Friday, July 20, 2012

Do Something You Love Today

It's hard to find words sometimes. Last night, about half an hour from where I live, 12 people were murdered. More will probably die from their injuries. The only thing they did was go to a movie and now they're gone.

I was in shock the first few minutes after I heard the news. We've had so many tragedies lately here in Colorado and the numbness hardly wears off before something else happens. It's too much to bear. You have to find a way to stop thinking about it, at least for a little while. But really, it's impossible to forget when the onslaught feels ceaseless and senseless. You don't know what to think anymore.

But I know one thing for sure. I never want to be one of those people who can just shrug it off and go on about their lives and say, "Meh, why should I feel bad about it? I didn't do it and neither did anyone else I know. Pass me the Cheez Whiz."

Right now I feel hopeless and helpless and disgusted, but I'll take that over feeling nothing at all. When we stop feeling, we stop being human. Then, we stop trying to find ways to make this kind of thing never happen again. Maybe that's just me pissing in the ocean but it's all I've got.

I have work piling up, a dog to get to the vet, and carpet that hasn't been vacuumed in so long, stuff is starting to grow in it. But tonight, I'll wind some yarn and cast on something and make a few cocktails, and try not to make sense of any of it while I feel my grief for those families.

Do something you love today. And send some good thoughts to Colorado. We can use them.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

July shortened to 30 days here in Colorado

By now you've heard the state of Colorado is one gigantic marshmallow roast. You gotta bring your own sticks, though. The High Park Fire--northern Colorado, near Ft. Collins--is about 75% contained, at a cost of $33 million dollars so far. And that's not even counting the property damage. The Flagstaff Fire--Boulder, home of the University of Colorado and Celestial Seasonings Tea and Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins--is about 30% contained and has grown to 300 acres. The Waldo Canyon Fire--Colorado Springs, near the Air Force Academy--is only 5% contained and has grown to over 18,000 acres. I've lost count of the number of homes destroyed, but I think it's about 500 so far, probably more. There are many other fires but I'm running out of pixels and can't list them all here.

Bad as all this is, it's not the worst part. Oh no. The worst part is the fireworks ban. I am not kidding, y'all. NO FIREWORKS ALLOWED. Not even by professionals. As of today, June 28, in Denver County, there will be no fireworks displays of any kind allowed this year. Ergo, we are skipping the fourth day of July entirely. One day it will be July 3rd, then the next day we go right to July 5th. Watch the video clip if you need proof. "If there's no fireworks, there's no 4th of July! It's just not faiiiiiiiiiiir! These people are professionals. They can take care of any problems that might come up." You know--just like the Titanic. (Fun fact: The Unsinkable Molly Brown's summer house is a few blocks from where I live.) Skip to about minute one of the video and go right to the part that would make Darwin want to smack somebody.

Stay safe everybody. 


* Charles Darwin. Image taken from the website

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thanks, USOC!

I've been into competitive sports for a while now, for various and stupid reasons, not the least of which is I can eat donuts and drink beer and (usually) not gain weight. Whatever. It's the health aspect that's important. You know, the yin to the yang of the beer and donuts. The trouble is, I've sucked like a Hoover at most of them. Now I know why, thanks to the USOC.

Knitters and crocheters over at Ravelry have been messing with my sport mojo and it stops now because of the hyper-vigilance of a law clerk at the USOC headquarters not a hundred miles from my house. Kismet! I should drive down there today and give them a big, fat wet kiss for being my athletic supporter. But I have a league tennis match tonight, which I will surely win now that my tennis skillz aren't being thwarted by disrespecting commie-pinko-fascist knitters.

Yes, I realize I'm guilty of having "denigrate(ed) the true nature of the Olympic Games," myself but I don't think Ravelry is going to catch on. There's only two million members. It's not like anybody pays attention to it. So thank you, USOC, for saving me from wasting two weeks of my life trying to knit a fair aisle jumper in 23 different colors on size two needles. Although I'm not an *Olym**c-caliber athlete, it's good to know you've got my back.

