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, June 27, 2016

Harmless Mineral Sphere...

The planet Cybertron. You be the judge.
Beautiful structures on this sphere!
...or Decepticon homeworld?

I recently purchased this chalcopyrite for my collection. It's not a polished stone--although that's my preference for the spheres I collect--but it's vaguely rounded. I would say it was semi-polished. 

Polished chalcopyrite is very pretty. It's metallic and shiny, which makes sense because it's the primary mineral in copper ore.

But this way, with all the tetragonal formation, it looks so much more interesting, doesn't it? I kept looking at this one, rolling it over and over in my hand, until I finally realized what was drawing me to it. It's the Decipticon/Autobot homeworld!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

12 Months Of Scarves: June

For this month's scarf, I wanted to work with some slip stitches. I like the way slip stitches make a pattern that looks much more complicated than it is.

This is a stitch pattern I got from an online stitch dictionary, www.knitca.com. It's a 6 st + 5 pattern, to which I added a slipped stitch on the beginning of every row to give it a nice, smooth edge. I used Red Heart Classic, a worsted weight yarn, in Purple.

Let me just say something about Red Heart, here. RH gets a bad rap among some crafters. I hear people talk about "squeaking" and "rough" and "plastic-feeling" and I can't help but wonder where they are getting their yarns. Don't get me wrong, I know exactly what they are talking about when they say these things, but I have not experienced any of that with any Red Heart yarns I've bought in the last 25 years. (And, to be fair, it was not just RH that had the plasticy yarns. It was all the major brands you see in the big box stores.)

All the RH I've bought in the last two and a half decades has been at or above my expectation. It's a nice, affordable, soft (though I will admit it's not the softest yarn on the market, it's plenty soft), and has a wide selection of colors. Those colors don't fade and are pretty even throughout. RH also doesn't tend to pill, even after repeated washings. I think it's a great yarn for kids' items, afghans, or anything you plan to wash a lot.

I think the detractors are maybe speaking from an experience they had many, many years ago. Or perhaps they are talking about yarn they inherited from their mom or grandma or bought at a yard sale--old yarn. Or they are just repeating things they've heard others say. I may get some hate for saying that, but I have talked to many new knitters who are just trying to sound like they know what they are talking about. "Oh, I never use acryllic yarn. Ew. It's so squeaky and cheap!" With some of these, I'm pretty sure it's the fact that they paid $4 a skein and not $40 that they object to.

Listen, I have heard these same people go on and on about some pretty expensive yarns and how soft they are. And some of them are. But some are just expensive. Frankly, there are some expensive wool yarns that I think are not nearly as soft as some of the wool blends or acryllics out there.

But, you know what I always say: If you don't like a yarn, don't use it. No one holds a gun to your head and makes you knit with a yarn. But also, don't hate on others for their yarn choices. You're not "helping them make better decisions." You're being an ass. And nobody will thank you for your opinion. They'll just avoid you next time.

Okay. That's my rant on yarn snobbery. Here's the pattern:


1 Skein Red Heart Classic (or two, depending on how long you want it)
Size 8 knitting needles

To Knit

Cast on 25 stitches (This is 3 pattern repeats, plus two edge stitches)

Knit 2 rows in garter stitch.

Row 1: Slip 1, then (P2, K1) across.
Row 2: Slip 1, then (K2, P1) across
Row 3: Slip 1, P1 *Slip 3 wyif, P1, K1, P1* ending Slip 3 wyif, P1, K1
Row 4: Slip 1, K1, Slip 3 wyib, *K1, P1, K1, Slip 3 wyib* ending K1, P1
Row 5: Slip 1, (P2, K1) across.
Row 6: Slip 1, (K2, P1) across.
Row 7: Slip 1, P1, *P1, K1, P1, Slip 3 wyif*, ending P1, K1, P2, K1.
Row 8: Slip 1, K2, P1, K1, *Slip 3 wyib, K1, P1, K1* K1, P1

Repeat these 8 rows until scarf is as long as you'd like. Then, work 2 rows in garter stitch and bind off.

You can add fringe, if you like, or leave it plain like I did. This is a highly textured, very warm scarf.

Slip all stitches P-wise
WYIF=slip the stitch with the working yarn held in front of the work
WYIB=slip the stitch with the working yarn held in back of the work

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My Tooth

OMG. I can't believe it. I was chewing gum this weekend (and not aggressively, as you might imagine) and I broke my back molar. Like a big chunk of it came off in my gum. WTF?!

