Friday, November 02, 2012


If you'd have to airbursh out your nipples in photos, then it's a failtacular pattern. Although I think she's actually wearing pasties...

This pattern costs $8.  EIGHT DOLLARS to knit a holey camisole.  I love how the pattern notes call the holes in the front "a Freeform [sic] eyelet pattern."  Yeah.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Allons-y, Alonso!

I remember being a little girl and watching my 3 favorite shows on PBS: Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and Doctor Who.  To this day, whenever someone says "Doctor Who" to me, I immediately think of Tom Baker and his delightfully endless scarf, floppy hat, and 1970s fro-like hair-do.  He will always be the perfect embodiment of Doctor Who for me.  Running a close second is David Tennant.  I will admit it took me a little while to get beyond Barty Crouch, Jr. being Doctor Who.  (And it was really peculiar to see Barty Crouch, Sr. as the inventor of the Cybermen facing off against "his son" in season 2 of the recent Doctor Who reboot.)  But after a few episodes, it was clear that Tennant was the right choice to pick up the yoke of Doctor Who and run with it.  Some of the most memorable episodes in the recent series reboot of 2005 have been Tennant's.  I've found seasons 3 and 4 to be my favorites.

Every Doctor Who has their specific quirks and Tennant's Doctor, I think, was the funniest.  One particular thing he liked to say was "Allons-y!"  Quasi-proving that I didn't waste 6 years of French study, Allons-y means "Let's go."  In a couple episodes The Doctor mentioned how he always wanted to meet a person named Alonso, just so he could say, "Allons-y, Alonso!"  Well, The Doctor gets his wish in the Christmas episode of 2007, Voyage of the Damned, when he meets an officer on a space cruise ship bearing that most-desirable moniker.  The Doctor is ecstatic. 

After I finished knitting my Owls sweater on vacation, I started knitting these Tardis socks.  I had originally used a chart that I found on Ravelry.  But after knitting up the top portion and the start of the paneling, I just didn't like how it was turning out.  The letters were too indistinct, the window part was too smooshed together, and the door panels were not visible enough.  So I ripped out everything back to the ribbing and wrote my own charts with clearer lettering and devised my own technique for doing the windows/paneling.  I think they turned out really well!  The chart is available for free on Ravelry.  If you don't have access to Ravelry and still want the chart, just comment and include your e-mail address and I'll send it to you.

The rest of the sock is just the standard, awesome Ann Budd "sock recipe," with one minor exception: I do a circular, tubular cast-on for the cuff.  At some point I hope to write up how to do this cast-on.  But it is hard to explain in writing.  I'll have to make sure to include lots of photos.  It's a very easy cast-on process, once you do it a couple times. And it looks amazing.  It also maintains its shape, is very stretchy, and doesn't cut-off circulation in your calf.  It does use more yarn and it takes about 4 times as long to do it than any regular cast-on.  But the end result is worth it. I also use this cast on whenever possible for cuffs for sleeves, sweater bottoms, and hats.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

OMG, Y'All, the Mayans May Be Right

Because I finished the fucking pinwheel sweater! AW YEAH, BITCHES!

Nearly four and a half years after I started, it is, indeed, finally done.  I wandered around the house while wearing this for about 20 minutes contemplating the idea of not having this unfinished project looming in the back on my mind somewhere.  It was very bizarre.  I felt like Frodo after the ring was destroyed in Mount Doom.  To put it another way: I cast this on when George Bush was president, m-kay? 

I don't hate it, but I don't love it either.  I think the concept of knitting a giant circle with sleeves was intriguing to me at the time.  I was a much less-experienced knitter then, and this project had no shaping, no seaming and it was knit on large-ish needles (size 9).  Looking back, this really needs some shaping.  Unless you have a perfectly proportioned body---and I don't mean like a gorgeous, photogenic body (though that would help), I mean mathematically perfect---this thing will not fit correctly.  And I have neither of the aforementioned.

The yarn (Lion Brand Cotton-Ease) was great to work with.  It's very soft and the end result is a very comfy sweater.  BUT---there is always a but, isn't there?---it was not the best choice for this project.  Because of the cotton content, and the vast amount of yarn required to make this, AND because there are no seams to help with the structuring of the garment (see, knitting a garment without seaming is truly a double-edged sword) this sweater is very heavy and a little droopy.  I didn't block it because it doesn't need any help stretching out.  Just picking it up from the shoulders I can feel it pulling down and stretching the knitting.

Another problem I have is with the sleeves.  There doesn't seem to be a good, fool-proof method for making the sleeves for this sweater.  I haven't revisited the pattern instructions for this area in years, but whatever method you use for making the sleeves, they are still done in between YOs, which causes giant holes at the shoulders and back of the armpit areas of the sleeves.  I am actually wearing this sweater today.  It was cool enough this morning to warrant something, so I figured, why not?  It looks fine, but I am extremely peeved about the holes.  As the day is progressing, I am noticing that the stockinette around the holes is expanding, probably due to the natural pulling of the garment down from my shoulders (and as I mentioned above, the yarn is helping this right along).

 See?  RAGE.

At first I thought it was because the sleeves were too tight, but they are actually pretty loose up there.  I've got something like 3 inches of extra fabric around my arms.  So that's not it. I don't even know what to do about this.  Do I try to stitch it together somehow?  Mattress stitch, maybe?  Do I care?  Meh.  I'm totally open to your suggestions.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Why is this ugly-ass, shitty yarn $40 for only 35-40 yards?

I mean do people really want yarn with gaudy tchotchkes in it?  Come on.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Are You Prepared for Fall?

I am. I realized that I now have 4 knitted garments to wear in the fall and even winter.  I never got the opportunity to wear my Channel sweater, having finished it just as the weather started warming up in early May. I have the Owls sweater just waiting in the wings for a cool October day. Plus, I have last year's good ol' February Lady at the ready too.  And now I also have the B.O.B., which stands for "Button On Blanket."

