If you're not knitting, the terrorists win

(My mostly on-topic ramblings about knitting. And life in general. My life in specific.)

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle aged mother of 2 grown children and wife to a man who doesn't seem to mind my almost heroin-like yarn addiction. I spend my time writing, knitting, and generally stressing out.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Shopping Trip: Bag O' Yarn

Here's a nice little Bag O' Yarn I got on a recent Goodwill trip. It's a child's bag--maybe from some toy or something, but someone has used it as a knitting bag. (Kinda cool, since it is clear.)

This thing looked like a bunch of sport weight yarn that I really didn't know what I would do with. I almost it back on the shelf. But it was marked $2, and it was Half Off Day. When I unzipped it and poked around in it a little, I could see at least two full skeins of yarn, plus some other. And it looked as though there was a UFO in the bag, which I thought I could just frog for the yarn.

Then, I notice a couple of stitch holders in the bottom of the bag and that really sealed the deal for me. I can always use stitch holders, right? For a dollar, you can't go wrong.

Once at home, I pulled everything out of this bag. The project is this argyle sweater or vest. Nothing I would wear, of course. But it's really nicely knit. The stitches are all even and the carries are not too tight across the back. How can I frog this?

(It only looks rumpled, btw, because it was all crushed up in this bag.)

I'm thinking of frogging back only far enough to make an even square, then binding off. Instant (or almost instant) pillow front. I may knit a plain back for it, using the remaining yarn.

Here's the rest of what was in the bag: more yarn for this sweater, some random pink crochet thread that had some kind of crochet circle going on but no crochet hook, three stitch holders, a package of sewing needles, about a yard of pink satin ribbon, and one knitting needle.

(You can't see all of it, but there is another full ball of blue yarn, full ball of white, and a partial blue.)

Kind of random, yeah. But I'm still happy with it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Once More With Feeling

...or at least, with four different kinds of yarn.

I can't stop making making these big needle scarves. They are so fast and so easily customized that I feel like I could make one a week.

This one I made while watching TV. I didn't take any pix of the yarn beforehand, but I used 2 skeins of Lion Brand Fancy Fur in Brilliant Blue, half a skein of Yarn Bee Luscious in Blueberry, about 90 yards of Wintuk Worsted in Fisherman, and half a skein of Caron Simply Soft in Dark Country Blue.

The bits and pieces of the leftover yarn are going onto my Magic Ball of Yarn, which I will eventually do something with, I suppose.

Monday, August 27, 2012

On Crafting And Nerding

Last week at Gencon, T and I had a discussion with each other, and then a couple of later independent discussions with some other retailers and vendors, about how mainstream nerdism is now.

Gamers have, in the past, gotten the reputation as being social misfits, borderline Asperberger's, weirdo eggheads who dress up in capes and speak with a lisp. Think about how they have been portrayed in the media in previous decades--Comic Book Guy on Simpsons or the Lambdas from Revenge of the Nerds are a couple of good examples.

Even our local news media, when covering Gencon every year, plays down the fact that 35,000 people go to this convention and instead, finds the strangest, most out-there costumes to film. That is, in fact, the first question anyone who is not a gamer asks me when they learn I will be attending Gencon: "Are you going to dress up like an elf?"

But, over the last half decade, it's become kinda cool to be nerdy. Look at the success of Big Bang Theory. Look at the success of TV shows like the CSI franchise, which focus on the more cerebral aspects of police work. More Sherlock Holmes, less Starsky and Hutch, if you will.

Hey, look at Sherlock Holmes. More popular than ever. Of course that may be because Robert Downey, Jr. is playing him, but, whatever.

So events like Gencon (and gaming in general) have become more popular and more widely accepted by the mainstream public than ever before. (This is my own opinion, based on observation and not any sort of scientific study. Don't ask me for any numbers.) And, people are learning--despite how gamers have previously been portrayed--that gaming is very social.

Gaming, I think, goes hand in hand with crafting. I mean, really, if you think about it, gaming is all about creating. You are creating characters, creating stories, creating your own entertainment. Gamers rely on their creativity. That's why, I think, so many gamers are knitters, artists, makers-of-many-things.