So I went to the dentist--a new one, at that. (New to me. I assume he has been practicing a while. He has an office and all.) And it turns out that this is a tooth I had a previous filling in. But I developed a cavity under the filling. So without the part of tooth that broke off, there was just filling left. Yeah. Gruesome. And the dentist decided the tooth needed to come out.

He gave me some pain pills, but told me not to eat anything solid for three days. (I haven't really been able to eat solid foods since breaking the tooth, anyway.) Let me give you a hint about what happened next... You are not supposed to take pain pills on an empty stomache.

Last night I was puking for about an hour when T called me on his lunch break at work. Now, I didn't want him to worry about me if I didn't answer the phone, so my thought was to answer the phone and tell him I needed to go because I was sick. That was the plan, at least. What happened was this:

T: Hello?

T: You okay?
I hurraauurrrgh!

T: You getting sick?

T: How long has this been going on?

T: Do you need me to come home?

T: Ok. I'm coming home.


It was literally a 2-hour puke session, during which, I had puked so much and with so much force that I lost control and puked on the toilet seat, my hand, the shower door, the sink cabinet, the floor, my pants, and my right foot. And I just kept thinking to myself, "How can I have so much volume when I have eaten nothing?"

Long story short (well, not really, since it's pretty long and includes several illustrations already), I have decided to stop taking the pain pills.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Yarn Class

It's a yarn E. A yarny.
Get it?
I led another yarn class tonight. This one was another yarn embroidery project. We created a yarn monogram on canvas. I used a 12" X 12" white canvas and 4 different colors of yarn: Vanna's Choice in Dusty Blue, Silver Blue, Silver Grey, and Grey Marble.

It's an interesting technique. You're basically embroidering around the letter, leaving the initial in negative space. I think I will hang this in my craft room.

Oh yes. I have a craft room now. It's also T's painting studio and our guest room. But, yeah. It's my craft room, too.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day!

We had a good Dad's Day here at the Patwoman house. We went to see T's dad, of course. He has been in poor health lately (him and T's mom, too) and we've been spending a lot of time with them. But for Dad's Day, we especially wanted to spend some time.

It was nice, too. Got to hear some new/old stories about my hubby's childhood. We gave him a set of James Bond DVDs. I think he'll really like those.

Then, of course, the kids came here. They brought pizza and salad. I made a snickerdoodle cake. And Ryan made homemade ice cream. It was really good, too. I kept all the ice cream leftovers.

Hee hee hee.

We did gifts, and T got a couple of things he's really wanted for a while. So it was a very pleasant day for everyone.

I hope your day went well and that you got to spend time with your family.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Psychedelic Afghan Is Complete!

Whoa, Mama! Take a look! The Psychedelic Squares Afghan is complete! All of the ends are woven in. All of the squares are seamed. And I did a row of single crochet in white around the whole edge just to tie it all together.

I'm really super happy with this. Happy with the way it looks, the way it turned out overall, the way it feels, the fact that it's made entirely of scraps, and that T likes it so much!

I'm especially happy that this, my oldest UFO is finally a FO!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Scrubby Yarn Review And Pattern

This color is Royal.
I know this yarn has been out for a while, but I finally decided to pick some up and try it out. First, let me say, I don't usually do dishcloths or scrubbies. (I don't really hand wash the dishes, anyway.) But, I've been intrigued by the texture of this stuff, so I thought I'd give it a go. Plus, some random polling of customers tells me no one else has tried it either. (Two people were buying it for the first time and one person was using it to wrap a foam wreath in green.)

So I picked up a skein of this to try it out. Here are my thoughts on this yarn and it's various qualities:

First of all, it's texture is kind of weird. But not in a bad way. It's like someone made an eyelash or fun fur yarn out of a stiffer, coarser yarn that eyelash or fun fur is made from. It's got a crunchy hand, but not unpleasant. It does look a bit like scraggly fun fur, too. Like the difference between these muppets

and this one.

But, you know, I am not opposed to novelty yarn the way some people are. So I'm not offended by its fun fur-ness. It's kind of neat looking, I think. And I think that texture would serve well for a scrubby.

See what I mean about the texture?
This is a 3.5 oz skein of about 92 yards, so it's comparable to fun fur that way, too. It's a worsted weight, with a suggested needle size of 8. I tried a bit of garter stitch with it, just to see know it knit up and it wasn't bad, I guess, but I thought it seemed kind of flimsy and lacy that way. I think I would want a scrubby a little more closely knit. I don't like to feel the pan through the cloth when (if) I hand wash the dishes. But, I think you could easily double up this yarn and make a nice, dense scrubby with it.