I had gotten seven hanks of a very coarse and itchy rustic locally-produced, bulky-weight, 100% wool yarn when I was on vacation on Vermont this year.  I fell in love with the color: a lovely marl of the natural gray of the wool and red, resulting in an overall mauve-ish look with some red flecks.  Here's a close-up shot of the front cabling that shows the coloration really well:

My friend, Marsha, knit one of these about 3.5 years ago.  It's a great pattern for using up that not-so-soft, bulky-weight wool because it's meant to be worn as an over-sized, bundle-up cozy thing over clothes, rather than as a delicate, next-to-the-skin cardigan.  The pattern lives in our shared Dropbox of patterns, so I figured I'd give it a go.  The B.O.B. comes in three size instructions (33", 39", and 46").  None of those sizes really works for me.  Although, in retrospect, the 39" would have been fine.  So I decided to split the difference between the 39" and 46" and make a 42".  The end result is more like a little coat or jacket.  It's well over-sized (even for Busty McBooberson, like me), but I think that's a good thing. Someday, I will get pictures of myself wearing these things for reference. I swear.

I don't think I've ever knit a project that didn't pose SOME problem (except maybe for the February Lady) and for the BOB it was the yarn's overall texture.  This yarn is scratchy. It is itchy. It is coarse like sandpaper. What to do? I researched ways to soften up wool.  I don't know why this never occurred to me before, but my research turned up several recommendations to use generic shampoo and conditioner.  After all, wool IS a form of mammal hair, and that is what shampoos and conditioners are made to clean and manage!

So I spent a whopping $.89 each on freesia-scented VO5 shampoo and conditioner for normal hair.  I gave the B.O.B. a gentle bath in the shampoo after it was all done (sans buttons).  And boy howdy did it need it.  My fingers would get filthy after a few hours of knitting this.  I thought it might have been dye, but it was just dirt.  Maybe the yarn was on the shelf for a long time and it was dust?

Then I let it sit submerged in cool water with about 1/4 cup of the conditioner mixed in for a half hour.  I did a quick rinse, as best I could --- this thing was HEAVY, laden with water.  Then I had to hold it it my arms and let it drain off as much as possible.  No wringing or twisting, as this would felt if I breathed on it wrong. I got soaking wet in the process. Then I laid it on towels on the bathroom floor and pressed out as much water as I could.  Then I laid it on more towels on blocking mats on the dining-room table. It didn't need much shaping or stretching or pinning.  I only used about 6 pins to hold the button plackets into place.  That's it.  It took about 6 days to dry and then I sewed on the buttons.

It is MUCH softer.  I can still feel that it would be a little itchy if worn right against the skin, but practically all of the coarseness is gone.  So I am quite happy with the result.  My one complaint is the scent.  It smelled great when I was using it.  But it seems a little over-powering now.  I'm hoping that wearing it out in the open air a couple times will diminish the fragrance a little.  I would have gotten traditional-scented VO5 (you know, the golden stuff, which is a scent that is really nice, to me anyway) but the grocery store didn't have it! So, if you ever get some wool yarn or wool with mohair (a real "bastid" for itchiness), I recommend shampooing and conditioning! 

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course.  So what I SHOULD have done was shampoo and condition the yarn BEFORE I knit it.  It would have been infinitely easier to manage the open hanks of yarn.  But I didn't even think about it until I got 1/2 way through knitting the B.O.B. 

Now I'm knitting a pair of Tardis socks (yes, I'm a Doctor Who fan).  I'll blog about those after I am done.  And also I am trying my hand at real lace knitting with lace-weight yarn.  I've done plenty of lace patterns before on dishcloths, scarves, hats, baby items---even the February Lady is a lace pattern---but never with true lace-weight yarn. I'll blog about this experience soon too (preview of coming attractions: OY VEY).

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Owls Have Landed

And, thankfully, it wasn't as painful as I anticipated.

But, there is a Tale of Two Necklines to be told...

Ostensibly, I finished knitting this while I was on vacation in Vermont last week.  So this sweater really does take only about a week to knit. I tried it on and it fit.  It's positively squishy and cozy.  Hooray.

When I returned home, I actually wove in the ends and tweaked the seaming under the arms, then I started the Great Button Sewing Extravaganza of 2012 on the eyes.  Yeah, if I never sew another button onto anything for 50 years, it will still be too soon.  But, I think they look great.  I didn't block it because, well, it doesn't really need it.  So I tried it on again and noticed that while the sweater "fit," I felt that the neckline was, indeed, too wide.  Since I have narrow shoulders and stupid, big boobs, garments tend to pull off my shoulders very easily.  So this sweater was no exception.  I would have been fussing with my bra straps constantly whenever wearing this, which would compel me NOT to wear it at all.  And thus it would become a dreaded "waste-of-time knitting project."  I am trying to avoid those.  COUGH COUGH --- pinwheel sweater --- COUGH COUGH.  (I WILL finish that mother-humper, then burn it in effigy, I swear).

Since I didn't block it, I was able to tink back to just before the ribbing and reduce the neckline.  Here's what I did:
round 1:  reduce stitches by 4
round 2:  knit
round 3:  reduce by another 4
round 4:  knit 34, place marker, wrap and turn, purl back, wrap and turn, knit to end of round (adding a little more height to the back --- remember my boobs are evil dumbbell weights)
round 5:  knit
round 6:  begin 2 x 2 ribbing to end.

So you can probably see in the photos above that the neckline on the left is wider than the one on the right.  It looks so much better now and it is truly comfortable to wear --- on all levels --- as it should be (no self-consciousness about the bra straps). Seriously, this sweater looks 1000 times better ON than it does on the hanger.  Todd is a lousy photographer, so I never get any decent photos of me wearing anything.  Someday...someday....

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Math + Knitting = Pain

I recently finished a lovely summer sweater with flutter sleeves, called Summer Romance.  I plan on wearing it this week once I get my hands on some clear deodorant!  Here's the finished product:

I am very happy with how this turned out.  The yarn I used is elann's Luna, a DK-weight rayon/cotton blend.  It has beautiful drape and sheen, making this a very luxurious garment.  I barely had to block it at all---only at the top, to keep the curls on the neck and flutter sleeves reasonable (cotton curls like WHOA).  I was nervous when knitting this because the yarn had little give, and it was a wildly different fiber and weight than what the pattern recommended (a sport-weight alpaca).  Also the silky rayon fibers in the yarn split like nobody's business. Casting this on (and I did a tubular cast-on because apparently I am a masochist) nearly killed me. looks beautiful and fits like a dream.  I must say that I have been very lucky with knitting garments to size, even for other people.  But I have a feeling that my luck is about to run out.