I had the opportunity to go to a wedding this weekend. The bride and groom, both friends of ours, nerds, and pretty creative and people to boot, hand-crafted their own wedding from the geeky hand-drawn invites, to the nerdpop reference-laden ceremony, to the D&D table decorations at the reception. How cool is that?

What they ended up with was a highly-personalized celebration that was completely unique to them. Way to go!

I wish more people did that. Not just (or not necessarily) weddings, mind you. I know my parents would never have sprung for anything but a traditional wedding. I had a cousin who was married on the beach (gasp!) in 1982 and it was absolute scandal in the family gossip circles.

But I would love to see more people give hand-crafted gifts at Christmas, for example. Wouldn't that be great? "Here is a gift that spent time and effort on. I made it just for you and there is not another one exactly like it in the whole world." Or, "Here's a hat I knitted for you because I love you and I want your head to be warm?" Or even, "Here's a picture I drew for you... or a story I wrote... or a song I recorded... because I thought you would like it."

I like that idea because, instead of gift-buying being some holiday chore you have to do, something you fight the crowds for and pay the credit card bills for, you would be giving something personal that you thought about while you were deciding what to make, and thought about the whole time you were making it.

Wouldn't that be cool?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Letter From AW

My Dearest Patwoman,

How I have missed you in the years that have separated us! I miss you the way the sun misses its fire when it goes out at night. I miss you the way the river misses the water once it's floated past. I miss you the way... I don't know. The way something that misses something else a whole lot.

Such great longing has produced a certain romantic creativity in me and I have begun to pen a film script that will fictionalize our epic romance. I call it "There Can Be Only One."

The film opens on me, a young warrior in the Scottish Highlands. My kinsmen and I are preparing for battle with a neighboring clan. During the battle, I'm slain by giant warrior who seems to single me out. But I don't die. I awaken, whole, and am banished from my village. Years later, in New York, I meet you--a policewoman who is also an expert on swordmaking. We fall in love and are forced to battle the giant warrior once again--this time, for the fate of the entire world.

The theme, of course, is how two people from opposite sides of the law can meet and fall in love and how that love transcends time.

I'm pitching this to Hollywood next week. Are you interested in playing opposite me in the female lead? I can see many late-night rehearsals in our future.

With love that transcends time,



Sweet Adam,

Of course I would be interested in this movie. Only, I would like to move this to the 21st Century. I would be an adventuresome young Scottish lass. I meet you, a time-travelling alien from a dead civilization, and we have outrageous adventures through time and space. Instead of a sword, you could carry some other tool... something that would be capable of doing almost any job, and yet easily concealed in a pocket. Something like a wrench... or a screwdriver.

What do you think of that?



Saturday, August 25, 2012

People Watching At Sam's Club

So, the other day I was sitting in the parking lot at Sam's Club, waiting on T to finish loading the trunk. (That's what I do. I say "Wow. It's hot. I'll get the AC running." And then I get inside and start the car and he loads everything into the trunk. Clever, eh?) Anyway, sitting there gave me the opportunity to observe what I hope is not a representative chunk of humanity.

Disclaimer: I did not take any pictures of these people because I thought it was a bit creepy to be taking pictures of strangers in the Sam's Club parking lot. Way creepier than blogging about it to strangers later.

First, and I know I say it all the time and I promise I'm not a grouchy old lady in real life, the parking lot is not a playground. It's not safe for kids to play in. You need to watch your kids. Don't let them run way ahead or lag way behind. Don't let them weave in between cars or especially duck down behind them. It kills me the way some people are so careless with their little kids.

Secondly, I want to say to everyone out there that there is no shield of invisibility in the parking lot of Sam's Club. Whatever you do there can be seen by anyone who is looking. I'm talking to you, guy with one hand on the shopping cart and one hand down the front of your pants. Seriously. What are you digging for?

Also, I'm curious about the guy in the suit who came out of the store with a leather (or leather-look) desk blotter and a 6-pack of tidy whitey underwear. What do you suppose is going on in his office?

It's not all bad at Sam's Club, though. While I was standing in line inside, I checked out the groceries of the woman behind me. Chicken breasts, carrots, raspberries, yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, water, whole grain bread, bananas. I don't think I've ever seen anyone shop like that. I was impressed.

