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Probably because I have three academic degrees and then worked in a university as a postdoc, I still center my life around September as beginning of the year. This year doing so that way feels especially odd because September is the one month where no one in my household is traveling so it's less busy rather than the usual school year of more busy, but it also feels apt because I'm settling into new stuff at work.

But let it not be said that because I'm out of school I'm not learning. I'm actually even signed up for two classes:

1. I signed up for a two-session spinning course at my local yarn shop. The instructor is a friend from the Saturday knit group and I'm super excited because I've watched and listen to her teach so I know she'll be great. I absolutely positively do not need a new hobby, but learning new things is fun!

2. I also signed up for a free online course in a subject I know nearly nothing about: "Osteoarchaeology: The Truth in Our Bones". Why? Because Kathy Reichs novels and crime shows have no doubt left me with a jumbled impression of how bone identification works and I like random real biology and science in my life (a hazard of being raised by biochemists). I plan to watch the first few lectures and decide whether to stick to it, which is something a friend taught me to do with courses when I was an undergrad and it's the one thing I wish everyone knew to do because it lets you try a broader range of things.

If anyone else wants to watch lectures and chat with me about them, I find I stick with these things more if I talk about them with someone, so hit me up for class gossip!

Other than that, I've been doing some more new-years-resolution type stuff:

a. I've been finishing up some work-in-progress knitting things that got shelved for various reasons, and it's strangely satisfying. Hopefully I'll get some time to do some pictures soon and write those up.

b. I bought a new band for my fitbit and am trying to be more serious about using the data it gives me to walk more and sleep more. It's not going super well because my schedule is so random right now, but I'm working on it.

c. I changed up all my subscription boxes, stopping Birchbox, Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags and trying to stop Yarn of the Month (although apparently I didn't get the email out correctly because I got a shipping notice). They're all great subscriptions, but they all piled up over the summer and I think I'll let myself enjoy what I have for a bit.

I did, however, sign back up for the Jimmy Beans Big Beanie Bags, which turned out to be a sanity saver for me several times because it meant I had small kits on hand when I was going somewhere without much notice and needed an easy thing to do. So the plan is to do that up to when the Rose City Yarn Crawl mystery-a-longs start in January and then decide if I need more or I need a break. :)

d. I'm back in work choir and am looking for some better ways to do vocal training, because Christmas music has a lot of high soprano parts and I'm a mezzo soprano with a lousy range that I know I can improve if I work at it. Advice and technological learning help much appreciated! I'll probably start with some Rock Band sessions, since I'm way out of practice from the summer.

It's a good start to a new year, even if it isn't a new year exactly!
terriko: (Default)
Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy:…
Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy: Shadowhunter Academy, Book 1
by Cassandra Clare, Devon Bostick (Narrator), Simon & Schuster Audio (Publisher)

This one was a cute short about Simon trying to live up to his own legacy (see previous many books) by going to Shadowhunter Academy. It's mostly funny almost a mockery of an anime high school heroes drama, but clearly setting up for a more serious tale about what it means to be a hero. Pointless to read without having read the other series, I expect, but an enjoyable lighter follow-up if you have.

Burned (An Alex Verus Novel) by Benedict…
Burned (An Alex Verus Novel)
by Benedict Jacka

Still enjoying this series, surprisingly, because this is around the point where the political drama and awful things happening to characters I love starts to wear on me. Still enough light in the dark, and it was nice to see some of the characters come to terms with each other.

Prez Vol. 1: Corndog in Chief by Mark…
Prez Vol. 1: Corndog in Chief
by Mark Russell, Sean Parsons (Illustrator), Ben Caldwell (Illustrator), Mark Morales (Illustrator), Dominike"domo"stanton (Illustrator)

In a not-so-distant future, corporate personhood and attention economy has led us to the point where a teenaged girl gets elected as president of the united states after she starred in a crappy video and a hacker group decided to push her as a viable 3rd candidate. This book chronicles her rise and her attempts to make something out of her figurehead presidency after all. This one jumps around a lot (likely an intentional choice) but is an interesting story at its core.

Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling by…
Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling
by Tony Cliff

Book 2 in this series is a bit less swashbuckling with a touch of Jane Austen, but still fun. Love the denouement with her relatives.

The Spirit Ring by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Spirit Ring
by Lois McMaster Bujold

Apparently I'd never read this Lois Mcmaster Bujold? This tale could be cast in the mold of "plucky girl hero saves the world" but with our young heroine's rage and willingness to bend the rules to get what she needs, it's a strangely strong story that quietly breaks many of the rules we quietly have about stories told about young heroes and women. Here is a heroine who doesn't feel guilt or uncertainty about her power and intelligence and rages against having to hide it, who gets angry, who doesn't follow the rules and this doesn't lead to downfall and repentance but rather to success. This is a quietly subversive story wrapped in a traditional fantasy mold. Sure, it's maybe not the epics and maybe isn't as full-package clever as her later works, but it's a surprising gem for its genre.
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This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

My favourite local yarn store, Black Sheep at Orenco, got turned into a pokémon gym with the advent of Pokémon Go, and I was so pleased by this that I thought I’d make a pattern! Now, pokéball patterns are a dime a dozen, but what I wanted was something that would be easy to print up nicely and give away, so that’s what I made. I’ll have a batch to give away at Albuquerque Mini Maker Faire on Aug 27-28, and hopefully the lovely folk at Black Sheep at Orenco will let me give away some there too.

Here’s the pages as images, but if you’d like to print it yourself or save it in your collection, I recommend the Pokeball postcard pattern pdf. It’s intended for a 4×6 postcard, or both sides will print onto a single 8.5×11″ sheet of paper.



(The text version of the pattern is at the bottom of this post)

Need help? There are lots of great tutorials out there, including video tutorials on youtube. If the first one you find doesn’t work for you, there’s many more options!

Here’s a few tutorials you might need for this pattern:

Still confused? You can probably also find an expert or a class at your local yarn store.

Love the pattern and want to thank me? Here’s a few things you can do:

  1. I don’t take tips, but I love seeing photos of what people have done with my patterns, so feel free to drop me an email at terri (at) toybox.ca.

  2. Make a pokeball and leave it for someone to find at your local pokestop or gym!

  3. Buy something at Black Sheep at Orenco so my favourite yarn store stays in business. (If you’re a crocheter and haven’t tried Teresa Ruch’s tencel, I recommend splurging on a ball and making a shawl or scarf. Such saturated colours with beautiful shine; the pictures hardly do it justice!)

Feel free to print this pattern out for friends or strangers and do whatever you’d like with your pokeballs! (Although please don’t hurt anyone with them!)

Crochet PoKéBall

A free amigurumi pattern by Terri Oda

Materials: Yarn in red, white, black. Crochet hook appropriate for yarn or smaller to avoid holes.

Yarn needle. Stuffing (polyfill and/or beans work well)

Picture uses worsted weight and size I or 5.5mm hook.

sc single crochet

inc increase by doing two single crochet in a single crochet stitch

dec “invisible” decrease: pull up loop in outside-of-ball half of next stitch, then full following stitch. Finish by pulling though all 3 loops on hook.

When starting your next stitch, be careful not to re-use the 2nd stitch in the decrease by accident.


0 (white): 6 sc in a magic circle loop

There are great tutorials for magic circles online!

1 (black): Switch colours to black, 2sc in each stitch (for total of 12 stitches)

Cut yarn, leaving a long black tail for sewing


0 (red): 6 sc in a magic circle loop (6 stitches)

1 (red): increase (inc) 6 times (12 stitches)

2 (red): inc in next stitch, sc in following one repeat 6 times (18 stitches total)

3 (red): inc, sc, sc 6 times (24 stitches)

4 (red): inc, sc 3 times 6 times (30 stitches)

5-7 (red): sc around (30 stitches)

8 (black): change to black, sc around (30 stitches)

Don’t worry if your colour change looks obvious, it will be covered by the button.

