Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Classes

I began my Core Java class last night and, well, I must admit to being a trifle disappointed. The instructor is an affable enough fellow, but I didn't feel that he gave the material enough explanation. I worry that if I hadn't already familiarized myself with some of the Java fundamentals that perhaps I would have no idea what he was doing. Or maybe I just prefer having more in-depth explanations of concepts that don't necessarily require them?
Anyway, the class went reasonably well, I suppose, but I don't think it's going to give me what I need to get a certification, so it looks like I'm going back to studying more on my own as well as taking the class. And I still have almost half of my Christmas knitting to finish up. The feather and fan scarf/wrap I'm working on is just not seeming to grow at a rate I find acceptable, so instead of working at it more diligently, I become frustrated and set it aside. Foolish, non?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Phone Gnome pattern

Phone Gnome

A Knitting pattern by Eve Self

Inspired by the iGnome, which can be found for purchase here:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=sr_gallery_1&listing_id=16964612


Materials needed:

· Worsted weight yarn in red, blue, pink, brown, black, flesh tone and white. Not much of any color is required.

· Knitting needles, size 6 straights and DPNs. I used size 6 for a firmer fabric.

· 2 beads for eyes, thread and needle to sew them on.

· Snap fastener tool and 4 sets of snap fasteners (only the ‘male’ portion of two of the sets will be used)

· 2 1” X1/4” pieces of wood or metal (to keep the bottoms of the boots flat)

· Tiny scraps of backing fabric for snaps

· Fabric glue (optional)

I got a cheap cellphone and, of course, my first thought was “What can I knit for it?” I remembered seeing a gnomish cellphone cozy on Ravelry, but when I looked again I saw that it was crocheted. I don’t know how to crochet, so I improvised. My first prototype was a nightmare attempt at making the phone gnome in the round. Bad idea. This piece is worked flat and seamed up the side because the color changes don’t work well in the round. The “legs”, however are done on DPNs. You could knit them flat if you prefer, but I hate seaming and avoid it whenever possible.

This Phone Gnome is made to fit a Kyocera Marbl phone. I’m sure making adjustments to fit a phone of another size wouldn’t be too hard and you are certainly welcome to do so.


Okay, I’m not sure how well this will translate into a pattern since I was making it up as I went along, but here are the basics to what I did to make this cute little guy:

Main Body:

With blue yarn, cast on 32 stitches onto straight needles.

Work 5 rows in stockinette stitch (knit one row, purl one row).

Switch to black yarn for 2 more rows of stockinette.

Break black yarn and work again with blue. 1st row after belt, reduce by 6 stitches evenly across row. (26 sts remaining.)

Work 4 more rows of blue stockinette.

Now we’ll be starting the beard and hair. With blue, knit 6 stitches, join white and knit 2, K10 blue, K2 white, K6 blue.

Next row (I think this is 14): P5 blue, P4 white, P8 blue, P4 white, P6 blue

Row 15: K4 blue, K6 white, K6 blue, K6 white, K4 blue

Row 16: P3 blue, P8 white, P4 blue, P8 white, P3 blue

Row 17: K2 blue, K4 white, K2 pink, K4 white, K2 blue, K3white, K4 red, K3 white, K2 blue

Break blue yarn,

Row 18: P4 white, P6 red, P7 white, P4 pink (break pink), P5 white

Row 19: K15 white, K8 red, K3 white

Row 20: P2 white, P10 red, P4 white, P6 flesh, P4 white

Row 21: K3 white, K8 flesh, K2 white, K13 red

Row 22: P14 red, P1 white, P8 flesh, P1 white (break white), P2 red

Row 23: K5 red, K4 flesh(break flesh), K red to end

Row 24: P red

Row 25: K1, *K4, K2 tog; rep from * to last st, k1(20sts)

Row 26: P

Row 27: K1, *K3, K2 tog; rep from * to last st, k1(16 sts)

Row 28: P

Row 29: K1, *K2, K2 tog; rep from * to last st, k1(12 sts)

Row 30: P

Row 31: K1, *K1, K2 tog; rep from * to last st, k1(8 sts)

Row 32: P

Row 33: K1, * K2 tog; rep from * to last st, k1(4 sts)

Row 34: P

Row 35: K1, * K2 tog; rep from * to last st, k1(2 sts)

Break yarn. Draw tail through remaining stitches and secure. Turn inside out and sew edges together. Weave in all ends.

