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.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Blueberry Muffins

I got some blueberries from the Hipster Market the other day so I thought I ought to do something with them. The thing about organic produce is that it doesn't seem to last very long. So I rinsed and packed one pint and put it in the freezer for later and then made blueberry muffins with the other pint.

This was not my usual blueberry muffin recipe, but I wanted to try it because it had oatmeal in it and was flavored with orange juice, so I was intrigued.

They turned out very nice, I think. I added about twice as much OJ as the recipe called for, because the batter was very crumby and dry and really needed more liquid. But the end product was nice and dense. The OJ added a very subtle flavor, really. But I really liked the texture the oatmeal added.

This is the recipe I used. I will probably make this one my go-to blueberry muffin recipe from now on.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

More Loopy Things

Check it out. Another FO.

This is another loopy cowl, just like the one I made back in January. This Red Heart Boutique Swerve was some of that clearance yarn from Michael's. I used just one skein of it. (Ha! I forgot to take a picture of it before I tore the label off. See how I tried to carefully put it all back?)

I cast on 3 stitches with #50s and knit until the yarn ran out. Then I seamed the ends together. Had to use a smooth yarn for seaming. It's okay. It just disappears into the loops.

This color is called Sahara, by the way. It's like camo sand.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Why The County Fair Sucks A Little

Off work a little early today, and decided to do something spontaneous. A customer was telling me about a street fair taking place in our town. She said there were some games, rides, and some food vendors. Hm. That actually sounded like fun. But then she told me the Marion County Fair was going on right now, too.

That means fair food, right? That seems way better! So T and I decided to go to the fair.

I started off with corn on the cob, as per usual. (Sorry. I forgot to take a picture of this before I started.) It's sprinkled with a little cayenne pepper. Actually, probably too much cayenne. I had to get a Coke, too. This was the only corn vendor at the County Fair. There are usually at least 3 or 4 at the State Fair. I was disappointed because this corn was boiled, not grilled. It was really not fair corn. I mean, seriously. I can boil corn at home. (Well, I can grill it too, but that's not the point.)

Disappointed, but not deterred, I decided to get a corn dog. Again, I forgot to take the picture first. Sorry. I was hungry and polished this thing off pretty quickly. It was actually pretty good. Crisp on the outside, cakey on the inside. I would've had another, but they were charging $6 for these things. Ridiculous! I would've passed on this, but I had already ordered and was too embarassed to say "Six dollars? Are you crazy? What? Are they made of gold or something?!" "never mind."

There were also some overpriced twisty chips there, too. But I love twisty chips. So we got an order. Look how deep brown those are. Those are all crispy, right? Wrong. Some of them are crispy. Many of them are soggy. All of them are greasy. So, so greasy. And the cheese... Not nacho cheese. Some kind of liquid cheese-like substance. And so much grease.

I couldn't finish them.

We took the opportunity to stroll over to the arts and crafts building so I could look at the knitting entries. But, as this was the last day of the fair, all of the exhibits had been taken down by noon. Likewise, all the animals were gone. There were just two little girls, about twelve years old, barefoot and sitting on a bench outside. They asked me "Y'all lookin' for the exhibits? They ain't here. They's all gone 'bout noon."

Now, let me say this is Indianapolis in 2014. Not the backwoods hollers of 1820s Appalachia. And these girls were very likely in middle school. I wanted to correct their grammar. And tell them to put on some shoes before they stepped on something. But I just thanked them.

With nothing else to do, we decided to leave. I only stopped for one thing on the way out.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Trying To Ditch The Waterbed...

... but it just won't let me!

Okay, so stop laughing. Yes, I still have a waterbed. And yes, I know it's not the 80s any more. Listen, up until now I have loved my waterbed. It's warm in the winter, and I can sleep in any postion at all. Plus, the bed itself is just a beautiful monster of a thing with a double stack of drawers beneath, bookcases at the foot, cabinets at the head, and a wooden canopy overhead.

