If you're not knitting, the terrorists win

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

My Photo
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.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Such nice weather! It got up in the 70's here today. I can't tell you how happy that makes me. I don't know what it is--menopause, depression, old age, or what--but I just have no tolerance for bad weather these days.

I used to be like,

Hey, as long as I'm inside, I don't care if it hails fireballs. 

But now I get personally offended at the bad weather.

Rain? Really? Rain? 

So 70 degree weather is just fine by me.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Still No Luck Finding A Dress

I'm getting a little nervous now because it's pretty close to the wedding. I'm just not finding anything I like at all.

Honestly, though, I think it may be my fat old lady body that I'm not happy with. Nothing really seems to look good on me. It seems rather unfair to me. I know there are women my age and my... er... shape, who wear dresses that look good on them.

I am really worried that I'm just a fat old lady I will look like a fat old lady.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Need To Clean Up My Email

Yeah. This is going to be another post where I just complain about something. That probably makes me a bad person. But, you know, I'm still going to do it.

Today, I'd like to talk about my email. 

It's out of control. I subscribe to a lot of lists, sure. They are things that I'm interested in and I want to read about. No issue there. And I have my email with some stores so they will send me coupons. I like coupons. No issue there.

And here, let me take a sidetrack for a second. At my work, we have to ask for email addresses with every transaction. We have to ask. That's part of our job. If you don't want to give your email, say "No thanks." or "I don't like to give it out." or something a normal human being would say. What I would prefer you don't do is act like a total effin bitch and scowl and say something like "I'm not giving you my email address so you can send me a bunch of trash! I get enough junk in my email already!" (This statement, or variations of this, will come with or without a few swear words peppered in.) Listen, I don't want your email. I'm not going to send you emails with the subject line [FWD;][FWD;][FWD;] TOO FUNNY!!! No reason to yell at me.

Anyway, back to my email box.

The issue I have with my email is that I'm getting so many things like penis enlargement ads; ads for online schools for DEA training, culinary arts, behavioral psychology, and marketing; ads for affordable treatment of baldness, drug addiction, and eating disorders; and letters from friendly Russian women who want to meet me. For the record, I'm not interested in any of those things.

I'm a little ashamed to admit how many emails are in my inbox right now. So many I will probably not be able to read them all. I'm almost at the point that I'm ready to do something really drastic.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!

I made you a bunny cake.

Actually, it looks like a car with bunny ears. But, whatever.

This cake killed my hand to make. That's probably why it looks so bad. My right hand is still suffering from the trigger thumb I developed in December, so that many stars on that large of a cake was just too much for me.

I like the idea of this cake, though. I think, if I ever did it again, I would just frost it smoothly all over, instead of trying to give it this star texture. I've seen a lot of cakes with coconut, too, which I wouldn't mind, but I'd be eating a whole cake by myself. (Not that I couldn't, let's be clear on that.)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

12 Months Of Scarves: Number 3

This month's scarf is a beaded scarf. I used a blue worsted yarn with some white pony beads to make a fun little scarf with a heart at each end.

The beads are pretty easy to add in--pony beads have a hole wide enough to thread worsted weight yarn through with no trouble at all. And I knit the scarf using #8 needles, so it went pretty quickly. (Although, you will probably want to use #6s, since my gauge tends to be pretty loose.)

The main thing is to thread all the beads on first, so you can just pull them up as you go. Conversely, if you don't like having a bunch of beads hanging on your yarn for the length of a scarf, just thread half of them on. Then, when you are closer to the end of the scarf, thread the second half onto a second skein of yarn. I threaded all of mine at the beginning. It wasn't a big deal for me since the pony beads move very smoothly over the yarn, with almost no resistance.

This scarf is mostly stockinette over the body, with a seed stitch border around the edges.  Still, it doesn't lay as flat as it possibly could, probably because of the weight of the beads. But I blocked it (even though it's acryllic, it benefits from blocking) and it looks pretty good.

Funny thing, after I finished knitting this, I realized maybe a heart would look better on a pink or red scarf. But I hadn't even thought of that as I knit this. I like blue. It's my favorite color and I naturally gravitated toward it.

