A blog about my life, knitting, and other stuff.

June 30, 2008

Knitscene Preview

It's up. Your thoughts?

June 29, 2008

Summer Watching Options

Thanks for new show recommendations in the Swingtown post. Some of them are on Hulu so I'll check them out soon. They've just added Raising Arizona so I know a good way to kill a few hours when I hit the summer doldrums. Or you can go watch ALF if that's how you roll.

As some of you suggested, Netflix is a girl's best friend when TV is on hiatus. Do you know about Roku? Wes and I just got it a few weeks ago. It's amazing. For $99 you get a set-top box the size of a cd box set. It connects directly to your tv and if you have wifi you can watch anything on your "Watch Instantly" queue from Netflix. The picture quality is very good compared computer streaming video. It takes very little time to start up and only rarely hiccups or pauses to buffer. You can watch an unlimited about of instant content from Netflix. You can also rate the films or remove them using the remote. It's a much nicer viewing experience than watching movies on the computer and it's great for you Mac users who can't otherwise use the "Watch Instantly" feature.

One more thing about Swingtown. Debbie commented "It's on network TV. How sexy can it get?" I think there's a huge difference between sex and sexy. There have been many good sexy tv shows.

June 28, 2008

Zombie at Work

When I came downstairs this morning I discovered this on the newel post.

A corporate zombie at his (popsicle) desk with a (Fimo) computer monitor and keyboard, telephone and pencil holder.

Crocheted Eco-Friendly Carryall

Pattern: Crocheted Eco-Friendly Carryall
Yarn: 2 skeins of Allhemp3 (free from a Purlygirl)
Hook: Boye G
Notes: Man, I suck at crochet.
I thought this would be a one or two day project but it's dragged on for a week eating up all my crafting time. I had a very difficult time with the instructions for the ends of round for the mesh which caused the bag to grow a little wider as I worked on it. When I finished I though it looked foolishly short and stout but once I stuck a heavy box of cereal in there it stretched out to a remarkable size.

June 27, 2008


Younger Son: (with pride while demonstrating in the shower) [Big Brother], wet armpit farts!
Older Son: (in agreement) They're better when you're naked!


Pattern: Grim Reaper from Creepy Cute Crochet
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash and Lamb's Pride Worsted
Hook: Boye E
Notes: I worked this guy at a much tighter gauge than the other two from the book. The results are great but the kids don't like that he's smaller than the zombie and vampire. I got Fimo clay for the scythe and asked Wes to make it for me last night. He's much better at stuff like that than I am. I used buttons for eyes with a shank on the back so they seem kind of bulgy. The first time I sewed them on I had them too far set and it looked just like Igor from Young Frankenstein.

June 26, 2008


Is anyone watching Swingtown? I've watched the first two episodes. It's about a button-down, suburban family that moves across the street from some swingers and quick as you can say "plot device" they decide, with just a knowing look between them, to try group sex for a change. The good things about the show are Molly Parker and the art direction. The clothes, sets and general coloration are dead on 70s. They are also having a lot of fun--maybe too much--with the music. But the fatal flaw for me is that for a show about sex it is completely devoid of any sense of sexy. It makes swinging look as dull as a Tupperware party. Shouldn't the sexual revolution be at least a little titillating? I'm ready to delete it from my ReplayTV but it's the only new non-reality show on this summer.

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

I'm not completely opposed to cropped tops. There are some elegant ways to work the shorter sweater. Then there are ways to slap a rectangle of knitting on the chest of a model.

It's not helpful to "embellish" when a design already makes you look super-stumpy. How much do we think this denim tank top weighs anyway?

Looks like something the daughter on Swingtown would wear.

It turns out the same is true for crochet.

Even the model can't hide her disdain for this weighty, stumpy sweater.

June 25, 2008

Now I Remember

I recall now why I've put off making some doctor appointments and scheduling a repair for the car. I've been on the phone for 45 minutes! I'm still on the phone. I've been transferred here and there.I've been on hold forever. Why must this be so aggravating?

June 24, 2008


Wes made Isabella into an LOL!

