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, February 29, 2016

Happy Leap Day!

Wow! I can't believe it's leap year again! I feel like I should post something special, since it only happens once every four years.

I've been doing this blog for 10 years now. That means there have been two other Leap Days since I've been blogging. I thought it would be cool to go back in time to see what I posted on those days.

Leap Day 2012
Leap Day 2008

Oh. Right.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

It's An All M Weekend

Bridal shower yesterday. Birthday today. Was nice to spend the whole weekend with M! First the bridal shower yesterday, and then a little family birthday party today.

I made a cake for the party. This was a lot of fun. I made a lot of flowers and put them on a cookie sheet in the fridge to firm up while I frosted the cake. Cherry chip with a cherry buttercream frosting, tinted the palest, palest pink. (The cherry flavoring is to blame for that, but it worked out anyway.)

The flowers are that same pale pink, purple, and petal pink. I made roses, buds, and pansies. After they were firm, I just attached them to the top of the cake in a wreath pattern, with a little frosting. Then I added some leaves. (Which don't look as good as my flowers, but I'm working on that.)

This is probably the best looking cake I've ever done.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Bridal Shower Favors

M's bridal shower was today. It was a lot of fun. I had never been involved in planning a bridal shower, so it was a lot of fun for me. M is really doing all the wedding planning herself, since she has a specific idea of what she wants. So this was really nice for me to actually do something.

One of the things I did was make some favors for the guests. These little tealights are each wrapped in washi tape. Then two of them are put together and wrapped in a tulle circle. There were traditional favors, too. Little "bride" boxes full of candy.

We are getting closer and closer to time for the wedding. (April)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Are Car Commercials Universal?

I watch a lot of late night TV. There are a lot of bad car commercials on late night TV. There are many reasons for that.

First, air time is cheaper late night than it is during the day. So a lot of dealerships feel like they are getting more for their advertising dollar by putting their commercials on late, late night. This is not necessarily true, of course. I mean, they are getting more commercials for the same money, but they would probably reach more of their target market by advertising during the evening news or during prime time. Still, they must be getting some business from it or they wouldn't keep doing it, right?

And the commercials are all bad for basically the same reason. They want to get the most for their money. So they go for the cheapest production value they possibly can. They use their employees, their relatives, and themselves as the "talent." I put that word in quotes because, believe me, not a single one of them has an ounce of acting talent.

The worst, of course, is Bob Rohrman. This guy has been around forever and his ads are basically the same ad over and over. Terrible. What's really awful about them (besides the awful acting, script, and production value) is that I get the impression he thinks they're good. Or at least that they are endearingly bad. They're not. I honestly thought his commercials couldn't get any worse... until he started putting his grandkids on. I hate that. But then, I thought it couldn't possibly get worse than that... Until he started using his "blooper reel" for his commercials. (Saving some money there, since it's already been filmed.) Seriously, what could be worse than watching someone screw up the worst series of commercials ever? Whatever it is, I'm afraid Bob is going to film that next.

There's another dealership (can't remember the name of it right now) that uses the son or grandson of the owner as it's spokesperson. The thing is, the kid is just fucking awful. He delivers the lines with the same enthusiasm as a chronic somniloquist. Even the jokes. Yeah. That's right. They wrote jokes for this kid. Jokes he clearly does not understand because they are grown up jokes. And his suit is too big. (Maybe they are trying to make him cuter?) It's not the kid's fault. He's maybe six years old. It's grandpa/dad's fault for thinking grown-ass adults would see an annoying child on TV and think, "Oh! I'm going to buy a car from the dealership that made this commercial."

I can never remember the name of this dealership because I always turn the channel when this commercial comes on. I feel sorry for him, though, because I'm betting his parents have convinced him he's the next Macaulay Culkin. (And they probably think that's a relevant comparison. "Oh, that Home Alone boy. He's one fine actor, there.")

A variation of this is the series of commercials where the dealership uses the daughter of the owner. She's as bad as the kid from the other dealership. No vocal inflection. Stares straight into the camera. No facial expression. No hand gestures. No movement of any kind. This is particularly awful because this woman has been doing these commercials for about 20 years now and she hasn't gotten any better at them. I swear, I think I could do anything and get at least marginally better at it after 20 years.

