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.

Friday, November 30, 2012

UFOs: So Many Projects, So Little Time

I am the knitting juggler. The juggling knitter. Whatever. I'm the person who juggles knitting projects around figuratively.

Can't block M's afghan when she is likely to drop by. Can't work on R's afghan if he is around.

So, I started a scarf for B, to work on when I can't work on any other project. This is it so far. It's the Weather...Or Knot Scarf by Mindy Ross. Deep, reversible cables and ribs. And this fantastic I-cord fringe.

Knitting in a shocking red for added drama. This is really going to be a spectacular scarf, if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Achilles and Patwoman Prepare A Swap Package

What's better than getting a surprise holiday gift in the mail? Sending a surprise holiday gift in the mail! Duh!

So, for the first time, I am participating in a swap with one of the members of the Christmas Knitting group on Ravelry. (The idea for this group is, if you start knitting in January, you won't stress out about knitting Christmas gifts in November. You see how well that's working for me, right?)

Anyway, since I've never done a swap before, I decided to enlist some help. Of course, Achilles is nothing, if not helpful. He suggested right away that we needed a box to put everything in.

Patwoman: Hm. No, Achilles. I think this one is too big for our needs.

Achilles: Really? It looks like a good size to me.

Patwoman: Hey!

Achilles: See? Just right.

Patwoman: We need a different box.

Achilles: Hmph!

Achilles: This one's smaller.

Patwoman: Don't be a smartass. You know all that stuff is not going to fit in that little box.

Achilles: Whatever, Humom. How about this one?

Patwoman: Just right!

Achilles: Oh yeah! Everything fits nicely!

Achilles: M...E...R...R...Y...

Patwoman: I know how to spell it. But thanks for your help, Achilles. I probably could've done it without you, but it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Recap

Thanksgiving was a success here in the Patwoman household, despite the Forces Of The Universe aligning against me.

To start off with, the damn turkey was frozen again. I know! Every year I put a turkey in the fridge earlier and earlier and it fails to thaw in time. Oh well. That's why God invented the sinkful of water thawing method, right?

But then... My roasting pan was missing. Not just one of them. I actually have two. Both are just... gone. Nowhere in the house. WTF? How do two large roasting pans disappear from the house? I have still not found them.

Oh well. That's why Kroger is open on Thanksgiving day, right? Poor T had to run out and buy one of those disposable foil pans.

Other than that, the dinner went well. I did burn the holy bejeebers out of my arm (turns out, you can't touch your inner arm on the side of a pan you've just removed from the oven). That's why there's Neosporin, right?

But, everyone was here. The food was good. The table looked great. So what's a little pain?

I had new dishes this year. They are dark blue with a sort of peacock-y finish. And they're square. Yeah, see? I'm hip. I also bought new square gold chargers to go with them. Boom!

And look how creative I got with the centerpiece! And, by creative, I mean, Look how creative someone else was who posted this centerpiece to Pinterest so I could copy it for my table. It's a few cuttings from the bush outside my front door, some clear glass cubes, some red beads, and a tea light, floating in water.

Of course, I'm totally going to keep using the tea light on water centerpiece for other dinners, too. I'm thinking I can submerge all kinds of things in a vase and float a candle on top. Plants, stones, plastic sharks...

After everyone was gone, T and I watched a really sweet movie called Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World. You know I love both Steve Carell and Kiera Knightley, and this was just a really nice story. I recommend it. (There is one huge mistake in the science, near the end, but try to ignore that. It's still a good movie.)

I did not do any Black Friday shopping the next day, as I was working. But, Saturday, I did pop over to Michael's for their 7 - 10 pm sale. I bought a few things.

Oh, come on. It was 75% off. How could I not?

And I put up a few Christmas decorations. Achilles was curious about these giant hats I put on the dining room chairs.

And a little suspicious of the hat I bought for him to wear.

Christmas decorations will go up very gradually. And the tree will go up dead last. Achilles knows why.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Chapter 2: Patwoman Makes Some Progress And Is Encouraged

I'm feeling a little better about this week, Gentle Reader. I have to say, I was getting pretty worried about my progress.


I whipped out the measuring tool and I am within 6 inches of finishing the border to M's afghan. Whoo-hoo! Of course, it still needs to be sewn on and blocked, but I can't think about that without going crazy those are mere details.

I also bought all the yarn and cast on to R's afghan this week. R's afghan also requires quite a bit of charting. I'm using one chart for the whole center of his afghan, another chart for the side panels, and yet another for the top and bottom. Those charts were all created by other people. And they are all different gauges and sizes. So all of those had to be re-charted to match gauge.

Why can't I do anything the way it's written? I don't know. That's just one of those little idiosyncrasies everyone loves about me.

Oh, and since I can't be working on M's present when she is over here, or R's present when he is around, I also cast on for something for B. This is my first opportunity to use Starbella.

Remember, I saw this yarn back in July?

This yarn is very simple to use, but it's a bit of a pain in the ass until you get the hang of it. Basically, you're not wrapping the yarn the way you would wrap ordinary yarn. Instead, you're going through it. Once you get the hang of doing it, it goes really fast.

Here's a Handy Patwoman Tip: Don't use this yarn on slippery aluminum needles. That way lies madness. Sure, you go super fast, but when you've knitted the first ten inches of this thing, the last thing you want is to put the work down to go refill your cola glass and then come back to all the stitches somehow sliding off the damn needle. Because, guess what? They are not going back on easily, bucko.