Enter the owls sweater. I've had this pattern in my knitting queue for about 3 years now.  It used to be a free pattern, but due to severe copyright infringements, the designer is no longer offering it free (and I don't blame her after the shit she's had to deal with).  So I cast this on last night.  I'm using this lovely yarn that I got for a steal from called SMC Select Silk Wool.  I got it on clearance for $2.78 a ball, when this yarn normally retailed for about $10 a ball (still does at Jimmy Beans, Yarn Market, and Webs).  Maybe I'm setting myself up for failure at the get-go because this is not the recommended yarn for the pattern, which is Rowan Cocoon, or Rowan Purelife British Chunky.  Once I see the name "Rowan" attached to anything, I know it's too expensive for me.  But my yarn is bulky, as the pattern uses.  I should be ok.  Right?  Yeah.  It's not bulky.  The label says bulky, but the yarn --- though posh and lovely --- is pretty much worsted.  This explains the great yardage in a 50 gm ball (131 yards).  So I have to hold it doubled to get the bizarre pattern gauge, which is 13 stitches and 20 rows to 4 inches.  Believe it or not, I managed to actually get that gauge (yes, I actually knit a gauge swatch)...using 7mm needles, which don't exist in any of the US-made or US-distributed kits I own.  Swell.  I had a set of 7mm straight needles lying around from an epically failed attempt at some British pattern from the Simply Knitting mag called Damson Wine.  But no circulars.  Thank you, Denise Needles, for offering 7mm tips!  For $6.00, I now have a full complement of circular options.  This pattern is supposedly very fitted with negative ease.  I don't usually do negative ease, but versions of this pattern that I've seen that have positive ease look frumpy and lumpy.  Ok, I cast on the 40" size.  Here's me last night:  "Gah! This is too huge! I'm going to go down to the 38" size."  Cast on 38" size. "WTF, this is going to be too small."  Knit ribbing. " looks fine. Wait. Do I have enough yarn?"  Goes to read pattern: "700 yards."  "Ok, I have @780 (using 1570 doubled), so I should be good."  Ribbing done, onto body. "Oh man, I don't know if I have enough yarn...and it still looks too big."  Knit 4 rounds.  "Jeez, now it looks too small."  Yeah.  So this pattern is going to be the death of me.  And I think the problems are largely with the pattern.

Here are the problems with this pattern:

1) the free version I have is about 3-4 tweaks away from the newest, $6.50 version. So the gauge, yardage, shaping, etc. are all a, I'm afraid. For example, my version says that the 38" size uses 800 yards. But the pattern notes on Ravelry now say 700.  Mmm-k, which is it?

2) it's knit bottom up instead of top down.  Normally this wouldn't be an issue (I knit that Summer Romance bottom up).  But it's basically a raglan construction and it's really hard to tell how well it will fit when you start knitting it at the waistband. So I have to wait until I get to the owls part to tell if this thing is going to fit or not.

3) over 5500 people have knit some version of this sweater and committed their results to Ravelry. This is a good thing.  I don't think any one of them had the same experience as the other.  This is a bad thing. 

4) the most troubling thing is that nobody seems to be getting the right gauge with the recommended yarn on the recommended needle size.  So it's impossible to tell how much yarn I might actually need.  Another similar frustration is that many people just gave up on knitting this to gauge and just opted to knit something 2-3 sizes bigger (in as varied combinations of yarn, yardage, and needles as could be humanly possible) in order to get a garment that fits them.  This is not an option for me, as a) I could run out of yarn and b) the largest size on my pattern is 42".  The newer, not-free version has 2 sizes above that.  Sigh.

5) the neckline looks really weird on many sweaters.  I don't have the mental strength to look at 5500 projects, but the several hundred that I have looked at seem to have varying degrees of success with the neck.  Sometimes it looks perfect.  More often, it looks WAY too wide, almost like an off-the-shoulder neckline.  I can't do the Flashdance look; I need to wear a bra. So I'm concerned about this.  And there doesn't seem to be any mods or help with adjusting this, unless I knit it from the neck down.

6) this sweater generally does not look great on people with big boobs.  A few have done it and it looks good.  But again, they all seem to have veered wildly from the actual pattern to get it to look that way.

So I have a feeling that I'm going to be "winging" a lot on this sweater.  I toyed (and am still toying) with the idea of re-starting it, but from the neck down. A few people on Ravelry have posted that they adjusted the pattern to knit it this way.  Because for me, the biggest issue is the bust.  If it's too tight across the bust, then it doesn't matter if it fits everywhere else.  Ill-fitting sweaters are a no-no for me.  And knitting it top down will also give me a better idea about the yarn and if I'll have enough of it.  UGH, but that means doing math. I really don't want to have to do math to knit a sweater.

Hmm... decisions, decisions....

The bottom line is that I want to be able to look at a pattern, cast-on, knit it, and get a result that will fit; is that so much to ask?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fat-Bottomed Girls... make the rockin' world go 'round!

Anyone who has been in my presence for 15 seconds knows that I love Queen.  Queen is one of my most favorite bands of all time, if not THE most favorite. 

I recently had the pleasure of seeing the Queen Extravaganza perform (in Oh-Little-Town-of Bethlehem, PA).  I cannot say enough about how incredibly good the show was.  The show was 3 hours long, with only a 20-minute intermission period.  The rest of the time was pure entertainment.  Unbelievable vocals from 5 different singers, with insanely good accompaniment on guitars, keyboards, drums, etc.  The feel of the show was definitely something any Queen fan could appreciate -- it was ALL about the music.  They performed songs that I don't even think Queen themselves did in concert very often, if at all: March of the Black Queen, and Lap of The Gods I and II.  If you can catch the show, I highly recommend it.  I screamed and sang myself hoarse.

My sister and I after screaming our lungs out for an hour and a half.
\m/ \m/

I own every Queen album on CD, which is not a great feat, by any means.  But seeing the Queen Extravaganza motivated me to revisit my Queen music library and reacquaint myself with their awesomeness. One of my favorites is Jazz. Jazz is the follow-up album to Queen's HUGELY successful News of the World, which produced a couple songs you might have heard of: We Will Rock You and We Are the ChampionsJazz, though not as widely or wildly successful as its predecessor, has some fantastic songs on it (as the title of this post suggests), and other songs that did not make it to radio play but are no less great. Leavin' Home 'Aint Easy comes to mind.  Some will remember Don't Stop Me Now as the hilarious zombie-fighting theme song from the movie Shaun of the Dead, which hails from the Jazz album as well. 

