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, January 31, 2013

A Letter From AW

My Dearest Patwoman,

How I miss you. The winter months always remind me of you. And of Helsinki.

Do you remember? The rooftop chases? The playful cat and mouse (or cat and bat, as it were) banter? The will they/won’t they tension? The shocking disrespect for property? Especially the items that made the Pow! Biff! Wham! sounds.

Ah, Patwoman, my fabulous feline foe. To this day, I cannot look at a whiffle bat without thinking of you. And Finnish art (and the security system at the Art Museum) will never be the same without you, my love.

Patwoman, Valentines Day is approaching, as you know. And I have resigned myself to the fact that what we once had is but a memory. But let it be a memory we both share. Please, Curvaceous Catburglar, if you cannot tell me you love me, then at least tell me you remember your Batster fondly. Tell me you have no regrets.

With Alliterative Love,



Dearest Adam,

Of course I remember Helsinki. The roof, the whiffle bat, even that stupid security system! (I can’t believe you fell for my story of being accidentally locked inside after closing!)

But, it’s true. The bloom is off that particular flower, so to speak. The sparrows have flown. Elvis has left the building.

Memories only, my Caped Casanova. Memories only.



Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Advent Ornament: Wreath

Here is the latest ornament for the Advent Garland. A sparkly green wreath.

This is actually #13 on Frankie Brown's Advent Garland. But I felt like knitting this tonight.

Actually, it's a very quick knit. Like 30 minutes quick. Or less. I don't know. I was watching Supernatural at the time. You know I loves me some Winchester Brothers.

I didn't add the beads to this wreath, as in the pattern, because I felt that, with the sparkly yarn, it would just be overkill. I made a crochet red chain and tied it into a bow and then sewed it on the wreath instead of doing it the way the pattern suggests.

See how I treat patterns? They're suggestions.

I also had an unconventional way of blocking this wreath, to give it that nice "O" shape.

That's right. I'm a Pepper.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Patwoman Rants About Trolls

What is wrong with people? It makes me so sad to see how people delight in making other people feel bad. Now, I know you're thinking, "Uh-oh. Looks like Patwoman just got trolled on Facebook."

But that's not the case. I'm speaking in a more general sort of way.

I've just noticed a trend where people seem to think posting something mean on social media is somehow okay. Like, if you are saying it with your mouth it's less of an offense than writing it and posting it for anyone to see. I don't know what people think... That their posts are some kind of free speech statement?

Let me tell you, posting that you wish someone were dead is not cool. Even if that person is a public figure.

Posting a call to arms (literally) for people to do violence to other people because of some opposing religious opinion is not cool.

Posting things solely for the purpose of hurting someone else is not cool.

Cruel is not cool. That seems pretty easy to me.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Free Pattern - Best Friends Necklace

You know how some people's lives are just intertwined with yours? These are people who are so much a part of you that you aren't really sure where you end and they begin.

Those are the people whose dreams and goals match yours, the people who stand beside you no matter what. And they won't ever let you go. And when you feel bad and start to withdraw, those people pull you closer.

That's the Best Friends Necklace. Two I-cords, worked in silver and gold held together by each other, each looping and twisting around the other. And no amount of pulling will separate these two.

Best Friends Necklace

You'll need:
Crochet thread in two different colors
Size 2 DPNs
Jewelry clasp (with jump ring) or button 

Here's the knitting:
Cast on 4 stitches with gold.

Work I-cord for 24 inches and bind off.

Make a silver I-cord the same way.

Seam the ends together to make one continuous I-cord loop.

Here's the tricky part: (Just like life)
Lay your I-cords with one loop overlapping the other. The seams should be at the outer ends.

Slip the left loop (in this case, gold) under the right loop.

On the other end, make sure the silver loop is on top of the gold loop.

Pull the ends of both loops gently, causing them to intertwine.
Stop when it looks like this.

Attach the button to one end and make a loop on the other end.

Give it to your best friend.

Since T is my best friend, I made this for him. But T is not really into necklaces, so I know he would want me to have this.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


One of the creepiest monsters ever is a doppleganger. It looks like you, sounds like you, and according to some stories, it has your memories. And it kills you and takes your place.

I think I'm in big trouble.

I actually almost bought this during our last trip to Goodwill. Almost. But I couldn't figure out what its function is supposed to be. Is it a birdhouse? I can imagine birds going in and out, but it seems like that hole is very small. The way T feeds the birds around here (because Achilles likes to watch them squabble over the food) no fatass bird in this neighborhood would fit into that mouth.

