22 February 2014

Pick A Topic, (Almost) Any Topic

I'm still trying to sort out what I'd like to focus on with this blog. The crafting's something of a given, and I'm still trying to finish my Shakespeare attempt. Admittedly, that's more for me than for my (very few) readers - it's a way for me to read through the works of Shakespeare and chronicle my thoughts on the project. I'm not a literary scholar, so it's a fun thing for me, rather than a serious academic exercise. What I have to say on the topic likely won't be that illuminating or terribly original. Parenting-related posts will likely pop up as well, as that's a rather large part of my life at the moment.

I have been thinking about doing some more linguistics-related things on here (the name rather lends itself to that, and it would fit with some of my intentions when I started here), which has the potential to be more original. I did write a thesis, and I am revising a couple pieces for journal submission. I write original fiction as well, and I will be publishing my first novel via smashwords and Amazon later this year (once my cover artist gets the cover finished). I did try the traditional publishing route, and was summarily rejected (no agent - complicates matters). A friend who works in publishing suggested (actually, highly recommended) trying out the online self-publishing option, and I'm giving it a go. If all goes well, I may toss up a few short stories from that 'verse for free on here.

Anyway, back to the linguistics idea. My areas are phonology, syntax, semantics, and sociolinguistics. While I was writing my thesis (syntax and semantics with a dash of phonology), I got into semiotics, which can intersect rather nicely with sociolinguistics. The interest developed too late for me to incorporate it into my thesis, and as I was using Construction Grammar in that analysis, I also have a working knowledge of Frame Semantics (though my understanding of it is not as detailed as it ought to be, really). But I want to play around with semiotics more. It's fun, and there's a lot of possibility there.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, semiotics is the branch of semantics that deals with meaning relations. Most of my reading in that field has been in the theories of Charles S. Peirce and those who have further developed his ideas during the 20th and early 21st centuries (up to now - it seems to be a growing field). It's the sort of thing that made me go cross-eyed in my undergrad (particularly in a 100-level logic course), and that now I really love, though much of it requires multiple readings for me to start absorbing the ideas. Thus far, I'm working on a paper describing some of the semiotics of fantasy literature, and I'm re-writing an Othello analysis I did years ago to incorporate semiotics (it's funny to me that the undergrad who thought theory was useless and semantics hopelessly boring and complicated was already tinkering with semantics without realizing it). Semiotics can be applied to a broad range of fields, so the possibilities are pretty much endless. I have a large number of interests, so this is an interesting way to incorporate linguistics with other things I enjoy (and seriously, if you have access to the journal Semiotica, check it out. The topics range from mathematics to H. P. Lovecraft to fashion to punctuation - that's how diverse the discipline can be).

Any suggestions from the people who sporadically visit? Leave a comment about possible topics for me to tackle here, and I'll try giving it a go.

16 February 2014

Valentine's Day at Epenthetical

A couple days late, but this is what happens when we do Valentine's Day.

Cupcakes. Chocolate-cherry.

Lamb stew, not pictured. It was supposed to be goat stew, but the bags of stewing meat were all mixed together in the bin, and I grabbed the wrong one, and the prices were nearly the same. Since both lamb and goat are delicious, it didn't matter so much. We finished that off today.

Origami. A thing in a group on Ravelry got me curious. I've been thinking about giving origami a try for a while, and this tipped me over the edge. It started with the modular origami book in the corner. Then it multiplied. A leaf, a lotus, a coat, a lantern, and a mushroom. I've done a duck and an owl since.

J. played some video games with his friends. E. practiced her standing. I got some quiet time. All in all, a lovely evening.

We're going on a date next weekend when we have a babysitter lined up. Valentine's Day isn't a big deal for us. It was, sort of, when we first started dating, when I made the mistake of saying that I didn't want to do anything for Valentine's Day and expected him to intuit that yes, I really did (learned my lesson there--J. is thoughtful but not telepathic), but not really now. I don't even remember what we did last year, or if we did anything at all. I've gone off a lot of the chocolate and candy things that are popular for it (same with most Halloween, Christmas, and Easter candy), and we don't really do cards. Flowers are nice once in a while, and I do like red roses, but I'd rather have a miniature rosebush and I'm not sure that's a good idea with a tiny person who's learning how to walk. So we skip most of the trappings of the holiday, and don't really miss them.

Anyone else find Valentine's Day fun but not that important?

06 February 2014

Check off: Moebius knitting

Finally, a post about something I managed to learn how to do. Moebius knitting is the ingenious technique of making a knit-in-the-round Moebius strip. Cat Bordhi's got the awesome instruction videos and books. The basics can be found in her video here, on YouTube:

Moebius cowls were all the rage a few years ago, but at that point, I was a new-ish knitter and had many other things I wanted to learn. I decided the technique would keep. And it has.

When E. was born, a friend gave me a skein of yarn that she told me I had to use to make something for myself. It's gorgeous yarn, from Sweet Fiber. Melissa does beautiful yarn. It's just a skein of her Merino Twist in worsted weight, but the colour is deep and saturated, with enough variation in the shade to provide interest without being distracting. The colourway name is "Temperate" and it's one of my favourite shades of green.

So I wound my yarn into a ball and went out to Valley Yarn and picked up a set of knitting needles in a length appropriate for Moebius knitting. I cast on the night before we left for the Christmas holidays so I would have something to work on in the car. I used a pattern that involved ribbing and a picot bind-off, titled Sprong Moebius.

All in all, it went well. I think I miscounted my cast-on stitches, so there's a section where the two-by-two ribbing is actually four by two, but it's just one section of four stitches, so it's easily ignored. I am not a perfectionist (though I was, a bit, as a child).

There is something very remarkable about watching one of these take shape. A Moebius cowl is knit from the centre out, so each Moebius round is the equivalent of two rounds on a conventional cowl. It feels as though it's knitting up faster that way.

I want to do another one, but what I want this time is a stockinette cowl with a garter stitch lace edging. I'm plotting out the lace right now and figuring out what it'll look like. Should it turn out well, I'll post it on Ravelry as a pattern.