But the reason I decided to write about this today was because I saw a commercial last night for a car dealership that just astounded me in its cheesiness. Seriously. It was a car commercial queso, it was so cheesy. The owner of the dealership had superimposed himself in giant form, looking over the rooftop and lot of his dealership. Plus, there were spinning words--some with cartoon explosion effects. And, he must have heard me complain about the dead-faced woman from the other commercial, because he was smiling. Smiiiiiiiling.

So creepy. I actually think this is my favorite car commercial now.

These commercials are so bad--so cheesy, obnoxious, and cheap-looking--they are a metaphor for what usually gets referred to as "The Ugly American." Rude, loud, totally self-centered, and clearly undereducated. So embarassingly classless. But I thought to myself, that can't just be us, right? I mean, don't the people in Germany or England or Sweden go to a dealership to buy a car? Aren't those dealerships in competition with each other to sell cars? Don't those dealerships advertise? Surely there are car commercials and car salesmen in other countries, right? And surely they are as teeth-grindingly painful to watch as our commercials, right?


Somebody let me know.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


I have been watching dance videos on YouTube the last couple of nights. It started out with the Latin dances--salsa, zouk, mambo--and then I started watching Lindy Hop videos.

I love Lindy Hop! It's fast and the dancers just move all over the floor with their whole bodies. And they look like they are having so much fun. That's the main thing, I think, that attracts me. They look like they are having fun while they are doing it.

I really want to learn Lindy Hop now. I want to do something that I have fun doing. It's been so long and I just don't enjoy the things I used to enjoy.

I showed T one of the videos today and he seemed very receptive to the idea of learning to Lindy Hop with me. Not sure if our old bodies can take it, but I know this old heart really wants to have fun again.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Snow Again

I don't know why I'm surprised. It is February, after all. I guess I'm just really tired of winter. It's not my favorite season anyway, but this winter has really been hard on me.

It's not so much the cold, really, although I have always maintained that I am a hothouse flower, too fragile for cold temperatures. It's really more about the lack of color in the winter. Everything is so washed out and grey. Grey, brown, black. So bleak. And the sky is just... colorless.

Honestly, my mood is so bleak these days anyway. I don't need the weather to underscore it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Class Project: Arm Knit Necklace

Last night's free class was another arm knitting class. This time, students got to expand their arm knitting skills with some new techniques.

We used multiple strands this time. We had used multiple strands in a couple of the previous classes, of course, but this time we used 6 strands. It actually took longer to measure and cut 6 strands of yarn from the skein than it did to arm knit the whole necklace.

Plus, the necklace is knit I-cord-style, which is a little different than regular arm knitting. Still, everyone was able to pick up the technique quickly. I had 6 students in my class, plus me, and we all finished our projects in about an hour.

Here is mine. I used some Bernat Softee Chunky in Schoolyard. I have two winter coats, one red and one black, and this colorway is perfect for both of them. Don't you think?

I teach one free class each month with projects like this one. My next one is a finger crochet scarf. That will be a fun class!

Monday, February 22, 2016

What Is It?

What is this, hiding in an old knitting bag that I totally forgot about until the move? It's purple and fluffy and lacy. What could it be?
Pretty sure this is Patons Divine yarn.
 Is it some kind of flat elephant toy?


Is it a cat blanket?
Miss Gracie seems to think so.

Is it a decorative cover for the coat of arms?
Actually, this looks kinda good.

This looks a little wonky, but it's not. I had a lot of trouble
getting a photo with my camera, so this is actually a
sideways overhead shot. And, I guess, since I'm short,
I'm holding the phone at an angle..I should really
take a better photo.
It's a sweater! More of a topper, actually. Doesn't look like much on the table like this. It probably looks better on an actual human being.

However, this is an old UFO (now FO). I believe I started this before I even started this blog. I also believe I was about 30 pounds lighter.