I'll have the pattern link in the sidebar soon.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Not Happy With My Cable Provider

So remember that sweet ass deal I had with cable at the old house? (To refresh your memory, I had signed up on a deal that had very vague language. So when I signed up, there was one HBO, one Showtime, one Cinemax, one Starz, and a basic package that included things like AMC and local channels. But, then the selection grew, so I had multiple of each movie channel and so, so many other channels.) I knew when we moved, there would be no way they would just transfer service so we could keep all our channels.

And I was right. Apparently, the service provided here (3 miles away from the old house) is different in some way. So they had to create a new account. (But, strangely enough, they don't consider me a new customer, so I can't get their sign up deal with free installation. Hm.)

Anyway, I'm not so mad about that. (Except the free install. Seems like it's one or the other, Comcast. Either it's a new account with free install or it's an old account with all my channels.) What I am mad about is the way there are no good movies to watch.

Don't get me wrong. I kept HBO because I need to watch Game of Thrones, right? But, when you look at the On Demand guide for movies, including the ones for HBO, the choices are very limited. Most of what I can watch, with my Super Plus Cable package plus 6 HBO channels, are 20+ year old movies, knockoff Disney animated movies (like the super-fake Jungle Book--trying to ride the popularity of the new live-action soon-to-be-released version, no doubt), and movies that I wouldn't watch with someone else's eyes.

Oh, there are good movies too, to be sure. But you have to pay for those. Rent or buy. Seriously, buy? So it's stored digitally on my Comcast account? And then what happens when I move and have to start a new account (and pay for freaking installation again) because they can't transfer service?

It's the same with previous seasons of shows you might want to watch. I caught an episode of a show and thought it might be nice to watch it from the beginning. But no. Turns out, you have to buy those episodes for $1.99 each. Not to be cheap or anything, but if I want to pay $2 an episode, I'll just go buy the boxed set and get all the DVD extras, as well.

Sigh. But, whatareyagonna do? The choices are limited. I have AT&T phone, so I know how shitty their customer service is. I don't see myself signing up for their cable service any time soon. If I weren't such a TV-watching cultural wasteland, I would just not care.

But, you know. I'm a child of the '60s. TV and I go way back. That's a friendship bond that can never be broken. So I guess I'm just going to be unhappy.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

WIP: Scrap Afghan

Take a look at this. It's one of my oldest WIPs. Pyschedelic Squares Afghan. According to my Ravelry project page, I started this back in 2004. (It may have been even sooner.)

Now, to be fair, I have not worked on this continuously. Nor have I really rushed to finish it. Basically, I have a heirarchy of yarn.

It goes:

More than one skein: Project
One skein: Small project
1/2 - one skein: Solid Color Afghan Square or smaller project
Less than 1/2 skein: very small project, like an ornament, or stripes on another project
Orange sized ball or less: Pyschedelic Stripes Afghan
Not enough for any of those: Added to Magic Ball
Snips of less than 18 inches: Snip Jar

So yeah. Imagine a bunch of orange sized balls of yarn in various colors. I used to be very good about keeping up with all those balls, knitting the squares. And then, I don't know why, but I just stopped knitting them. (I think this was about the time I was working a lot of overtime at work.)

But, with the move, I've found all those squares, plus I have a million little balls of yarn. Anyway, I decided to lay these squares out on the bed and see how many I needed to knit to finish this thing. And guess what? I only need nineteen!

Yeah, I can knock out 19. No problem. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Full Moon Fever

I know it's not scientific, and actual scientists will tell you the full moon has no effect on people, but anyone who deals with the public on a daily basis will tell you the full moon makes people go crazy.


Crazy when they drive (Oh, I think I'll cut across 3 lanes of traffic without looking and then flip you off when I almost hit you.). Crazy especially when they shop. (I'm sorry, lady. That item that you purchased here three years ago has been discontinued. We don't have any more of it. We won't get any more of it. I'm trying to help you find a suitable substitution for it. Yelling at me because you want something we don't have is not helping.)

