ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the September 1, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] shiori_makiba, [personal profile] chanter_greenie, [personal profile] wyld_dandelyon, and Shirley Barrette. It also fills the "surprise pregnancy" square in my 6-1-15 card for the Relationship Bingo fest, and the "identify a feeling you're having" square in my 5-20-15 card for the Wellness Toolbox Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Damask thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning:   This is mostly fluff, but it also contains some family angst and emotional overwhelm.  Mallory is not used to dealing with large numbers of people in a family context, especially when they are gregarious and positive toward her.  She feels kind of swamped by Maisie's big boisterous family, and it takes some quick maneuvering to cope with that.


"No Terrible Consequences"


Mallory clutched the handle of her suitcase
as she waddled up to Maisie's house, sweat
making the plastic handle slick in her grasp.

Someone, almost certainly Ham, had offered
to carry it for her, but she had stubbornly refused.
She was pregnant, not sick, and determined to do
as much for herself as she could, while she could.

Maisie's parents -- a woman with fluffy red hair and
a man with coloring similar to Maisie's tinted skin --
made them both welcome far more warmly than Mallory
had expected, sucking her right into the family.

Indoors, Mallory lugged her suitcase into
the spare room that served as Maisie's bedroom,
which they were sharing for the long weekend.

"Oh good, Russell actually left my stuff alone,"
Maisie said, and Mallory raised an eyebrow.
"My little brother's a brat -- you met him, the redhead? --
so I threatened to staple him to the ceiling if he got
in here again. My big sister Anna's more civilized."

"Uh huh," Mallory said, looking for a good place
to put her suitcase in a room already packed with
Maisie's books, video games, and other gear.

"Just put it here," Maisie said as she took it
from Mallory and expertly stowed it in a corner.

Maisie even showed her the brown-and-gold lounger
in their room, which had a triangular pillow at the head
followed by several panels that could unfold to make
a surprisingly comfortable sleeping pad. They were
still arguing over who, in fact, would be sleeping
on it and who would take the regular bed.

When Mallory headed back into the living room,
she found that all the furniture was full -- Maisie had
a seemingly endless supply of relatives, many of whom
had also arrived for the Fourth of July -- but someone had
thoughtfully thrown down a set of floor cushions.

With a sigh of relief, Mallory sank onto
the nearest one, a square puff of brown velour.
It felt good to cross her legs, making her hips seem
less heavy. The pregnancy weighed on her.

"You'll like it here," Maisie said,
with a lilt at the end adding I hope.

Mallory looked around at the room full of strangers,
including Maisie's dour grandfather Marco,
brown as a nut and chewing on an unlit cigar
that he had been firmly forbidden to light
in the house with children present.

The twins, a four-year-old boy and girl
belonging to one of Maisie's cousins,
dragged out their own mats evidently made
by sewing together a set of pillowcases.
Marcell and Mimi, their names were,
floating up from a whirlwind of introductions.

Mallory felt less certain of success than
Maisie was, but still game to give it a try.
At least Mallory knew enough about explosions
to make a few knowledgeable contributions to
the discussion of fireworks for the Fourth of July,
arguing in favor of fountains as colorful and safe.

From the kitchen came the sound of
supper preparations, chopping and dicing
of fresh vegetables. Maisie's favorite cousin Lynn
and her fiancée Kim were making a good start.

Maisie's Aunt Dolores and Uncle Edgar
trooped past with their arms full of food from
the freezer, heading toward the kitchen to help
their daughter and soon-to-be-daughter-in-law.

The older woman bashed a knee against
the coffee table and didn't even slow down.

Mallory reached out with her power
as subtly as possibly and tweaked the luck
to keep her from hitting anything else.

"What are you making for the baby?"
Uncle Bennie asked without preamble.
He had the same squiggly black hair and
olive skin as Maisie's father, just a little darker.

"Um, well, I made some booties,"
Mallory stammered. "Maisie did a hat.
Paige has made booties, a sweater,
and started a box-bottom blanket.
She got ... a little carried away.
I don't need that much, really."

"Everyone wants to help get ready
for a new baby," said Uncle Bennie,
his brown eyes alight. "So tell me
about this box-bottom blanket."

At least he wasn't bugging her
about the baby. Mallory described
how Paige was crocheting the blanket
as a play mat, using different stitches
so it would have all kinds of textures.

