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.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to you!

The Easter Bunny has been to the Patwoman household already today, with Easter buckets (I find buckets more useful than baskets) filled with candy for my children. My grown children. And their boyfriend and girlfriend.

But you know you never outgrow candy. That's what I always say, at least. And, any candy that is unwanted, I can find a home for.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Status Update: First Quarter

I know there's one more day in this month, but that's Easter, so I'm going to do my status update now. Not like I'm going to get any more knitting done between now and then anyway.

As you know, at the beginning of the year, I planned all my holiday knitting. The goal is knit gifts for 6 (or possibly 11) people, an ornament for the ornament exchange, and an Advent Garland with all the ornaments.

So far, I have one gift done, one gift about halfway done, the garland knitted, and 12 ornaments done for the garland. I need to step up the pace a little, I think.

We are taking a road trip next week, so I am going to try and do some knitting in the car. I don't know how that will work out. I've never actually tried it before.

Hopefully, I will have some time to visit some yarn stores while I'm out.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Dream Analysis

Last night I dreamed I was watching a Science Channel Documentary on television. The show was about sharks and dinosaurs. A lot of sharks. And a lot of dinosaurs. The voice over talked about how there were only a fraction of those sharks around now. And, of course, the dinosaurs are all gone. It went on to say the mammal population was greatly reduced, as well. But mammals, overall, were doing much better than sharks or dinos.

Then, I was looking at a clear blue ocean from underwater, but near the surface. And thousands of sharks were dumped into the water. The water was clouded with bubbles from the influx of sharks and they struggled to right themselves in the water and swim away.

Before they could do that, dinosaurs were dumped in with them--all kinds of dinosaurs. I saw stegosaurus, apatosaurus, even T-rexes. All in the water.

I thought to myself, This is crazy. Some of those dinosaurs can't swim and will drown. Or be eaten by sharks. And some of those sharks will be eaten by other sharks. And, as soon as I thought that, it started to happen. Dinos started to drown. Dinos started to be eaten. Sharks started to be eaten.

Then I saw two lions swim to the shore and climb out onto the land. They shook themselves off and stood, looking out at the water, which was very turbulent. The voiceover said something about the mammals prevailing.

Here's my dream analysis:

1) I watch way too much Science Channel.
2) I really had to pee
3) I like lions
4) I'm an incredible nerd who dreams about watching science documentaries.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

What Would You Put In A Time Capsule?

I was on a web safari, just looking at interesting stuff, when I found this article. It's about the opening of a 100 year old Time Capsule in Norway.

Back when I was a kid, it was kind of a thing to make a Time Capsule--a collection of things that were representative of you and your time, all put together and locked away or buried for later generations to dig up and admire mock wonder at.

Okay. I'm not really sure why we did it. We just did.

I suppose it was because, in the 60's and 70's, as the space program was flourishing and new discoveries and theories were becoming mainstream (I remember my fifth grade teacher being very skeptical of the theory of Pangaea, if you can believe that.), people must have felt like we were progressing so rapidly that we would never remember what things had been like before ball point pens and Tang. Maybe they wanted to keep us connected to those former activities?

I'm pretty sure I took part in several Time Capsule events. One was in about third grade. We all wrote a page about who we were and what we expected life to be like in 100 years. I'm pretty sure I wrote about robots, flying cars, and living on Mars. Our teacher was going to take all of our essays and bury them in a time capsule on the school grounds so future children would be able to dig it up and read our predictions (and laugh?) as part of their class assignments.

I think that was pretty considerate of our teacher, to be lesson-planning so far in advance, don't you?

I don't know if she ever really did bury them on school grounds. You know how kids are always in the moment and then, once the moment's passed, they move on to something else. I'm pretty sure no one ever asked about the Time Capsule again. Doesn't really matter, anyway. The school has been turned into an addiction counselling and rehabilitation center. So, no one is going to be digging up the grounds to read any third grader's essay on the future.

