Monday, August 29, 2011


The NES (aka the original Nintendo).  This machine which eventually required specialized blowing skills in order to get the cartridge to work, was one of my childhood friends growing up.  I don't know if my brother and I actually spilled blood over who got to play the Nintendo or if we just threatened to.  Though somehow a blood sacrifice to the NES gods would not surprise me.  We never had a "Game Genie", and thus Nintendo could be a cruel and harsh mistress at times, despite our hours of worship.  Hard to imagine that the NES came to the United States in 1985.  God now I feel old.   Well, older.  Thanks a lot nostalgia and the Smurfs movie.

Now, I'm sure you're all asking yourselves how this rant over the video game system of yesteryear could possibly have a place on a blog related to knitting?  Wonder no longer and to quote Blazing Saddles, "rest your sphincter" as you gaze upon my sad attempt at an amazing knitting pattern.  Carrie Ouradnik aka Craftypuppylover (both Ravelry links) has graced the population with this Nintendo Kleenex Box Holder (click here for free download on ravelry).  Practical and entertaining.  Also appropriate considering Ray and I used to almost give each other bloody noses over who got to be player one.  I should apologize for my version, I crocheted the other sides (I thought it might turn out better...obviously I was wrong) and doing color work in knitting is certainly not my strong suit.  Still, it was a perfect project for when I started nesting at my boyfriend's place, especially because he was using it all the time due to his allergies.

Click here for a link to her etsy shop: craftypuppylover
Oh, you can check out her other work on flickr too!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Works in progress aka WIPS

This Hobbes wasn't built in a day
Most knitters are aware of the acronym "WIPS" (work in progress) and they are not afraid to apply it.  Me?  I am irrationally terrified of it.  Usually I'm actively working on something, otherwise I've just scrapped the project and stoutly refuse to think of it and my failure to complete it.  Even if I'm slowly nibbling away at a project, I practically get an anxiety attack at the thought of announcing I'm doing "X" only to find that whatever it is doesn't work out.  Remember when Sasha Cohen got the silver medal in the 2006 Olympics and the general murmer from the American public was, "awww.... that's too bad".  Nice.  Being a silver medal Olympian is a pitiable situation?

It's cute, people talk about "fearless knitting".  Trying something new, a technique you're not familiar with.  Still, with each stitch, you're investing yourself, your time, your effort.  I know I care FAR too much about the outcome of my endeavors instead of the process.  I suppose this accounts for me spinning my wheels in life for so long, partially at least.

Fingerless gloves for Kathy

Today for example, I was mulling over what to post.  Sure I have one finished project, another pair of Vancouver Fog fingerless gloves, this time for Kevin's mom, Kathy.  But other than that I've only got a number of WIPS.  First, I've got my little crochet amigurumi Hobbes.  It's my first attempt at amigurumi, and I'm also learning how to do "jogless stripes" at the same time.  Second, I've begun the first stages of experimenting in order to make my own patterns.  Finally there's the project that I've been so hopeful and fearful of, making my own site where I can sell things that I've created.  Figuring out what to put where, the subtle nuances of googlecheckout, potential policies, and what in the world I'll actually put up have been most of my focus.  Somehow I'm making small steps in each direction.  Wish me well?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Right turn in one quarter of a mile

Once upon a time, I crocheted a cozy for my Dad's portable radio.  He's unimpressed with Ipods and mp3 players in general; though he did admire the ipod armbands that people had at the gym.  I ended up making him one of his own and it's currently MIA or else I'd post some pictures.

However, this is just the precursor to another request from my father.  After some ham radio related excursion with my mother, he found that the cover to the Magellan GPS had disappeared.  I imagine that it was tired of the overly soothing voice always telling it where to go, and so the cover decided to escape in order to pursue fortune through whatever fate threw its way.  Of course, I may be wrong and it merely fell out somewhere.