There is an actual lunacy effect, trust me. Makes me wish sometimes I were a werewolf. That might even things out, eh?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Finger Crochet

My free class this month was Finger Crochet. Our project was a scarf. March is a little warm for a scarf, especially one made out of a bulky yarn. But, it was a nice project and a new, clever technique to teach.

I used Red Heart Grande yarn to demonstrate. Class members used yarns like Grande, Ziggy, Big, Mega, and Baby Blanket. Most finished their scarves, or very nearly finished. Mine is only about 6 inches long because, of course, I was teaching.

Monday, March 21, 2016

One More Warm Up America Rectangle

I knocked out another Warm Up America rectangle, since I felt like doing some mindless garter stitchery while watching TV.

As you know, my goal is to do at least one a month. So, three months in, I have four rectangles.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

WIP: Lotus Blanket Update

There are something like 80 stitches on
the needle at this point. More or less.
Back to the Lotus Blanket. I've been working so much, and creating samples for my classes, that I put the blanket down for a few days. Here's my progress.

As you can see, I'm just about finished with that center flower. After that, the pattern is pretty simple. It creates a petal-like pattern radiating out from the center with the increases along the diagonal lines. Then, there will be a seed stitch border around the whole thing.

I have enough stitches on the needle now that I've changed to a circular. I'm much faster on the circs than on dpns. Mainly because dpns are so needy! You have to keep the tension between the needles. You have to keep the stitches from falling off the ends of the needles. You have to remember which needle is the first one. So demanding.

This should go much quicker now. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Kids' Class: Knit Necklace

I've added a kids' knitting class to my class lineup. One of the projects we'll be doing is this Knit Necklace.
Knit using Red Heart Soft
I used some pink pony beads for this one, but you could use whatever beads you wanted, provided the yarn fit through the hole. It's a pretty quick knit, even with the bead skill added. I think kids learn pretty quickly and will have no trouble learning the skills for this.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Class Project: Crocheted Envelope

This is another one of the projects I am teaching in my beginner crochet class. It's a crocheted envelope.
Crocheted using Red Heart Classic yarn.
It works up pretty quickly, and there is a nice little finishing trick to make the shape. This would be a cute toiletries bag for the vacation suitcase or a nice sized clutch. You could also add a handle and make a casual purse for a tween. Or use it in place of wrapping paper for a special gift.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day

What's that expression? Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day? Why? Because we all wear green? And drink? I'm pretty sure that's going to be offensive to the people from Ireland.

But still, I actually do have Irish heritage. It's kind of funny, because my mom had always told us we were English, Irish, Cherokee. But, just a cursory examination of my family tree shows lots of different branches from all over the world. Basically, I think the game plan with my family was to travel to another country and make babies there.

There are strong Irish ties, though. Several of the known members of my family tree are from Ireland. Some day, I'd like to research that a little further.

I'd like to visit Ireland, too. There is such a history in Europe, with its castles and forts, old cities, and monuments. I suspect that those of you who are European don't realize the impact such history has on someone like me, from a relatively new country. (When we visited St. Augustine in Florida, they claimed to be the oldest city in the US. It was established aroudn 1565. A mere baby, compared to European cities.)

Someday I will go. (If I can force myself to get on a plane that goes over an ocean.) Until then, I will just have to make do with Irish Fest in Septeber.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Cat TV: Special Guest Stars

I've been calling our back window "Cat TV," since Achilles and Miss Gracie are mesmerized by it. Specifically, they are enjoying the birds and other wildlife that frolic on the back porch. The bird feeders I put out have attracted several different kinds of birds, some rabbits, and these ducks.

These ducks live in the little stream that runs behind the house. There are a lot of kids in this neighborhood, so the ducks are pretty wary of people. I tried to lure them closer to the house so the cats could get a good close up view.

But they were a little suspicious and wouldn't come very close.

I have no idea why.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Kids Class: Crocheted Bracelet

I'm teaching some kids' classes this month, so I wanted to make a sample ahead of time. It's always easier, I think, for kids (or anyone) to work on a project if they know what the end result is supposed to be.