I was also in jr. high at the time of the U.S. Bicentennial. If you can remember, there were more Bicentennial celebrations than you could imagine. Everything was Bicentennial this and Bicentennial that. And everything was red, white, and blue--from the food you ate to the clothes you wore, to the places you went. Listen, I went to a haunted house at an amusement park that summer and all the monsters were dressed in red, white, and blue. I'm not even joking.

Anyway, there were several Time Capsules buried that year. One was part of the city-wide celebration. I was in the band (yes, I was a band nerd) that played during the celebration. The mayor at the time read a letter from the citizens of our town and displayed several items (photos, etc) that would be included in the capsule. And everyone who was part of the celebration got to sign the letter. That went into some kind of monument at the Courthouse. I suppose it's still there.

In addition, as part of the History Club at school, (yes, I'm really outing all my nerdtastic secrets now, aren't I?) I took part in our Time Capsule project. I can't remember everything that went into that capsule. I know we wrote letters. And we took a Polaroid picture (which has probably blackened and separated by now) of our club. I think we put some books and records in there, too.

It seems strange to do that now. Like, will there not be music or literature in the future? What do we expect will happen? Will our great-grandchildren look at our pictures and say "They were just like us, only they wore funny clothes?" Will they listen to our music (if they can find an LP player or an 8-track player) and think "Oh my! These Bee Gees are so old fashioned!" What is the point?

I think, if we are going to the trouble of entertaining our future generations, we should at least make it entertaining for ourselves, too. I propose we write fake letters--talking about our trip to the undersea city of Atlantis.

Now, maybe that's not going to fool anyone only a hundred years down the road. But what if you marked your Time Capsule "Do Not Open Until 3000?" In nearly a thousand years, things would have changed so much that there would be no way of knowing what life was really like in 2012. The trick is to use information that may be available in some form. (Like, you have to think they would know about Atlantis, but would be fuzzy on whether it was real because we referenced our vacation to Atlantis in our letter.) Our great-great-great-whatever grandchildren would pretty much have to take our word for it. So you could make ridiculous claims.

And then, they wouldn't be laughing at how backward and quaint we were. They'd be all jealous and awed of our fantastic underwater cities and talking apes and vampire communities.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rhombi Update

I've made just a little more progress on the Rhombi scarf. The pattern's pretty easy, but I haven't had a lot of time.

It's really starting to look like a scarf now. I've done a few of the pattern repeats and you can really see the design. I like this a lot. It's got enough interest to draw they eye, yet it's an understated navy blue, so it doesn't blast "Look at me!" to onlookers.

Or, as the guys around here like to say, it's not too fancy. (As if fancy were a bad thing.)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Is Anyone Else Disgusted By The Charmin Bears?

I really hate those commercials for Charmin toilet paper. The ones with the bear family? If you've not seen them, basically, the mom bear has to remind the dad and son bear not to use too much toilet paper. Or to make sure there are no toilet paper bits left on their asses when they're done.

Seriously. Is this a thing in people over the age of 3? Or is it just a bear thing?

And since we're talking about poo, I really find the "Enjoy the go" tag line pretty offensive. When have you ever enjoyed pooping?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Triangle Santa

Advent Ornament #12! It's, coincidentally, Frankie Brown's Advent Garland #12.

As always, I used scrap yarn for this. This Advent Garland has been a a great way to plow through all my small bits of yarn. And, I seem to have an unusually large collection of greens and reds, so it works out really well.

This is a cute little pattern that knits up in no time. It's basically a garter stitch diamond, folded over to make a triangle. Everything else is added on after.

Triangle Santa. Ha!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

It's Spring. Suuuuure It Is.

Come on, Groundhog! What are you doing to me? You said it was going to be an early spring. But my calendar says it already is spring. And what is happening? A snowstorm?

A snowstorm?

Come on!

It's 4 inches and counting, folks. The weatherman says 6"-10". That is so not right.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

UFO: Rhombi Scarf

Home alone on a Saturday night gives me plenty of time to cast on to a new project. That's right. My life is so exciting I am sitting and knitting in front of the tv on a Saturday night.

And liking it.

