[insert apologetic emoji face here]

Hello there! Long time, no blog…. My apologies for the wicked delay in posting. I really have to work on my time management skills, at least where my writing routine is concerned. Honestly, I blame I.C. – or “inner critic” – for spending too much time in my head and keeping me from actually publicizing anything I create.

I’ve been referring to this nagging voice as I.C., believing that giving such annoyance a name will make it go away or, more importantly, stop nagging. For some reason, I thought up the name Igor Crinch, and I have no idea why my inner critic would have such a name. I actually thought my inner critic would be female – you know, because I am one and all – but “Igor” stuck in my head, so what are you going to do?

Anyway, I’ve dipped my literary toe in the publication pool with the recently posted essay on Spoonie Authors Network (SPAN) about my life with Asperger’s – https://spoonieauthorsnetwork.blog – a great blog showcasing a variety of writers and authors with chronic illness and/or disabilities. The personal essay that I have published on SPAN, and all the great feedback I’ve received from the post, has certainly helped me in boosting my self-esteem about my writing. So this latest blog posting is a thank-you to everyone for their positive comments on my writing, both recent and in the past, because those comments are what helps me in continuing to pursue this crazy dream. If anyone has any tips on shutting off the inner critic – locking Igor in the trunk of a car and rolling said car off a cliff, possibly? Or does that sound too harsh? Bah, if Igor weren’t so harsh with the comments, I would be nicer with mine (bahahahahaha!)

 

 

 

I’m still here…

Ok, so much for the idea that a blog would help get me to write more regularly… Clearly, when I made that plan, I didn’t expect to have to juggle other if life’s duties… Yes, yes, I know, that’s really an excuse. “A writer must find time to write every day,” I’ve heard and read so many times. 

These days, I seem to be juggling a lot more than the typical life duties – a part-time retail job, a few volunteering tasks here and there, interspersed with new knit/crochet yarn creations, and still plugging away at an outline based loosely on my own experiences as an adult woman with Asperger’s Syndrome. And when I say ‘loosely based,’ I mean ‘very loosely based.’ It’s a daily struggle to decide and figure out just what I want to share of myself – either by semi-autobiographical novel-potential-screenplay, or via random crafty blog post – what with Anxiety and Self-Doubt peeking over my shoulder. 

Sometimes I want to pack it away and give up. But I stick with it – Anxiety in a constant arm wrestle with Perserverance. There’s a bit of Procrastination in there, but I can usually turn that switch off with some chocolate (and randomly scrolling through Pinterest). 

There’s a determined sucker in me that insists my story should be told – well, my carefully-revised-for-public-viewing story, anyway. Honestly, I started this, my Asperger’s journey almost 18 years ago – no reason to quit when I now have so many other experiences to feed my story on. I just want to make sure the story is a good one… No, wait, a great one – I think I’m allowed a little modesty. It just takes time to get the story fleshed out to a level that I’m proud of. Oh, I know all the writing tips – just get the first draft down and don’t think about revising/editing/perfecting until the after that first draft. Ha! Easier said than done, with those two or three odd “muses” I mentioned earlier, coupled with the underlying, unnerving Perfectionism that I seem to expect from my work. And is a first draft ever really Perfect??? 

So here I am. I’m still here. Putting my struggles to paper – or blog screen – in an effort to make them go away. Or at any rate, I’m hoping Anxiety Self-Doubt will host a hotly contested game of trivial pursuit with Procrastination and Perfectionism, where they will all be at each other’s throats… Do muses have throats? And are they really muses? (They’ve been around me so long, they’re beginning to feel that way). 

I hope to get something artsy-crafty posted (crochet/knit-related) very soon. And I realize my version of “very soon” may mean six months from now, but bear with me … It’s been an interesting 2015 and I’m still trying to recover.

Thanks for reading up to this point.

Time flies, but for the knitting….

Well, so much for the idea that a blog would have me writing regularly, given almost two months since my last post. No, wait, that’s not quite true – I have been scribbling on-and-off, in a non-tech variety (i.e.: pen to paper) during the last couple of months. My knitting has grown quite a bit – not so much food-wise (still trying to grudgingly figure out the yarn-artichoke pattern *gripe*), but I have developed a series of crocheted coasters – and I made a first sale of a set of four dog-themed coasters. Seen below, this set was done by crocheting in a single, circular manner using a regular square coaster as a guide. For a more specific measurement, I would say each coaster was about four inches across. 