Is it a planter? I have to admit, it would be hilarious to see Wandering Jews or Burro Tails trailing out of the mouth, but it's not really deep enough to hold much soil.

It would make a really cool plant waterer, too. Like, if there were a hole in the back of the head that you would insert a hose and the water would cascade out of the mouth. But, there is no place to insert a hose.

So, since I couldn't figure out what it was for, I didn't get it.

Also, it's pretty effin creepy.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pink Fluffy, A Cowl

Cowls have become the new cool. You can't swing a wet dishcloth without hitting a knitted cowl pattern these days. And I'm down with that. I just prefer the loose, roomy cowls that you can pull up over your head like a hood.

So check this out. It's my Pink Fluffy. And it's a cowl. It's an easy, quick pattern:

Pink Fluffy

- 2 Skeins feather-type novelty yarn (Lion Brand Boa, for instance) in pink or whatever color you want.
- 2 Skeins Bulky yarn (I used Patons Be Mine in Furry Rose)
- #15 Circular knitting needles

2 Stitches = 1 inch (in stockinette stitch, with both yarns held together)


- Cast on 56 stitches. Join, by moving the last cast on stitch to the left hand needle and knitting it together with the first stitch. (This stitch becomes the first stitch and you have 55 stitches on the needle, joined in a circle. Knitting them together like this eliminates the uneven jog at the beginning of a round.)

- Knit every round for 10 rounds.

- Decrease 5 stitches evenly. (I use a K2tog, since the fluffiness of these yarns hide the decrease anyway.)

- Knit every round until piece measures 18".

- Bind off and weave in ends.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Patwoman Rants About Bad Journalism

If there is one thing that really pisses me off, it's bad journalism. (Yeah, yeah. I know lots of things piss me off. But, seriously. Bad journalism is pretty high up on the list.)

You know I was a journalist for many years, right? A real journalist. And when I say that, I don't mean I was famous, or covered earth-shaking stories. I mean a real journalist--one who endeavored to tell a story from all sides in order to give the reader/listener/viewer the whole story so that they could then be informed of the facts and form their own opinions and reactions based on facts and truth and not someone else's opinion, business decision, or political/religious agenda.

But even when a story is not noticeably biased, I've notice a lot of just plain bad reporting. For example, how many "news" stories give some vague statistics--"many residents" or "people who know say..." (or some variation) without telling you where that information came from (according to US Census report... according to the Board of Public Works... according to JoeBob, who was the only person standing here when I was recording witnesses' reactions...)?

Recently, after a house explosion here in Indianapolis, local news crews covered the story. One channel featured a guy who said he didn't see the explosion, but heard it from a few blocks away. He said he knew it wasn't an ordinary explosion, like from a gas main, but that it was caused by a bomb. There was no way this was an accident. It was definitely foul play.

Now, as it turns out, it looks like there was an incendiary device planted. It looks like there was foul play involved. But (and here is my problem with this) the story didn't say this guy was a former marine bomb expert (he wasn't) or that he had served time for making bombs and blowing shit up (he didn't) or that he was a bomb expert who had done a lot of research and written a lot of books on bombs (he wasn't) or that he was an employee of the gas company and had witnessed or heard gas main explosions before (he wasn't and I don't know if he's ever heard a gas main explosion or not) or if he was a fire investigator, or police officer, or someone who may have seen something similar (he wasn't).

So, as I'm watching this story on tv and listening to the guy talk (and they talked to him several times for several minutes) I'm wondering How the hell does this guy know? and Maybe we should be talking to this guy about how he knows?

Today, I read a story online (one of the news affiliates' websites) about a funeral home director who was allegedly ordered to cobble together corpses from containers of odd body parts they had on hand. Apparently, the funeral director couldn't find some cadavers they were supposed to donate to a medical school and he says he was told to fake some corpses using these body parts.

This story talked to the funeral director, the parent company of the funeral home, and offered the opinion of a funeral director in another city. But what it didn't ask was:

1) What happened to the original medical cadavers? Is no one disturbed that cadavers just went missing from a funeral home? Do corpses routinely go missing? Who has access to these corpses? How many have come up missing in the past? (The funeral director claims this--putting together random pieces of bodies to cover up missing bodies--has happened before.) Are the families of these corpses aware?

2) Why does the funeral home have containers of random body parts lying around? Why do they have enough random body parts to make several cadavers? Where do these parts come from? Have the families given permission to the funeral home to remove/keep/use these body parts? What kind of body parts would they be? Arms? Legs? Torsos? Heads? Wouldn't medical students be able to tell these were just Frankensteined together? Did they or the medical school ever raise any concerns?