This is called Rhombi Scarf. It's a Christmas gift.

I chose Bernat Satin for this because it's such a soft, shiny yarn. I think it will really accent the geometric design on this scarf. The color is Admiral, which is what I would call Navy. I'm using #7s instead of the #9s recommended because I tend to knit a bit loose. I'm right on gauge, making this scarf about 6" wide.

This is a really clever pattern. It looks complex, but it's actually pretty easy. Not easy to memorize, mind you. It has 3 charts with 28-40 lines in each chart. I'm good. But I'm not that good.

I love the way the combination of knit and purl stitches (and that's all it is, knit and purl) make this look almost like cable-bordered diamonds. And it's reversible.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Roboy To Be Born In March

We can only hope.

Roboy is a humanoid robot designed by The Artificial Lab of the University of Zuerich. I assume that by artificial lab, they mean a lab producing artificial life, not literally a fake lab.

Now you know I am a huge robophile. I've talked extensively about Hanson Robotics and their work. I love the way they have been able to give their robots human expression.

But this one has me excited, too. Roboy is different from most other humanoid robots in the way he moves. Most robots have motors in their joints that move the body. Roboy has artificial tendons. Wow! Plus, if you look at his skeleture, it is designed like a human skeleton. So Roboy is going to move like a real boy.

I am so excited about both Roboy and Hanson's Jules. I think robots can do so much good for so many people. Think about the elderly. They may keep their independence longer if their mind is engaged with conversation and activity. If they had a friend, I'm saying. Not only that, but a robot could keep track of medication, and whether or not their elderly friend was eating properly.

That's a big thing with some old folks, btw. Not eating. In my dad's later years, I think he often "remembered" eating, even when he didn't. And sometimes he would tell me he ate, for instance, a whole bag of microwave popcorn. First of all, that shit didn't fly when I didn't want to eat dinner, so I feel a pretty strong sense of injustice. But also, popcorn is pretty much non-nutritive. He could get the same amount of nutrition from an equal amount of packing peanuts.

The point is, a robot friend would notice these things. He'd say, "Hey, Grandpa. You need to drink this Ensure." I have a feeling my dad might not have blown the robot as much shit as he did me.

A robot friend might make some people, who maybe have no family, feel like someone really does care about them. And I think that might give these folks a better quality of life.

Royboy is still looking for funding.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

As Long As He's Got His Suit And Tie...

...or his Santa hat.

Big thanks to JT for modelling this. It's my 11th Advent Ornament. This is Frankie Brown's Hat Ornament. Like all the other Advent Ornaments I've done, this is done with scrap yarn.

This photo shoot was more difficult than you might imagine, since JT was involved. Oh, it was no fault of Justin's, though. He was a pro. But someone was a little jealous.

The mad photobomber strikes again!

If you'll remember, the whole reason for getting JT was because Achilles didn't want to model for my blog any more.

In the end, I had to fire Justin. And here is Achilles, back in the spotlight. Good thing he's wearing his tux.

BTW, I still have not found my DPNs, so I ended up making a trip to Michael's to get these. And a whole bag of other things. But that's another blog post.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

It's Spring!

You could never tell it here in Indiana, though. It was 32 degrees today. Definitely not swimsuit weather. (Not that I'm anxious to put on a swimsuit any time soon. Yikes!)

My yard is mud and I still have a pile of leaves under my tree. (Yes, I know. But it pisses off my next door neighbor, so I like it there.) Hopefully, it will warm up a bit and dry out a little. I want to flatten down the yard where the water has caused it to ripple a little--right in the middle of my croquet field--and I want to finally move those leaves to the compost bin.

And by I, of course, I mean T.

I'm hoping to get the garden out sooner this year than last. If you remember, I broke my toe at garden time last year and didn't get everything in the ground. That toe, by the way, has never properly healed, so I'm not sure how that will affect this year's garden.

The two lilac bushes I planted last year fell victim to the drought, too. But I had several of my other bushes send out some volunteers, so I may end up moving those to the lilac spot.

