Time and Time Again

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Music: THE SK★BROOK – NEW WORLD
Mood: [shrugs]

So, let us catch up.

As you folks know I and one of my older sisters got Covid earlier this year. I survived. She, alas, did not.

She and I were not on the best of terms, and with my mindset, I already was prepared to move on in case of things rolling downhill, so not much time was spent on mourning and instead on living. One might say this is a cold, dispassionate way of thinking, but considering that this is my third death to witness (the other two are the parents), I would say that I’ve grown thick-skinned(?) about this.

Frankly speaking, I feel that her absence only fueled my creativity because I have been making things. One would say that I’m burying myself in creative vibes, which would be true. At least they are not destructive vibes. Gods only know the depths those can get.

Last we chatted, I was talking about earrings. This time, I am talking about bracelets.

Someone on Telegram directed me to Auntie’s Beads, a wholesale bead place that had oodles of beads and jewelry findings. Including Matubo Ginko beads, including a pattern of Nela Kábelová’s Snakeskin Bracelet, which, as you can see, I have plenty of. The third one has a bit of a backstory, so bear with me.

Last month, I was at Hobby Lobby getting some beads, and I was talking to one of the clerks about knitting and beading, and when they left, a lady came up to me, telling me she overheard the conversation. After a moment or two of small talk, she mentioned how she has all of these beads that have been gathering dust in her car, and she asked me if the local library could take them in. I agreed they would, and that was that.

The following week I was doing my knitting class when one of the librarians tells me I have a new lady, and lo and behold, it was the lady mentioned! I’m like, “Oh hey! Here with the beads?”

She goes, “Yeah, they’re in the back of the car,” and she leads me there, and to cut a long story short, I’m in possession of this:

All of those bags? Beads.

Categorized by size, so I have a bag full of 15/0 in various colors. 11/0s and 8/0s. And more things. It’s amazing and kind of surprising. But that is not all because those binders are filled with beading patterns both free and paid.

Which leads me to the third bracelet in the photo, because all of the beads came from this epic collection, and I have been busy playing around with ideas, but I fell in love with Deborah Roberti’s Tila Curve bracelet pattern so much that I’m digging around the bead collection to make more. Of course, the original pattern has two Tila beads whereas mine has four, but I’m sure Ms. Roberti wouldn’t mind. 😀

I like the pattern so much I made a few more.

To be honest, I am getting to like making these. 😀

Plausibility and Possibility

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Music: My Singing Monsters – Cold Island (also Water Island)
Mood: Fractured

Alright, so new year. Hello to everyone as I say hello to you, everyone, on this second month of the year.

I mean, I blink, and it’s already February. What gives?

It’s also apparently Super Ball Sunday, in which I can look at close-up shots of impossibly chiseled buttocks undulating sensuously in tight spandex. And if those uniforms are white…well, did you know sweat can turn Lycra translucent? Jock straps for the win! [wipes drool off chin]

In the meanwhile, let us play catch up.

About a month ago, one of my older sisters came down with Covid. Unfortunately, she was not immunized. Worse, she was the one who lived with the family. After she was rushed to the ER for further evaluation, the rest of us got tested, and alas, I was positive. Immediate withdraw from all outside events and quarantine until further notice. That notice lasted for three weeks as I was down with mild cold symptoms. Thankfully I didn’t lose any taste or smell (though I did have some close calls). The inability to hug family was a horrible experience.

In the meanwhile, I got myself crafty. Although knitting commissions were put on hold, I did manage to work onto a Hemlock Ring shawl/blanket.

it’s shapeless, of course, because A) it’s unblocked and B) the US11 circular needle is waaaay too small to carry all these stitches. At least I think so. I need another (longer) needle for the 500-ish stitches the pattern is calling for. After I find the other ball of yarn.

Another thing I got into these Covid-filled weeks was investigate beading and jewelry making.

Before she died, Mom tried beading. Before we were quarantined, D- came into the room carrying this box.

“What’s that?” I said, eyeing the white bag that was enveloping the box.

“Something Mom left behind, and that I found while cleaning the area. Here,” she said as she placed it on my clothes hamper. “See what you can do with this.”

First thing I did was run inventory, and I was pretty impressed at the amount of vintage beads, dissected jewelry, fixings, and other stuff was there. And I got to thinking. And YouTube was a lot of help with basic things. And one day when I was shut off in quarantine, I made these.

I got inspired from a dissected earring set that was left behind. With further care, I dissected it further and reassembled with some 13mm paillette sequins that I had gotten last year. (I wanted to knit with sequins – didn’t work) Then I got extra inspired when D- left a bag of glass beads she got from Ebay several years ago.