3) What is being done to investigate this? The story was about the funeral director's lawsuit to gain lost wages, etc, because he felt he had been unfairly forced to resign and suffered because he refused to comply with those orders. The story was not about missing bodies or missing body cover up.

Now, maybe the reporter/news station asked those questions and just don't have the answers yet. And I could maybe justify going to press with a story that still had some unanswered questions (providing you were still working to get answers and said so) if the story were something fresh and important. I'm not oblivious to the business side of this. I know you've got to get to the stories first or your competition will.

But this is hardly breaking news. The man was forced to resign in October.

And don't even get me started on leading a news broadcast with the weather. It's January. It's going to snow in Indiana. It's not record snow. It's not even a lot of snow. (I probably won't even shovel the drive for this 1" dusting.) It's not the first snow. It's not going to keep some awesome event from happening. It's not even going to keep me home from work. It's not news. And it's not news to see the empty bread and milk shelves at the grocery store.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What Would You Do?

Have you ever seen that show "What Would You Do?" Basically, they have actors do some really horrible things and hidden cameras to watch what the people who witness these things do.

Just to clarify, the horrible things they do are things like verbally abuse their kids, break up with their pregnant girlfriends, make fun of other people, etc. Horrible things, but not illegal things.

Anyway, do you ever wonder if you're on that show?

Example #1
M and I went to Dollar Tree on Sunday. The man in line ahead of us was probably about 19 or 20 years old, and slightly above average looking. The cashier was probably my age. This man turned in a job application to her and before he was ten steps away, the cashier made comments like "Mm-mm! Eye candy!" and "They need to hire him! I could look at that all day!" and "I'm old enough to adopt him, not date him, but that don't stop me from looking."

These comments continued as the man left, all during the time the cashier cashed M out (who frowned at her the whole time and then promptly left the store, leaving me to listen to this on my own) and then throughout the time she cashed me out. The comments continued to the people in line behind me and the cashier at the next checkout line.

I'm a little ashamed that I didn't say anything, because I feel like I should have said "Hey. Nobody likes to be treated like that." or "Hey, I have a son and I would never want to hear an old lady talk about him like that." I feel very bad that I just left the store as quickly as possible.

Example #2
I overheard some guys (ranging in age from 12-25) in my store talking about some event they were at in another city. They were talking about one of the other participants there in an offensive way. They talked about her weight and her race, in particular.

I said, "Hey, guys. You're being really offensive. I don't want to hear that." So they moved about 10 feet away and continued. I said, "Guys, nobody wants to hear it. And you shouldn't want people to hear how ignorant you're being."

Example #3
M was at Goodwill the other day and dropped a purse. It was immediately picked up by the woman walking behind her, who put it in her own cart. M said, "Hey, I just dropped that. Do you think I could get it back, please?" The woman said no and then started talking to her sister in another language about the "crazy white bitch", not realizing (or not caring) that M understood what she was saying.

M didn't say anything to them, but was very offended that this woman not only was rude, but chose to make racial slurs against her.

Example #4
A woman came into our store with a gun strapped to her belt. (I don't want to get into a gun argument here. That's not what this is about.) It is posted on a sign on the front door that no weapons of any kind are allowed on premises. But I didn't see the gun immediately.

That's because her baby was sitting on it.

She was carrying a toddler on her hip and the kid was resting right on top of the gun. I asked her to remove the weapon from the premises.

All these examples (and more. Sadly, lots more.) make me wonder sometimes if people are really this bad, or if I am just have the severe bad luck to encounter so many of them.

Or--and this is unfortunately the best-case scenario--I am on What Would You Do?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Doctor's Baby

A friend of ours and his wife had a baby about two weeks ago. He is a big Doctor Who fan. (Our friend, not the baby. The baby presumably doesn't know about Doctor Who yet. Although it probably won't be long.)

So, of course, the baby hat has to be a Tardis Hat.

This pattern, TARDIS Hat, by Randi Sanders, is meant for an adult head. But I went down several needle sizes and subbed sport weight yarn for the worsted weight, hoping to get a baby sized hat.

I think it's probably about a 12 month size, instead of a newborn, but I'm pretty happy with it anyway. It's pretty cute in all respects, right to the light on the top.

And, like I said, it's not like this baby has much of a chance of not being a Doctor fan.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Shag Carpet Scarf Works!