June 23, 2008


Pattern: Knit Lobster by Molly Lincoln
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Worsted
Needles: US6 Addi Turbos
Notes: The finishing on this was a big pain. That's why it took me an entire month to finish this little guy. The pattern is really cute but all those little pieces! Ugh!

Wood Chips are My Life

After we decided to go ahead with sheet mulching the entire back yard we called a few local arborists about getting wood chips. Then one day two weeks ago, with no notice or warning, I came home from work with this waiting in front of my house.

That's about 10 cubic yards of wood chips which, you may notice, is taller than that sedan parked there. Wes and I have devoted a lot of time to hauling wood chips either by hand or by wheel barrow into the back yard. I have also devoted a lot of time to collecting cardboard to cover the entire yard. The people at Trader Joe's have gotten pretty used to me coming into the back and pulling everything out of the cardboard baler. We have maybe 75% of the yard covered at this point.

Quite a difference from two months ago.

Now if I could just get everyone walking by to stop making snarky or obvious comments while out there shoveling chips. The most common ones are, "Got enough chips there?" and it's more obvious variant, "That's a lot of wood chips!"

Yeah, buddy. We know.

George Carlin RIP

I went to YouTube to find some video but there is just too much to choose from. Go have a look around yourself (when there are no children or uptight people around).

June 22, 2008

Crossover Episode

Jenny Check from Stash and Burn and her husband, Harold, visited Seattle this weekend. I learned about their plans to visit while listening to Stash and Burn #55. I had spaced out a bit for a moment then snapped back when I realized that Jenny and Nicole were discussing Seattle. Then I realized that not only were they talking about Seattle, they were talking about me! Just then older son walked up and started talking. I told him to wait so I could hear what was being said.

"Why?", he asked. "What are they talking about?"
"They're talking about me," I told him.
I got a very dubious look.

Anyway, I picked up Jenny and Harold from their hotel and took them on a late Saturday afternoon yarn crawl. We only made it two shops because we got distracted by cupcakes. It was wonderful to meet them both. When I would turn my head and I could hear Jenny talk it was the oddest feeling. The voice is so familiar but the person is all new.

Any other knitters visiting Seattle? Let me know.

Jenny got to briefly meet my podcasting partner, Erin. I was kicking myself later. I should have recorded at least a minute or two of all three of us together. It could have been like when the cast of Diff'rent Strokes would show up on The Facts Of Life.

June 21, 2008


Elusive Mr. Squirrel, always out of reach.


Pattern: Foliage by Emilee Mooney
Yarn: Sheep Shop 2
Needles: US10.5 Brittany dpns and Addi Turbo, US9 (maybe 10??) Inox circ
Notes: I wanted to try this yarn I recieved as a sample at TNNA. It seemed perfect for Foliage. It knits up beautifully. It's very firm, shiny and soft. The pattern is a lot of fun and may just be the ultimate last minute gift pattern. I cast on in the evening and completed it later in the night while watching a few old episodes of CSI.

And it matches my shirt perfectly!

June 19, 2008

Too Creepy Not to Share

The Magic Cabin Pony Harness has been discontinued. Perhaps too many "big kids" were using it for their own "playtime?"

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

While I admit I've had a go at Berocco more than a time or two I haven't fugged them in a long time. The quality of their patterns, while not matching my taste, has vastly improved. But the latest group of patterns has some real issues.

This hat vexes me. Is this even a real photo? Has the hat just been added to a photo of a model with photoshop? What does the hat even look like? I can see how it will appear from the top of a ladder but how about a side view?

Knitwear meets bondage. I can see the appeal of having small accessories connected so you won't lose one but why have the scarf-y thing so short you can't actually use it to warm yourself? Why all the arm wrapping? I'm confused.

This one was in the fashion show at TNNA. I should probably recuse myself because I detest anything glittery (it's in a shiny silver yarn). But the way this one moved on the model gave me the willies. The front dewlap, or perhaps udder, just flapped back and forth as the model walked down the runway. Highly unattractive.

This one, in addition to winning the "Most Unruly Edge in a Published Knitting Pattern," also gave the impression that someone was standing behind the model holding her breasts in his hands. It's styled more tastefully here but beware the strips of ribbing that cup the breasts! Beware!