Getting back to the request made by my father, he wanted a replacement cover to keep the screen nice and pretty.  Why is the Magellan cozy a shocking red that not even a lady of the night would consider for lipstick?  Easy, it will be far harder to -NOT- know where this thing is than it would be to lose it.  Making it was deliciously simple and didn't take much time.  I just started with a crochet chain that was just as wide as the GPS.  Then I went around and worked the backloops until I got to the start of the chain, then turned and did it again.  Since it wasn't wide at all, I think I may have done that widening round once more before I began working it evenly in single stitches.  Row after row of spirals and far too quickly it was done.  After the finishing touches of a slip stitch and weaving in ends, and I handed it off.  My father is not easily impressed, except of course with my crochet and knitting.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pineapple Swirl

Right now (and whenever I'm between projects), I sorely miss having Lexi within reach.  While I really dislike knitting things for myself, there seems to be no larger warm fuzzy than crafting for others.  Ok, and Lexi especially, she looks good in everything.  A year or more ago, I grilled her for ideas on something that I could make for her that she'd actually wear and like.  She probably first suggested a sweater, which I would quickly nix since I've never completed one before and my courage for new things tends to run thin.  Eventually she mentioned that she loves skirts that swirl.  Full luscious skirts.  Poor thing, after I had considered the idea and began to run with it, I practically chained her to the computer and made her pour over Ravelry's wealth of patterns looking for a good fit between her desires, my skills, and the craptacular yarn stash on hand.  Thus we settled on the lacy look of the Den-m-nit Pineapple Skirt or Poncho by Flora Yang (incidentally to use this link and get the pattern, you need to be a registered member of - registration is free; however I don't recall having to go through this silliness to get the pattern).

Again, Lexi chose the color.  She wanted a GREEN kinda green. You know, the kind that makes you look like you stumbled into an Irish pub on St. Patrick's day and sadly I had it ready and waiting in my stash.  Even though crochet is certainly not my strong suit, and I'm still not completely comfortable with reading crochet patterns, it wasn't too bad for a beginner like myself.  We measured her up, and I started hooking for her (wait... that doesn't sound right).  When I had finished, the skirt was so heavy there was simply no hope of a mere drawstring cord holding it up.  Fortunately, we had supplies on hand:  an exceptionally wide length of elastic, and some 2" wide folded satin blanket binding (in the right color no less!).  Lexi wears it over a few of her skirts, and the good news is that it requires no special care when washing.   Oh, and bless her heart she told me that every time she wears it, someone compliments her on it.  Even if it's not the truth, she's sweet to tell me such an uplifting lie.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rolling in the Fog

Jordan's wee gloves

Continuing on about the project that has been very much apart of my life for the past month, I think I might be done making Vancouver Fingerless Gloves for a while.  In an earlier post I blathered on about how I got started with this pattern after my boyfriend suggested that I look into making some gloves.  I suppose that excuse only lasts for one pair though.  The rest are going towards gifts and *gasp* one commission. 

Jessica's pair in progress
My boyfriend has two half sisters.  Jordan, who seems to be a force of nature at times is nine years old.  Whenever I've visited with my boyfriend, she's been wonderful with her attention.  There's always some new thing that she'd like to show me.  Not only that, but she seems to enjoy my knitting and crocheting.  As soon as I start working my way through a project, she gets her embroidery floss and begins working on this interesting knot-work which makes bracelets, necklaces, keychains, and bookmarks.  I showed her the gloves I had just finished, and before I knew it, I was thinking about working on a set for her.  The only problem is that not only is she nine, she's also small for her age, and the pattern is for adults.  I'm hoping the smaller needles and the sport weight yarn will work out.

Daniel pointed out that it's not kosher to make a present for one sibling and not the other, so I immediately got to work on a pair of gloves for Jessica.  Jessica is fifteen and has the opposite problem of her sister.  She already towers over me, and I think she's taller than Daniel as well.  Not surprisingly, her school's volleyball team has snatched her up, where she excels.  The color choice was easy, it's one of her school team's colors.

