If you're not knitting, the terrorists win

(My mostly on-topic ramblings about knitting. And life in general. My life in specific.)

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle aged mother of 2 grown children and wife to a man who doesn't seem to mind my almost heroin-like yarn addiction. I spend my time writing, knitting, and generally stressing out.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Catching Up on UFOs

A quick look in my Ravelry projects shows I've started about a million things and then not finished them. Sometimes it's a matter of having to stop one project to start something that's more time-sensitive, like Christmas Knitting. Sometimes it's because all of a sudden I can't find the needle I need or the button to finish it. Sometimes it's because I sooooo hate seaming things up.

And sometimes I just get a little ADHD.

Some of these projects have been languishing for a while now. I think I'm going to have to dig some out and finish them off. Maybe I will go back to my "What is this?" feature? Certainly, some of these things--especially the ones I was writing patterns for myself--are no longer recognizable.

Is that bad?

Ok then, here's the plan--after the Christmas Knitting is done, I will try and finish at least one of those FOs a month.

What? I will so. Quit laughing.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Yarn Puke

I wanted to use this yarn. It's so pretty. But riddle me this, Batman... Why can't a center pull skein be a center pull skein? Why must it be an outer skein filled with yarn puke?

You know what I'm talking about. You can't find the center thread (because how much trouble could it possibly be for the manufacturer to leave two more inches out on a skein so you could at least find the damn strand? Don't we have the technology to do that? Come on!) and you end up making your best guess. Usually, I can grab the yarn within about a yard or two of the end of the strand. Once you pull that out, you just have to wind it around the skein until you're ready to use it. On occasion, I've missed the end of the strand by several yards. Still no biggie.

This time, I pulled it out with a couple of yards of yarn and it all looked good. But, as I knit, it got a little less easy to pull from the center. Finally, I gave it a tug and...

out popped this big gack of yarn puke. And it's a hot mess. It all has to be unknotted before I can use it. You know what that makes me want to do?

Not use this yarn.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Patwoman Reviews Birdman

Our Thanksgiving movie this year was Birdman. I don't know if you've seen the previews for this movie, but I have to say I really liked it. It's not a movie for everyone, though. I think most of the people who were watching at the same time we were had a "Huh?" look on their faces throughout most of the movie.

But, if you have spent any time at all around actors, you will think this movie is hilarious. It pokes fun of the way theatre actors look down on movie actors because what they do is not "art", the way movie actors look down on theatre actors because what they do is not "popular" or "profitable," and the way the critics look down on all of them. (There's also a couple of lines about gamers, too.) Not only that, but there's some commentary on fandom--the way the fanboys and fangirls see the celebs, and the way they see their fans.

I like that Michael Keaton is playing a character who had played a superhero in blockbuster movies. I like that Edward Norton plays a total jerk. (He's rumored to be "difficult" to work with, but seriously. If he played a character like this, and clearly is having fun doing it, he has to be a pretty thoughtful guy.) I like the relationship between Michael Keaton's character and his daughter, Emma Stone. (But you know I love Emma Stone in everything.)

And yeah, it's a weird movie. It's almost Billy Pilgrim-esque. And I wondered throughout, is it insightful to make fun of how pretentious you are, or is that the height of pretentiousness itself?

Whatever. I liked it.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all are having a wonderful day.

Earlier today I was chatting with some friends on line. They represented a wide swath of the world--American, Canadian, Australian, Mexican, Dutch, German, Greek. And as we Americans wished each other happy Thanksgiving, it started a conversation about the holiday and what it does and should mean. (And also about similar holidays in other countries.)

I often joke that I love Thanksgiving because it's a whole day devoted to the cooking and eating of food. But that's really only a joke. (Okay, it's partly true.) But seriously, to me, Thanksgiving has always been about reflection. Looking back over the past year and acknowledging all the things we have to be thankful for.

We're taught, as schoolchildren in America, that the pilgrims had such a terrible time of it (And I don't doubt it, as they were severely underprepared to establish a colony anywhere.) that most of them died pretty much right off the bat. Probably all of them would have died if they hadn't learned and adapted. And, of course, if they had not helped each other and accepted help from the native Americans in the area. So Thanksgiving (whenever that took place) was literally that... a time of giving thanks. Thank you native Americans for teaching us skills we didn't realize we'd need. Thank you neighbors for sharing. Thank you everyone for doing your part. Thank you God for not letting us die.

