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.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Long, Flat, Purple Cat Scarf

Here's the Long, Flat, Purple Cat Scarf I made for my niece. I ended up creating my own pattern for it and I'm very happy with it.

It's about 4 feet long. My scarf rule is As Long As The Recipient Is Tall. But, I don't have any 5 year olds around here, so I'm not 100% on how tall a 5 year old is. I just made it about 4 feet long. This is made from one skein of Red Heart Soft in Lavender on #6 needles.

I hope she likes it. It's so cute it makes me smile. But, you know this Gary-Busey-possessed-pillow makes me smile, too.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

@#%&!* It!

Let's recap:

1. Knitting a double knitted scarf for T for Christmas. (Which, it looks like, I will definitely not have finished.)
2. Not knitting the words on the scarf because the words will be backward on one side. (In other words, one side will say Winter Is Coming and the other side will say gnimoC sI retniW.) I don't want that.
3. The plan was to duplicate stitch the words on one side only.

The only problem is, I suck at duplicate stitch. Look at my horrible attempts:

Duplicate stitch using one strand of yarn left so much silver exposed it looked awful.

Duplicate stitch using two strands of yarn made a big, bunchy, knotty mess.

So I've ripped it all out. The duplicate stitch. So far. I'm getting very frustrated with my lack of skill. And lack of patience. And lack of time. And lack of holiday cheer, for that matter.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

FO: TARDIS Scarf

The Tardis Scarf is finished! Yay!

This is a gift for Bre, who specifically requested a loooong scarf. The pattern, TARDIS Scarf by Daun Daemon, doesn't really specify how long this should be. But I had two skeins of Loops & Threads Impeccable in Royal, so I basically just knit until I was almost out of yarn. It's about 7 feet long.

Not many other mods on this (I know you find that hard to believe). I did my usual step-down-two-needle-sizes-for-guage modification. And I made my black stripe on the tail end in stockinette bordered by seed stich, so that it matched the POLICE BOX stripe on the TARDIS end. I think that's a reasonable design mod. Daun's scarf uses garter stitch to match the body of the scarf, which looks good, but I opted to match the black stripe on the other end instead. You say tomato; I say pajamas.

I also just now noticed, in comparing my scarf to Daun's, that the pattern has two black stripes and I only made one. Oh well. I'm just going to pretend that was a planned design modification, too. (Of course I didn't take a picture of that. Why would I, right? Not like I mention it on my blog or anything.)

The knitty gritty: I used most of two skeins of Loops & Threads Impeccable in Royal, a small bit (20 yards? Less?) of Vanna's Choice in White, and maybe 50 yards of I Love This Yarn in Black. It's hard to say, since I didn't really weigh them beforehand. (Although, as a side note, I do have a scale now, so I can start doing that. If I remember.)

I steam blocked this lightly. The seed stitch is supposed to keep the ends from curling, but you know.

Achilles inspects my workmanship.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Knitting Not Going So Well

I've whittled my Christmas Knitting list down to next to nothing. And you know what? I'm not going to finish. I might be able to finish the other things, but poor T will not get his Christmas scarf.

That makes me feel extremely bad.

Bad because that's pretty much the only thing I was going to be able to give him this year. It's been a very stressful season for us and we have decided not to spend big on Christmas like we normally do. Not related to the spending (but definintely related to the stress), I just haven't felt very Christmasy at all.

I made the decision not to put the outdoor decorations out this year. Too much time and effort to dig them out, set them up, find that timer-thing and program it. And T is working just as many hours as me. No reason he should have to spend his very limited time off climbing around on a ladder outside, right? And they'll just have to come down in a few weeks, anyway.

I may decided not to put up the tree, even. It will be the first time in my entire life without a Christmas tree, but it takes so long to put up and decorate. And nobody really likes to do it, except me. They might all be relieved that I don't force them to do this year. Probably the only one who will be disappointed is Achilles.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Craft Fail - Ornament Tree

I saw this Ornament Tree on Pinterest and I thought, "Wow. That looks pretty. And pretty easy. I think I'll try it." I mean, it's basically just a styrofoam cone with some cheap ornaments hot glued on. I think I can handle that.

So I gathered my stuff. I ended up buying another set of ornament because I realized I didn't have enough to do the tree. It's a little deceptive, how many ornaments you can get on one of these cones.

Look. I started by removing the tops of the ornaments and then poking the "stem" into the foam. I wanted to test it out before I started gluing.

Achilles helped. It took about 9 of these ornaments to go around the base. That made me wonder if 2 sets of ornaments would even be enough, or if I needed even more? So I stacked a few on top of that first row, just to give myself an idea of how it would look.

But all that did was show me how big the gaps between balls would be. I have some tinsel to fill in the gaps, but that looked really gappy. And then as I was trying to "mock up" how it would look without actually gluing it down, all the balls started popping out of the styrofoam.

Achilles was happy to catch it before I fell off the table. Thanks, Achilles.

In the end, I just got frustrated. Maybe I should do one of these candy trees instead?

Achilles likes the ornament ball idea better.

