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, October 31, 2014


I love Halloween. Unfortunately, I have to work again this Halloween, so I don't get to treat the Trick-or-Treaters. Too bad. I actually bought a costume for Gengen this year, because she loves to go to the door with me. (She can't hear anything any more, so the doorbell or screaming kids won't freak her out. She would probably be expecting pizza delivery, though. So maybe it's just as well that I won't be home.)

Of course, now I've got a 5 lb bag of candy and nothing to do with it. I guess somebody is going to have to eat it all. Sigh. Work. Work. Work.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mulberry Pom Poms

Another Pom Pom scarf using Red Heart Boutique Chic. This time in Mulberry. This yarn has been discontinued, so that's probably why it was on clearance. I snapped up a bunch because I rather like it. I think I'd like it a little more if the pom poms were evenly spaced, but that's just me. I suppose I could have cut them off and placed them wherever I wanted (and I have more of this yarn, so I just might) but this is fun to knit in randomly appearing puffs.

This is just garter stitch. Can't get easier than that. Here's a better shot of the scarf, although the first one is more true to the color. (Also, it looks like the stitches are way uneven in this second pic, but that's because there are pompoms rolled up under those layers.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tiny Snowman

Here is another ornament. A tiny snowman. It's this pattern from Linda Dawkins. I knit him in worsted weight, with #4 needles, so he's really tightly stitched. No stuffing getting out of this snowman, that's for sure. I wanted to use worsted because I wanted all the ornaments to be approximately the same size.

Although, I think this one will still be tiny. Check out how small he is.

Too cute. I might make another one of these. It was a very quick knit.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Heliades Progress

It is, actually progress. It just doesn't look like it because the stitches are so tiny. But I am through the initial part of the lace.

If you look at it closely, you can see how this is turning out. I'm really liking it. And this one is for me.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Another Christmas Ornament - James T. Kirk

Because seriously, who wouldn't want James T. Kirk on their Christmas Tree?

This is a modification of Jenny Stacey's pattern for Toy Soldier Christmas Ornament. You can actually see what I did to modify it here. I basically changed the colors. And I added a chained loop with a crochet hook on the back.

You'll notice this Kirk has bright blue eyes. I really debated on that. However, in the end, I decided to go with blue. If I were making this for me, it would (of course) be a Shatner Kirk with hazel eyes. But, since this will be for M, it's a Pine Kirk. In either case, you will notice the Kirk smirk, which both actors do equally well.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Spider, Spider In The Night

I was taking the trash out when I was greeted by this:

In case you can't see it, it's a ginormous spider in a web between my house and the tree next to my house. (Look at it! It's half the height of a brick!) And yes, I was greeted by it.

Hey, how's it going?


Well, I didn't go outside, after all. It was all I could do not to just nope the hell right out the back door and just keep going. Or, you know, burn the house down.

Instead, I just texted T and R to tell them that whoever got home first was going to have to kill that spider. Of course, it turned out to be R that made it home first. That was some bad luck. Look, you may think he has a pretty good chance of killing a spider with a shovel that size, but let me tell you something about R's spider killing skills. Here's an example:

Patwoman: OMG! Spider!

R: Killed it.

Patwoman: That wasn't it. That was a piece of lint. The spider is right there. On the wall.

R: Killed it.

Patwoman: Are you sure? It looks like you just knocked it onto the ground. Where's the body?

R: No, it's dead.

Patwoman: No, look! There it is, running across the floor. You didn't even stun it.

R: There. Killed it.

Patwoman: It's still running.

R: No. It's dead.

Patwoman: I can see it. Running.

R: It's dead.

Patwoman: Seriously?

That's a true story, by the way. That's actually the true story of every time I say "OMG! Spider!" around R. So, you can guess how this time went, too.

Right. Monster spider got slapped into the bushes next to the door. He'll be back.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Shawl Knitting - Heliades

Some time ago I told you about my friend Katie's pattern, Heliades. I had every intention of knitting it up as soon as I got it, but you know how life gets. If it's not one thing, it's another. Long story short, I never started knitting it.

Yes I know. I have failed as a knitter and a friend.

Anyway, I decided that this pattern would be a perfect use for my birthday yarn, and the shawl would be a perfect gift to myself. Plus, what a great inaugural project for my knitting bowl.

Now, you know I usually don't knit fingering weight. But I have been meaning to do more of it. Especially lace. I did a lot of lace back in my early days of knitting before I knew it was supposed to be complicated. And I enjoyed it. But I haven't done much these days, mainly because I'm so busy that I barely get time to knit any more and I like the instant gratification of bulky yarn.

Quite a difference between bulking and fingering weight.