Well, of course it works. It's a scarf. So if it goes around your neck and keeps you warm, that's a success, isn't it?

But, I must say, I'm really pleased with how warm it is. It's absolutely frigid here in Indianapolis. Like arctic cold. Like, if a polar bear were here, he'd be all like "Day-um! It's cold all up in here!"

I hate that kind of cold. It's like a punch in the face every time you step out of the car. I even pulled out the long coat to wear (the one that makes me look like The Little Prince--you know, if he got old, turned into a woman, and really let himself go) just so my butt didn't freeze off.

Not that I couldn't stand to lose a little butt. But, you know, I don't want my legs to unravel or anything.

Anyway, I wore this scarf in a new way, too. (I saw it on the internet.) Normally, I fold the scarf in half, drape it around my neck, and pass the ends through the loop at the other end. This time, I only passed one end through the loop. Then, I gave the loop a twist and passed the other through it.

Bam! That is so much warmer. It keeps the scarf snug against your neck with no slipping! You gotta do this.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Afghan Update

Afghan progress is going slow. I can't tell you how much that annoys me. But what can I do?

You would think so much stockinette stitch would go so quickly I would be done in no time. And maybe I would... were it not for the freakin' color changes. Actually, it's not even the color changes. It's untangling the bobbins.

Sigh. I'm not really complaining about the afghan or the pattern. I'm complaining, really, about yarn tangling up onto itself. And if there is one thing I've learned from knitting, it's Yarn's Gonna Do What Yarn's Gonna Do.

I was off work today (Well, I worked in the morning, but from home at least.) so I spent a lot of time knitting on this. However, I'm posting no pictures today because, frankly, I have made so little visible progress you probably wouldn't be able to tell.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Odysseus' Travels

I might have told you about Odysseus before. He's the cat that has been hanging about the neighborhood for about a year now. I thought he might be the next door neighbors' cat at first, since he was always right around my house. But he's always outside, even on days that the temperature is in the teens or below.

So I kind of think now he never belonged to them or anyone. I see him every day, no matter what the weather. And his coat is definitely the coat of an outside cat. And he is very wary of people, although I would not say he was feral. He may be an abandoned cat, like Miss Gracie was.

I have been feeding him and watering him for about a year. I know. I know. I can hear my mom paraphrasing Pat Sajak in my mind "Once you feed a cat, he's yours to keep." But because of that, his measure of trust for me has grown to the point that he will sit in the front window and look in. And he only hisses at me occasionally now.

When we had the blizzard a few weeks back, I was not able to tempt him into the garage, but R was able to track him to where he has been living. Apparently, he has opened the ventilation hatch under the house and has been living in our crawlspace near the heating ducts.

That makes me worry less about him. But it also makes me sad, because it means that he has nowhere else to go. Obviously, I can't bring him inside right now because of a lot of reasons (feline viruses being one of them), but I am going to continue to make sure he has food and water and a place to live.

Maybe by this summer, when we will have known each other about 18 months, he will trust me enough to take a bed in the garage?

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Well, cookie cutters, at least.

Popped into the Goodwill store on my way home the other day and found these cookie cutters. A whole bag of them--6 snowflakes and 4 bells--for $1.99.

They all had a red ribbon tied to the top, so I assumed they had previously been some sort of decoration. R guessed they were a gift topper of some sort.

I'm not sure what I will do with them. I think either of those ideas are good ones. And I also think their original purpose suits my needs, too. These would make really nice, big Christmas cookies.

Maybe I will combine all of those ideas? Hello, Pinterest....

Friday, January 18, 2013

UFO: Back To The Grindstone

Well, I've taken a break long enough from the afghans. Long enough to make myself pressed for time for birthday presents, that is.

Way to go, Patwoman.

But at least I am back to work on the afghans solely until they are finished. That's the plan, at least.

I picked up R's afghan today, since that is the one I will need first and the one that needs the most work done. Wow. That is a lot of knitting. But it does look great and I know he will love it. That's why I am doing it.

No pictures, because I don't want him to see it before it's done. Pictures will come soon, I promise.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

FO: Pictures Of The Red Scarf

Aha! At last a picture of the red Weather... Or Knot Scarf. Now you can see how lovely it truly is. (Although, in this picture, doesn't it look like some Cthulhu-esque creature is eating Notpatwoman? Look out Notpatwoman! The red tide is coming!)

Look at these deep cables. I really like these 2X2 ribbed cables. Makes a nice, reversible pattern, too. It's an easy pattern that really looks complicated.

