Monthly Archives: December 2014

For the dogs

A year later, and for another child than the one originally intended, Strelka the Valiant finally came together.

doggy-twopaws

I started him for a kid whose favorite color is yellow, but I missed two holiday deadlines, found that knitting it on dpns was stupid, packed it away for the move, misplaced it, and then realized that the original kid has aged into the universe of building stuff instead of a semi-stationary snuggly one.

strelka-body

I considered making clothing for the new baby brother of the kid, and actually made one very odd sock that might have fit a waterfowl, a very strange hat that will only fit for perhaps a week more, and I bought what I thought was enough superwash yarn for a little vest, but it wasn’t, or at least it wasn’t for the actual size the baby is now through the end of winter.  So I unearthed poor Strelka for a speedy revival (though knitting the vest and waiting for more yarn to come might have have been faster).

doggy-wash

We were leaving for our holiday festivities on a Tuesday, so I wanted to have him soaked and blocked by early on Sunday so there would be enough time for drying and stitching up…

On Saturday, N said “there’s no way you’ll finish… you have a hat anyway.”

Those were not meant to be words of encouragement, but they were for me (that hat was really questionable).

(And this pattern is really fantastic, and fairly speedy, especially since I knitted it in worsted weight yarn rather than fingering, but as with any toy, it’s a bit fiddly from making various pieces and not just straight ahead fingers-become-machines knitting.)

doggy-exploded

But lo and behold, I made my Sunday deadline, albeit at the end of the day.

You can see the wonky ear on the left that I made with dpns, which I do not recommend at all for this guy – it’s magic loop or bust.

(I didn’t have time to make another ear, and unsymmetrical is more natural, right?)

And I was a little tight with the magic loop on the face – he’s got some flat outer cheeks instead of rounded ones, so I sewed the ears more forward to cover them up.

And I generally prefer mutts, so I went rogue with the pattern on the legs and arm/legs.

And yes, I didn’t make the toenails – I am unable to successfully execute that part of the pattern and I didn’t have the time or patience for duplicate stitch later on – he’s still dog-like enough without them.

doggy-window

He is quite charming, but I was afraid he might scare the baby…

But the baby seemed to approve, and gnawing on wool must be pleasant on the gums.

I not a big fan of knitting toys – I’d rather sew them – but it was fun to have this guy on the needles, and maybe I’ll make another…

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What I know or thought I did but still don’t

 bowbanister

I’m wrapping up the worst of the house, meaning almost all of the walls and ceilings are repaired and painted, and floors refinished painstakingly by hand.

I am an experienced fixer-upper, but I still don’t understand the darkest secrets in the universe of home improvement.

Such as:

I never could predict just how much hard wax oil I needed to use per floor, and ended up paying in shipping small cans what would have cost for the large can.

The smallest room used the most paint.

grey walls

Despite its trendiness, I like yellow and grey.  And that yellow door is the living room color – the living room is the largest room, yet took the least amount of paint…

And we still haven’t figured out which room is for what – this room will probably be N’s office, though it may be my “studio” but it is a really tight space – the other wall is pretty much the right margin of the pic – but it has the best natural light.

We did end up covering the knotty pine paneling in one of the rooms, and the room is much better for it, though it will stay in the living room for now.

green walls

And though I’ve previously held an unyielding “choose paint colors for the middle of an ungodly dreary winter” stance (meaning only warm tones on all walls) I went outside of my comfort zone and painted cooler hues in these last few rooms and I really like them.  The color of the smallest room, above with the yellow door, even has the terribly depressing name of “November rain.”  But I would prefer rain in November to some icy slop.

Every time I sand wall patches or floors, despite how well I meticulously seal up the room, I’m blown away about how much dust still escapes and ends up in rooms on the opposite side of the house.

Dusty wheel

 And I hate the fact that I now have to do a thorough furniture-moving, rug-lifting deep clean because I just did that, and everything is fresh and new but now looks like dusty hell.

What is left?

A full-bathroom re-do (more thoughts on that soon) that will either be a placeholder just-work-with-what-we-have-and-slap-several-coats-of-paint-on-everything for now, or a reexamination of the budget to see if we can contract some of the work out – it’s not a major job, but the floor is the worst part of that room and it’s a major pain in the ass.

Improving the “finished” basement that really isn’t.  It needs a floor and a new/improved ceiling* and is ripe with the shit version of paneling which we will likely paint, but again, the budget and our energy levels will play a huge role in its outcome.

It’s got some snazzy vintage fixtures though.

basement light

(And  sadly, I don’t think those are our fingerprints and dust – we haven’t touched the things…)

Improving the yard – we need a bigger garden with better deer fencing and possibly pooch fencing, and some attempts at landscaping.