9-11 (white): change to white, sc around (30 stitches)

12 (white): dec, sc 3 times 6 times (24 stitches)

13 (white): dec, sc, sc 6 times (18 stitches)

Start filling ball. You may need to stuff more as you go

14 (white): dec, sc 6 times (12 stitches)

15 (white): dec 6 times (6 stitches). Last chance to stuff!

Cut thread and pull through to close circle.

Sew button onto ball, covering the area with colour change. Toss at a pokémon to catch it!

terriko: (Default)
Been a while since I did book reviews, eh? Not going to bother to catch up, but here are the books going back to the library this weekend:

Alien Proliferation (Alien Novels) by Gini…
Alien Proliferation (Alien Novels)
by Gini Koch

Amusingly, this is from the same series of the last book reviews I did, back in March! That was book 1, I'm now on book 4.

Series is still full of sexy aliens and crazy terrorist plots. Loving the characters and the way the author doesn't feel a need to pry apart established relationships in order to feed the drama. That actually matters quite a bit to me -- I get tired of longer series when they keep doing that, and here instead our main characters are growing into their relationships while chaos swirls around them. Less loving how brutal the bad guys were in this one. Still love the characters, but I might have to move this series from my personal "fun romp that will cheer me up" pile to a "read when you're ready" one.

Hair of the Dog (A Melanie Travis Mystery)…
Hair of the Dog (A Melanie Travis Mystery)
by Laurien Berenson

Also a book 4! This is a poodle mystery series my mom recommended to me after she saw how often I post pictures of dog shows (one of my coworkers breeds champion wolfhounds and I try to go out to some of his local shows when I can). It's a cozy mystery series set against a backdrop of dog shows, and it's everything I wanted in such a series. Sure, by book 4 it's getting a bit ridiculous that this amateur keeps getting surrounded by murders... but on the other hand, I can sort of see how police wouldn't get all the nuance of dog-show-based motives so at least our amateur sleuth has a clear role. It's been a while since I read the previous book, but book 4 had me right back into the swing of things in no time. Very fun!
terriko: (Default)
This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Hello my poor neglected maker blog, long time no see! It’s been a busy few months, in good ways, in bad ways, in sad ways. But I have been making things, and maybe I’ll eventually take pictures of my wedding dress and maybe I’ll eventually frog that section of the cardi that wasn’t right and maybe I’ll take some better photos of the pokéball and get some cards printed to hand out. Or maybe I’ll get caught up in the new things I want to make for maker faire and disappear again. Such is life.

What I will do today is document July’s YOTM shipment, since I finished those swatches and finally got around to taking some photos of them.

Debbi Bliss yarn samples (YOTM)

These two yarns are pretty similar, with the black Cleo slightly thicker than the pink Loli, but both with a similar icord type structure.

Cleo by Debbi Bliss

4.75 sts/inch on US 8

62% cotton, 38% polyester

98 yards. Color: 60001

Front of swatch:


Back of swatch:


I really love this swatch: it’s pleasantly sproingy and black, which means it would make a lovely face scrubby for makeup removal. I may just adopt it for that rather than saving it for the swatch blanket.

Loli by Debbi Bliss

6 sts/inch on US 6

80% cotton, 20% polyester

120 yards. color: 61006

Loli by Debbi Bliss (YOTM Sample)

The colour pops are actually looser than the main yarn, which was a surprise!

Front of swatch:


That’s definitely not the promised 5″ square, but I decided I wasn’t in the mood to re-knit it at the time because the needles I was using tended to snag.

Back of swatch:


This blend is much more cotton-like than the Cleo, feeling more like a more stretchy cotton rather than like a lofty polyester.

Both of these yarns were pretty similar to knit: springy, liable to catch on the lousy needles I was using but no problem with good needles. I liked the swatch patterns (thankfully no mistakes in the swatch this time!) I gather from a bit of searching that they’re meant to be beginner-friendly yarns, which makes some sense.

They knit up quickly once I switched needles. I’d definitely consider using these yarns for kids toys or anything else where washability and durability was a priority. They’d probably be good for summer stuff or folk avoiding animal fibers, although they don’t feel particularly luxurious to me so I don’t think I’d make big projects out of them. Still, fun to try!


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