Monthly Archive: January 2018

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011: Knitting pattern #1

Here’s my first pattern! Or I’ve been making patterns for literally yearssss but they’ve just been hanging around on my hard drive, half written. So let’s do this.

I call these Claudie for the person I made them for. I’m Bad At Names (ask anyone who’s helped me name a writing project) so that’s usually how I name them. I’m going to make this available on Ravelry too (here), but I’m putting it here too.

Size
One size, which translates to three inches wide and ten inches tall, worked with about 1.5 inches negative ease. If your underarm is bigger than 8 inches around measured halfway between wrist and elbow, go up a needle size.

Supplies
• About 60 grams of worsted weight yarn, 30 grams per colour. Sample is knit using Viking of Norway Superwash (50 gram/100 m, 100% merino) in black (main colour), and a Sandnes Smart (50 gram/100 m, 100% superwash wool) in petrol (contrast colour). These two yarns may or may not be available outside of Scandinavia.
• US6/4 mm circular or double pointed needles
• 2 stitch markers

Gauge
5.5 sts and 7 rows per inch.

Directions
Cast on 40 sts in MC.

Rest of pattern ⌲ ⌲ ⌲

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010: Reading adventures in 2017

I usually do a summary like this, and I figure I could actually post it in public too. I’m not a big reviewer (I think my best review to date is IT’S LIKE BUFFY BUT WITH UNICORNS about Rampant by Diana Peterfreund), but I do like stats. God, do I love stats. So here’s a small Q&A with myself about the reading year that was 2017. (The best thing about 2017, let’s be real.)

Books read | Books I aimed to read
I read 71 (!) thanks to the Hugos and their novellas/novelette/graphic novel categories (I don’t count short stories in this tally). I burnt out several times over, which isn’t weird given that my goal was just 40. Lesson for 2018 is definitely to pace myself.

Number of authors | Authors with multiple works
51 unique authors. I read more than one book of 8 authors.

Brian K Vaughan (7)
G Willow Wilson (6)
Ebbe Schön (4)
Cath Crowley, Gail Carriger, Mira Grant (3)
Becky Chambers, Linn Ullmann (2)

Gender; author | Gender; main character
I always skew heavily towards female so this is roughly where I usually end up.

32 unique female authors, 45 books total. (63%)
17 unique male authors, 25 books total. (35%)
One book had one male and two female authors (1%)

35 books with a female main character (64%)
7 books with a male main character (13%)
13 books with both a female and male main characters (24%)

Nationality | Ethnicity
I read a lot of books by Americans. A lot. I also read a lot of white authors. It’s something I try to be mindful of, but I could do a hell of a lot better.

USA: 28 (55%)
UK: 6 (12%)
Sweden: 6 (12%)
Australia: 4 (8%)
Norway: 3 (6%)
Austria, Canada, Iran, Nigeria: 1 (2% each)

37 white authors (72%)
14 POCs (mainly Asian and African American) (27%)

Fiction | Non-fiction | Graphic novels
41 fiction, 15 non-fiction, 15 graphic novels. In 2016 the number was 43/5/0, so my commitment to more non-fiction is working even if fiction is my #1 love.

Oldest book read | Newest book read
The oldest were Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847), Männen med rosa triangel by Heinz Heger (1972), and The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982). The newest were Everything But the Truth by Gillian McAllister, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and The Bromancers (Tansy Rayner Roberts), all published in 2017.

Rereads
Sixteen. Saga, Ms Marvel, the Gracie Faltrain books (Cath Crowley), the Newsflesh books (Mira Grant), and Wuthering Heights. I barely even remember reading the last one before, because my English wasn’t great when I attempted it. Also, it was twenty years ago.

Translated works
Thanks to the library I read more translated stuff this year. My favourite was definitely Norwegian non-fiction, which sounds like a weird sub-genre, but it translates so smoothly to Swedish, and it’s a delight to read. This is the whole list:

47 sekunder/The Gaze of the Gazelle by Arash Hejazi. From English.
Det största brottet/Den største forbrytelsen by Marte Michelet. From Norwegian.
En av oss/En av oss by Åsne Seierstad. From Norwegian.
Männen med rosa triangel/Die Männer mit dem rosa Winkel by Heinz Heger. From German.
De oroliga/De urulige by Linn Ullmann. From Norwegian.
De dyrbara/Det dyrbare (from Norwegian) by Linn Ullman

Works in Swedish
This is actually a high number for me. Most of the time I read ten books in English (my second language) for every book in Swedish (my first language). So this is actually remarkable, being me. I’m aiming to do even better this year.

Grönt! by Karin Eliasson.
I havet finns så många stora fiskar by Sara Lövestam.
Håll käften, jag räknar! by Julia Skott.
Dig blir det aldrig något av by Peter Pohl.
Folktro om ödet och lyckanÄlvor, vättar och andra väsenSvenska sägner and Erotiska väsen by Ebbe Schön.
Döden i skogen by Göran Lager.

Favourite reads | Books that deserve a mention
I’m very generous with my stars so this isn’t necessarily what I loved the best or had the most stars. It’s just what I really want to remember.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I read this in a DAY, which I haven’t done since 2007.

A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers #2) by Becky Chambers. About an AI trying to human and a girl raised by one. Many thanks to the Hugos for this one.

I havet finns så många stora fiskar (available in Swedish) by Sara Lövestam. It’s from the POV of a five year old boy whose parents neglect him enough that a pedophile almost grabs him. It hurts to read. It hurts so much. Sadly not available in translation.

