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.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Psychedelic Squares Afghan Update

Miss Gracie oversees the work.
You all know seaming is not my favorite thing. That, and weaving in ends. Makes me wonder why I even attempted to do an afghan like this. I must be crazy.

Anyway, you can see my progress so far. I have seamed up one row of blocks (in this case, I'm thinking of a block as a 4 square by 4 square block). It took me a while to find a method I was happy with, but I think I like this way.

It's basically a mattress stitch, but since I am working in garter stitch, I'm taking a dip from one side and a bump from the other. It leaves a slight seam on the back, but I'm ok with that.

This was supposed to be my April project... complete this long-term UFO. But, as you can see, I'm not quite there yet.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Tarn Basket #2

Well, I liked the tarn basket I crocheted so much, I decided to make another one. This one I wanted to make taller. And black.

Here's a funny thing... When you crochet in the dark, purple looks like black and you get a black and purple basket instead of an all-black one. It's okay, though. I like the look of it.

Here are the two baskets together on my shelf. I've filled this one with 13 skeins of Sugar 'n Cream yarn, so you can see it actually holds a lot.

I still have more tarn. Wonder what I can do with it next?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

12 Months of Scarves: April

Here is the scarf I've been working on this month. It's a pretty basic scarf, just stockinette with some alternating bits of garter stitch in the body and on the edges. Goes pretty quickly. I did this in the space of a movie On Demand. (It was World War Z, by the way. I could give you my opinion on that because I loved the book so much. But that would take a whole 'nother post.)
A little bit of garter stitch against a
stockinette background really pops.
Anyway, this scarf is knit in Red Heart Soft in Lavender, which I think gives is a soft, girly look. But you could knit this is grey, black, brown, tan, and it would be a totally different scarf. I'm thinking of knitting this again in white, just because I like the way a textured scarf looks in white.

This scarf is quick and easy enough to be a charity gift. Or a last minute gift for a friend. (By last minute, I'm assuming you've got a day or two to knit it. No need to create stress for yourself, right?)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hollow Earth BS

Some time ago, we used to play a game called Hollow Earth Expeditions. It was a pulpy-action style game with Nazis and dinosaurs and aliens and such. Lots of over-the-top situations. The premise of this game, the thing you had to buy into, was that this was a world in which scientists had discovered a hole in the Earth, leading into another world inside the world. That is, you had to buy into a Hollow Earth theory. Fun, right?

Okay, so did you know this is a real thing? Not real, in that the Earth is hollow and filled with dinosaurs and Nazis, but real like people actually believe it. They believe the part of the planet we live on is just a thin shell covering an inner layer of world, which is filled with (depending on which of the several Hollow Earth theories you believe) dinosaurs, cavemen, Nazis, and NASA scientists. (Because, apparently, this is something NASA has known about and hidden from everyone for decades, right?)

Holy crap. Are you kidding me? I mean, I know there are all kinds of people and all kinds of beliefs out there, but this just astounds me. Not because it's so out there (but that too, yeah) but because it's so easily proven wrong. With science.

Oh, but oh yeah. The scientists are all in cahoots to keep this from everyone. I forgot.

Even that part doesn't make sense, people. All the scientists? I seriously doubt you could get ten scientists to agree on the specifics of such a world--how big it is, how it formed, why it defies the laws of physics. But, even if you could, why would they want to keep quiet about it? Why would they not want to publish their findings and garner grants to continue studying and/or exploring this inner world that would be the scientific find of the millenia?

For that matter, why are there not a buttload of shows on Science, Discover, and Smithsonian Channels about it? Heck, why are there not a buttload of reality shows--Hollow Earth Survival or Life Below The Pole or Under Mountain Men?

Just sayin'.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Tarn Basket

The Q hook just made the fabric
too loose. I wasn't happy.

The finished basket. It's not lopsided.
It's just a very flexible fabric.
With just a few more days left to Earth Month, I wanted to show you another tarn project I made.