Not that knitting a crapload of cables and I-cord is something you can just bust out with no effort. It keeps your interest, let me tell you.

And you'd better like weaving in ends. There are a lot of ends to weave in. A lot.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Episode Where Patwoman Still Does Not Get Back To Work On The Afghans....

...but totally partially redeems herself by completing a Christmas gift for 2013.


I have finished the Weather... Or Knot scarf by Mindy Ross. It's a very striking pattern--deeply cabled sections alternating with 2X2 rib and accented with I-cord fringe.

I think it looks great, especially in red. Unfortunately I don't have a picture to share with you, as my phone is full of pictures right now and won't let me take another until I delete some of them. I will transfer some of them to the flash drive and post a photo tomorrow.

The yarn is an acrylic, by the way, because the recipient is very allergic to all forms of animal fiber. It's okay. I'm not a yarn snob. I like acrylic just fine. And this is a very soft yarn.

I think she will like it. As for me, I'm very happy to have completed one gift.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Patwoman Does Not Want The Flu... Again

Everyone is talking about the flu. It’s supposed to be pretty virulent and particularly nasty this season. And, according to CNN, it’s at epidemic stage in 41 states.

I’m not exactly sure what epidemic stage means, really. I assume it means you have pretty slim chance of not being exposed to it. And that it’s pretty bad. I mean, you don’t hear about an epidemic of puny viruses, right? Virusi? Virusae? I can’t remember my Latin well enough to properly pluralize that word. Sorry.

I can attest to how bad it is. I actually had the flu over the holidays. Kicked my ass. Let me say that again for emphasis: Kicked my ass. Like Captain Trips kicked my ass. According to CNN, people actually die from this flu, Believe me, it’s because they want to die.

And we’ve got a really three really big weekends coming up, starting this weekend. I’m going to come into contact with about a thousand different people from all over the place. So I’m guessing I’m gonna be exposed. Luckily, I've stocked up on hand sanitizer.

But all this has made me think about pandemics. Well, at least the pandemics in literature and movies. I'm pretty sure real-life pandemics have only been responsible for sickness and death.

Fictional pandemics are worse, am I right? I mean, It’s always some virus that starts the zombiepocalypse, always some level 5 outbreak that some jackwad takes with him on the international plane trip. And, when you get right down to it, isn't is a virus of some sort that causes the machines to gain sentience and create terminating robot killers?

At any rate, I think we can agree pandemics are always bad.

Now, what would be worse than a flu pandemic would be an ebola pandemic. That’s some serious disease there, my friends. I remember when I first read that book, Outbreak. It freaked me out every time someone coughed. “Cover your mouth, you pox-ridden filth spreader!”

I don’t know why people stopped inviting me out.

Edited to add: I looked it up. The plural of virus is virusi or virusii if you are sticking to the Latin. But if you are an American, you just say viruses.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Shopping Trip: Yarn At GW

Whenever M and I go to Goodwill, I always like to look at sweaters for yarn reclamation. Yeah, sometimes Goodwill has yarn, but it's usually not so much of a deal.

For instance, you might see a ball of kitchen cotton for 99 cents. Well, it's usually $1 at Michael's or Joann, where I can buy multiple skeins of the same color.

Or, more often, it's a partial skein of something without a label.

But, I did hit the jackpot at a recent GW Hunting Expedition. I found two skeins of Katia Denim for 99 cents each. Katia is a ribbon yarn with a contrasting chenille edge. This is a nice turquoise color with a dark brown stripe. Very nice, indeed. There's just 156 total yards, so I'm not entirely sure what to do with it. I think I'd like to see this as some lacey scarflet, or perhaps as the accent on a larger garment?

These three yarns were also 99 cents each. The two without labels appear to be some sort of chained yarn. They remind me very much of Microspun, but are a bit different. I have no idea how many yards of either of these there are.
The third is Erdal Ponpon. It's a nylon and rayon yarn with a little chenille puff every inch or so. It would be very nice to add a novelty stripe into something with this--a purse, scarf, or hat maybe.

I had originally thought to maybe put all three of these together, since the Ponpon has both the red and gold colors in it. But I'm not married to that idea. I think the two smooth yarns would be good candidates for some Scalloped Edged Beaded Necklaces.

I will be keeping my eyes open for more yarn, you can believe that.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Game Night FO: 1984 Redux

Now that the holidays are over and everyone's schedule has opened back up a bit, our game nights are back on. I have to admit, I've been missing the Sunday rpg.

