Archive for the ‘Material World’ Category

selfie game weak

March 20, 2014

So, I tried to take some shots of myself wearing my latest finished object.  (Lucy in the Sky Cardigan in Cascade Yarns Longwood, zinfindel color, which is best in first photo).

lucypicsmtumblr lucypicsmback

My self-shots are weak.  Here’s the process:

Find camera.

Realize only mirror of adequate size is in the bathroom.  Find clean part of wall.  Try to take picture.  Contort until you get something reasonable in mirror.  Realize you’re too short for whole sweater to be in mirror.  Find footstool.

Try again.  Realize you don’t know where the button to actually take the photo is.  Turn camera so you can reach button.  Flick wristband out of way, which moves whole image.

Try again.  Take photo.  Swear when you realize you still have the flash on and it whites out whole image.  Turn flash off.  Contort some more.  Take photo.  Look briefly at image.  Feel bad about horrible fluorescent eco-friendly lighting.  Take a couple more shots.  Realize ancient bathrobe on back of bathroom door is in image.  Realize you have big pimple on forehead.  Figure you’ll crop that unflattering stuff out.

Find camera cable.  Upload photos.  Start editing images.  Realize that  mirror is dirty and current t-shirt looks terrible under sweater.  The sweater, which, after all, is the focus of the whole thing.  Swear some more.

Go back, change t-shirt, clean mirror.  Take opportunity to take down ancient bathrobe.  Do whole selfie thing again.

Look at second set of photos on computer.  Notice that second set of photos is bad – infinitely worse than the images with the dirty mirror.  Give up and load those anyway because people are only going to care about the sweater.

I do not know how other people do it, with all the self-consciousness going on and all the life-editing that must be applied.  Anyway, I’m thinking those are people are much better at this than I am, or their places are super clean, or that I care too much.  Either way, I’m probably just going to be placing finished item on the floor next time I want to take a picture.  (That is, after I finish mopping it clean.)



March 6, 2014

I knit my first intarsia project a while ago.  It’s hideous.  I’m kind of embarrassed by it.  I called it the Sad Penguin.  Such a mess.

Here is an in-progress picture.  (I am apparently incapable of not sharing my shame, however powerful.)


If you turned it inside out, you’d notice where I cut the white yarn and knotted it to the other bits of the hat in a mistaken bid to try make it go better as I knit circularly.  I was 2/3 up the white before I realized I didn’t need to cut it, I could just sort of wrap it around the blue yarn and knit onward.   No wonder this pattern was designed to be knitted flat.  *HEADDESK*

I had invested too much time in this not to finish.  (Beside, I had a good amount of white yarn in that breast/tummy area of the penguin that couldn’t be used for anything else because I’d cut them like a fool. )  I thought I would keep the hat and wear it in desperation one day when all other hats were unavailable or something equally self-flagellating.

Last month my daughter found the hat and is wearing it pretty happily.  She loves it.

All’s well that end’s well.  Lesson here is that I should stop being so self-judgemental and if stuff doesn’t turn out, I should think that would still be okay.  And also that kids like stuff that might be sort of not perfect.  That’s okay, too.  (I mean, we’re all redeemed by other people’s kindness and love.  Why not this terrible-looking hat and my feelings towards it?)

aww, no

December 19, 2013

I just got an email about tax software.

This compounded with having returned from the UK after being overseas for five months, unpacking, jetlag, getting the kids up and going to school, getting and planning food from an empty cupboard, changing my insurance, sorting through the seasonal clothing, laundry, holiday shopping and plans, cleaning a house that’s been empty for five months, and a really, really bad cold.

Forget this.  I’m going to knit.


July 24, 2013

Everybody does this.  So I shall show you my stash.


A couple of skeins haven’t made it into the photo, but just pretend there are a couple of extra yellow and red balls.  Wow, I’ve got a lot of red and yellow, and almost no green.

This is where the skeins all live.  In plastic bags, in a plastic 66-quart tote.  (Yes, only the best for my yarn.)  My needles and notebooks live nextdoor in another tote.  Books live elsewhere yet again.  (I don’t know why, except for the location of the bookshelves is awkward and the fear that if they co-habitate there might be uncontrolled reproduction of some kind.)


