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, January 31, 2016

Patwoman's Rules Of Fixing Mistakes In Crafting

I have a set of rules I like to share with my students. A lot of times, new knitters or crocheters are so concerned with "doing it right" that they forget to have fun. Now, don't get me wrong, it's important to "do it right," but if you're not having fun with it, what's the point?

I don't want new crafters to get discouraged by all the rules of knitting or crocheting. So, I made up some of my own rules. (Like all rules in the Patwoman World of Crafting, they're more like guidelines.)

This is what I tell them when they discover a mistake that they've made. In a perfect world, the error is discovered right away and it can be fixed right away. But sometimes the mistake is in a previous row. That's when the rules come in.

Rule 1
Can anyone else see the mistake, or is it just you? If the answer is no, it's not a mistake. If the answer is yes, see Rule 2.

Rule 2
Can you live with the mistake? Some mistakes, like an extra row on a stripe, are not a big deal. Let it go. It's a design element. If you can't live with it...

Rule 3
Can I fix it easily, without ripping back a million rows? (Some mistakes, like a dropped stitch, can be fixed without ripping.) If the answer is yes, fix it and then it's not a mistake. If it's no, you're going to have to rip it back and fix the mistake... or see Rule 4.

Rule 4
Can it be camoflaged or covered up? If it's visibile and you hate it, and if you can't fix it without a massive do-over, put an applique on it. Or a button. Or a flower. A loopy cast on edge can be prettied up with a row of single crochet over that edge. Or some fringe. A split stich can embroidered over or duplicate stitched. with some contrasting yarn.

How about you? What unconventional rules do you have?

Saturday, January 30, 2016

12 Months Of Scarves - Month One

I've decided to make a new scarf pattern for every month. First, I'd like to give everyone the opportunity to get ahead on their holiday knitting and crocheting by offering a new pattern that is quick and easy. Also, I think these patterns will give my students some practice with some new stitches.

So, for January 2016, I would like to offer Learning Curve Sampler Scarf. It's designed to help take the new knitter from the basics of garter stitch, to some slightly more complex knit/purl combinations. Many new knitters get intimidated by patterns because they don't realize that so many patterns are just knit and purl stitches--stitches they already know how to do!

I made this one child-size, as it will be donated. But you can knit this scarf to adult size, just by adding more pattern repeats in any section you like. My version took less than one skein of Loops & Threads Impeccable in Soft Fern, and that included the skein. A longer scarf will take the full skein.

Check out the pattern here. (Link is also in the sidebar.)

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Hunt For The Perfect Dress

...or even The Dress That Will Do.

Good grief. How hard could it be to find a pink, blush, rose, or mauve Mother of the Bride dress? I have been looking for months with no luck.

I seem to find nothing my style. Seems like everything out there is either Slutty Couger or Old Lady at the Casino. But if I want to go one of those ways, I guess my choices are unlimited.

Oh well, I guess I have a few more weeks before I need it. Any suggestions?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Move Goes On

Sigh. This move of ours seems to never end. There's so much stuff to do and to go through. Plus, we are downsizing. So that means there is so much to get rid of. So hard to do.

Let me tell you. My parents grew up in The Great Depression. So they didn't throw things away. They used them up and wore them out. That's how I grew up. But as I got older and out on my own, my attitude changed a little. I no longer kept things that I couldn't use or replace easily.

Or at least I thought I didn't keep them. But somehow, over the years, we have collected a bunch of stuff. Like dishes. I mean, really. How many coffee cups do two people need? And bed sheets. Sure, those are all different colors and prints and one could say that they're dressing for the bedroom, but with one bed, there's no reason for so many sheet sets.

And don't get me started on outdoor Christmas decorations. Believe me, it breaks my heart to downsize those. But, we are going from a 2.5 car garage to a 1 car garage. Something has to go. I am taking my giant 7.5 foot Christmas tree for sure, but I don't know where we will be able to display it in the new house. Seriously. That thing needs a room to itself. But I love it and I'm not ready to part with it.

