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, May 31, 2013

The Answer To All Things

When I was a kid, I attended Sunday School regularly. I always tell people about how I got kicked out of Sunday School. Actually, I wasn’t so much kicked out, as it was just pointed out to me that if I couldn’t stop asking questions, maybe I didn’t belong in Sunday School.

Now, if you ask me, I say that’s the person who does belong in Sunday School. But none of my Sunday School teachers saw it that way.

I asked questions like, Do animals go to Heaven? (The answer I was given: No. Animals do not have souls.) So there are no animals in Heaven? (No. None at all.) How do we know they don’t have souls? (Because the Bible says only humans have souls. Animals don’t have free will. They act on instinct.) Where does it say that? (In Genesis.) Where? I’d like to read that for myself. (It’s there.) Okay, but where? (It’s there.)

It’s just that, if we love our pets so much and they are family members to us, why wouldn’t God want them in Heaven with us? Why wouldn’t they also have souls? Animal souls, even? What about babies? Babies don’t really have free will. They act on their instincts, like animals. (Babies are people. People have souls.)

If people are there—people we don’t even know or people we don’t even like—why aren’t the animals we love there? Why wouldn’t part of our Heavenly reward be to be with friends who make us happy? (They can’t go to Heaven. Only people can go to Heaven. When you go to Heaven, you won’t even care about your pets any more. They will just be one of the Earthly things you left behind.)

How is that right? How can you just no longer care about something? If you are married to someone and they aren’t a Christian and you both die, then what? You’re there by yourself and you don’t care that your husband or wife isn’t there? (You shouldn’t be married to someone who’s not a Christian.) What if you were in love with them? (You can’t truly love someone who isn’t a Christian.) Like an animal? (Yes.)

Doesn’t God love people who aren’t Christians? (That’s different.) He loves non-Christians differently or it’s different because He’s God? (Both.) But doesn’t the Bible say that God loves the whole world? He made Jesus die because He loved the whole world, right? (So that people could go to Heaven.) Christians? (Yes.) But there weren’t any Christians before Jesus died. So what happened to all of those people in the Old Testament? (You’re being disruptive.)

So, if you don’t know the answer, will my questions be answered in Heaven? Will there be someone who will explain it then? (You won’t care about those Earthly things in Heaven.) I will. (No. You won’t.) I won’t care about all the things I want to know the answer to? (No.) Maybe the answer to everything will just be there, in my mind? (No. You’re being very disruptive.)

For the record, I have never tried to be disruptive. I would never be disruptive on purpose in church. But I did have a lot of questions about the nature of God, Heaven, and the Afterlife. (Also about Hell. I attended a Baptist church, remember? Hell plays a big part in how you feel about Heaven, if you’re a Baptist.) As an adult, I take a more Zen approach to it.

I’m not God. I don’t know what happens, for sure. Nobody does. But I feel God is good and just and fair. And I don’t think that He would discard our friends and then blank our minds so that we just didn’t care. And if the Apocalypse is the “Lifting of the Veil,” then isn’t it the answer to all things? I just don’t buy that it’s the Rufie of the spiritual world.

And it doesn’t make me a disruptive person for wanting to know.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

WIP: Rocketpop Update

Almost finished knitting the Rocketpop Shawl. I have completed the chart and just have the remaining rows to go. Then, of course, it will need to be blocked.

Looks good, eh?

You can see that green yarn in the bowl with it is just waiting to become a shawl, too. Wait your turn, green yarn. Wait your turn.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bad Dreams And Bullying

I dreamed last night that I was part of a group that was being honored on stage for some reason. I believe it was an academic achievement honor. Anyway, there were a bunch of us that were going to be part of this presentation and we were all backstage, in a dressing room together.

I was keeping to myself because, although I knew everyone there, none of them were friends. They weren't necessarily enemies, either. They were the popular girls.

So the popular girls and I were all wearing red dresses of the same basic style. Some just has slight variations. (Mine, for instance, had long sleeves with a polka dot pattern embossed on the material. That's how I knew it was a nightmare.) But, for some reason, they were all making snarky comments about my dress.

Logical Patwoman tried to reason with them. My dress was just as good as any of theirs. It was one of the dresses on the "approved list" we were given. I even bought it at the same store they bought all of theirs. Mine was the same red, the same style, and fit me the same as theirs. The pattern was neither too subdued or too loud. Why were they picking on me?