I turned away quickly so I didn't see the look of disgust on her face when she saw my cartload of snack items.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Almost FO

With everything going on this month--the store, the restaurant, the blood pressure, the craziness--I've barely picked up the sticks all month. Last night, I just couldn't stand it any longer. I HAD TO KNIT.

I knit so I don't snap and kill people, remember?

Anyway, this is the Zara Scarf from Yarn Tree Designs. I've been knitting on it a bit at a time during our weekly RPG game.

Love this pattern. Very easy to memorize. Very easy to knit while playing a game that you have to pay attention to. It's basically 2 rows, over and over. So simple, and yet it shows off the subtle color changes of the yarn beautifully. (I overlit the picture on the right a little so you can see the color variegation. The true color is more like the picture on the left.)

I used 2 skeins of Red Heart Boutique Midnight yarn in Moonlight, which gave me plenty of yarn to do the scarf portion. But I only had a tiny bit left over from the second skein.

Obviously not enough for the pompoms.

Don't worry, though. I'm going to purchase another skein just for the pompoms!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Not Knitting: More Glass

On Saturday at Gencon, M and I took another Dichroic Glass Pendant class. This time, R's gf, B, joined us. B hadn't worked with dicro (See how cool I am? So cool I don't use the whole word. I call it dicro now.) and M and I were looking forward to making another two pendants.

M was a little disappointed that they chose not to offer the pink glass that she had admired in their finished samples. But the green glass was pretty and they also allowed us to do a clear one instead of black, if we wanted. So it all worked out just fine.

Here are some in-progress pictures of M

and B

Look what a good time they are having! I was having a good time, too. But there are no pictures of me. Why? Because I can't take my own picture. It's a fact. And because, even if I could take my own picture, that picture would be of me, hunched dangerously close to the table so I can see the tiny pieces of glass I'm working with.

Did I mention I desperately need to wear glasses?

I did, however, take some pix of my pendants as I was putting the glass shards on. Most people cut the glass, planned out their piece, then glued it all down. Not Patwoman. Nope. Just cut, glue. Cut. Glue. Planning is for the indecisive.

It takes forever my way, by the way. Probably should've planned the piece out first.

Here is what they looked like when I was finished. They are all packed in their box, ready to be fired. I am eagerly looking forward to getting these back.

Seriously. Look how awesome they are!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How 'Bout Some Dichroic Glass?

Every year at Gencon, the lovely ladies of CATS teach classes on all kinds of crafty things. I always try to do at least one of them, and this year, I got to do two.

The first one I did was the Dichroic Glass Bracelet class. You'll remember last year, M and I did the Dichroic Glass Pendant class? We did two, a black version and an amber version.

Dichroic glass is really cool. Basically, dichroic is two-color glass. You are putting the dichroic glass onto the colored glass and covering it with clear glass. Then these fine ladies melt them all together in a kiln and you get this:

Pretty cool, eh? I wore my black pendant on Thursday to Gencon and had about twenty people stop and ask me where I got it.

Anyway, so I decided to make a semi-matching bracelet this year. The technique is a little different than the pendant. Basically, for such a small piece, we used multi-colored crushed glass--or frit--instead of the shiny dichroic chunks we used on the pendants. My bracelet will be a blue/black color. M decided to make one in a turquoise/orange colorway. (They called it "goldfish".)

Since my bracelet colors were darker colors, the frit is sandwiched between two pieces of clear glass. M's colors are a lot lighter. Her frit was "cupcaked" on top of two pieces of clear glass.

I got a little frustrated with myself because the first piece of glass I cut, I shattered. My fault, completely. I scored it just fine, but I didn't try to break it with the scored side up. I basically need to wear glasses. That's what it comes down to.

Anyway, I was able to get a new piece of glass and M was kind enough to help me cut it. And I got all my frit in place, even if I was the last one finished.

These cabochons are now at the CATS studio, being fired. I can't wait to see how they turn out. I made 15 of these stones. Eleven will go on the bracelet. Two will become earrings. One will become a ring. (Which I also learned to do!) And one will become a pendant. Not sure what I will do with the remaining one.


Monday, August 20, 2012

So Ends Another Gencon

Ah, Gencon. I miss you already.