So this is a crochet bracelet for kids. I used some Red Heart Classic yarn, but any kind of acryllic yarn would work for this. Cotton would work too. These are craft beads that I got in a tub of beads at Michaels.

Pretty nice. I think this would be a good entry level project for kids.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Class Project: Knitted Clutch

Here is one of my new knitting class projects. It's a knit clutch with some fringe. This is a beginner project, all garter stitch with some basic seaming and fringe.

It's knit from a smooth worsted weight. I used maybe a third of a skein. This is a bit small for a clutch, I think, but it would be great for a makeup bag. And it's great for teaching cast on, knit, bind off, mattress stitch, and fringing.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Ugh! Lost An Hour!

Daylight Savings Time. Not sure why that's a thing still. But it just cost me an hour of sleep.

Could I have gone to bed earlier? Maybe. But you know I have trouble getting to sleep anyway. Plus, I have had some really weird-ass dreams lately. Like last night, I dreamed of crocodiles. Listen:

I started out on some sort of journey, but after a while I reached a section of the highway that was treacherous. It was a mountain road--right up against the mountain on one side and no guardrail to block the steep drop on the other side. The downward grade was super steep, too. I was afraid to drive it.

But then, someone else stepped in and offered to drive it. Inexplicably, I agreed to let them. Of course, they drove so fast and so recklessly that I was terrified all the way down the side of the mountain. However, we made it safely and at the bottom of the mountain I got out of the car onto the side of a river bank.

That's when I noticed the river was full of crocodiles. Big, mean-looking crocodiles everywhere. (I thought to myself, "Hm. This is different. It's usually snakes.") And I realized I was lost. I looked back up at the road I had come down and it was gone. There was only the mountain. I tried to study the terrain for a way back up, but couldn't find any prospective routes.

But then, I realized I did know the way home. All I had to do was cross the river and climb up the other side to get to the road that would lead home. Of course, there were about a billion crocs in the water between me and the way home.  But there was a sandbar in the middle of the river. So I reasoned that I could possibly avoid the crocs by running across that sandbar.

And, since this was a stressful dream, when I reached the end of the sandbar, I realized it didn't stretch all the way to the other shore. And it was too far to jump to shore. But running across the sandbar had attracted the nearby crocs, so I couldn't stop and I couldn't go back. I just leaped.

Like, leaped.
And, since this was a stressful dream, I didn't make it. I went into the water, off balance, and went under. I actually saw a somewhat surprised looking croc.
I quickly scrambled up out of the water, onto the shore and began the most desperate scramble up the side of the mountain.

I woke up at some point prior to reaching the top. I was so terrified and sweaty, I felt like I had actually fallen into a crocodile river. But I was left with a lingering sense of unease that lasted all day.

So maybe I wasn't just tired because of losing an hour.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Class Project: Flower Coaster

I'm teaching some new classes this month in both knitting and crocheting. This is one of the new crochet projects, Flower Coaster. It takes a small amount of two colors of Lily Sugar 'n Cream. This is Soft Ecru and Hot Orange. I will have enough to make at least 4 coasters out of these two skeins.

This pattern teaches crocheting into a ring, motif crochet, changing colors, crocheting shells, and changing stitches. Still, it's a pretty good beginner pattern. I made this as a "finished item" display for class, but I have a crap ton of Sugar 'n Cream, so I think I might make some summer coasters for the house.

Friday, March 11, 2016

I Joined The Club

The bird feeder club. I have the Skid Row Shanty hanging out back, along with my plain ol' bird feeder (that seems to only attract pigeons doves and wrens). But both R & M have gotten fancy-schmancy birdhouses and feeders and I didn't want my birds to feel like they were underprivileged.

So I bought a hummingbird feeder to class up the bird neighborhood. Lets see if that gets a higher class of bird tennant to the patio.