When I woke from this dream, I started me thinking about bullying in schools nowadays as compared to when I was in school. This dream? That could have happened when I was going to school, I guess. Except, I wouldn't have a dress bought from the same store. It would've been a cheaper knockoff version and I would've felt I somehow deserved the snarky comments because of it.

But still. Back then, there would have been snarky comments and then that would've been it. There might have been some random comments later about how Patwoman tried to pass off that cheap dress as the real thing and I would've gotten revenge by finding a way to demonstrate their intellectual failings in front of 30 other kids in class.

Now, there would be an organized multi-media campaign to not only make the girl with the wrong dress pay for her crime, but to cause lasting emotional damage. And, in many cases, as we've seen in the news, even more than that.

What's the difference here? Is it the ability to disseminate mean words so quickly to so many? Is it the anonymity the internet provides? Facebook makes it easy to say hateful things you wouldn't say to someone's face. Or is it that people are just meaner these days?

My opinion is that it's a little of all of that.

Let me clarify one thing, though. I don't think people are innately meaner than they ever were, but I do think they're meaner. The difference between the two is how they have learned. I see a lot of kids/teens/young adults every day and I've met a lot of their parents. Here's what it comes down to:

Parents who don't value other people, other people's property, or other people's feelings raise children who don't value other people, other people's property, or other people's feelings.

It's absolutely true. In every case where I've caught a shoplifter, the parents were unconcerned with the stealing. ("It was less than $100 worth of stuff. I'll pay for it and we'll be okay, right?") They were only concerned with the fact that the police were called.

Don't get me wrong. There are good young people out there. One young person I know told me the other day he was going to spend time with one of the new kids because he didn't think he knew a lot of people here and he wanted to make sure he had a good experience.

I'll bet you can guess where he learned that behavior.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I'm Dyeing Again

I decided to take a quick break from some of the things I'm working on to dye some more yarn. So here is another hank from that same unraveled sweater I used for the previous two dye experiments.

It's about 200 yards, I'd say. I was wrapping it around a box lid to make this big loop, and counting the number of times I wrapped it, hoping that would give me a good idea of how much yarn was here.

But then I lost count. So, I'm really just guessing.

I'm using Easter Egg dyes from the same kit as before. But this time, I'm using the liquid dyes. I'm hoping for a more even distribution of color. I also doubled up on the dyes, for more intense color. So, two packs of blue and two packs of purple, in the same amount of water.

I didn't do anything special here, just poured the blue on one half and the purple on the other. I probably should have looked at this picture, though, because when I was pouring in the dye, it really looked different. Both of these colors were more blue. I guess the camera doesn't lie, though.

This yarn came out better than my previous attempts, I think. The colors are more intense and all the yarn is coated in color. There is less mixing of the colors than before (although, I'm not opposed to mixing at all and think it's usually great). These colors seem to be split definitively. And the liquid color seems to dye more evenly.

I'm putting this one in the success category.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day

Thank you to all the men and women of our armed forces, past and present. Your service and sacrifice is valued and appreciated.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Common Rocket Pop

You remember that yarn I dyed a while back, right? I used red and blue and there were bits of white left where the dye didn't hit it. I thought, at the time, that it looked floral. I had every intention of knitting something kind of flowery with this yarn.

Now, I've been seeing a lot of really cool looking shawls and shawlettes lately. (Not to mention the lovely Helliades, created by my friend Katie. I am knitting that fine beast for me. Not giving it away.) Of course, this yarn is a little on the bulky side, so I did a search for a shawl that used bulky yarn.

I was still in the floral state of mind at that point, so I was looking for a lacey pattern. I love lace in bulky yarn, by the way. (But you already knew that, didn't you?) And I found this one, Common Bean, by Caitlin ffrench.

Caitlin says she hand-dyed her yarn using dye made from beans, hence the name of the pattern. I thought this was especially fitting, since I'd hand-dyed my own yarn too. Of course, mine doesn't have that delicate blue her bean yarn has. Mind looks like I dyed it with Rocket Pops.

I think I like it even more now.

Here it is, in progress. As you can see, I'm working from a chart. I prefer to work lace from a chart.

As far as lace goes, this is pretty easy. Although, it had been so long since I'd done anything like this that I did mess up the third or fifth row about six times. But, then the light bulb came on in my head and it's been smooth sailing since then.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Tomatoes Are Coming In!

I must admit, I've been so busy lately, I've pretty well neglected my garden. Luckily, we've had plenty of rain, and plants tend to be pretty self-sufficient really. So my garden didn't really miss me.

