judo.  ((He handed me his business card.) Old guy with gray hair mind you – 50s at least?) I’m amused, and chuckling at all of this and agreeing that it is important to learn about the fibers you are knitting when you learn to knit – and that not everyone bothers to. We discussed the differences between crochet and knit too. Like my mom taught me how to crochet as a kid but my friend taught me how to knit (basics) as an adult and I find I like knitting much better than crocheting – and my mom couldn’t handle the double needles of knitting.

So, he continues his story (just while waiting for his drink) that he even has 5 police officers that he gets to beat up, including a 25 year old who was all puffed chest cause he didn’t need this training but he’s here cause “his chief said” he had to be.

Well this guy told me he only used 2 fingers to beat up the 25 year old so he wouldn’t hurt him that much – and the 25 year old (can I call him a kid?) only cried for an hour afterwards. (I think this was actually about when I got the business card.) To which I replied, then you did knock him down a peg or two, at least one peg anyways.

I could tell the guy loves his job. Loves. His. Job.

Before I left $tarbucks I had comments from one other nice lady who “had to come over and see what I was working on.” I asked her to let me finish the last few stitches on the row and held up the shawl for her to see (it’s easily 2-3 feet wide at the top at this point). She praised it – I think she really liked the yarn. I forgot to tell  her what kind of yarn though. (Sorry nice lady.) Instead I asked if she was familiar with the LYS – which she was (and get’s in trouble there) – and I happily pointed out the sale going on today/tomorrow. She said maybe she’d check out the sale since she hasn’t inventoried in awhile! (Oh dear I’m thinking, my stash isn’t that big, I don’t have to inventory it yet!)

So, in the end, knitting in public got me some laughs and nice comments from strangers — and no strange comments about how crocheting or knitting is better. Or, even better, no (sorta) snide comments about how what I’m knitting looks like a diaper. (Seriously, you are comparing something HANDMADE to a diaper?)

*By the way, one way to know the difference between crocheting and knitting? Crocheting uses 1 needle that has a hook on the end. Knitting uses 2 needles with rounded points. Both crocheting and knitting use many different sizes of needles – from wider than your thumb to so small you are afraid you’ll break the needle.