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Monthly Archives: April 2018
#GetPublished Crave Publishing Accepting Short Story Submissions
Deadline is June 8, so don’t wait! I want to see your forbidden craving…
Conversation this morning…
Tom: So, do you want to do something today?
Me: (purses lips and gives side-eye) When would have been the right time to ask this question?
Because as a dedicated hermit, if I am venturing into the Out, I like to know in advance. Surprise excursions do not make me happy. A better approach is to suggest something to me at least the day before. “Hey, I was thinking we should (go over to check out Washington) (take the dogs to Flanner’s Beach) (go do lunch on the waterside deck at Persimmons) tomorrow.” This usually works better on me.
But today, I had an agenda.
Me: Well, I was thinking I wouldn’t mind going to Swansboro.
Tom: (registers slight surprise that I suggested anything at all, much less something he didn’t mind doing) Okay.
We’re in New Bern, NC, and the town’s only LYS (Local Yarn Shop) closed last year, before I discovered knitting. We have a Michael’s and now a Hobby Lobby, and I’ve bought a crap-ton of “big box store” yarn over the years. As a lifelong crocheter, those projects work up so fast and use more yarn, leading to more big projects like blankets and afghans, meaning really nice yarn with exotic fibers or hand-dyed yarn are cost-prohibitive. Knitting is slower (for me), more intricate, smaller projects, and a nice ball of yarn can last me a couple of weeks instead of half a day.
So off we went, heading for, naturally, The Salty Sheep Yarn Shop. Sad that the nearest LYS is nearly an hour away, but it’s a nice little coastal town and lots of great shops and restaurants along the water, so a great day trip.
I really should’ve asked names, because the woman in the shop (I assume the owner) was super friendly and helpful. I looked at some of her WIPs, bought the stitch markers she recommended, and began looking at the displays of completed projects. I found a shawl I liked that appeared to be something I could do. She told me it’s the Holden Shawl on Ravelry. It’s a paid pattern, but I used my phone and bought it right away.
Which led to the yarn. So. Much. Beautiful. Yarn! I could literally spend a thousand dollars without breaking a sweat, but confined myself to two twists each of two colors of Dream Smooshy with Cashmere (70% superwash merino wool, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon). I got “Mermaid Shoes” and “Burr.” Mermaid Shoes is my always favorite purple/green/blue combo, and Burr is a more beachy blue/brown theme.
Imagine my delight when I learned a good LYS will wind the twists into cakes for free. Love those special little touches that equal outstanding service. Takes some of the sting out of paying $32 for a 4-ounce twist of yarn.
We walked through the waterfront downtown, in and out of shops, then had a nice lunch at the Saltwater Grill, sitting on the screened deck overlooking the water. Conch fritters and a tangy potato salad hit the spot!
Not a bad lunchtime view.
Before we could leave, though, I had to return to Silver Line.
It was the first shop I popped into on the way to The Salty Sheep, and the second I stepped in, I was drawn to a jewelry display at the back of the room. Sterling settings with bright sky blue stones swirled through with white. I’d never seen anything like it before, like the perfect summer sky at the beach with some high, wispy clouds.
Hmm. One has a nice Celtic band.
Hmm. It also happens to fit my right ring finger perfectly.
Inquired about the price. Cried a little inside.
It turns out the stone is called Larimar, which comes from Larissa (daughter of the guy who discovered it in the 1970s) and Mar, which is Spanish for sea. It’s found only in one very specific area in the Caribbean, and how much of it there actually is remains unknown. But I reallllllllly liked it.
Went about my shopping day, but couldn’t stop thinking about that ring.
Realized tomorrow is pay day, so screw it. MINE.
And now I’m home, and these two missed me. Apparently.
Checked in on work, so now I can get back to the shawl-in-progress using Knit Picks Chroma (in “drawing room”) that I’ve been working on. Because the sooner I finish it, the sooner I can play with my beeeeeeee-youuuuuu-teeeeee-ful new cashmere blend.
This is weird. As an author and editor, “WIP” means a manuscript in publishing.
Yesterday was a soaker. It rained all morning and into the afternoon like Mother Nature had pulled the flusher on a giant atmospheric toilet tank. The Direwolves, sadly, still have to go outside when we get up, regardless. When they come in, Mozzie always thinks I’m going to dry him (I rarely bother) and runs to his safe place, which happens to be my bed. Funzies. They spent much of the day first watching the rain…
And later watching “Squirrel TV.”
I got through my work-related tasks as fast as I could, because I’d ended Monday night with a knitting clusterfluff. I should have stopped before I did, but I wanted to do the row of eyelet in my WIP shawl. Doing the knit row after to secure the eyelets, I moved wrong and dropped several stitches from the left needle.