In fact, a quick look shows me that there are several small tomatoes starting to grow.

I can also see I need to get out there and weed this garden. (ahem)

Nothing else is in the ground yet. Hopefully, I'm not too late to plant peppers, green beans, and cukes. Or, if I am, hopefully, I can find some half-grown plants to put in the ground. Hey, it's not cheating. It's creative materials sourcing.

My plan was to have a bunch of stuff growing so I could do some canning this year. I remember my mom canned a lot of vegetables. It's fun, practical, and makes me way more valuable in a post-apocalyptic world.

I'm not sure I'll get to do any canning, though. I usually only get time to do some "Sun" Dried Tomatoes in the oven. And this year I am busier than before.

We'll see. I got a couple of salsa recipes I want to try. I think I might be able to get to that.

Friday, May 24, 2013

What Is This?

No, seriously. What is it?

I found this obviously incomplete project in a drawer. I vaguely remember knitting these tiny little pieces. I kind of think it might have been going to be a flower.

Why I would knit a flower with so many tiny, separate petals is beyond me.

But, I'm looking at this pile of (?) petals and the long cast on and off ends, which I probably left there to sew all these pieces together, and I'm thinking two things:

1) Just frog the piece, add the strands to the magic ball.

2) What a challenge! No pattern. Not even sure if these are all the pieces. No idea how they fit together. Let's make a flower!

Hahaha! That was a good one. Make a flower. Ha! Of course I'm going to frog the strands.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

WIP: Mouse

Sometimes I just start a project just to start one.

No, that's not true. But sometimes I do start multiple projects at the same time. I don't know why. Sometimes it's as simple as I don't want to get up and go get the fiberfill stuffing for the angel's head, so I just start a different project.

Oh wow. That sounds really lazy now that I've typed it out.

But it's true. I was working away on the Angel Ornament for the Advent Garland, and I got to the point where you have to stuff the head. And I thought, Meh. I don't want to get up off the couch right now. I'll get it when this show is over. And then, of course, my hands were all fidgety, so I picked up the needles and cast on to this mouse.

I've liked this mouse since I first found this pattern. He just looks very cute. (Not now, of course. Now, he just looks like a shapeless piece of fuzzy stockinette. But eventually he will look cute.) Yeah, cute. Unlike real mice. Listen, if I ever found a real mouse in my Christmas Tree, I can name three cats who are going to be in big trouble.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

People Are Stupid

Well, maybe not stupid, but they are getting dumber, according to a Stanford geneticist. He says mutations in our DNA and our "modern living" are causing a downward trend in human intelligence.

The gist of this is that, back in our prehistoric anscestors' time, the average hunter/gatherer had to do a bunch of problem solving and memory-related activities every single day. They had to continually make good decisions. Or else they died.

Cavemen were smart.

By extension, the ones that died did not pass on their genes and the ones that lived--the ones who were better at these mental activities--did. So, (And forgive me for paraphrasing this for clarity. Not trying to be offensive.) the smart people had smart babies, who presumably had more smart babies.

But, we don't have to hunt our own food these days. There's no inherent danger in going to the grocery store and getting a pound of ground beef. (Well, I suppose there's some danger because of mass production issues, but for the most part you aren't going to get killed picking up the Styrofoam tray from the cooler.)

As modern humans, we don't worry about getting gored by beasts while we're trying to get a meal, or having to know which plants are good to eat or where to find the best roots. And even if we do eat something bad for us, or get injured from doing something stupid, we have medical technology to keep us alive.

So, modern humans reproduce, regardless of whether they have made good decisions or not. And their children are pretty much the same as they are. But, modern living just keeps getting easier, doesn't it? And so, modern man keeps getting dumber.

Now, this geneticist guy didn't ask me, but I could have told him as much. If you don't believe me, log on to Facebook and read the first 15 of your friends' posts. You might think "Funny." or you might thing "Oh that's cute." on a couple of them, but overwhelmingly your impression is going to be "Oh Sweet Jesus! Did you even think about this before you posted it?" or "For the love of God, FB friend, don't just regurgitate what you see on extremist websites. Do some research yourself!"

You know I'm right.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I Could Be Nostradamus

As you know, I'm a big fan of those disaster shows on History and Discovery. I don't know why, but if you put Apocalypse in the title of a show, I'm so there.