Attach two beads to flesh colored portion to make eyes.

Arms (make 2):

With blue, cast on 4 sts. Work in stockinette for 13 rows

Row 14: knit

Row 15 : bind off

Using flesh colored yarn, pick up 4 stitches from back of row 14. Work in stockinette for ½”

K2 tog twice, break yarn and draw through remaining stitches. Secure then pull tail up to top of hand and tie off then cut very short. I used a drop of fabric glue here.

Take tail from BO end of arm and tack it to the other edge (so that the bottom of the sleeve is more or less round). Sew the cast on edge to the main body so that the cuff is at roughly the same level as the bottom of the body. Weave in any straggling ends.

Put a snap in the middle front and back of the belt, using the scrap fabric on the inside of the body.


Legs:

With black yarn and DPNs, cast on 24 stitches.

Work 1X1 ribbing in the round for 2”. Break black yarn and join brown

I can’t tell exactly what I did with the feet, but basically it was working back and forth with the brown yarn, doing each foot separately. I bound off 2 stitches per foot in front and one in back. Working back and forth, there are 3 rows then 3 stitches cast onto the front of each foot. 3 more rows in stockinette, then 4 rows in reverse stockinette, 3 more in stockinette, bind off the 3 stitches that had been cast on, 3 rows more in stockinette, then bind off.

I used fabric glue and tiny bits of wood inside the bottoms of the boots hoping that it would make the Phone Gnome able to stand up. It seems to have worked, but if you can devise a better method feel free to use it. Weave in all ends.

Apply the snap fasteners so that they correspond to those on the main body.

If everything went according to plan, you will be able to run the charging cord up between your Phone Gnome’s feet and legs and use him when charging your phone.


I frequently carry a very small purse, though, and the legs add too much bulk at times. So I also made an optional strap to keep the phone in the gnome while in transit when the legs are too much. Basically, just knit a black 12 stitch stockinette strip that is 4” long and put another male snap fastener 1” from either end.

So there you have it. And I hope you enjoy it. :)



© November 8, 2008 Cheryl Eve Self
All rights reserved. Please do not sell items made using this pattern without the permission of the designer. Thank you.


Available as .pdf here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

But the Christmas knitting...

On the other hand, my Christmas knitting is going along quite well and on schedule for the moment! I've even figured out just how I am going to distribute the gifts. I don't know if the family will like any of it, but it should be a fun experiment. :)

I'll post some pictures here eventually, maybe when it's all knitted up.

What a (insert approproate expletive) week!

I was over the moon last week with the success of my first pattern posted on Ravelry. To date, over 150 people have downloaded my houndstooth scarf pattern there and a few more here. It is an awesome feeling! So, my confidence up, I contacted an old friend to see about borrowing a substantial sum of money. M's legal issues may result in his being jailed, possibly as soon as January, so I desperately need to make some preparations for my future. This friend had previously offered to lend me the funds necessary to take classes in order to get my Java J2EE certification. I emailed him and asked if the offer still stood. He emailed back in a less than promising manner so I assumed it was a "no". I told him not to worry about it, that it wasn't a big deal, but I was crushed. That was last Monday.

Tuesday, things are going as usual; M left for work a little early and I got up a trifle earlier than usual, but that was because I expected the old friend to call and make his refusal official. (He works nights so early morning calls are more practical for him.) He did call, but not until M had arrived home with the news that he was out of a job. Great. Things were financially just about to look up for us since his oldest child will be turning 18 in November, so no more child support and his car will be paid off in December... but I guess that would have been too easy. He did get a reasonable severance package, so things aren't as dire as they would have otherwise been, but it's still not good news by any stretch of the imagination.

Then my phone call came. The old friend said that he would loan me the money after all. As grateful as I was, I couldn't exactly talk to him long since M had just been laid off and needed me. Still, on the off chance that he ever reads this, Bruce, you truly are a life saver.

So M was at home all week, which I both love and hate. It's so hard for me to get any of my usual work done with him here. Still, it's kind of nice having him around. Saturday he had agreed to accompany me on my errands (which I had put off all week). As always, we took his car since it is in much better shape than mine (oh, my poor car... but that is a story of another day). The dry cleaner we use (had to get his suit interview ready) is basically next door to the apartment complex. So we went and picked up his suit and then his car just...failed. I don't know, it's supposedly something about a vacuum leak. Apparently it's okay once it's warmed up. I certainly hope so since he took it today to an appointment with a headhunter. Keep your fingers crossed that it is going well. With any luck he'll have a job by this time tomorrow. God, I hope so. Please.