I picked up what I could see the best I could, but I knew I had lost stitches. The question was where. So yesterday I knitted across and then counted to see how many stitches I’d lost. Looked like two, one on either side of the center markets. I added an increase on each side of that row to compensate, and moved ahead.
After a few rows, I examined the piece and saw three dropped stitches. I grabbed a hook and looped them back into secure positions, brought the last up to the current row, clipped it with a marker, and worked it into the next row. I was pretty proud of myself.
I didn’t have a lifeline, despite my new ChiaGoo circulars having the handy eye in the base to allow you to knit a line right in, because it ends up through my center markers and gets pulled along to each new row somehow. And I’m around 150 stitches per row right now, and too lazy to do one manually with a tapestry needle. But I probably should.
The good news is the mistake is the stitches adjacent to the center eyelets, and so very hard to detect. The bad news is I’ve never used stitch markers before, so the eyelets themselves are not very even because I find it awkward to work around the markers. I hope I can fix that somewhat during blocking. If you have tips for working around markers, or the best kind of marker to use, I’m all ears.
My other WIP is the travel scarf, but I haven’t done more on it since sitting on–and breaking–my wood needle a few nights ago. I ordered a replacement.
I’m already plotting another project, but not sure what. Another shawl? Start to learn cables? If you have a good starter cable pattern, let me know!
Now, a bit more work and a few chores, and I’ll see what adventures await in my knitting education today. 🙂
Adventures in Knitting
I finished my edit on Friday, so I had a nice weekend of knitting and sort-of gardening. I used to do a pair of three-tiered beds along the fence, but the Direwolves think that’s a jungle gym, and I’m really too lazy to drag the hose over there, especially when it’s hot and humid. So this year I put some tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, eggplant, and red and green peppers in containers on the deck.
The rainbow scarf came out to nine feet long, and is now blocked. It needs a home, though. Hoping one of my friends will speak up and offer to adopt it.
I did some work on my “travel” feather and fan scarf…
And then this happened…
That’s the result of getting up to make a snack then returning and plopping your rump on the couch without looking first. It was my size 6 from my brand new Knit Picks Caspian Wood set. I ordered a replacement. I do have a pair of size 6 metal needles, but I kind of wanted to do something else, anyway, so I started my first shawl.
I like this pattern because it does a number of rows in garter, then some in stockingette, a couple in eyelet, and there are some lace sections I haven’t gotten to yet. I have some concerns, though. Tell me what you think.
The blue tail at the bottom should be the back point and the part on the needles is working up to the wide top edge. This is my first time using circular needles, but this isn’t what I thought it would look like. My stitch count is correct, but it arches at the top. If I try to pull the top edge into a straight line, the bottom cups up. Is this something that just happens while it’s on the needles, and it will flatten into a triangle either as it grows or when I cast off? Fingers crossed!
I had a cancellation I wasn’t able to fill in time, so I have no edit this week. As long as I stay on top of my managerial tasks, I should have lots of time to knit this week!
It’s been a busy work week, with an edit that keeps finding new ways to befuddle me and other assorted projects, but I’ve been finding time to knit. I’ve also been binge watching Eureka. It’s been long enough since I first saw it that it is like new, and I totally love it.
I’m finally nearing completion on the never-ending rainbow scarf, thank goodness! It’s my third official knitting project, and it’s gonna need a home soon. As you can see, it’s super long, but I had to use one full cake of the Lion Brand Mandala yarn to get the full colorway. I’m pondering which friend would appreciate it. Maybe someone who would wear it for Pride events?
Then there’s the “travel project” I took to Supply with me on Monday. I haven’t worked on it again this week so I can finish the rainbow scarf, but can’t wait to get back to it. So pretty!
I’m already thinking ahead to my next project, though I’m not sure what it will be yet. I splurged on a full set of ChiaGoo circular needles, so I want to use them, and I also want to expand my skills. I’m thinking a shawl, though I don’t even wear shawls, because I want to make something that’s not square or rectangular. I also want to learn to cable, though. I want to know everything, right now, and that’s frustrating for an overachiever like me.
And let’s not forget sweaters! I want to make a sleeveless summer top, and am browsing patterns for that as well. Sleeveless, scoop neck, hip length, probably in a soft cotton-bamboo blend. Knitting is so much slower than crochet, so it’s hard to guess how long all this will take. If only work didn’t keep getting in the way of craft time…
My personal space bubble is getting wider and thicker as I get older. Growing up, back when I still cared about fitting in and being like everyone else, hugs were automatic, if not enjoyed. Everybody hugs, right? But why?