However, I'm always more amused than interested in those shows about how such and such disaster was predicted by ancient Chinese astronomers, the Mayans, the Bible, or Nostradamus. Because, seriously, so much time has passed and those "prophecies" are so vague, you can make them match pretty much any recent event you would like to.

For example, I've written a couple of prophecies for you:

On a day of bright sun, in the city that gave birth to a king,
One will come with dark intentions
And shatter the Age of Prosperity.

Or how about this:

In a city bisected by flowing water,
The sky will darken and disease will stalk the land.

You see? A city that gave birth to a king... Could be talking about an actual king and actual birth, or I could mean the city Elvis got his musical start in. And you know, there's always someone who comes with dark intentions and it usually damages prosperity for someone. And hey, don't a lot of cities have rivers running through them? And aren't there a million ways the sky could darken? And seriously, there are always diseases.

Those are sufficiently vague enough to fit a number of incidents. They are sufficiently dark enough to get attention. And they are sufficiently important-sounding enough to make someone want to make them fit an event after the fact.

It doesn't have to be doom and gloom, either. Check this:

At the dawn of The New Age,
Mankind and machinery are compatible partners.
Man realizes a level of intelligence not heretofore known.

Here's what I want you to do. Hang on to my prophecies. Give them some freaky name like The Uncanny Visions of Patwoman. And just wait about 500 years. Yeah. 500 years ought to do it.

Then see if my prophecies haven't come true.

Monday, May 20, 2013

FO: Angel

So here it is, the finished Advent Ornament: Angel. As you can see, the fiberfill stuffing rounded that head out just fine, so it no longer looks like something else.

Of course the hair, the wings, and the halo help that, too.

Quick knit, like all the others. I have just been so super busy with work lately that it takes me several days to complete a small thing like this.

I used scrap yarn with this, a pale blue and the silver Grace I've used for a couple of other small things recently. A couple of mods--I used worsted weight, as I have for all of the other ornaments, since that's what I have the most of. And I just used yarn for the eyes, because the seed beads I had just gave her a googly-eyed expression. And nobody wants a googly-eyed angel. I used the silver for the headband/halo and the wings, instead of the blue. I just like it better that way.

This is number 21 for me. And then I have to get busy on my larger projects. For real.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cake! Cake! Cake!

So I made a cake for our game night. I probably shouldn't be having cake at all, since I went on a shameful frosting binge twice this week.

Is it bad to eat two cups of frosting in one sitting? No? Okay, then.

This cake is a double dark chocolate cake, covered in a raspberry buttercream frosting. And, OMG, it is delicious. I have to admit, I ate quite a bit of this frosting, too.

I did kind of phone it in on the decorating. You can see it's not all that smooth. And I put the ginormous star tip on so I could get that bottom border done quickly. Sadly, I wasn't left with much frosting in the bag after that, for decorating.

And someone had eaten all the white and green frosting I had made earlier this week for the flowers.

So I just did a little splooge on the top. Not my best decorating job. But that just means we cut the cake quicker. Once you get three or four pieces out of it, it looks the same as a well-decorated cake with three or four pieces out of it.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Patwoman Goes Goodwill Hunting

Yes, after not being able to walk for two months, I finally went to Goodwill today with M! Yay!

Feels good to not be wearing the knee brace. Feels good to be able to bend my knee (a little, a least, enough to walk without too much of a limp). Feels good to be able to tie my own shoes, to put on my pants without laying them on the floor first, to bend over enough to shave my legs, to be able to sit on the toilet without dropping the last 4 inches to the seat.

Too much information?

It was nice. After I left work at 4:30, M and I went to GW, although I didn't see anything that was screaming to be bought. (I'm looking for a Spirograph set, mainly.) We went to dinner, then to Michael's (where I got some more cake decorating supplies) and then to Joann (where I bought even more cake decorating supplies). Did I mention, M and I signed up to take another cake decorating course?

And we went to Half Price Books, where I spent a great deal of time looking at books. That's actually kind of unusual for me, since I have been buying all my books on Kindle for a couple of years now. I didn't buy anything--not because I didn't want anything, but because the checkout line was a little long and by this time, my knee was getting extremely tired and shaky. I had worked all day and then went out shopping, remember? And this knee has been in a brace for two months. So, it was just a little overdone, I think.

Still, it was an enjoyable day and I'm hoping to be able to do a little more next week.

Friday, May 17, 2013

WIP: Another Ornament

I've been working on small things these days. Mainly ornaments for the Advent Garland. They're quick and easy and I get a FO almost immediately. Plus, I've been feeling a little restless about my knitting for a while--like, I want to knit, but I'm not sure what I want to knit. Or maybe it's that I want to knit a lot of things and I'm not sure what to do first.