And yarn. I've already mentioned that I have more yarn that your average big box craft store. Not even kidding. And that gives me such conflicting feelings. On the one hand, I love all my yarn and it makes me happy. Makes me happy to buy it, to use it, and to just have it. But, on the other hand, it's a lot of yarn and I really need to be using some of it before I buy more. If only because I don't have the space for all of it.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tree Of Life Afghan

Blocking on my dining room table.
Excuse the moving boxes.
Twining Trees detail
This is the Tree of Life Afghan I knitted for M and her fiance for Christmas. I actually started this back in 2012 and never finished. But it worked out better this way because the twining trees sort of work in with the whole marriage and joining together theme, right?

It was a labor of love project, to be sure. All those cables! But I'm so happy with the way it turned out. And I am hoping they will keep this for a long time. I think it would be nice for something that I've done to still be around to remind people of me, long after I'm gone. That's the nicest thing I could think of to happen to these special projects that I've made, I think.

Cat tested. Cat approved.
I have some quilts from my mom, both grandmas, and T's grandma. They are cherished possessions, believe me. And I'll be passing those down to my kids, too. Hopefully with some of my crafting. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January KAL Project Started

With only a few days left of January, I started a knit-a-long project. I know. I know. But I feel like I've been knit deprived for so long. I want to do something!

Besides, this should be quick and easy. The theme is "Ring In The New Year." So I am making a cowl. (Because it's ring-shaped.) My original plan was to make a ringbearer pillow for M's wedding (less of a stretch for the theme, there, am I right?) but she says they will not be using a ringbearer, since they both know only one child--the flower girl.

Anyway, this is the Anna Cowl by Barb Fritz. I'm using Wisdom Yarns Poems in Waterfall. I love this yarn. I bought it a long time ago at a yarn shop in Bloomington. I actually bought 2 skeins of this, but I used one to make a hat several years ago. That's kind of a bonus for me, because now I will have a set. Not sure if one skein will be enough, but I think so.

It's not super soft at first. But once it's washed, it softens up beautifully. And I like the color changes in this yarn. I wouldn't mind having some more of this Poems in various colors, but I am on a yarn diet.

Stay tuned. This should be a quick knit.

Monday, January 25, 2016

FO: Fingerless Mitts

It's the first FO of 2016, a pair of fingerless mitts for Amanda. These are the mitts I teach in class, actually. They are pretty quick, pretty simple garter stitch mitts that can be customized in about a million different ways. This is Red Heart Soft in Teal.

Amanda picked out the yarn for this way before Christmas and I promised I'd knit them up once I was done with Christmas Knitting. Of course, I didn't expect my hand to betray me so fully and for so long.

My hand still hurts and my right thumb doesn't extend fully or take any pressure without pain. But it does feel better and I thought I might be able to do some knitting anyway, as long as I didn't aggrivate that tendon. So, this was kind of a test to see if I could do it.

Pay no attention to my crappy manicure.

The answer is yes, I can knit. But I think 1) crochet is out of
the question at this point and 2) I probably should not do long knitting sessions. Like maybe 20 minutes or so at a time.

Honestly, typing feels way worse than knitting. Maybe it's because of the right thumb on the space bar? Or all the stretching my hand does when I type. Sleeping feels terrible on my hand, though. I seem to be making weird praying mantis hands in my sleep and I wake up in agony because of it. I have taken to wearing hand splints to bed, as well as at work.

I am so over this hand injury, let me tell you.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

What Dreams May Come

Hamlet aside, my dreams are not giving me any pause. And that's sad. You know I've always enjoyed my dreams. I have always had very vivid, colorful dreams that had many layers of symbolism and very complex plots and subplots. Some dreams even featured "stunt casting" for some of the characters. (Sweeps week in my brain?) And the best part, whether it was a good dream or bad, was that I was never aware that I was dreaming. So it all felt so real, no matter how fantastical.

But lately, my dreams have been lacking. The metaphors are so simple, I don't even have a metaphor to describe them. And no storyline. Just disjointed vignettes. (Although I'm told this is how most people dream. That seems like a real letdown after the epic stories my brain has told me.)