It just seems like in the time we've been together (3.5 years come Nov. 1) we have had more than our share of crap like this happen. I am so sick of all the drama and waiting for yet another shoe to drop. Oddly, considering the rest of my life, none of the drama has been mine. His legal stuff, his job problems, his freaking kids and ex-wives, his car repossession, his house foreclosure... I must really love him a lot to stay through all of this. Or maybe I just figure that eventually things will have to start going our way. Surely this streak will have to end soon?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I am a designer :D

 I was fiddling around on Ravelry last night and added a few of my original pieces to the "my original designs" section. I put comments that I would make patterns available if anyone was interested. One of my posted designs was for a houndstooth scarf I made for myself last winter. This morning when I was looking at Ravelry, I was shocked to see that I had 38 new messages in my inbox. All but 2 of these were people requesting, asking, one even begging, that I make this pattern avaiable. One lovely lady even said that she would pay! So I immediately got out the scarf and my dismal notes and fixed it up into a real, bona fide pattern. You can see it posted below. I also finally managed to get it posted as a PDF on Ravelry (you can find the link to download the PDF in the post below as well) .

  I can't tell you how good it makes me feel to have so many other people, complete strangers, interested in knitting my design. It is a lovely scarf, but for so many people to be interested just boggles my mind and makes me wonder if maybe I could sell some of my designs after all. 40 people have it favorited as a design and another 11 as a project. Wow! I know to some those numbers aren't impressive, but for me that is huge.

Bicolour tweed stitch scarf


Hey, that's just what the stitch pattern was called in the book. 
download the PDF

BiColour Tweed Stitch Scarf

 

By Eve Self


 

Using MC, CO 35

 

Row 1: using MC K1,  *sl 1 purlwise, K2; rep from * to last stitch  K1
Row 2: K
Row 3: using CC K1, *K2, sl 1 purlwise; rep from * to last stitch,  K1
Row 4: K

 

Repeat these 4 rows until scarf is desired length. BO using MC.

The only problem I had was when I moved on to my next project. After so many hundreds of repeats of slipping p-wise while making the scarf I found myself forgetting to actually make my purl stitches when I started something else! Oops...

Houndstooth scarf pattern

Okay, I figured out how to get this posted on Ravelry, but might as well have it here as well :)

Click here to download the PDF


(Note: I really don't update here anymore. I get quite a few questions about this pattern, but rarely am able to get to them anymore. I haven't knitted this in so long that it's hard for me to answer. I'll do my best, but I make no guarantees.)
Houndstooth Scarf
Designed by Eve Self



This is a pretty easy scarf but the result is stunning. I’ve had people stop me on the street and ask where they could buy one. It’s also a very thick scarf since it’s knit in the round. I used what I had on hand to make this scarf, but if you used a more luxurious yarn, this would be downright decadent! There are so many variations that could be made to this and I’d love to see what everyone comes up with. I was very pleasantly surprised by the number of people who asked for this pattern. So, by popular demand (!) here it is:
Materials needed:
2 skeins I love this Yarn! (from Hobby Lobby) in Cream (MC)
Just one skein and a teensy bit of the second are used
Any worsted weight will be fine, but make it something soft.
1 skein I Love this Yarn! In black (CC)
Size 8 circular needle or DPNs
Crochet hook (for attaching fringe)
Gauge isn’t critical here. My finished scarf is roughly 6” X 6’ excluding fringe.
With MC, cast on 58 stitches
1. (P1, K28) twice. Making sure your work isn’t twisted, join in the round.
2. (P1, K28) twice
3. {MC P1, (K2, CC K1, MC K1) X7} twice
4. {MC P1, (CC K3, MC K1) X7} twice
5. {MC P1, (K1, CC K3) X7} twice
6. {MC P1, (MC K1, CC K1, MC K2) X7} twice
Repeat rows 3 through 6 29 more times. Cut CC (or for a different look, cut MC and do ribbing in CC. You might need more than one skein if you do.)
Ribbing:
{(P1, K3) X7, P1} twice
Work this row 49 more times
1. {MC P1, (MC K1, CC K1, MC K2) X7} twice
2. {MC P1, (K1, CC K3) X7} twice
3. {MC P1, (CC K3, MC K1) X7} twice
4. {MC P1, (K2, CC K1, MC K1) X7} twice
5. (P1, K28) twice
6. (P1, K28) twice
Bind off.
Fringe:
Cut 56 strands of each color. Using crochet hook, pull one strand of each color through corresponding stitches on front and back of scarf to make a loop. Pull ends of strands through loop to knot. I find it works well to tie a knot at the ends of each strand. This adds a tiny bit of weight to the end and makes it hang better as well as keeping it from unraveling as quickly.