I don't know. But, knitting little ornaments for Christmas is making me feel like I've accomplished something, at least.

So I started this little angel ornament for the garland. It's knit flat, so it goes pretty quickly. I actually just finished the head and started seaming it up in back.

Okay. That picture looks weird. I assure you, it doesn't look like that in real life. (But it is kind of funny. And very wrong, since it's an angel.) Oh well, it will round out once I put the fiberfill in it.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

On Writing

I had a conversation with an acquaintance today and the subject of writing articles came up. He mentioned that I should write some articles on various topics. I just sort of laughed and told him that I actually have written many non-fiction articles and fiction stories for many different magazines and papers.

I gave him a few examples, of course, so he could see for himself. But then it occurred to me that these articles were old. The last article I had published in a magazine was about 2 years ago. Can I actually still call myself a writer?

True, I haven't had anything published in a while, but I have been writing. Of course, what I've been writing has been marketing materials and financial reports and this blog. I have to admit, especially with this blog, I cut myself a whole lot of slack when it comes to writing. I let myself make up words (awesometacular), I dangle participles, I switch perspective from first to third. Basically, I disregard grammar for style.

Whoa. Just like I disregard patterns for interest. I just realized. Ha!

And, I guess there are a couple of other things I'm writing. But they're bigger works that take a lot more thought and actual time than I have been giving them lately. So, I've kind of gone for the stuff that has quicker gratification.

Whoa. Again, just like knitting.

It's okay, though. I'm not really writing for the end result of getting work published. I'm really writing for the pleasure of writing. And because I enjoy the outcome.

Whoa. Knitting. I'm blowing my own mind, here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Patwoman Has Bowls

Well, just the one bowl, really.

I've been looking for a nice wooden bowl at GW that I can use for a yarn bowl. Those things were everywhere in the 70's. It shouldn't be too hard to find, right? But, I had yet to find one when I injured my knee almost two months ago. And since then, I've not been Goodwill Hunting. Sad face.

Never fear, though. R and Bre go frequently. They are big DIY-ers. I asked them to keep a lookout for a good, solid, wooden salad bowl of a decent size that I can use as a yarn bowl. And, they have come through for me.

I was going to Dremel a slit in the side of the bowl for the yarn, maybe in a curlicue or something. But I kind of like the way it looks now with the yarn in it. I think the sides are high enough the yarn will stay in when I knit, anyway.

I guess I will have to knit with it a while and then let you know. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Patwoman Has Balls

No way am I passing that one up.

So, remember when I dyed that yarn I reclaimed from a wool sweater? Well, I decided to go ahead and wind it up into balls.

Now, I'd like to show you some nice, even yarn cakes like you get at the yarn store. But that ain't gonna happen. I guess you can tell your old friend Patwoman doesn't own a ball winder.

Still, this method works ok. It's just not particularly pretty. (Unless you are fond of yarn footballs. Then, it's exceptional!)

I don't have a nosteprine, either. But that's okay. I use a size 50 needle. Those things are good for more than making a scarf in 40 minutes! Check it out.

I like the color of this one so much. It's so vivid. I had a dream once that I was talking to a dragonfly (Don't judge. It was a dream, remember?) and it had wings this color. Iridescent green and blue wings.

I didn't get the yarn coated enough in this batch. You can see a lot of white. However, I've decided I kind of like the way that looks. It looks floral. We'll see what it looks like knitted up, though. I think this one needs a lace project.

I've got a ton of yarn left to dye, if I ever get some time to actually do it. And I have a bunch of dyes. I think I'm going to try some double-strength dyes and go for a deeper color on one batch.

I'd like to see a deep blue color throughout the whole skein. What do you think?

Monday, May 13, 2013

I Am Nothing, If Not Teachable

My worst fear is to lose my mind. Okay, maybe not the worst, but definitely in the top ten. I'm sure being eaten alive by some wild animal would be much more terrifying than slowly lapsing into mental no-man's land, but (depending on the way and the severity of mind loss) it's still pretty bad.

If I ever do become senile, I hope it's just like static in my head or happy delusions or something relatively blissful. I fear the kind of senility and dementia that, looking back, my own father must have had for many years before we realized. His mind was angry and hurtful, as well as confusing and suspicious. It was the kind of affliction that, even though your logical mind knows it's the disease, it still makes your heart hurt.