Maisie's grandmother Biddy said, "It sounds
like a crazy quilt, only made out of yarn instead of
fabric. We could do that too! If each member
of the family knits a square or few, we should
have enough for a good-sized blanket by
the end of the holiday weekend."

"You don't need to go to all that trouble
since I already have one started,"
Mallory protested, waving her hands.

"One to wash and one to wear,"
Biddy replied sagaciously.

"But --" Mallory said, starting to feel
overwhelmed by the attention. She wasn't
used to it. When she had visited her parents
right after summer started, both of them had
occasionally scolded her but mostly ignored her,
just like always. It didn't feel good, but at least
it was familiar and she knew how to handle it.

Maisie's grandmother cackled. "Oh, sweetie,"
she said. "Wait until your baby has barfed
on everything you own, and you're standing
in the laundry room wrapped in a towel,
waiting for the first load to dry so that
you can get dressed again. You'll be
grateful for the duplicates then!"

"Not helping," Mallory muttered.

"Guys, ease up a little," said Maisie.
"You're mobbing my housemate,
and I want her to like us."

"Mother," said Maisie's mom.
What was her name? Kay, Kate,
Katie -- no, Caitlin, that had to be it.
"I wish you'd quit repeating that story."

Small chance of anyone winning an argument
against Biddy, who had already hauled out
a wooden basket filled with hanks of yarn,
some of which had knitting needles stuck
into them so they wouldn't get lost.

"Let me just grab mine from the bedroom,"
Uncle Bennie said, grinning. He returned
with a wicker basket filled with skeins in
slightly more subdued shades, along with
several projects in various stages of completion.

Caitlin threw up her hands and went into
the kitchen to assist with the cooking, or
possibly to keep an eye on Aunt Dolores
who from the feel of the probabilities
had no sense of self-preservation.

Mallory clamped down a little harder on the luck.

By then, the twins had burrowed into
the other basket with a chorus of,
"I wanna learn knitting too!"

"How exciting!" said Uncle Bennie.
"Pick out some yarn and I'll show you."

"But what if they make mistakes?"
Mallory asked, frowning.

"I'm sure they will," said Uncle Bennie.
He grinned at her, his whole face crinkling.
"Nobody learns to knit without making mistakes.
That's the wonderful thing about knitting, though;
if you don't like the results, you can just rip it out
and knit it back up again, until you're happy with it."

"I guess so," Mallory said.

Her hands were shaking, so she
tucked them under her knees and
tried to remember some of the exercises
that Graham had taught her for calm.

Sometimes it helped to name emotions,
but Mallory's were all jumbled up inside.
Picking them apart felt like trying to untangle
wads of yarn that the kids had gotten into.

She felt tense from the pregnancy
and confused by all the new people
who cared about it for no reason
that she could identify.

She felt nervous meeting Maisie's family,
scared that something would go wrong, and
fairly certain that they would all wind up
hating her by the end of the weekend.

But she also felt secretly, strangely glad
that she and her little stranger
mattered to someone.

"Would you like to choose a color?"
Maisie's grandmother offered,
holding out a handful of yarn.

There was a fluffy green skein, and
a variegated blue ball, and another one
of pinkish-purplish-mauve heather that
seemed as soft as pussywillows in spring
and made Mallory's nerves begin
to settle a bit as she petted it.

"This one, please," she whispered.

"A lovely choice," said the old woman,
passing her a pair of knitting needles
sized for the mauve heather.

Mallory had just gotten going with
a simple square when Uncle Bennie
came over to check on her.

"I have the twins set up with their projects,"
he said. "Do you need a hand? Would you
like to work in here with the Amazing Mob,
or go somewhere else for a while?
You seem a little overwhelmed."

"A little," Mallory admitted.
"Maybe a quieter corner?"

"Oh! I know!" Maisie exclaimed,
bouncing up from her seat and spilling
her rainbow yarn on the floor. Then she
grabbed ahold of the end table and
pulled it away from the couch. "Look,
you can sit in here. It's like a hidey-hole,
I used to do this when I was little."

For a moment, Mallory felt torn between
wanting to have a wall at her back and
wanting to look halfway normal, then
decided that if people were fussing,
she'd already failed at the latter.

She scooted her floor cushion into
the sheltered space and instantly
felt better. With a happy sigh, she
picked up her knitting again.