That means there is no chance of me trying this on. In fact, I'm not even sure what I'm going to do with it.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

I Crocheted Squares For Barnabus

Well, for Collinwood, actually. Well, for the 50th anniversary of Dark Shadows.

A bunch of us are crocheting granny squares for the Time Travelling Afghan (it appears in every timeline in the series). Then the completed afghan is going to be donated so it can be auctioned. The proceeds would benefit the restoration of the Lyndhurst Mansion (Collinwood). I think that's pretty cool.

So here are the 25 squares I did. They are 4 colors each, all from various half-skeins of acryllic worsted. And they'll be joined with a round of black in the completed afghan.

I can't wait to see the finished afghan!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

12 Months Of Scarves: Scarf 2

I cast on 12 on a Size 15
This scarf ended up about
5 feet long.
February's Scarf of the Month, Fireside Love, is another simple idea with a twist. It's a multi-textured scarf, with a cute pom pom embellishment and a simple embroidery. I used Yarn Bee Paradox in Cardinals and Red Heart Soft in this tan color. Paradox is discontinued, but you can still find it online. You can also get the same effect by holding a lightweight boucle together with an eyelash yarn. Paradox is supposed to be an aran weight, but don't believe it. It's more of a bulky weight yarn, mainly because of the texture.
This yarn is highly textured!

As you can see, this yarn makes a pretty scarf, just worked up in straight garter stitch alone.

I learned this trick to making
small pom poms with a fork
on Pinterest!
But, once we add the embellishment, it looks a little less plain. I like to use a scarf like this in my classes to show how embellishment can change the way a project looks entirely. This is garter, but in another color, it's another scarf. Think of this in blue with white snowflakes. Or in green with pink flowers. Or think of the pom poms along the edges. Any number of embellishments would make a totally different scarf.

I promise it looks better
in real life!

My heart is a variation of the Lazy Daisy embroidery stitch. I might go back and fill it in with Satin Stitch. I probably could have trimmed this pom pom a little better, though.

I call this one Fireside Love because it looks a little like flames. And because February is the month of love. And because this is so cuddly soft, you'll want to give it to someone you love...um... by the fire.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Hooray For Scientific Progress

I think it's really cool when science finds a way to solve a previously unsolvable problem. Like any of several infectious diseases or genetic abnormalities, for example. Or like the fact that doctors are able to peform surgery in utero. Or that we are able to make skin cells. It's fascinating, really.

Well, there's been a lot of talk about solving the aging and death problem, too. Like, if we assume that most of the causes of death have to do with abnormal cells being replicated--not just in diseases like cancer, but in the aging process itself--and we can somehow stop the faulty cells from being replicated and only have the best cells replicated--those that have not picked up the bad aging habits, I guess--then you can effectively stop the aging process.

Humans would live forever. (Barring accidents, murder, and suicide.)

Sure, there are a lot of things that have to fall into place before we get to that point--genetic mapping, regenerative gene therapy, drugs, vaccines, etc. And there are a lot of societal issues to work out. For example, if a person lives (basically) forever, how does that change the instition of marriage?

And, of course, anyone who has seen a science fiction movie knows it's probably not going to turn out well anyway.

But I choose to look on the bright side. If my life expectancy becomes unlimited, then SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) becomes a thing of the past and I can continue to purchase as much yarn as my little heart desires!

Yay science!

Thursday, February 18, 2016


I have a mini donut maker. I've had it forever, but I haven't used it in a long time. At the old house, the kitchen was so small I didn't have space to keep my specialized equipment. So the donut maker was in a box, packed away.

I unpacked it at the new house. And I made donuts. I basically made a cake mix for the donuts and some simple powdered sugar frosting. Donuts. Boom.

Lots of donuts.

It was awesome.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Having Trouble With This Concept

This post is not about yarn diets. Don't worry. I'm actually having some trouble with an actual scientific concept. Stay with me here.

So, you know how it takes light a certain amount of time to travel from one point to another, right? So, when we look at a planet that is 2 million light years away--the distance light can travel in 2 million years--we are not looking at that planet now. We are looking at it 2 million years in the past.