This is one of the reasons why I am so committed to continuous learning. The brain must be exercised. And you can't just stretch the brain muscles you already have--although that's important, to be sure--you have to develop new brain muscles. (Yes, I know the brain is not a muscle, but I started with this metaphor and now I feel like I have to carry it through.)

This week, I've been working on our company's website. And let me assure you, Gentle Reader, it has been a learning experience. You know your friend Patwoman is a technophile. But you must remember, she was also a full-grown adult before this Age of The Web. So the internet, for me, is a learned skill rather than a genetic trait.

Still, I think I caught on very quickly. Most things were things I only had to be shown how to do once. Some things I was even able to extrapolate how to do, based on previous skills learned. It helps, also, that it is a very rules-driven process. That appeals to my Lawful Neutral nature.

I have a pretty good feeling of accomplishment now, I can tell you. I've not only been able to accomplish a great deal on the website (very practical), but I've given that brain muscle an invigorating aerobic workout.

Hopefully, this is preventative medicine.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who are mothers or have mothers or who, like me, had mothers who are now travelling a different plane of existence.

This is a pretty good mother's day for me. Didn't work today, so I took a nap--something I love and haven't done in a long time. Spent some time watching old "War of the Worlds" episodes on YouTube. (I loved that show.) And then went to dinner with T, the kids, and their SO's.

Steak dinner. I'm having red meat on my day, dammit.

Gifts were good, too, so I renewed my contract as mom for another year.

And the six of us played King of Tokyo. I was the second monster to die. Sad face.

Lots of fun. Don't think there was any way to make the day better. Hope yours went as well.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

FO: Advent Ornament - Stocking

Here's one more Advent Ornament. I think this is #20. It's a mini-stocking, with a bobble trim edging on top. (That would be the Mini Stocking Advent Calendar stocking from Allison by Hand.)

Scrap yarn in deep red and gold. Size 3 dpns. A few hours knitting.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "But Patwoman, a stocking is a sock. And you hate to knit socks." But that's not entirely accurate. Yes, this is basically a sock. But I don't necessarily hate to knit socks, I just don't enjoy them. And I barely wear socks now in the winter, and if I did, knitted socks would be too hot for my feet, so I don't really have any use for knitted socks.

But I'm okay knitting a small sock for a decoration. And, see? I do know how to knit a sock.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Getting The Creative Juices Flowing

Yesterday, a reader asked me about how I think up ideas for my blog posts. (Not really. That was a made up question. I just wanted to answer it.) It started me thinking about creativity and how to get the creative juices going.

I read something a long time ago, I think it was a quote from Isaac Asimov, about how he gets in the mood to write. He said "I put my fingers on the typewriter keys and start typing." It's funny, because it's so obvious.

Still, sometimes I find myself a little bored with what I'm doing. The story I'm writing will suddenly not be so great, or the knitting will become tedious. Sometimes, even my dreams will become boring to me. (Another house with hidden rooms? Oh joy.)

But I think Asimov (or whoever said it) was absolutely right. You can't let yourself become paralyzed with boredom or indecision. Just put your fingers to the laptop, or the yarn on the needle, or the paintbrush to the canvas, spade to the garden, drumsticks to the drum, stylus to the pad... whatever. Just do it.

And if, as you are doing that thing, you decide you don't like what you're doing, mix it up a little. Maybe that hat needs a stripe? Maybe your story's not about a cop, but a nurse? Maybe you put a little surprise cream filling inside your cupcakes today? Or maybe you just start a whole new project that you are excited about? But what you don't do is think yourself into inaction.

Because, let's face it. We have a limited amount of time in this plane of existence. And, if my childhood Sunday School teachers are to be believed, when we pass into the next life, we won't care about things like that. (So apparently there's no knitting in Heaven.) You don't want to waste the time you have by not doing things you love.

And, just the act of doing things makes you better at doing them. Remember what your mom always said, Practice makes perfect. So, just by knitting--and maybe throwing in a random pattern or stripe--I become a better knitter. Just by writing--and adapting my writing to what is interesting to me--I become a better writer.

Sure, you might end up with a closet full of UFOs. You might have the first three chapters of ten novels on your computer. You might have a couple of half-filled sketch books or songs with half-written lyrics. But you know what? You might end up with a couple of really nice FOs. Or one really good story with the best parts of those other ten incorporated into it. Or a song that finally says what you want to say.