Honestly, I don’t like to be touched at all, unless you are a dog, in which case snuggles are mandatory and you can sit on my lap, climb me like a mountain, lick my face, and I will skritch you anywhere you would like to be skritched.
Him, I will hug. Probably more than he would prefer.
I have to have an eye exam soon, and after that I desperately need to schedule what I’m sure will be the first of a long series of painful, face-touching appointments. I’m going to need lots of drugs. The really good kind. Partially for the expected nerve-searing agony, but also because I’ll be super stressed out having people touching me.
I don’t even get my hair cut and colored anymore because there is literally no way to accomplish this without being touched, and it is also customary to chat with the stylist. I have decided to embrace the gray and see it as a fashion choice rather than advancing crone-hood. I grab my craft scissors every couple of months and whack off the dead ends and call it good.
I don’t go to the doctor, and I haven’t gotten a new tattoo in three years. These both involve way too much personal contact. I don’t want people to shake my hand or touch my arm when we’re talking. Honestly, I’m not really a fan of the talking part either, but if we can do it at a reasonable distance, I’ll probably survive. Recommended distance = text me from your house. No, don’t call. I don’t answer the phone. Phone calls are like your voice touching my ears.
No manicures or pedicures, and forget massages, because that is professional, therapeutic touching, and it’s not happening. Ever.
Still, hugging is expected, and people who enjoy it can’t comprehend that not everybody is okay with it. Any group event…so much hugging. Friends hug greetings, people meeting for the first time are all “Oh my gosh, I’m so glad to finally meet you!” Hug.
And family…the hug machine cranks into overdrive. This is when I most often have to give in, because not hugging family you haven’t seen in a while is apparently offensive. Or something. I’m not really sure, because figuring out people is not my strong suit.
I try to limit hug exposure by hanging back until everyone seems to have the hugs out of their systems, then slip into the group unobtrusively. With farewell hugs, the best strategy is to edge to the outer perimeter of the group, sidling toward the door or your car, and hope a friendly wave will do. (Spoiler alert: It almost never does.)
In addition to all the anxiety I have about leaving the house and the Direwolves, the conversations I’ll have to participate in, whether there will be any adult beverages to numb some of my neurological worry centers, if I’m dressed appropriately to blend in and not attract unwanted attention, if I’ll have to use someone’s bathroom (I have developed extraordinary bladder control to avoid this situation)…I don’t really want to have to factor in hug-avoidance. But failure to remain vigilant results in far too much person-to-person contact.
It’s not that I don’t care about all these huggy people. I do. I am happy to see them. I’m stressed about it, but I’m happy. I just don’t want people inside my safety-bubble.
I’m not a germophobe. My lackadaisical attitude toward household sanitation guarantees my immune system is regularly challenged by all manner of microscopic threats and is in top working order. My aversion to touching people isn’t due to fear of illness. I just don’t like it, and I’m at an age where I’m about out of rats’ asses to give about whether I’m socially acceptable.
The struggle is real.
Paying For Saturday
I did a whole lot of nothing yesterday, other than wash our bedding and knit. Today has been much busier. Morning house chores, got a batch of dog treats in the dehydrator (Super easy two-ingredient “recipe” HERE), wrangled work email, figured out how to use my new scanner and scanned and emailed some photos, and I have a huge pot of pasta sauce simmering so I can assemble a couple of pans of lasagna to take to a family gathering out of town tomorrow.
Now, while the sauce simmers, I can finally knit! I am still working on my super-long rainbow scarf, but started a new one yesterday that is still small enough to take with me tomorrow. So far…
It’s a feather and fan scarf (pattern HERE), using Premiere Serenity yarn by Deborah Norville, in the “sea” colorway. I love this yarn. I made a window treatment with it several years ago, found a ball of it in my stash over the winter, and ordered a bunch more. I’m also using my brand new Knit Picks Caspian wood straight needles, and I love them. The surface has just the right texture for a 2 weight yarn, not as slippery as metal, but more grip than regular bamboo.
There’s a marathon of Season 8 of The Walking Dead, and I’ll alternate between that and a re-watch of an old favorite, Eureka, while I knit. Tonight is the season finale of TWD, as well as the premiere of the new season of Fear the Walking Dead. I can’t wait! I host a live chat on Facebook, and it’s sure to be a ton of fun tonight.
It’s raining off and on, with storms expected later, so it’s a good day for cooking, knitting, and TV. Even rainy, though, it’s a huge step up from our old home in Minnesota, which we fled 4 1/2 years ago. They got over a foot of snow yesterday! Nope, I don’t miss that even a little.
