Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Knitting Noro and Knitting Nice

Strips of lace knits, by R de Heer
A few years ago, when we still had a craft and yarns shop in our town, I became obsessed with the colour play possible in the mixing and matching of Noro sock yarns.

Unbeknown to either of us, JL and I both knitted on the diagonal all that winter. We told each other that we were knitting. What we were knitting. How relaxing it was. How good it felt to watch TV and still produce some thing worthwhile.

I did mine in strips with a comfortable width (about 20 cm/ 8 inches). My intentions at the time, I seem to remember, was to use all the possible openwork and lace stitches in my extremely old knitting dictionary, and use them on the diagonal.

The rules we set ourselves!

I started with socks I now recall, completing just one of the pair. My mother knitted two pairs of socks a week, every week at the time. She kept the whole family including 14 grandchildren, and 6 great grand children in socks, as well as the monthly street stall run by the facility she is in. There was no point.

The yarn shop shut down, I settled down to the renovations at my house, I broke my wrist etc etc. No knitting for the whole of that winter. This winter, though, I could hardly wait. And since 2014 is the year that I finish projects, I thought I'd get out the strips, whatever they would turn out to be.

I'm planning a long vest. I'm knitting the yoke now, then sewing or crocheting the pieces onto it.

I ordered a final (hopefully) skein of Noro yarn online. While I waited for its delivery, I sewed in yarn ends and I got to know the strips again. The glowing colours. The stitches I used. The problems I had with turning the direction of the slant sometimes, on the right in the pic.

Plenty of questions were raised by knitting lace stitches along the diagonal -- the oblique openwork stitch became vertical as seen on the left in the pic. Some stitches couldn't be done at all, the continual increasing on one side, decreasing on the other, threw their patterning in complete disarray and led to lots of frogging as you northern hemisphere knitters say.

I've got the whole lot hidden under a couch cushion as my cat Maggy loves to knead and nest among new knits.

For your interest:

Mon Tricot Knitting Dictionary, 900 Stitches and Patterns for knitting, crochet, patchwork, jacquard, afghan, fork & technics. Translated and adapted into English (from French) by Margaret Hamilton-Hunt, 1971.

Prices at the time: USA & Canada $1.98; UK 75 NP; AUS & NZ $AU 1.50.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Stage 2 of Rejig

New banner pic is courtesy of a site of free stock photos, and the kindness of the original artist for posting it up to be used by all and sundry.

I don't remember where I got the original pic from, The Hot Sun, and that was the trouble. It may have been copyrighted, and apart from that I'm seeing that red hot sun regularly now, applied to different stories.

The self-shadow, in the field, taking natural images. I'm still looking for an easy-to-learn photo amending program to have a go at producing my own book covers.

There are a range of cheap book covers available, but not cheap enough that I can afford to publish short stories using them. Nor are they really what I like.

I think it is becoming a case of DIYing, although the various professionals warn against that, saying that it doesn't convert into sales.

It's a quandary.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Stage 1 of Rejigging My Blog

Stage 1 of rejigging my blog is putting up a page dedicated to posts about Monster-Moored with a sample ...  


Chapter One: Tardi Possessed

Tardi stopped paddling. He sat up on his surfboard. He imagined his legs hanging in the sea, shark bait, and hurriedly compared the distances from himself, a dot in the bay, to Cape Byron in the southeast, the Quarry Lane ridge, and Mt Chincogan in the north.

He slid into the water and checked the undersea to the blue limits of his goggle-augmented sight. No, there weren’t any large grey marauders anywhere taking an interest in him. If there were, Polk loved to say, nature would have its way. No use agonizing over your death by shark before the fact. Tardi remained stupidly frightened of white pointers for a top surfer. The local sharks, grey nurses, were micro-chipped with human aversion technology. Up for a breath ....  

read the rest of this chapter here on the Monster-Moored dedicated page. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Writing a Synopsis

Storm Front over Cemetry
This pic is for the novel I'm trying to finish this year, Monster-Moored. In lieu of a surfer on his board I give you this snap of a storm front arriving. I'm still organizing getting some art.

I've been writing seriously for fifteen years this year and I have just achieved what I think is a good synopsis after composing hundreds of the contrary little critters.

Up to now I have tried to make do with summaries of facts. It never worked. Always too long, too much like writing the book again in short hand.

What is the use, I used to rail, I'm writing the book to find all this out.

This time, after some suggestions by Jeff Vandemeer in his Wonderbook, (link is to the Amazon sales page) I composed a net of connections between characters and saw finally what kind of story I was writing.

Wow! I am still agog over the insight provided by a simple diagram. Monster-moored is not at all the story I thought I was writing. I believed that what turned out to be the major theme, was a minor chord at most. The monster in the title is competing with at least three other characters for the major character's attention. The flavour is still science fantasy, as nearly all my stuff is, but the theme is love in all its guises.