Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Of Art and Afghans

I know I don't talk about my knitting on here very often.  That's dumb.  I love talking about my crafting on here, and I should do it more often. So I thought I'd go ahead and say something about it now because I want to, and because I really like this project.  So ta da!

Sometimes I just knit for myself.  Sometimes I even knit patterns by myself.  Which really means I'm knitting from no pattern at all.  But this is what I'm knitting right now.

It's a blanket.  You have to trust me.  When it's finished, (I hope) it's going to look like this:

That's "Homage to the Square: Ascending" by Josef Albers and I love it.  When we took our family trip to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art last summer, I saw "Homage to the Square: Joy" and thought it would be an amazing blanket. 

Then I felt shamefully pedestrian.  My head is almost always thinking about quilts, crocheted blocks, or knitting projects and it's not always great.  Here I was, soaking up art and enjoying family time and something in my brain was trying to yank me back in the direction of craft blogging. 


Those colors.  The squares.  My love of clean lines and simple color arrangements.  It all stuck in my head.

A couple of months ago, I was going back through my pictures and decided to Google Josef Albers.  The man had so. many. homages. to. so. many. squares.  (Go do it!)  Some were four colors.  Some just had three.  Sometimes the colors contrasted.  Sometimes they were all different shades of one color.  I loved it all.  And I thought of blankets.  And that's fine.  I like blankets with clean lines.  I wanted to make one.

I thought about granny squares.  I thought about crocheting a fairly simple square and then working some rows in the round, and some rounds back and forth.  Finally, I thought of garter stitch.  It's easy to pick up, and I'd tried out some log cabin-style knitting on an afghan square earlier in the summer when my knitting group made a blanket as a wedding gift for one of our own.  I love garter stitch.  I like how log cabin knitting looks. 

This was so exciting!

I searched Pinterest until I found an homage to a square that used colors I had in my stash.  Seriously.  This whole project is so hilariously lowbrow and I couldn't care less.  Garter stitch, acrylic yarn, and Pinterest.  And that's fine!  I'm using the materials I have on hand!  And I love garter stitch!  And really, sometimes I love the Internet.  Sometimes it's full of stupidity and ridiculousness, and sometimes it's full of art.  So much art.  Just art being thrown out there for anyone to do anything they like with it, like make blankets.

So that's what I did.

I don't even remember how many stitches I cast on for the center square.  I'm sure I wrote it down somewhere.  I used a #6 needle because it seemed like a good idea at the time.  I should have gone up a size or two, but whatever.  I knit until my work was about as long as it was wide.  And then I started with the white.  I had studied enough squares to know that the sides needed to be 20% the height of the center square.  The bottom rows would need to be half as many rows as the sides, and the top rows would need to be twice as many rows as the sides.  That's it!  It's the simplest thing and it's so pretty!  The center square is a little over 15" X 15", and the sides are about 4ish inches.  And now I've run out of white yarn.  I may pick up some more over this weekend, but I'm in no rush.   Summer isn't the best time to work on a blanket, and now that I've figured out my percentages a bit of the thrill has worn off. 

But I'm still incredibly pleased with this little project, and I think it's going to be beautiful.  It's got some of my favorite things--garter stitches, clean lines, fun construction, stash-busting, doing whatever I want whenever I want--and I think it's going to be one of my favorite projects.

Monday, July 28, 2014

I Found Dale Bailey!

Well.  I should have posted this update quite a while ago, but whatever.

A million years ago, in October 2008, I posted a tongue-in-cheek post about how horror writer Dale Bailey didn't have much of an Internet presence anymore and how a horrible Lovecraftian fate was the only reasonable explanation.  I even did an artist's rendering of how I thought it all went down.

Oh man.  Well!  I actually discovered his blog was being updated a couple of years ago and forgot to mention it.  Whoops.

But!  But then!  I get an email from Open Road Integrated Media this month announcing that not only is Dale Bailey alive and well, but all of his works on being rereleased in eformat!  Which is great, because I'm never loaning my copy of The Fallen to you.  Ever. It's autographed, and I might need it or something.  I reread it a while ago, and I liked it.  It's very much a first novel in some ways, but I especially enjoyed the descriptive passages.  And the premise, which I can't give away in case someone other than my mom is reading this (Mom, I know this goes without saying because I typed "horror" up there but I'm going to go ahead and say it: you don't want this on your Nook.  There's horror in it).  But it's great, and I've always wanted to check out collections of his short stories.  Sometimes I see them out in the wild from time to time, and I always enjoy them.

I also enjoyed reading this interview between Dale Bailey and Jack Slay, Jr., about the book they wrote together, Sleeping Policeman.  Oh man, it sounds so scary!  I get it, that's how horror works but wow.

I still might read it, though.

Because now I know where to find it.

Disclaimer: I was contacted* by Open Road Media about writing a post.  I received no compensation and all thoughts, words, and terrible MS Paint drawings are my own.

*They found my blog from that Dale-Bailey-was-eaten-by-Cthulu post.  Yay?

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Good food. Beautiful people. Wonderful family. Perfect day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Our weekend, belatedly

Saturday: library, dogs, books about scorpions, stickers on a reading chart, the park.  Swings and a picnic lunch.

Sunday: A birthday party at Cracker Barrel, swimming, a nap, dress-up.

Monday, July 21, 2014

An Anniversary Post for Laine and Robert

Laine and Robert have been married for 7 years!

This past year has been a big one.  They went to the beach twice, put a new roof on the house, traded in Laine's old car for.....another version of that car, and finally have some raised beds in their adorable back yard!

Oh, and then there's this:

They brought Ellis to the party!  This is the first year they've been parents and I think they're doing this whole 'happy partners' adventures so spectacularly well.  I'm so happy to see them so happy together, and to see them be, well, happy in their new role as parents to their sweet little boy makes me happiest of all.

Happy anniversary, you three!  I would say there's no way you'll top Year 6 for excitement, but there's really no telling. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Quilt Exhibit in Argenta

There's an exhibit at the Argenta branch of Laman Library going on right now called "The Sum of Many Parts: Quiltmakers in Contemporary America" that features quilts from textile artists and more traditional quilters alike.  I went to see it Saturday (and okay, again on Monday) to look at these amazing quilts.  I had wanted to write about the quilt names and all the artists, but I'll never get this published if I try that.  So here are the quilts.  You have until August 5 to see it for yourself!  It's a pretty small exhibit, but pretty wonderful and if you haven't seen the new library in the old post office this would be a great time to go.

I love our not-so-little-anymore library and I'm really excited about its exhibits.  I maybe wish this one could stick around just a little bit longer, though.  Still, I think I'll be dragging Evelyn into the gallery to check this out just a few more times to see it before its gone.