But my mattress... Recently--and by that I mean, with the onset of menopause--my mattress is no longer comfortable. In any way. I can't sleep comfortably in any position. Legs hurt. Back hurts. Hips hurt. Neck hurts. And I'm so hot. So so so hot. I have turned the heater down on this thing so far that I am in danger of giving T hypothermia and I am still too hot on this bed.

Plus, it's just impossible to find anything for it. Every so often the heater has to be replaced or we need new sheets. And then, fat lot of luck trying to find them. Last time I had to buy a heater, I found only one place that carried them. And that place is gone now.

So I have decided the time has come to get rid of the water mattress and sleep on a regular mattress. But draining the thing has proven itself to be more of a chore than I thought it would be. First of all, I no longer have the drain kit I need to drain it. No problem, I thought. I'll just jam a hose into the mattress and start a siphon, right?

Wrong. First of all, my hose is outside. No way am I putting my mouth on that thing to siphon anything out. (I have this image in my mind of sucking spiders out of the end of the hose. Shudder.) So I thought I'd fill the hose with water from the spigot outside the bedroom window and then just let gravity create the suction needed to drain it.

But sadly, the bushes are so overgrown that there is no way I can get to that spigot. I'm pretty sure there are spiders in those bushes.

So I have ordered a drain kit from online. And hopefully it gets here soon, because I have a mattress standing on its side in the hall. I might buy a new hose, too.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

FO: Cobbles Cowl

Here is the finished Twirling Cowl, made with Patons Cobbles yarn in Mustard Seed.

I made a few mods (When don't I?) to this pattern. First, I only used one skein of this yarn because it's so super bulky I felt like that was enough cowl to go around any neck. Knitting this to pattern would have made it about twice as tall and I just can't imaging trying to tuck all that up under your chin. As it is, this will be a nice, warm cowl.

Weaving in the ends is always tricky with a bulky yarn like this. Normally, I would split the end of a bulky yarn into two and then work those less bulky ends into the row in opposite directions. But this yarn has a thread wrapped around it to make that bumpy texture, so I can't do that this time. You can see how the yarn barely goes through the eye of this yarn needle.

So this time, I just worked the tail into the underside of the cowl. This is such a textured cowl that I don't think it's noticeable. (And it's on the wrong side of the work. So, pretty safe there, anyway, right?)

Looks good!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Today the federal court ruled that Indiana's ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional. Our governor has already issued a statement saying, basically, that he doesn't agree, but since he is lawful, he will abide by the law. I have purposely avoided Facebook because I know it will be filled with all kinds of hate from people I don't really want to fight with.

I know--and don't get me wrong here--they have the right to their opinion. But the name-calling... the hatred... the rude and ignorant remarks... the raw, ugly, venom... I just don't want to hear that. I have the right to not read all that.

But it is a historic event, isn't it? A milestone in our society's evolution. I am so glad I'm here to see it happen. And it makes me think of all the history that I have seen in my lifetime. Things my children's generation take for granted--Civil Rights (and again today), space travel, robotic, artificial intelligence, satellite technology, solar power, microwaves, cell phones, Google (and the internet in general), medical breakthroughs like "smart" prosthetics, the election of an African American President (something some people still can't accept)... It's all so amazing!

I wonder if people really appreciate the weight of the moment? Let me tell you a story... I watched "The Help" a couple of months ago. It was a hard movie to watch because I grew up in that era, and that attitude was not restricted to the deep south, believe me. I remember people that I personally knew saying some of those same things (and I hope it was out of ignorance and not base bigotry) and doing some of those things. I remember segregation, before and after the Civil Rights Act. That movie made me remember so many bad things that I cried through most of it. And what resonated with me as well, was that these same words were being used in today's society--in reference to equality. I wonder if people can see that?