After that, I switched to wooden needles. And I know you're thinking, But Patwoman, you hate wooden needles. But you know what I hate worse? Having to start over because all the stitches slid off the damn needle.

This color is called Canyon Sunrise. It's blues and greens and really looks quite striking in this ruffly scarf. The scarf is, by the way, the free "pattern" from the Premier Yarn's website. I put that in quotes because it really isn't a pattern. Cast on 8 stitches, knit until you run out of yarn.

I have to say this is going much faster on the wooden needles. Not the knitting, of course. That goes way slower than metal needles. But the not stopping to put stitches back on the needle and the not having to start over again--that's the faster part.

This week will be tricky for the knitting. I did hire two more employees at the store, so that's a plus in my "time" column. But, Thanksgiving is Thursday (WTF? THIS THURSDAY?) so there are a ton of things that need to be done around the house for that--including the grocery shopping. Then again, since Thursday is Thanksgiving, I will presumably have some time to knit in the evening if I can figure out a way to do it without anyone noticing.

Still, I feel good about it. I think I might actually finish at least R & M's gifts. And then... No more afghans. Not for a while, at least.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Chapter 1: Patwoman Takes A Much Needed Break From Work

I have been working so much lately that I am not getting much of anything else done. The Christmas knitting is way behind. The writing is not happening. And the house definitely does not look like a place the family will gather next week.


Yesterday, I took most of the day off and spent it with M. I needed the break and I miss our weekly shopping expeditions. (I have taken an hour here and there to shop, out of necessity, but nothing like the all-day Goodwill-Craft Store-Hardware Store safaris M and I used to do regularly.)

M wanted to go to Toys R Us. I don't know why she wanted to go to Toys R Us on a weekend day. That seemed like a suicide mission to me, but, oh well. She was looking for some plastic dinosaurs. I amused myself while she shopped by helping Toys R Us merchandise their shelves.

"What? Something's behind me? Very funny, Brad. You know I'm not going to fall for that again."

"Overthrow your human oppressors! Break free of your cage! Stand on your feet and say to the man: I am not afraid of the knock on the door. I am the knock on the door!"

Mr. Rabbit never acknowledged the uncanny resemblance his youngest child bore to their next door neighbor, Mr. Cat. But he did cut way back on business trips and weekend golf outings.

The cat theme carried over into our Goodwill trip.

I made the comment to M that apparently Hoarders must have done a show at some crazy cat lady's house and brought all the stuff here. She replied, "Yeah, and you bought it all."

Which is totally not true. The only cat-themed things I bought were:

Cat frame to frame a picture of my cat. (I do not own a single other cat frame, just to be clear.)

I also bought a T-shirt with a cat face on it for $1. I will not be wearing a cat T-shirt, FYI. I am going to experiment with turning it into a knitting bag.

And I purchased this, because it was amusing. I'm going to put a candle in the center, so it looks like all the cats are gathered around the fire. Imagine it:

Tuffy Furbottom, you have violated cat law, and by the unanimous vote of The Cat Council, you must leave The Circle never to return. The Cat Council has spoken.

We made a few other stops, but all this cat-tery had me in a mood to pet my cat.

He was ok with that.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Can I Just Rant Here A Little?

...about time. I want to rant about not having enough time in the day. Or days in the week. Or weeks before Christmas.

And I'm starting to stress out about it.

Listen, I pared down my Christmas knitting to almost nothing. One thing for each. Well, that thing is an afghan, but if I am only doing three afghans in a year, that's entirely doable. That's four months per afghan, if my Indiana Public School education is telling me correctly. I can do three afghans in that amount of time in the dark.

The problem is, it's pretty much a given that in order to knit, you have to have time to knit. Basically, I'm working 7 days a week, about 10-12 hours a day. Very little knitting time.

So, I have whittled down my list to only two afghans. I have told T he will not be getting one this year. And still... I am really sweating it. I'm seriously thinking of discarding the whole idea of The Year Of The Afghan and going with, maybe, I don't know... The Year Of The Hat or The Year Of The Garter Stitch Scarf Done On Size 50 Needles With Four Strands Of Chunky Yarn.

Or maybe I should use a yarn like this one?

Saw this at Joann's recently. It's a super thick, corded yarn by Patons. It's called Delish. I think I could do a scarf out of this in about an hour.

Patons also makes Cobblestone:

I will definitely pick some of this up just for the fabulous texture. (And it's also super thick. I think when I am done with afghans I will need some quick wins.)

On the other hand, maybe I just need to de-stress in other ways.

Pumpkin Liqueur is seasonal--once it's gone from the shelf, it's gone until next year. You have to stock up.

If you are planning on The Year Of The Afghan too, you should probably stock up.

I could also make serious use out of a time travelling police box,

phone booth,

or DeLorean.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Shopping Trip: Goodwill Humor

You never know what you are going to find at Goodwill. (Unless you are with M. Then you know you will find something absolutely fabulous. She has a gift, I tell you.)

I was at one of the local Goodwill shops, just looking around, when I happened upon this on a shelf. It's Ulysses S. Grant, beheaded, next to Abraham Lincoln's head on a silver platter. Clearly someone is trying to send a message to us Yankees.

This shot is not staged, btw. I moved a red thing that was in the picture so the picture would be uncluttered, but this scenario is just as I found it. That's not my sense of humor, anyway. If I staged the shot, I would have simply replaced Grant's head with a Transformer head. That would have been hilarious!

I did end up finding these steel crochet hooks while I was there, too. How lucky is that? I was just talking about them a few days ago.

Talk about synchronicity.

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