Fragrant smells emerged from
the kitchen, making Mallory's tummy
rumble with interest. That made
a definite improvement over
the morning sickness that
had plagued her all spring.

From time to time, she quashed
incipient accidents, or fended off
one of the roving twins attempting
to wriggle into her sanctuary.

She let Maisie in with her, though.

A toddler bumbled past, her red curls
bouncing in perfect spirals, her face
smudged with -- makeup? fingerpaint? --
and a plump blonde woman in hot pursuit.

Mallory wondered if that would be her
in a few years, striving to keep up with
the baby currently curled inside her belly.
She meant to keep it, she was pretty sure now,
but that didn't mean she knew how it would turn out.

The rambunctious children, or something anyway,
added to a slowly growing tension in the room
and made Mallory wonder if retreating to
Maisie's space might be a better idea.

She shifted in place, trying
to find a more comfortable seat.

"Are you, um ... keeping an eye
on supper from here?" Maisie asked.

After a few moments of thought,
Mallory decoded that to mean,
Are you using your superpower
to prevent accidents in there?

and gave a cautious nod.

"Slack off just a little," Maisie said,
tilting her head toward the door.

"Have you not noticed your aunt
trying to kill herself with the kitchen?"
Mallory whispered back, although
she might as well not have bothered.
Nobody was paying attention to
two girls whispering in the cubby.

"Aunt Dolores is kind of accident-prone,
and well, if it goes too long without happening
then they tend to get bigger, which makes people
edgy," Maisie explained. "It's not a superpower --
I mean, superdisempower -- it's more like
Murphy's Law. Just let one slip through
and everything should go back to normal."

Which was near enough to saying, trust me,
but the odd thing was that Mallory did.
This was Maisie's family and she would
never do anything to harm them.

So Mallory loosened her grip,
carefully, bit by bit, until a yip of pain
sounded from the kitchen.

And just like that, the rest of the family relaxed.

"I'll get the first aid kit," Maisie said
in Clement's soothing voice.

Mallory leaned over to let him out,
then settled back against the wall,
tension finally running out of her.

Even the mischievous toddler had been
captured and cleaned up, and plopped onto
a floor mat with some scraps of yarn to play with,
while her mother knitted up the most amazing skein
of blue-gray dabbed with stripes of neon at one end.

After a while, Maisie returned to report that
Aunt Dolores had scalded the back of her hand
and was fine with a coat of aloe vera gel on it.

Maisie's grandmother and Uncle Bennie
both turned out to be impressively quick crafters,
stacking up concentric squares and ballband rectangles.

"Once we have enough, then we can join
the pieces together," said Uncle Bennie.

"Okay," said Mallory, having no idea
how to do that but sure that someone
would explain the process to her.

Marcell presented her with
a slightly crooked square of purple
and Mimi with another one of red.

Mallory added her own lump of mauve
and Maisie put a rainbow-striped
rectangle on top of it.

Mallory looked at the jumble of
every-colored yarn from a family
so mixed that it suddenly made sense
how one Maisie could come apart into
such different people inside, and sometimes
Mallory still had trouble telling the headmates apart
even now that she knew who they all were.

"These are wonderful!"
Uncle Bennie said, clapping
his hands over the colorful heap.

"Even the mistakes?" Mallory said.

"Especially the mistakes!" Uncle Bernie said.
"There are no terrible consequences in knitting.
It just means the end result looks a bit different
than we might have expected -- and besides,
everything made with love is beautiful."

"Yes," Mallory whispered, running a hand
over the riot of yarn, "it really is."

* * *

Notes:

I finally got around to writing up Maisie's relatives. Many of these are characters introduced in previous poems. Some are new. Poor Mallory is meeting them all at once! Plus if you look at them, you can see how Maisie got her mixed-raced body and, later, divided into such different headmates.