This yarn comes in a pretty wide variety of colors. We had at least six or eight colors on the shelf when I picked this up. All bright colors, too. And it ran about $4, which is also comparable to a fun fur yarn.

It knits up very much like fun fur, too. By that, I mean, it's not easy to see exactly where your stitches are. But that has the advantage flip side of the fact that it also hides mistakes pretty well. Not that I ever make mistakes. I didn't try to crochet with it, though. That might be easier.

In the end, I ran it alongside a strand of Lily Sugar 'n Cream and that gave it the body I think it needs. The down side is that it did mute the bristle-yness of the yarn. Still, it was plenty scrubby, I think, for my purposes.

Overall, I think this was a pretty good yarn. I don't think I'd be making any close-fitting cowls or sweaters out of this yarn, but it makes a pretty good scrubby. Paired with the strand of Sugar 'n Cream, it would make a nice spa cloth, even.

So I decided to make one.

Bath Time For Muppets

1 skein Red Heart Scrubby in your choice of color
2 skeins Lily Sugar 'n Cream in complimentary color
#6 needles

To Knit:
Step 1:  With Lily Sugar 'n Cream, cast on 20 stitches.
Step 2:  Work in Garter Stitch (Knit every row) for 6 rows.
Step 3:  Knit 4, Bind off 12, Knit 4.
Step 4:  Knit 4, then cast on 12 stitches using backwards e method (thumb cast on), then Knit remaining 4 stitches on needle.
Step 5:  Now, work in Garter Stitch for about 12" beyond handle.
Step 6:  Attach Scrubby yarn and knit with both yarns held together in Garter Stitch for 18"
Step 7:  Cut Scrubby and continue in garter stitch with Sugar 'n Cream only for 12".
Step 8:  Knit 4, Bind off 12, Knit 4.
Step 9:  Knit 4, then cast on 12 stitches using backwards e method (thumb cast on), then Knit remaining 4 stitches on needle.
Step 10: Work 6 rows of garter stitch and bind off.
Step 11:  Weave in ends.

Feel free to make this pattern for yourself. I have made several of these, using others' pattern. This time, I was just winging it on my own and wrote down my "recipe" afterward.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

More Yarny Goodness!

One more trip to Brown County. I know, it seems like we've been there a lot lately, but it's a nice day trip. A nice drive, nice walking around, nice shopping.

This time, I had M with me when I went to the yarn store. And, as you know, I can't go to an LYS and not buy yarn. And, since M tends to get most of my yarn projects, it was only fitting that she pick one out. So here. She chose this Bamboo Bloom Handpaints yarn in Red Maple colorway. This is a really pretty thick and thin bamboo/wool/acrylic. I also saw this yarn (in another colorway) knitted up in this cowl pattern, so I nabbed a copy of that pattern, too.
This skein should be enough for this cowl.
It's funny how, when you go to the same place on multiple occasions, you end up seeing different things in pretty much the same places, right? Like this. I always stop in the rock shops. You know me and my minerals. This time, I found this stone in one of the shops.

It's Australian Brown Boulder Opal. I'd never seen a stone like this before, and it's absolutely beautiful! As you can see from the cut, but unpolished, stone in the back, the stone has layers of iron along with the opal. The iron and the opal are so thin and so inseparable, that they are usually cut together. The end result is that the iron colors the opal brilliantly. I think the layers give it a very abstract look.

I really would like to have a sphere made of this stone, but it is so expensive. I suppose that's because it's pretty rare. But still. A sphere made of this stone would look like a planet, wouldn't it?

Of course, we stopped by the wine shop, where I bought a really nice cranberry apple wine for a very reasonable price.

Harry doesn't mind the petting.
But then, we stopped into a vintage shop that I had never been in, even though it's right next door to the wine shop. And this place was fascinating. It's a little horrifying and also a little sweet to realize that so many things from your youth are now "vintage"--vintage albums, vintage typewriters, vintage technology. I have to laugh a little, because those things are the "space age" things of my youth! (That's what we called cutting-edge technology... "Space Age".)

I have to laugh, because otherwise I'd cry. I'm old! I'm vintage!

Anyway, The one thing in this store that was definitely not vintage was this beautiful black cat named Harry. He was lazed across one of the cases in that classic "You can pet me if you want. Or don't. I don't care one way or another." pose that cats are so good at.

So we petted him.