I'm excited by today's decison. I hope that there are many more social and technological advances in the years to come--clean energy, equal rights for everyone, equitable and affordable healthcare for all, more refined robotics, and who knows? Maybe even contact. I hope I get to see these things.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Not Knitting

But of course, you knew that already. What I mean in this case is, I've spent some time making some earrings.

When I went to Michael's the other day, they were having clearance sales in pretty much every department. So, of course, I stopped by the bead aisle, too. I didn't load up on beads because, well, I'd already gotten so much clearance yarn that I had to get one of those baskets to carry it in. I was starting to feel a little guilty.

I did, however, find these things. They're jewelry components that you just join together with some jump rings or chain or whatever. There's not a lot of work to these things, really. The package has a couple of suggested uses. Not too much to think about.

But perfect for a ten minute crafting break from work, right? I got the earring wires with the clear rhinestone accent, and then two sets of geode slices in these beautifully rich colors!

All it takes is a couple of jump ring and some pliers.

I think it took me about 5 minutes to do both pairs. I made these for M and Bre. But they look so good, I may go back and get a set of geode slices for myself!

Monday, June 23, 2014

And Now A Million And One UFOs

I have decided I'm still not calm enough to go back to the Poodle. I need some stress relief now. Trust me. You do not want me to go back to stabbing people with my knitting needles being stressed out.

This is another yarn I got from the Michael's clearance. It's Patons Cobbles. This color is Mustard Seed, but it looks green to me. Hm. Yeah. It does kinda look yellow in this photo. It still looks greenish (like baby diaper greenish) to me in real life.

Rather than repeat the Poodle fiasco, I decided to knit an established pattern. This one is Twirling Cowl from the Yarnspirations website. This pattern has a lot of yarnovers, which you would think would give it some sort of lace pattern, but it doesn't seem to be doing that. It seems to be pretty solid, actually. I suppose it does have something of a twirl, though... That's probably where they got the name.

Oh well, I am only one repeat through the pattern, with a couple more to go. So we will see what it looks like in a few more rows.

So far, this yarn is not crying out to be thrown across the room. Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Because I Have Only A Million UFOs....

...that I decided to make another. Something is seriously wrong with me.

Actually, the thought process was more like, "I need a quick win. Something to get me focused again." So I took some of my clearance yarn, this Loops & Threads Poodle, and decided to do something quick. Like a cowl.

Big, textured yarn. Big needles. Should be quick, right? I did a similar cowl in a similar yarn few months ago in about 20 minutes.

So I whipped out my big 50s and cast on 6 stitches. But that gave me a very... airy fabric. So after about 4 inches, I frogged it all out. Not an easy thing to do with this yarn. It's all loops. It just does not want to be frogged.

So I went down to 35s and cast on 7 stitches. A 35 needle is still way bigger than the recommended 11s on the label. But, I can't imagine using 11s. That would just make all those loops so much more annoying. Anyway, I cast on 7. And that looked pretty good.

I knit the entire skein of yarn and it looked to be just about the perfect length to seam the two edges together and make a cowl. But, you know how you look at that long tail and you say to yourself, "Can I get another row out of this and still cast off?" And you do that thing where you wrap the yarn around the needle as many times as two rows would be and you see that you have about half an inch left after that? But you still think "It was only like that because I wrapped so loosely. And all those wraps were on top of each other, not the needle. It will probably be ok." You know how you think that all the time?

How many times have you ever been right?

So I get to the end of the yarn, and guess what? I still have stitches to bind off. Fantastic. What's rich is that I had black worsted right there. I could have bound off in the worsted and seamed it together mattress style. No one would have known. (Except you. I would tell you, of course. We're friends like that.)

But no. I thought, "I'll just pull out the bind off and the last row and then bind off." Perfect plan, right?

No. Perfect would've involved me turning on the light (not doing it by the light of the TV) and putting on my glasses. What was I thinking with black yarn?