To me, that's what the holiday is about. At the Patwoman house, we do this thing that everyone pretends to hate, but no one opts out of. Before we eat, we go around the table and express our thankfulness for all that we have, all that we love, and all that we survived. This year, we had several new projects and growing projects for the business that were, at the same time, challenging and successful. Some of us had new jobs that we had to learn and train for and some took on new responsibilities in their current roles. We had stresses like health issues for T's parents. R and M both strengthened and deepened their personal relationships with their significant others--R and Bre even took it to the next level and got engaged to be married. And today, we were all together at the same table... healthy and happy. And thankful.

That's a universal feeling. Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Another Sweater Felted

Sing it with me... Another one bites the dust.... Another one bites the dust...

And another sweater is in the washing machine as we speak, felting its little sweater heart out. This one is also heavily cabled and also destined to become a purse.

I know. I haven't made the first one yet. But I wanted to get the felting out of the way first. Then I can do both at once. The bodies of these sweaters will, of course, be the purse bodies. I haven't quite figured out what to do with the rest of the sweater. I'm thinking slippers.

Any other ideas?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Heliades Progress Stalled

I know you're wondering about Heliades. I am still working on it. But not right now. It was a little bit of a shock to me to realize, that with my work schedule, I have only a few hours of knitting time until Christmas.

So, since Heliades is for me, it will just have to wait. Sorry Heliades. I really want you.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Vibratto Cowl

Here's a fast cowl to make: The Vibratto Cowl. I made this one for M in about an hour or so.

It's knit in the round on super bulky yarn with big needles. Sure, it's got those cabled cross stitches, but they're done on only two stitches. (I don't know about you, but I don't even bust out the cable needle for 2 stitches.)

I used Loops & Threads Cozy Wool in Harvest, which is a great, coppery color. The yarn has just a hint of shine to it. M actually picked this yarn out and told me she wanted a cowl made from it. But she isn't going to see this until Christmas.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cutting Back

Yes, it is the time of year when your old friend Patwoman takes a look at what is left to do on the Holiday Knitting List and tries to determine whether she will have time to do it cuts back on a bunch of things on the Holiday Knitting List.

This one makes a lot of sense, though. It's the Winter Is Coming Scarf for T. First of all, I work so much now that I'm not sure I have time to finish something so intricate. But also, I am with T most of the time, so it's hard to knit something charted like that with him around.

But thirdly, and this is really the most important reason: as I knitted this, I realized that the words would be backward on the reverse side. And I don't like that. So I had to rip back about 6 inches to get to the part before the first W.

Boo. Ripping back.

However, I must say that knitting is much faster this way... Even double knitting. So, I've kept the dire wolf on the end (and will keep the one on the other end too) and I'm knitting the middle of it grey on one side and black on the other. I might get time to duplicate stitch the words on one side, too.


Friday, November 21, 2014

I Felt Like Doing Something Different

I had plans of making all kinds of knitted gifts this year. I started early, too. But, as usual, I'm in the middle of November and so far in the weeds I can't find my way out. And what do we do when that happens?

That's right. Start a new project.

No, seriously. I had planned to do some knitted and felted purses for M and Bre, but I'm am running short on time. So, I'm going to skip the knitting part of it and just make the purses from felted sweaters.

Yeah, you heard me. I'm nothing, if not resourceful.

Plus, look at this sweater. It's so intricately knitted. That's going to look great. I'm thinking wooden handles. Yeah. It's already partially felted anyway. So, this should be a piece of cake.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Prairie Wrap Blocking

This is a nice little lace shawlette that I did recently. It's the Prairie Wrap from the Red Heart site. It's acryllic yarn, Bernat Mosaic, but it's lace, so it definitely needs blocking. I actually thought about steam blocking it, but that would take me getting out the ironing board. And that thing is wedged in between the dryer and the wall in such a way that it's kind of a pain in the ass to get it out.

Plus, I hate to iron. So I decided to wet block it while watching TV.

Lesson 1: You can't watch TV. You can listen. That's about the best you can do while blocking. It takes your attention.

Lesson 2: Use a thimble. About 30 pins in, my fingertips were so sensitive I had to go find my thimble.

Lesson 3: Try not to be so interesting to cats. Otherwise, you get company.

Lesson 4: Don't knit any more lace. This is a pain in the ass.

Lesson 5: If I do knit lace again, suck it up and get the damn ironing board out. I could have had this thing blocked and the ironing board put away in the time it took me to pin this sucker.

Still, the pattern itself was nice. I think it could have been a little bigger, though, for my tastes. But I tried it on and it works nicely. So I'm good with it. (I'll post a cat-less picture once it's done blocking, don't worry.) The lace itself is pretty easy, and it's done in worsted weight, so this is definitely something that goes quickly, even with the crocheted edging.

But take it from me... steam block.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I'm A Hot House Flower

I'm not just making this stuff up. Look. The science backs me up.