Everyone has been sending me the link to this one. What can I say? I also have a lot of trouble with button placement. Next time try placing a pin to correspond to each buttonhole. Should fix this one right up.

June 18, 2008


I may really late with this but did you see that the Anti-Craft has an issue devoted to bacon?

Funniest Things the Kids Have Said So Far Today

Younger Son: We are *so* not young.


Younger Son: What's Ghost Rider's alter ego?
Older Son: Nicolas Cage

June 17, 2008

RIP Cyd Charisse

Tiny House Woman

The woman who became somewhat famous for not selling her tiny cottage so that developers could put in a Trader's Joes died today. What will happen to her little house now?

Nosferatu and Corportate Zombie

Patterns: Nosferatu and Corporate Zombie from Creepy Cute Crochet
Yarn: Scraps of Lamb's Pride Worsted, Cascade 220 and Elann Sierra
Notes: Check the author's blog for errata, tips and hints.
I didn't have any red felt and the kids didn't want to wait for a trip to the fabric store so I did some half-assed crochet-like blood on the mouth of the zombie. It looks like he's sticking his tongue. He's a lot happier looking than I expected.

Doubleknit Podcast #3

The newest podcast is available on the Doubleknit blog. It will take a little while for it to appear on iTunes.

June 16, 2008

IK Crochet Preview

It's up. As always I welcome your thoughts.

June 15, 2008

Good Evvvveeeening

I got a copy of Creepy Cute Crochet at TNNA. At first glance I was unenthused. All the little creatures have essentially the same body and head (there are a few exceptions). But when my kids got their hands on it they were in love. They asked--no, demanded--to be taught to crochet yesterday so they could "make two of everything in the book." I'm not whiz at crochet. I got them yarn and hooks and sat them down and showed them how to make a chain. My eight year old gave up after about 26 seconds. My 10 year old stuck to it a little longer. He made a chain and tried to learn single crochet. Then he gave up too. So I was instructed to make one of the patterns from the book. They picked Nosferatu. I made the head yesterday. It looked awful. I made a second one. It was much tighter and more rounded. I made the body, ears and collar today and stitched it all together. He just needs some buttons for eyes and felt for fangs and he'll be ready to suck. Your blood.

I have some minor quibbles with this book.
1. The instructions for the head are the same for nearly all the patterns yet they appear completely different from doll to doll. The instructions for Nosferatu's head make a sphere but his picture makes his head look very oval.
2. The patterns tell you to increase and decrease but don't explain how. I found more instruction on the author's website. I also found errata for the head there.
3.The instructions for the head and body both tell you to finish the piece and then later tell you stuff them once they're all closed up. I noticed this and stuffed them before finishing and so will 99% of people making them so not a huge deal.

June 14, 2008

A Few More TNNA Pictures

We've got Amy Singer and Jillian Moreno spinning, the Threadbear boys knitting, Stephanie from Spritely Goods (behind Amy).

Stephanie and Nathania of Purlescence.

A chocolate orgy courtesy of Lexie Barnes.

June 13, 2008

Lyle the Lobster

Pattern: Lyle the Lobster by Patti Gonsalves (free)
Yarn: Mission Falls Cotton from Amanda (free)
Notes: Totally straight-forward and easy amigurumi. I found attaching all the appendages really tedious which is why I waited nearly a month to finish it. Without them though he looks kind of like a sex toy. Better to sew them on.

Ripple Afghan Square

When you go to TNNA you practically have free yarn thrown at you. I was honestly turning down offers of lovely free yarn because...well, I don't need more yarn. And I didn't want to carry it all home. But when the ladies at Sheep Shop Yarn asked me to take home some yarn to test drive I said yes. The same day I got word of some friends making an afghan for another friend who is going through a rough time. I needed to knit an 8" x 8" square in worsted weight yarn. I wound the Sheep 1 (by hand) and started trawling Ravelry for dishcloth patterns. After a few misfires I found a pattern I liked that I hoped would create an appropriately sized sqaure. The yarn is really nice. I was told it was softer than Manos, harder wearing than Malabrigo and with a consistent grist (thickness). It is all these things. The square is a little less than square but I'm hoping in the larger context of an afghan it will be just fine.