As you know, I always knit something while we play. It keeps me from being disruptive when it's not my turn. And lately, I've been working through my massive pile of partial skeins. So this scarf kills two birds with one stone. (Not that I advocate the killing of birds with any object.)

These partial skeins had no labels at all, so I couldn't begin to tell you what they are. I think maybe the orange and gold ones were from the Jayne hats, but who knows? The tan yarn is LB Homespun for sure, but beyond that, all I can tell you is orange, gold, tan, and brown.

This is a drop stitch scarf on #13 needles, and finished with pompons of all four yarns. I'm calling it the 1984 Redux because it is exactly the same color as the shag carpeting in our first apartment the year we were married.

Yep. That's right. Shag carpeting.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Mars One Needs YOU

The colonization of other planets—it’s been coming, you know it has. And I, as a child of the original Space Age, am very interested to see what happens. This story, about the Mars One Colony (which is a privately funded venture not related to any space agency like NASA) is intriguing.

The Mars One group is looking for colonists. And, apparently, it’s an entry-level position because it looks like all the training is on-the-job training. (Eight years of OTJ training, mind you.) Successful candidates will get along well with others and be willing to live the rest of their lives on Mars.

Now that hiring approach is interesting to me, as a former employment recruiter. And I can agree with it only because there is so much training prior to the actual colonization. I mean, you could learn a lot of stuff in eight years. Eight years will get you a professional degree. And, presumably, the Mars One training would be more intensive and specific than a regular university course. So yeah, you’d want to recruit for the intangible traits—like the ability to live isolated from all other human beings in the galaxy (other than the three other colonists).

Because what you don’t want is somebody who is the keeper of all the knowledge of, say, horticulture feeling unconnected to all the other humans on the planet.

You see what I’m getting at here?

Still, I think the people who are chosen for this program—and the ones that come after, since this company plans to send up a colony every two years—have to have a very special personality. They have to have a very deep sense of purpose that would drive them to leave their families, friends, jobs, planet, and (basically, let’s face it) most of the rest of humankind. They would really have to believe in the adaptability and resilience of the human body and mind. They would have to have so much faith in technology and science—there is no safety net. And they would have to truly believe that humans have a right and a destiny to be on other planets.

That is something special.

Friday, January 11, 2013

FO: Advent Ornament #3

I know I said I was going to stop knitting these ornaments and go back to the afghans, but...

This is the third ornament for the Advent Garland. This one is also done out of scrap yarn. (See how responsible I'm being?)

This is a super quick knit, done mostly in garter stitch. (The "snow" has a picot bind off, which is the most difficult part of this--and that's not difficult at all.) Really, the thing that took the longest for me to do was to put the damn window crosses on straight.

As you can see, I didn't exactly succeed at that. I'm going to call it a design element.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

FO: Advent Garland

Here's the finished Advent Garland I was working on last week. I bought a package of red buttons to attach the ornaments to it. I think it looks quite nice, if I do say so myself.

The color looks a little dark in this picture. It's actually Vanna's Choice in Olive.

I'm happy to have finished it, and to have done a couple of ornaments for it. It was a nice break from the afghans I've been working on. (Which are now birthday presents, since I didn't finish for Christmas.)

But, now it's time to get back to work on the afghans. Because there's nothing I love more than working with a million bobbins on a large project.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Repurposed Ladle

One of the stainless steel ladles we use at work broke the other day. I'm not sure exactly what happened. It was in one piece when I left one day and then the next day it apparently decided it couldn't go on. The welds that secured the handle just... gave up.

Which left a completely awesome little stainless steel bowl. But what to do with it?

I think the answer is pretty obvious. Plant something in it and put it in the kitchen window. Which is what I did. We'll check back with this in a few weeks to see what's growing, okay?

I've been thinking a lot about gardening lately. (Probably because it's so freakin' cold in Indiana right now.) I only planted six tomatoes last summer because I broke my toe and couldn't handle (footle?) the spade to plant anything else.

My toe still hurts, btw. I'm no doctor, but don't think it helps that I have spent at least 10 hours a day every day since breaking it on that foot.

I'd like to plant some beans this year. And some peppers. Maybe even cucumbers. The garden should be nice and fertile, since I mixed a crap-ton of topsoil and fertilizer into it last summer and then did nothing to it.

I'm also hoping to get some good compost out of my composter. I don't have high hopes for it, though. Maybe I'm not doing it right, but I've had this thing going for about two years and I'm not seeing anything I can use so far.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Another Advent FO

Another FO! Go Patwoman!