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

You Are a Canna
"You stand up for what you believe in, even if it gets in the way of what other people think. You are proud of yourself and your accomplishments and you enjoy letting people know that."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Another Ornament - Spock

Because I already made Kirk, right?

Same pattern. JustJen's Toy Soldier Ornament. Just modded the colors. And the hair a bit.

Live long and prosper, Spock.

Monday, November 17, 2014

In The Presence of Pure Evil

So last night, T and I went to the Fieldhouse to see the Colts Vs. Patriots game. (That was our birthday presents from M, remember?) Very interesting.

I hadn't been in the Fieldhouse for a game yet. I had toured it and I'd been there once before when something else was going on. But I had not actually been up in the stands before last night. Let me say that was an experience. First, while I think the floating escalators make a very striking architectural statement, they are terrifying for someone like me. I just kept looking straight ahead while my heart was pounding hard enough I'm pretty sure the people in front of me could feel it.

The stands are steep, too. I'm not a fan of the fieldhouse stadium. I like a more traditional stadium. I liked the Dome, for Pete's sake. Fieldhouse stadiums tend to be very steep. I just don't like the feeling of sitting on the wall--the feeling that, if you jumped up to cheer too suddenly, you might go toppling over the edge.

But, eventually, I calmed down and enjoyed the game. (I would have enjoyed it more if the Colts had won, or if Brady had at least gotten sacked a few times, but whatever.)

It had been a long time since I'd been in the presence of the evil that is the Patriots. I consoled myself with the knowledge that they were on the opposite side of the stadium.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

First Snow of the Season

And of course, I didn't take any pictures. I'm not sentimental that way. In fact, I looked at the snow with a sense of dread--of all the stupidity that will likely happen on the roads.

Seriously people. It's Indiana. It snows every year. The rules are the same every year:

Rule #1: Don't drive 60 mph on city streets. Yes, you have an SUV. But no. That doesn't mean you can drive faster than you would drive on a clear road.

Rule #2: Don't drive 5 mph. Yes, it snowed. But it's Central Indiana, not the North Pole. It only snowed an inch an a half. And it melted off the streets even before they put down the icemelt. There's no need to be a hazard to other drivers.

Rule #3: Don't rush out and buy a bunch of milk and bread. Again, it's Central Indiana. We get snow every year. An inch and a half of snow will not cause the city to shut down.

I'm kind of sorry I didn't get any pictures now. It actually does look nice, all white on the grass and the trees. I like the white a lot better than the grey of most of the winter season. But you know, I'm really more of a hot house flower, myself.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Terrible Candy

I don't know who put these under my sink, but these candies from Finland taste terrible.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Monkeying Around

Look at this. It's a teeny tiny sock monkey.

It's the Sock Monkey Miniature for Blythe by Monica Bovee.

This pattern calls for light fingering weight and #0 needles. (I know! 0! Is that even a needle size? I don't think so!) But, of course, it's designed to make a tiny sock monkey, suitable for a small doll. I wanted a tiny sock monkey suitable for a Christmas tree ornament, so I made it with worsted weight yarn and #4 needles.

It's mainly I-cord, so it's super fast to knit. It's not even stuffed. I think the big thing is attaching the arms and tail. And that's really no biggie. In retrospect, I think I could've made his mouth a little larger. But then again, nobody likes a big-mouth monkey. (Oh, and ooh. His legs look really bad in that picture. Maybe I should take a different picture? They don't look that bad, I swear.)

I think these would be great for keychains, gift toppers, whatever. But this one is a Christmas ornament.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

To Boldly Go...

What a cool thing! By now, you've already heard about the ESA's landing of a probe on Comet 67P Rosetta. That's pretty awesome. To be able to safely land something from a moving ship onto a moving comet... To be able to study the comet and its makeup and how it changes as it approaches the sun... To be able to analyze the chemicals and minerals right there in space... (All with equipment designed and built 10 years ago!) This is where the theoretical meets the actual. This is where all science suddenly becomes cool, even to those who didn't think so before.

Well done, European Space Agency. Well done, human race.

And there are many more such missions scheduled by other space agencies, including our own NASA. I believe the NASA project is designed to see if a probe can be designed to alter a comet's course. (Thus putting an end to a whole sub-genre of sci-fi doomsday movies, but possibly creating a whole other action sub-genre. Oh. Wait. Armageddon. Never mind.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Can You See My Neck?

That's really the only reason I could of that you would want to wear a camo-print scarf--you don't want your neck seen. (Maybe you're worried about vampires?) Okay, so this is not really a camo print. But it's brown and green and tan and dark brown. So it does kind of look camo. Like a big camo poodle.