Maisie's Mother
Caitlin Fannon Walker -- She has fair skin with freckles, gray-green eyes that tilt up at the outer corners, and wavy red hair cut at ear level. Her heritage is mostly Irish with a little British and French, plus a dab of Asian. She is the daughter of Brigid "Biddy" Fannon; younger sister of Edgar Fannon and older sister of Maureen Fannon Rubin; wife of Dario Walker; and mother of Anna, Maisie, and Russell Walker. An industrious homemaker, Caitlin also volunteers regularly at church. She has worked off and on at various jobs when the family needed extra money, but puts more of her energy into family than work.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Organized, Good (+2) Collector of Celtic Knotwork, Good (+2) Extended Family, Good (+2) Graceful, Good (+2) Homemaker
Poor (-2) Prone to Denial

Maisie's Father
Dario Walker -- He has dark olive skin, brown eyes, and nappy black hair. His heritage is primarily Italian and black, plus miscellaneous other European ancestors. He is the son of Marco Walker; older brother of Bennie Walker; husband of Caitlin Fannon Walker; and father of Anna, Maisie, and Russell Walker. Dario loves his daughters, but finds it easier to relate to his son. Part of what makes him a good father is taking the extra effort to connect with the girls. He cares about being a good provider, and feels anxious when money is tight or things get broken.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Landlord, Good (+2) Father, Good (+2) Forthright, Good (+2) Logical-Mathematical Intelligence, Good (+2) Woodworking
Poor (-2) Worries About Money

Maisie's Older Sister
Anna Walker -- She has tinted skin, brown eyes, and long slightly wavy brown hair. She is the granddaughter of Marco Walker and of Brigid "Biddy" Fannon; daughter of Dario and Caitlin Fannon Walker; older sister of Maisie and Russell Walker. Anna is currently 22, studying to become a real estate broker. She originally intended to graduate in spring 2014 but couldn't scrape up the last few credits, so has to take a summer semester to make up the difference. It's making her anxious.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Real Estate Studies, Good (+2) Elegant, Good (+2) Interpersonal Intelligence, Good (+2) Opera Fan
Poor (-2) College Angst

Maisie's Younger Brother
Russell Walker -- He has tinted skin with many freckles, brown eyes, and nappy red hair to his shoulders. He also has a labret piercing in his lower lip. He is the grandson of Marco Walker and of Brigid "Biddy" Fannon; son of Dario and Caitlin Fannon Walker; younger brother of Anna and Maisie Walker. Russell is currently 13 years old. He is a Scorpio, born on October 30. He enjoys pestering his older sisters, has dabbled in various money-making projects, but hasn't really found a passion yet.
Qualities: Good (+2) Kinesthetic Intelligence, Good (+2) Observant, Good (+2) Video Gamer
Poor (-2) Brat

Maisie's Aunt Dolores
Dolores Fannon -- She has tinted skin, brown eyes, and black hair cut at chin length. She is Hispanic with ancestors from a mix of countries. She is the wife of Edgar Fannon, mother of Lynn Fannon, and aunt of Maisie Walker. Dolores is patient with her husband's drinking problem, as he is tolerant of her propensity for accidents; they're pretty good at compensating for each other's weaknesses. She works at a craft supply store.
Qualities: Good (+2) Craft Store Clerk, Good (+2) Creative, Good (+2) Hispanic Cuisine, Good (+2) Mother, Good (+2) Pain Tolerance
Poor (-2) Accident Prone

Maisie's Uncle Edgar
Edgar Fannon -- He has fair skin, blue eyes, and brown hair starting to go gray. He is the son of Brigid "Biddy" Fannon; older brother of Caitlin Fannon Walker and Maureen Fannon Rubin; father of Lynn Fannon. Edgar works in hospitality at a hotel. While not actually alcoholic, he drinks more than is good for him -- usually one or two drinks a day, plus enough to get notably sloshed on social occasions. He tends to be an embarrassing drunk, too, which is awkward at family gatherings.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Hospitality, Good (+2) Constitution, Good (+2) Gregarious, Good (+2) Party Games
Poor (-2) Problem Drinker

Maisie's Favorite Cousin Lynn
Lynn Fannon -- She has tinted skin, brown eyes, and long wavy brown hair. She is the daughter of Edgar and Dolores Fannon. Currently 20, Lynn is a gender studies major in college. She is a lesbian, engaged to her fiancée Kim. They have been together for about two years. Lynn's activism spans gender studies and Hispanic issues.
Qualities: Good (+2) Activist, Good (+2) Energetic, Good (+2) Gender Studies Scholar, Good (+2) Interpersonal Intelligence, Good (+2) Outgoing
Poor (-2) Keeping Quiet