Debbie's Vancouver Fog
In an email to my mother letting her know what I've been up to recently, I attached a few pictures of the projects.  Since my mother is the personification of "supportive", she forwarded the pictures to one of her lifelong friends, Debbie.  Not a knitter, but a crafter, Debbie exclaimed over the gloves, and commented on how cold it gets in Iowa asking if she could buy a pair from me.  Does it get better than that?  A few days later I finished the fourth set (the second pair in royal blue), and that Friday I went to the post office and sent them off.  Can you tell I was excited to have a commission?  With any luck, I could get a few more people to use me as "needles for hire".

Friday, August 12, 2011

Very foggy lately

It started off innocently enough.  After completing and sending the baby projects (the Green Lantern Baby Blanket and Converse Style Booties), I didn't have anything particular to move onto.  I wonder what kind of hell I put my boyfriend through when I don't have something on my needles.  After he gets home and wants to relax by playing a video game, I'm there sitting next to him twitching, fidgeting, restlessly playing with my knitting needles, crochet hooks and whatever yarn is in the caddy next to the couch.  This only lasts for about ten minutes.  By that time I can't stand it any longer and I'm trolling the Ravelry website looking for some new project to leap out at me.  Still, he doesn't get any peace.  It doesn't take me much time to get updated on all of the recently added patterns, and then the whining starts, "aaaahhhh!  I don't have any projects!  What should I make?"  Stoically, he makes nice suggestions which I usually shoot down like skeet.  The good news is that he'll usually say something that gets me at least started in a direction which leads to a new sort of annoyance.  Once I've settled on a pattern I become consumed with working on it.  Sitting next to him, I tend to count under my breath, reach over to click my row counter, require the light on for pattern reading, and all other sorts of obnoxious things.

Recently, when I began my itchy-no-project routine, he pointed out that here in Chicago winter is ever so slightly different than it is in Southern California and I might want some gloves to wear.  In fact I think he said I -WILL- want gloves.  Oh, and maybe he said need, not want.  Onto Ravelry, searching, and searching, and even more searching; not finding anything that blows my skirt up.  Then I caught sight of Vancouver Fog Fingerless Gloves on orangellous blog.  Sure they wouldn't cover my fingers, but just look at those sexy cables!  I quickly dove into my yarn stash, and casted on.  All too soon I finished my first pair of Vancouver Fog Fingerless gloves, with no intention of keeping them for myself.  At that point I sighed and thought about my lack of projects.  Silly me.  As of yesterday I finished my fourth set; though I probably blather about the other three in a different post.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I doff my hat to you lady!

Dear, sweet, benevolent Sukigirl (visit her blog here), I have no idea who you are but I want to let you know that I am currently harboring a budding school girl crush on you. 
I can honestly say that I've been looking for a FREE Hobbes knit or crochet pattern for years. Not only is it that I'm too damned cheap and poor to purchase the $5.00 pattern that someone posted of Hobbes a few years ago; It's also knowing that it is utterly and totally going against the entire spirit of Calvin and Hobbes.
My introduction to Calvin and Hobbes
Click here to see it on

Finding someone who is popular and still unwilling to compromise their principles? Bill Waterson (click here for more about him courtesy of wiki), creator of the hilarious and brilliant comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes", was more concerned putting his messages out there than with fame or fortune. In that spirit, he never allowed the creations of Calvin and Hobbes to become the subject of billions in merchandising opportunities. See why I'm so opposed to the idea of "buying" a pattern of Hobbes? While I am completely for fan based creations and homages to this life changing strip, turning a buck off of it?