So this is my cast on. It went pretty well. Next time I cast on a bunch of stitches with fingering weight yarn, though, I'm going to put a marker down about every 25 stitches. It seems like 25 is about as high as I can count without losing track and having to start counting from the beginning. Of course, that's assuming I could find that many stitch markers. (They're almost mythical in this house, for some reason.)

I am a little ashamed to admit that, due to the nature of lace, and my not being used to such a small guage, and my losing track of counting stitches, it took me almost 2 hours to cast on and do the first two rows.

That's right. Laugh. It's ok. I have come to terms with it. And, I have to say, that--once I got through that much--I was much quicker. Almost at my normal speed. And I'm enjoying this pattern. It's got a lot of clever little bits (like the twisted kbls and some nice decreases) that really make a difference, and that I probably wouldn't have thought of doing if I had been designing a pattern.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Take A Look At My Birthday Presents

I don't think I shared my birthday presents with you. They're pretty awesome.

R and Bre got me this beautiful yarn bowl. I have wanted one of these for-freaking-ever. Plus, they filled it with yarn. You can't ask for more than that, folks. This is a beautiful Painted Desert yarn. It's fingering weight, and looks like just enough for a shawl. It's nice blues, greens, and greys--just the colors I would wear in a shawl, too!

And then M made this galaxy print bag--and filled it with a Colts ticket. Well, the ticket wasn't in the bag, really, but she did give T and I tickets to the Colts vs Patriots game on November 16. She knows that, as much as I love the Colts, that's how much I hate the Patriots.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Solar Eclipse

I got all excited about seeing the solar eclipse today. I don't know why. I just like when natural occurences look like magic. I always try to imagine what it would be like if I were some prehistoric woman standing out in the meadow, watching the moon eat the sun...

As it turns out, it was super cloudy. So there was little chance of actually seeing it. But I put on my sunglasses anyway.

Now, don't get all upset and tell me that I need something other than ordinary sunglasses. I know we want to avoid this:

But I frankly never understood why looking at the sun during an eclipse was any worse than looking at the sun in normal daylight. What? You're not supposed to do that either? Seriously? Whoops.

Anyway. I was in the car on my way to work when the actual eclipse was taking place. (You can't drive while looking through a pinhole viewer, people.) It looked for a moment like the clouds were going to clear, but no.

M sent me a pic from where she was, 20 miles away. Cloudy there, too.

Disappointing. This doesn't happen again until August, 2017.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

T's Birthday

Today is T's birthday, and even though we celebrated both our birthdays already, I feel like I should at least acknowledge the actual day.

We are both working today, as per our standard.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

FO: Linen Stitch Cowl

The Linen Stitch Cowl is complete!

I'll tell you something else for free, too. It goes a lot quicker with half the stitches. But seriously, I like this better as a closer fitting cowl.

I can't get the color to come out true, though. It's a really pale blue grey. I'm 99% sure this is Cozy Wool, and if it is, the color is called Stone.

I used up almost all of this skein. But I did save the tiny bit that is left. I'm saving all my tiny balls of bulky yarn. I like to knit in bulky weight, and nothing goes faster than a hat or a scarf in bulky yarn. So the plan is, these tiny balls of color are going to become accent stripes on my neutral color hats. What do you think?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Brown County

Back when T & I were just dating, we didn't have a whole lot of money. So a lot of the things we did on dates were things that were super cheap, or free. Like going to a state park and spending the entire day. It's less than the cost of one person going to the movie--less than the cost of a Redbox Rental--to go to a state park.

We picked absolutely the best weekend to go, too. The leaves were still on the trees, but turning all kinds of fall colors. And the sky was so blue and almost cloudless. That made the drive down really nice, too, even though there was construction through a large stretch of it and we decided to take a detour. (Which, btw, I would never do on my own, with my less-than-stellar sense of direction. But since The Human Compass was driving, it was a fun adventure.) We ended up going through several small towns that looked as though they had stepped out of the 1950's.

And all along the way, I kept seeing these bushes. I don't know what they are and I didn't get a really good look at them, but they are really interesting looking. The leaves all fell away on the lower half of the bush and only the tops remain covered in leaves. Red leaves. Like the bushes were torches! I never saw a single one of these bushes that looked different than this one. Only leaves on the top.

T offered to stop so I could get a close up look at them, but I said no. After all, I will see them all over the state forest, right? I'll just get close up and take some pictures of the leaves and all then, right? Wrong. We saw this bush at the entrance to the park and then no others the rest of the day.

I'd really like to know what kind of bush this is, if anyone can tell.

