About Writing

Creativity and Sci Fi

Last year I decided to crochet amigurumi toys for the kids to help knock down my yarn stash, and they all excitedly picked out which ones they wanted from my pattern book. I got about three-quarters of the way through the third one when I hit burn out on the single crochet stitch, and decided to take a break.

I finished knitting my new baby blanket a couple of days ago, and decided that my next project should be catching up on the promises I’ve made to the older children. I finished amigurumi #3, and have started the prep for #4.

The fun thing about #4 is that I don’t have any of the requested colors on hand, but I do have plenty of cotton yarn and dye. So, I measured out some skeins and currently have them curing in dye.

Anyway, you can basically extrapolate from there what my daily life is like — a swarm of kids, and an adoration of creativity that goes quite deep.

Which is why I think it’s funny that I’ve started writing sci fi.

I don’t have any interest in owning “smart” soap dispensers or smoke detectors; I don’t see any use for them — aside from secretly hosting rogue AI hiding from human knowledge on the internet, anyway. But, you know, existing as a flesh entity, there’s no point in me owning a soap dispenser that runs on electricity when I can have more fun spending money on crafting supplies.

Heck, I’ve spent the last few months loving my antique spinning wheel. In terms of technology, I’m practically moving backwards with my personal habits.

Yet, I’ve been discovering that sci fi lets me explore more philosophical topics inside a world that is still very relatable to what we live in, and I’ve been discovering potential ideas that exceed what I felt capable of when I was writing fantasy.

As for the technology, I don’t have to expand that much outside of what we currently have — we all know it’s only a matter of time until Amazon starts using drones to make deliveries. The rest can easily be waved away with “technology magic, lol, :smiley emoji:.”

About Writing

Crafting

I’ve been posting more of my crafting recently, even though this is my author blog.

Why?

Because it’s part of my process.

You see, we are multi-sensory creatures, and it’s been thoroughly proven that activities like fidgeting and pacing are soothing and help the mind work more effectively. Instead of sitting with silicone push-pop toys, I’ve opted to work on handicrafts to keep me busy. What can I say? They make me feel good about myself.

When you feel mentally blocked, work with your hands to get the creative ideas flowing again. Honor and respect the mind-body connection, and don’t underestimate the power of physical movement.

My major secret of productivity is that every time I sit down and take a break, I reach for my current crafting project. That’s all. Sometimes I think about my writing as I work, and sometimes I just want to meditate. Usually, by the time I put the kids in bed, I have an idea to write down.

And remember, it’s not about speed, it’s about persistence.

Bonus, I have a lot of neat stuff that I’ve made.

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Cross stitch ornaments

My grandma taught me was counted cross stitch when I was a kid, and I can remember her telling me that the back should look as neat as the front.

Close enough.

Every year I make Christmas ornaments. Nothing commemorative, just random things based on my whims. This year, I thought that I’d dig into my stash of embroidery floss, only to realized that I’ve been whittling away at it since … March 2020 … without adding to it at all. So yeah, I didn’t have any deep greens. Or any of the other colors that I thought I had.

Oh well, all part of the fun.

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Marking Fabric and Debunking Misinformation

I learned most of what I know about crafting through books that I picked up from thrift stores, usually published in the 70s and 80s. That probably makes me a major weirdo for my age group, but since I was living in a vehicle at the time I started, I didn’t have constant access to a computer or money … so yeah, major weirdo.

In 2017, I bought a book that had been freshly published, mostly out of morbid curiosity, and I found it to be a major disappointment. For starters, the title was grossly misleading. Secondly, the author left out a huge amount of relevant information, but went into an excessive description about how a-may-zing the purple disappearing pens are for marking fabric, followed up with demonizing the blue water-soluble pens as the most useless invention ever.

Everything the author said was accurate enough for where she lived in the deep South, where it’s humid. But where I live in the arid West, it was thoroughly horrible advice. On dry days, I have used the purple pens then watched the marks disappear in a matter of minutes. I only use them when I need to mark something immediately before cutting or sewing it, because the marks aren’t guaranteed to be there ten minutes later. Blue pens are by far the better option for the climate I live in. So far, I haven’t seen any modern creators mention that local weather patterns can have an effect on tools and fabric.

Books from the 70s are a priceless resource for learning how to accurately mark fabrics when neither pen is an option, especially because they don’t assume that you’re too lazy to spend five minutes on doing a good job.

The sewing and embroidery community has since decided that “heat erase” pens are the greatest thing ever, but I strongly recommend against them — on the grounds that they don’t actually erase. It’s color changing technology, and heat makes the ink turn from dark to white. The ink is permanent, you run the risk of bleaching the marks into fabric that isn’t white, and if there’s any chance of the project being exposed to cold (mailing a Christmas gift?), those marks are going to come right back in all their hideous glory and make a bad first impression. So please, save the heat erase pens for design sketches and notes, and don’t use them on your fabric.

I’ve been thinking about this lately because of the growing popularity of debunking videos. I know that crafting is a little too niche and nowhere near as dramatic as, “THIS WILL EXPLODE ALL OVER YOUR FACE AND KILL YOU!”, so the chances of it getting the same analysis are fairly null. But frankly, it was the misinformation spreading through blogs that killed my interest in using the internet and contemporary books as a learning resource years ago. I still preferentially turn to decades-old books to figure out what the heck I’m doing (and don’t get me started on youtube; slogging through a 20-minute video to get five seconds of clarification is a painful waste of time, and I don’t like your personality enough to want to simply watch you exist).

So, here are my two cents on marking fabric:
Purple air erase pens – good for humid climates
Blue water soluble pens – good for dry climates; rinse thoroughly with cold water before washing with soap to prevent residue
Chalk pencils – good for dark fabrics, may stain pale shades
Heat-erase pens – pls don’t go there

I recommend Sewline products, and heavily use the pens, mechanical pencils, and glue sticks myself.

I can’t help but wonder, are people are ever going to get sick of exploitative clickbait, and cry out to know reality instead? The debunking videos still don’t get anywhere near as much attention as the “hacks” do.

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Merino Wool

I kettle dyed 1.5lbs of merino roving, which is very soft but still easy to spin into yarn.

My pan was big enough to hold about 4oz of wool, so I ended up doing it in six batches. I measured out the dye and water to keep the colors consistent, but I varied the way I applied it to keep things unique and interesting.

Next, spinning it into a 3-ply yarn.

About Me

Rose Quartz handspun yarn

Purchased from here

My phone kept automatically changing the color balance while I was taking pictures, which I found to be thoroughly amusing and decided to run with it.

Guess which one is the most accurate? 😀

Anywho, this yarn is going to be a new pair of mittens for yours truly.

About Me

Homespun Yarn

Sandalwood Merino Wool Roving from Busy Bee Fibers

I definitely spin yarn like a beginner, but the fun thing is that it doesn’t matter. Seriously. Once it’s knitted/crocheted, you can barely tell that there were any inconsistencies.

Normally I don’t go for earth tones, but that roving was too scrumptiously beautiful to resist. I don’t know what it is, but that combination of colors just tickles me.

Now I need to figure out what to make with it…