I'm kind of excited about the sun coming back.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

FO: Purple Scarf

Remember a few days ago I started a scrap project with my purple yarns? Well, I finished it today. Take a look.

This is a simple garter stitch scarf, knitted lengthwise on #9 needles. It's about 6 feet long and about 6 inches wide. I left a long tail on each end and knotted as I went. At the end of it all, I just trimmed them all off even at about 8 inches.

This scarf uses a bunch of different yarns. They were all small balls left over from various projects, so obviously they no longer had any labels. I recognize some of them and some of them, I just don't remember what they are.

This scarf includes Caron Simply Soft (the lavender color), Lion Brand Jiffy (in a whitish, lavender color), Bernat Berella 4 (the dark grey), Yarn Bee Soft Delight (the black bulky with the purplish haze), as well as some deeper purple and lighter grey worsted and bulky, some smooth yarns and some fuzzy yarns (and one thin medium purple yarn with some nubs every inch or so.

The really cool thing about doing a scrap project like this is that you end up with a highly textured, visually interesting finished piece. I mean, look at this. This is awesome.

Monday, March 18, 2013

FO: Another Ornament

The Advent Garland I've been working on has a lot of really good patterns. I am working my way through them one by one. But I've decided to replace the snowflake pattern with a different snowflake. This one just appeals to me a little more.

It's the Boreas Snowflake pattern by Caitlin Sainio, which appears in 100 Snowflakes to Crochet: Make Your Own Snowdrift--To Give or To Keep.

It's a crochet pattern, and I'm not a super fantastic crocheter (although I learned to crochet many years before I learned to knit), but I had no trouble making this. It's actually given me some confidence to try some other crochet snowflakes.

This is made from some Patons Brilliant in White Twinkle. I had a small ball left over from M's prom shawl from a few years back. I wish I had more of this yarn. I'd make a whole snowstorm of these.

Another good thing about this snowflake is that it gives me the opportunity to play with my Stiffy.

This stiffy. What were you thinking of?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I actually am Irish. And English. And Cherokee. And pretty much everything else you can think of. I'm a true American--a little of this, a little of that. America's the melting pot of the world, you know.

Seriously. I had looked at a partial family tree one of my relatives was working on about ten years ago. And my takeaway from it was that apparently my ancestors liked to move to another country and have a bunch of kids. Then those kids moved to other countries and had a bunch of kids. Then, apparently, we came to America and said "Oh look! A whole bunch of other genetic material to add to our lineage."

Yeah. Apparently my family is The Borg.

We will assimilate you.

Anyway, my Irish blood stirs at the pictures of cliffs and green fields. And my feet can only keep rhythm to traditional folk songs. (Plus, I effin hate snakes.) So I like to celebrate St. Patrick's day by wearing green.

Here's what I made to go with my I Heart Ireland t-shirt. It's a Celtic Interlace Knot Medallion Necklace from Lion Brand. The pattern is actually for spool knitting, but I just made I-cord with the two DPNs (one size 4 and one size 5) that I could actually find.

Yeah. That's not the optimum set of tools, but you know, I still can't find my DPNs.

This is a really clever bit of knotting. It knits up quickly. And, if you pay attention and not try to watch tv while you're doing it, you can knot it pretty easily by using the handy-dandy diagram in the pattern. The only thing that actually takes time is sewing a stitch or two at each of the intersections.

Because there are a heckuvalotta intersections.

I made a similar necklace a while back:

It's not as complex as the Interlace Knot Medallion, but it's very pretty and I wear it pretty often.

I'd like to find a few more of these type of patterns. I wonder if there is a book or website somewhere?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Patwoman Has Lost Her Marbles Needles

I should probably just change the name of my blog to Patwoman Can't Find Her DPNs, it happens so often. Why are those things so damned hard to keep track of? Seriously. I have one place that I put them. Why are they not there?

All my DPNs are in a single ziploc-style bag, which I put in my zipped cloth needle case. That's where they should be when I look for them, right?

So why is it that every time I need a set of DPNs, they are not there? Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Have you been sleepwalking again, Patwoman? Yes? Mystery solved."

