Sieze the Toast

\”I\” before \”E\” except after \”C\” and when sounding for \”A\” as in \”neighbor\” and \”weigh.\” So where does that leave us?

Pop-pop-pop July 31, 2006

Well, I’ve seen jersey-knit fabric; and about a year ago, I read a tutorial on double-sided knitting on About.com– but I just didn’t get it.  I had trouble understanding how to create a single piece with two right sides, and furthermore, I had no idea why I’d want to.

Flash forward to yesterday (I’m going to have to find less awkward ways of expressing temporal relationships if this novel I’m planning is going to work).  I was browsing Knitty, looking for things to do with my scrap yarn (which I found) and patterns for unembarassing sweaters (which I didn’t).  In the process, I stumbled across…

Exchequered by Alice Bell

“Exchequered,” by Alice Bell.

My friends will tell you that I’m not a very excitable person.  My brother doesn’t just call me “the corpse” because I’m pale… well, maybe he does, I’m not entirely sure.  But I looked at this pattern and my knee started jumping.  The ideas burst into my mind like a string of firecrackers.  Colors!  Materials!  I can do something about those messy edges!  I know somebody who would enjoy wearing this!

I had to make some adjustments.  The original was knit with black and yellow sport-weight acrylic (thinner than worsted, thicker than fingering, just right for double knitting) on 3.25 mm needles.  I have the right sized needles (pretty sure I even used them once), but in this backward little town, the yarn choices are worsted, worsted, worsted or crochet cotton.  So I adapted.  The thing is working up very nicely on US size 5’s with Red Heart Super-Saver (stowe it, ye fiber snob) in black and “Light Sage.”  Also, the squares are nice, but I think I’ll get bored with them by the halfway mark– which is about the point where I plan on having a more organic pattern emerge.  I’m thinking leaves on a vine, and in the last section of the scarf I’ll shape the edges to conform to the biggest leaf and end with a cockeyed point.  This is going to be big, but I figure I can have it finished by the time the weather turns cold.

 

This is a creative writing blog! The long string of crochet-related posts is a coincidence! July 30, 2006

Filed under: Autobiographical,Hobbies,Knitting,Unusual Incidents,Yarn — Naomi @ 8:28 pm

  —–BEGIN KNITTER’S GEEK CODE BLOCK—–

  Version: 1.1

KCR+ Exp++ SPM++ Steel+@ Syn+@ Nov+@ Cot-@ Stash+ Scale+++ Fin+(++) Flat++ DPN-(+++) Circ+ ML+ Swatch– KIP+++ Blog+++ SNB- EZ- FO+++ WIP+ GaugeFS+DK+W++B– ALTCr+QX+Sw+

  ——END KNITTER’S GEEK CODE BLOCK——

I started to write something along the lines of, “This is not a crochet blog, really!” and then I had a moment of genuine deja vu.  That happens to me once every few years.  I get something vaguely deja vu-like fairly often, but the genuine article is oddly comforting, indulgent– a burp of the brain.

 

Hat on my head, bikini on the floor July 29, 2006

Really, how often do you get the chance to annoy a dear friend during a job interview?  This was a good day.

Anyway, as promised, here are some things that I have crocheted recently.

Holding the camera at arm's length, can you tell?

And now you know what I look like.  I’m not much of a hat person, but I thought I could use something for bad hair days and such.  The detachable flower pin is probably a bit much, but…

I am smiling, okay?

… the hat looks kind of boring without it.  Originally I set out to make the fluffy tumor hat from you-know-where, but there were some flaws in the pattern, and following it produced something vaguely hat-like, but not wearable.  I ended up using a pattern I found online.

This is not to say that all of the patterns in the aforementioned book are completely useless.  Case in point:

Use your imagination.

After a few modifications for modesty and aesthetic appeal, this became my first two-piece and the best-fitting bathing suit I own.  Who knows; maybe I’ll work up the gumption to wear it outside the house one of these days.

 

Freefalling: More Sunset Crochet July 28, 2006

Yesterday, we examined some lovely patterns from Sunset’s Crochet Techniques and Practices.  Today we look at the next section of the book, “Creative Crochet to tempt & inspire you.”