Lynn's fiancée Kim
Kim Lee -- She has tawny-fair skin, brown eyes, and straight dark brown hair cut just above her shoulders. Her heritage includes Japanese, Chinese, British, and miscellaneous American. She is currently 20, studying interior design in college. Kim is a lesbian, and the fiancée of Lynn Fannon. They have been together for about two years. Kim's sense of balance makes her adept at games such as Rock It, Jenga, and Bausack Towers. She is fussy about wanting everything clean and put away.
Qualities: Expert (+2) Spatial Intelligence, Good (+2) Interior Design Student, Good (+2) Balance, Good (+2) Making Friends
Poor (-2) Neatnik

Maisie's Uncle Bennie
Bennie Walker -- He has dark olive skin, brown eyes, and black hair. He wears thick glasses with dark frames, and doesn't care how dorky they look. He is the son of Marco Walker, younger brother of Dario Walker, father of Lucio Walker, grandfather of Marcell and Mimi Walker. He is Maisie's uncle, and taught her how to crochet. Bennie teaches home economics at junior high and high school levels. He loves all kinds of puzzle books, from word searches to crosswords.
Qualities: Good (+2) Big Happy Family, Good (+2) Fibercrafts, Good (+2) Gregarious, Good (+2) Home Economics Teacher, Good (+2) Puzzle Books
Poor (-2) Vision

Maisie's Cousin Lucio
Lucio Walker -- He has olive skin, green eyes, and dark brown hair which is very curly but cut so short that the curl doesn't show. He is the grandson of Marco Walker, son of Bennie Walker, husband of Gina Walker, father of Marcell and Mimi Walker. He is Maisie's cousin. Lucio wears a suit well and handles business brilliantly ... but he forgets which fork to use, prefers beer to wine, and makes fun of Anna for liking opera.
Qualities: Expert (+2) Businessman, Good (+2) Constitution, Good (+2) Family Man, Good (+2) Toy Soldier Collector
Poor (-2) Coping with Upperclass Culture

Lucio's Wife Gina
Gina Walker -- She has fair skin, brown eyes, and straight ash-brown hair that falls past her waist. Her heritage is primarily French and British with a little Italian. She is the wife of Lucio Walker and mother of Marcell and Mimi Walker. Gina has lived in urban or suburban areas all her life, knows little about nature, and really doesn't want to get it on her. But she knows how to find all the fun and useful spots in town.
Qualities: Expert (+2) Computer Programmer, Good (+2) Cheerful, Good (+2) Flexible, Good (+2) Mother
Poor (-2) Not a Country Girl

Marcell Walker -- He has tinted skin with hazel eyes a bit more brown than green. His hair is wavy, a little darker brown than his twin's, and cut just above his shoulders. Marcell is the great-grandson of Marco Walker, grandson of Bennie Walker, son of Lucio and Gina Walker, and the older brother (by fifteen minutes) of his sister Mimi Walker. The twins are currently four years old, and are constantly getting into things they shouldn't. Marcell is good at charming his way out of trouble.
Qualities: Good (+2) Charmer, Good (+2) Smart, Good (+2) Wiggly
Poor (-2) 'Satiable Curiosity

Mimi Walker -- She has tinted skin with hazel eyes a bit more green than brown. Her hair is straight, a little lighter brown than her twin's, and cut just below her shoulders. Mimi is the great-granddaughter of Marco Walker, granddaughter of Bennie Walker, daughter of Lucio and Gina Walker, and the younger sister (by fifteen minutes) of her brother Marcell Walker. The twins are currently four years old, and are constantly getting into things they shouldn't. Mimi is good at talking through problems.
Qualities: Good (+2) Fast Talking, Good (+2) Assertive, Good (+2) Steady
Poor (-2) 'Satiable Curiosity

Maisie's Grandfather Marco
Marco Walker -- He has brown skin and brown eyes. His hair was black in his youth but is almost pure white now. He likes cigars, and his voice has gone gravelly from years of smoking. His heritage is Sicilian and black. He moved to America as a young man, bringing his Italian wife with him, but his children were all born in America. He is the father of Dario and Bennie Walker; grandfather of Lucio, Anna, Maisie, and Russell Walker; great-grandfather of Marcell and Mimi Walker. Marco has worked hard to support his family all his life, and doesn't always know how to ramp down and relax, even with grandchildren underfoot. But he tries. He loves his family a lot more than he is able to show out loud.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Stevedore, Expert (+4) Tough, Good (+2) Man of the House, Good (+2) Sicilian Cuisine, Good (+2) Smuggler, Good (+2) Stern
Poor (-2) Smoker