Anyway, one of the best things about Brown County is the way you can get a really spectacular view from almost any place in the park. Like this one:

There are no trails on this terrain, so it's a bit rugged. (What I mean by that is, I was not in the mood to potentially step on a copperhead snake at that time. Well, I've never been in the mood to step on any kind of snake, really. But there are copperheads here. And timber rattlers. And cottonmouths. Although, I suppose the cottonmouths would be closer to the water.)

Speaking of water... One of my favorite trails here is the one that goes around this lake. We used to do this trail a lot. (This one and the one that goes by the fire tower. And we would climb to the top of the fire tower, and then back down, before returning to the stopping point. Ah, youth. Why did you leave me in this old lady body?)

It's Trail 7. We've done Trail 9 before, but I don't remember it. It looks like Trail 9 goes right up that hill, though, so Trail 7 it is.

You may argue that a trail with wooden bridges is not really a hiking trail. But it was rugged enough. And the bridges afford some really nice views of the lake.

And of my favorite view.

And, I don't remember all these steps. They might have put them in because of safety issues, who knows. And, you know, climbing steps is still climbing. So I count that as hiking, still.

Still more steps.

And then the sign was down. Just beyond this point we found a thermos that had been abandoned. It reminded me of that scene in Jurassic Park where Nedry backs over the sign and then doesn't know how to get to the pier. And then the dinosaurs came and ate him.

No dinosaurs here, right?


This part of the trail is new. It used to cut right through here. But that was before there was all this bog. They put these nice little sidewalks in to keep people out of it, I suppose. It also made the trail a bit longer than it used to be, since you have to go around the bog.

And at this point it occured to me that we were back at lake level again, after going up and up and up. I'm not sure how that happened, since we didn't go down any steps. It was a very gradual thing, I guess.

This bog is actually very pretty. Probably filthy with snakes, though.

There was, I am not kidding, either, chanting coming from down this path. Full on, 1970s-horror-movie chanting. I expected to see some cultists in Snuggies at any second.

Instead, we came to more steps up. And seriously, do the laws of physics not exist in this place? Because at this point we should be very close to where we started. So how are we going up again?

This little cabin is at the top of the steps. That is not where the chanting was coming from, though. We never did find that out. Not because I'm chicken and have seen too many horror films about couples getting killed by cultists in the woods, mind you.

It was just getting dark.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Great Outdoors Was... Great

T and I always celebrate our birthdays together, since they are in the same week. We are actually 361 days apart, but through the weird literalism of calendars, we appear to be only 4 days apart. So my birthday was yesterday, his is Wednesday, and we are celebrating both today.

We celebrated by taking a day off work. Like an actual day that we didn't do anything work related. We slept in a little bit, had coffee together, then hit the road. We decided to spend the day in Brown County State Park, and the neighboring Nashville, Indiana. And, as it turns out, that was a great call. The leaves are turning, the weather was nice, the sun was shining.

We hadn't been down to the area in about 15 years, but we used to go all the time. Brown County is a great park, with trails to suit everyone's tastes. And it's only $5 to get into the park. Five dollars a car. Come on. You're not going to find a cheaper date than that. We used to go down at least once a month in college because it was an inexpensive way to spend a day.

Nashville was always a crafty, artisty, community. We used to spend a lot of time looking at the antique shops and the artist galleries. And there's a place there with the best fudge. It's grown up a little. In fact, most of those shops were not even there the last time we were there. There were a whole lot more artists. And vintage shops. (My favorite antique store is a Subway now, though!) And ice cream parlors, apparently. The shops, while they have always been in repurposed hundred-year-old houses--sometimes divided into two or three shops, including the upstairs and basement--are even more quaintly located now. Turn onto any alley and find two or three little shops below and an art gallery above. Or better yet, a courtyard opening onto the alley, with a little coffee shop tucked away. And there were street musicians. Lots of street musicians.

It reminded me a little of the French Quarter in New Orleans, really. The old houses converted into hotels, shops, and galleries. The almost-hidden courtyards with their shopping gems. The street musicians on every corner.

We ate at this place--Hobnob's Corner. It was great. It's a very small place, a little cramped (I'm guessing that because of the historical status of the building they didn't have to meet the ADA requirements.), but very cute. We had a pretty awesome pot roast sandwich (I had a vegetable medley and T had home fries) with homemade coleslaw. And we had some very date-like conversation. (No work talk.)

I do want to mention the one black spot on this entire day occured here, though. Listen, the whole town was crawling with upscale touristy types. And the people at the restaurant were definitely in that category. Upscale clothes, shoes, jackets. Those fugly Pandora bracelets. More Coach purses and Kate Spade bags than you've ever seen in your life. The table next to us asked the server to take pictures of them with their $800 camera. (Seriously. The guy actually said, "Careful. That's an $800 camera." as he asked her to take about half a dozen photos of his party in various poses.) And then, when they left the restaurant, they left a $2.66 tip.