Copyright of this pattern is mine. All I ask is that if you make them to sell, give me some credit somehow. If you wanted to send me a buck or two that would be all right, too ;)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Depressed

I'm in the throes of a pretty severe depression these days so I've been doing little but knitting. Money is too tight for me to be able to afford the meds I need to treat the depression, so for now I'm just having to muddle through. M doesn't understand it, of course. And I am glad, in a way... the only way he could understand it is if he had gone through it himself. And I wouldn't wish clinical depression on anyone. Even myself. And these days I seem to hate myself. 

 Anyway, sorry for the extended absence here, I will attempt to write more frequently.  I'm working diligently on  my Christmas knitting. I need 6 pieces for females in my family and 5 for men. Plus stuff for a baby boy. Thus far I have an almost finished baby blanket, 2 hat and scarf/wrap sets for women, a hood for a man, and a scarf-in-progress for a man. I have most if not all of the yarn I'll need for these projects and I'm a little excited about giving my family things I've made. This is my first Christmas to attempt making things for everyone, so I'm also a little apprehensive.  We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Time off

M is taking Thursday and Friday off, so since it's a 3 day weekend we'll have 5 whole days of togetherness. I don't think he realizes how much more work he makes for me by staying home.

We had the boys this past weekend and it was NOT fun. The elder boy has a very distinct and unpleasant personality that I just can't stand. And the younger boy is becoming more like his brother. Admittedly I am not particularly fond of children in general, but with these two it's not just because they are kids, I dislike them as people. They are whiny, disrespectful, lazy and selfish. And they cry if they don't get their way.

The knitting is going well, although I'm not really doing much designing. I'm nearly finished with Tubey . And I'm planning to start on my Christmas knitting after that is complete. I just need a few more inches and then, finally, my first sweater will be complete. I'm also working on a capelet for myself, but that is a far more complex knit and will take some time.

My best friend's birthday is coming up at the end of the week and I need to finish several thinks I've been working on for him so I can get it all in the mail. I miss him so.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Finishing a Hat, Part 2

Here is my Super Summer Sun Hat:
































Now I am working on Tubey from Knitty.com for M's best friend's wife. It's my first sweater and it's going pretty quickly. I just hope she likes it. The yarn is Mission Falls 1824 Cotton that I received for winning the Crazy Aunt Purl contest last year. So far it's going well and much faster than anticipated, even though I've made a few changes and am having to rework the stripes to fit the amounts of each shade of yarn that I have.

My niece's visit was wonderful. She has become such an interesting and well grounded person. I do love her very much.

I've been nostalgic a lot of the time lately and I have a tentative project in mind that melds nicely with nostalgia, so hopefully it will bear fruit. If so, you'll see it here.

Oh, and I'm trying to work my sparse Super Summer Sun Hat notes into a pattern/tutorial that will also be posted here as soon as it's in a form anyone other than me can make use of.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Finishing a hat

I finished my summer hat last night and I love it! I hope to post pictures and a vague pattern/tutorial soon, so be expecting that. And I have much to say about my niece's visit. For now, though, I need to run to the grocery store before the temperature rises above 100*.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My niece

My darling niece is staying with us for a few days and it is so much fun to have her around! She is my brother's daughter and she is 16, but not annoying like most teenagers are. I credit my mother with making her a well grounded person. She's a bit strange, too, which means she and I get along quite well. And by staying here she has a chance for a little privacy and quiet, which she doesn't get much of at home with her insane, evil father and her two very loud younger brothers.

Yesterday we went out to try to find some school clothes for her. Like me, she is not a little wisp of a thing so attractive clothes can be hard to find. I love that she has her own sense of style and that she is confident enough to express herself with her fashion choices. She didn't find much that she liked, so tonight we will be continuing our quest with a trip to Hot Topic. It's where she wants to go, so that is where we will go, but not until tonight when it is a bit cooler and we can use M's car that I don't fear will overheat or stall if I run the AC. In temperatures over 100*, AC is more than a convenience to those of us who are prone to heat exhaustion.