Will your project be wonderful, exciting, practical, artistic, beautiful? I don't know. I do know it will never be anything if you don't do it.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Tales From Patwoman's Mailbag

Dear Gentle Readers,

As you know, from time to time I get emails from readers who want to know more about the mystery, wrapped in an enigma, and covered in secret sprinkles that is Patwoman. I, as always, am happy to answer your questions.

Dear Patwoman,
What the hell? You've written a blog post every day this year. Don't you have a job any more?
Concerned About How You're Going To Afford To Live

Dear Concerned About Things That Are None Of Your Business,
Yes, I assure you, I still have a job and, in fact, have only gotten busier and busier. I am in no danger of not being able to afford to live. The reason I have been posting daily is that I am honoring our relationship. Like all relationships, ours must be nurtured and loved, and we must show it the attention it deserves. When I post every day, I am saying "I care about you."



Dear Patwoman,
Are you sure it's not just a product of overdeveloped ego?

Dear Skeptical,
Of course not. I'm just that good of a person. So good, in fact that I do all of this for you.


Dear Patwoman,
A lot of your posts aren't even about knitting. I come here for knitting info and you're prattling on about robots and zombies. Meanwhile, I know you have some knitting patterns you've created that you could be sharing with us. Why not expend some effort getting those patterns posted and forget about robopocalypse and zombiepocalypse?
Looking For Knitting In All The Wrong Places

Dear Wrong Looking,
This blog has never been about knitting, exclusively. You know that. This blog is more about a peek into the Magical World of Patwoman. Oh, and the robopocalypse and zombiepocalypse? They're coming. So you'd better not forget about them.


Dear Patwoman,
I really like your blog. You're freakin' hilarious. How do you think up ideas for daily blog posts?

Dear Curious,
I like to talk about knitting. I'm always working on something, or have just finished something, or I'm getting ready to cast on something, so that's a lot of material, right there. And I have a lot of other interests, like jewelry making, cooking, games, and movies. I've got three pretty photogenic cats (one of which I'm pretty sure is a genius, transformed by a wizard spell to look like a cat--or a wizard who just prefers cat form) and a happy-to-help dog. They all love to photobomb model for the camera. Plus, I am a writer. So if I don't have anything to write about, I just make up some fake emails and then answer them.

Your friend always, Patwoman

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Time To Get The Garden Going

Past time, really. But we've had such weird weather this year. It was cold for much longer than it should have been.

My dad always said it would not be unheard of to have snow in April. And, of course, I always shrugged that off, because it's usually pretty nice here by the end of March or before. But this year it did snow in April, more than once.

Seriously. Every time it snows in April I can hear my dad's voice from beyond the grave, telling me he told me so.

Plus, this knee injury forces me to rely on other people to do things like dig the holes. Combine that with my work schedule, and I don't have a lot of time to get the garden going.

But today, I went out and bought 8 well-established tomato plants to get started. T moved the volunteer bush that planted itself in the middle of my garden bed. (A pretty nice bush, actually. I have three more adults in my yard and two more volunteers that need to be moved because they are too close to my patio.) And we rented a tiller.

Hopefully, we will get all this done today and I can get some more plants and get them in the ground tomorrow before it's supposed to rain. I have a lot of plans for sun-dried tomatoes and homemade salsa this year.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Suzette Is Tubular

You probably don't remember that phrase, tubular, do you? It's was a thing in the eighties. I never said that, trust me. No one I knew said it. I never heard anyone in real life say something was tubular, either. But people on TV said it.

Anyway, that's neither here nor there.

What I wanted to show you was the finished Suzette Tubular Necklace.

It's a quick, easy knit. The only thing I think I would do differently is use yarns with a little more contrast. The Patons Metallic Gold and Metallic Orange just don't contrast enough with each other to give that "beaded" look on the original. But these were the colors M picked out, so I think she'll be happy with it anyway.

Metallic is only metallic on the outside of the yarn, by the way. I learned that by accidentally splitting the yarn with the needle tip. It's actually black on the inside, covered by metallic thread. And the yarn is pretty splitty. It reminds me a lot of LB Microspun in that way.

Still, the gold and orange (which is really more bronze) worked with each other and the black interior in an unexpected way. The finished necklace has an antique-y look to it, like burnished brass.

The colors also do not pick up well on the camera. Here's the best picture I got, and I don't think you can really see the color well. It's lighter than this picture even.

This one will go in the Christmas Box for M.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Eat Me!