Quiet, Crafty Saturday
Today sort of feels like a “me” day. Work email tends to be light on weekends, and I don’t have a new edit until Tuesday. The only productive thing I’m doing today is washing bedding, because these happy puppy-faces have paws full of yard-sand, which tends to transfer to the sheets, and while it might seem like a great idea to do full-body exfoliation while you sleep, it’s not as pleasant as one might think.
“Morning, Mama! Does your skin feel smooth and revitalized? Good. Now, go make breakfast.”
Tomorrow will be busier, with making dog treats, scanning some photos, and preparing a couple of lasagnas to take to a family event on Monday. But today, I’m going to chill.
Surely the sign of age and a small sphere of existence (by choice), I’m disproportionately excited about new knitting needles. I ordered a full set of ChiaGoo circulars which should have arrived Thursday since I have Amazon Prime, but tracking showed they won’t arrive until Monday. In compensation, Amazon is extending our Prime membership by a month. So, yesterday I ordered a full set of Knit Picks Caspian Wood straight needles and paid the extra for next day delivery. See if this boggles your mind as much as it did mine.
- Ordered 11:33 a.m. yesterday.
- 6:29 p.m. the package left Chattanooga.
- 9:48 p.m. it arrived in Knoxville.
- 11:46 p.m. it left Knoxville.
- 12:33 a.m. it arrived in Louisville.
- 4:42 a.m. it left Louisville.
- 5:54 a.m. it was in Raleigh.
- 7:13 a.m. it left Raleigh.
- 7:15 it was in Havelock and out for delivery, which means it must have missed a scan somewhere, because Havelock is more than 2 minutes from Raleigh.
- Delivered to me in New Bern at 10:30 a.m.
23 hours to get what I want from Tennessee to my doorstep. Pretty cool.
This is what I’m planning today. As you can see, the rainbow scarf is now more-than-couch-length, but I’m in the home stretch. I’m on the blue, which will go back to green then a bit of yellow, and done. I need to find someone who’s into the whole rainbow thing and long scarves to give it a home.
I wanted these straight needles so quickly because we’ll be traveling about 2.5 hours away on Monday for a day trip family event thing. The scarf is too long and cumbersome for travel-knitting, so I want to start something else small to keep me busy and help me deal with the anxiety of socializing. I’m going to do a new fan and feather scarf, though I swore I was done with scarves for now, but I need the ChiaGoo circulars to arrive before I start anything bigger, like a baby blanket or small afghan.
How beautiful are these? Seriously! And I like the feel of them. Smoother than the typical bamboo needles, but a bit more texture than aluminum or steel.
I have quite a bit of this favorite yarn, Premier Serenity by Deborah Norville, colorway “Sea.” It’s a 2 weight and calls for a size 6 needle, and my aluminum 6 needles are currently full of rainbow scarf.
I might end up using a different size, depending on how my test swatch looks, because I want a lacy look…
But at least whatever I decide, I know I now have the right size needle for my project!
Contest For Wattpad Authors!
We at Limitless Publishing are holding a Twitter Pitch Party for Wattpad authors, and winners will earn a publishing contract with us! I’ll be one of the team reviewing pitches, which is always very exciting and a ton of fun. While LP focuses heavily on romance and all romance sub-genres, I’m especially interested in dystopian, urban fantasy, fantasy, and paranormal.
Read on for details…
Wattpad authors, we want to publish your work!
Enter our contest for a chance to win a publishing contract with Limitless Publishing!
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
12 PM EST – 6 PM EST
Twitter! Using the hashtag:#Pit2LPWattpad
Here are the contest guidelines:
~ Submit your pitch to us on TWITTER using the hashtag: #Pit2LPWattpad. If you do not use this hashtag, we will not be able to see your pitch.
#NA = New Adult
#P = Paranormal
#PNR = Paranormal Romance
#WF = Woman’s Fiction
#E = Erotica or Erotic Romance
#CR = Contemporary Romance
#HF = Historical Fiction
#HR = Historical Romance
#W = Western
#WR = Western Romance
#T = Thriller
#SF = Science Fiction
#F = Fantasy
#S = Suspense
#RS = Romantic Suspense
If @limitlessbooks favorites your Tweet: CONGRATULATIONS! Your pitch captivated us! Please submit a manuscript to email@example.com
Follow submission guidelines when submitting your manuscript. You can read more about those here: http://www.limitlesspublishing.net/submissions/#guidelines
Please DO NOT favorite any pitches. Only @limitlessbooks will be doing so.
After the contest closes, all entries will be evaluated objectively by the submissions team. The winning author will be notified via email upon being chosen and then a public announcement will be made.
Your tweet should include #Pit2LPWattpad + your pitch + your genre using the hashtags explained above + the link to your Wattpad author profile.
Be kind. Be courteous. Be professional.
Have fun and good luck!