This is a tarn basket. I tried this with my Q hook, but it turned out way too floppy and too holey to work. The sides wouldn't stand up and it just looked like a tarn frisbee.

So I ripped it out and began again with a M hook. Much better. The stitches are tighter and firmer and more basket-y.

This is about a shirt and a half worth of tarn. I think I will use it to hold tarn balls. What do you think?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

How To Combat The Feeling Of An Empty Nest

I really liked these terra cotta warriors. I've always been
fascinated by that archeological site.
One thing I always like about weddings (well, actually there are lots of things I like about weddings--cake, music, cake, decorations, uh... cake) is that you get to spend time with family. My bro and his family came up for the wedding and yesterday we went to the Children's Museum.

Now I hadn't been to the Children's Museum in a long time, since my kids were little. So it was a lot of fun to go with my niece, the Fabulous Miss Allison. R and Bre joined us, and everyone acted like little kids.

R thinks this one could use a head upgrade.
There were a couple of exhibits we really spent a lot of time in--the Chinese terra cotta warrior exhibit, the science fiction/science fact/movie science exhibit, and the dinosaur exhibit.

T thinks he can take on Iron Man.

There were a lot of costumes from various movies and a lot of props. R and FMA played a quiz show game called Science Fact or Science Fiction.

In the dino area, there was a section where you could draw your own dino pictures. I drew a very cartoony T-Rex chasing around stick people and gave it to FMA. T was a little more serious about his art. He sketched this in about 10 minutes.
Rawr! I got tiny hands!
I hung it up on the fridge when we got home. He told me--can you believe--that it was the first thing he'd done that anyone had ever hung on the fridge! Poor T. What a childhood, to never have any of your work displayed with pride! I hung so much stuff my dad used to say that one day my refrigerator door would fall off.

Anyway, the trip to the Children's Museum was a good time and helped ease the feeling of empty nest.

Friday, April 22, 2016

My Daughter Is Married

I hardly know what to say.
On the one hand... My daughter is a grown woman and I am so proud of her. Her attitude, her spirit, her choices... All of them perfectly made. She is a beautiful, intelligent, kind, and loving woman. Her husband is strong, smart, and crazy about M. So, this seems like a natural and good thing,

But on the other hand... This is my baby.

Still, I held it together all day. Not too many tears. I was good, right up until this point:
The father/daughter dance. But don't worry. I wasn't alone in my tears. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Wedding Set Up

Down to the wire, folks. Funny how, after a whole year of preparation, I'm still running to Michael's the night before to get just a few more candles.

Still, I have to say, the venue looks awesome. Megan had a very clear idea of what she wanted and that remained pretty much unchanged throughout the whole process. The pink/rose gold theme works beautifully with the decor.

Here are some photos of some of the things we did to personalize the venue:

The arch, with a pink/gold/white backdrop to this arch, along with about a million pink and white petals.

Yay Pinterest.

So, hopefully, the couple will be framed by the arch and backdrop for all the nuptial photos.
This is the place setting for one of the tables. We painted all those chargers rose gold, plus all the bottles and candle holders. That table number is also one of M's creations. Because she is getting married on Earth Day, the background of the table number is part of a world map.

Each one of the place settings will have a white plate with a dip-dyed ombre pink napking and a rose gold animal of some sort on it as a favor. This is the one she made for R. It's a dinosaur, of course.

And, of course, Knightly will preside over the Memory Table, where photos of those who have passed (but who are there in spirit) are displayed. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Crocheted Bath Mat

I have this Q hook that I haven't really used much. (I can't remember if I've ever used it, actually. But I bought it because I had planned to crochet an afghan with three strands of yarn and then never did that.)

Anyway, turns out Q is a pretty good size for tarn. This is no pattern, really. I just chained some stitches and then double crocheted the whole thing, changing yarn in the center. As you can see, this is three t-shirts worth of tarn. It took the course of a movie to finish it.

This is going to be a bath mat.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Thinking Of Dog Actors

No, not bad actors.
Although the phrase "Starring Nicolas Cage" is enough
to make me never want to see a movie.
Actual dogs. Who are actors.