I'll skip to the end. Dropped stich. Can't find. Ladder down the side for a couple of inches. Tears. Swearing. Threats. Yarn flying across the room with the needles still in it.

Now that I'm calmer and looking closer, I can see I have to rip back a few inches. But then it will be ok. Sigh. Knitting is so relaxing.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Trip To The Past

And I have mixed feelings about it, too.

T and I decided to take a drive down to the town where we both went to college, met, courted, and spent the first year of our marriage. Just to see what had changed.

And, you know. Things change. Most of what we saw were changes for the better, though. A revitalization of the downtown, full of hipstery coffee shops and microbreweries, and a restoring of the old moviehouse where we used to go watch movies for a dollar on Wednesdays with our college IDs.

But then, we drove by our old apartment. All the houses in the area, all 150 year old behemoths, had been restored to lovely, colorful Victorian homes and B&Bs.

Except our place.

As you can see, there has obviously been a fire. It's scorched, gutted, boarded up, and empty. I know nothing lasts forever, but it's sad to see it like that. We both have so many good memories of that place.

Hopefully, someone will snap it up at a bargain price and restore it, too.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Shopping Trip - Michael's

I have to learn to stay away from Michael's. I really don't need any more yarn.

Ha! I totally kept a straight face while I typed that!

Talk about effective marketing, though. I wasn't going to buy anything. I was just going to look. But they had a clearance sale. All the yarn that was on clearance was $1.99 or less. How could I not buy at least one ball, just to make a cowl for myself?

One skein wouldn't hurt anybody, right?

But then, I saw all this Red Heart Boutique Chic on clearance. And, remember, this is the yarn that M loved so much and I finally made her a black scarf out of it for Christmas last year, right? So, I'm debating, should I just go ahead and get some? Well, of course I should. That's not the question. The question is, what color should I get?

Just then, M picked up on my involuntary psychic transmission and sensing my distress, called me.

So I asked her, "Would you like the white color, too?" And then, the clever little minx, she pretended to not know which of her ten thousand scarves I was talking about. So I had to Face Time so she could see this yarn.

"Yes. The white one. Ooh and what is that lime green color behind it? Oh! And look at that one!"

So I bought a bunch. A bunch for cowls for M. A bunch for cowls for Bre. And yes, one skein for me.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Trip To The Hipster Market

I'm totally not a hipster. I don't do fads. This knitting thing? I was doing it before you were born, honey. Before there were Starbuck's to sit and draw attention to you and your two-socks-at-the-same-time shenanigans. But, lately, there have been a couple of different hipster grocery stores opening in the area. One happens to be pretty much right across the street from our store.

I decided to go check it out. There were some Grand Opening specials advertised that I thought I could make use of. Organic produce of all kinds, chicken breasts, and milk in a glass bottle. Yes. A glass bottle. You can't get any hipstery than that folks, unless you milk it directly from the cow yourself in the store.

Actually, there are a couple of degrees of hipsterism between glass bottle milk and self-service cow. In the dairy case, I found all the normal milks you see everywhere--Fat Free, Skim, .5%, 1%, 2%, Whole--plus, Organic Milk (I don't know what that is. Milk seems like it's already organic to me. Comes from a cow's organ, right?), and Raw Milk. I don't know what Raw Milk is, either. Unpasterized? That seems kind of gross and dangerous. Plus--and I immediately thought of both M and Bre, who are lactose intolerant--a whole case of Soy Milk, Almond Milk, Non-dairy Milk (WTF?), and Dairy Milk with no lactose. Bre (who is also not a hipster) would love this store, just for the non-dairy dairy case. And all the gluten free products.

I ended up buying more than I had planned--the boneless, skinless chicken breasts were very well trimmed and really plump. They had a tag on them that said No Hormones, but you know I don't care about that. I have so damn many hormones working on me now with this menopause that I don't think a couple more could possibly hurt me. I also loaded up on organic blueberries at 77 cents a pint, organic radishes and organic green onions at 3 bundles for a dollar, organic green peppers at 77 cents each, organic (Ha. Everything there is organic, get it?) cucumbers, limes, romaine lettuce, pineapple, and strawberries.