I’ve decided to try to keep all the yarn to the tote.  If I’m reaching the limits on size, I will knit down to fit.  This is my portion control.  I do have a habit of buying just a single skein to ‘try it out’ or it’s ‘on sale’ and that’s all that was there.

This is not an awesome habit.  I never really buy the accompanying yarn and I even if I wanted to make a biggish project, I can’t because I don’t have anything but a single skein.  The yarn tend to sit until I figure out what I want to do with them.  (It’s okay, because I’m mostly about hats and socks and the occasional small scarf, but still.  Someday I may make a sweater.  Probably not for me, but a knitter should have at least knitted a sweater some time in their knitting life.)

I just want some turn-over of the stash, because I did like the yarn when I bought it, but yet somehow, I can’t always figure out what to do with it.  This then becomes a storage problem and a potential financial problem.  I don’t like that.  I want to keep in control of this.  I want to become a discriminating yarn buyer, user, giver.

I’m hoping this portion control idea doesn’t lead to the syndrome of knitting all the bulky/fat yarn first to make more room so I can buy more yarn.  😐  (Self, I’m on to you.)

follow-ups everywhere

July 17, 2013

You know how in long-running series in various forms of media, you’re given call-backs to previous episodes (often long-ago) whether it’s characters, or particular themes?

So, in the interest of the 2 people who read my blog, (none of whom knits) I give you follow-ups.

I made some insect/arthropod  dishcloths for a wedding.  This turned out very well, astonishingly well, given that I see the groom once every couple of years and I’ve never met the bride.  They had fossils on the serving table and the happy couple had a bee/trilobite going on with their attire.  Yay!  (In the interest of maintaining their privacy, I can’t say what.  But I will say it wasn’t human-sized bee/trilobite suits.  It was more bee/trilobite accents.)

I re-knit/fixed a couple of things.

1.  I made socks for W a while back.  He thought they were cushy, but never wore them because they were cutting off his circulation, especially in one leg.


(I think my gauge here was fairly different between the two socks.  I was trying out a couple of different ways of holding the yarn and tensioning.)  They were also too short, especially to wear to work.  (Ribbing drives me crazy.  It’s annoying.  Give me twice the length of stockinette any day.)  I want these things to be more than artifacts to my hobby, so I fixed them.  I unpicked the bindings on both legs and added a couple of inches, and also a couple of stitches in each row.  This made the ribbing look wonky, but he was much happier and he’ll actually wear the socks now, which makes me happy.  (Even if he doesn’t wear them t work.)  Everybody’s happy.


2.  I knit this hat.  (I don’t have a picture on the blog previously, but I feel it’s important to mention, because that hat sucked my will to do anything else for a while and I simultaneously loved that hat and hated making it.)  I flubbed the top because I don’t think I was paying enough attention because I was SICK of making the hat and wanted to get back to my life.   I guess literacy isn’t everything – you have to care that you’re also reading it correctly.  (This is a lesson I’ve been trying to teach my son.  But, hey, like parent like child.)  If the image is clear enough, you’ll see the little bit of white that crosses over the dark blue in the very center – that shouldn’t be there.


I fixed it within a couple of hours.  Much happier.  It’s a little like having a brand new finished object without actually having gone through the pain of working on it.  (I have mostly forgotten how much I was annoyed by the stranding, because I am thinking about maybe, someday, doing something similar.)


May you have a happy day where it feels like you’ve done something great, but only really did a minimal amount of work!

day dreams

July 12, 2013

So I got an invitation to subscribe to a knitting magazine.

It contained the usual sorts of things you’d expect: descriptions of the amount I’d save by subscribing, the awesomeness of their patterns (from beginning to advanced), knitwear designers, ways to improve your skills, reviews on products.  Then came:   “Inspiring photography that invites you into a yarn-filled daydream.”

Cue image of me with a thought bubble, and the only thing in the bubble is a skein of yarn on some grass, somewhere in the Hebrides or a fjord or something.   (I don’t need cute animals or attractive people in scanty knitwear – I just want yarn on a lovely landscape.)

Knitting magazine, my hat’s off to you.  You really know your audience.

(Conclusion, I didn’t subscribe.  But you definitely got my attention.)