Chrysocolla and turquoise glass beads with the divider beads from Mom’s collection. The stones I got from Wish last year, along with some others I will show off in a later entry.

At least I can show off these.

Brass and copper rings dangles, set with blue impression jasper. Oddly enough, the stone is not true jasper but instead an man-made aggregate. It’s quite cheap and easy to use into jewelry. Expect more of this stuff being used in the future.

Earlier today, I took the box out for further inventory, and I came across these beauties.

It is the four green and choker that are interesting to me. These are, according to my research, “Aurora Borealis” glass beads. The technique started by Swarovski in the mid-50s, and perfected as the years went by. No idea when Mom got them, though, but that is no worry to me. I am already inspired by their glitter. (Should I add crow/raven to my ongoing ‘sona list? Hmm.)

I did read some interesting stuff with the choker. No idea when this lovely piece was made, but research points to the mid-50s/late-60s. Also, I have a sneaky suspicion that during the years, it was restrung to some modern beading thread. But the choker is in excellent condition, and it looks so danged pretty.

It doesn’t completely fit across my neck, but that won’t deter me from trying to making it possible! I will even make a matching earring set. Clips, of course – I am not pierced. Though I should be. More of that later.

Right now, those slow-motion shots are just so danged distracting….

I, for one, welcome our new overlords

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Music: ABBA – Does Your Mother Know
Mood: Doggo sick

Right now, I’m trying not to give in.

Those bewitching eyes. That fine fur coat. Her soft maow. The way she looks at you when you scold her. Pure witchcraft.

I am, of course, talking about our new cat, Luna.

Not quite as attractive as Her Most Serene Highness, Lady Tuna, but a few more weeks of pampering can help with that.

All hail the Most Serene Highness

At least Her Highness allows me the privilege of lavishing her with pets. And the occasional kitty treat.

Whenever I am not dazzled by such adorable eyes, I knit. At least try to. I have been down with a lingering cold that I am sure isn’t Covid. Nevertheless, to ease my anxiety, I got tested Tuesday. I didn’t realize just how deep they shoved that wand up your nose. It was rather painful.

So yeh knitting. Currently with Mary Mucklestone’s Destination Pullover, done in prescribed Léttilopi yarn.

It’s so wooly!

The yarn is somewhat crinkly when you first hold it, but it knits up a treat. The design is very simple, and it balances the awareness of colorwork with the meditation of color blocks. I am just about to do the second colorwork stripe. I’ll add on to that later on.

Right now, I’m being asked for pets.

Summertime blues

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Music: The Seatbelts – American Money
Mood: Uncaffinated

Heyo! Hope you guys are doing okay. Things have been pretty chill these past months, nothing really to worry about. Sure, we have the US political news to worry about, but in terms of family? Nada.

Well, I tell a lie. We celebrated a few graduations, both college and high school, in our family. I got new roses. It has been more rainy than usual; however, the area has been affected by the current heat wave as well.

That said, we might be part of a ‘wet bulb’ scenario in the near future, in which the local atmosphere cannot absorb any more moisture (perspiration) and thus we sweat ourselves to death. Considering we live near the Gulf, it might not happen and all, who knows. Fingers crossed.

I am not going to worry about that sort of thing yet. Instead, I will post my latest finished knit!

The Pandemic Pullover, also known as TinCanKnit’s Flax Light. Put off the needles earlier Sunday and had all of the ends sewn in and blocked, as you can see. Started in early February of last year, this sock yarn sweater got knit off and on throughout the year, put in the Procrastination bin for a few months, and finished on this past month. (Also had a bit of bug damage, but that was readily fixed. Shh.)

Seeing how big it was, I gave it a good washing in the machine: About five seconds of agitation and 20 minutes of a long lingering soak. Did absolutely nothing to the sweater other than give it a slinkiness that I really liked. I need to offer my thanks to the Knitting Deities for such good graces. Yes, the sweater was done without swatching. (le gasp)

Although the yarn was self striping, and thus pooled all over the sweater, I thought it needed a contrasting stripe, and after working about an inch or so of the body I switched colors and knit on.

The colors really don’t look that bad, to be honest.

Also, you might notice that the sleeves look shorter than usual, and that is completely intentional. I chose half-sleeves as a modification, and for that I did nine sets of sleeve decreases, switched colors, and did another sleeve decrease before I knit straight twin rib. I wasn’t expecting the mentioned slinkiness to shift the sleeve length to 3/4 sleeves, but it was a happy accident. I can’t be happier.