After completing Day 1 of the Advent Calendar ornaments (See Sunday, January 6) I decided to knit, predictably, Day 2. Hey, I'm nothing if not reliable.

This is a super-quick knit. It took about half an hour to knit the whole thing. It's done with scrap yarn, so it's super-thrifty, too. I plan to do all of these ornaments using my scrap yarn. Lord knows, I have enough scrap yarn to do it.

Whatever is left will go into some other scrap project. I have several planned this year, including my magic ball afghan.

Yeah. Stop laughing. I am going to complete projects this year.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Inter-Species Gifting

I don't know about you, but I tend to give my cats and dog a lot of gifts. Not just Christmas (although, let's just say Santa was pretty generous with the four-legged members of my family this year), but also just gifts for fun.

They don't give me anything material in return, by the way. Unless you count slightly used cat food. (Ack!) Gabgab has obviously developed bulimia. She tends to eat until she actually pukes. Sometimes right back into the food dish.(So now, they can no longer eat at their leisure. I pick the dish up before she can gorge herself. There is less cat puke to clean up that way.)

Not that I often get the opportunity to clean it up. If Gengen gets to it first... (Double ack!) It's really kinda gross how much that dog loves predigested cat food. I highly suspect she is whispering things to Gabby when I'm not around. Things like "You look fat in that fur" and "Have you gained weight?" and "Don't worry about not being built like a Purina model. You have a great personality and a cute face." and "I wish I were confident enough to not care what other people think about my figure."

When I was a kid and we had outdoor cats (we lived out in the boonies), they brought me gifts all the time. Seriously. All the time. The front porch was like a viscera mine field. And let me tell you, if a dead mole or a headless bird is the ultimate expression of love, then my cats loved me more than any person on earth has ever been loved.

Yeah, yeah. I know my adulthood cats love me. They just give me less tangible gifts. They keep me company, pose for my blog, listen to me rant, purr me to sleep... These are gifts I would not trade. Especially not for dead birds. (So, if you're wondering what I might like for my birthday this year, cross that off your list right now.)

Apparently, according to some animal behavior scientists, that kind of gift-giving behavior is pretty rare in animals. Still, I was not surprised to read this article about dolphins in Australia bringing gifts to humans. The human staff at the Tangalooma Island Resort have reported 23 incidences of dolphins bringing valuable (to dolphins, mind you. Eels and seaweed are also not on my birthday gift list) gifts to them.

Scientists don't really know why the dolphins do this, but they think it may be for a couple of reasons. The humans were regularly wading into the water to feed fish to the wild dolphins, so maybe the dolphins were just reciprocating in kind. After all, it's only polite.

Or, perhaps the dolphins were giving the humans a gift as a way of initiating a friendship--Hey, here's a dead eel. Wanna play? (My childhood cat friends could certainly get behind this.)

Or, maybe the dolphins just felt sorry for the poor humans, as if they weren't able to adequately fend for themselves. I'm imagining a whole dolphin charity movement--Save The Humans--in which kind-hearted dolphins give a portion of their food to less fortunate humans. (Of course, there will always be those other dolphins who turn up their noses and claim the humans are just scamming them for their fish and that most humans drive better cars and eat better than they do anyway. You really can't do much about those dolphins. They won't listen.)

This makes me think of my cats (back to cats again). Whenever we are coming home from work (usually around midnight) Achilles is always in the front window, waiting. Sometimes, I've stopped at Kroger on the way home since it's convenient for me to do my grocery shopping at that time of night. T and I will put the bags on the dining room table and Achilles immediately hops up to check them out. I mean, he really examines them.

Now, Achilles is about the smartest cat I've ever even heard of, but I'm not sure that he fully understands the concept of "going to work and then stopping at the grocery store on the way home." I imagine he simply thinks of it as "hunting" and he is checking out how well I did when I get home.

Of course, I don't always stop at the grocery store on the way home. Do you suppose he thinks I'm a crappy hunter?

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Tiny Mitten

First blood on the Advent Calendar ornaments!

I finished knitting the Advent Garland yesterday and bought some nice little red buttons for it today. However, when I got home, I realized I need to buy another needle to sew the buttons on the garland, since they eyes on all the ones I have are either too small to thread the yarn through or too large to go through the button holes.

Le sigh.

So I decided to knit the first ornament for the Advent Garland. This is the Mitten. I used some red yarn leftover from another project and a tiny bit of white for embroidery.