But the worst part is that these dreams are boring. Even my nightmares--like last night when I found myself on a darkened street, alone, with six or more assailants closing in on me. I just felt like that situation was so predictable.

Of couse, this is my brain reminding me that, no matter how I might try to un-depress myself with faked positivity, it sees right through me. And it's not buying it.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Another Hat

Here is another hat I did around Christmastime. It's the Deep Fork Hat from Heather Brumbelow-Scott. I really liked the way this looked in the pattern photos. I like the thick ribs and chunky weight yarn.

I used Bernat Softee Chunky in Faded Denim.

Super fast knit (chunky yarn and size 8 needles). It would be good for gifting, or for keeping in an emergency gift box. Or for charity knitting.

That's where this one is going. I had actually planned to knit it for T, but it's a little small on his head. So, I will have to cast on another one for him.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Don't Touch

You can learn a lot about a person, just by their hobbies. Of course, mine are knitting, crocheting, and various other crafts. But, my non-craft hobbies are pretty varied.

You know I write, right? Or, I used to. I don't seem to have much to say these days. Nothing anyone would want to read, anyway. Oh, wait. Except this blog, of course. Yeah. Of course people want to read this blog. It's cool. Right?

I also enjoy voiceovers and impressions. I don't do them, myself. I've been told my voice is pretty unique. (By many people, so I assume it's true.) But I love to see the character voices come out of a way different face. I don't know. I may have been incepted by Rich Little at a young age. He seemed to be on just about every variety show on TV while I was growing up. I was fascinated by him.

And I like to to touch things that have a "Do Not Touch" sign on them. I also like to encourage others to do that.

Even if you are sneaking into the cutting counter at JoAnn Fabrics, right behind the saleslady, while your mom clandestinely takes a photo with her iPhone.

Ha! If she got caught, my plan was to look shocked and mortified. "What are you doing? You know you're not supposed to go behind the counter!"

Thursday, January 21, 2016

New Year, New Magic Ball

I enjoyed making the scrapghan from my magic ball in (2014?) the past. I think it's time to start collecting scraps for a new one. As I moved, I found a lot of very small bits of yarn that I had saved from previous projects. And I just started to combine them as I went.

Here is what I have so far:
Thanks for your help, Kevin Sorbo.

I'm hoping to have enough by year end to make another scrap blanket in January 2017. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What Is Up With The "Our Time" Commercials?

Have you seen the commercials for "Our Time" dating service? I can't decide whether they are joke commercials or real. I mean, if they're joking, it's not all that funny. But if they're not joking, it's kind of pathetic.

This is an online dating service that caters to the over 50 crowd. Now, being an over 50 lady myself, I am not implying that people my age are not vibrant, interesting, fun, and sexy. I mean, I'm all of that. So, of course we are.

But what I find ridiculous about these commercials is the way this is presented. For example, in one commercial, we see the top of the head of a woman grinding her ass on a guy (we also don't see his face) in a club. All around are young 20- and 30-somethings dancing and laughing as they are watching this horny couple. The voice over says "Think dating after 50 isn't hip? Think again." And the woman's head flips up and we see that both of them are obviously over 50. She grabs him by the shirt and leads him suggestively out of the club. (Although, I don't know how you can get more suggestive than grinding your ass on a guy. That pretty much gets the message across, right there.)

If this is not a joke commercial, they may be trying to say that people over 50 are vibrant, interesting, fun, and sexy. But what this commercial says to me is, "How pathetic."

To be fair, this would be my reaction to 20-somethings grinding their asses on guys crotches, too. Not being a prude, and I don't have anything at all against suggestive dancing. I just think dry humping is no longer merely suggestive.

I also don't like the Couger Life service. But at least they're not trying to be "suggestive." They're coming right out and saying it. "Horny women who will pay for everything in exchange for a semi-submissive young boy-toy." 

Oh. You think that's empowering women? Come on. You know if this were a site that flat out advertised horny older guys looking for young buttercups to be a sugar daddy to, people would be disgusted.