One of my nephews took that shot. I think I shall buy him a camera for as a graduation gift. Hm.

Let’s Talk About Se-, er, Color

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Music: Herbie Hancock – You Bet Your Love
Mood: Neko (=^・ェ・^=)

It is March.

That is all that needs to be said, really. For it is spring, and the riotous blooms of color both indoor and out are indeed riotous. So this month, and during the rest of the year, let us enjoy them. In one way or the other.

That might be considered the thesis of this post, or at least the tl;dr summary. I have been busy these weeks, not only in class but also in crafting. I found joy again, despite my months of trying to be joyful, and I have color to thank for it.

What kind of color? Why, yarn color, of course! Behold!

For those who have been following my Twitter (and shame on you who do not…shame), I have been posting pics of these gorgeous babies for a while now. I have been experimenting with hand-painting on yarn, you see.

I think this entire thing started by Telegram. A certain yarn crafting group posted a sale link to Dyer Supplier back in February. After getting a pack of superwash 80/20 merino/nylon sock yarn, I was looking for ways to dye the batch. After much googling, I found A) how to hand-paint yarn and B) that the thing can be baked.

Yes, you are reading that right! Baking the yarn in the dye bath is a perfect thing to do for small spaces. As long as you keep your dye tools apart from your kitchen tools, that is. But right now, I am using concentrated icing dye colors, so I’m good. Really I am. What’s that funny look for? It’s okay!

So, for the first skein, I doused the yarn in 50/50 solution of white vinegar and tap water, let it soak for about 20 minutes, and drained off to reuse as dye base. No measurements here, I was playing it by ear. I just added enough dye to make it look pretty. And then I took the entire thing and baked it at 350F for 35-ish minutes.

Got a tad scalded when I removed the foil. I blame the steam.

Anywho, the dye bath was completely exhausted, and I really liked that. The yarn took the color up quickly and efficiently, which was what I was looking for. During washing, the color bled out *very* faintly, a bonus. I liked the procedure so much that I decided to make a bulk set.

Got this cookery from a local restaurant supply store, and as you can see, it helped out a lot. That’s three skeins of yarn, doused in dunno how much water with four teaspoons of citric acid dissolved. I took a teaspoon of icing color and dissolved it in a pint of water. Then I slowly poured it over the yarn to prevent any excessive blending. However, as you can see, it blended anyway. [shrug] Baked it again in 350F for 30-ish minutes and let it cool for another half hour before taking off the lid. To prevent more scalding.

As you can see, the dye bath is almost exhausted, and that is A-OK. Another success!

My main point of all of this is to produce enough yarn for an upcoming booth at our local market days. Although it has been mostly closed due to Covid-19, there are rumblings of opening in the coming months, and I want to set up shop there for the local yarn buyers. As some of you may know, it has been a dream of mine to open a small yarn store here in the area, and if this helps me put a foot in the door, so be it. 😀

But first, I need to practice. And if the practicing makes amazing results, they will be given names and sold. Like this colorway, working title is “Ocean Blvd.” I like the way of it, but if I find a worthier title, I’ll use it.

Betrayals galore

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Listening to: the pillows – Propose
Mood: Pained

Well, in the crafting area, I am one to always cheat on my knitting. I experimented with crochet (which turned to be my other drug of choice), dabbled with embroidery, tried plastic needlepoint, and sampled with loom knitting. And now I’m doing it again. This time, with weaving.

Friendly Loom potholder loom

Got this from Modern Daily Knitting a few days ago, and I have been pretty much been having a ball.

Weaving in action

Just the rather soothing meditation of pulling the woof across the warp and seeing the design come to life.

The only things I struggle over are the last few woof loops (New cereal flavor? Hmm.) and the crochet binding off, but I’m sure with a bit of practice I’m sure I’ll get it down.

Since the kit comes with enough fabric loops to make two holders, I cast on for the second one soon after I finished this one and spent a bit more time playing with color.

The fabric is sturdy, and I’m sure they will do well in the kitchen. I should give them a wash to see how the bind-off lasts – and also to set the fabric – but that comes later on. Right now, I’m already giving into temptation and ordering a few extra bags of loops for more color play. Also pro~obably for profit? Maybe?

Also, I regret to say that my body has been under rebellion for some time now. I woke up several Saturdays ago to find my lower back in turmoil and my legs cramping up. Which means only one thing: My sciatica has returned.