So when I got home, I was in the mood to cook. (That always happens when I go to the grocery store.) But, you know, I don't cook a whole lot these days. I always feel that, with just T and I, it's kind of pointless to cook a meal. However, I'm lately remembering that, before we had children, I used to cook all kinds of things for just the two of us. So I made this:

Teriyaki Chicken with peppers, sugar snap peas, carrots, and green onion, over rice. (This is white rice, btw. You can't get that at the hipster store.) It was a nice meal. And the food was very fresh and delicious. I definitely forsee many lovely salads and maybe some blueberry muffins in my future.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Knitting Boards

I was in Hobby Lobby one day about 2 weeks ago, and I ran across a whole endcap of knitting looms. I don't know if you have ever used a knitting loom. It's kind of fun. I attended a loom knitting seminar at Gencon a few years ago (five or six?) and so I have a smallish loom from that.

It's about the size you'd want to make a tube scarf with. In fact, that was what I made with it. A tube scarf. But, like I said, it was a lot of fun and I have since thought many times about buying myself a set of looms. You see them all the time. The one thing that stopped me, really, was that I am so much quicker at knitting on needles.

M bought a set of the long ones a while ago, too. But she doesn't knit with them. In fact, I'm pretty sure they're still here at the house. She might also have a hat-sized one. I think the time thing is the factor with her, too. It's not a particularly fast way to knit.

Still, I remember having knitting looms when I was a kid. Not fancy ones like these:

But very similar. My dad actually made them. He hammered a bunch of finishing nails into some wood and boom. Knitting loom. I remember knitting with that a lot. (Although, I didn't realize it was knitting at the time. I thought it was more of a craft like weaving potholders.) At some point, I know I had a long loom, a short loom, a spool-type knitter, and a round knitter the size you would make Barbie dresses out of.

So there I was at Hobby Lobby, in front of this big display of knitting looms and boards. And it just felt, I don't know, a little nostalgic. Still, I am trying not to buy a bunch of stuff that I will just have to move. So I didn't get them. My next house is going to have a yarn room. (Seriously.) But here, I'd just have to find a place to keep a knitting board until then.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Welcome Back

Or, rather, I imagine you saying "welcome back" to me. To which I say, "Thank you. I'm sorry to have been away for so long."

I had really not planned to take such an extended leave of absence. In fact, I had not planned to be away from you at all. My plan was to write a blog post for every day of the year, just like 2013. (I'm very proud of 2013.) But, you know how it goes. Life just happens. Or, as I like to say, "Patwoman makes plans and God laughs."

As it happens I have been overwhelmed in just about every aspect of my life. And I have been fighting my instinct (which is to just say "fuck it" and stop doing anything at all) and just concentrating on eating that elephant, one bite at a time.

What's going on in Patwoman's life? Listen, you wouldn't find it very interesting. Suffice it to say, it would not be an issue if only there were more than one of me. Or about twice as many hours in a day. Or, you know, if we all lived on the moon. Plenty of time, then.

All of the things I do for fun have just fallen by the wayside this past month. No knitting, really. No jewelry making. No metal working (although, there were times I would have dearly loved to pound the shit out of something with a hammer.) No baking or cooking. (I am getting massive on the sheer volume of takeout I'm eating at 2 am.) And no writing.

I did, actually attempt to write a little bit. Once. About a week ago. I wrote about 3 paragraphs of crap. It was so crappy I was very angry at myself for sacrificing that time--time I could have been working to knock out some of that other stuff--to write that crap.

But I think I have a handle on it now. A little. Enough that I'm not so overwhelmed. I'm just whelmed right now.

Stay tuned.

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