It’s been a…difficult few weeks here at Chez Goth. An understatement, really, but I get inappropriately sweary when I think about what’s been going on. So difficult it is.

I’ve been dealing with it by distracting myself. Music, spinning/spinning prep, knitting, crochet, cross-stitch. Distractions.

My favorite distraction so far, the Steotchalong 2016, is almost over. It really has been fun, and the theme is one I’ve been hoping for for 4 Steotchalongs now.

The next-to-last part of the Mystery Steotchalong 2016.
The next-to-last part of the Mystery Steotchalong 2016.

Just a few words left to go, and it’ll be ready to frame.

I’ve also been working on something that I keep putting off. It’s a crochet pattern, Asphyxiation, by Severina (Aundrea Murphy). Originally published on The Anticraft! back in August-ish 2006, it’s something that I’ve been wanting to make for a while. In fact, I’ve started and ripped it out at least a dozen times from then to now. I also have Just Enough linen handspun to finish. Coincidences FTMFW! I want to wait until I block the body of the choker to take a blog picture. Right now I’m almost finished with the Irish rose for the middle. It’s not black – it’s bright blue – but I’d like to make another one with black commercial crochet cotton. Just so I can say I’ve done it.

For music, I’ve found Mixlr and am trying to figure out what I’d like to play. There’s also going through the Clara Schumann Book of Secrets for the piano. I will master the 3 Romances if it kills me.

That’s pretty much it. Just things to keep me occupied and not thinking about What If and What May Happen.

Starting Something New

I began a new day job last week – this is my 10th day and I’m still there. So that’s something. It’s not the field that I expected to be working in – it’s an inbound call center – but the subject is close to what I’d ultimately like my day job to be. So it’s good for as long as I can hang in there.

There were three knitters there when I first started; two of us are left. I’ve brought my drop spindle to work, but the resulting yarn has been…less than inspiring. It’s the llama hair my sister got me for Giftmas last year. Not the type of thing you want to wear as a T-shirt, but I’d like to make it into a bag. Possibly. The color is lovely; a cinnamon-brown that is really pretty, and I’d like to make something out of this. I don’t think the mini spindle is the right tool for the job. The hummingbird Wooly Designs might be a better idea, but I can’t really take that to work with me.

Probably the hardest part of my job is the hours. For the first month I’ll be working the bright-and-early shift, which means I wake up before anybody else in the house. It also means I have to be in bed before everybody in the house, at least until high school starts next week. Next week! Yikes! My baby taking another step away from home. The other challenge is…well…being around normal people. This is not easy. There are a couple of other awkward people in my training group, but being awkward and all, we have a difficult time talking to each other. Ah, the joys of being Not Normal.

There are a couple of friendly people, like there are anywhere. So we’ll see what happens. Meanwhile, I need to find something to work on. I’ve been thinking of Asphyxiation with some bright blue handspun linen. The interior motif is easy enough to work on without too much concentration.

The Circus is Back (Thank Goodness it’s not Here)

This is the week of the Republican Party’s National Convention in the US. When I was younger, politics was like a game. A weird, sometimes hilariously funny, mysterious game where the winner and loser didn’t really matter, because the world still went on.

Then Donald Trump decided he was going to run. For President. Now it’s not so much of a game anymore.

8 years ago, Barack Obama, the junior Senator from Illinois, won the election for President of the US. Some people said it was the end of racism in our country, because we finally had a Black President. As it turned out, not so much. There were questions about where he was born, because if he had a Kenyan father, he couldn’t possibly be One of Us. There were questions about whether or not he was a Socialist. (On a personal note, it is a dream of your blogmistress to actually have a socialist president. But I don’t think our country is ready for that today.) He had more threats to his person and his family than any president in my living memory who hadn’t actually been assassinated. But he kept going, no matter what horrific racist garbage was tossed his way. The Democratic National Convention was held not far from us and it was amazing. Even with police roughing up protestors and keeping the press at arm’s length whenever possible, it was amazing. I don’t remember where the Republican convention was that year, but it was pretty entertaining.

And 8 years later, we’re getting political party conventions again. The Republican convention is, from my personal perspective, a horror show. I cannot describe it in any other way. It was so bad that the Colorado delegation walked off the convention floor em masse on the first day.

Let me say that a little slower. A. Delegation of elected delegates. Walked. Off. The convention. Floor.

The cover story was that “they were going to dinner”. At 4 in the afternoon. Of course.

The next day, when the official verbal vote count went out, the results told the true story. Out of Colorado’s 37 electoral votes, 31 votes went to Ted Cruz, later amended to 33. 2 delegates abstained. The other 4 voted for Trump, now the official Republican party nominee for President.

That’s not even mentioning the blatant racism, sexism, and homophobia proudly on display over the past few days. Like the dinosaurs howling their last after the cataclysmic event that brought their demise, the vast majority of party speakers can’t seem to stop being the party of Proud White People.