No kidding. Four people. Four meals plus beverages and dessert. With tax, their meal had to be about $100. And they left two ones, two quarters, a dime, a nickel, and a penny. To make matters worse, instead of just saying "Keep the change," they gave the server the money for their check and waited until she brought the $2.66 change back to the table. Then they left that shitty little tip for the server.

These were not old, old people who were still living with 1940 prices, mind you. They were our age. Middle aged, middle class people, who definitely knew better. And listen, in my book, if you can afford to spend $80 on a saw with a water mill painted on it, or a $50 hanging birdbath made of teacups, and then go pop $100 for lunch, you can afford a decent tip. These people purposely acted like assholes.

That got me looking around. Out of the tables that paid in cash, I saw no tip over that $2.66. Several tables left a dollar tip. ONE dollar. Now I'd like to believe that maybe those tables just paid by credit card and added the tip to the check. (And then, for some strange reason, then left $1 on the table?) But, we tipped our waitress 20% and she was so suprised I thought she might hug us.

Anyway. More on our trip tomorrow. I have photos.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Happy Birthday To Me!

It's my birthday again. They seem to come more often now. I remember when I was a kid, it seemed like forever between birthdays. Surprisingly, this birthday doesn't really bother me much. (Maybe because I worked, just like any other day.)

I've actually felt a little nostalgic today. Apparently, the other day, a friend of a friend posted this picture on Facebook. That's me in the front in the jacket. It was my senior year of high school. I was 17.

I know, right?

I have absolutely no memory of this photo being taken, so I don't know what the circumstances were. I do recognize most of the people, though. That's something. And, I hope this doesn't make me sound like a horrible person, my nostalgia is not for them or for high school or for any of that. It's for me.

As I looked at that picture, I realized something I never knew. I was not weird-looking or awkward. I wasn't homely or repulsive. I was, in fact, as pretty as any of those girls.

So why did I never feel that way?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Shopping Trip: Michael's

M and I went to Michael's to look around. It had been a while since I'd been there, so I'm pretty sure Michael's was getting worried about me. In fact, I get a text message a day from Michael's about some deal or another, trying to get my attention.

Oh, Michaels. You don't have to try so hard. I'm never breaking up with you.

Anyway, M wanted to get some log slices and clear sealant for a project she is doing. And I... Well, you know. Any time you want to go to the craft store, call me. I'm game.

I didn't buy anything while I was there because, let's face it. I have so much yarn now that I'm having a little trouble keeping it organized. So, I'm trying to knit the stash down a bit before I buy anything new. (Although, let's be honest. If there's a super good sale, I'm not going to pass that up.)

Michael's has some new yarns in their yarn department. Like these Isaac Mizrahi yarns. They're super bulky and very interestingly colored.

There are also some that have a boucle-like thread wrapped around them, too. But I know better than to walk that path again. I always love the way boucle looks and hate the way it knits. Boucle=swearing.

I also saw some nice self-striping sock yarn, too. I'm not interested in knitting (or wearing) wool socks, as you know, but I really like the self-stripiness of sock yarn. I'd like to do some non-sock project with it, but I'm not sure what it would be.

And, you know. Ahem. I have that aforementioned stash that I need to whittle down first.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Test Knitting

So I'm doing a test knit for a designer in one of my groups. It's a back scrubber, with a Linen Stitch border. Well you know. I've been working on a Linen Stitch cowl, right? Seems like a pretty easy thing.

I thought you might want to take a look at this stitch, up close. It shows up really well in cotton yarn. (This is Sugar N Cream.) It's just a really clever slip stitch, with the yarn on the wrong side of the work, so you get this strand carried along. Once you get the hang of doing it, it's really fast, too.

Linen Stitch =
Row 1 (RS): k1, *sl1 wyif, k1; rep from *
Row 2: k1, p1, *sl1 wyib, p1; rep from *, end k1

Linen Stitch makes a nice, dense fabric, too. It would make a good scarf. It's not very elastic though, so I wouldn't use it on a hat.

This scrubber would make a great gift, too, by the way. I'm not sure when the pattern will be available generally, but I could definitely see these going in gift baskets with a matching cloth and some nice soap. Very spa-like. Or, you know, it's always so difficult to knit for the guys. Do one of these in a manly color and add a manly soap (I don't know. According to the feedback from my guys, manly just means not fancy.) and you'd have a good stocking stuffer for the guys, too.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

You Never Know What You're Going To Find

I love the "convenience" items you find at the grocery store. Like this package of "Toastabags." I like how they made the name sound all hip--Toastah Bags, bitches!