*The term "Olympic," and any iteration thereof, including any word ending with --ympic, --ympia, --ympiad, and asshat are for the exclusive use of the USOC only. Anyone attempting to use the words, especially people with sharp needles and hooks, will be smote with as much legal bad-assness as the USOC can afford, which is plenty. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

"Can Ikea show you how to make your own dinosaur?"

If you don't think Ikea is taking over the world, or at least popular culture, I offer you proof. The science geek in me loves this, but I guess you could say I'm just a little biased. The second link is to photos of my studio, which is furnished almost exclusively with Ikea stuff, in case you haven't seen it.

At any rate, I think they're on to something with their minimal word instruction sheets. If you've put together a piece of Ikea furniture with your spouse, you can cross 'hand-to-hand-combat with a rabid ninja pirate' off your bucket list. All kidding aside, it beats the heck out of reading some badly edited techno-speak manual. A picture really is worth a thousand words.

So why haven't we embraced the Japanese style of knitting and crochet patterns? Here's a photo of a cardigan pattern I got from one of Donna Druchuna's Japanese Knitting classes:

This is the entire pattern. One page. So simple, so elegant. So much less to read, and the decisions about things like how to decrease for the shoulders can be based on your own skills and not the designer's. 

What do you think? Could you learn to embrace something like this? I realize Ikea isn't a Japanese company, but I think you get the picture. PUN INTENDED.

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pay It Forward

This is something very cool I came across yesterday. PDXKnitterati is a fan of Eskimimi Makes, and so am I--her artwork is so whimsical and fun. They're both participating in a "pay it forward" project and since that stuff brings out the mynah-bird-steals-shiny-things in me, I'm doing it too.

Here's the deal (which I also stole):

1. I will send a surprise gift to the first three commenters on this post. The gift will be handmade by me. It will be sent sometime in the next 365 days. It will be a surprise. We all love getting surprises in the mail, right?

2. To sign up and receive a gift, you must play along, too. Pay it Forward on your blog, by promising to make a surprise for the first three people who comment on the post.

3. You must have a blog (that is updated, as I will blog stalk you to find the right gift for you).

4. After commenting here, you must repost this or something similar to your blog in 48 hours. If not, I will chose the next person who commented.

Don't give up if you’re not in the top three. Just head on over to the blogs of the comments who got here first and see if you're in their top three. The rule is you have 48 hours after your comment appears to post the Pay It Forward on your own blog, otherwise I have to skip over you and move to the next commenter. And it doesn't matter where you're from. I'm happy to send packages to any place in the world.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Look ma, no lifelines!

I'm on sort of a mini roll here. I completed a knitting project early--a sure sign of the Apocalypse--and I've even put it up on my Ravlery projects page already. I'd be worried if I were you.

Feast your eyes on my completed Swallowtail Shawl:

Look ma, no lifelines!



I'm trying to talk Donna into using this yarn for a super-secret project we're working on. Can't tell you about the project just yet, but the yarn is Toots LeBlanc merino/angora, and it is delicious! As you knit, it develops this subtle, gorgeous halo. Best of all, it doesn't shed. I know you'll think this is crazy talk, but it's true. I worked on this shawl several times wearing black tee shirts and honestly, there was no excess fuzz. Not cheap, but life is too short to knit with crappy yarn.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Monday, April 16, 2012

I curse you,!

A while ago a friend turned me on to The good news? I've bought some really cool stuff at really cool prices. The bad? I've bought some really cool stuff at really cool prices.

One of my finds was a gorgeous travel case for my iPad. It was marked down from stupid-expensive to just expensive. Yay for me. I needed something with a strap that I could thrown on and have my hands free for boarding flights while arm-wrestling for overhead bin space.

My favorite purchase, however, has been this:

It's a footstool knitted with a cotton/nylon rope. I can't remember where I initially saw this about a year ago, but I seriously wanted it. had it marked down to a price so low I probably couldn't have made it myself for that money, not to mention the beating my hands would have taken knitting with broomstick size needles and rope. I love this thing.