And then 89, 783, 2311+ weekend projects – tiling the kitchen backsplash, painting closet doors, stripping room doors, installing some thresholds, touching up paint, touching up paint, oh, and touching up paint, building shelving, insulating random little places, hemming more curtains, etc., etc., etc…

etc., etc., etc….

curtains

(And maybe I should add ironing curtains to the list too…)

*Anyone have ideas for improving a drop ceiling on the cheap?  It’s got those large rectangular panels, so I can’t just replace them with something interesting like record sleeves… cover with fabric or textured paper?  Paint?  The current panels are stained Styrofoam and I don’t know what stained them or continues to stain them, I want to get rid of them but hate to toss them in a landfill, and the new ones are only marginally better and more than I want to spend…

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Jadeite

I used to collect vintage dishes.

I use the past tense because I haven’t bought a whole set since the late 1990s, but an occasional cup and saucer will still come home with me.

I still have most of the dishes, though I’m too scared and sick to unpack them since the Great Box Avalanche in our late apartment.

I’m also paranoid to use them now because I learned that some might have lead – yes, even restaurantware can have some – and I’ve probably caused myself mild brain death from the years I used them.  I bought a lead testing kit, but misplaced it in the move.

We used to have easy access to Fiestaware seconds and so we’ve got a rather large dinner party worth of the stuff and I don’t use anything else these days, nor do I expect I’ll ever want anything else (except for a piece or two in a new colorway or to replace the occasional broken piece).

Fiesta-forever

I used to tell myself that buying vintage dishware was an investment, because for a tiny period of time it was – Ebay was just getting rolling and things like Fireking’s Jadeite went for unreasonable amounts of cash.  My books for grad school and some bulk rice and beans were paid with my Ebay earnings…

Until a year, or maybe even just a few months later, when the market was flooded…

Today, my old crap isn’t worth too much more than what I paid for it at the pricier thrift stores, and isn’t really worth the bother of packing and shipping to sell online (or even to unpack it for some proper photos).

But I still really love the stuff – I love the colors, and the sturdy materials, and most of all, I love the size – modern plates are too damn big.  And I drink espresso, so the coffee cups might be a little small for today’s average American Joe, but they’re perfect for a double shot.

So I’m thinking about dishware because I finally finished spinning my “Jadeite” wool.

PRS-Jadeite3

The last in a trilogy of Pigeonroof Studios superwash merino roving that I bought last year and intended to knit together in the same project.  I’m still pretty sure I’ll make a shawl/scarf or perhaps a sweater yoke of all of them, but maybe I should make a tablecloth instead….?

Nah.

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Search me

rockin'

I write this blog primarily as a record of things I do with my hands and a few notable (to me) life things.  I used to keep a written journal, but stopped over a decade ago.  I sort of keep sketchbooks and “idea” books, but only sporadically and they’re often hard to decipher.  So the blog format does in its metadata what I don’t tend to do in life – keep track of dates and things in general in an orderly fashion – and has neat writing and doesn’t require anything sticky for pictures.  So I really don’t care about having thousands hundreds tens of followers (although sponsorship and getting free shit would be nice, though I also find that annoying) and I don’t pay much attention to the statistics, however I’m finding some of the search terms people have used and (sometimes unfortunately) ended up here fascinating and/or amusing.  The bulk of them are practical – people looking up patterns, ideas for recycling fabrics, and people and places I’ve mentioned, but a few stick out.

So I will try to give you what you were really looking for, answer your questions, or encourage you to come back to clarify, in honor of my blogiversary.

Though the web has gotten so vast that you no longer need professionals and masters degrees (like mine) to make an optimal query in a search engine (and I’m also guilty of occasionally just typing in short questions) some people are taking it a bit too far:

WHAT ADJUSTMENTS DO I NEED TO MAKE A HONEYCOWL OUT OF SOCKWEIGHT YARN

Um, if you know the Honeycowl, then you probably use ravelry, so get off Google and use their awesome search features to see how others did it, fool.

And of course for the dirtier of mind, I’m sure plenty experience disappointment in landing here – some terms are just dull, others I may intentionally use just for shits and giggles, like:

COCK SOCKS

Which no, I’ll not quite give you that, but enjoy the Red Hot Chili Peppers instead.

Another searched for:

SOCK MONKEY LUDE PICS

And I’ll happily oblige, that is if you really meant “lewd”… otherwise I do not know what a  sock monkey would pop to chill out.

monkey-suck

(I was too lazy or mildly creeped out to stage this in a more sexy setting…)

monkey-reach

And one of my favorites:

DUSTY OLD THINGS

This might be the pass-phrase to my heart.  And hopefully you’ve been back recently to take in my post about the dusty old things I recently found.