We also saw (in some other shops) a couple of cats that were more like this one:

I would put a feathery fake bird inside his
belly, somehow. That would be cool.
Across the street from the wine shop and vintage shop, I saw this place:
All kinds of jerky. Including alligator. (Which are not native to Indiana, by the way.) I don't really like jerky, myself. But, each to their own. I think it's an interesting shop.

We also saw this lamp all along one street. I don't know why I never noticed this before. But it's cool. It's very ornate. I wonder if you can get lamps like this for your own house? I wonder what the neighbors would say?

Ha. Never mind. I kind of already know what they'd say.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Refashioning Attempt

I love all those Pinterest things where people take an item of clothing and then refashion it into something completely awesome. I think it's really cool and creative. So I thought I might give it a try.

Yes, it's a male mannequin. I'm not sure
where the female torso is, since the move.
I actually had to buy another seam ripper.
That's another thing I can't find since moving.
Here's a pretty, sheer blouse with gold print I got for almost nothing at Goodwill. I love the fabric, and I've been looking for something like this. But I don't love the long sleeves. It looks a little dated to me.

What I'd like to do is take the sleeves off and wear this over a camisole. It shouldn't be too hard, right?

This is work for younger eyes than mine.
So, I started off thinking I would undo the arm seam and take the sleeves off neatly. But then I realized the finishing on the sleeves didn't work that way. I would end up taking of the sleeves and then having to refinish the armhole.

Too much work.

Scissors go much faster.
So, I got out my trusty scissors and started cutting. Mwah-ha-ha! Not only does it go much quicker than picking it out stitch by stitch, but it leaves that nice finished seam in place.

Once the sleeves were off, I went back with the scissors and cleaned up that edge a little. Still, it way way quicker than picking out the seam and looks great.

Here's the finished blouse. T and I had a little photo session in the living room.

Looks good, right?

Just not sure what to do with my hands.

"Are you taking pictures? Wait! I'm not ready!"
I need to come up with something really
jazzy to do with my hands.

What would Christie Brinkley do with
her hands in this situation?
Finally, I settled on Kevin from Home Alone.
It suits me better.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Afghan Update

I have been busily seaming together all these Psychedelic Squares for the afghan. As you know, seaming is my least favorite part of the process. But I am making progress.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Science, What Have You Done?

Have you heard about the scientist who is working on pig/human chimeras? No? Okay. Listen. This is interesting, frightening, exciting, and disturbing, all at once. I'm going to simplify because I'm not a scientist.

Ok, so this scientist, Pablo Ross, is creating and studying these chimeras in the hopes of being able to create a process for, say, growing a new pancreas. So, what they do is, they take a pig embryo and inject it with a molecule that tells the pig embryo not to grow a pancreas. Then, they take some human cells (these are like stem cells, but they come from adult skin cells) and they inject them into the embryo.

So, what should happen is that you get a pig embryo that grows a human pancreas. And because the human cells you've used come from the person who will get the new pancreas, there won't be any rejection issues. Nice and neat, right?

But, the thing is, there's no real way of telling these human cells to just make a pancreas and nothing else. They might make a pancreas. They might also make a brain. So now you've got a pig embryo with a human brain. And what do you do with that? Is it human? What qualities make a human being a human? How do we feel now about harvesting that human pancreas from a pig with a human brain?

Worse, (I think this is worse) what if the cells made reproductive organs? So now maybe you have a female pig with human ovaries. Could that pig produce a pig/human hybrid? What if that female pig mated with a male pig with human male reproductive glands. Could you have a pig give birth to a human baby? Would this pig be able to impregnate a human woman? Or would a human man be able to impregnate a female pig/human? What would the offspring be?

It's practically science fiction. No wonder there is a moratorium on government funding of this kind of research. (Although this guy Ross has gotten funding from other avenues so he can continue his work.) It's fascinating, yes. But, if you ask me, I think we probably shouldn't mess around with something we don't understand until we fully understand it.

Sure, Ross says he's only letting these embryos develop 28 days and then he disects them. But you know what? That's actually the whole basis behind several science fiction stories, including one by Michael Crichton--Oh, we're only going to let this embryo go so far and then destroy it. But, whoops, something happened and the embryo grew to term and now what do we do? I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to quote another one of Crichton's characters.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Brown County Fun

A rare selfie for me.
We took a trip down to Brown County again. It's a lot of fun to walk around and look at the shops and all the handcrafted items. This time, M's husband Ryan went with us. It was a lot of fun.

We spent some time in the lapidaries (because you know I love my minerals) and then we stopped in the Man's Toy Store. Now you know, I'm not a big gun and knife person, but it was an interesting shop, I have to admit.