To you, I say, ppppppbbbbbbbllllllttttt!

It doesn't take the team from Without A Trace to figure that out. What I really want to know is where are they?

Oh wait... I just thought of something. What if Michael's has sent a team of ninjas into my house at night to take my DPNs, knowing that I will eventually break down and go buy some more? They know I've got a 40% off coupon just burning a hole in my iPhone app.

And well, sure. Of course, that wouldn't be cost effective for Michael's to have to hire a team of ninjas just so I could go and buy an $8 set of needles at 40% (so $4.80 + tax). I mean, one ninja alone would command a greater fee than that, right?

But what if the ninja were doing it for exercise? Like, if this particular ninja was maybe underworked and a little out of practice (because, you know, times are tough for everybody)and he just wanted to break into houses and steal small things to "sharpen the saw" a bit? That could happen.

Or maybe he was a chaotic ninja? Who got kicked out of his ninja guild for being chaotic so he had to go freelance and take whatever crappy-paying ninja jobs were available, even if the pay didn't completely cover his expenses? That could happen.

Or maybe he just loves knitting needles? That's why he ninjas his way into knitters' houses and takes only their knitting needles. Back at his ninja hideout, he's got piles and piles of needles. And every night, he adds a few more. Dirty ninja! I can just imagine him, rolling around on his treasure trove of needles like Smaug in the depths of Erebor!

Or, wait... What if the ninja only took my knitting needles? And not because he loved needles. But because he hates me?

OMG! That is so unfair! What have I ever done to ninjas?!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Beware The Ides Of March

Especially if you're Roman and you've pissed off your friends by being too successful, like Caesar. But, if even if you're ordinary like me, you've still got to watch it. People get crazy.

Traffic was stupid on the way in to work. People drove like jackasses and then blamed me for it. Hey, Dickwad, that mirror is there for a reason. Use it.

And somebody bashed my car. Not a ding. Not a nick. Not "Oops, I miscalculated how far that door would open and bumped your car." No, this was a bash. Like an "I think I can back out of this parking space okay. Hey, what's that noise? Sounds like metal bending. Oh. Oops. No I guess I can't back out okay. Oh well. If Patwoman didn't want me to hit her car, she shouldn't have parked it next to an empty space."

Okay. I don't know if that was what actually happened. But that's the scene I've been able to extrapolate using my forensic skills.

I also burned the Sweet Jesus out of my arm. Turns out, you can't put the underside of your arm on a hot cookie sheet, even for a second. The shitty thing about this (besides burning myself) is that this is the second time I've done this exact thing.

Plus, people just wanted to argue. About things that don't need to be argued about. Like:

Person: Reset the router. I can't get on the wifi using that password you gave me.
Patwoman: Are you entering a 01 at the end?
Person: Yes.
Patwoman: A zero? Not a letter O?
Person: Yes. Reset the router.
Patwoman: And not just a 1?
Person: Yes. Yes. Yes. I'm doing it exactly like you said.
Patwoman: Because nobody else has had a problem with it. And I can't reach the router without standing on a chair or something.
Person: Well, it's the wrong password.

Patwoman: (Spells the password out.)
Person: That's what I entered. Reset the router.
Patwoman: It's up high. I'll need to get a chair to do it. Let me just check.(Pulls out iPhone, changes to wifi setting and signs on immediately, using the password.)Try it again.
Person: (Sighs condescendingly and then enters the password incorrectly.)
Patwoman: You have to add 01 at the end. Zero-one.
Person: That's what I did.
Patwoman: No, you just typed 1.
Person: I did not. (Tries it again. Enters it correctly.) Oh. I guess it's fixed now.

Seriously. By the end of the night, I was thinking about ignoring the soothsayer's advice and heading over to the Theater of Pompey, in the hopes that someone would stab me and get it over with.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Case Of The Returning Needles

Well, just one needle. And lots of stuff has been returning. And disappearing.

