This Writer’s November Debate


With November just around the corner, this writer finds herself at a crossroads. I’m not talking about the horrific election, but rather the opportunities November affords to writers of poetry and fiction. There are two big options on the table, each with its own set of pros and cons.

Option #1: Poetic Asides (via Writer’s Digest) November Poem A Day Challenge

Pros: I’ve participated in the PAD challenge for the last three years. The prompts are challenging, original, and always push my poetry to a new level. In addition, the camaraderie among poets is amazing and very uplifting.

Cons: I’m already writing a poem a day for National Haiku Writing Month. While February is technically the official Haiku Writing Month, prompts are posted for every day of every month. While haikus are short poems, they do take time to piece together. I’m not sure about adding a second set of prompts to an already full haiku writing schedule.

Possible Solution: I could give up NaHaiWriMo for a month and just focus on the PAD Challenge.

Option #2: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

Pros: I’ve been itching to start writing another novel. In particular, I want to get moving on the sequel to The Muse. I’ve got the basic story outlined, (although there are some pretty big holes to fill in), and my characters are getting chatty in my head. I already know where the story will start, I have a prologue in play, and I know how it ends. I just need a nudge to get this going.

Cons: This is a huge commitment! 1,667 words a day is a tall order for me as I continue to work full-time, manage blogs, take care of home and family, and craft (I refuse to give up my handicraft time as it is therapeutic stress relief!). This year my day job is more overwhelming than usual as I am now teaching three Advance Placement level courses, one of which is new to me (and therefore requires significant out of classroom planning). I don’t know that there are enough hours in the day to pull this off! Never mind, that I’m still trying to find an agent for The Muse. Do I really want to start a sequel for a novel still sitting unpublished, much less unrepresented?

Possible Solution: NaNoWriMo challenges writers to complete a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month. Maybe I can adjust the goal to meet my personal needs. Instead of 1,667 words, I can challenge myself to write 500 words a day. I may not end up with a completed novel, but I’d have a great start.

I still have a couple of weeks to decide exactly what challenge I’ll take on. However, if the day job gets any busier, I may have to let both challenges go. As hard as that is to do, I have my sanity to consider and I think my muse would agree!

Regardless, my usual writing practice will continue. Poetry and whatever my muse inspires will show up at least three times a week, right here! Stay tuned!

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c.b.w. 2016


Knitting A Scrap Yarn and Flannel Blanket


Over the summer, I started two scrap yarn knitting projects as a means to clear out my growing stash of leftover yarn, (see Knitting With Scrap Yarn). The first blanket turned out great and my little dog is snuggling up in it every night.

The start of the school year pushed my second project, the Maxi Cosi Blanket, to the sidelines for a spell, but I’ve finally finished it. In many ways, I think it turned out better than the first. The smaller size gave me a great opportunity to experiment with a new finishing technique for knitted blankets.

After blocking the blanket came out at 25″ x 27″. This turned out to be a perfect size for a little corner of the bed where my cat likes to sleep. She’s already claimed it as her own!


The yarn came from four different partial skeins leftover from two hats, a scarf, a cowl, and a pair of socks. I let the amount of yarn dictate stripe size, however I was careful with the oatmeal color so I could carry it all the way through end to end, (I only came up 3 rows short, which I supplemented with a cream-colored yarn scrap I thankfully had stashed!).

For finishing, I decided to add a flannel backing. I saw the technique on Pinterest and knew I had to try it. Luckily, my local craft store was having a sale on flannel fabric and it just so happened to have the perfect print. It was meant to be!


To attach the flannel and keep it from “tenting,” I employed an old quilting technique (thanks for reminding me, mom!) of using yarn ties. Once again, I went to my leftover yarn stash and found a great partial skein of variegated woodsy colors.

The grid  of the knitted pattern made it easy to space yarn ties about 2″ apart. First, I tacked the flannel to the blanket using safety pins to mark where the ties would go. I worked from the center out to the edges. Second, I loaded a yarn needle with a double-strand segment of yarn. I came up through the bottom (the flannel side) and back down through the top (the knitted side), making as small a stitch as possible in the garter stitch sections of the blanket. This hid the yarn tie on the front and added the tie detail to the flannel backing. Lastly, I tied each section and clipped the ends.

To secure the edges, I sewed a basic blanket stitch using DMC pearl cotton embroidery thread. This thread is thick and sturdy, which makes it perfect for stitching together folded flannel and worsted weight knitted yarn.


The result is a smooth edge that is decorative and not bulky. The edges are fully secure and the stitch adds to the rustic quality of the pattern and flannel print.

Not bad for scrap yarn, eh? See what’s hiding in your leftover yarn stash – it’s amazing what you can make with even the smallest scraps of yarn!

Happy Knitting!

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c.b.w. 2016