Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wily Wednesdays - Nine-point Star Afghan

This afghan has been in the works for over two years, but I finally finished it! It's the second biggest crochet project I've ever completed (the first being the rainbow striped afghan). Inspired by my friend Chaya, who crochets in such a wonderfully free-form manner, I wanted this project to be a little less patterned and uptight. (It's a little sad that something like this is a challenge for me -- guess it says something about my personality and how I need to loosen up!) My original thoughts were to start with a basic shape and move outward, without a predetermined set of yarn, a pattern of stripes, or final dimensions for the afghan. In fact, I purposely committed myself to only using yarn I already owned (goodness knows I've got enough of it). I enjoyed the process, and I'm pleased with the way it came out. I set it aside occasionally for months at a time, but so it often goes with long projects.

Bonus: It folds up in a more creative way. Rectangular folds are for squares.

In 2010, I toyed around with the idea of selling this afghan, but once it took shape, there was no way I was going to give it to a stranger. Happy belated birthday, Chaya!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Literary Gatekeepers

I've written guest post on the Greenleaf Literary Services blog about my observations and speculations regarding literary standards. Now that digital self-publishing is becoming more popular, and the traditional hierarchy is crumbling, we're seeing a lot of changes in how books are distributed and promoted. It means a lot of new authors are being discovered who wouldn't otherwise be noticed...and it also means that an incredible amount of sub-par material is clogging the channels. Without the usual middlemen, how does one find quality books? It's a topic I find fascinating, even if I struggle to remain optimistic.

What are the channels that you use to discover authors who are worth your time? How much stock do you put in customer reviews? Bestsellers lists? Social media?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wily Wednesdays - Chainmaille Bracelet

Or chain mail, or chainmail, or chain maille, or maille, or however you prefer to spell it. I had a couple of small craft nights with my mother when I was in Ohio, so I decided to try my hand at chainmaille. This resulted in a basic box chain bracelet. Unfortunately, and I didn't realize this at the craft store, I purchased aluminum jump rings without thinking too much about it, and turns out they're really cheap. The metal was so weak I could bend it easily with my fingers, so I wouldn't be able to wear something like this without damaging it.