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Posts Tagged ‘Neil Gaiman’

Projects

Doom BagFO

knotI’m very happy with the way the Dice Bag of Doom! turned out.  I had knit two longer tentacles, and ended up twining them together to form the drawstring.  I gave one a bead to ‘hold on to’ and that gave me a nice cord stopper for when the bag is open – it holds itself closed pretty well, because I have one tentacle coiled around another.  It all works very nicely.

Doom Bag with Eyes

WIPs

So that leaves me working on the Belle Greene shawl and essentially nothing else (the Stereo Cuffs are still waiting on a wrist measurement for the recipient).  I love that shawl, and I’m almost done with the knitted on beaded border, but honestly I need a brainless project once in a while.  So I started hooking a mobius hat using some stashed Lion Brand Homespun yarn.  Yes, I am a bit of a yarn snob, and I generally prefer natural fibers, but that particular big box acrylic and polyester brand is one of the first yarns I really enjoyed working with, and I still really like it.  I suppose it’s a ‘guilty pleasure’ yarn, but I can’t work up a lot of guilt for that one.  True,  it’s not putting money into a small, locally owned business when I buy it, but the Lion Brand company is family owned and operated, and seems to have a good reputation within the industry.  What guilt I feel about it is centered around the fiber content – this stuff is unfortunately not at all biodegradable, so I do try to limit my buying of it.

Tools

Yarn ScaleSo I gave in and picked up a new yarn scale.  Actually I just got an inexpensive kitchen scale from Target.  It’s about the same price as a new ball winder or swift, and it is really useful, both to estimate the remaining yardage in a ball and to divide yarn into equal portions for socks, or to figure out when to start work on the border of a shawl.  Basically, the longer I went without one, the more I felt as though I really needed it.

Besides, I think it’s pretty (and I’m always a sucker for aesthetically pleasing tools and equipment).

Yarny News

You may have noticed that Neil Gaiman is on the cover of Knitty. It’s part of a promo for a new pattern book Geek Knits.  You should check it out.  I’ll be ordering my copy very soon…

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I’ve entered the This Knitted Life giveaway for two skeins of yarn (10 June).

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I’ve started reading again

I’m currently reading Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things.  I was wondering whether one of the poems in that might work for the young man I was tutoring yesterday, if I should have him again next week (I volunteer), as he should probably be working on summarizing and pulling the ‘main idea’ out of a work.  I might try it, if he’s a comic book fan and has at least heard of Sandman.

Not that I think Gaiman’s inaccessible, but I don’t want to miss the mark completely.  Many of these students are (or claim to be) as ignorant of pop culture as they are of what I would view as the educational staples.  A poem about alien invasions, zombies, genies and multiple apocapolishould be fun, but I can see (intellectually at least)  how it might not work for everyone.

But this got my brain hopping again.  I once heard someone say that Sandman was the first sympathetic portrayal of Death personified.  Easily dismissed, as Sandman began it’s run in 1988, and Death didn’t even show up until the next year. Terry Pratchett’s Colour of Magic came out in 1983.  Although DEATH is f nowhere near as cute and cuddly as Death, he’s clearly a nice enough guy.  Incidentally, Alan Dean Foster’s On a Pale Horse also came out in 1983.  His Death is much more accessible than Pratchett, as well as being the protagonist, I would even admit that he’s a nice enough guy, but I really like DEATH as a character.

Peter S. Beagle came in years before that, in 1963, with his short story “Come, Lady Death“.  As always, I can’t say enough good things about Peter S. Beagle.  Gaiman is the only author who comes close to creating dreamy worlds rich with humor and love.  Going back to 1962, there’s the Twilight Zone episode  “Nothing in the Dark” where an old woman locked herself into her house, hiding from Death personified.  It turned out he was a really nice guy, (a very young, golden haired Robert Redford) and she needn’t have been afraid.  Both these stories affected me deeply as a child, and I think in a positive way.