So let's think how much Earth has changed in 2 million years. Here's a hint. Modern Humans did not exist 2 million years ago.

So, for the sake of argument, let's say we use a super-duper powerful telescope to look at this planet (looking at the planet as it was 2 million years ago) and we don't see any sign of intelligent, human-like life. No buildings, cities, etc. I would argue, by the way, that a sense of humor was the best indicator of intelligence, but it's a little hard to see that, even though a super-duper powerful telescope.

BUT 2 million years have passed since what we are seeing actually occured. So that planet could actually have thriving space-faring civilizations on it now. Right? And it would be another 2 million years before we would know.

And now, they might be looking back on us. Maybe they are more advanced than we are and they are looking for promising species to welcome into the United Federation of Planets. (Just sayin'.)

Or maybe they've run out of all their cattle animals on their world and they're looking for food. (Seems like a long way to go for a human cheeseburger, but the idea seems to pop up in a lot of literature and movies, so I felt I had to, at least, acknowledge it.)

Maybe they're suffering global warming, or depleted resources, or there is some other looming catastrophe that they can see, but we can't because we can only look 2 million years into the past. Maybe they're looking for a place to colonize and they look at Earth and think, "Oh there's no intelligent life there. We won't be hurting anyone there. Let's go there."

So they send a bunch of colony ships here to live. But meanwhile, we have global warming and depleted resources and, if the Discovery Channel is to be believed, it is only a matter of time before some planet-killing asteroid hits us.

So what if we jump in our ships and move to their planet (which is about to be blown up by an asteroid) and, at the same time, they come to Earth to live, not realizing it's about to be blown up by an asteroid? And then, we've travelled so far, for so long that we can hardly even be called human any more, only to suffer the same fate as those on Earth 2 million years ago.

But wait, there's more. 

As we approached the planet, and they approached ours, time would be different. That is, since they would be physically closer, they would also be looking not quite so far into the past. Halfway there, we would see the planet not as it was when we left, and yet not as it is at that moment. We might even see, depending on the event and how far we've travelled, the asteroid hitting the planet.

It's hard to think in those terms. I think I'll go lie down.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Cats Are Getting More Comfortable

Achilles and Miss Gracie are finally adapting to the new house. At first, they were dead set against it. So panicked when we got into the car. And they just kept looking at me like, "Please, can we just go home now?"

But now they are exploring the place. They love the windows that they can sit in. And they love the half wall separating the kitchen from the dining area.

I'm so glad they've calmed down and seem to like the place now.

Monday, February 15, 2016

FO: Striped Hat

  I had some of the red yarn left over from the Baby Cables Hat (Red Heart Soft in Wine) and some more dark charcoal color yarn. (A different yarn, though. No label any more, so who knows?) I wasn't sure I had enough of the red to make a whole hat, though, and I wanted to do something to stretch out that red (but also accent it). So I decided to stripe the hat with the grey.

The trick is, I made random stripes. I placed them randomly, and they are between 1 and 6 rows tall.

Otherwise, this is a basic, 1X1 rib hat, with some K2tog decreases at the top. Easy, peasy, mac n cheesey. I'd say I used less than half a skein of the red and maybe an ouce of the grey.

This hat will become a donation hat. I want to do some more donations this year.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day to you! I hope you have something fun and romantic planned today.

T and I had planned to go see the movie Deadpool today. We have been fans of Deadpool since (and I'm not trying to be a hipster here and tell you I loved Deadpool before he was cool... because he was always cool) his first appearance. We were big comic book fans then (also, we had disposable income with which to buy comic books), so we were pretty excited for the Deadpool movie. Especially after they did such a terrible job on the Deadpool character in the Wolverine Origins movie.


It's snowing. Hard. And you know I am a hothouse flower. So we are staying inside today. We will just have to see Deadpool later. Frowny face.

I am making some lasagna in individual baking dishes (so it's fancy) and some chocolate/chocolate chip cake with whipped cream for dessert.

What are you doing?