Ok, getting down from my own soap box now. For those of us that appreciate Bill Waterson and want to share it with loved ones, Sukigirl has posted a FREE crochet amigurumi pattern of Hobbes. I love that she cites the same reasoning as to why it is available to the public. Thank you two (Bill Waterson and Sukigirl) for contributing to the world because you wanted to put something positive out there.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Scarf of Unicorn Barf

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I know... but still!  A few years ago I was expanding my brother's minimal store of winter wear items before he left southern California for the snow laden winters of the mile-high city.  Again, any opportunity to knit something that might actually be used fulfills almost a spiritual yearning.  The story goes that I asked my brother to come with me to pick out some yarn for a scarf.  When we got to the store I started looking at bold solid colors, remembering that when my brother worked at a movie theater, he enjoying startlingly bright ties.  Roadwork orange?  Truly a must have.  It says:  Caution:  Awesome Ahead" in his mind.  About this time I hear a triumphant, "found it!" from across the aisle.  What can I say?  My brother never fails to astonish me with his fashion forward thinking.  Not deterred by the word 'novelty' and it's connotations when used in the phrase 'novelty yarn', my brother had selected a few skeins of the unsubtle Lion Brand Multicolored Boulce in what color?  Jellybean.   Oh yes, Jellybean.  At this point I would like to remind the reader that my brother is straight.
I ended up knitting him the scarf while holding one strand of this *cough* unique yarn, as well as a strand of Caron's Simply Soft white yarn.  Though Ray couldn't have cared less about how I knitted the scarf, I decided at least I'd try a new pattern.  So here it is, knitted on a bias, using the Commuter Scarf pattern by Ruth Ellen found for free on her blog.  The finished product reminded me of the Pillsbury Funfetti cakes my brother and I used to make occasionally; so I affectionately called it a funfetti scarf.  My brother was delighted, I was glad to have made him happy, but had mixed feelings about the remaining yarn that I had no clue what to do with.

Enter Lexi.  A few months had passed since Ray had left, and she was looking through my embarassingly large yarn stash after I complained of a lack of knitting projects.  "Are you saving this yarn for anything?" Lexi shyly asked.  Instead of telling her that I was tempted to see if I could knit a kitty litterbox out of it, I told her that it was merely left over from a scarf I made my brother.  Her enthusiasm for the scarf was undampable, despite my best efforts.  This time it was paired with some black yarn, and done in a seed stitch (not that you can tell with a boucle yarn, particularly one that is jelly bean colored).  Just like my brother, Lexi was delighted with the scarf, and was even willing to let me capture photographic evidence of her wearing it.  For my ravelry page, this scarf ended up with the title, "Unicorn Barf", aptly named by her boyfriend.  As a side note, shockingly, this deafeningly loud yarn has been discontinued.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Groovy Chucks Kid!

Big boy converse...
I love converse sneakers.  In fact, I'm not even sure how many pairs of low top chucks I've gone through since I acquired my first pair.  Easy, comfortable, and appropriate for occasions ranging from taking out the trash to black tie affairs; what is not to love about this classic of footwear?

Not one to shy away from the opportunity to inflict knitted creations on others; I realized that the new baby would be in dire need of hip and stylin' kicks.  In fact, here's another one of the pictures from the proud poppa-to-be's blog at where he's rocking the same flavor of shoes.

Rock them shoes too Mr. Laundrie!
As always, Ravelry comes to my rescue.  I used the pattern here that had been modified by xalleykatx on livejournal.  After knitting up the booties and laces, I did go all in and got some white felt, sharpie'd a star and stitched them to the outside with matching embroidery floss. 
Not-so-big boy's chucks

One of the things I liked most about this project was the reaction of the adults that saw them.  While I was blocking them with little paper towels inside, my boyfriend came home to find them on the counter.  Even though I was in the bedroom, I still heard his 'that's so cute' voice/squeal saying, "OOOO!  WEE LITTLE BOOOOTIES!".  I'm not sure if I smiled wider at that or the postal clerk who thought they were darling and couldn't resist commenting as I mailed them off.  There is something about a stranger commenting on something I've made that makes me feel like I did as a kid when my artwork secured a coveted spot on the refrigerator gallery.