Maisie's Grandmother Brigid "Biddy" Fannon
Brigid "Biddy" Fannon -- She has fair skin and blue eyes. Her short curly hair was a bright red-gold in her youth, and has faded to a pale wispy ginger. Her heritage is pure Irish; she immigrated to America as a little girl and never completely got over the homesickness. She is the mother of Edgar Walker, Caitlin Fannon Walker, and Maureen Fannon Rubin; grandmother of Lynn Fannon, Anna Walker, Maisie Walker, Russell Walker, and Ailey. Biddy adores many Irish things such as dancing and music. Her skill at puzzles includes the old Druidic game of word-cracking to make and break kennings.
Qualities: Master (+6) Administrative Assistant, Master (+6) Grandmother, Expert (+4) Crafts, Expert (+4) Homemaker, Expert (+4) Intuition, Good (+2) Bodhran Player, Good (+2) Irish Dancer, Good (+2) Still Spry, Good (+2) Word Puzzles
Poor (-2) Misses Ireland

Maisie's Aunt Maureen
Maureen Fannon Rubin -- She has fair skin, blue eyes, and straight blonde hair that falls just past her shoulders. She is on the plump side, with a pear-shaped face and padded body. Maureen is the daughter of Brigid "Biddy" Fannon; younger sister of Edgar Fannon and Caitlin Fannon Walker; stepmother of a son, Callum, and a daughter Harriet from her husband Harold's previous marriage, plus mother of their mutual daughter Ailey. Creative and whimsical, Maureen is good at both fine arts and practical crafts. She also enjoys discussing deep issues of philosophy and other esoterica. Outside those areas, though, she tends to be impractical and often flounders with organizing everyday things. Fortunately her husband is much better at that.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Artist, Good (+2) Existential Intelligence, Good (+2) Inclusive, Good (+2) Whimsical
Poor (-2) Impractical

Maisie's Cousin Ailey
Ailey Rubin -- She has fair skin with freckles, blue eyes, and red hair in tight spirals. She is two and a half years old. Ailey is already fast on her feet, but hasn't grown into the matching agility. She is the daughter of Harold Rubin and Maureen Fannon Rubin, stepsister of Callum and Harriet Rubin. Excited by colors, Ailey gets into everything bright -- yarn, crayons, markers, makeup, food coloring -- with no clue yet as to what belongs where.
Qualities: Good (+2) Creative, Good (+2) Fast
Poor (-2) Pretty Colors!

* * *

"The only difference between an experienced knitter and new knitter is that the experienced knitter makes bigger mistakes faster. Be bold; there are no terrible consequences in knitting."
-- Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

The Fourth of July is a popular holiday for family gatherings, which can be a wonderful event. It helps to plan activities for all ages and to know how to destress during family holidays.

Visiting is part of an active social life. Understand how to be a good house guest, be a gracious host, and help a guest feel at home.

Mallory is 26 weeks pregnant on Thursday, July 3, 2014. They plan to spend the holiday weekend with Maisie's family, then drive back to Urbanburg on Monday. Here is a woman of similar build as Mallory at 26 weeks.

See the lounger cushion and the velour floor cushions. The pillowcase floor mats are easy to make.

Shopping for fireworks requires thought regarding the audience. Fountains are flashy yet safe.

Paige is making a box-bottom blanket for the baby as a play mat. A box-bottom blanket is one name for a multicolored afghan intended to use up lots of yarn scraps left over from other projects. It can be crocheted in different rows, as with this fantasy blanket that uses different stitches. You can also do one in squares or other patterns. But you don't really need a pattern -- you can just make plain rows in different colors, or do each row in a different stitch, whatever you like.

Maisie's family produces this kind of crazy-quilt blanket.

Grandma Biddy's knitting basket looks like this. She has many different types and colors of yarn.

Knitting with textured yarn requires careful attention to choose the ply and handle it while knitting. The shapes and materials make these yarns behave in unique ways.

Uncle Bennie's craft basket holds deeper, quieter colors of more uniform texture.

Naming emotions is one way to calm down an overload.

Heather yarn has a subtle variegation created by flecks of different colors, like this Andean treasure yarn. This one is similar to Mallory's mauve.

Variegated yarn has multiple colors along its length. Maisie's yarn knits up like this as a project.