As of today, I’ve spent the entire RNConvention writing this post. Last night was the big speech in front of the Reichstagacceptance speech for the Republican nomination. Apparently, clocking in at 74+ minutes, the longest speech in the history of nominee acceptance speeches. I was busy recovering from our trip to the Fancy Amusement Park with Baby Goth and her BFF and wasn’t in the proper frame of mind to watch last night. This morning, between Twitter and our local news, I’ve managed to make up for that. My goodness, that looks truly frightening.

So, now that the convention is over, register to vote in November. Do it today. If you live in a state that offers mail-in ballots, please please take advantage of that. I can assure you it’s worth whatever hoops you have to jump through, especially if you live in a state where the weather is unpredictable in November. Register today. This is no longer a joke. This is our new reality. If we don’t want it to be our reality for the next 4 years, please vote in November. If you’re not bothered by that, I’m not certain you’re reading the right blog for you.

I’ll write more spinning-related posts this weekend. Promise.

Changing the curtains, tidying up

I thought I’d distract myself from this past horrific week (JFGI for now, please) by doing some badly needed, long put off housekeeping.

For starters, the theme I’ve been using is one I’ve been using for a very long time. So I’ve changed that. It needs a bit of work, particularly the sidebar – I’m still trying to figure out how that works and what to make more readily visible. But I think I like it. I’d like to know what both of you who still read this think too, so hit the comments and speak up.

There’s a new header that more accurately reflects what I’d like to show here. Mostly. Frankly, it was the nicest black bobbin picture I have up here. I think I’d like to move patterns to another page so they’d be all together. I’d also like to move some patterns off the site altogether. But we’ll see.

And now, I’m going to cuddle with my dog, finish breakfast and work on making yarn for somebody. See you soon.

Cross-Stitch and You

3 weeks ago, Steotch started the 2016 Steotchalong. It’s the cross-stitch equivalent of a mystery KAL/CAL, and I have to admit it’s a hell of a lot of fun. This is the fourth one, I think? So far, there have been homages to Pulp Fiction, Snoop Dawg, Star Wars, and…? I’ve got no idea what it’s going to be this time.

Here are some pictures. Week 1:


No idea.

Week 2:


Still no idea.

Week 3:



And tomorrow is Week 4. Maybe I’ll have an idea by then.

I’ve written about my cross-stitching before. It’s kind of relaxing, even though I kind of looked down on it when I was doing “regular” free hand embroidery. There are a lot more kinds of charts than there were when I was a kid, and they’re a lot more fun to work on. There’s even a chart on the side menu as well. It needs to have a new border, but you’re welcome to put whatever you’d like as a border there. Come join the Steotchalong!

Music to Spin By: The Tiger Lillies

I love this band. They are, I guess, a part of the New Cabaret scene, mostly because they use an accordion in their band.

This is from a collaboration with the Kronos Quartet. The whole album, The Gorey End, is a setting of some of the poetry of Edward Gorey. This and The Brothel to the Cemetery are my favorite Tiger Lillies recordings. “Gin” is slightly less NSFW than some of their other works. Enjoy.

A Long Time Ago and Very Far Away

I’ve meant to write about the mass murder in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL for almost a week now. I’ve almost stopped crying for long enough to write something coherent, or as coherent as I get.

A long time ago, right after I left college, I lived in the New York metropolitan area. I had been out, more or less, for about 8 years by that point and figured out that I was bi. I was working in the service department of a big electronics chain, in the service shop doing quality control before the repaired equipment went out to the customers. My coworkers and I became a lot like a family. We’d go out together on the weekends or hang out at our boss’ apartment on a Saturday afternoon.

One week, one of my QC coworkers talked about the club his friend worked in on the weekends. Now this guy was a DJ himself and created a lot of mixes that we’d listen to at lunch. This club was supposed to be the best, only open on Friday and Saturday nights, and you could get a membership for either one night or the other. Sadly, I can’t remember which night it was anymore; if you know, tell me in the comments. We all went to the business office one day after work. Got our pictures taken and answered one question – “Are you gay?”

That was the first time I said “yes, I am” out loud.

The club was amazing. A huge warehouse space in downtown Manhattan. It didn’t open until relatively late, but made up for it by staying open until sunrise or so. The house DJ, my coworker’s friend, saved his best work for us. Dancing, mango juice at the juice bar, other things… Those were wonderful weekends. Even when I was with my by-then abusive girlfriend, I never remember not feeling safe.

And all these years later, in a different club hundreds of miles away, some asshole with a machine gun took someone else’s feeling of safety away.

We’re hearing more and more about the murderer. I don’t care about him. I care very much about the people he murdered, the people who are recovering physically in the hospital, and the people who will spend the rest of their lives recovering emotionally. I hope that the survivors are safe and will heal someday. biheart

I made this when we heard the news, after a couple of beers. It’s from the LGBT Pride Hearts pattern by Hannah W on Ravelry. The bi colors are for obvious reasons; there are directions for other flag colors with the pattern. It’s free, so have at it.