It's a really quick knit. But then, it's only a couple of inches tall, right? Still, it's super cute. I'm looking forward to having it as part of our Christmas decor this year.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Mother Of Dragons

Oh God I can't wait for Game of Thrones to come back on. It's pretty much my favorite show right now (with Walking Dead falling quite a bit down the list this season because I can't stand Michone).

But listen, don't tell me how the series differs from the books. And don't tell me all the things that are going on that the series has only hinted at. And for crap's sake, don't tell me what happens. I really would rather be surprised.

Most shows are so badly written that I've got all the plot twists worked out way ahead. The writer in me analyzes the dialogue, the plot progression, the foreshadowing. Most shows have no surprises for me.

GoT has been able to catch me completely off guard. I love that. So I don't plan to read the books any time soon. I want to really enjoy this series.

Anyway, M loves the Daenerys Targaryen character. So this Christmas I made a Mother of Dragons pendant for her. I have to say, I think it's the prettiest piece of jewelry I've ever made.

The pendant is a pewter dragon over a green agate oval bead. The veins are a deep green to black and there is a bit of red there, too, as if a dragon embryo is inside. The beads are a green and brown color (although they just look brown here, don't they?), with the same veins. In fact, these beads were called Dragon Veins. I think they look like dragon eggs.

I also found some tribal looking spacers to go between the dragon eggs. And I made some simple earrings with one bead and one spacer.

I think M should wear this when we watch GoT Season 3 Premiere on March 31.

Friday, January 04, 2013

UFO: Advent Garland

I started making an Advent Garland for a Ravelry knit-a-long.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, But Patwoman, you failed miserably at completing just two knitted Christmas gifts this year.

To which I reply: Yes, but those two gifts were afghans. No small task.

And you're thinking, Yes, but you did have all year, didn't you?

I did. But I also made a major career move, moved and enlarged our store, and opened a restaurant, among the other things that demanded my time.

So you come back with, Sure. Life happens for all of us. And no one is blaming you for not finishing two gifts. I'm just saying, shouldn't you be finishing those two before starting something new?

Well, I agree that you do make a valid point there. But I'm a little burned out on afghan knitting right now. I want to do something that I can finish quickly.

I want something in the win category for 2013.

But, you say, isn't that what you did January 1 with the String of Beads necklace?

And that's where I have to draw the line and tell you that now you are just being rude.

So here is the close to finished Advent Garland. It needs a few more inches knitted and the buttons to hang the ornaments on. And it needs ornaments, of course. But those will come when I need some more quick knitting.

This is Lion Brand Vanna's Choice in Olive. About half a skein. That's a departure from the pattern, which calls for DK weight. But I prefer to have the garland be a little sturdier, so I'm using worsted. I'm also knitting the garland in one piece instead of three because I just like it better that way.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Goodwill Hunting (Again)

M and I always enjoy our trips to Goodwill. We find a lot of useful stuff there. M loves to get purses and lamps. She is an expert at finding a designer purse for $3 or a mercury glass lamp for $5. My favorite thing to find is 100% wool sweaters, either for felting or for reclaiming the yarn.

I will teach myself to dye yarn this year. I will. Stop laughing.

Sometimes, though, the shopping trip is less shopping and more entertainment. We like to imagine the previous owners of items and the reasons they gave the item away.

Like this mask. This is easy.

Obviously, the person who previously owned this was a crimefighter of some sort. I'm guessing he also owned a multi-billion dollar technology company. The only reason I can think of to give this away is if Tony Stark that person had made an equipment upgrade.

This one, I'm guessing, belonged to an eccentric old lady who owned several Cadillac dealerships and dabbled in the occult on the side. And, she didn't actually donate this piece to Goodwill. Through some terrible freak Ouija Board accident, her spirit was magically transferred into the item. Her heirs--upon finding her slumped over in the midst of a circle of candles--assumed she was dead, claimed her estate, and cleared out all of the spiritualist paraphernalia she had collected over the years.

This mask, though... I have no idea why someone would give away something so completely awesome.

And there were two of them!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Not Knitting - Planting

During the course of my Christmas shopping, I found these tiny terrariums. They're only about 2 inches tall, and self contained in their little eggs. And they were only about a buck each. So I thought it would interesting to see if I could get a little green to grow in the window during the winter months.

This one is called a Space Plant. Now, you know I love plants. And you know I love space. So a Space Plant is at least twice the fun, right?

I'm very interested to see what this space plant will look like. I'm pretty sure it will be awesome. And completely harmless.

I planted the other one a few days ago and it's already growing. This one is a Butterfly Plant. That's great, but think about how awesome a Butterfly Space Plant would be.

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