Superdisempowers are extraordinary handicaps, just as superpowers are extraordinary abilities. They are not ordinary disabilities, nor are they merely superpowers gone wrong or out of control. They are specific, supernatural effects of the negative kind.

Handpainted yarn can produce spectacular effects. See Aunt Maureen's yarn in the skein and knitted up.  The sweater pattern is Beyond Puerperium.

Knitting with multicolored yarn benefits from forethought such as making sample swatches to see how it looks. Watch a video about these techniques.

For a first knitting project, many people make a simple square. This page has lots of square patterns. Here are some with graduated colors. You can also make granny squares on a knitting loom.

Making mistakes is a natural part of learning. It's important to provide a failure-friendly environment for children so they can learn from mistakes.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-11 03:30 am (UTC)
kelkyag: notched triangle signature mark in light blue on yellow (Default)
From: [personal profile] kelkyag
<snerk> Poor Mallory, that's got to be overwhelming. Hopefully being handed something to do helps.

I'm a little confused about whether the accident-prone aunt is actually going to get into something worse if she's kept accident-free for a bit, or if the family's just tense expecting her to get hurt?

"She felt nervous meeting Mallory's family" -> I think "Mallory" here should be "Maisie"?

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2015-09-11 03:17 pm (UTC)
thnidu: Red pen. Text: The red penis the editor's friend; editing mark "insert space" in "penis". from lj:stormsdotter (editor's friend)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
• She felt nervous meeting Maisies family,
-> Maisie's

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-11 03:42 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
grabbed ahold of the end table

This may be a regional difference, but it's not something I would have put in the narrative voice -- for me, it's dialogue-only. In describing the action, I would say "grabbed hold of" or even simply "grabbed".

Have I missed something here? IIRC, the last time Damask spent a holiday with Maisie's family it didn't go so well, although it wasn't a disaster by any means. Is this just because in the interim they've gotten more comfortable with the system?

Good lord, that's an emotionally cacophonous group! And being all jammed together in one house makes them even harder to deal with (for me) than Stan's much larger gathering was outdoors. I'm not surprised that Mallory is overwhelmed.

I love your picture for Ailey!

I originally envisioned "box-bottom blanket" as something made literally like a box -- a mat of squares with the outer edges turned up and stitched together to make something akin to a soft-sided playpen. It took me a while to re-parse it as "made from the scraps at the bottom of the box".

I'm assuming that Damask just said something on the order of, "I'm bringing my roommate with me, she's pregnant and her parents aren't taking it well."

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-19 08:00 pm (UTC)
johnpalmer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] johnpalmer
Huh. I hadn't thought of that.

I would have spelled it as "grabbed a hold" and the image is that you haven't actually grabbed the object. If you "grabbed your backpack" you'd be picking up the main body, and maybe putting your arms though the straps, but if you "grabbed a hold of your backpack" you probably grabbed one of the straps and swung it up over your shoulders - a grip to manipulate it, not taking it entirely in hand.

And then I see "ahold" is defined elsewhere - not that it needed to be, I'm not a prescriptivist - which surprised me.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-11 03:49 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Wow. In fact, maybe too many kinds of wow to list. (And almost, but not quite, too many extended-family members – especially the ones with names beginning with M – to keep track of.)
(Added: Cf. [personal profile] kelkyag's last ¶.)

• They shapes and materials
-> The

• Mimi is good at talking through problems. ... Qualities: Good (+2) Fast Talking
> I generally understand "talking through a problem" as meaning something like thinking it through out loud, or working it out between two or more people by talk. But then you say "fast talking", which to me has always meant talking your way out of a tight spot , or otherwise convincing somebody of something that's not true or or persuading them to do something they don't really want to do.

• 'Satiable Curiosity
> Kipling's "Elephant's Child", of course – but can be confusing if one doesn't realize that the leading apostrophe means that this is really insatiable curiosity. (η: I didn't get it immediately the first time I read the Just So Stories.)

And where do you find these photos?!
Edited Date: 2015-09-11 03:39 pm (UTC)

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2015-09-14 05:31 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
> Kipling's "Elephant's Child", of course – but can be confusing if one doesn't realize that the leading apostrophe means that this is really insatiable curiosity. <<

«Yeah, I know, but there's no graceful way to explain that in a character sheet -- and "Insatiable Curiosity" would sound off-key to anyone who remembers the story.»

True...

>>And where do you find these photos?! <<

«Online. I do keyword searches and look for suitable images.»