This place had a sign that said "air conditioned
dining room." I thought it was a joke, like the
dining room was the patio. But they actually
did have an airconditioned room behind this
little kiosk. Ha!
We also ate gyros from a little courtyard restaurant.

Mmm. What should I do with it?
After that, I had to stop by the yarn store I had seen last time, the Clay Purl. I had a great time talking with the lady there. So much fun, in fact, that Ryan got a little bored and had to step out. Hey, he knew the job was dangerous when he took it. 

I picked up some beautiful yarn, too. Look at it. Maxima from Manos Del Uruguay in Arctic Shadow. It's 100% Merino wool. And I love the colorway! It's so nice I don't know what I should knit with it.

Large scale knitting!

Speaking of knitting, this shop had this great afghan-in-progress hanging at the front of the store. It's absolutely beautiful.

The yarn is actually roving about as thick as my thumb (or thicker!) and the needles are at least size 50's! I had to touch it, of course, and it was just about the squishiest, softest thing ever.

That kind of makes me want to do a big stitch afghan now. Sigh. One thing at a time, Patwoman. You've still got stuff on the needles.

We bought Maple Bacon Popcorn here.

We always stop at a couple of candy stores close to the end of any trip to Brown County. (Because, if you stop close to the beginning, you'll spend the entire trip eating candy. And then buy some more to take home. Trust me on this. Voice of experience.)
And, our tradition is to get ice cream on the way back to the car. I'm pretty predictable. This is a sugar cone with one scoop of Rocky Road on bottom and one scoop of Black Cherry on top. I like them in that order.

Friday, June 03, 2016

June's Warm Up America Squares

Using up the last of this navy blue, plus some
yellow leftovers.
Here are some more squares/rectangles for Warm Up America.

From the top, it's double crochet (with the dc's worked along the wide side of the rectangle, so it creates a kind of striping when it's turned the right way), double crochet in yellow, double crochet in navy blue, and knit garter stitch (because the garter stitch just goes so quickly).

I'm pretty happy that I've been able to create so many of these rectangles myself. I had a goal of one a month (so 12) but I'm way beyond that right now. Of course, I've gotten no Christmas knitting done yet, but that's another story.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

This Is For The Birds!

A little bit of Goodwill crafting today...

My cats are enjoying the patio door (aka Cat TV) so much these days. We get about 25 different varieties of birds (including ducks, geese, and a hawk) coming and going all day, plus a couple of bunnies, a raccoon, a chipmunk, and an occasional opossum. Achilles and Miss Gracie love to watch them all.

So we have a bird house, a bird feeder (although they seem to just prefer to eat it off the ground), and a hummingbird feeder. The bat house was a bust, so I thought "Why not add a bird bath?" That would be good for the birds, especially in the heat of the summer. And I think my cats would enjoy watching the birds frolic.

(By the way, Tanith Lee's Tales of the Flat Earth has a chapter in which birds are conversing at a puddle. It's exactly the way I imagine birds would speak to each other.)

So, yesterday, when M and I went to Goodwill, I picked up these things:
This glass vase was a steal!
I think, with the half price deals, all of this was less than $5. (That tall vase, btw, is almost $20 brand new. Score!) So this is a metal dresser tray, a tall glass vase, and a flower shaped metal charger plate. Pretty simple.

I glued it all together with E-6000 (This glue is definitely in my go-bag for the zombie apocalypse. It may take a bit to dry, but if you want something permanently attached, this is the stuff.)

E-6000, my crafting buddy.
I just "guesstimated" where the center of this
was, and glued the tall vase there. It seemed
pretty balanced.
I had to put it in another room to dry.
Some cats were very interested in
what I was doing.
Then I base coated it with a flat black. I like to base coat in black because I think it gives a really good foundation for the top layer of paint. You know how sometimes when you paint glass you have some thin spots in the paint? With a black base coat, you don't get that. It also covers up any imperfections so you can get a nice, even coat to start with.

Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos of the black base coat. But here is what it looks like after spraying on some Fleck Stone paint. I also painted 4 little pots (sealed the inside with black so the moisture doesn't wreck the paint job) and filled them with some petunias to provide some weight and a little more stability to the bird bath.

I sealed the whole thing with some clear acryllic. Hopefully that does the trick.

We put it out on the porch, in view of the patio window, but so far the birds have only examined it suspiciously. They have done numerous flyovers, but no one has landed yet. Oh well. Eventually, they will forget about it being new and just start using it, I'm sure.

Miss Gracie can't wait.

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