It is just really nice to have her here. See? I'm not all evil where minors are concerned. Just most of them. And all of them until they are old enough to be somewhat self-sufficient and think past the next few minutes. But my niece is cool. She's at that point where she's not a kid anymore, but she's not quite an adult yet, either; so many her age get lost without a real sense of who they are, but Ash seems to know herself pretty well and she's seen enough crazy and unpleasant that she may be able to avoid most of it. She seems pretty mature to me, but not like she's in any rush to be a grown up. Really, she's pretty amazing to me and I love her very much.

Here's a random pic from the ice cream contest we went to a few weeks back. It's a dog with his matching human.


And here are a couple videos of Cat. Because she would smother me in my sleep if she saw that I had posted a dog picture and nothing of her. (grr... stupid thing doesn't want to finish processing. I may have to try again later.)
video


video

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

So many things...

So many things just don't make sense to me these days and it really is affecting me on a deeper level than eve before.
I hate, hate, HATE what the current administration has done to this country. George W. Bush and his cronies have made so much of the world hate us, and I can't disagree with them. The man is an imbecile at best and more likely downright evil. His stunt at the recent G8 meeting left me mortified; sadly, it is only a typical sampling of the dumbing down of our nation. People were so incensed that Clinton had sex and lied about it. Sex, whether in or out of his marriage, is not any of our business. This man, however, has gotten thousands of people killed and lied about it. Why hasn't he been impeached??? Gaaah! It makes me so very angry I can hardly stand it.

There is much more I have to say about this and I definitely will, but M just called and is on his way home, so I'll postpone the rest of my rant. (Oh, and the cookies are done and are delish! I use this recipe, but a TBL instead of a TSP of vanilla.)

Buddhism and a day in the kitchen

Today is a kitchen day, but things are not going so well. My tea ball broke and spilled tea all over the floor. I buy tea bags, but make my own blend of different kinds of tea. It's the best iced tea I've ever tasted, so I'm sticking with it. For a gallon, I use 2 regular family sized Luzianne or Lipton type tea bags, three of the smaller green tea bags and three of the Earl Grey green tea. I've mixed all of these together and now just use 2 TBS of the mixture in a coffee filter inside a large tea ball. I also sweeten it with stevia. Good stuff, and so much better for me than the Diet Coke.
I bought a bunch of mushrooms recently because they were waaay on sale, but they are so much more than I can use before they go bad, so I combined them with some yogurt, spinach, garlic and dill and threw it all in a blender. It's all frozen now, but the little sampling I had of it before freezing was pretty tasty and zesty. I think that it will be a nice soup stock for making other things.
I need to get back to the kitchen to make some cookies. I promised M some tollhouse cookies when he gets home and he does love it when I spoil him. Heh... I would too. I do miss being spoiled. He is a sweet man, but he's not the most thoughtful guy I've ever known.

I'm considering Buddhism as a way of life. It seems to fit the way I view the universe far more than Christianity never has done. It just feels right. We'll see how that develops.

*sigh* must return to kitchen and make cookies now, and clean up the spilled tea. Oh, and laundry MUST be done today. I really don't mind doing any of that once I get started, but the motivation is so frequently lacking.

One last note for today: I am now (proudly) listed as a designer on Ravelry! I debate with myself whether or not I am truly worthy of the title, but when I saw that one of my patterns from a few years ago was already up on Rav and had someone making it, well, might as well make the leap. I will try to take better notes when coming up with patterns so that I can put them out in case anyone else wants to make them, but I am lazy and a sloppy note taker.

Okay, cookie time. :) Nothing friendlier than a house smelling of freshly baked cookies.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A whole week of no meat

Today marks the first week of not eating meat. I almost slipped up when I was making something for the boys and without thinking nearly made some for myself, too, but I caught it in time and avoided it. It's been easier than I thought it would be so far and I feel really good about it.

Progress on the top I'm knitting is going well, but unfortunately I don't like the waistband I made, so back to the drawing board on that bit. The bottom of it is really turning out quite well, though.