Anyway, none of this applies to me at all, since I am not in the dating market. And thank God for that. Because, not only do I dearly love T and never want to lose him, I would definitely NOT enjoy the dating scene.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

More UFOs Than Roswell

Seriously. I have been sorting through all my crafting supplies/projects now, after the move. I'm trying to find a space for them and whether I want to finish or frog. And I've determined I have a lot of UFOs. I mean, a lot.

With several boxes marked "UFO," I'm surprised I haven't gotten a visit from this guy:
But, this will be the year. For one thing, it's just ridiculous to have this many UFOs. That shows a serious lack of commitment, doesn't it?

And, I think I will be happy to get some of these done. Happy to finish. Happy to have the finished object. Happy to gift/use/donate it. Happy to have the space. And I need some happy.

That's probably how I got all these UFOs in the first place. Just flitting from one thing to another because I felt restless, stressed, and down. But I am working on that.
View post on imgur.com

Monday, January 18, 2016

Freakishly Cold

It is freakishly cold out today. Like Dante's 9th Circle cold. The weatherman said it was 3 degrees. With the windchill it's -15. That's ridiculous.

I'm wearing socks in the house. That's how cold it is. Socks and a sweater and a Snuggie.
Yes. One of those. In fact, it looks just like that. So it's me in my socks and Snuggie with my hot coffee and two cats. 

I know weather doesn't work this way, but this kind of feels like payback for all those 60 degree days we had in December.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Warm Up America

Today was the Warm Up America Joining Party at Michael's. Warm Up America, in case you didn't know, is a program to provide warm blankets to the needy. Read about it here, but basically Michael's collects knit or crocheted 7" X 9" rectangles from crafters throughout the year. Then, once a year, we get together and join all those rectangles into 49" X  63" afghans (For adults. Babies' and kids' blankets are smaller, of course.)

Those blankets are sent to Warm Up America, who distributes them to nursing homes, children's hospitals, veteran's hospitals, homeless shelters, etc.

This is the afghan I worked on.

This, of course, is an in-progress photo. As you can see, there are all kinds of squares there, including three of mine. It's a bit of a challenge to joing knit to crochet or pattern to plain. But it worked out well. I'm looking forward to doing this again next year.

By the way, if you are interested in Warm Up America, they accept not only afghan squares, but completed afghans, scarves, hat, and baby sweaters,

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Yarn Organizing

Since we have moved, and since my hand doesn't allow me to do any actual knitting, I've been organizing my yarn stash. It's been a process, let me tell you.

First of all, I had no idea I had so much yarn. I mean, I knew I had a lot, but I thought it was a managable lot. It's actually way out of control. I'm not even going to post a picture here because I probably have more yarn than most LYS. It's cold sheep for me, baby!

But secondly, as I was packing all my yarn I found yarn that I had bought for a purpose and then couldn't find it. So I had bought it a second time. I'm not complaining about finding the original yarn. Or even having this extra yarn. I'm just frustrated that I couldn't find it when I needed it.

So, I am trying to find some way to keep track of all this yarn (and notate it when I use it). I've devised a spreadsheet to list the yarn, weight, yardage, color, and characteristics. Hopefully, that will help me keep track. Now I just need to inventory it all.

T is not a big help in this matter, though. I told him I was shocked I had so much yarn and he immediately offered to get me another storage stack of drawers. I told him no, I really just need to use this yarn. I don't need an excuse to buy more because I suddenly have empty storage drawers. 

Bless him, he says. "But it makes you happy. Why wouldn't you buy yarn if it makes you happy?"

You see what I'm up against? But, so far my resolve has held. 16 days without buying yarn so far this year. 

Pray for me.

Friday, January 15, 2016

National Hat Day

It's National Hat Day. Apparently, that's a real thing. You know, I used to wonder how those national holidays came into being. I used to think congress gave these issues a lot of thought and debate and only decided to make a national holiday if there was a very, very good reason.

But then, when I became a journalist (years ago) I found out that it's not like that at all. Usually, it involves little kids who are pressured and encouraged by their parents and teachers to try and affect some sort of change. I think probably most of the teachers and maybe 10% of the parents feel like they are teaching the kids a valuable lesson about the power of petition and how one person can change things.