Thanks. I'm gradually developing Glazier.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-19 07:49 pm (UTC)
johnpalmer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] johnpalmer
One of my frequent ideas for story lines is the "luck sink". They soak up some good luck into a pool, causing random, unlucky events to happen. One reason for this could be a Teela Brown effect - they're lucky enough to have their luck pooling up for the really big events that they need it for.

Gilligan is a prime example - working on the assumption that no one, not even Jonas Grumby, could have kept the Minnow from sinking like a stone through that storm, yet miraculously, they managed to make land, and not just land, but a small island with fresh water, food, and building supplies.

If this were happening, it would be quite natural for the family to be anxious if her bad luck stopped, because it meant trouble was brewing.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-11 10:58 am (UTC)
ext_74: Baron Samadai in cat form (Default)
From: [identity profile] siliconshaman.livejournal.com
Hee... that was fun to read! Although as I've found, stage managing a large cast of characters in a story is exhausting! and fiddly. Although in this case, leaving the reader going "wait, who was that?!" as they all tumble by is appropriate!

and superdisempowers.. ok that's a new idea... [to me anyway], and now I'm kind of looking sideways at that and wondering if under the right circumstances a superdisempower could be used as a superpower, or vice versa, and wondering if there's a story there.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-09-12 05:05 am (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
If you want to go TV Tropes, turning around a super-disempower would be these tropes: first, Blessed With Suck for something awesome turning out to be awful; next, Cursed With Awesome is for a bad thing being good for you.

Thoughts

Date: 2015-09-12 07:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> Hee... that was fun to read! <<

Yay!

>> Although as I've found, stage managing a large cast of characters in a story is exhausting! and fiddly. <<

It is difficult at times.

>>Although in this case, leaving the reader going "wait, who was that?!" as they all tumble by is appropriate!<<

That's what I was aiming for -- enough grasp of the characters that the poem didn't dissolve into chaos, but a little more than anyone could handle easily so as to share the sense of Mallory feeling overwhelmed. It helps that Maisie's immediate family and some of the others had already been introduced in her previous visits home.

>> and superdisempowers.. ok that's a new idea... [to me anyway], <<

I haven't seen it done elsewhere, but I'm enough of a biologist to understand that along with genetic improvements will come new birth defects or the equivalent. I actually have a list of some superdisempowers, just haven't written about them yet.

>> and now I'm kind of looking sideways at that and wondering if under the right circumstances a superdisempower could be used as a superpower, or vice versa, and wondering if there's a story there. <<

Most things that people would think of as negative are superpowers that are difficult to control or have narrow benefits, but DO have the potential for positive outcomes. Superdisempowers are overwhelmingly bad, and in fact, can be fatal. Power Bleed is one like that. The person leaks power. Sometimes they have a separate ability that allows them to absorb energy from somewhere else, but other times not. It's one of the possible side effects from clipping or other mystical injuries, but can also happen spontaneously.

Feel free to prompt if you're curious about this stuff though.

awwwww, it bwoke!

Date: 2016-10-22 03:01 am (UTC)
callibr8: icon courtesy of Wyld_Dandelyon (Default)
From: [personal profile] callibr8
Enjoyed the poem, especially the descriptions of the yarns and blankets! Tried to follow several links for the fiber related stuff, but many are broken now, such as the ones at "fancytiger". I suggest sourcing from Ravelry instead; projects shown there are likely to stay available, as should pictures of specific yarns. If you want help coming up with replacements, let me know, and I'll see what I can find.

where to find good fuzzy stuff

Date: 2016-10-22 05:10 am (UTC)
callibr8: icon courtesy of Wyld_Dandelyon (Default)
From: [personal profile] callibr8
Will try the fiber links again, thanks!

Ravelry tends to be more robust because it's part blog, part brag, and promotes community, so people put projects (or yarns) up, but usually wouldn't have a reason to take them down. Always glad to help when I can, especially for references to one of my favorite things (that being, YARRRRRN!)

Re: awwwww, it bwoke!

Date: 2016-10-22 05:24 am (UTC)
callibr8: icon courtesy of Wyld_Dandelyon (Default)
From: [personal profile] callibr8
Mmm, yummy yarns, indeed! Thanks for fixing those!

In the "people" links, I didn't check all of them, but there were three that I did try that were 404s - for Marcell, Mimi, and Brigid.

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