Apparently, if you don't know how to make the second easiest sandwich in the world, or you just can't be trusted around the stove, you can make your grilled cheese sandwich in the toaster. (I would argue that you would actually be making a toasted cheese sandwich, but whatever.) You just slide your sandwich into this bag and pop the bag into the toaster.

I suppose, of course, this is probably better than that often-Pinned idea of turning your toaster on its side to make your grilled cheese. I don't know about you, but the kind of grilled cheese sandwich I make would set my toaster on fire--buttered bread surrounding a goodly amount of cheese. Hey, I never said it was a heart-healthy sandwich.

Plus, if your toaster is like mine, it could be very dangerous. My toaster, the Catapult5000, can project a slice of toast at near-light speed. I always imagine those Pinterest Toaster Grilled Cheeses as a flaming ball of buttery bread and cheese shooting across the counter and onto the floor.

The Toastabag doesn't compare to Veggetti, though. Veggetti has been on TV.

But seriously, I'm not saying cutting squash or other veggies into thin, spaghetti-like strands wouldn't be good. I have had spaghetti squash several times and loved it. Plus, I can definitely see some sort of zucchini-in-tomato-based sauce with basil and mozzarella cheese. Delish.

But, don't market it as spaghetti. You're not fooling anyone, Veggetti. And parents, if your children can't tell the difference between zucchini and spaghetti, you're probably just a bad cook.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

If At First You Don't Succeed....

Rip it out.

So, I started knitting this Quick Slip Cowl because I had some label-less super bulky yarn (I'm pretty sure it's Loops & Threads Cozy Wool.) and I wanted to give it purpose in life. Cozy Wool is a nice yarn and you can make a cowl in almost no time with it.

Unless, of course, you're me.

I went down two needle sizes, like I always do because I'm a loose knitter, and it looked like the guage was correct. To be honest, I didn't check and still haven't. It's a cowl. It's really not going to matter that much.

What does matter is how you like to wear your cowls. Droopy, tight, long enough to loop around a second time? Now, it used to be, I liked a cowl to be long. I liked to loop it around my neck twice, or wear it up over my head even. But last year's polar vortex taught me that I had been mistaken. I really like them to fit up against my neck so there is zero chance of cold air going down my collar.

So, as I knitted this, it occurred to me that it was going to make a cowl that was not quite as snug as I like a cowl to be. A shame, too. Because I had knit quite a bit of this. But you know how it is when you're knitting in the round on a very simple-to-memorize pattern. I got all caught up in the show I was watching and just let my hands do their own thing.

(I was catching up on Gotham, btw. I'm liking it!)

I ripped it all out and started over. This time, instead of casting on 101 stitches, I cast on 61. And I'm liking version 2.0 a lot better.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Which 90's TV Girl Am I?

Well, I'd like to be Cheetara, or at least Xena, but this test says otherwise.


Sassy yet intuitive with extremely thick skin - you are most like Buffy the Vampire Slayer! In the beginning, Buffy was a shallow, unforgiving young woman who had no idea she'd become the saving grace of mortal kind. Like Buffy, you've experienced your fair share of troubles (and then some) and have remained strong to come out on top. Your life so far shows an incredible arc of learning, growth, and perseverance above all else - And if you've been killing vampires as well this whole time, then kudos to you.

I also found out how I died in a past life.

Died on the Titanic

Nothing prepared you to the tragedy that happened on board the Titanic. You bought a ticket in order to visit your family in New York, thinking you'd enjoy a nice cruise in a magnificent ship. But suddenly, the ship hit a giant iceberg, and went down under. During those critical hours, you've helped a lot of people paying a high personal price. To them (and to us), you have a hero's soul!

In reality, I probably realized I was floating in the ocean (the ocean! With God-knows-what swimming around, unseen!) and just gave up before I got eaten by some sea creature.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Bulky Knit Cowl

I'm not quite off the bulky knits yet. But at least, I put the #50's down and picked up a size a non-crazy person might use. (Nines.)

This is the Repose Cowl, knit with Loops & Threads Charisma in Lakeside. I had a skein of this left over from the Turn the Corner scarf I did at the beginning of the year. One skein was a perfect amount for this, as it turns out.

This is a Drop Rib Stitch, which is an interesting texture on the right side of the work. Look at the way it ladders and retreats, very organic and flowing.

It also looks great on the inside, too. I don't know if they meant to do that or not when they designed the pattern, but hey--it's working double time.

This is a very quick knit and very suitable for Christmas gifting.

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