Don't get me wrong. I think that's a good lesson. But I also think about 90% of the parents (at least the ones I've met) only encourage it because it's ammunition they can use in the Mommy Wars. ("Sure, Parker may have made the Honor Roll and played a harp solo in the Christmas Program, but little Lark here got National Sparkly Fingernails Day passed. So you can just suck it, Heather!")

I envision National Hat Day going down something like:

Cute little 6-year-old who has no idea what she is saying, is just reciting the words mommy and daddy made her memorize: It's been my wifewong ambition to ensure all hats and hat uf... uhfish... uhfishnahdos are wecognized for their wespective mewits. 

Congressman from the district the child is from: "Wifewong ambition." Oh, isn't that the cutest thing? I vote yes on National Hat Day. All in favor?

Congress: Aye!

Congressman from the district the child is from: Any nays want to break this poor child's heart?

Anyway, I'm using this National Hat Day to show you some of the hats I made for Christmas presents in 2015.
"Smoky Flames"


Grey Utopia

Ribs & Cables Beanie

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Look At The 2015 Ornament Swap: Sent

Last week I showed you the ornaments I had received in the 2015 Ornament Swap. This week, I'll show you the ones I sent. I didn't post most of these here because I didn't want the recipients to see them before they got them. (I was, perhaps, overestimating the popularity of my blog. Ha!)

But here they are, in order.




(Just the penguin. The other ornament was from someone else.)



Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of the snowman I knitted and the recipient did not post a photo.


Again, I forgot to take a picture and the recipient didn't post one. Too bad, too. This was a really cool ornament, Fa-la-la Fred.

Forgot to take a picture of this one, too. I was getting a little sloppy with my documentation by this time, I guess. This was a mouse, similar to May's ornament, only he was holding a big jingle bell instead of knitting. I thought it was clever.


Luckily, the recipient posted a pic of this one, because guess what?



Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Smart Ass Cars

I think I told you that, only two months after making the final payment on my Taurus, the engine blew, right? For no reason. No light ever came on to warn me of anything. Just boom. It's done. So, I have been relying on others to get me places these days. Tim drives me mostly. But also M and R and Bre. The part I'm trying to impress upon you here is that I've been in a lot of different cars lately.

And it seems to me that some cars seem to have a rather twisted sense of humor. Like this one.

Now, of course I know the airbag turns off when there is no one sitting in the seat, but still. It made me think of those spy movies where the hero slams into something like a wall or a tree, knowing the seat belt will save him while the villain will be projected through the windshield.

Speaking of spy movies.

This one made me think of this:

And this one. I'm not even sure what this one is for. What the heck is a cat folder?

The only thing I can think of when I look at it is this:

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Cowl For M

One of the Christmas knits I made for 2015 was a cowl for M. She likes chevron patterns and, while this is not really chevron, it is zigzaggy like chevron, so I was hoping it would appeal.

Plus, she saw this yarn at my house and said she really liked it and wanted a cowl knitted from it. Ha! It was kind of funny, since I'd bought this yarn with her in mind. (Although I didn't know what I was going to make from it at the time.)

This is the Erose Cowl pattern from Goodknits. I used Bernat Felting Natural Wool, which has kind of a roving texture to it. The color is Fresh Poppy.

This yarn is a Super Bulky and I knit this on size 15's, so it worked up pretty quickly. Also, the pattern is pretty easy to memorize, so it's good for some relaxing knitting. If you need a nice gift, this is a good one. You could also cast on fewer stitches and make boot cuffs, or more stitches and make a longer infinity loop. It's pretty versitile.

Monday, January 11, 2016

On Sharks, Gators, And Other Things I Don't Want To Swim With

About eight years ago, we visited New Orleans. It was only two years after Hurricane Katrina, so the area was still rebuilding and people were still talking about it. For example, when we took the swamp tour, we could see houses that had been carried miles away from their foundations. We could see trees that had been uprooted and wedged high up in the ironwork under bridges. It was profoundly disturbing.