Long-time readers (and by that I mean pre and during LiveJournal) may remember of that amazing incident in which I bent over to pick up and fork, and spent the next several months (years) shackled with lower back pain. With the help of yoga stretches and weightlifting, I combated against the injury and did pretty well.

But then Covid happened.

With gyms closing and the additional depression caused by Mom’s passing, I fell into disrepair. I didn’t do much fitness. Heck, I even stopped walking around the town! Even now it’s hard for me to get back into fitness activity. It is very enraging and it calls for decisive action…if I wasn’t so damned comfortable where I am right now. -_-

“But Joe,” my inner crowd of voices object, “350lbs is NOT a comfortable fit for you, dude.” And I respond, “I know, but considering how the busses are and my school schedule is, what can I do?”

“Get a workout app,” one suggests.
“Eat less junk, more veggies,” another says.
“Get back into stretching!” several shout.
“Walk!” one says, wanting to shake some sense into me.

So I will. Later on today. Hopefully I will start with this recovery. If only to shut the crowd up.

It *has* been a while…

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…hasn’t it?

Song: Neil Young – Comes A Time
Mood: Atypical

This is an effort to get back into writing, because 2020, nay, the past four years(!) was one massive shit for everyone except the rich, the privileged, and the Nazis. But 2020 was one of the worst years of my life, not only for the pandemic but also for the death of my mom, who – one hopes – died peacefully in March.

Damn, going to be a year already. My, time flies so swiftly. Flies even swifter when the pandemic and lockdown forces everyone to re-enact Groundhog Day.

This is also a bit of a middle-finger to the Instagram algorithms, who punish you for not being engaging enough. I will see about posting more here than IG or FB but who knows.

So, brief catch-up for the 2020 year, in no order:

  • Modular crochet for the win!
  • Mom passed
  • Pandemic hit
    • Library closed causing me to lose my job as knitting instructor
    • Spent two months knitting a pullover
    • Bus lines ran themselves to the ground
    • No gym
  • Got Animal Crossing New Horizons
    • Almost got a pure jock isle [evil laugh]
  • Learned how to sew
    • Planning to make buttoned shirts
  • Got ready for college
  • 41st birthday
  • Both cried and cheered at Biden’s win
    • Rolled my eyes so many times at Trump’s tantrums and rants
  • Helped my sisters with their holiday errands
  • Counted down the New Years with Animal Crossing
    • It was so beautiful!

What happens now? No idea. I’m losing steam, and I need to knit. I’ll catch y’all later.

Poetry challenge No. 1: The Blitz

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I follow a poetry/writing prompt group on Facebook, and every Wednesday they give new prompts to use until the following week. The latest prompts deal with novel forms of poetry:

The Blitz
The Bop
Cinquain
Found
Golden Shovel
Haiku
Nonet
Ode
Prose

Well, novel to me. I am not much of a poet, but I do write the occasional bit on Facebook. And I have read about a certain wordplay society known as The Oulipo thanks to Martin Gardner’s Penrose Tiles to Trapdoor Ciphers.

Writing a blitz poem bit mind-bending because it is a mix of word association and planning. You can read about the poem schematic here in the case you want to try your hand at this format.

Stitch a Decade
Knit a stitch
Knit a stitch
Stitch with love
Stitch with care
Care and worry
Care and ease
Ease with love
Ease it down
Down the rabbit hole
Down the briar patch
Patch it well
Patch with yarn
Yarn and needles
Needles of wood
Wood and steel
Wood from trees
Trees from the forest
Trees and their leaves
Leaves me alone
Leaves me at peace
Peace and love
Peace for sale
Sale or rent
Sale of the decade
Decade events
Decade over
Over and out
Over the hills
Hills of green
Hills and valleys
Valleys dark
Valleys with rivers
Rivers stark
Rivers rushing
Rushing to light
Rushing blindly
Blindly to me
Blindly to you
You are here
You are human
Human needs
Human dreams
Dreams to love
Dreams to weave
Weave the cloth
Weave it true
True to life
True and tried
Tried
Life

These are the end times

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So Starbucks is going through training the new staff, and therefore they are going through the motions of making new things. Not a problem.

However, they are giving away what they make.

Even worse is that, although the place is packed, no one is picking the drinks up.

Except me. After a suitable interval of five or so minutes.

So, all the time from noon to now, I’ve had:

A caramel machiatto
An iced coffee
A cappachino with extra whip
Two samples of their sandwiches
A sample of their chocolate coffeecake
A very berry hibiscus refresher

No, I’m not vibrating, it’s the earthquake. There is an earthquake, right?