Category Archives: Crafts

About what I make with my hands

3 Things Knitting Taught Me About Writing

I haven’t been knitting that much lately because I’m so busy, but I do try to do a little once in a while. My collection is mostly comprised of lace shawls and scarves; I don’t really do sweaters because I’m scared of all the math.

In any case, there are a lot of parallels you can make between writing and knitting.

1. You need to prepare yourself

You can’t just start knitting. You need to choose a pattern, the right needles and the proper yarn. You need to take out any accessories you might need and keep them near you.

Most of the time, writing also requires preparation. Your pattern is your genre, your needles are your style and your yarn is your words. You also need to figure out your audience, their expectations and their knowledge: these are your tools.

If you’re prepared, you will have an easier time writing through the piece. Take the time to do the proper research; there’s nothing worse than running out of yarn because you miscalculated your yardage!

2. Don’t be afraid to frog

In knit-speak, frogging means un-knitting or ripping your piece. A lot of knitters hate frogging because it means going back on your work. However, frogging often means correcting mistakes and making a piece perfect.

In writing, you need to be ready to “frog” your pieces. You need to be willing to go back on sentences, paragraphs or sections and redo them entirely. It might seem depressing at first, but the final results might just be better.

3. Practice makes perfect

You don’t start knitting complex lace pieces on the first try. When I look at my first garter stitch scarf, I thought, “how could I have made mistakes like this?” I just got better at it, that’s all.

Writing is the same. The more you do it, the better you get at it. Early pieces might seem clumsy and awkward as you write more, but they are milestones on your path to better writing.

Do you knit? How does knitting relate to your writing?

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Good nouvelles, bad nouvelles

Well no, not really. Nothing really bad happened, except for my not doing anything productive today. I played Persona 4 for the whole day, and did laundry. And dishes.

I also got a call for a job I had applied to weeks ago; the woman told me the response was overwhelming. But this time I at least got an interview! I doubt it pays as well as the computer lab jobs, so hopefully I’ll hear from the lab before I get an answer for this one. It’s a customer service position that would let me do part time, which is awesome. She said I was on the “interview” pile. Yay me! The competition is incredible in this town. Seriously.

My shawl is advancing well, but it’ll still be quite a while until I am done. The yarn has been behaving better for the last few rows, which saves me a lot of untangling time.

I am late on my PhD apps work; I still need to finish editing this paper. Grant applications and letter requests are coming fast; I should get on that in the next few weeks. My life isn’t very hectic or busy, but I hope I will get more motivation to do stuff when classes actually start.

This is it for today’s daily ranting…

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Shawl we?

A knitting update: I have taken a fancy to knitting shawls and wraps lately. I have ordered quite a few books from Amazon, my favourite of which is Victorian Lace Today. I had not been a lace knitter before but I really fell in love with this book. I’d rather wear a shawl than a coat if the temperature will let me, so having a good variety of them will be nice!

I am currently doing the one named “A Handsome Triangle”. Here’s a picture of what it looks like for the moment:

DSC05824

Of course it looks silly because it hasn’t been blocked. I have been having trouble with my otherwise very nice Hand Maiden Mini Maiden yarn: it tangles a lot and little bits of wool make the strands stick together and it messes up the whole handmade center-pull ball thing. I spend as much time detangling the stuff as I do knitting it up.

But then I suppose it’s a good thing, since the longer it takes me to knit it the longer it’ll take until I need to buy more yarn for another project.

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Overdue update

Last week was not a good time for me to update regularly: I finally realized that I was on the way to developing an eating disorder and needed a few days to deal with that. I’m lucky to have a counsellor at school; she helped me figure it out and she lent me a book.

Anyway, so Friday I went on a destination-less bike ride on the Galloping Goose trail. I was out for about an hour and a half, and it was nice except for the really cold wind. I didn’t get to see anything really beautiful since I didn’t go very far; I basically went through the shipyards, an industrial lot and followed the highway. I’ll try and go further every week, or even try the Lochside trail. Next time I’ll take my camera with me and take some pictures!