Det största brottet (available in Swedish and Norwegian) by by Marte Michelet. Non-fiction, about Norway during World War II. I cried. A lot.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. So painful. Honestly, after reading this I don’t know if I can bring myself to watch the show.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. What if you lived on a hellmouth and wasn’t a Slayer or a Scooby? Add some mental illness and a dash of queer representation, and you’re good to go.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. Loved this one and the chaotic nature of the narrative. Thanks to the Hugos for kicking it in my path.

En av oss/One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway (available in a ton of languages, including English!) by by Åsne Seierstad. I can’t summarise this one, so maybe read this for the quick recap. Or remember that this is the guy who set off a bomb, posed as a police officer to calm a large group of teens about it, and then murdered all of them. Afterwards, when the police told him people were scared he smiled and told them ‘that’s what terror does’.

Stamped From the Beginning: The Definite History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X Kendi. Long, academic, hard to read in all ways; both emotionally and literally. It took me two months to read and was absolutely worth it.

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009: On #metoo

Warning: Potentially triggering stuff ahead. Nothing graphic, because I’m lucky that way. Also based on this Instagram post I wrote in Swedish.

I was quiet all through the #metoo campaign. I didn’t speak up because I felt like my experiences weren’t ‘enough’. After a conversation with a family member (of which, let’s not talk about it, but I didn’t walk away happy) and a subsequent Twitter thread that I deleted almost immediately, there’s something I haven’t been able to stop thinking about.

I was twelve or maybe thirteen years old; quite shy, quite sheltered, did not understand boys or why people kept talking about them, which is probably why I didn’t realise sooner what was happening. At the time I thought I was just stupid. But that’s how it goes.

A man kept calling our home phone when I was home alone. He said that he was a co-worker of my dad’s. I don’t remember his excuses other than that, I just remember that he kept me talking, making me divulge details, and when I did he always said “oh right, I knew that, your dad told me that”. He called a few times, I think. It was pretty innocent, really. Until the time when I reminded him of my age, which he’d conveniently forgotten (again), and he said: “thirteen, eh? I bet you’ve gotten breasts by now, don’t you?”

I slammed the phone down, unplugged it (and the other phones in the house), and I can’t remember how much of this I told my parents, but it ended in us changing phone numbers.

He never tried to find us, which was lucky, given all the information he’d gotten out of me without me even realising. He probably had a dozen other underage girls he kept calling. That might’ve saved me.

Another time, when I was in my twenties and alone in a laundromat (the unmanned kind, vague clean with ‘doesn’t work’ scratched into the doors of the dryers that sucked but were never fixed or replaced), a guy started talking to me. He had a developmental disability of some kind. He told me people were never nice to him because of it, but I was. Because, you know, why wouldn’t I be? I felt bad for him until he asked me to show him my pussy. I was so startled that I just stared at him and finally told him to never tell another girl that.

I grabbed my laundry and walked home. We lived close, and I made sure he didn’t follow me. I locked the door and folded the laundry I meant to fold before going home, that was shoved into the hamper. I never told my now-ex. I never told anyone, actually. I just forgot about it. Until now.

These two things I didn’t think was enough for #metoo. Nobody touched me, right? Nobody chased me down. I was lucky. Both of these times I was lucky.

It still counts. Even if I was lucky. Even if it was just words. It’s not conflating the ‘real’ stories with things that are smaller, less painful. With stories you can forget, that you can call important until the day you remember.

It counts. count. You do as well. No matter what happened (or didn’t happen) to you. No matter if you’re comfortable sharing the details or just want to say “me too” and leave it at that.

I put these two stories down to show that it doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to be brutal. It can be a guy who doesn’t know better, because nobody has taught him what’s appropriate and he’s the kind of person who needs it spelled out, carefully. It can be the sort of man who dials numbers on random, years before there were things like caller IDs.

I don’t really know how to finish this post. It’s just been sitting half written in my drafts for weeks now, and I think I want it out there. Without excuses. Without apologising. So yeah. Here it is.

 

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008: Chocolate and fudge

Fil 2018-01-05 13 42 35 copy

So, I made things! Lots of things! People ask me a lot of it’s hard, but it’s really not. The chocolates are a bit fiddly (you need to fill the forms, tip it out, freeze it 5 minutes, then fill them, freeze them until the filling is solid, roughly 5-15 minutes depending, and then spoon some chocolate on top, and freeze it again — for a video on how to do it, check this post at How To Cook That), but the fudge is super easy! I’ve found recipes all over the place, and simplified and played with the ratios and things, so recipes of that will follow after the pictures.

(Note that these are all quickish! I always take a shortcut if I can, like using mint extract instead of fresh mint, ginger spice instead of fresh ginger, instant coffee, etc. That’s good enough for me.)

Fil 2018-01-05 14 06 46

My dad always wants nothing but some of my chocolate for Christmas so for his sake I go fancy and make a box from scratch. It’s just card stock thick paper (the above box is made from two  pieces of A4/letter sized papers, cut and folded into a box shape and covered in Christmas present paper. The text above just says the flavours:

Orange ~ Ginger ~ Raspberry ~ Caramel ~ Coffee
Mint ~ Gingerbread ~ Chai ~ Lemon/meringue
Peanut butter ~ Saffron

My basic chocolate filling recipe is based on several videos from How To Cook That, and also advice from my chocolate making friend Claudie:

Recipe for both chocolate fillings and fudge ⌲ ⌲ ⌲