M is a little sad (although he won't let on) that the boys and their mom are moving further away and we won't be able to afford to see them as often. As guilty as it makes me feel to say this, I won't mind only seeing them once a month. They'll be an hour and a half away instead of the half hour or so that they are now. They will be closer to their maternal grandparents, so that will be nice for them, but I know M will miss them a lot.

What about the things that go bump during the day? Just curious why they don't seem as troublesome to anyone. Aren't they probably the same things that go bump during the night?

Friday, July 4, 2008

teeth of gelignite

What a good day we had! If we hadn't had the boys today I doubt we'd have bothered with going out, but it turned out great! This morning we went downtown to a car show...





Of course it was already uncomfortably hot, but even I found the cars interesting. M and the boys loved it. After spending about half an hour there we headed a block west to watch the parade go by. It wasn't much, but the boys still enjoyed it.









































After that it was back home to cool off for a few hours and, as always, feed the boys. It seems like there's no time for much else except feeding times when we have them. They behaved so very well, though, that we decided to go out to the fireworks show tonight. A wonderful time was had by all. (My camera doesn't do sound with the video, but here are a couple of 30 second AVI clips of the fireworks. The rest, if anyone is interested, can be found here.) The park the fireworks display was held in was enormous and although there were more cars than I could even begin to make an accurate estimate of, we weren't crowded at all. There had been a light shower in the early evening which had brought the temperature down nicely. We brought a blanket and some snacks and settled ourselves in the middle of a soccer goal. We had a good unobstructed view of the whole thing. For a change, a really good time was had by all. Even parking was stress free since there was a complimentary shuttle taking us from the lot we parked in across the highway to the field itself. Tomorrow there is an ice cream tasting that we'll probably be going to, so quite the busy weekend for us.



video
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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Random update

It's my third meat free day and I have to say that so far I am loving it! This long holiday weekend may be a little tricky since we have the boys (and for an extra day . Ugh.) and we'll be doing Fourth of July activities which will almost inevitably include barbecue. Eh, I'm not going to fret about it. I know it's too soon to be sure, but I think I can feel a difference. My digestion seems to be having fewer issues, so we'll see what happens.

I'm knitting a summer top. I had an idea in my head, drew a couple of sketches, and then went online to see if I could find something similar. Is it still my design if I take disparate elements from several different patterns, change them substantially but still use them as inspiration, and combine them in a totally new way? I think maybe it is. I'm using the patterns as help in construction instead of as actual patterns, so I think I'm okay here. It's not like anyone will be able to look at my finished piece and say that it looks awfully similar to another one. I'm really looking forward to finishing this one and having my first real wearable that I've designed and knitted. Hopefully my notes will be good enough to make a real pattern from. Pictures as soon as there's something to show.

I planted some herb seeds a week or so ago and they are beginning to sprout. :)

I really don't want to have the boys tonight (or at all) but M says how much he wants to spend time with them... then when they are here no one wants to spend any time actually doing anything together. What's the point of them being here if they are just going to stay in their room on their computers the whole time?

Bad cramps today. Ouchie. I slept on the couch last night with the heating pad and will probably go curl back up with it as soon as I am finished here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Vegetarian?

I think it's time for me to go vegetarian. It's something I've been contemplating for a long, long time, but I just don't know if I have the willpower. My guilt over eating meat is getting stronger, and the environmental and health benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle are extremely appealing to me. Since Mark doesn't eat meat it will be easier, but I don't know about the boys. Eh, not like I usually eat the same stuff I give them anyway.
The problem is, I don't really like many vegetables. And no way in hell I'm going vegan. I admire those who can and do that, but my cheese and butter and eggs are staying on the menu, even if the role of bacon will now be played by a tofu substitute. And I do like tofu. I like many legumes as well as fruits and almost all grains that I've tried. So once I finish off the meat that's in the apartment, I don't intend to buy any more. I'm sure I'll occasionally slip and I don't intend to become obsessive about reading labels, but I feel like this is something I need to do for myself, for the environment, and for the animals. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Haircut... and makeup... and Baby Blanket Pattern


I had my hair cut. To most people, that wouldn't be a big deal, but it had been at least 7 years since I had had it done. About 20" were cut off and will be donated to Locks of Love.
That is a lot of hair to so abruptly be gone from the back of my head. Somehow it has changed more than just my appearance. My outlook seems to have changed, too, and all for the better. I feel more competent, more like I did when I was younger. It's a nice change, and so much cooler in the summer. You can't know if you've never had really long hair what a difference it is. I can now wear sleeveless tops or dresses without having to worry about my hair getting caught in my armpits. I don't have to dread the wind or worry about hair getting caught in the car door. I use far less shampoo and conditioner and my hair dries within a few hours instead of the 16 or so it used to take. It looks great with just a brush through it after I get out of bed. It's in a chin length bob parted on the left. Really, I love it.
And donating this huge ponytail just makes me love it all the more. I have no doubt some little girl will be thrilled to have my hair on her head after locks of Love work their magic.