Man Up

If you plan to leave a comment like this on my blog, " you fuckwits have no clue. Clare is fabulous and you are all ignorant and devoid of taste," then please have the guts to leave your name and contact information. Nasty, anonymous comments will be cheerfully deleted and their authors banned.

FYI, the comment was for this post.

June 12, 2008

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

From the designer who brought you the dissected frog comes just the thing you've been waiting for. The dissected rat! You can relive those the waves of panic and nausea that made dissection so much fun without all the mess.

You can knit one yourself. The pattern is available as a download.

Personally, I'm still holding out for the fetal pig.

June 11, 2008

Auburn Camp Shirt Progress Report

I brought only one project with me to Columbus, the Auburn Camp Shirt. I wanted some dedicated knitting time to make actual progress on the project.

My progress after the first leg of the trip.

After two days in Columbus (I think).

Every time I pulled out my knitting everyone around me would start asking me about it. "What are you making?"
"What size needles are those?"
"What yarn is that?"
"You're making a sweater in lace-weight?"
"Are you nuts?"
When I finally met Chrissy Gardiner, the pattern designer, I proudly pulled out my knitting to show her. Before even looking at it she emphatically announced, "I never want to knit that sweater again." I had hoped she'd be the one person who wouldn't think I was crazy for knitting it. It turns out she had a crazy deadline for the sample and had to knit the sweater in two weeks along with some socks. So I can understand her negative associations.

Look, even Annie Modesitt thinks I'm crazy.

Here's where I am now. I don't know about you but I am pretty impressed. It's growing. And I keep reminding myself that the sleeves are tiny. I will finish this sweater damn it. And I will wear it with pride.

June 10, 2008

Continuing Crazy Small World News

While walking the floor at TNNA I passed a woman who looked just like a dear friend from knitting camp. I stopped. I backed up. I looked at her. I realized it couldn't be her because she wasn't a yarn shop owner. I walked away. I backed up again. Anyway, it was her! It was my friend Dawn. She drove up with three ladies who own her LYS where she teaches. We made plans to get together for dinner. At dinner we noticed the woman at the next table were knitting. We asked where they were from. They were from the Katonah Yarn Company. I said I grew up near there. After much discussion I find out that one of the ladies used to live three blocks from where I grew up and her children went to my day camp and elementary school! I told them I was with a friend from knitting camp and they asked if I knew Denise, another good camp friend.

I also finally met Kristi Porter. She and I went to college together but didn't know each other than. I mentioned it to Cookie and it turns out she went to the University of Chicago too. There were so many other funny little connections while I was there. I won't bore you with any more.

The TNNA Diet

It turns out that if you only eat one meal a day and walk about 10 miles on the sale floor of a trade show you lose a few pounds. The time change really threw off my eating schedule in Columbus. When it was lunchtime there it only felt like mid-morning to me. Then when it was my lunchtime it was 4 in the afternoon there. So I'd just hold out and eat a huge dinner. Then I'd curse myself at midnight in my hotel room when I was famished and there was no available food. Then yesterday I made a point to eat lunch on Columbus time for fear that I would not have time to eat while traveling. I am so glad I did. I ate at 10 am my time and did not eat again (except for a Cookie at the Columbus airport while hanging out with Cookie A. and the ladies from Dream in Color) until after midnight when I got home. My wonderful husband made me a hamburger when I crawled in the door then presented me with a Trophy cupcake. Yeah, he's a keeper.

June 7, 2008

Pass the Duct Tape

Because my head is going to explode!

I was in the Schaefer booth today. The woman I was talking to said, "I know you from somewhere."
"I met you in Long Beach."
"No, further back, like summer camp or something."
We compared summer camp notes and no match.
"Where'd you grow up?"
"New York," I told her.
"Where in New York?"
"Where in Westchester?"
"Me too."

We went to elementary school together!! How in the world did she recognize me?

