Schlump

So…today’s snowflake.

I pinned it out on the board and my first reaction was ‘huh, I thought I was getting better at these things.’ And then it occurred to me that every other snowflake has been made while sitting at home, where the only distraction is a cat (or three) trying to ‘help’. This one, however, was made while sitting with a bunch of friends and chatting.

snowflake10

Clearly the take-away from this is that I have much more practicing to do before I can be trusted to make snowflakes with others. Lesson learned!

Making a snowflake a day for Thingadailies.

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Winged

It is not all test knitting and snowflakes around here. Sometimes I do other stuff. Here’s what I did last week during my business trip (the bulk of it was done on the flight home); finally got around to blocking it this morning.

Nymphalidea

The pattern is Nymphalidea, and it’s knit with KnitPicks Chroma fingering. I love working with this yarn because it’s super soft, and it’s got the long color changes that are perfect for projects like this.

But yes, yes, you all come here for the snowflakes. So here’s todays.

snowflake9

Nine down, only twenty more to go!

Making a snowflake a day for Thingadailies.

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Adrenaline rush

It’s been a really long day and what with getting up early to go walking in the morning, and then work, followed almost immediately by long rehearsal, I am completely wiped out.

Do you know what is a really great way to relax and unwind after an extremely long and exhausting day?

Chasing the goddamn cat through the neighborhood at 10pm, that’s what. Do I even need to add that at 10pm, it’s dark out there. Very, very dark. And the aforementioned goddamn cat (Sherman, in case you hadn’t already guessed) is grey and blends easily into shadows.

Gah.

(Yes, I caught him. Little brat.)

Anyway. Here is today’s snowflake. It’s the best one yet, so far. Or maybe I’m just too tired to care.

snowflake8

Making a snowflake a day for Thingadailies.

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Thunderbolts and lightning

I was browsing lazily through Facebook this morning, cat on lap, as one does, and stumbled across this, which is so awesome I had to share it with the rest of you.

I watched this and it occurred to me that they should set up a carousel where they play *this. Because even if anyone who rides it can manage to hold it together throughout the first half, there is no one who can resist the head-banging section in the middle, and by the end, every single person would be singing along at the top of their lungs.

*****

Today’s snowflake suggests that maybe, just maybe, I’m starting to get the hang of this.

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We shall pretend that I did not have to rip out the first point twice before I finally got it working. Shh..

Making a snowflake a day for Thingadailies.

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Brains

So on the flight to Atlanta, earlier this week, I did something I haven’t done in a very, very long time.

I brought a book.

Oh, I read on planes occasionally, but usually I do it on my phone because I read extremely fast so I’d need to bring 2 or 3 books per flight, and those start to get heavy really quickly, especially if one isn’t checking one’s luggage. Mostly on planes, I tend to knit, as at least that way I’m getting something productive done.

But for the flight to Atlanta, I wasn’t able to get an aisle seat (preferable for knitting), and instead I had a window. And while I was packing, I noticed the stack of books-to-be-read on the shelf and decided that a flight to Atlanta was the perfect time for a crash course in neuroscience – the inner workings of the human brain. I am speaking, of course, of the absolutely delightful book by Timothy Verstynen and Bradley Voytek: Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?: A Neuroscientific View of the Zombie Brain, which I received as a Christmas present a year or so back and for some bizarre reason, never got around to reading until now.

I read the entire thing on the flight to Atlanta (and had time left over to take a nap) and thoroughly enjoyed the book. It made me giggle under my breath more than a few times, while at the same time providing a fairly comprehensive (for the non-neuroscientist, that is) overview of the inner workings of the brain, and all the myriad things that can go wrong with it (with the accompanying symptoms), all while laying out a hypothesis for the sorts of damage to the brain that could result in a zombie. If you like science, and anatomy, and also have a passing fancy for zombies, I highly recommend it.

*****

So I feel as if each snowflake I make, I get one teensy tiny baby step closer to knowing what the heck it is I am doing. Here is today’s snowflake, which shall be used as a visual example of how I really need to figure out how to get a more consistent gauge when I am crocheting. But overall, it’s not that bad. The general shape is there, and I suspect that when I do the final starching & blocking of these things at the end of the month, I will able to smooth out most of the lopsidedness. Maybe.

snowflake6

Making one snowflake a day for Thingadailies.

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Two for the price of one

Yesterday morning started far too early, what with getting up to meet my coworker in the hotel lobby so that we could go for a walk and try to churn through a couple thousand steps as a way to kick off the day. As predicted, the amount of coffee then required to make it through the day was very, very high. At the airport last night I got in another couple thousand steps, due to the fact that, having lots of time to spare, I decided to walk the very long hall between terminals instead of taking the shuttle, and also due to the insanity that was the security line. That’s an hour and a half I won’t ever get back. But hey, kudos to whoever coordinates the security checkpoint lines at the Atlanta airport – it had the feel of a Disney ride. You weave around for a bit and then you turn a corner and just when you think you might finally be getting close to the end, nope, there’s another forty five minutes of slowly zigzagging along.

