Halloween Prep Month

This is Halloween Prep Month for procrastinators. I, myself, am a terrible procrastinator. The proof is every single Xmas gift recipient I have ever made something out of fiber. Every. Single. One.

The worst part is that usually, Halloween prep = costumes. I have been planning a particular costume for years and years now. At last, this year Baby Goth will be putting something together for herself. She did mumble something or other about a “Victorian outfit” or something, but I’m sure she’ll come up with something that I don’t have to sew. I feel good about this.

Baby Goth and her girl gang are going out trick-or-treating again this year. There aren’t any definite plans, but I would have heard by now if they weren’t. Every year for the past couple of years, I’ve made a pitch for dressing up to hand out candy, turning the lights out “early”, and watching monster movies at home for the rest of the evening. Nope.

I still want to do Zombie Marie Curie this year. The skirt was drafted, cut and sewn last year. Now I need a shirtwaist, a long wig to put up, and to get my good boots cleaned. I already have test tubes, makeup and glow sticks, so except for the blouse it’s almost done.

The other thing I’ve been thinking of is based on one of the DC Bombshell characters. Wonder Woman has always been dear to my heart, ever since I found her at the candy store on my walk home from school. I never got to read every month, but I treasured the copies I had. For pretty obvious reasons I will have to modify the outfit a bit, but the hardest part will be finding boots that aren’t my red Doc Martens. Of course, there’s always next year.

Someday I would like to buy an actual good skeleton for the front porch, but that may not be this year. Not sure what else we’re going to do, but we’ll see what happens.

How is your Halloween prep going?

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September

Today is the first of September, the second best month of the year. I love autumn, even though in the place I now call home autumn is unpredictable and can easily be mistaken for winter. Roughly 20 miles “up the hill”, it’s snowing hard enough to close a major tourist attraction permanently for the season. Autumn is bright yellow and scarlet leaves when the snow hasn’t fallen, cold nights and relatively warm days (not the 90F of last week, for example), acorn squash and pumpkins, giant sweaters, and Halloween.

It’s also a good time to start knitting, crocheting and other things for December. Or at least thinking about it. Let’s be honest – the actual making won’t happen for at least another month, amirite? Probably the rest of the world is far more organized and together than me when it comes to Giftmas. Anyway, Halloween comes first.

Baby Goth has decided to put together her own Halloween costume again this year, which is awesome. She’ll probably be coordinating with her friends again, which is fine, and yes, they do go trick-or-treating. To quote one of her friends, “I’m going out for candy till I’m 90! Try and stop me!” Hard not to like that kind of focus and determination.

I have started making presents already, though. There’s another of these
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that needs to be felted, embroidered and packed up to send to the Frozen Wastelands where part of our family lives. I’m still working on the Weasley Sweater for Baby Goth, and am putting something together for Dad Goth and myself. Maybe it’ll look like a hockey jersey. Maybe not.

I’m also working on a pillow/sampler/something for my parents. My Mom and Dad are both retired chemists; Dad was a college professor, Mom was a medical lab technician. So I’m hoping they’ll like this. I don’t think I want to use Aida cloth, but it’s far cheaper than what I’d like to use, so we’ll see.

This weekend, it’ll be time to put everything out for Halloween. Frankly, I think I’ve restrained myself from not leaving things out all year. But some might consider it a little early. I’d rather not wait till the snow hits.

Distractions

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.

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:

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No idea.

Week 2:

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Still no idea.

Week 3:

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Nope.

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!