Anyway, Jazz has one of the most interesting and artistic album covers I've ever seen.  And I think it's particularly unique when compared to their other covers or to the covers of their contemporaries in 1978.

Because of all of the above, I decided to design a scarf based on Queen's Jazz album.  It's a super long, funky, textural piece of modern art, if I may be so bold.  I enjoyed designing it and knitting it.  The pattern is available for free on Ravelry.  If you don't have Ravelry access and still want it, comment and give me your e-mail address and I'll send it to you. I'm too dumb and lazy to figure out how to make PDFs available from my blog. Heh.

Some photos:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

More Things That Rule

This incredible crochet blanket was made by Tiffany Estela

Here is more of her awesomeness:

She is offering the patterns for both of the above on her blog.  If you click on the photos, it will take you right to the respective pattern pages on her blog. 

Also I have to mention that Tiffany is SELF TAUGHT.  Yeah.  She totally rules on toast [bowing profusely].

Thursday, May 31, 2012

More Crap I Don't Get

Maybe I should have put this in a "hideous knitting" post, but I just DO NOT understand why these...things are suddenly so ubiquitous:

The baby net/cocoon/pod/wrap

Aside from looking ridiculous, can this be really comfortable for a baby?  I realize that these items are used primarily for "photo ops."  No normal person would use one of these for any practical reason.  Ok.  But WHY use it at all?  I cringe every time I see a poor baby crammed into one of these damnable fishnets.  The one pictured above is probably one of the worst offenders I've seen because it uses extremely thin yarn made out of silk and mohair.  I'm a 40-year-old, time-hardened adult and the thought of being nude while enveloped in a stringy, mohair net is making my blood curdle. 

Personally I feel that anyone who uses these to take pictures of their newborns must have graduated from the Michael Jackson Baby Handling Institute.  More atrocities against babies:

That CANNOT be comfortable on this poor kid's thighs.  "We're new parents and it's Christmas, so here's the perfect photo of our baby in a hobo sling covered in fake snow!  You're welcome!"

Yeah, this looks totally safe.  "Hey!  Great idea! Let's hang our baby in a goofy, holey hammock from the tiniest, and most unstably thin branches of our dogwood tree that we can find."  I hear sirens in their future....

My stars and garters, this is one of the ugliest babies I've ever seen.  It doesn't help that his red, squealing, anguished face is trapped in a lime green grocery net.

Is it me or does this kid have the saddest look on his/her face?  I'd be sad too if I was hanging from a tree, nude, in a burlap net.  Isn't this type of torture against the Geneva Convention?  I'm pretty sure it is.

Newborn belly buttons make me die a little inside.  UGH.  Cover that shit up.  Also?  It's never too early to train your baby to be a contortionist.


 Just add wind and, voila!  Brain-damaged baby. 

Now THIS is something I would buy.  If only because it's hi-larious:


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This Sums It Up, Perfectly

I saw this yesterday on the internet somewhere (reddit, I think).  This is me --- exactly --- all the time.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Hell...?

I seriously don't know what the hell I'm doing or what's going on anymore about anything.  For one thing, I turned 40 last week.  Turning 40 was a lot like getting smashed in the face with a brick, while a camel kicks you in your naughty bits.  In the past, I couldn't give a rat's ass about my age.  Imagine my surprise when January 1, 2012 rolled around and I started to feel such an oppressive dread of May 9, that I fell into a deep depression (from which I am not much recovered).  I felt like I had a date with the gallows, and there was nothing in my power to stop my impending demise. 

Add to this the general malaise and stress of my job (which got increasingly worse between March and May, resulting in a rather unfavorable employee review earlier this month that, naturally, plunged me deeper into despair), plus my husband's now 17-month-and-counting bout with unemployment and--- well, it's a recipe for disaster. I can't even begin to count the tears shed on my daily train commute to and from work.  A couple times, my sadness and hysteria were so pathetic that I would be sobbing uncontrollably while walking from the train station to my office, literally stumbling along half blinded by tears, trying to hide my splotchy-faced bawling all the way.  Anyone who took notice of me must have thought I was crazy...and they'd probably be right.  I have not had a "weeping walk" to work in the last 2 months, so I guess that's an improvement.

Compounding my feelings of hopelessness and doom was the death of Davy Jones in February.  Seriously.  His death hit me like Mack truck.  In my childhood, teens, and even young adulthood, I think that the nostalgia for the late 1960s (particularly in the 80s and early 90s) was ever present in fashion, music, television and movies. Hence, the resurgences in the popularity of The Monkees throughout the decades.  They were very much a part of my life.  I owned all their music and a collection of their TV show on VHS, then later on DVD.  I realize that, technically, Davy Jones was not of my generation, but in a way, a little bit of me died with him.

Today I learned that Donna Summer died at age 63 from breast cancer.  I am devastated, once again.  It seems like as soon as I start to climb back up the ladder of normal human existence, something always clobbers me over the head and sends me tumbling back down to the basement.  Why bother to even have hope anymore? All roads lead to the same destination in the end.

In order to prevent me from opening a vein, I've been concentrating on knitting.  I started and completed the Channel Sweater in the last couple months.  This is a nice pattern with a lot of room for personal modification.  I used Knit Picks Risata yarn (sadly, discontinued a few years ago) in the regrettably-titled "Marionberry" colorway.  I have not tried it on since blocking it, but it fit just fine beforehand, so I'm not worried.  Unfortunately, I won't be able to wear it until like November.  Sigh.

I made a Wingspan scarf in the course of a week.  Cool pattern that uses just one 100gm ball of sock yarn (somewhere in the 420-450 yard range).  I used Mary Maxim's Step It Up yarn in the Tie Dyed colorway.  The intensity of the colors is really amazing. The yarn itself was fine, but not great.  I found two knotted joins towards the end of my project.  It was really annoying.  But the end result was good.