And then I didn’t get home until around 11pm, by which point I was in no mental state to try to muddle through crochet directions, which is why there was no entry from yesterday, nor was there a snowflake. As penance, I ended up doing what would have been yesterday’s snowflake twice. The first time the center ring was much too loose, resulting in a sad, pathetic thing that did not look remotely snowflake-like. Technically I suppose I could have just passed it off anyway, (because if snowflake #2 is any indication, clearly my standards for these things are extremely low). Luckily the second time worked out much better.

snowflake4

I suppose I ought to note that I am actually doing the snowflakes in the order in which they appear in the book. So when I say this is snowflake #4, it actually was made using the pattern for snowflake #4. You know, in case anyone is reading this and is so inspired by my wobbly little sad excuses for snowflakes that they decide to rush right out and buy the book and play along.

As for snowflake #5, once I did #4 the second time, #5 was a piece of cake. It might not be obvious at first glance, but there are only a few very minor differences in the pattern between these two.

snowflake5

I rather like these two. Or at least, I like the fact that all the directions made sense and more importantly, they both turned out closer to what is pictured in the book than any of the previous ones have so far.

Making one snowflake a day for Thingadailies.

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And I would walk 10,000 steps…*

So aside from doing this whole snowflake-a-day project, and also a test knit due by the end of the month, and oh let us not forget that whole ‘working full time’ thing and also rehearsals and so on, this month also is the start of my workplace’s ‘let’s encourage everyone to be more active’ annual challenge. And this year the deal is that in order to meet the challenge, we have to walk 350,000 steps in between February 2nd and March 28th. Technically that’s only 6250 steps per day except that you get extra brownie points if you hit 10,000 per day, or something. Huh, I could really go for some brownies right about now. Mmm. Brownies.

Yesterday I flew to Atlanta for work. There were lots of extra steps getting to the airport and getting to my gate, but by the time I landed in Atlanta I was still a couple thousand shy of the goal. So instead of taking the gate shuttle, I just walked the extra-long hallway, and while waiting for the MARTA train to arrive, I paced up and down the (rather long) platform, so that by the time I got to the hotel (also more walking, from the MARTA station) I was only a couple hundred shy, and that I was able to make up by pacing around in my room.

Today I had grand plans to get up early and go walking, except that as I sat on the bed, blinking blearily because the brain does not shift so easily from west coast to east coast time zones, the skies opened up and it began pouring. And I am sorry, no brownie points are worth getting drenched.

Anyway, all throughout the day my coworker (who has also signed up for the challenge) and I have been finding ways to sneak in a few extra steps here and there, and we even picked a location for dinner that was half a mile away, just for the extra steps. One should never underestimate the allure of mythical brownie points.

So at this point, two days into the challenge, I’ve hit the goal every single day. Go me! Also, my coworker and I are meeting tomorrow morning at 6am (which, those of you paying attention to what I said earlier may note, is actually 3am to my west coast brain) so we can try to knock out a big chunk of the 10K before the meeting gets started. Whether one or both of us then dozes off during the meeting later is anyone’s guess. I sense tomorrow is going to involve caffeine. A lot of lovely, lovely caffeine.

*****

Today’s snowflake technically was made yesterday, because I did not feel like dragging along all the parts to make them while traveling, but as this is my personal challenge I get to make up the rules as I go along, so there. I did not, of course, make tomorrow’s snowflake early, so I sense that I shall be blearily crocheting what I am sure will be a *lovely* snowflake at roughly 11:30 pm tomorrow night when I get back home, but oh well.

snowflake3

Clearly I need to spend a lot more than 30 seconds pinning these things out. You can see that there is still that weird little lump where the circle joined, but I figure anything that is less lopsided than yesterday’s has to be counted as a win.

*No, I am not sorry for the earworm. Not sorry at ALL.

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Lopsided

Here is today’s snowflake. Clearly it is obvious I am still struggling with the whole concept of crochet. It wasn’t until halfway through that I realized I was doing slip stitch instead of single crochet and there is a disturbing little lump where the whole thing joins in a circle and ends. But hey, what do you expect for someone working with what is basically thick thread, who also has to fight off a Rupert who is SURE that what I need more than anything is him to flop right onto the book where the pattern is, or else try to eat the string.

Snowflake2

I thought maybe pinning it out might make things better but….ha. Clearly not. Ah well. They say no two snowflakes are alike, so surely among all the pretty ones there also have to be the rejects too.

Making one snowflake a day for Thingadailies.