For the ears, I played around with different knitting and crochet techniques (or a combination ‘cro-knit’ technique). For the pointy-tipped ears, I cast on stitches from the top-left and top-right edges on to the crochet hook, changed to a similar-sized set of double-pointed knitting needles, and proceeded to knit as many rows I felt I needed to obtain a good dog-ear shape – decreasing every other row to get the pointy shape, but ending with at least three stitches on the needle to get a more rounded tip. 

Please excuse the non-technical explanation. Frankly, this is a bit how my brain works when I create new designs, figuring it out as I fumble with a crochet hook and/or knitting needles and yarn. I should point out that I’ve unravelled and re-started numerous times in order to get to a finished design that I can work with. The dog ears were especially tricky, given that different breeds have different kinds of ears. 

For the long, flappy ears, I cast on stitches going down the circle, changed to a pair of double-pointed knitting needles, and proceeded to knit-purl-knit-purl my way across, then picking up one stitch at the end before flipping over. For the following row, I worked in the seed stitch pattern (purl-knit-purl-knit) and knit (or purled) the last two stitches together. Then, for the following row, I would knit (or purl) the first two stitches, and continue in seed stitch until the end, and (again) cast on from the circle’s edge – and here, I played around with casting one more than one (usually two cast-ons, but sometimes three), to see how that would effect the look of the flappy ear. Don’t ask me about the final design specifications – I basically gave myself a general guide and ‘eyeballed’ the finished product. 

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I’ve also been playing around with a cat-theme coaster design (not pictured), which I realize is much easier, given that cats have, essentially, the same face shape (and pointy ears). However, I may figure out patterns for different cat breeds some day (i.e.: Scottish folds, with the rounded, curled ears).

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For the yarn, I basically used whatever I had in my stash that was dog (and cat) coloured (hence, the neutral tones). I think most of these are acrylic (or possibly acrylic blends) and on the more ‘chunky’ side. I wanted the base to be a nice thickness. I also wanted it to be a bit stiff, but still malleable to make sure the coaster lays flat, so that the actual mug could sit on it evenly. 

For the back-side of the coasters, I used some shelf liner fabric, which I cut to fit each coaster shape, and sewed it along the back edge of the coaster using embroidery thread. The dog’s face, as shown, are basically embroidered with another neutral yarn, but I did play around with noses 🙂

I will have some photos of my cat coasters in a later post.  I have also been working on various patterns for mug cozies, dishcloths, and baby booties. I would like to eventually try sock knitting, but I’ve reasoned (at least to myself) that baby socks (‘sockettes’?) seem like an easy (rather, ‘easier’) objective to start.

Lately, I’ve been knitting from the book, Knit Your Own Boyfriend, by Carol Meldrum – garnering plenty of giggles among my group of knitting and non-knitting friends. Photos will follow, once I figure out the pattern to give the dude a pair of trousers. The book does give templates for all clothing and accessories, but the book doesn’t give specific measurements, nor provide specific yarns and needles used; as such, my boyfriend looks a bit bigger than the ones pictured in the book. I used a sort of medium-thick acrylic yarn and, following the pattern correctly for body, legs, arms, neck and head, the dude stands about eight to 10 inches long. I should point out that this is the “tall, slim” pattern – Carol Meldrum also provides a version for the “short, stocky” boyfriend to give you the option of creating a boyfriend with a tummy (beer gut?) …  Hmmm…. I think mine already has a bit of a tummy, but that’s more due to the stuffing and shaping than the knitting. And in seaming it all together, I’ve given him a somewhat protruding spinal column, plus a semblance of a bum (teehee!) … Oh well… I have yet to figure out how to seam my knitted projects smoothly. I have managed to knit him a nifty crew-neck sweater – white front and back, grey sleeves – slightly short sleeves, but I like to think it’s the trendy 3/4 sleeves that’s so popular these days, and not the fact that this dude has somewhat long-ish arms. But oh well (yet again), at least he looks proportionate.

‘Later.

 

 

“Vegetables truly are a good source of fiber”

Hah! I do love a good pun … or a bad pun … Needless to say, I’m also a fan of sculptural knitting and/or crochet. And, while I still have all kinds of trouble reading patterns (K5 yo P5 byf M1…) They always make me think of Algebra … suppressed memories of Grade 12 Math … *shudder* … Annnnyway, I have discovered that, just by looking at a picture, I can sort of get an idea of what to do with my needles and yarn and, usually, something reasonably close to the original design (or at least something presentable) comes out. Of course, there are times, when I manage to follow each step perfectly and BEHOLD: it actually comes out perfectly. AMAZING! Of course, these are usually scarf patterns- a beginner knitter’s dream project, the easiest format being: Cast on so many stitches, knit every row to a set length (or longer, for extra warmth and coziness) and bind off. Granted, you’d still have to learn casting on and binding off, but, in general, that’s the easiest pattern (i.e.: one long rectangle) to work with.