Last night I finished up a knitted Shower Puff.  Easy pattern, except for the sewing instructions at the end, which made no kind of sense to my addled brain at all.  I totally improvised, but I think it looks pretty good.  I just need to make a proper hanging mechanism, either crochet chain or i-cord.  I used Lily Sugar 'n Cream Scrubby yarn in green and yellow.  This yarn is only available in Michael's stores at present.  I tried to get it online because when I first saw it in the store, it was $3.99 a ball (only 68 yards, people --- RAGE). But, I couldn't find it anywhere online.  I went back to Michael's last week for something unrelated and noticed this yarn was 50% off.  So I bought a bunch of balls.  The yarn is all cotton and is a neat idea, but it's a little odd to work with.  And they really need to improve the yardage at that price if they are going to market it everywhere eventually.

 Dear, blogger:

I just now noticed after uploading 4 photos that you are FINALLY inserting the photos into the post where I want them, instead of dumping them at the top and making me drag them down through the post.


Monday, May 07, 2012

...And the Rage Continues

Alright, kids.  Time for a pop quiz!  Did you all watch Game of Thrones last night?  NO?  You read the books instead?  Ah, well.  Sucks to be you.  Prepare for a failing grade.

1) The title of this week's episode should be:
A-  Wait, Jaime is Dyslexic?
B-  Reading is fundamental, hunty.
C-  Lame
D-  Rated R for retarded
E-  All of the above

2) How many people are with Theon when he takes Winterfell?
A-  1000
B-  2000
C-  5000
D-  3
E-  7000

3) Number of naked boobs in tonight's episode:
A- 472
B- 3
C- Ros
D- None
E- Come on, there has to be at least ONE.

4) Famous line cut from story despite having 15 perfect opportunities to include it:
A- You know nothing, Jon Snow
B- Why did I cash the check?
C- I'm Sam and I like girls!!!
D- Slurp, slurp
E- None of the above

5) Arya named what infamous person from her list to Jacqen H'ghar and as a result that person dies:
A- Cersei
B- Joffrey
C- Polliver
D- Raff the Sweetling
E- Some random dude that nobody knows or cares about who isn't even really evil.

6) Theon gets it on with whom?
A- Ros
B- Yara
C- Maester Luwin
D- Osha
E- Hodor

7) Percentage of episode's deviation from the actual book's text:
A- 10
B- 50
C- 99.8
D- 25
E- None

Other annoyances:

Arya is cup bearer to Tywin, which is in itself stupid.  Ok but then Littlefinger comes to visit Tywin.  Arya is there pouring wine for both Littlefinger and Tywin.  It's a collision course to wackiness!!  Several times, Arya gets in Littlefinger's line of sight and he takes notice of her more than once or twice--- she even spills wine on him.  You mean to tell me that the most sharp, shrewd, conniving asshole in King's Landing doesn't recognize Arya Stark?  COME ON.

Rodrik Cassel returns to Winterfell with NO men, and is...beheaded by Theon?!?!?  Um...what?  Where's Ramsay Snow and his ARMY?? 

According to the TV show, there are only 2 children at Winterfell by this point: Bran & Rickon.
Where are Meera and Jojen Reed, and Big & Little Walder Frey? 

Osha uses sex to ensure her "freedom" from Winterfell.  O...k?  First of all, that whole scenario is fucked up on SO many levels. But riddle me this, Batman: Osha wakes up, Theon is still sleeping, nude [shudder], next to her --- totally unarmed. She creeps out and kills one of Theon's men (slits his throat after pretending to come-on to him; so utterly bizarre...) in order to get to Bran, Rickon, and Hodor to help them escape. Uh...Why in the name of Hodor's almighty wang didn't she JUST KILL THEON?!?!?!?  Hmmm?  HMMMM????  There was nobody else in the room but the two of them.  He was sleeping, nude (blargh), and didn't even notice that she woke up and left. Didn't even wake up after the ruckus of killing the dude outside.  GO BACK IN AND KILL HIM.  But, if she did that, well, then we'd have no exciting story of escaping from Winterfell and all that follows with one Theon Greyjoy.  Uh huh.  Here's an idea: How about you portray the story as it is actually written?  Then you wouldn't be creating MASSIVE plot holes, inconsistencies, and illogical actions. Welcome to retarded screenplay writing 101.  Any excuse to show full frontal nudity and this show snatches it, regardless of how ridiculous and illogical it is.

They increased The Hound's facial scarring to something finally bordering on hideous,'s still on the wrong side.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Can Remain Silent No More

A few years ago, I read 3.25 books of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire Series.  I couldn't get through the 4th book, though I am considering trying to get it finished and moving on to book 5.  There are two reasons that I never finished the fourth book.

First, Martin's storytelling was not following traditional chronological order, as most books do (unless you're reading Faulkner...).  Meaning, that there were several characters' story lines left hanging at the end of book 3 that would not appear at all in book 4, but in book 5.  Book 4 and 5 happen pseudo-simultaneously, overlapping for a good majority of the narrative.  Given that it took Martin something like 6 years to move the story from book 4 to book 5, I was in NO rush to finish book 4 with the uncertainty of the rest of the books.

Second, the story, while mostly well-conceived and written, is one of the most soul destroying tales you could ever read.  If you're generally an upbeat person who is in a good mood and want all that to stop, then I suggest picking up this series.  That said, there are still some great moments and very compelling characters. In fact, there are about 857690348678956732067358901 unique characters that I came across while reading books 1, 2, 3, and 1/4 of the 4th, which made the tales of the somewhat-less-interesting characters who WERE included in book 4 very much less desirable to read.

Anyway, I am far from being an expert on this series.  However, after watching season 1 and some of season 2 of HBO's butchery adaptation of the books, I remain confused and irritated.  Here are some of my grievances, in no particular order.  And a warning: there will probably be spoilers below:

1) Why is Catelyn Stark 60? I mean, really. Overall, the ages of several of the characters  I get it that you can't cast most of the 13- or 14-year-old female characters as really that age, given the the sexual nature of some of their stories.  But seriously, there is no excuse for Catelyn, she's supposed to be like 38.  They couldn't find ANYONE else to do that role?  I call bullshit on that.  Seriously.