Nobody yet, but you can see the others are checking it out.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

New UFO: Lotus Baby Blanket

That pink yarn from the 3 Hour Sweater was crying to be used, so I decided to try it out on another pattern. This time, it's the Lotus Baby Blanket.

This is worked from the center out, so that you get that pretty four-petal flower in the middle of the blanket. (Which you can't see yet because I haven't gotten very far along. But trust me. It's there.) It has a kind of tricky magic circle-style cast on, and I always find those first few rows on dpns to be a pain in the ass. But after that, it starts going faster.

As you can see, I'm not very far along. But I think this is the pattern for this yarn. It will make a good baby blanket, don't you think?

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Three Hour Sweater Frogged

I frogged the 3 Hour Sweater. I just wasn't feeling it. The gauge might be okay with another yarn and the yarn might be okay with another gauge, but I just didn't see myself wearing a short sleeve sweater with such a large gauge that I would also have to wear a shirt underneath it.

I still want to do the 3 Hour Sweater, but I think I need a heathered or variegated yarn to really make the pattern work. As for this Dusty Rose yarn... I don't know. I will think of something else to do with it.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

It's Spring!

I'd like to hang that feeder up a little higher,
but I think I'll try it down low for a while
and see if the birds are okay with it.
Don't worry. I haven't forgotten that I live in Indiana and the weather could (and is likely) to turn on us at any moment. My dad always told me it could snow (!) all the way into April. And sometimes he was right about that.

But today is a beautiful day. We took the opportunity to arrange the bird house and feeder on the back porch. This makes good on our promise to Achilles and Miss Gracie that there would be fabulous windows in this new house and lots and lots of birds and other wildlife to entertain them.

You probably recognize my birdhouse from the old place (no birds were living there at the time, don't worry). I'm thinking of putting another one out here too. I mean, if the birds are amenable to it. The birds at the old place were pretty snobby.

M and R both have some pretty fancy birdhouses at their own houses. They both have hummingbird feeders, too. I just have this Third World-looking house with a license plate for a roof.'

But it's okay. There were a couple of "doves" (pigeons) checking out the feeder today and some wrens were getting a little curious about the new rustic cabin in the neighborhood. So maybe this will work out, after all.

I think Achilles and Miss Gracie will be happy to see some bird action this spring.

Monday, March 07, 2016

What Is It?

Oh, look at this. These. There are two of them, pretty much alike. What could they be?

Look at this little protrusion. Is this a vase cozy?


Let me give you a hint. Can you see it now?

How about now?

Yes! Mittens! These are mittens! I started these a long time ago for M, back when she was in middle school. But you know how horrible I am about seaming things up... Here I am now, with child-sized mittens and no child.

Two fluffy, Muppet fur, child-sized mittens.

So these will be donated so some other child can enjoy them.

And I will reclaim two stitch holders!

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Bre's Birthday Pie

 February/March is a weird time for the Patwoman Clan. R's birthday, M's birthday, Valentine's Day. Then, this year, we also had M's bridal shower. Then, B's birthday is the first week of March. So there is a lot going on this time of year.

And there's cake at all of that.

That's why this year, B decided she'd rather have a pie than cake. So I made this Banana Cream Pie. I haven't made a pie like this in a long time, so it was a nice, refreshing change from birthday cake.

R also made her a cherry cobbler, which was delicious. He did a really good job with it and I'm definitely going to hound him for his recipe.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

The Robot Revolution Is Coming

But it's not the Terminator kind. It's more complicated than that.

Last month, Boston Dynamics released a video of their new and improved Atlas robot. If you will remember, Atlas is a vaguely humanoid robot. Not humanoid like this:

or this:

It looks like this:

Still, that's human enough, right? There's a point where a robot is human-looking enough to engender a feeling of empathy in humans, but not so human-looking that people get the heebie jeebies over it. I think Atlas is there for most people.

I personally think it looks a little threatening, but you know what kind of robot I like.

Hm. What was I saying? Oh yes. So Boston Dynamics released the video last month where the showed how well the upgraded Atlas robot was able to keep its balance. That's been an issue with humanoid robots--they don't do well on rough terrain or steps or bending over. They can't make the thousands of microcorrections our human muscles do all the time, without us even thinking about it.