This is more yarn bought on clearance at Michael's and I just wanted to see if I could do something interesting with it. You can't really knit much with this kind of yarn. The loopiness hides any sort of pattern you might make. So, you're really limited to things without a pattern--scarves, cowls, hats, etc... and stuff that you might want the loopiness for--stuffed animals, novelty bags, slippers, ebellishments.

Since I have already made a bunch of scarves and cowls out of this type of yarn, I decided to try a different technique. This scarf is finger-knitted. I basically unwound the skein, doubled it, and then made a chain with my fingers. Technically, it's more like finger-crochet. Came together in about 2.5 minutes (after unwinding the skein). I just knotted the ends and clipped them.

Not sure if I would do another scarf like this myself. I enjoy the knitting part of knitting, not just the finished product. But it does create a boa-like scarf in a matter of minutes. (Seriously. Less than 5 if you took your sweet time about it.) And it would be very easy for kids to do. Or if you had to come up with a million of these for work gifts or teacher gifts or your daughter's friends or a charity raffle. Or whatever.

And, you know my theory. You can never have too many scarves.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

I Can Knit Sweaters

Hah. So I found the Rice Stitch Sweater I talked about yesterday. It actually wasn't on Ravelry or this blog. Because I knit it in 2005. But I did find some pictures of sweaters I knit, just so you could see that I actually can knit sweaters. I'm not just a scarf-maker.

2005 Rice Stitch and Cable Sweater for R.

He looks so young in this picture, doesn't he?

Shrug for M.

I think this is Stefanie Japel's Boobholder/Mini Sweater, modded to have non-puffy sleeves. I knit one for myself in a similar color, but a boucle yarn. I apparently didn't take a picture of that one.

Another Shrug for M.

This is my own pattern. Both of these shrugs were knit in October of 2005.

Circular Shrug for M.

From this pattern, originally posted on Craftster. This is such a fast, easy pattern that I did about a million of these in 2005. Basically, all M's friends got one of these.

Romance Sweater for me.

Knit in 2006. It's actually a highly modified Circular Shrug. Used a seafoam pattern, plus my own drop stitch lace pattern. And added sleeves.

Polar White Sweater for me.

It's a highly modified Boobholder, knit in 2006.

Calla for me.

This pattern also appeared on Craftster first. I knit it in 2006.

Aqua Shell for me.

My own pattern. Knitted with this weird flag yarn that I got on sale and didn't know what to do with. It's a pretty sweater though.

I haven't knit a sweater in a while, though. Maybe I should.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Blue Sweater

R and Bre took a trip this past weekend up to the Great Lakes area. I was kind of surprised, but he took the sweater I knit for him forever ago. (Seriously. I knit this sweater years ago and he never wore it. Said it was too fancy. It was freakin' rice stitch. That's not fancy. Not really. Anyway.) I guess there was some discussion about how it might be cold right there on Lake Michigan in November and how he might ought to pack a sweater.

Anyway, glad to see this sweater getting some play.

I spent about 20 min tonight looking for the original picture of this sweater. But apparently, I never posted it on Ravelry. Pretty sure I posted a picture here, but couldn't seem to find it. I was going to repost it next to the picture of him wearing it present day and be all like "Aha! See? I can knit sweaters!"

But, then I realized I didn't take a picture of him wearing it present day, either.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Administrative Clean Up Time

No, that's not a program for naughty secrectaries. I just realized that I have a million projects that are not in my Ravelry projects. And they are not linked to this blog.

Urgh. I don't enjoy the i-dotting and t-crossing.

But somebody's got to do it, I guess.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Not Knitting--Just Kinda Cool

It's not knitting. It's not even my thing. I just saw it and thought it was cool.

This "bamboo" plant was on display at Sam's Club. (I say "bamboo" like that, with the quotes, because I think this is actually some type of corn plant and not actually bamboo.) Very cool the way they have trained these stems to grow at an angle and fastened them together like that. There were several versions of this, but this is the one I liked the most.

I often think it would be cool to do some sort of horticultural thing like that. You know, bonsai trees, or ornamental shrubs. But then I think about how much work that would be and come to my senses.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Christmas Star

This is a very cute little ornament. It's a Frankie Brown pattern and you know I love her stuff. This one actually goes to the Advent Garland that I made last year. (Advent Garland 21, Star) I never got around to knitting this one. I don't know why. It's super easy, like all Frankie's patterns, and it's really pretty.

The only mods I made on this were 1) used worsted weight instead of fingering because I wanted it to match the other ornaments for size and 2) used beads instead of buttons for decorations (and moved the beads to the tips of the points instead of the middle). I really like these mods. So much, in fact, that I need to make a couple more of these. I've got a ton of beads like this.

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