I’m also a big fan of sculptural knitting/crochet, and many of my own creations basically came out “by accident. Case in point: I was watching t.v. and casually, aimlessly crocheting (or knitting, as I sometimes do) – seems to be a good alternative to awkward fidgeting or pursuing my long-standing nail-biting habit (I’m currently on my umpteenth New Year’s resolution to give it up – don’t ask) … so there I was, as mentioned, aimless crocheting a circle, when I immediately decided, “This looks like a spoon!” And so, I went about creating (or continuing) to crochet the spoon and the handle. Once that was finished, and being quite proud of myself at this point, I wondered, “Maybe I can make a fork?” And then, a knife, which ended up being done through a combination of crochet and knitting.

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Soon after, I created a full dinner service: plate, tea cup and saucer, and I even managed to create a ladle, but the handle is a bit soft. I’m still trying to figure out a way to knit with wire thread, but I keep getting knobby kinks in it, and it just doesn’t look nice.  (You know, aesthetically pleasing?)

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My interest in knitted food peaked when I discovered the book, Knitted Vegetables – Twenty to Make, but Susie Johns. I am super proud of my knit veggies. First, the radishes, then peas in a pod (not pictured), then the leek, and then I made a beetroot (not pictured) without the beet greens (try as I might, I couldn’t get the green yarn to look like the leaf pattern in the book), and a pumpkin – I ended up using my own design because, again, my knitting looked nothing like the picture. (Algebra, I tell you, drives me nuts).

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I think my next challenge, regarding knitted veggies, will be Susie Johns’ pattern for corn on the cob. Or perhaps her artichoke, but I fear the individual “petals” would drive me batty.

I would also like to make more utensils and/or kitchen gadgets – perhaps a whisk, but I would have to work on my knitting with wire (you know, to get that full whisk effect). Really, though, I think I’ll just continue with aimlessly crocheting and/or knitting and maybe something will manifest itself.

Welcome!

New year, new blog, new resolve to get some writing done on a regular basis … My name is Laurence, I am a woman, and yes “Laurence” is a girl’s name in French – it’s just pronounced differently than, say, talking about esteemed British actor Sir Laurence Olivier. I’m not well-versed in phonetics, but I’ll try to explain the pronunciation as clearly as possible for those readers who don’t have the foggiest clue how to say my name: Low-Rahn-Sse … … *shrug* … … I guess that’s as close as it could be.

Actually, I don’t mind the “usual” male pronunciation of Lawrence. I’ve heard it frequently in school and university during attendance – and considering the 30+ class sizes, I didn’t think it necessary to correct the teachers (especially those university professors who had hundreds more students to lecture and grade). I’ve often been fascinated with the people who pronounce my name in wholly different and unusual ways, but I won’t even try to explain those here. Fascinating, yes. Confusing, definitely.

I’ve also gone by Laurie, until my mother (originally from the south of France) discovered that “a lorry” was a truck (she learned English while living and working in the UK), and, as such, “no daughter of mine will be named after a truck” – I’m paraphrasing. She didn’t actually say that, but the sentiment was there.

Lately, I’ve used the short-form Lauren, which I quite like the sound of – elegant and creative, not that I would have ever called myself elegant, but I feel it’s the closest thing to the francophone version of my name for anyone who really has a problem with the typical French pronunciation. I also like that the name is associated with other, notable Laurens, for example: Lauren Bacall, Lauren Hutton, Lauren Holly, Lauren *oops!* Lorne Michaels …

My main interests are in arts and crafts, hence the blog title, “Artemiscrafts” – Artemis in honour of the Greek Goddess of the Hunt and Wild Animals. I’m not a fan of actual hunting, unless in terms of First Nations people hunting and gathering for their livelihoods, but I like the image of the Goddess with her bow and arrow, and I think I’ve always been curious about archery. Incidentally, more information on Artemis can be found at http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Artemis.html

So here I am … joining the otherworldly realm of Internet Blogging … Future posts will include more details of my crafty exploits, including various knitting and crochet items, paper mâcher balloons, collage, cooking, photography, and (obviously) writing. May it be as entertaining to read as it will be to create.

‘Till the next post …