Let me know if you want an invitation to but don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Somebody Do a Rain Dance for Colorado, Please

Colorado is making national news again, and not just for our knitted uteri and misogynistic senator who thinks contraception is "recreational." A prescribed burn got out of hand and now there's an out-of-control wild fire not far from where I used to live, in the foothills west of Denver. When you live in these heavily wooded areas you have to be ready to grab what you can and get the hell out FAST. One of the local news stations is talking about what you should grab in case you live up there and have to evacuate at a moment's notice. So far nobody has mentioned yarn stashes. I guess everybody has different priorities, not to make light of this.

One thing most people don't think about are the animals--not just horses, and pets like cats and dogs, but also alpacas and llamas. Being a knitter, I'm wishing I had a back yard so I could help out with these stashes on a hoof. Many had to be rescued and taken to the Jefferson County Fair Grounds, not far from where I live now. I'm hoping to go by there tomorrow and see if I can help in some way.

Speaking of national news, Donna just gave an interview with somebody from ABC news. If I get details about where and when it will air, I'll let you know, but if you follow her on Twitter (@druchunas) you'll probably find out faster.

We've had an amazing amount of coverage for the Snatchel Campaign. Last week I was interviewed by the congressional reporter for the Durango Herald. Yeah, I know. I'm thinking I should buy a new pair of sunglasses so I won't have to deal with autography seekers. But she was a very nice reporter who managed to get the facts mostly straight, something that doesn't usually happen in my experience, dealing with the media and this issue. This could just be sour grapes on my part. A Washington D.C. paper that interviewed me referred to me as a housewife. You can image how surprised DH was, since I haven't done any housework since 1997. Whatever. No offense meant to people who refer to themselves as housewives. I just don't think I should take credit where it's not due.

It hasn't been all uteri all the time. I'm working on a shawl that I need to finish before the end of May. Slam dunk for JelliDonut, right? Not so fast. We're talking lots and lots of nupps (rhymes with soups). It's the Swallowtail Lace Shawl (Ravelry link). Nupps can be a PITA, especially with lace-weight yarns. I did the first pattern repeat of the nupp section and decided that the remaining 10 rows of nupps were going to end up being a living hell if I didn't figure out another way. So, I went to youtube and tried this.

Here's some photos of the crochet hook method for making nupps. The yarn, by the way is Toots LeBlanc, and I cannot tell you how delicious this yarn is. So order some and thank me later. I bought it at Madronna last year and I'm not sorry either. There's actually a Swallowtail Lace shawl knitted with Toots LeBlanc on their website and it is gorgeous. I chose well.

This is one five-stitch nupp worked on the crochet hook. I'm getting ready to pull the working yarn through the five stitches, something that is much easier to do with a crochet hook, in my opinion. Don't forget to drop off that part of the stitch on the left needle. 

In this photo, I've moved the nupp onto the right-hand needle. Be aware of how you transfer this stitch, and if it's backwards, you'll need to change the way it's oriented on the wrongside row. When you come to this stitch on the purl side, slip it without working it. Otherwise, you'll end up with an extra stitch row-wise. That's because for a traditional nupp you would work these five stitches together on the following row. In other words, you'd purl the five stitches together. Yes, it's as big a pain in the butt as it sounds, which is why I've decided to use the crochet hook method for the rest of the shawl. The resulting nupp does look slightly different, but not in a bad way. The slipped stitch blends in with the YO's that flank it on both sides. I like the way it turned out but you might want to try a swatch and see which method you prefer.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mia Culpa, Mia Culpu

I’d apologize for neglecting my poor blog for so long, but I think I did that the last time I blogged, so let me just skip to what I’ve actually been doing. I’ll spank myself later.

In no chronological order I:

Knit this  shawl:

Watched some tennis:

Cleaned my studio (no photos because it’s a wreck again)

Went to a lecture by Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Wrote an article for, which may or may not ever see the light of day.

Knitted a uterus for Senator Michael Bennet:

Did an interview with a German radio journalist using Skype.

Became a moderator for the Ravelry group Government Free V-JJ.

Joined up with Donna Druchunas and Annie Modesitt to create the Government Free V-JJ movement. It’s been v-jjs 24/7 since then.

How about you? Anybody knitting lady parts? Anybody have some awesome news on their own blogs that I know nothing about because I’ve neglected you so horribly? Give me a nudge and let me know.

Back to emailing photos of uteri. I love my life—it’s never dull.