You Don’t Need Hobby Lobby

Hobby Lobby, for those of you who have never seen one (and in certain parts of the US, they are scarce), is a large chain of crafting supplies. They are run by a couple who are evangelical Christians. Their religion has a bearing in every aspect of their business: they carry Christian homeschooling textbooks and other supplies, they have a Wall-o-Crosses, their stores are closed on Sundays and religious holidays. Thanks to the US Supreme Court, they also use their religion to determine what benefits they will offer their employees. Lots of people, on many different blogs, have written about the recent Supreme Court decision allowing private businesses to allow their religion to dictate what benefits their employees have available to them. Specifically benefits that relate to women’s reproductive health; birth control pills and other hormonal birth control methods. At least five SCoTUS judges did. We won’t mention the name I have for them based on this decision alone. This isn’t about that.

This is to help out those of us who would like an alternative to shopping there. If you have a Hobby Lobby nearby, you probably have one of these stores nearby as well:

  • Michaels Arts and Crafts. This is the “largest arts, crafts, hobby, framing and seasonal goods stores in North America”. It would be hard to have a Hobby Lobby without at least one Michaels nearby. Helpful hint: it’s a great place if you know exactly what you want and aren’t afraid to look around.
  • JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts. They have fabric. Lots of fabric. But they have other things too. At least at the ones near us, they have everything from cake decorating supplies to 31 count linen and lots of other things in between. Again, it’s great if you know exactly what you want.
  • Buy Local. If you live in a medium sized town, there are some other alternatives. Yarn stores. Hell, in our area there’s at least one every 5 miles. Fabric stores. Quilting shops. Embroidery shops. Crafting stores and art supply stores. Look around you. It’s a good way of getting to know your area and meeting new people.*

I cannot speak for the Big Box Stores listed above. They may treat their employees similarly to HL or not. There is also the good old Internet; Etsy and ArtFire are two that immediately come to mind. I know there are others.

As with other stores similar to them, there are real people who will be hurt by a boycott. I do feel for them. I understand firsthand what it’s like to find out what your employer (or your spouse’s employer) really thinks of you. Make no mistake, that is a part of what this was about, even though it wasn’t stated outright.

Spinning At Last

For the past few days, I’ve been getting into spinning again. It makes me happy, and I realize how much it’s been missing in my life for the past few weeks.

I’ve been working up to going back on the wheel. I mentioned that I bought some new fiber right after Christmas, and it finally got here. There’s a Merino/silk dyed blend that’s going to be A’s graduation shawl. And there’s this:

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The bag says it’s a bison/bamboo/Merino wool/cashmere blend. It feels like baby hair, and it spins up incredibly easily. Very little effort to get a nice, fine thread. Like this:
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Yep, that’s my Bosworth Mini. I could have probably used the Lollipop also, but this one was easier to get to. Even as a fine, fine yarn it’s still soft. Not sure how many yards 2oz will give me, but we’ll see. I might try using this as singles too, but it’s very fine so maybe testing this half a spindle full is a good idea. Two of the fibers are brand new to me – the bamboo and the cashmere. I’m glad now that I tried them in a blend with at least a little wool in there. I’ve heard that both the bamboo and cashmere are quite slippery on their own, but the blend really is easy to work with.

After I’ve gotten a spindle full of this down, I’ll give the wheel a try and make a couple of samples.

Happy Damn January

Oh, January. Your near lack of any holidays (save the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, and I find that more of a somber remembrance than a WooHoo Holiday thing), ramping up of work/school responsibilities and freakish damn weather have been a constant disappointment for the past 13 years.

Some people use January as the start of new habits: exercising, eating better, things like that. For the past few years, I’ve been using January as the start of new learning opportunities. I talked about it a little on this post, and I’ve started some things. For example, I’ve finally unearthed my Russian textbook from ages ago, and have been using that with the Russian podcast to help things along.

I’ve been doing some of this, too: rockypride1

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The top one is a cross-stitch chart that I made with Photostitch. The bottom is from an Urban Threads pattern. Neither one is finished, but I’m still slogging away on them.

I’m also restarting Burtonesque with some different yarn. Since nobody was interested in the red 3-ply, I’m using at least one skein for it along with the black alpaca I’d already planned on using. I’m almost up to the end of the ribbing again…