Sigh. I don't know what I was thinking, starting a new project anyway. I'm so overwhelmed by this holiday and my lack of time and money. I don't seem to be able to do anything. I'm going to put this craft away. Maybe I will attempt it again next year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dark Shadows

I have been watching old episodes of Dark Shadows on Youtube while I do mindless tasks like fold laundry. In case you don't know, Dark Shadows was a daytime soap opera in the 60's and 70's. It was a gothic story about a young governess and an old family. It was secrets and drama and... well, basically it was secrets and drama.

It had nothing at all to do with that terrible movie starring Johnny Depp.

Anyway, it's a fun show. For a lot of reasons. For one thing, the story is just fantastic--in the literal sense of that word: full of fantasy. It's got lies, murder, blackmail, revenge, coverups, and ghosts. And that's all before Barnabus the vampire joins the show.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Barnabus episodes. But I'm really loving the ones without him. I am seeing a lot of small town behavior in the people of Collinsport, so I think the writers got that part spot-on. In fact, it's kind of annoying and reminds me of the reasons why I had to get the hell out of the small town I grew up in as soon as I could.

Like Maggie. Everytime Maggie opens her mouth, I want to tell her to mind her own damned business. Seriously, Maggie. Do you think I could just sit and have a cup of coffee in peace without you sitting down next to me and grilling me over the town gossip. Don't you think that the Collinses would have told you if they wanted you to know? Just because you want to know doesn't give you the right to know. That is so small town.

And the way everyone watches everyone else. The hotel clerk said Burke Devlin was going in to Bangor and would be there all day. And then I saw Carolyn Stoddard on the road to Bangor. She must be going to meet Burke Devlin in Bangor for some elicit rendesvous! Really? So how did this happen? You were hanging out on the corner and saw Carolyn drive by on the road out of town. And then what? You jumped up and ran over to the hotel to see if Burke was still there? I just don't see how you can make that leap of intuition unless you already thought they were going to go off somewhere together and you were just trying to collect enough proof to make your gossip really salacious.

The only thing the writers really didn't get right was the way the town reacts to Victoria Winters. So look. It's a small town where everybody knows, thinks they know, wants to know, or thinks they deserve to know everyone else's business. Now, in comes a new girl. And she's pretty. And young. And single. (Although that probably wouldn't matter much.) Why isn't every man in town stuck to her like white on rice? I'm not kidding. She would only have to be not hideous and not old. All the young single guys would be asking her out. A lot of the guys who were dating long-time girlfriends would be telling her "What? Oh her? We're not really serious." And a lot of married guys would be hitting on her, too. (But they'd be doing it in such a way that they could claim they were only joking.) She wouldn't be able to go into town without at least one townie guy glommed onto her. She might as well just ring the dinner bell as she walks down the sidewalk... Fresh meat! Fresh meat!

I think my favorite character so far has been Bill Malloy, the Collins' fleet manager. People ask him "What's going on up there in that house?" or "Say, is it true...?" or "Why does...?" and he tells them, "Why do you need to know? That's not your business."

I got a lot of that when my dad was sick. He had dementia, so he did some crazy stuff. It never failed. If I attended some family function like a wedding or a funeral, I would overhear someone whispering (Loud enough for me to hear, of course.) about "I heard he did this..." or "So-and-so says he did that..." And I just wanted to tell those people "Here. Take this quarter. Go down to the corner and buy yourself a nice tall glass of Mind Your Own Fucking Business."

I do find myself a bit jealous of Elizabeth Collins-Stoddard, though. So many people are so fiercely loyal to her that they would do whatever it takes to protect her (physically, emotionally, financially), do anything she asked, no matter how hard or distasteful (take the blame with the police for the brakes failing on the car), do anything you felt needed to be done to help or protect her (turn her brother in to the police... push a body out to sea...)

I'm not even sure I have any friends that would watch my purse while I tried on a pair of shoes.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

TARDIS Scarf

This will be a present for Bre, if I can finish it in time for Christmas. It's a TARDIS Scarf. I've got the perfect blue yarn for it, too. It's Loops & Threads Impeccable and the color is Royal. Although, seriously, they should just call it TARDIS Blue.

This goes pretty quickly. It's basically seed stitch. Well, the border is seed stitch. And after you're done with the intarsia, it's stockingette. Still, I have two skeins of the TARDIS Blue, and I plan on using it all. This thing is going to be as long as I can make it.

The colorwork is a little bitchy. I fiddled around with the first white block, trying to decide the best way to do it. I tried catching the float yarn every stitch behind the white, so there would be no loose float on the back. But that made the front of the white stitches look weird. Like, zig-zaggy. So I ripped those out.

Then I tried to carry it along normally, catching the float yarn about every 3,4, or 5 stitches across the back of that block. But then, that looked shiteous. So I pulled it out. Finally, I decided to attach another skein of blue and work the white as intarsia. And that looked good. I was happy with that.

But then...

Those top two blocks have blue in them, don't they? There's no way around that. The yarn has to be carried behind. I'm not thrilled with how it looks, but oh well. It is the back side of the scarf, right?

At least this gift doesn't rely on fiberfil stuffing.


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