2) Speaking of casting, here are some other major casting no-nos:
  • Jon Snow.  WTF?  Jon Snow's description in the book: "He is slender and dark with grey eyes."  Um...HBO's Jon Snow looks like any of my relatives from Italy.  Super-dark eyes, short, with a mess of curly, dark hair, and NOT slender (though not overweight by any means).  He would have been a better Gendry (who is cast poorly as well ---WAY too old, for one thing.)
  • Margaery Tyrell.  Book's description: "She is doe-eyed and pretty with long, curly brown hair."  Yeah, not so much.  In the show she's wall-eyed and has reddish/auburn hair. "Doe-eyed" also typically means brown-eyed.  I don't know of any does with blue eyes....
  • Loras Tyrell. Book's description: "He is young and handsome with a mass of brown curls."  TV Show:  Young, yes. Handsome enough, but blond as blond can be.
  • Lysa Arryn.  Book's description: "She is short, white, and puffy with long auburn hair and watery blue eyes."  Not quite. Skinny as a rake and actually more olive complected.
  • Theon Greyjoy.  Book's description:  "He is a lean dark youth."  TV Show:  A fucking ugly-ass GINGER.
  • Asha Greyjoy. (who, for some unknown, retarded reason, is called Yara in the TV Show. WTF?) Book's description: "She is lean and long-legged with short black hair and a sharp nose in a thin face."  Let's take those one at a time, shall we?  Lean? Not really (average build).  Long-legged? No (average).  Short black hair? Definitely not (long, dirty blond).  Sharp nose? No (round, doughy nose).  Thin face? Nada (full face).  Great job, HBO! See for yourself:

  • Davos Seaworth.  Book's description: "He is slight with a common face and brown eyes and hair with a beard peppered with gray." TV Show: looks older than dirt, all gray beard, almost bald, kind of stocky, light eyes.
And THE WORST, MOST EGREGIOUS casting error of all:
  • Renly Baratheon. Renly in the books: "He is tall and handsome, with jet-black hair to his shoulders and laughing green eyes."  I seem to recall that he also prefers to be beardless.  Renly in the TV show:  short, dopey, whining puss with short brown hair and lifeless brown eyes; full beard; no charisma, no presence, no nothing.  He's just...blah. 
Now, I do realize that the "look" of a character isn't everything.  There has to be something special about the actor's ability to bring a character to life.  Like Tyrion, for example.  I really can't give HBO too much credit for casting Peter Dinklage.  I mean, who ELSE can you possibly cast to play a dwarf?  Warwick Davis?  Nah.  The dude who was Mini Me?  Hell fucking no.  Dinklage was sort of a no-brainer.  But Tyrion in the books is not just a dwarf, but an UGLY dwarf: jutting forehead, mismatched eyes (black & green), almost albino blond hair....  Peter Dinklage is NOT ugly as Tyrion.  But his delivery of dialog and general carriage of the character are just about the only redeeming thing about the HBO show.  None of the "actors" I mention in my list above truly embodies the character they are supposed to be portraying, with Renly being the stand-out worst.

And who is really to blame?  Certainly not the actor, despite his obvious limitations.  It's the HBO screenplay "writers." Which brings me to...

3) The very bad, horrible, un-good screenwriting.  Now here's were a lot of people will argue with me, I'm sure.  For one thing, it's a given that nothing on screen is ever really as good as the original texts from whence it sprung.  People's imaginations are far superior to anything rendered via TV.  But also, many will argue that they shouldn't HAVE to read the books in order to enjoy a TV show.  They are willing to take the show at face value and be happy with that.  Yeah, ok.  But THAT story is a confusing, goofy, crazy, wildly different bastardization of an actual really good, not-confusing, more-interesting story.  So why screw with the source material?  Dunno.  Money?  Probably. Contempt for the audience?  For sure.  Wait, contempt? Why contempt?  Here's why, again using poor Renly.

Renly is gay.  No, really, he is.  Let's start with that.  That is where the similarities between book and show end. The Renly in the book is a tall, strapping lad; gregarious, charming, friendly; the people of The Realm love Renly (who is/was the king's brother).  Renly loves his brothers: Robert, the king (who dies fairly early in the series) and even Stannis (though stoic and strained).  Renly appreciates a good hunt and enjoys a jousting tournament as much as any red-blooded male.  Renly has a whole lot going for him.  Being gay is really so far on the bottom of a very long list of recognizable characteristics of Renly that it's almost completely unimportant.  In fact, it IS unimportant until the second book, when he marries Margaery Tyrell.  (Producing heirs is pretty damn pivotal to survival in this world.) It's actually quite a good moment when you, as the reader, say, "Ohhh, a-ha! Well, damn! I wonder what will happen??!!"  The good writing of the books establishes in a very quiet and unassuming way that Renly is gay.  Few people really know about it, and those that do seem to have a c'est la vie attitude about it.  At no point does Martin push it down your throat.  And Renly's being gay is in no way a hindrance to his outstanding moral character: he's your all-around, #1, stand-up, perfect dude. 

Ok so what's wrong with TV's Renly?  Well, first of all, everyone in Westeros knows Renly is gay, even random foot soldiers fighting half a continent away.  This is something people sneer at and try to use against him.  The first appearance of Renly on screen elicited from my lips a frantic, "Wait, who's that? can't be...Renly?!" Renly is a simpering, moody, eye-rolling dolt and within 14 seconds another character (Littlefinger) makes a backhanded comment about his homosexuality.  Wait, what?! The very next visual we get of Renly is Loras Tyrell shaving his chest in a bathtub.  Yes, they are lovers, which in theory is true to the books, but its over-the-top presentation on screen is obnoxious.  It's like HEY!  LOOK!  RENLY'S GAY!  GAY, I TELLS 'YA!  Just in case the viewer is still clueless, HBO's writers treated us with the gift of gay oral-sex, complete with slurping.  Thanks for that, HBO.  I can honestly say that Renly, as he is written in the books, is one of the most positive representations of homosexuality that I have seen in ANY fantasy-type literature.  He's pretty much awesome on toast.  HBO took this awesome, likable, multifaceted man, who just happened to be gay, and turned him into nothing more than the stereotypical "gay guy," with none of his majorly fantastic qualities intact! Moreover, his "gayness" is presented with such negative connotation (I remind you of the chest-shaving, slurping scene), which is so awful and offensive to gays everywhere.  I thought it was horrible and I'm only 25% gay.  Heh.  It's SO frustrating.