June 6, 2008

Hive Mind

For a moment there I thought Ravelry was having a technical problem because everyone had queued the same item.

Guess you're all pretty stoked about this sweater, huh?

The Who's Who

What a kooky day. I took a morning business class. Then I went to the luncheon where Stephanie was the speaker. The food was awful. It was some kind of "salad." Essentially a lot of disparate leftovers piled on lettuce. Vile. Made me pine for yesterday's bad salad. I got a free signed copy of Things I Learned from Knitting. They give books away here like mints.

I met so many people today. Bonne Marie Burns, Shannon Okey, Kristi Porter, Jillian Moreno, Amy Singer, Franklin Habit...I know it's been blogged before but everywhere you turn there is a familiar face, a well-known designer. I got to peak inside Janel Laidman's new sock book. So much fun. A friend tried to introduce me to Rick Mondragon. He glanced over then turned his back on me!

Tonight was the fashion show. I marked "Thursday" next to a number of items. My favorite set up of the evening was an item that was described as a "cross between a cape and a wrap." I turned to Kris and asked, "A crap?"

In the meantime here is a snippet of January's fashion show. My favorite item is around the 3:50 mark. 4:50 is also worth a look.

Never Leave Your Time Zone

Yesterday I left the house just before 6 am and arrived at my hotel in Columbus at 9:30 pm. There were many long hours of waiting at O'Hare in there. Would it kill them to get someplace to eat in there that isn't so completely crappy and depressing it sucks your will to live right out of you? Seriously, I would happily pay $20-30 for a meal made fresh that doesn't taste like despair. I can't be the only one.

I could not sleep last night. I usually go to bed pretty late. So last night I tried to go to sleep at 1 (10 pm my time). Couldn't do it. Got up and dinked around online for a while. Went back to bed at 2 and slept fitfully until 6. It's 3 am for me. Why am I out of bed??

The trade show part of TNNA does't begin until tomorrow. Today I have a class. At 8 am! And then nothing until the evening. I keep telling myself I can come back and have a nap this afternoon at least.

I knit and knit and knit on my Auburn Camp Shirt yesterday. The back is now just under two inches long. Stop laughing at me! I will finish this sweater some day. And to be fair, there was a hem. So I've really knit, like, three inches.

June 5, 2008

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

This week the fashion world lost a legend, Yves Saint-Laurent. It seems he was not immune to Big Ass Knits either.

photo via Veronik A.'s Flickrstream

See the full view of the "mummy bridal dress" here.

June 4, 2008

We Have a Winner!

Nephele, you are the lucky winner of some new sock yarn. Please email me your mailing address and I will send you your yarn as soon as I get back from TNNA.

Merino Lace Socks

Pattern: Merino Lace Socks by Anne Woodbury from IK Summer '03 and Favorite Socks
Yarn: Smooshy Sock in Cocoa Kiss
Needles: US1 Addi Turbo
Notes: I knit exactly as written. The yarn is lovely. I'll try to get a better picture when I get back from TNNA.

More Media Outlets for Me

I was interviewed many months ago by a newspaper reporter about and the story just came out today.

Wes has started a blog for our neighborhood. I am one of the contributors.

Wes noticed that the above article mentioned our neighborhood but didn't notice that I was in the article! I don't think he read it very closely.

June 3, 2008

June 2, 2008

The Mob Has Spoken

Okay, you're right. I should just share this yarn with someone who will enjoy it. Leave a comment on this post and I'll pick a lucky person at random.

ETA: I'll pick a winner Wednesday at 10 pm.

Calling All Color Geniuses

Linda K gave me these two skeins of Shelridge Farms Soft Ultra Touch back in April. They are not my colors. At all. She insisted I take them anyway and overdye them. I'm stumped, people. My forays in dyeing have been largely disappointing. What do you think? I was going to just slosh some blue in the dye pot and see where that takes me. Any guidance?

June 1, 2008

Two Blocks

I got two done that are passable.

There was a lot more yard work today. The guys who came to pick up the yard waste wanted an insane amount of money so we sent them away. We've got another guy--who gave us his price upfront--coming next week.