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Thingadailies: Let it snow

It’s February! Which means that, at least based on last year, it’s time for me to take on some sort of ridiculous yarn-based daily challenge. Last year, faced with a bin full of cotton yarn, I knit up a dishcloth a day (in fact I ended up with more than 28 dishcloths because there were a few days I was on a roll). This year, I pondered what to make and vaguely recalled that somewhere, lurking in the back of my stash, were a couple little balls of crochet cotton, and somewhere on the bookshelf, a book all about making snowflakes. Piece of cake, I thought to myself, and didn’t bother to drag out either the book or the yarn until this morning. At which point I stared at the cover and thought ‘oh yeah. This is how to *crochet* snowflakes.”

I am a…modest crocheter, by which I mean I have a general grasp of the basic stitches and can crochet an edging onto a lace shawl with no stress. But I haven’t really delved much into that side of yarn crafting, beyond the single and double stitch. So what better way to do it than with crochet cotton (size 30, in case you are wondering and I am sure you are), a 1.9 mm needle, and a book of snowflake patterns?

Here is my first one. Quarter is included for scale. It is slightly damp because that’s the only way I could get all the little points to lie flat.

Snowflake1

Now that I look at the picture, I notice one of the little points is folded over, but eh, I’ll fix that when I block them all with stiffener at the end of the month.

I am not the only one doing a daily challenge this year – as we’re now in charge of the Holidailies site, I had a neat idea of setting up an additional monthly thing called Thingadailies. So check out the page (it’s the same link) to see what other people are making daily during the month of February.

*****

Our house was at one point split into two flats – an upper and a lower – which I suppose is the reason for why there is a set of double doors in what is now the master bedroom. They’re annoying doors because they have glass inserts, although the previous owner covered those with wooden shutters….from which we ended up removing one slat to save our sanity due to a certain grey tabby (Rupert) pawing repeatedly at them when he was younger so that he could look outside (the fact that he could have nearly the SAME VIEW from the window not five feet away was irrelevant). Because the lower level is about 2 feet below ground, there’s a step down immediately after you come through those doors, which means there’s really nothing to hold the doors in place except a cleverly placed pin in the floor.

At some point – who the heck knows when – one of us must have opened the doors for some reason or another and pulled up the pin, and then never bothered to put it back. Not a big deal except that last night there were crazy winds…which is to say that when I came downstairs to go to bed, I heard a weird roaring sound and realized that what I was hearing was the wind through the OPEN DOORS.

My first thought was someone had broken in. My second thought was sheer panic that Sherman had taken this opportunity to escape. I screamed for Richard, and then shockingly saw Sherman *inside* the house (either he’d already been out and come back, or he’d not yet discovered the clear avenue to the Great Outdoors). I shut the doors, we hastily did a head count (all cats accounted for, phew), and that is when I discovered that the locking pin had never been deployed.

That has been fixed and large furniture has been moved in front of the doors because now we’re both on the paranoid side, and we’ll be working out a more visible method of ensuring this never happens again. Gah.

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Ushering in

December 31st is Richard’s birthday, and sometimes we will try to schedule a party or go do a thing, but here is where I freely admit that my very favorite way to usher in a New Year is at home in my pajamas, curled up on the couch with cats and a laptop and some ice cream, and luckily that is exactly what we did. Okay, technically we only made it to 11pm before we both gave up and went to bed, but 11pm in California means it’s midnight (or past) many other places so whee, that counts.

2015 was a pretty good year, overall. A lot happened, but here are some highlights. I did my very first 10K, which came complete with Nutella sandwiches and cake at all the rest stations, so if one is going to do a 10K, that’s really the best way to go on. I attended an amazing knitting retreat in Monterey with a good friend and learned some really awesome things about knitting sweaters (primarily – why it is I have never managed to knit a single sweater that actually fits me). For the third time in my life I submitted a knitted lace piece to a Fair (this year it was the California State Fair) and for the third time it won an award and was on display for everyone to see. My sisters and I took our annual Sisters Only weekend, this year going to San Diego, where, due to sleep deprivation and extreme giddiness, we ended up with a rather odd looking blue balloon cat we dubbed Caesar E. Purshing, who became our mascot for the entire trip. Richard and I went to WorldCon up in Spokane, where the smoke from the massive forest fires made things a little interesting, but where I also got to see Robert Silverberg and George R. R. Martin sit on a stage and talk about whatever they wanted, and it was a wonderful time.

Today is the day I have, for the past few years, posted a cheerful little tale, complete with pictures, for how we’ll be meeting our doom. Two years ago we were overrun with Daleks. Last year we were zapped by a shrink ray and trapped by the cats in a butterfly jar. This year – eh. I just couldn’t come up with anything, although admittedly I was pondering exactly how to work in a Meyer lemon tree taking over the world (our Meyer lemon tree is certainly trying its best). So instead I’ll point you to the end of October, when I posted about spiders. Lots and lots and lots of spiders. Because spiders trump Meyer lemons any day.

‘Tis the season for Holidailies.

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