Renly dies.  Well, he's murdered, kind of.  In the books, this is devastating.  As a reader, I was so upset by the loss.  It hit almost as hard as Ned Stark's death.  Knowing that the HBO Renly will die soon (probably next episode), I'm like "whatever."  He has been written as completely uninteresting, uninspiring, unimportant. I wonder what viewers who haven't read the books will think when he's killed? Probably "Aw, man! No more gay sex scenes!"  Oh wait, there is always...ROS.

4)  This Ros person.  Ros is the equivalent of dog shit.  She is everywhere on screen.  She's a prostitute who's had more wangs than a Chinese telephone directory. She also got her degree in whore training, with a double minor in scissoring and in spanking.  I think Ros has seen the bedchamber of every other male in King's Landing, aside from Renly (WHO IS GAY, ZOMG, DID YOU KNOW?! HEAR YE! HEAR YE! SLURP! SLURP!). Come on, are we to believe she's the ONLY prostitute in King's Landing?  Really?  Yet...she doesn't exist in the books.  At all.  There's plenty-o-sex in the books; most of it actually means something with regard to the story as it unfolds. Yet HBO decided it would be a better idea to add stupid, meaningless sex from a made-up character we care nothing about, rather than keep the original, story-progressing sex.  O...kay?  I'm tired of Ros. Tired of her boobs. Tired of her cooter.  GO away, Ros.

5) There is no such thing as large-scale, unless we're talking about Hodor's wang.  If you're going to bring a story with as huge a scope as Game of Thrones to the screen, then you're going to have to do better than King Robert's hunting party of five people.  Yeah, this was supposed to be like a vanguard of people.  Daenerys' Dothraki?  She arrived at Qarth with what looked like 12 people and a mule.  Get with the program, HBO.  You knew what you were signing up for.  If the sacking of Winterfell or the Battle of Blackwater ends up looking like this, I'll be pissed (but not surprised):

6) In the immortal words of David Bowie: "Turn and face the stranger ch-ch-changes..."  I hate things that change just for the sake of changing.  There is no benefit to the story from most of the tomfuckery that HBO has done with the plot and characters.  In fact, it makes it more confusing and leads viewers down really, really wrong paths.  Recall that there are some 857690348678956732067358901 characters in the series.  Screwing with their personalities, their names, very existence, etc. is just unacceptable.  Ok so who's pissing me off now?
  • Littlefinger (Petyr Baelish): In the books: He's a shrewd "master of coin" and knows how to play well at political intrigue.  He has a history with Catelyn's family (The Tullys), having been raised with them as a ward.  He is pretty much obsessed with Catelyn.  Throughout the story (as far as we've gotten through on TV), his deep motivations and involvement in the bigger picture remain mysterious (until later) and he plays his hands very carefully.  On TV: a monologuing pimp. And where is Jeyne Poole?  You were supposed to kidnap her and pretend she was Arya. 
  • Cersei Lannister:  In the books:  One of the most despicable excuses for a human being in Westeros.  She has absolutely no redeeming qualities at all.  She cares not one iota for her children (or anyone else's), except for how they can be used help her position.  Example: all of her living children are products of incest between her and her brother Jaime (all blond).  Once, she was pregnant by her husband, King Robert.  She hated him so much that she aborted the baby.  But on TV: Cersei mentions to Catelyn that she once had a baby that looked like Robert (black hair) but that it died from a fever. You actually feel bad for Cersei.  Note: YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO FEEL BAD FOR CERSEI. EVER. She is continually played as an eccentric, sad victim of circumstance.  
  • Jeyne Westerling and all of House Westerling.  First of all, there are no "field nurses" anywhere in the series. Second, why is she now called Talisa and what is this "I am from the Free City of Volantis" shit?  The Westerlings are not a bunch of random commoners and they are NOT from Volantis, as they nearly formed a marriage alliance with the Lannisters, to whom they now are loyal.  They wouldn't have their daughter running around a battleground cutting off people's gangrenous legs.  Also she's supposed to appear later in the story when Robb takes The Crag.  This is changed or at the very least completely unclear on TV.  See, also A BIG BAD THING is supposed to happen at Winterfell right about the same time... SIGH.  Let's just say that the story of Jeyne Westerling's involvement with the events that are taking place (or supposed to be taking place) and WILL take place is very important.  Remember how Robb is supposed to marry Walder Frey's daughter to secure the Crossings in a war strategy? Yeah...keep that thought.
  • Alton Lannister.  Who the fuck is this?  This person does not exist in the books.
  • Margaery Tyrell: In the books, she's 16.  On the TV Show (quoting from HBO's profiles): "...Somewhere in her mid to late twenties, she is surprisingly canny and cunning."  NO. 
  • Arya Stark:  Mostly I like Arya in the show, but they are screwing around with her story way too much. For one thing, she never serves Tywin Lannister as his cup-bearer.  He's barely even at Harrenhal. And Tywin certainly doesn't out Arya as being a girl.  She works in the kitchens of Harrenhal when Tywin is there (briefly) and the two never even meet.  She does become a cup-bearer to Roose Bolton, who is lord of Harrenhal (not that you'd ever know this, since HE'S TRAIPSING AROUND THE WESTERLANDS WITH ROBB FOR SOME UNKNOWN REASON). Also, if they are at the cup-bearer part of her story, which is towards the end of the second book, at episode FOUR of the TV show, then they are seriously chopping her story down to bare bones.  And that sucks.  Another problem: Her most famous mantra -- an ever-growing litany of all the people she wants to see dead -- is something that she came up with all on her own, not as a result of some story told to her by Yoren.  Another of her famous quotes,"Fear cuts deeper than swords," is gone.  All the actual character (fearless, resourceful, smart) of Arya's character is all but absent on TV.  She just kind of stands around looking sad all the time.  Arya in the books is BAD-ASS.
  • Shireen?  Patchface?  Anyone?  Bueller?
  • Joffrey Baratheon:  A nasty prick in the books.  Not a nice guy, by any means.  But also not a sadist who forces whores to beat each other under threat of death-by-crossbow.  It's not Game of Grand Theft Auto III. Come on.
  • The Hound (Sandor Clegane):  Isn't nearly as badly disfigured on his face as it is described in the books. The word "hideous" is used on more than one occasion: "He has no left ear, a twisted mass of scars around his left eye and down by his jaw, bone is apparent, where the skin had burned away." 
  This looks hideous?  Not so much.
  • Also? Hey, HBO? Did anyone over there even read Game of Thrones?  The disfigurement should be ON HIS LEFT FUCKING SIDE, RETARDS.  I mean how hard is it to get THAT right?  What could possibly be the point of making a conscious decision to change the side?  Oh wait, there IS no point.  Arbitrary, stupid "change," which I would bet is purely a goof.  But this kind of stuff is important to viewers who enjoy the books and who are interested in the character.  The Hound has a big story, he's way more than a grumpy guy who stands around the Iron Throne.
I hate you, HBO. And this is only after 1 season and 4 episodes of the 2nd. Stop the ride; I want to get off.