Saturday, February 13, 2016


R's birthday was this week and we all got together to celebrate today. I made a cake for him.

I love this illusion. I think everyone else did, too.

Friday, February 12, 2016

New Snip Jar

Well, after two years, I have finally crammed as many snips into my snip jar as I possibly can.

It is full.

I had originally planned to do something with these snips. Something like this one. Or, you know, maybe put these snips out for the birds to use in their Spring nests. (The birds at my old house shunned my yarn snips. But maybe these new birds will be less snobby?)

But I like the way this jar looks. It's like a time capsule of my knitting and crocheting over the last two years. See the Viking Hat and Beard in there? See the Fourth Doctor Scarf? See the Tardis Scarf? 

I think I'm going to start a new one for the next two years.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

People Need To Learn 5th Grade Math

One of the things that really bugs me about working with the general public is the fact that so many people just have no concept how math works. I see this every time there is a coupon issued.

Now, I'm not talking about how people who have never worked retail don't know how individual retail store policies work. That's okay. Different stores have different policies and if you don't work there or shop there regularly, it's hard to keep it straight. I get that.

What I'm talking about is simple, basic, elementary school math. Like percent off sales. It really frustrates me when I scan someone's items and then they get really angry.

"Hey! Those are supposed to be 50% off!" 
Yes. The tag says $24.99 and it rang up $12.49.
"I know! It's supposed to be 50% off!"
Yes. That's 50% off.
"No, it's not."
Yes. It actually is. That's half off.
"Oh. Ok then. I just want to make sure you're charging me correctly."

I also hate it when people get made because they can't use more than one coupon on an item. Now, some stores let you do that. I know. But some people get ridiculous.

"I have a 50% off coupon."
Ok. Thanks.
"I also have this 40% off competitor's coupon. I want to use them both on this one item. Plus my senior citizen discount and this other competitor's coupon."


"This is 50% off, right?"
Yes. The tag says $9.99 and it rang up $4.99.
"And I want to use this 20% off coupon on it, too."
"So it's $3. Why is it ringing up $4?"
20% off of $4.99 is $3.99.
"No. 50% + 20% is 70% off. And 70% off of $9.99 is $3."
That's not how it works. You wouldn't expect to get it for free with a 50% coupon, right?
"That's just bait and switch. You guys are cheating people."

Well, first of all, that's not bait and switch. Bait and switch is Buy this fantastic thing for $1. Oh, we don't have that fantastic $1 thing. We only have this fantastic $50 thing. Buy that instead.

And, no one with the brain God gave a turnip would reasonably assume you could stack one 50% on another and get 100% off. Seriously. What if the sale was 60% and then you used a 50% coupon? Would the store then owe you money?

I feel like, if these people had paid a little more attention in grade school math class, I wouldn't have to deal with so much dumbassery.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

FO: Baby Cables Hat

Hot off the needles (and still during February): my February KAL project, Baby Cables Hat! T saw this and asked "Is that for me?" Why, yes. Yes it is. Try it on.
Looks pretty good, eh? I love that charcoal grey with the red. That's one of my favorite color combos. And the hat looks good on him. Going to be nice and warm for all those cold work nights.

You can tell he likes it, too.

And, of course...

Blue Steel!

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

The Move Is Finally Complete!

Hooray! Good God, I feel like I've been moving forever. Seriously. So much stuff. If that isn't a lesson in not moving for 16 years, I don't know what is.

Of course now, I'm living in the middle of a bunch of boxes, but whatever.

I like the new place. It's smaller, yes. But it is less claustrophobic. The high ceilings and open floor plan makes it feel like so much more space than the old house. Plus, things are new here, not all broken and old like at the old place.

Still, this place has a whole new set of noises to get used to. Like the sound of the ventilation ducts expanding in the attic.That's weird. Freaked the cats out, too. They are not, for the record, fans of the move.

Monday, February 08, 2016

What Is It?

What is it?
Check this out. What is this frilly little crocheted thing? Is it...
An Elizabethan bird collar?  No.

Is it... 
Fancy yellow thumb decorations? No.

Is it... 
Oh yes! It is! A yellow rose! 