Then, our guide enticed some gators over for us to see up close. He lured them over with marshmallows. And there were a lot of them. Lots of gators in the water, waiting (apparently) for their human friends to bring them good things to eat. But what was weird was that there were people, maybe 50 feet away, swimming in the water.

With gators in the water.

Our guide said that was not unusual. He said the gators don't bother the humans if the humans don't bother the gators. In my mind, I'm seeing a gator swim up to a human like, "Gimme a freakin' marshmallow or I'll bite your leg off!" Yeah. Yeah. I know they don't do that. How about "Gimme a marshmallow or I'll latch onto your foot and drag you underwater until you drown. Then I'll just stuff your body up under a tree root so it gets nice and soft for me to eat later."? Does that seem more realistic? I think that could happen. Especially because the guide told us they use marshmallows now because back when they used raw chicken, the gators got so agressive they climbed into the tour boats.

Our guide also mentioned that Katrina had washed a lot of gators up into areas they didn't belong. So, as they were cleaning up, they might find a pissed off gator somewhere they didn't expect.

Every few years, there is a gator found where you wouldn't expect it here in Indianapolis, too. Here. You wouldn't expect a gator here. And whenever they find one, there is always a news story with some expert telling us that yes, gators can survive Indiana winters, as long as their nostrils don't freeze. I find that terrifying.

But that got me thinking about sharks. We know some sharks are able to tolerate fresh water. Bull sharks have been found pretty far inland--as far as Illinois and Indiana in the US' Mississippi River, 2500 miles up the Amazon, Lake Nicaragua in Central America, and pretty far up the Ganges in India. Did you catch that part about Indiana? Yeah. In the Ohio River to the south and Lake Michigan to the North. Nope. Nope. Nope.

So bull sharks can live in fresh water. And they don't have to surface for air like crocs. So they don't have to worry about their nostrils freezing. Lake Michigan averages 42 degrees in the winter. They wouldn't freeze anyway. So, theoretically, sharks could be in Lake Michigan, in the heartland of the US. How do you like that? (That gives me an ill feeling, considering we lived in the Great Lakes Region for a while and I swam in Lake Michigan oh, about a million times.)

And that's not even counting the caiman and pirhanna that just get dumped into the rivers. (And who does that, by the way? Why would someone think it was okay to do that?)

Ok. So, let's go back to the Katrina scenario. Up here, we don't get hurricanes. But we do get some sustained rains sometimes. Rains that cause a lot of flooding. And all these rivers and lakes are connected. So, let's say there is something crazy in the Ohio River. Like a bull shark. The flooded waters just make it easier to go from one place to another.


Good thing I don't swim in natural water any more. Give me nice, clear, see-the-bottom pool water, full of chlorine to kill all the bacteria and germs.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

My Knitting Needles Rock... And Roll

Ok. That was a lame joke, I know. But I wanted to show you this needle roll that I got from R and Bre for Christmas. Isn't it way cool?

So pretty, and fits right into my knitting bag. I can keep a set of each size with me.

I have wanted one of these for a while. It will come in especially handy for packing my class bag. Or for those times--like vacations or car trips--that you know you're going to want to knit but you don't know what you'll want to knit until you actually do it. (Or is that just me?) This way, I've got a wide selection to choose from.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

If Achilles Were A Knitting Needle

Here is one of my Christmas presents. M gave me this set of knitting needles. They're pretty cool in themselves, but take a closer look at them:

Yeah, that's Achilles on the needles.

M hand painted each of these little cats on my needles.

They are all different.

Achilles is impressed.

Friday, January 08, 2016

A Look At The 2015 Ornament Swap: Received

I don't think I actually sat down and made a post about the completed 2015 Christmas Ornament Swap that we did on Ravelry. It was a lot of fun to get a new ornament every month from sometimes far away. Also a lot of fun to make a new ornament every month for someone. I really think that crafters appreciate crafted items more than non-crafters do. We know the work and love and sometimes swearing that goes into making something.

Here are the ornaments I received by month. (Not listing any names, so as not to invade anyone's privacy, since I've not asked them.)












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