Friday, April 13, 2012

There Are No Words

For how hideous this is:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A New Fashion Trend

Apparently the latest, hottest fashion trend is really poor posture.

Scoliosis! It's the new black!

To wit:

Honey, is the ugliness of your pants --nay-- entire ensemble wearing you down that much?

Note: you can buy the pattern to knit those "pants" for about $10. I'm not making that up.

Warning: Dating vampires causes Kyphosis.

Is it me or does she always look just a little bit morose? Not like "my family died in a fire" sad. But more like "I just failed 2 mid-term exams" sad. Hey, at least she managed to close her mouth in this picture.

And speaking of hunchbacks, it's the bride of Quasimodo! Her wedding vows: "I AM NOT AN ANIMAL!"

It hurts to look at her.

Also? The last time I saw someone wear stripes and paisley together was my 11th grade history teacher and he was insane...and smelled bad.

This eye-assaulting combo is from JCrew's spring/summer 2012 line. Seriously, the colors don't even coordinate at all.

Aww. She looks like she has searing abdominal cramps. Been hittin' the Ex-Lax a little too much, methinks, oh modelly one.

But on the other hand, nice fright wig!

Unlike a lot of women in America, I don't hate Jessica Biel. I think she looks more like a normal woman when compared to most anorexic, Hollywood stars.

However, I do hate this dress (mostly the "funeral-parlor" color) and the fact that she's standing like a mom who's been dragged around Sesame Place for 5 hours with a bunch of screaming kids.

Look kid, eat a sammich and go back to the 6th grade, m-kay? The school nurse is doing the scoliosis test today, and you really can't afford to miss that.

I don't know which Olsen this is, and I really don't care. If you have bigger lady humps on your back than your front, you have a problem. That, or you are somehow descended from a stegosaurus.

Morons, your bus is leaving. We made sure to put ergonomic seating in, just because you lot look like extras from The Walking Dead. Although the "person" on the far right looks like the girl from The Ring. Great, now I'm going to get a phone call and hear "seven days...."

I swear this has to be the most unattractive group of people I've seen since my...well...ever. Just ever.

Monday, March 05, 2012

I Was Beginning to Think It Was Me...

Several months ago I posted about the ridiculousness of handmade (sewn, crochet, or knitted) sanitary items for women. A few people commented on my post (which, thanks for actually reading and commenting) in a way which suggested that they thought I was being too harsh or at least unrealistic about such items.

For example, here's one comment:
Dana said...

Cloth pads are more comfortable, better for the environment, less expensive over time and as easy to launder as any other piece of clothing. Women survived periods long before commercial disposable products. Just Saying.

Well here's a post on Regretsy about crochet tampons that really captures what my beef is with these items.

Also, just because we survived for thousands of years without commercially made menstrual items doesn't mean we should keep using them now. Sure, we all survived without penicillin, electricity, education, or the right to vote too....

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Being Depressed and Anti-social Has Its Benefits

Such as being able to get a lot of knitting done!

I had the Bernat Natural Vest pattern in my queue for about 2 and 1/2 years. I originally found the pattern in the 2009 Pattern-A-Day calendar; but it is now available free from Bernat. I think you have to join/sign-in to be able to download the pattern. Anyway, I planned on making this for my sister. As soon as I saw it I knew it had "Helene" written all over it.

The pattern calls for Bernat Alpaca Natural Blends. I had/have a random ball of the yarn around and I can say that it not only feels NOTHING like alpaca (it's 70% acrylic, maybe that's why), but also that it's a pretty skimpy/sheddy skein of yarn for almost $6 a ball. I can't imagine knitting a garment in this, or at least anything other than a hat. So I poked around for a suitable bulky-weight alternative yarn and found KnitPicks Cadena. It, too, is about $6 a hank, but it's 70% WOOL and 30% alpaca for about the same yardage. So I bought 6 hanks of it in Caribou (sort of a light, milk-chocolate color) to make this 2009.


Needless to say, "life is what happens when you make other plans," and I never got around to making this vest. It seems that my completion of three February Lady sweaters in as many months has boosted my confidence in being able to get medium-scale knitting projects done in a timely fashion. Whereas, a project like the friggin' Pinwheel Sweater, which is still languishing in a knitting bag in a corner, serves as mental and emotional punisher. Add my completely miserable existence over the last 6 months or so and voila! Knittin'-a-plenty. I started and finished a pair of socks, 2 bunny toys, a scarf, and a baby blanket within 4 weeks.

Groundhog Day arrived this year and I realized that I only had 4 WIP going: a pair of ordinary socks (which are now almost done), Socrates gloves (1 out of 2 done), lovely Talbot socks (houndstooth, 1 out of 2 done BUT, thinking of frogging and starting over due to a couple silly errors I made), and said friggin' Pinwheel Sweater. I know, I know; I should just finish the gorram thing. But even looking at it punches me in my soul.

I'm not sure why I remembered a vest pattern from 2009, but it crossed my mind that I could easily get it done in time for my sister's birthday (March 1). So I unearthed the Cadena yarn and started knitting. I finished the vest in 8 days. I changed up the pattern just a little by making it longer (pattern says 20"; I made it 22", and it blocked to 23"). And I also added a belt instead of making those little attached ties in the front. I think it looks WAY more chic this way:

And she can choose to wear it with or without the belt. With the ties, you're kinda stuck with them. I might make one for me at some point, but I don't know if vests are a good idea on my frame, such as it is currently. Maybe 50 pounds ago....

Friday, February 10, 2012

Another Thing That Rules

That this

Equals this

Friday, January 27, 2012

Things That Rule

Periodically, I'm going to post random things that are just totally awesome for one reason or another. First?

This statue of Ronnie Dio in Bulgaria:

\m/ \m/ indeed!