And an obsession with gender-appropriateness in which I do not understand:

DOES WEARING A POLYESTER SCARF MAKE ME LOOK GAY

Yes, if it is rainbow colored (but even then you could just be a supporter of gay rights).  Otherwise you just look cheap and a supporter of petrochemicals and possibly slave labor.

MAN WEARING BAKTUS

Here’s a man in a baktus (and a lacy one to boot):

baktus2-done

And one that I searched for myself:

BAD HAT QUILT

Not sure what this could mean – a quilt made of bad/ugly hats?  Badly knitted hats?  Then that would be an afghan of sorts… Or a tiny quilt to cover a bad hat?  Or a tiny quilt to tuck in the unloved hat at night? Or by bad do you mean good?

And some mild WTFs:

SLIMY GREEN SNOT WORM

You should probably get that checked out, or if you are a child, get away from the screen and go outside to play.

BEER BOX QUILT

A quilt made from beer boxes?  Are you a hobo?

UNEMPLOYMENT PAINTINGS

Yeah, aren’t those most paintings?

HOW TO DRESS A ROOM WITH SANDED FLOOR

One sleeve (curtain) at a time, or a little oil and vinegar.

IN WHICH FINGER SHOULD JADEITE BE WORN

Whoa, are you planning to surgically bejewel yourself? 

SOCK FOOT MAN TUCK

I don’t know if this is supposed to be dirty or if it’s an inquiry about taking in now baggy socks after significant weight loss…

FLOOR SANDER TSHIRTS

Do you mean the best t-shirts to use as rags while sanding the floor?  Or the logo of sanding machine?  Or do you want to buy one?

If so, here are three from which you may choose that I made just for you!

fig,white,scoop,ffffff

fig,white,mens,ffffff2

fig,white,tank,ffffff

 

Check out my redbubble shop for more ASTITCHMATISM swag including veggie weenie totes and phone cases – not sure how long I’ll have it up, so get stuff now!

I STILL HAVE JET LAG

I’m sorry, that really sucks, but at least you got home with all fingers intact and the luxury of leisure time or a tolerant boss who hasn’t fired your slacking-off ass yet.

CHEAPER ALTERNATIVE TO HEXAGON FLOOR TILE

Hex tile (not the fancy-pants marble or 100% authentic reproduction stuff) is really some of the most affordable (and attractive) floor tile available, but it’s most cheap if you learn to install it yourself – it’s really not that difficult – you can do it!

YARN OPENESS

My yarn and I have a really special relationship, I know that my yarn can come to talk to me about absolutely anything, no matter how embarrassing or scary – the key is to set boundaries but always have a swinging gate of dialog – and maybe you’ll be proud of your yarn someday too.

ORGANIC FARM CURTAINS

I think that is evidence that we’ve lost all hope.

HOW DO YOU SPELL TCHOTZKIE

Tchotchke.

(But if you landed here, does that mean I spelled it wrong somewhere…?)

SISTER BROTHER FISTBAD WAP

And with that, I’ve got nothing (hopefully it’s not something awful).

Thanks for reading and do stick around for another year!

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What I’ve been reading…

Thank you to dre at Grackle & Sun for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog award!

blue light curtain

This will be the only dose of fiber this week – I’ve been sewing curtains, but not thinking enough about them first – a blue curtain throws in awful cold blue light… duh. But it looks pretty snazzy at night with the lights on.

And now, I will give my acceptance speech.

I once got a (real paper) letter from a classmate with whom I wanted to be friends, but she was the elementary school equivalent of being out of my league. My mother broke the sad truth that it was a chain letter, and a particularly difficult one because the rule was to send it to 25 people, and living in a rural area, this popular classmate had probably run out of preferred recipients at around no. 17.  It promised good fortune and riches if I passed it along, but alas, I didn’t know 25 people, even if I included the kids who ate glue, so I have lived my life without riches, though perhaps with some fortune since things could always be worse.

So I’m a little conflicted about participating in these blog activities that feel a teensy bit like a chain letter –  yes, I’m honored that someone thought about me, but my non-conformist self said to just say thank you and do no more, but I’ve enjoyed living vicariously through other bloggers as well as benefited from their comments and support, so I’m game for this today.

The rules are:

Thank and link back to the person who nominated you.

List the rules and display the award.

Include seven delightful facts about yourself.

Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know about the award.

Follow the blogger who nominated you.

(I was already following dre, so here goes the rest of it.) 

7 things some of you don’t know about me already, probably none of which are delightful:

1.  I’m not a picky eater, but there are many many things that I’d rather not eat (we’re talking actual food here, when it comes to packaged/fast food, I don’t eat that shit).  Example: I was invited to dine at a lovely person’s house last month.  She served venison-stuffed peppers with tomato cream sauce.  I am a good sport and it was delicious, but I spent the rest of the evening in a rictus grin from gut pains and stifled farts.  So I don’t eat peppers and cream unless I’m at home, and generally don’t eat the larger animals at all.

