sweetest of valleys

I don't consider myself a collector of anything -- not Blythe dolls (although I have nine Neos and a Middie) or yarn (although I have a stash) or owls (although I have many owls and things with owls on them!) or anything, really. But now that I think about it, I sort of do have a collection... of Sweet Valley Twins books.

Maybe you're familiar with the Sweet Valley High series, or you've at least heard of it! It chronicles the soapy, early-80s-tastic adventures of sixteen-year-old identical twins Elizabeth and Jessica. They look the same but are so totally different, et cetera. Elizabeth is the more sensitive, goody-goody twin who likes reading and writing and always does the right thing. Jessica is the fun-loving, more outrageous yet superficial cheerleader who cares about popularity, clothes, and boys. It's very id/ego, and their interactions and the way they play off each other and how often the fact that they are twins becomes a plot device (switching places, mistaken identities) is all in good fun.

However, as a girl, I missed out on the Sweet Valley High thing; they were before my time, and just too soapy and dramatic for me, even when I was a ten-year-old! Sweet Valley Twins (which takes place during the twins' apparently endless sixth grade year, making them eleven-ish) is what I liked when I was a kid, and still buy from used bookstores occasionally even today. The Twins books are great because it's rare that anything very dramatic happens, but they don't tend to be as cutesy as BSC books. They have just the right amount of cheese for me. So although I have read quite a few High books and some of the other many spin-offs, Twins holds my nostalgic heart.

Lately I've bought a handful more and realized that I have at least 60 Sweet Valley Twins books! Only about a third of them are from my childhood, but in either case, they were purchased second-hand. Others were given to me by friends. I don't even know how I came by some of them, let alone duplicate copies. I haven't even read a few of them!

Here are the titles I picked up today: The Twins Get Caught; Booster Boycott; Big Brother's In Love! (anything with Steven is an automatic buy); Jessica the Nerd; The Charm School Mystery; and The Middle School Gets Married. In my humble opinion, the 40s-70s is prime Twins, so I really scored big. (I also caved to one single Sweet Valley High book: Don't Go Home With John. I hear it's pretty much an epoch if you like the character of Lila. And who doesn't?)

wearing my fingers out

My left fingers sure are tender between hexipuffing and guitar-playing. I didn't play my guitar too much last month, so now my fingers are letting me know it.

I managed to make another hexipuff today and I think I improved! I also managed to bind off, which involved a crochet hook... perfect. My comfort zone.

I'm not sure I'm doing the very last bit of the bind off right! But my knitting's often lumpy, so who knows?? I'll just keep practicing! Right now it takes me 4-5 hours to make a single hexipuff. I have seen people talking about making one in, like, half an hour. Since comparison is the thief of joy, I won't compare my time to anyone else's. I just hope no one out there takes their skills for granted.

Yesterday I also finished off this rust-colored slouchie hat. It's the fifth time I've made the pattern and I intend to do it again since I'm still so likely to muck it up! Gotta practice, practice, practice!


I masochistically decided to learn how to make hexipuffs, which are certainly a popular thing to make. I've seen them around for a couple of years, and they are just so cute. I always like to look at the decorated ones, especially! But as they're knitted in the round, they are beyond my very low skill level!

Still, I found myself fixating on it during May and decided to bite the bullet, purchase the pattern, and get some double point needles. I was immediately in over my head! I wrestled with learning a new method of casting on (the long tail cast-on) and wrangling an extra needle, which was so much harder to actually handle than it was to understand. I also learned to increase, which I haven't done before; my skills really are very limited. But I messed up too much to get anywhere at all. After having to tear it out and re-try it a lot of times, I called it a night and took a break for a few days.

When I came back to it today, I actually managed to kind of get through it?? Well, it's a mess, but it's certainly is a lot better than I was expecting my first hexipuff to be! It's very crooked and has a gaping hole where I dropped a stitch or did not increase correctly, or something. I just didn't feel like starting over. In my opinion, the first few rows are the hardest.

Haha, I'm so terrible at knitting! Please don't make fun! But I'm really proud of myself. I expected it to take me so much longer and so many more tries to even get through half of one. Of course, I probably have many to make before I start making them correctly and neatly.

At this point, I have no real intentions of making a blanket or anything like that. I don't knit socks, so I don't have a stash of sock wool sitting around (I've never worked with fingering-weight yarn before). I do have a massive amount of polyfill, though, and I think practicing my knitting by making something that is so small and only takes one evening is a promising way to build my skills.

Mumble mumble I haven't actually bound off yet mumble mumble. I'M NOT READY TO INEVITABLY DESTROY WHAT I'VE BUILT!