Bad mom, bon mom

July 9, 2013

A couple of  weeks ago, as H was heading off to soccer camp, I realized that we had never taught him to tie his own sneakers.  Oy.   (Face, meet palm.)  He’s never owned a pair of sneakers with laces – everything up until now has been velcro.  (It’s not too late, I mean, it’s not like we dressed him in velcro footwear into his 20’s or something.)

So I spent some time teaching him and then drilling him on this.  He is not bad at it now.

The first day of soccer camp, H lost his towel, the cap to his water bottle, lost 50¢ of his snack money, and tore a huge hole in his brand new sport socks.  (I was moderately chagrinned about the towel because I made sure to buy a cheap towel in case of this eventuality.  I just thought it would take more than a day to lose it.)

The second day of soccer camp, H retrieved the towel, did not retrieve the water bottle cap, and lost his required bottle of sunblock.

On the day and fourth day of soccer camp, nothing was found, nothing was lost.

Then came the first day of swim class.  He lost his towel.  It’s been a week and he hasn’t found it yet.  (Good thing I stocked up on those cheap towels.)  He hasn’t lost anything else, but it’s swim class.  He’s only got a couple of things to lose, for heaven’s sake.

the unmaking of things

June 13, 2013

I just don’t make things.  I also unmake them.

I frogged a hat recently – one of those that you knit the brim as a big cable and then pick up and knit the body.  Couldn’t get it to fit.  I suppose it helps that I develop a mild antipathy to most of my projects as I’m working on them.   (Something along the lines of “stupid ##$$@#@# – I’m going to finish you!”)  I usually get over this once I’m done, but if I dislike something enough to frog it, I don’t mourn long.  (Perhaps I could have salvaged the cable and made it into a headband, but eh, I wasn’t going to wear that either.)

We’re trying to do a bit of clearing out.  So while the kids were out, W and I tossed/donated some toys.  There were trashed hand-me-downs, things that were outgrown, and then the bad gifts.  But times being what they are, I try to be moderately eco, so I have to find things to do with them.   I took apart some of them for the electronic/battery part of the garbage pickup (especially with the stinkin’ noisy-ass mechanical toys that someone related to W gives us all the time).  Those, I terminated with extreme prejudice.

I admit, the insides were really interesting.


So, I guess something to be learned in all things. (Even from awful electronic toys that no sane parent would wish on another.)


June 11, 2013

I’m not a terribly covetous person by nature.  I try very hard to be happy with what I have.

I’m also the least likely person to be a knitter.  I don’t wear a lot of sweaters, or shawls, or scarves, neither does W.  (On the other side of that, I do wear a lot of down coats, but I’m not going to be raising ducks any time soon.)  I can’t wear a lot of animal fibers – after a while, they make the more sensitive skin on my face/neck/arms itch.  I’m not very crafty.  I don’t have and don’t necessarily want to have much of a stash.

And yet, somehow, I’m completely taken over by knitting right now.  I love the puzzle of it, the doing, the thinking, the community that I’m finding.

Then there’s the objects themselves.  The beauty of the fiber.  The skill required to make some of these items.  Most of them have an inherent usefulness/beauty.  Sometimes there’s humor or whimsy.  I love that – you can see the personality behind the pattern.

There’s something so dangerous about looking at other people’s knits – I covet it all.  I don’t have the skills to make it all, but in my head, there’s a voice that’s like: “ALL THE KNITS!”

I am in so much trouble.


May 31, 2013

I have  decided to keep the amount of knitting stuff down to a minimum.  Ish.  I have a set of short dpn, longer dpn’s, crochet hooks, interchangeable circular needles, and a bin of yarn.  (Which seems like too much already, but it all seems kind of necessary.  At least, to me.  Don’t talk to W about it.)  In a token nod to keeping the amount of stuff I do own down,  I don’t have a swift, nor a ball-winder, nor a yarn bowl.  (I found a local purveyor of yarn bowls, who told me that it is dishwasher and microwave and oven safe, which seems super durable, but kind of “what are you expecting me to do with a bowl full of yarn?”)

Instead of a swift, I have this:  windingballs

(It’s the side of my drying rack.)

And instead of a ballwinder, I have the cardboard tube from the center of a roll of paper towels.  (Idea courtesy of here.)

This, I feel, is progress.  I had been using a variety of different systems, from chairs to my neck to my knees.   Protip: the neck is not good for this.  Not if you intend to use your neck at all.