This year was even better than last. Had a fabulous time playtesting new games and playing some old favorites. Got to see some old friends. Got to meet some new friends. Talked to a lot of designers, distributors, writers, and artists. Saw some movies. Bought a lot of games. Bought a lot of art.

T and I spent a lot of time talking with Larry Elmore. As you know, Larry is the fantasy artist. If you think right now of a fantasy-type magazine cover or book cover, you're thinking of a Larry Elmore work. Or someone who was influenced by him, at least. When T and I were first dating, we spent a lot of time reading Dragonlance and Dragon and D&D books. So, naturally, we feel a strong personal attachment to his work, too.

I've gotta say, he is such a great guy. Very genuine. We bought several classic pieces for the walls of our store, but I am definitely getting some of his personal works for myself.

Larry also appears in the web series, The Brothers Barbarian, which I told you about last year. Season One was a success and they are working on Season Two. I can't wait.

If you have not watched The Brothers Barbarian, please do. We met Tim (Art) and Ken (Russ) last year. They're great and it's obvious they're having a great time doing this. Besides Larry, the web series also includes the author Margaret Weis of Dragonlance fame.

I picked up two of Margaret's new books, one of which was co-written with Tracy Hickman. Talked with Margaret a little about the writing process, which was very interesting. I love to talk with people about how they do what they do, and she was very straightforward about it.

I was sad that I missed Hickman's Killer Breakfast this year because T and I had to be at the new store site. Killer Breakfast one of the big treats of Gencon. Tracy and Laura Hickman DM an adventure that about 200 characters participate in. Of course, that's not as unwieldy as it sounds. They pretty much just kill everyone off in the most hilarious ways. People try to stay in the game as long as possible and come up with some really ingenious tactics. And Tracy kills them anyway.

I secretly want to participate as a character. But I'm just not clever enough to keep up with the humor. Ha!

I played a lot of games, too. I'll give you some mini-reviews here this week. And I made some jewelry. (Of course.) I'll show you some of those pictures, too. Did not get my picture taken with any of the celebs, sadly. But I had to be in several places at once, including at the new store site, so I just wasn't able to get that in.

Too bad, too. Wil Wheaton was one of the guests. Remember how he was shopping at every vendor booth I went to at Origins? What? No. It's not stalking. Not when it's done out of true appreciation for his work. What? It is stalking? No kidding?


And, btw, why didn't I get pictures of all the folks I talked to? I guess I just got all caught up in talking and it completely slipped my mind.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Holy Crap , It's Been Ages

...since I've had the chance to sit down and write. I don't want you to think I've neglected you on purpose, Gentle Reader. Oh, no. It's simply a matter of quantum physics. (Or rather, my inability to utilize quantum physics to be in all places at once!)

Let me explain...

No, there is too much. Let me sum up...

This month:

-New construction on our store was delayed, due to red tape. I never, ever wanted to use such a lame expression as "red tape," but there you go. What else can you call it when you are waiting for someone to put a signature on a form so someone else can sign a different form?

Needless to say, deliveries and installations had to be rescheduled, events had to be changed, etc. Plus--and this is the part I find most annoying--I have ads that hit before I was able to recall them that have the wrong address on them. FML.

I recite the Serenity Prayer about ten times a day.

-Our wonderful, marvelous website that will only take a certain company 3 weeks to build is now going on its ninth month. And the designer said the problem was that we "know exactly what we want" instead of just letting him do whatever he thinks is best.

-August is also one of my busiest and most favorite months because of GenCon. I am so looking forward to Gencon. Granted, I will be working, but that work will be playtesting games.

-Also, my blood pressure meds have run out and my doctor is on vaca. None of the other doctors in her office will write even a limited Rx until I am examined. And none of them will let me schedule an appointment with them.

I said to the nurse, "So let me get this straight... Your office prescribed these pills because they said it was dangerous not to take them. You called me at work and told me to leave the office to have the prescription filled right then, it was so urgent and important. But now, you're saying it's perfectly fine for me to not take them for what will amount to three weeks?"

No, she says. I have to take the pills right now. But no, they won't write the Rx. And no, I can't have an appointment until my doctor is back from vaca. And the thing that has really pushed me close to a stroke is that, they don't see how this is an contradictory situation.

I have the worst headache.

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