Until now, of course. Atlas does a good job of keeping his balance on rough terrain. And, when the scientist in the video tries to push him over with a hockey stick, he is able to maintain his balance. That's pretty remarkable.

Know what else is remarkable? The comment section on the video. There are several comments showing empathy for the robot. People felt bad that the robot was being bullied by the hockey stick guy. That's pretty cool. I know there are robots in use in various places--hospitals, corporations, etc.--right now. But I think we are not far off from seeing robots in mainstream society.

It's an exciting time.

Friday, March 04, 2016

3 Hour Sweater WIP

Have you heard of the 3 Hour Sweater? It's a vintage pattern from a 1930's pattern booklet. You can find it here and there on the web. I saw it first several years ago but never got around to trying it.

Now, of course it doesn't knit up in three hours. I'm a very fast knitter and I'm sure I couldn't accomplish it in three hours. I think 8 hours is probably more like it. But that's pretty fast for a sweater.

That fast knitting is accomplished by the worsted weight yarn and the 5 mm needles. To be perfectly frank, it took me about an hour to swatch and do the math involved to make my size for this sweater. Yeah. I swatched.

You can get up off the floor now.

Anyway, I got the gauge down and started knitting.  I'm using Lion Brand Vanna's Choice in Dusty Rose. It's a pretty color. As you can see this guage is pretty big. And it is pretty quick. This is only about an hour and half of knitting.

I'm not sure about the gauge, though. What do you think?

Thursday, March 03, 2016


I have noticed a strange convergence of events lately, a pattern that creates what I like to think of as a "theme" for the day. Or what The Police referred to as Synchronicity. (I know it was Jung, but let's face it. Sting is way hotter than Carl Jung.)

Usually it's something like several customers a day will buy magnets for no apparent reason. What I mean is, magnets are not on sale and there is no magnet-related holiday in the near future. I assume the customers have a specific reason to make their purchases. Or, sometimes the pattern will be something like everyone is buying items that are purple.

I've also noticed a pattern in people's names. As a lifelong Pat, I always notice when someone is also named Pat. So when I see four Pats in a row, it stands out to me. I don't like it, by the way, when others are named Pat. It feels like a contest to me. And I'm going to win that contest.

The television guide display also tends to follow patterns. T and I play that game... look at the display and try to discern the pattern. For example, if I see 40-Year-Old Virgin, Thor, and 2 Broke Girls on the same display screen, the pattern is "Kat Dennings."

You can try this game yourself. There are tons of patterns in the everyday world. It's not hard to find them. That may seem a little bit like A Beautiful Mind, but I have read that the human brain is just hardwired to find patterns in things. That's why we see faces in everyday objects like electrical outlets and car grilles.

Although this chair from my old office definitely has a face. An angry, scary face.

Or maybe I was just fed up with my job at that time.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Warm Up America Squares

I had made a little promise to myself back in January (when I was seaming together all those Warm Up America squares) that I would do more squares for Warm Up America this year. I had hoped to do one a month.

I thought that was a realistic goal, since I have several other projects that I want to complete this year. And, of course, some months I would be able to complete more than one square. (Hopefully.)

Since the seaming party is in January and I already seamed my January squares into the WUA afghan, my "year" goes February through January. Make sense? Yeah.

So here is my February square (red) and my March squares (aqua). They are all garter stitch, which makes a pretty nice, squishy, but quick square.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

March Is National Craft Month!

I don't know if that's a real thing or not, but you know me. Any excuse, right? Hey, I'm not obsessed. I'm patriotic. It's National Craft Month!

How am I celebrating, you ask? Hey, I'm always celebrating National Craft Month. Every month. By crafting. Of course.

Actually, I will be spending quite a bit of time this month trying to unpack my crafts and find a home for them. I've already created a little sewing spot with a table and sewing machine (finally going to learn how to quilt!) and I have two bookshelves full of craft books. Seriously!

How are you celebrating National Craft Month?

Free Counter