I finished one of the books on my list; Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; I will write a review shortly. I’ve also been invited to give another talk at the VISAWC-VISAWUS conference in October in Vancouver; it will basically be the same thing as the one for San Francisco. Also, my Caribbean lit. class ended on a great note: A+. I could publish the final paper with a bit more theoretical work and a bit of editing, especially the last, redundant part.

I finished one crochet project, my scarf, and started another one, a bag; there is still one thing I need to do to finish the bag so I will post the pictures for the scarf:

This is a picture of the general thing. Here’s another one, close-up to see the stitch work:

What’s cool with crochet is that you can work any lenght without worries about needle (or hook) width. So I basically worked this scarf lenghtwise, 240 stitches in total, and 15 rows. It’s a nice, neutral color that will fit with any coat or pull.

This morning I started yoga again, seeing how my body felt tight and completely disconnect for the last month of mostly intellectual work. I did my 40-minute DVD and felt great after. I’d forgotten how good yoga is as much a workout as any gym routine. I’ll stick to this one for a while, and gradually lengthen the routines with the ton of available free podcasts or new DVDs.

It’s a gorgeous, warm day today in Victoria, and I biked to the tailor to get my boyfriend’s stuff back, and I didn’t need a third layer. So I’m back on the exercise track, and hopefully on the normal eating track again as well.

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Hooking up with crochet

While waiting for my KnitPicks order to arrive (two sets of needles–straights and circulars! blocking material!), I decided to learn crocheting.

It’s actually pretty easy, and with the help of my Dummies book as well as Coralie from the Bitchy Bees, I got a grip on it pretty fast. I’m currently working on a scarf (more yarn! yay!), and it looks very nice. It’s going to be more of a show-off scarf than an actual get-warm scarf, since it’s pretty holey. I’ll post pictures, as usual, when I’m done.

Crocheting is definitely slower than knitting, but it’s more versatile I feel. You can go in a number of directions, which knitting doesn’t allow. I like it, and I like that knowing both will let me do more things than just one or the other.

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Now with a lot of time…

I finished the scarf for Tassie yesterday, as well a re-knitted my boyfriend’s beanie with smaller needles (the original was too big). Here is a picture of the scarf:dsc05553I made a few mistakes in it, inattention mostly. But all in all it looks pretty good I think. It still hasn’t been blocked, I haven’t received my package from KnitPicks yet. I’m hoping this week, fingers crossed. Also until I get my package I can’t start on my new projects, a felted bag and my first garment! I am waiting for two sets of needles as well, and it’ll be a waste of money to buy a pair while waiting for the stuff to come in the mail. While I’m waiting I suppose I’ll get started on learning crochet; I have one and a half skeins of white bulky wool that I could use for practice.

In other news, I survived my last paper–I am no sophisticated theorist, and it is the best I could ever do. I’m not especially proud of it, but hey, can’t be a top writer about everything. It’ll just teach me to stay away from this kind of stuff in the future. Now I am off school until September, officially, but I still have to start reading for my thesis and to find something proper for my PhD applications.

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Part of the gang

I just received words from the presiding officer of the Literature and the Other Arts panel at the 2009 PAMLA conference. My paper was accepted in the panel! I am going to San Francisco in November!

My work fits in really well in this panel, so I’m not especially surprised, but it’s still nice to see that I am now considered on the same level as established scholars. It is really, really cool :) My first conference was as an undergrad, where only your undergrad friends and their profs came, whereas the grad/scholar panels were well-attended. Having work professionally recognized is really awesome.

In other news, I have now finished my boyfriend’s beanie (yes I have been procrastinating and knitting instead of reading. But I got sick today so I am taking it easy, and tomorrow I will read up a storm and write something potentially viable for Tuesday. Hopefully. Fingers crossed.) dsc05552It’s much simpler than I thought to knit with a circular needle, and the yarn I chose is really soft and hopefully warm!

I have also started a friend’s scarf, picture of which will come, of course, when I’m done!

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