“By studying the unusual relationships of shapes and the unique color choices they have used, you can tell that some of these artists are also painters or sculptors.”

And some of them ignored the warnings and had a little too much of the brown acid.  Or maybe they went insane without chemical assistance.  You be the judge.

 Cossack costume?  (Etruscan, Tartar, Mongoloid?)

Cossack costume? (Etruscan, Tartar, Mongolian?) No, it’s simply a crocheted wool caftan–a guaranteed party stopper.

I’ll admit, he does seem to be having fun– but this model has a history of being a good sport (he had the four-color mohair cowboy hat in the last picture from the previous post).  Unfortunately, he succumbed to heat stroke shortly after this picture was taken.  Then he made a partial recovery, wandered off into the woods, and was shot by some hunters who mistook him for a rare squid/yeti/walrus hybrid.  He remained on display in the California Academy of Sciences Natural History Museum for years (in this same position, ironically) before the mistake was discovered.

 N-n-n-nice doggy...

Oh dear god!

Actually, this is a friendly canine, crocheted of yarn spun from the sheared fur of a generous poodle.

It’s a dog, made of dog.  Very… clever, I guess.  But look at his feet!  Somebody lopped off his paws and didn’t even have the decency to cauterize the wounds!

 And speaking of animal cruelty:

For years, Mrs. McDonald refused to acknowledge that there was something… unusual about her husband’s proclivities.  So what if he spent most of his nights out in the barn?  The sheep just needed special attention sometimes, as he told her again and again.  She paid no mind when some of the ewes developed a strong aversion to him.  The smell of lanolin on his breath was a little disconcerting, but she could live with it.  It was only after he presented her with this vest and told her it was “the purtiest negligee you ever wore” that she realized the truth.  She snapped, as you can see.

California Victorian home and a palm tree.

Tree: Are we cozies?
House: Are we what?
Tree: You know, cozies–puffy little covers that people put over toasters and teapots to make them look whimsical.
House: Oh.  No, we’re not cozies.  We’re a centerpiece.
Tree: But, doesn’t that mean that our entire purpose in life is to sit here on this table and look ugly?
House: Pretty much, yeah.
Tree: I see. (Falls over.)

Well, I’ve had about as much whimsy as I can stand for the evening.  Tune in next time to see some things that I’ve crocheted.  It’s not pretty, but as long as it’s prettier than this stuff, I’m happy.

 

Sunset Crochet, the ’70s Way! July 27, 2006

There is already a WordPress blog devoted to nasty crochet.  It got its inspiration from the premier ugly yarncraft blog.  Even James Lileks and the Institute of Official Cheer have gotten in on the act.  But I have one thing that they don’t have:

Crochet Techniques & Projects cover

Crochet Techniques & Projects, from the editors of Sunset Books.  It looks fairly innocuous up front– a little out of date, maybe (look everyone: wood panelling!), but sane enough.  The instructions contained therein are clearly illustrated, and the book includes some patterns that a beginner can and might want to make.

But we won’t concern ourselves with those today.

This book hales from a different era; specifically, 1975.  If you can’t or don’t remember the ’70s, just keep in mind that people of that time did not have iPods.  Nor did they have cell phones, plug’n’play, XBox or MySpace, and even cable television was kind of iffy.  The point is, when the people of 1975 were bored, they had to actually do something about it. And so began the golden age of the do-it-yourself book.

Sunset Hobby and Craft Books list

From the back cover, a partial list of Sunset titles.  This is just the Hobby and Craft series; Sunset also published books on Building, Gardening, Cooking and Travel.  (Still do, in fact, but the Hobbies and Crafts division has passed into history.)  With enough time, manual dexterity, and the complete Sunset library, one could build, furnish, and decorate a house from the ground up, single handed.

But what would it look like?  Let’s look inside.

Hooded Cape

Making this cape is an ambitious project, but it’s worth the effort; its classic style will endure the whims of fashion.