I was wondering about these dogs that are in movies. Obviously, they are trained to perform their parts, but what do they think about it? Like, if the dog is supposed to bark and growl at the actor like it's being very angry and the actor is supposed to be scared or angry at the dog... what does the dog think about that? Does it know it's just pretend?

I know this is a wolf. But you see my point, right?
When the director calls "cut," does the dog immediately relax? "Oh, man. I'm sorry I called you all that. You know I was just pretending, right? I don't really want to tear your face off."

Or is the dog confused by it? Do they harbor those ill feelings toward the actor from that scene? "Don't even come close to me, Joffrey! I hate you so much!"

Or is the dog fully aware that this is not real? "Hey, how was that? You seemed really scared Joffrey. I think I did a really good job with that scene."

I worry about the dog's emotional well-being. I wonder how those actor dogs feel about their lives after they are done acting. Do they feel fulfilled? Or do they, like many retired humans, just fade?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

And Now Comes The Hard Part

All the Psychedelic Squares have been knitted. And now it's time to weave in the ends. Let me tell you, if I can't be a shining example of what you should do, at least let me be a horrible warning. Each of these squares has 16 ends to weave in.

Sixteen! And there are 80 squares. How am I supposed to accomplish that? (Without violence, I mean.)

I'm just going to tell you right now. Weave in the ends as you go, people. Listen to me. I've lived this nightmare.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Bird Song Afghan

Check this out. It's the Bird Song Afghan from Lion Brand.

I saw this and immediately loved it. Then, of course, I saw that it was a Nicky Epstein design. So of course I loved it. I don't think I've ever seen a design of hers that I didn't love.

This definitely goes on my to do list. I really like it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

This Is Why We Can't Have Anything Nice

Tay is an acronym for "Thinking About You"
So you've heard of Tay right? Tay was an artificial intellegence that Microsoft created a Twitter account for. Microsoft was apparently exploring the way an AI can learn from humans and interact with humans.

You'll notice I'm speaking in the past tense, right? That's because Microsoft has already taken Tay down from Twitter because the trolls broke her.

Yeah, she was on Twitter for only about 16 hours before getting yanked. That's because people jumped on her like pit bulls on a poodle, destroying her to the delight of each other. Basically, in less than a day trolls had manipulated her--by feeding her information and leading questions--into spewing the most racist, bigoted, hate-filled rhetoric.

Okay, so on the one hand, Microsoft should have known that would happen. What were you thinking, Microsoft? Have you met the internet? It is not a nice place. Microsoft basically took its toddler child and left it at a frat party. And the fraternity was the PedoPhilos. With anger issues. And knives. Microsoft should consider themselves lucky that Tay was not seriously psychotic or suicidal after 16 hours.

But on the other hand, I think this illustrates how mean most people are willing to be on the internet. Seriously. Let's look at that toddler metaphor again. I'm willing to bet most of those people who interacted with Tay would never go to a friend's house and teach their toddler to swear, discuss graphic sexual situations, and spew racist and misogynistic commentary. That would not be funny to anyone. And I think most people would find that type of behavior reprehensible.

Likewise, you wouldn't just start teaching that shit to a random child on the playground, either. That would get you in serious trouble. 

But on the internet... somehow that's funny.

And yeah, let's not forget that Tay is artificial intelligence. Not a real toddler. I get that. I'm not even mad that people set out to purposely ruin the experiment. It was an experiment, after all, and proof that Microsoft needs to intill future AI programs with some basic understanding of inappropriate behavior. After all, if only 40 million tweets in 16 hours can cause it to act like a psychopath, then we definitely want to do some more work on it before we put that AI into any sort of important application, right?

No, I guess I'm disturbed that so many people jumped right onto the cyberbully wagon, like it was so much fun to get the robot to say horrible things. I'm sure some of those people seem like perfectly normal people in real life. But think about it... why would you make a program say inflammatory, racist or sexist things if you didn't feel that way deep down yourself? Because if you are not a racist and you think it's funny to get someone to say racist things, maybe you are a racist after all.