I’d have to track it down to be sure, but I seem to recall that Death Takes a Holiday also provided us with  pretty sympathetic portrayal back in 1934. Earlier than that?   I think there’s a story or two where a personified death is referred to as ‘old friend’, but I can’t recall any in particular.

Of course, the original remark may have been intended to refer to death in comic books only, but that seems to be a pretty ticky-tack differentiation.  They’re all pop culture images, and I can’t imagine a world where books, films, TV and comics don’t all borrow from each other.

Actual Knitting Content

I publicly declared the baby blanket “the most boring project I’ve ever worked on”, then finished the second set of squares in the doubleknit section and have decided it’s not boring anymore.  Also, a woman in a waiting room asked what happened to the Les Miserables shawl which I put on hold, so not only am I kipping along but people pay attention, which is kind of cool.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I entered the Knitbot Essentials giveaway from Quince and Co (April 20), Phat Fibers Sunrise Sparkle Lace giveaway (April 23) and Lantium Ex Machina’s Hypocrite Sock Yarn giveaway (April 22)

I didn’t win According to Matt’s Y.A.R.N. giveaway, or the Color Guys giveaway.  The Lionbrand Meaningful Handmade Gift Contest ends April 29th (not the 16th).

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I am an Election Judge

Twice every two years, I spend a day at the polls, helping my fellow citizens to do their part to ensure the continuation of democracy.  Yesterday I acted as a ‘check in’ judge in Maryland’s primary elections.  It makes for a very long day.  I got in at six in the morning, the polls opened at seven and closed at eight, and verification of results and integrity, and clean up, were finally finished at nine.

Mind you, this was for the primaries.  In an overwhelmingly Democratic district.  A district which encourages early voting and mail in voting.  We handled 316 voters all day.

As you can imagine, I got a lot of knitting done.  A lot of reading as well (a book of Neil Gaiman short stories I got for my birthday) and catching up with my fellow judges, most of whom have worked this precinct for three or four cycles at least. The elderly couple who said last cycle was their last was back.  They seem to be doing better health wise, and Maryland always needs more Republican judges.  The young lady with the thing for pink – she got married over the summer.

It’s always interesting.  This year was particularly so, because the elementary school we were using is in the midst of rather extreme renovations. We asked the construction workers to take down the bar between the double doors to make sure that we were wheelchair accessible (they put it up again when we closed the polls).  I didn’t even know they could do that.  The woman who suddenly decided that she had changed her party affiliation a week ago but ‘it hadn’t gone through’ because she wanted to vote in the Republican primary was given a provisional ballot.  If they find her ‘lost’ paperwork I’m sure it will get counted, otherwise, probably not.  There was also a Republican who was bothered that we didn’t ask for his identification.  I explained that we had never had a case of two people claiming to be the same voter at this precinct, and he seemed surprised.  We agreed that Marylanders ‘are just better’.  Seriously, half the precinct goes to church with the ‘Queen Bee’  judge, and most of the rest were neighbors of one of the other judges.

People’s reactions to me knitting were interesting, and universally positive.   The Provisional judge (who handled the last-minute Republican) had an ‘oh, yea, I should have brought mine!’ reaction (she made a lot of headway through her murder mystery though).  One of the judges from the other precinct which meets in the school brought a project as well.  One voter told me his wife has just learned, and that he thought there was something addictive about it (I agreed).  Only one voter confused the knitting with crochet.  I told the story of why I was knitting the blanket a couple of times, and got to explain the process of double knitting a few times as well.  Dozens of compliments on the colors and the piece as a whole.  Did wonders to my ego.

Anyway, we locked up around 9.  I thought I’d be ‘clever’ and cut across the dimly lit maze of ‘portables’ which surround the school to get to the parking lot where my car was (we’d moved them so that voters had easier access).  By the time I got home it was nearly ten.  A long day indeed.

FO Highlight

Mom loves her mantis (I knew she would).  Now we just have to hope it doesn’t become a very complicated cat-toy…

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Simply Sockupied giveaway or the iMake Toft’s Pattern Book giveaway. I entered a poem in According to Matt’s Y.A.R.N giveaway (April 15).

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