Please note that in this context, “fashion” means “shapeless and impractical outerwear made from roughly four pounds of blue tweed.”  According to the pattern, the cape (which has a “stand-up mandarin style collar”) can be worn separately from the hood and “capelet” section, which attaches with tiny buttons.  Buy one cape, get the second one half off!  BOGO at the Cape Emporium!

Necklace of Subdued Colors, or archery target?  You decide.

Even Beat chicks get the blues.  Well, this giant alien parasite has attached itself to her chest and is draining the blood directly from her heart– no wonder she’s depressed.

Display a favorite shell or bead in a dramatic necklace of warm colors.

Warm, like fresh vomit.  It’s “the perfect focal point for a dramatic evening dress or simple pants outfit.”  Actually, you can wear it with whatever you want; nobody’s going to be looking at anything except your hand-crocheted prosthetic third breast, with fringed tentacles.

Turtleneck Chic.  Seriously.

Against your own better judgement, and that of your closest friends and the world at large, you’ve decided to crochet a sweater for the fey-but-husky young man in your life.  Which of the following attributes would you choose for such a gift:

  • blocky?

  • bulky? 

  • acrylic?

  • precisely the same color as that Dorito you found between the sofa cushions?

  • see-through?

  • all of the above?

Sailors, skiers, and scavengers could warm up to this turtleneck nicely.”

Could, but won’t, as the lad’s expression indicates.  But rest assured, if you wear this sweater, once the sailors have had their way with you and left you on some frozen shore for the scavengers, the ski patrol will have no trouble finding your seagull- and crab-picked body: in death as in life, you will stick out like a sore thumb.

A Covey of Caps.  How cute.

Oh, my.

Like birds of a feather, hat lovers flock together.

Everybody’s laughing at the lady in the yellow cloche, but that’s okay: she’s too stoned to care.  Actually, her cap isn’t especially hideous, except for the massive tumor sprouting from the side.  It’s the men who take the brunt of the abuse here.  Mister Green Tyrolian has contrived to hide his face in plain sight.  Only the walrus in the “cowboy hat” (frankly it looks more like something the pianny-playing gimp at the local saloon might have worn, although even he might draw the line short of crocheted mohair, at Miss Kitty’s insistence) looks like he wants to be here.  Small wonder when you see what he’s wearing toward the back of the book.

Those are the patterns included in the book.  The editors truly expected people to invest their time, money, energy and new-found crochet knowledge in producing these items.  The next section, “Creative Crochet to tempt & inspire you,” is basically a crapbook scrapbook of things that people crocheted without a pattern, presented for our enlightenment.  We will consider the highlights tomorrow.

 

Hazards of home networking July 26, 2006

Filed under: Autobiographical,Excuses for not posting — Naomi @ 10:29 pm

I spent the afternoon scanning and polishing pictures from a 1975 how-to book, and the evening taking pictures of things I had knitted and crocheted over the past year.  I then transferred each set from the network hub (where the scanner and the camera software are installed) to my laptop over the wireless network.  One set made it; the other was lost in the ether.  Find out which is which tomorrow.

The suspense is killing me, too.

 

Where the time goes July 25, 2006

Filed under: MySpace — Naomi @ 11:23 pm

Toward the end of my MySpace career, I devised a simple experiment whereby I could prove to myself whether the site was a massive waste of time.  If the experiment is a success, it means that I have wasted several hours of nearly every day for a month on MySpace.  If it fails, then I wasted that same amount of time on the experiment.  Never let it be said that I lived in fear of self-defeat.

I’m still unsure as to where I stand on the intrinsic value of MySpace.  As a social networking site, it sucks: with one important exception, it has actually driven me further away from my existing friends, and given me ample reason to be wary of making new ones.  However, as an advertising tool (whether the advertised product is a good, a service, or a person), it may be the best thing available for the price.  I’m trying to decide whether, at the end of the arbitrary one-month deadline for the experiment, I should set up another MySpace just to promote this blog.  Probably not.  It’s too easy to envision myself getting addicted again and forgetting all about the blog in the process.

I’ll wait and see if it works for my friend’s band.