And no, I don't think the robot's feelings were hurt. But certainly, some people who might have followed Tay's feed might be offended or hurt. 

Badly done, internet. Badly done.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

And Even More Squares

You'd think I'd be getting tired of doing squares by now. But I find it strangely theraputic. I could do them in my sleep now. (Don't laugh. I have actually fallen asleep knitting and kept knitting, I'm told.)

Not looking forward to weaving in the ends, though. I don't know why, but weaving in ends is my least favorite thing to do. I hear others say the enjoy it, and lots of people say they just consider that part of the process--something that has to be done.

But I feel like it just delays my satisfaction of being done with a project. I started this afghan a long time ago and didn't weave in any of the ends. I just knit and moved on. But if I were doing this again today, I would weave in these ends as I went.

Because, even after all the ends are done, I still have the seaming to do.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

More Completed Squares

More squares completed. (But, unfortunately, I deleted the photos off my phone. I apparently thought I'd already sent them to my computer, but no. Good job, Patwoman. You killed the photos.)

Honestly, I'm a little surprised I have this much scrap yarn. I have used scraps for the Time-Traveling Afghan, my Warm Up America squares, and this afghan. That seems like a lot to me.

At least, when this is done, I will have seriously winnowed down my scrap yarn. I'll probably just wind whatever is left onto my Magic Ball.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Scrap Afghan Squares

Aha! I have completed more squares for the Psychedelic Afghan! These take about 20-30 minutes each to do, so they go pretty quickly.

I'm really excited about finishing this in April. This is my oldest UFO.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Finally Found A Dress

I was getting a little worried, I can tell you. But I did finally find a dress for M's wedding that I love. It's a dusty pink color, with some sparkliness and some laciness. The neckline is very flattering, I think.

Now, I can focus on T's tie. He is wearing a black suit, but I am making him wait on the tie so he will match me. I'm thinking a deep red.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016


This is nothing new, of course, but since it is Earth Month, I wanted to do some stuff with reclaimed/recycled materials. And I had some t-shirts that needed to be something else.

So I made tarn. This is not all of it, of course. I have a million more t-shirts. There will definitely be more. Most of what I have are black shirts, though. This pink represents some rare color in my t-shirt wardrobe.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

April's Warm Up America Square

This is my Warm Up America square/rectangle for this month. This yellow is (I think) some I Love This Yarn from about six years ago. Naturally, the label is long gone, so I am just guessing. But I'm pretty sure that's it.

I'm happy that, no matter what's gone on, I've been able to stick with my goal of making a square a month for this charity. I know that's not much. Not even a whole afghan. And there are plenty of people who are doing more. But I'm trying, at least.

Monday, April 04, 2016

The One Where Patwoman Visits Her Bro

So we took a trip to visit my bro this weekend. It was already planned, but I thought maybe we could help him do something with the storm damage--clear some debris or something. Turns out, he already had most of that taken care of.

Good thing, too. Just during the time we were visiting there, there were several cars that drove up to the house. Looky-loos, mostly. Keep in mind, this is a private drive, not a road, that dead ends at the top of the hill. You have to do a three-point turn to turn around and leave the property. It's not like you could just accidentally happen upon the place. These people were coming to see the damage.

I'm tremendously bothered by that. I mean, of course, I surveyed the damage while I was there. But I did so as a family member. I was there in a how-can-I-help capacity. These people didn't even know my bro and definitely weren't there to help. They just wanted to look.

Or worse. My bro told me they had caught people trying to loot the rubble. What kind of brass does that take, to come to someone's property and dig through their house to see if there is anything worth taking? How low-class do you have to be to take advantage of someone's misfortune that way?

I think losing everything like that would make you feel exposed and vulnerable anyway. And then, to have strangers come and gawk would just add a layer of crap to that. And then, to have people come and try to rip you off when you've lost everything?

It really burns my ass.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Thinking Of Old Dudes

No, not in that way, of course. (Except you, Adam West. I always think of you that way.)

