I’ve liked the concept of temperature blankets and scarves ever since I first heard about them. The idea is you crochet (or knit I guess) one row for each day of the year to a color guide showing the change in temperature. What I didn’t care for was the straight red, orange, yellow. . . to blue color scheme. Not that I don’t like those colors, but I didn’t think I’d like a huge blanket in those colors. Or at least, I didn’t love the ones I saw.
Then sometime in December last year I saw one where they had decided they too would like a temperature blanket, but one that would match their room. So they used, I think it was a lot of reds, burgundy, tan and some greys. It was very pretty. So I decided I’d make one and use my favorite colors instead of the traditional choices.
This is January. Greys are the coldest, you can see the warmer week there of greens and that strangely weirdly warm day in pink. Yesterday warmed up again into that green row at the top. When we get into the warmer months it will move into the pinks and browns with maybe some yellow if we get the super hot days. I was prepared to go into maybe a purple if we ever got colder than the dark grey zone I made, but it doesn’t look like we’ll probably go there.
So far I am happy with these colors. I worried I’d get bored with something I needed to keep up with every day. So far I’m still having fun with it, but there are day’s I’m too tired, so I do two rows the next day or three the day after that. But I’m generally keeping up without it feeling like a chore so far. We’ll see how that feels in the heat of summer to work on a big heavy crochet blanket.
I’m using the moss stitch because I read it was a good choice to keep it from getting too long. 365 rows is a lot. January measures at about 7 inches so the finished length would be around 84 inches witch sound like a good size to me, although I’ll probably add a boarder at the end so the edges look cleaner. What color the boarder will be is a big question. . .for another day.
I mentioned in my post about my 2020 accomplishments that I had started submitting short stories again. Really, it was only one story, and some of the markets took months to reply, so it had just been out to a few places so far. I’m also making myself send it to dream magazines and websites despite the temptation to send it somewhere with less competition. It’ll probably take longer to find it a home this way, but you don’t know if you don’t try. Right? And I’m not in a hurry.
It would be nice to send out more though. I do have a second story I’m just finishing that I’ll be sending out soon, but I’m not a fast writer. Some writer folks I follow on Twitter talk about submitting, and I find the chatter encouraging. Some give themselves challenges of submitting on a schedule, or I saw one that wanted to submit something for 14 days in a row. I was amazed. Who has 14 things ready to submit? (Probably a lot of people actually, but I was still impressed). I’m a little embarrassed to admit, that I just recently figured out that some of the things they sent out were reprints. It seems so obvious now, but I’ve only ever been on the outskirts of the publishing world, peeking in here and there. But that’s what writers do. They sell things again if they can.
Then my next revelation came: I have previously published stories. The contracts on them are long ended. I could (theoretically) sell reprints too. That would be a fun way to get more out there without killing myself trying to produce more faster. So that’s a goal this week. Do some market research for reprints. Maybe one day I will know all the ins and outs and feel more confident, but in the meantime, this is how I learn.
Here’s hoping I’ll have a sale to announce sometime in 2021.
The other day I was thinking about 2020, and instead of dredging up all the awful from the year, I wanted to think about good things that happened, or things I’m proud of. Because even in rough, uncertain, and chaotic times, good things can happen too, and I wanted to remember my personal achievements.
I started submitting stories again. Well, ok. . . just one story, and it has only gone out a couple times, but considering I haven’t submitted anything for years, this was a significant step for me. I have a second that will join it soon, and I have plans for more.
I had several good writing streaks. There was also time when I didn’t write. When I just wasn’t up for it. But I wrote more than I had in awhile, and when I wrote, I enjoyed it. So I believe the rests were necessary.
We started a family D & D game. This is something we’ve wanted to do for awhile, but none of us knew how to play, and were intimated at trying to start on our own. But there was a pandemic, so we couldn’t turn to strangers to learn. So we decided not to care if we were doing it ‘right’. We would just do it. Family fun is being had. I’m pretty sure we’re goofing a lot of rules up, but there is great serenity in not caring.
I have cleaned up and reclaimed my garden. This has brought me much more joy than I anticipated it would. Now i want to grow all the things, and somehow I keep finding space, but am bracing myself for when I can’t cram any more in. Not there yet though, so I keep calling the local nursery and checking if they have grapes in yet.
There might be more, but those are things that come to mind, and those are enough to make me happy and proud. I’m going to throw in a homeschooling tip here that I feel is connected. Starting in Kindergarten, I helped my girls make a scrapbook each year of things they had done. Family things, school things, personal things. Field trips, recitals, scout and club gatherings, birthday parties, artwork, etc. There is always a time when we felt we didn’t do enough. That we had used our time poorly, or goofed off too much. Then we would have the scrapbook. Looking through it always made them proud. Look at all they had done this year! Wasn’t it great? Remember that hike? Look how much my handwriting improved since September!
While caught up in the grind of life it’s so easy to forget how much you really do. The good things. I think it’s worth taking the time to remember them.
One of the doctors I work with had a beloved pitty named Panda who recently passed away. I decided to make a little doll for her as a gift, but I had a lot of other tings going on, so it was taking a long time. Then she announced she would be leaving our hospital at the end of 2020 to work at a specialist practice. So on top of finishing the three pokemon I was making for the kids, I needed to finish Panda ASAP. Luckily, I had an extra week after Christmas to get him completed, and had him ready to give to her on her last day with us.