This is a pretty simple crocheted rose. It's basically a strip that curls upon itself. Pretty clever, eh?

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Broke My Yarn Diet

Well, I had planned to go cold sheep as long as possible since I obviously already have more yarn than any person deserves to have.

So my plan was to only "shop" from my own stash for a while--at least until the stash became manageable.


This yarn went on clearance. Like super clearance. And it sat there all day, without being bought. It was crying out to me to buy it.

Dark Heather Grey Simply Soft worsted. Thirty-four cents a skein. I bought 4 skeins (all we had) for $1.46.

I really cannot be blamed for breaking my cold sheep yarn diet. It would almost be a crime to pass it up.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Found My Classical Music

In the process of packing stuff up, I found all our classical music. Actually, I found all our music. I had packed it up some time ago when the CD player died. Also, I was a little sick of our music. And, you know, I was working so much I didn't have time to enjoy it anyway.

Not that I would have enjoyed it. I used to love to listen to music. Cooking to a classical. Cleaning to disco. Relaxing to old school rock. Or just listening to whatever. But the last few years, I've been so uninterested in any of the old things... I just packed away all the music and didn't even think about it.

I actually put it all in the garage.

So, in the process of moving, I found all the CDs. And I have to say, I was pleased to see them. I haven't listened to any of them yet, but I have them now.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Downsizing Is Difficult

One thing I'm taking away from this whole move thing is: Downsizing is damned difficult.

You don't realize how much stuff you've accumulated until you have to pack it all up and move it. And even if you say to yourself, "Self, we've got to donate at least half of this stuff to Goodwill because we have no place to put it," you're still going to have trouble with it.

For one thing, your self is going to fire back with "I call not it!"

But seriously. You don't realize how much junk you've accumulated over the years until you have to do something with it. I have downsized my clothes closet by two thirds and I think I will have to make another pass through it. The same with my dishes.

Still, this is the start of a new path for us... back to just the two of us. So we probably don't need three sets of dishes. Or all these bedsheets. And let's face it... I'm never going to use that treadmill.

Thursday, February 04, 2016


Deja vu? Lots of people have deja vu. I'm talking surrealism. Like, when everything is sort of normal, but it's also way, way wrong. In art and literature, it's an irrational juxtaposition of images.

In real life it's... Well, it's the same, really.

Like, when you go to a garage sale and there is a big, hairy guy in a deep maroon velour track suit and gold chains, sitting in a lawn chair, smoking a fat cigar, and suddenly a trippy, electric guitar-heavy surf song from the 60's starts playing out of the portable radio next to him. Then you look around and notice the other people shopping at this garage sale are a teenage girl on roller skates, an old man in a three-piece olive green polyester suit (despite the summer temps), and a young nun.

I'm talking about the moments when you look around for the cameras because you're pretty sure Quentin Tarantino will yell "cut!" at any moment.

Yeah. Like that.

Or, like when the road you're driving on is under construction and down to one lane and you are trapped between a pickup truck with an assortment of pool ladders tossed in the back and a short school bus that has been badly painted white and hand-lettered "painters" on the front hood.

Or like when you are standing in line at the grocery store and the person in front of you is buying three bags of Totinos Pizza Rolls, a birthday cake, a 24-pack of toilet paper, and a bottle of wine.

Sometimes you just have to look away and try not to think about it.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

New UFO: Baby Cables Hat

Time to get started on February's KAL. The theme is love. Or red. So I decided to make something red that I love. Ha!

This is the start of the La Push Hat by Nancy Fry. It's covered in baby cables and accented with a contrasting color at the brim. I decided to make this pattern work double time (as I did in January) for the February KAL and for stashbusting effort. So this is made with some Red Heart Soft in Wine that I had left over from something else. I used maybe half, or slightly over half of this skein. Hard to tell, since it had already been used from. The contrasting color is a few yards of Purl Essence Sincerely in Charcoal Grey.

I think these colors work together well, don't you? Not sure what I will do with this hat when it's finished. We'll see what it says when the FO speaks to me.

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