These needles, for instance. My #8 short straights. I have been looking for these off and on for a while now. I was doing a project that required #8s and I wanted to use the short needles, which are my preference to use if I'm not going to have a lot of stitches on the needle. I couldn't find both needles and ended up using the long ones, which I find a little awkward.

I had one, right where it was supposed to be, but couldn't find the other one, no matter where I looked. Not in any other project. Not in any knitting bag. Not in my craft drawers (which would be the wrong place, but I checked anyway). Not in any of my yarn storage. Not in the cushions of the couch. Not under the couch. Not on the end tables. Not in the kitchen next to the computer. Not anywhere. You get me?

I have long suspected my house is haunted. By a practical joker. Things go missing and I look for them everywhere. Others help me look for them, even. And then, sometime later, they just show up--most of the time, right where they were supposed to be... where everyone looked for them repeatedly.

But today, I sat down on the couch long enough to drink my morning coffee. After a few minutes, I looked down, and the missing needle was in my lap. At first I thought I must have, I don't know, hooked my sleeve on the needle I already have (poking up out of Batman's head) and dragged it back to my lap. But no. That needle was still there. This was the missing needle, returned to my lap.

Weird, huh?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Yes, I Started Something New

I couldn't help myself. I was sitting here, watching tv after work last night and just wanted something to keep my hands busy for 45 minutes or so. Something I didn't really have to think about. Something for which I wouldn't have to get up off the couch to go get yarn or needles.

So, that pretty much limited me to straight needles from my Batman Needle Head

and scraps from my scrap buckets

which were sitting here because I had been working on the Advent Ornaments.

But I noticed that, besides the Christmas colors that I have so much of, I seem to have a lot of purples. Now, that's strange to me, because I can only think of one purple thing I've knit recently. But, the evidence doesn't lie.

So I grabbed some #9 needles and cast on a bunch of stitches--as many as I could squeeze onto the needle (and yes, I know you're not supposed to do that, but I did it. So there.)--and just started knitting. I'm leaving some length at the end for fringe and knotting it as I go.

So far, so good.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

FO: Advent Ornament #9

Another ornament for the Advent Calendar. This is the Paper Chain.

I remember making these paper chains (with paper, not knitting) back in grade school. I can clearly remember being in first grade and carefully picking out my strips of colored construction paper and kind of snarkily thinking to myself that perhaps other children did not know how to use scissors, but I certainly did, and so it was a little demeaning to have to use pre-cut strips. (Actually, I probably thought something along the lines of "I know how to use scissors, not like these babies!" But, you know, time makes our memories a little more kind.)

I remember thinking how absolutely genius it was to join strips of paper like this. It was a chain, but we were making it out of flat paper. And making the links one at a time. Who thinks this stuff up? Brilliant!

I also remember being so focused on gluing those strips together in a recurring pattern, making sure the ends were firmly attached with that nasty white paste we used. And I remember Mrs. Bammerlin having to watch the kids who were known paste-eaters.

A side note: That paste, while having a pretty strong plastic-y aftertaste, was actually quite sweet on the palate at first. So you can hardly blame those kids, really. (Oh yes. I tasted it. Discreetly, because although I wondered, I also knew it was wrong.)

I was so proud of my chain. The whole time I made it, I was thinking about where it was going to hang at our house. I knew my mom would want to put it up somewhere where it could be seen and admired by everyone.

"Oh! Who is the expert artist who crafted this magnificent holiday decoration?!" They would gasp.

And my mom would beam with pride, "Why, Patty did, of course. She's so artistic."

But, you know that didn't happen. Oh, my mom would've put it up at the house. I have no doubt about that. And it would have come out of the Christmas decoration box every December until it fell apart. I'm fairly certain of that, too.

But no. Mrs. Bammerlin (I can still barely even speak the words) joined all our chains together and hung them in the classroom.

Good God! You know what that means, right? That means my beautiful work of art was joined on both ends to paper chains done by children who may not have put as much effort into their chains as I did. Yes, their chains were linked. Yes, they were colorful. But they simply were not the masterpieces mine was.

Never fear, though. When December rolled around in second grade, guess what we made?

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