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Let's see, we've covered hair, so let's make this even girlier and move on to makeup now.

Have you heard about e.l.f. cosmetics? I got this for $15. Yes, all of this. And I had a code so that shipping was free. Most of their stuff is just a buck. Admittedly the sizes are a little small, but if you wear makeup as rarely as I do, then that is a good thing. And for a dollar, how can you go wrong?
So here's the picture of everything... (will be added asap... having problems with the uploader)
(And will have the baby blanket pics and pattern uploaded later, too.)







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Easy Mitered Corner Baby Blanket
click here for PDF

Not the most exciting thing to knit, but I do like the way it looks. The only part I didn’t like about this was the finishing. Ugh. Soooo many ends to weave in and I suck at that. And the seams are far bulkier than I would like, but as long as the recipients don’t mind. After all, it is a nice warm, handmade baby blanket for someone I will likely never meet. If anyone is interested and doesn’t feel like figuring it out, here’s the so simple pattern I used:

CO 99 stitches in MC (red in my case) place markers on either side of center stitch.
Row 1: sl 1 purlwise, k46, k2 tog, k1, k2tog, k47
Row 2: sl1 purlwise, k45, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, k2tog, k46
continue alternating rows of decreasing on either side of center stitch and decrease and yarn over on either side of decrease. You can use any number of rows you want for color changes, of course. So my bf would be a little involved (since it is for his coworker, after all) I had him decide that part for me. Mine went like this:
12 rows red
6 rows cream
12 rows red
6 rows cream

10 rows red
6 rows cream

10 rows red
6 rows cream
8 rows red
4 rows cream
8 rows red
4 rows cream

finish up with red

Make 4 of these then sew them all together and weave in those damned ends. (grrr.)


Friday, June 13, 2008

Mother's Day Scarf

Ooookay. Well, kids, it's been a while but I am back now and better than I've been in a long ass time. Not sure I'll be posting frequently, but I am finally beginning to take some charge of my life and it feels great!

Now for some knitting.
Ooh, and a couple free and easy patterns, too!

First is the mother's day 2008 scarf. I had improvised a lacy hat that I wore at Christmas and my mom fell in love with it. Here's a picture, although it doesn't show the lace pattern (and I use the word loosely) very well if at all:


So she loved it and I gave it to her. It is very soft and the yarn is yummy feeling. I had 2 skeins left of it so I decided she needed a matching scarf. This, unlike the hat, I had a pattern for. Or at least a lace stitch from some book.

Mother's Day Scarf 2008:
download PDF here

The pictures just don’t capture the real beauty of this piece. Sometimes the yarn and stitch just
go together so perfectly that the result is stunning.
I think this scarf is a good example of that. It’s
lacy, but still has substance and a bit of sparkle.
I honestly think it’s one of the loveliest things I’ve made. I hope my mom agrees when I am able to give it to her. I got the stitch from one of my stitch dictionaries, but I can’t recall which one. It’s shockingly easy, only a 4 row repeat and
nothing trickier than k4 tog tbl. I used 2 skeins,
starting a 2nd piece with the 2nd skein and
joining them in the middle so that the lace wouldn’t be reversed on one side and the gracefully arced ends would be symmetrical.



CO 17
row 1: sl1 purlwise, k1tbl, k13, k1tbl, p1
row 2: sl1 knitwise, p1tbl, p13, p1tbl, k1
row 3: sl1 purlwise, k1tbl, k4tog (yo, k1) X5, yo,
k4tog tbl, k1tbl, p1
row 4: same as row 2

repeat these 4 rows until piece is half of desired length (or as I did, until you run out of yarn in one skein), put stitches on holder, make another one and join them in the middle. I have no advice on how best to join them since I am atrocious at that sort of thing, but obviously the less noticeable the join, the better.