No, I've just been feeling my age lately--perhaps a side effect of this depression that I can't seem to shake. I have been feeling old and unattractive and not very interesting at all. In fact, I went back and read some of my early blog posts and I was a little shocked at how much more clever those posts are than the posts I write these days.

Seriously. Why are you still reading this?

So that made me think of people who are older than me, who are still super active. For example, about 9 years ago, T and I went to see The Police Reunion Tour. At that time, all of those guys were older than I am now. Well, they're still older than me, but you get it, right? Anyway, that show was physically demanding. They were up there under the hot lights, doing physical stuff for like 3 hours (honestly, I don't think I could stand onstage for 3 hours, let alone jump around or play an instrument). Sting, of course, was perfect. Stewart's drums were perfect. And Andy Summers, good God! He was what? Mid sixties on that tour? Played like a freakin' tyrannosaur. I mean, like genius! Ima tell you right now, my hands do not work half that well. He was pretty damn awesome.

And they're not the only ones. Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon (older than me) still performs. And, if you've ever seen his live show, you know this guy moves all over the stage. And what's more, his voice is still great. He still has that same incredible range.

And actors. So many actors are more physically active than you would imagine. And that's with long days of filming, the physical strain of the work, and the mental strain of doing the job. I know I would not be able to do it. I sometimes watch a movie a second time because I don't remember it. It might seem a little familiar... I will tell you for free that I would not be able to learn lines for a whole movie.

But yeah, these are entertainers. To be fair, in my prime, I was not as good looking, talented, or energetic at they are. So, I can't really compare myself to any of them.

But I do wonder about them. Like, when these guys do all kinds of crazy stuff as part of their jobs--jump up on top of a moving stage platform and play guitar, chase another actor through a traffic-filled street, gyrate in a sexual fashion as part of the stage persona, make out with an actress as part of a scene--how weird is that for them? Do they feel like their young selves? Or do they feel like senior citizens?

Like, sometimes I see something like that and I think "He's 20 years older than me! How is he doing that?" or I think "Man, he's going to need to take some ibuprofen and a long hot shower after that." And sometimes I wonder what their family thinks. Sure, the family has grown up in the business and there's a certain amount of jaded acceptance there. But, surely there's also a little bit of "Oh my God, Grandpa."

Saturday, April 02, 2016

April Is Earth Month

Since Earth Day is in April, I thought it would be a good idea to focus on projects that were more Earth-friendly. Upcycled projects. Scrap projects. Projects made with alternative materials.

This will be a good opportunity for me to get rid of a bunch of scrap yarn (there is still so much left, even with working on the Psychedelic Stripes Afgan). Plus, I think I will also destash some t-shirts that are just sitting in my closet.

I'm thinking Tarn, but who knows? They might become something else. I don't know what yet. But definitely some Tarn. I'd like to do a nice tarn basket for my craft room (that's our bedroom) shelf. And a bath mat. Maybe a cat basket?

Anyway, I probably won't be composting anything. Left my composter at the other house. (It was busy being a home for spiders, anyway.) And I don't have a lot to get rid of anyway. I was pretty brutal about deciding what to keep and what to get rid of in our recent move. (Actually, my suggestion was take the yarn and push everthing else to the curb. But T wouldn't go for that.)

We've got a whole month here, so let's see what happens.

Friday, April 01, 2016

This Blows

Okay. So that title may be too much, too soon. But it really does blow. Last night I got a call from my older bro:

Bro 1: Hey, you still planning to come up this weekend?
Patwoman: Yeah. Sunday. Probably around noon.
Bro 1: Well, I was thinking maybe you should stop at my house first instead of Bro 3.
Patwoman: Yeah. Ok. I can do that. Why? What's up?
Bro 1: His house was destroyed by a tornado a couple hours ago.
Patwoman: What?!

Yeah. So that actually happened. My bro's house was hit by an F1 tornado. Luckily, no one was hurt.

Scary, though. And now they have other issues. Like where to live.

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