We all know the story of the Donner party, right? And the soccer team in the Andes. Well, now some archaeologists have evidence that the Jamestown colonists engaged in cannibalism (Wow. That phrase seems so refined and elegant, doesn't it? They engaged in cannibalism.) during what is referred to as the "starving time," the winter of 1609-1610.

As gruesome as that is, I find that very interesting. I mean, these were Puritans, very religious people. And cannibalism was at that time--as it still is, and was for a very long time before that--pretty taboo. So, it's interesting to me that these people overcame their moral objections in favor of their survival instincts.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not judging. Well, okay. I am judging, a little. It's pretty hypocritical to move to the other side of the world--a wild, unknown place that was fairly inaccessible to the vast majority of the rest of the civilized world--because they wanted to be able to practice their religious beliefs without the interference of law. And then those religious beliefs became less important when times got tough.

Judging pretty harshly, actually.

Still, I'm not judging the cannibalism itself. In fact, I always say if we're trapped in a mine, you need to start sleeping with one eye open about day three.

And--I'm about to get really offensive here, maybe, but I'm not really sorry--the big crime the colonists committed wasn't cannibalism. Scientists agree the bodies were most likely butchered after the person had died already. So, essentially, they were just so much meat.

Seriously. If we're ever in a situation where I'm gone and you're starving, please eat me.

The hypocrisy wasn't even the big crime. No one really knows what they're going to do in the face of death. We talk about "I would do this" or "I would never do that" but I think it really comes down to how much it hurts to do or not do those things. So, I don't really have a problem with that, so much.

No. (And here's the offensive part, in case you were waiting for it.) The real crime the Jamestown colonists committed was ignorance. They weren't prepared to colonize a new world. They didn't think about what to plant or how to store it or what the repercussions would be for trying to colonize and take over a place in which people were already living. Maybe if they had brought a few more farmers and doctors and blacksmiths and a few less ministers and shopkeepers.

I'm just saying.

And, by the way, the prevailing thought among historians--given the lack of evidence of butchery on any of the human remains--is that the Donner party most likely ate their dogs and horses, not each other.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

I Want The Loc-Nar

Why has no one figured this out yet?

Scientists discovered hundreds of orbs in secret chambers underneath the Temple of the Feathered Serpent in Teotihuaca, Mexico. I'm gonna repeat that, for effect.

Scientists sent in a robot to explore secret chambers beneath the Temple of the Feathered Serpent, a six-level pyramid temple covered in snake statues. The room had been sealed for 1800 years. And inside were hundreds of orbs covered in Fools Gold.

Robots. Pyramids. Sealed room. Glittery orbs. What is not awesome about all of that?

But it did immediately remind me of a certain movie... And why you shouldn't mess with orbs you find under pyramids at archaeological sites.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Shopping Trip - Michael's Sale!

As you know, Gentle Reader, I have been anxious to get back to some of my old, pre-knee injury activities. I'm particularly missing my shopping trips to Michael's, Joann, and Goodwill. And, even though I've been to Michael's once a week since this happened for my cake class, I have not been able to give the yarn section of the store the attention it deserves before now.

But the knee is doing better. I hardly limp at the start of the day, in fact. It does get a little tired in the evening, though. But today, I was able to travel the entire Michael's store without stopping for a break. (I'm either getting better, or getting stronger at limping. Ha!)

Ah, Michael's yarn department. My old friend. How I've missed you. And what is that? What do you have for me today? A sale?

Aw. You shouldn't have.

And I shouldn't have, either. But I did go a little crazy with the yarn. Damn you Michael's for getting even larger baskets and placing them strategically near the yarn!

I'm justifying most of it by saying it was too good a deal to pass up. Although, really, I'm justifying to myself, because T is the biggest enabler in the world. When I couldn't decided on which color Patons Lace I wanted, he just put all of these in the basket.

His justification is "It makes you happy." Of course, he did have a great time of it, mocking me with comments like "Why are you pretending this is going to end any other way? Just put it in the basket." And "If you don't get it, I will. This is my yarn. Don't try and use it for any of your projects."

Here's a secret. I am going to use it.

So, you've seen the Lace. I also got this Bernat Mosaic in Ninja,

and some Red Heart Boutique Treasure in Portrait,

and this yarn, which I'd never seen before, but it's totally awesome. It's Loops & Threads Woodlands in Canyon Clay.

I also picked up the jingle bells I've needed to put in my Christmas ornaments.

And T obviously needs more cowbell.

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