Previous month:
December 2011
Next month:
February 2012

here's the mail, etc.

On Friday, an intriguing package hit my door. In it was this:


Once the yarn was removed - McGregor finds it terribly interesting, btw - this:


Extra Yarn is a story about a girl who finds a box of yarn, knits herself a sweater, then discovers that the box of yarn contains still more yarn.* She does what any knitter would do, which is knit more stuff.


While Mac Barnett's writing is lovely, as is the story, it's Jon Klassen's illos that I dearly love. His I Want My Hat Back** is one of the best picture books ever, imo. And his work here is just as swell.


(Standard disclaimer: I write this influenced by nothing but my own free will. No money changed hands, etc. The copy came from the publisher, yes, but you should see the stack of books I don't write about. Really. It's a big stack. Want one?)

* This reminds me of a joke my Dad tells that involves an Irishman lost in the desert and a never-empty bottle of Guiness. But the joke is better heard than read so you'll have to find my Dad and ask him. Or me - but my accent isn't as good.

** Amazon links provided for the sake of convenience. Your local indie (like this one, say) will be more than happy to put a copy in your hands. 

qotd, on poisonous mushrooms

"Two mushroom experts, Larry Evans and Daniel Winkler, stopped by our cabin in Colorado en route to the Telluride Mushroom Festival one August, armed with a big basket of A. muscaria. They sliced and boiled a few of the younger specimens, then sauteed them. There was no gamesmanship: I could try them if I liked. I'm glad I did, because they were scrumptious, buttery and mild. My tongue and lips tingled a bit, but so slightly I was quite sure my reaction was psychosomatic. Shortly after eating them, however, I fell into a heavy natcotic-like sleep. It was, to be honest, just like the sleep the doctor puts you into before a colonoscopy -- the Michael Jackson drug. When I woke up 2 hours later, I was wearing one shoe."

-- Eugenia Bone, Mycophilia.

actual spinning content + my fan club

I might have made some yarn.


It's not the world's prettiest yarn, nor is it anything resembling evenly spun and plied*.


But it is mine-all-mine and I made it. Perhaps it'll be a hat. Or I may have it framed. 

I had to improvise a Lazy Kate, tho, just like my pioneer foremothers**:


It's amazing what one can do with a shoebox, some ancient knitting needles and the internets.

I did wind up with a wee bit of the blue leftover. I'd hate to waste it.


Anyone know how to ply from one bobbin? Or is there some complex formula for finding the center and working from there?

While I did my little dance of glee, the cheering squad did what they do best...


... which is more or less nothing.


*Especially plied. Apparently, I forgot everything I'd read about plying when it was time to ply.

** Note: my ancestors weren't pioneers. Farmers, yes; pioneers, not so much. 

many things make a post

* What makes you "you?"

* Heh.

* Mothers are their mothers and husbands and daughters and sons, too.

* Salt and ....

* We've all been there. (The asterix bothers me, tho. If you're going to swear, just fucking own it.)

* Marilyn Monroe's capri pants.

* Truth.

* This is my favorite cookie, too. But, despite years of trying, I can't seem to make them, which makes me so sad.

* I've been to #4 and #25. And I'd love to go to almost all of the others on the list.

* What your writer friends wish you knew.

* What writers should stop doing. (Number 15 is the one I find the most challenging.)

* Let's say it again: Correlation is not causation.

* Do I *need* a $45 copy of one of my most favorite books ever? No. And, yet.

* I want Jennifer Ouellette's job. (Actually, I think I should go on Craig's show to talk about Scotland, sweaters and Mary Tudor. Hear that, Late, Late Show bookers?)

* This calendar is awesome.

qotd, my love for this book is a mighty thing

"Up ahead, the river appeared, green and unmoving. A few years ago, it had caught fire. For weeks, the fire department had tried to put out the conflagration without success. Which invited the question of how, exactly, did you douse a burning river? What could you do, when the retardant was also the accelerant?

"The lovelorn English major contemplated the symbolism of this."

- The Marriage Plot, Jeffrey Eugenides.

actual knitting content + chapter 9

First: a message from Lisa re: the new year. Or, as my dad likes to say, you are entitled to the work, not the reward.

Second: I finished something.


The blue cowl is done. 


My love for String Theory remains undiminished.

You want to see it on? Um. OK.


It's more difficult to snap a photo of yourself in a cowl than you might think. Also, the divot between my eyes is growing more pronounced each day. *sigh*

Third, our cat Barney, who decided that the comfy reading chair was all his:


Yes, he is still a dick.

make new mistakes

This needs to have its own post, if only so that I can refer to it later, when it all gets to be too much. I might need to embroider it on a pillow.

From Neil Gaiman:

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.
So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

many things make a post

* It is as bad as you think.

* Good to have the rules written down.

* I want to see this.

* A thing we don't like to think about.

* Why is George so Curious?

* Adam Roberts takes on the Top Ten All-Time Selling novels. Hilarity and genius ensues. Here's #6.

* Two from Slate: on the complexity of tech and the definition of starving.

* But is it bigger on the inside?

* The Bloggess. There are no words, other than "bravo" and "we are with you."

away and wonderful, wonderful art

Hope your new year is going well so far. 

We spent most of the past week at the mountain house* of some friends we went to college with, where we did more or less nothing of import. We did, however, do a lot of this:


Also Munckin, Settlers of Catan (which I won a round of (which never happens because I'm not so good at strategery)) and Castle Panic. Great fun all the way round.

But not terribly interesting to write about. 

And so let me show you the great art object that came while we were away.


Even the outside is purty.


Envelope back. 


All of the innards were encased in a poem-printed pillow slip. (Click on any photo to embiggen.)


Layer one.


Layer two.


Layer three.


Then, once you open the magazine proper, more goodies leap out.






The pictures, of course, tell you nothing about the content itself, which is awesome. I've only just begun to swim through it. I'm trying to make it last.


* "mountain house" makes it sound all Rockerfeller fancy. It isn't - but it is in the Poconos and effectively keeps its inhabitants both warm and dry. Ergo.