This one turned out better than my previous attempt at making a Pitbull amigurumi and I figured out why. When I made that first one, I was on the wrong page for the type of muzzle I thought I was making. That’s it. I was using the wrong pattern. I love the AmiguruMe Pets book, and that’s what I used. It has patterns for various head sizes and shapes, different bodies, legs, tails, ears, etc. so you can make any breed you want. I just turned to the wrong muzzle page and didn’t notice. This one used the appropriate face pattern for a pitty. Much better.
Last but not least, is Umbreon. This was for my youngest kiddo. I liked (and they did too) that I gave them Umbreon and Espeon together. The kiddo added the bow, and I didn’t want to take it off since she was loaning it back to me for the photo.
While I love the way it turned out, and I think it looks really great, making this one has made me vow that I’m not making anything out of black yarn again for a very long time. If ever. It is so hard to see the stitches. The lighting in my room is not ideal, and I was trying to make it in secret, so nights would have worked out better. Except it was hopeless to see well enough at night. This was made in many sessions on my lunch break at work, sitting in my car.
As with the other two Eeveelutions, the pattern is from Shea Crochet.
This Espeon went to my oldest kiddo, and I think it’s my favorite of the amigurumi I made this year. There is a doubled over pipe cleaner in the tail, but I don’t think I stuck that far enough into the body of the doll because it isn’t strong enough to hold itself up. Still, it is somewhat poseable and that’s fun.
I decided to go back to the traditional route for my Christmas amigurumi this year. The first several years I made these, they were always Pokemon. For Mother’s Day, my sister got me several eeveelution patterns from Shea crochet. Maybe it was the Mother’s Day before last. Honestly, time has become meaningless, hasn’t it?
Anyway, I had been wanting to make them, and now was the perfect opportunity. They all turned out more time consuming and more complex than I had anticipated, or really had time for, but once I get an idea, I have trouble letting it go. So I plowed forward.
For my niece, I made Vaporeon. It was the easiest just because I didn’t have to hide it from my kids, and could work on it openly. It took me a little while to get the eyes and mouth to look the way I wanted. The face is so important to the finial doll. I also feel the side fins on her head are not as tilted up as they should be. It isn’t perfect, but I’m happy with the end result and she got a big hug when she was unwrapped (that I got to watch over Zoom. Thanks pandemic.)
I’m sort of giving up on NaNoWriMo this year. I started off behind and stayed there. For awhile I was only a little behind, enough that if I really put in some extra work I could catch up. So I tried to do that. But Last week I started to not feel well, and to sleep poorly. I was having stress about how I would have time to get my extra words in and all the other things I need to be doing. My house was disgusting (even worse than normal).
So I’m no longer going to try to catch up. Now I am making it my goal to continue to write every day until the end. And the past three days have felt much better. I’m getting my life obligations mostly dealt with and I’m making good progress on the novel (but in a 500-1000 word a day pace instead of a 2500 word a day pace I would need to catch up.)
I have won NaNoWriMo once so I know the level of work it takes, and I know I can do it, but I’ve decided the cost is not one I can afford this year. As usual, I’m very happy I signed up and tried, and I’m going to continue working. I’ve gotten far enough in to better understand my characters, and I’m getting to the more fun parts of the story (the first 5000- 8000 will probably get cut). In fact, I might make it my goal to continue the daily writing at whatever word count I can handle each day until the first draft is completed instead of just through November. The NaNo website stat page tells me at this pace I will finish 50,000 words on Dec 18th, but I’m sure I’ll need many more words than that to finish.
So I will still log on for some sprints, still love the community and the goals, but I’m adjusting for my health. I’m grateful that it got me started on a book that I’d kept putting off beginning work on though. That’s worth it.
I think it turned out pretty adorable. I used this pattern from Danielle Holke at Knit Hacker (there is a link to their Raverly to get the actual pattern.) It made up very quick. My little Yoda arms look different, maybe a little bigger than the pattern to me and that makes the scarf part sit a little differently too. Perhaps I overstuffed. I tend to stuff very firm, and that isn’t always the best choice.
I will now be embarking on my Christamas Amigurumi Projects. I keep coming up with new ideas, and I still have another co-worker that I’m trying to make a amigurumi version of their dog for them, so I’m beginning to worry about running out of time. With the big time commitment that is NaNoWriMo, the overwhelm is starting, when really, all of this is supposed to be fun.
I’m good at that- taking relaxing hobbies and making them stressful. But I have 5 1/2 weeks until Christmas, so I will do some thinking and decide what I can handle and go from there. For now, I’m off to get me NaNo word count in for today!
It’s the first day of NaNoWriMo, so naturally, I’m procrastinating by writing a blog post and looking for a fun word progress widget since the official NaNoWriMo website doesn’t have them anymore. I finished up my short outline last night. Just the 7 point plan style, and the last couple points are sort of ‘I don’t know how they get to this point, but here’s what I’d like to happen here’. It will be interesting to play and figure out how to get there along the way.
I don’t try to stay up and start writing at midnight anymore. Not after a full workday. I just don’t have it in me. So I’m starting today.
13295 / 50000 words. 1% done!
I found this widget here, then I got to do some googling to learn how to get a html code to work on my WordPress blog. Something I guess I hadn’t done before now because I couldn’t get it to work at first. I like learning new things, but time to stop procrastinating and start drafting!
P.S. I’m karabu over at NaNoWriMo.org if anyone is looking for a writing buddy.