(I’m tempted to make this an entire TMI list, but most of it would involve my GI tract.)

2.  I barely have a cell phone and it ain’t smart.  I’m mildly addicted to lurking on other’s Instagram accounts, but I can’t make one of my own though I’d like to have one.  I don’t want a computer in my pocket (even though most of those things wouldn’t fit in my pocket).  I hate marketing and fees for nothing – a small fee for infrastructure is okay, but otherwise those things just make other people rich.  And they’re hell on the environment – charging that shit (made by tiny children) constantly and tossing away the old.  Maybe I should start my own marketing campaign that your smartphone runs on coal –  icoal.  Or fracking – ifrack.  Or nuclear – inuclear.

3. I used to have a largish (but round) mole on my cheek.  The kids in junior high school called me “Mole Face.”  I had it excised by a plastic surgeon.  Then the kids called me “Scar Face.”  I kinda wish I never had it cut off, but I’m sure it would be sprouting wiry shit by now.

4.  I like true crime/mystery stories – to read, watch, or listen – though I’m sometimes ashamed about it.  If someone went through that hell with a family member or friend, it would be a vile entertainment genre to face again and again.  But count me in as one of the devoted Serial listeners, and don’t bother me first thing on a Thursday morning.

5.  I think I make a decent pot of chili.

6.  Though I’ve been a card carrying member of various counterculture and arts scenes since my tweens, I don’t have a tattoo – I never could decide what I wanted to have for the rest of my life and I didn’t want to spoil the blank canvas that is my body and could have ended up immortalized on canvas.

7. I’m pissed off that the USA seems so stupid these days, but we need to lighten up and have more silliness.

And I really don’t want to have pass this along to others in the sense that they may feel obligated to do this too, or that I’m singling them out in a stalkerish way, but I’ve found blogs I enjoy from others posting their blogrolls or through things like this, so this is more about what I’ve been reading minus several written by people I know in real life that might reveal my secret identity, and a few that dre already mentioned, and a few that I stopped reading when the writer had a baby and now it’s just all about the freakin’ baby, and several bigger knitwear designers that I assume many already know (like Kate Davies), and a few from dyers and fiber suppliers I patronize, and a few I’ll pop over to read from time to time via ravelry and aren’t on the top of my head now.  But I have to be honest that I’m not a huge blog reader – I’m distracted easily for better or worse and I’m trying to reign that in; and I care about the many injustices of our day, but can’t feed those flames too much without boiling in my seat, so I stick to the lighter subjects of fiber and travel and the shorter picture-heavy blogs for the most part.

And for the record, I haven’t really vetted most of these, nor gone back and read every post, so if there are some right-wing nutjobs in the mix, I didn’t realize it.

So let me state again, these are the blogs I’m either following or read fairly often via ravelry right now that I am in no way pressuring to participate in such shenanigans:

 completely cauchey –  I love her work, but most of all I love her drive, creativity, and amazing feats of productivity

dayana knits –  she’s a “Rowan Ambassador” and I often like Rowan patterns, so I think about making some of the things she’s made, and her notes will probably be extremely helpful.

Drawn the Road  – this blog is just sketchbook pages, and it blows my noggin.

eggton – I don’t often read food blogs and I can’t remember how I bumped into this one – perhaps it was recommended via wordpress, but she’s good for some laughs (and cute dog pics too).

A Ervilha Cor de Rosa – beautiful pics of Portugese woolmaking – I don’t always translate it, so I assume she’s talking about that too.

ever green knits – hiking, knitting, travel – we share similar past times (and there’s a dog).

 L’AquiLANA – Valeria makes the lovely wool I’ve brought home from Italy, and Antonella at I Campi di Mais often makes delightful things from it.

Lime Scented – another woman I bumped into via ravelry and realized I read most of her blog entries, so I started to follow – she gives a lot of good knitting and sewing tips, especially in regards to fit that I have every intention of going back and digesting, and I appreciate her occasional bits of feminism.

peoplecake vs. yeti – I’ve been known to publicly (and perhaps unfairly) malign millennials but she is just so damn positive and her enthusiasm is contagious (and she has a cute dog).

shutterhoney –  I click on this one through ravelry fairly regularly – she posts pics of interesting art and her own knitting – just a pic and a few words – refreshing.

soknitsome – we seem to share a love for self-striping socks and she’s just hopped continents.

 Tricot Gourmand – knitted foodiedom – just awesome.

woshoudebuhao – I know her from a point in time in real life, and she’s writing about her adventures (and occasional frustrations) abroad in places I’ll probably never get to go to.

Wren House Yarns – this is a pleasant little blog with a few pictures and fewer words from a new indie dyer & spinner (I haven’t bought any yarn yet).

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