I used Caron Glimmer yarn in Biscuit and US11 needles. I used circs , but that is just personal preference. And here are the pics:




Next Post: a mitered corner baby blanket made with Lion Brand Homespun.

ETA: Yes, I painted the styrofoam head. Acrylic paints. And it now has a blonde Halloween wig, too (I found it while organizing my craft closet. Pictures of that project will be posted as soon as it's finished. A hint: hanging organizer shelves!)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Good groceries

I'm not normally one to wax rhapsodic about something as prosaic as a grocery store, but after my last little jaunt to my local Market Street, I just have to say how impressed I am. Everyone working there is friendly, which is a nice change from the surly service received elsewhere (I'm looking at you, Kroger...). When we first moved here I tried out all the local grocery stores and decided that Market Street was my favorite, but for the last few months I've been trying to conserve gas and to cut down on my errands meant going to that awful big box retailer of evil. Today I only needed groceries, so no WalMart. I had forgotten how nice Market Street is. All sorts of gourmet and specialty and organic stuff and prices that are, in many cases, even better than WalMart's. Organic milk, for example, is a dollar (or maybe dollar and a half) cheaper... 2 liter Diet Coke is 13 cents less... And not only do they not seem to believe in the current trend of making the customers do most of the work themselves, they do everything at checkout for you, from unloading your basket (does anyone else still do this?) to bagging and placing the bags in the cart to loading your stuff into your car. And I have never had anyone be unpleasant to me there. I could actually not hate grocery shopping in an environment lie that. Oh, and there are always plenty of cashiers... who will come and get you if they are free and they see you waiting. Really, I love the place. Who knew a grocery store could put me in such a good mood? I just hope that their corporate masters aren't evil or I will be very disappointed. All the people I've talked to who work there say it's a great place to work, so maybe it really is a rare example of business being done centered on the customer instead of the bottom line.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Open letter to my big brother

It's my brother's 40th birthday today. He and I haven't been close in a very long time and there are a number of things I'd like to say to him, but, to be honest, I've never had the nerve. I seriously doubt he would ever read this, so I'll write those things here:

Dear B,

Happy birthday, big bro. I know things in the family have been tense and strained and that you feel that you have been unfairly targeted, but that is simply untrue. You haven't been behaving well. It has little direct impact on me, but your actions affect people I love in negative ways and that both hurts and angers me.
You are abusive to your kids. That has to stop or CPS will eventually be called. I understand that you have trouble controlling your temper, but those are your kids. They need you to be the adult and to have some fucking control. I had hoped that you limited your abusive behavior to verbal assaults on the little ones, but I have heard tales of you pushing one of them while telling him that he was the biggest disappointment of your life. Wow. And this is the boy who was molested by a neighbor. Did you not think he had enough issues to deal with? Seriously, how could you treat a child that way and think it was acceptable?
I heard that you threw a fit on Christmas Day because you weren't treated with the deference you felt you deserved. You are so incredibly full of your own sense of self-importance and entitlement that it drives me crazy. Why would you expect everyone to wait to eat until you finally deigned to show up? You know full well that Christmas dinner has never waited on me or on Roger or on anybody else. Do you really think that you are so much more important than everyone else?
(Oh, speaking of Christmases past, what about the year you brought your girlfriend's little daughter to our Christmas Eve family celebration which also included your wife and your own kids? Did you, even for a moment, consider the feelings of anyone other than yourself? You may be the most selfish person I've ever known.)
After the fit you threw because people were hungry, you had heated words with our mother. I have no idea what your problem is with her, but you need to get over it. I love her, but I know she's no saint. You aren't either, though. You told her you didn't know how to be a dad since she split with our own father when we were small. Do you actually believe that we would have been better off if he had been around when we were kids? Every parent must figure out his or her own path; you might want to look at the way you're raising your own children and learn to make them the priorities in your life. It can't be easy, but you made the choice to have kids, so you need to be there for them. Do you want them to hate you when they are your age with as much vitriol as you apparently have toward our mother? And even if she did somehow wrong you, you are a grown man. You are middle fucking aged. Get over it!
You have taken advantage of our grandparents and our mom for so long now that you probably don't even see that you're doing so. It infuriates me to see them constantly kowtowing to you. You do know that at least a portion of that is done out of fear and dread, not out of love, don't you? You act like a child and throw temper tantrums if you don't get your way. You expect our grandfather to take care of you and your kids while giving nothing in return.