Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Turkey Palooza 2011

Happy Happy Turkey Day

It approaches rapidly. An entire day of mainlining giblet gravy and indulging in glorious TV zombification. Parades, football games, comfort food out the yin yang and relatives! Oh, wait. Can we add copious amounts of liquor to the list? That always makes my family very entertaining.

Not able to partake of the fun this year - just a wishy washy pseudo version here at pay-by-the-month Casa Apartimento Cecinatrix. I am perfectly fine with splurging for a turkey coma this year even though it may be tight financially. Hey, I'll be napping through a lot of that stuff anyway.

So to honor the crappy economy, the season of gluttony and my ever more annoying feline situation (as in with the very existence of my little habitat-infesting hairball demons), I offer a "new" service: crochet patterns for sale.

Pumpkin Cat Pie

Available at Etsy and Ravelry.

Couldn't bring myself to charge a lot although God knows that I really... really... really... wanted to because these things take for frickin' ever for me to write and draw. We are all in the same 3-ring fiasco of an economy together and maybe the best we can hope for is to all get together online and swap our pennies.

"Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life." Or so I've heard it said. I love making cat-pliques but can't imagine making them as items for sale. Just can't see mass producing and stockpiling a product that may or may not sell. I prefer special orders and finite logistics. Requests are great and I love working out the details with customers. That I find creative, fun, goal-oriented and logical. (No. There are no points on the tips of my ears - I just like at least the pretense of organizational order in my life.)

Besides, patterns are actually a fun option, eventually. Time consuming and frustrating yes, but also pretty cool. Share the love without stocking woes or even shipping costs? Mmmmm. Homerina like.


Hook On, my lovelies and feast well.


Monday, October 31, 2011

I Love Extortion

bwa ha wheeeeee

Halloween!! Strange houses, empty loot sacks, disguises and .... candy. What's not to love love love love love.

Ooo, ouch. Sorry - sugar rush spiked there for a minute. Still. Totally worth it!!! :-B


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

FiberArts Magazine Farewell

Snail mail has brought me many an "aw, man!" moment in the past but none as crappy as the notice of the demise of FiberArts mag. The only periodical that covered the broad range of the eclectic wonder that is fiber artistry is no more.

I've subscribed to FA off and on for over 15 years. It would have been "continuously subscribed" had I not been a grad student and subsequent underpaid stooge working for the man during that time.

Anyway, I really should have seen the writing on the wall. The issues have become much slimmer over the past few years and more recently the articles have been much more art-quit oriented. That would have been fine except that the house that publishes FA also keeps Quilting Arts magazine in their stable. Two mags with the same focus coming out of the same publishing group does not bode well for the mag undergoing changes.

I had feared for months that "Fiber" would be completely supplanted by "Quilting" and leave me bereft and a sea wondering what was up in the world of fiber. I needn't have worried. Upon notification of the death of Fiberarts I was concomitantly informed that the remainder of my subscription has been switched over to Quilting Arts. Ooooo. Irony.

Indeed, if I weren't so heavily anti-depressed via modern chemistry, I would find this particular irony just insulting. As it is, I'm simply sad to see them go. It has been hard for me to find a welcoming niche in the world of fiber art. I don't sew. Or paint. Or mix my media. I crochet. I don't even feel particularly at home in that world either in that I don't make clothes or accessories. All I want to do is tell stories using crocheted applique elements as the characters. I haven't yet fully realized that vision, but I hold fast to the dream. After all, waking-dreams are the only thing that get me out of bed in the morning.

In FiberArts I found articles about other crazy dreamers telling stories with fiber and string and cloth and whatever else they could get their hands on. To be fair, I do see some of that in Quilting Arts, but lately they are more about altering the surface of cloth, particularly with paint and dye but through other rather fascinating treatments as well.

But now where will I go to find the lost-wax glass knitter or the power-extreme embroidery mavens? The articles on "what did they say that was made of" or the outdoor installations of sculpture made with light.

Alas, business is business and a no-longer profitable title has to eventually meet the chop. Especially in today's economy. Now there is a phrase that I have truly grown to despise. No money nowhere. I get it. I feel it. It sucks. And now it kills. Oh well, at least it is better to go out with dignity than as some pale, junior-league knock-off of another title.

So long FiberArts. Know that at least this one crazy string tinkerer mourns your passing.

Hook On with nobody to watch

Friday, April 8, 2011

Experimental Posting

Whilst scratching around my computer desktop I found these images from the end of February's 2011 Thing-a-day. Little words assembled using my Catphabet:



I didn't post them then because I wanted to end that challenge by spelling out "The End" and "G'BYE" and then I kinda forgot to share them later.

Seeing these again made my mind wander to thoughts of the other communal thing I recently participated in- if only peripherally and mostly anonymously - the 2011 Knitting and Crochet Blog Week. Specifically the challenge topic posed on Day 5 - Experimental Blogging: "an experimental blogging day to try and push your creativity"

Don't know why I didn't think of it at the time, but now, the only thing I can think about is writing an entire blog post in catphabet code. How annoying would that be? So much so that I can't stop smiling. You know that twisty, evil smile that travels up past your eyebrows and into your hair along your part, curling and uncurling the very tips of the ends of the shafts.

Grinch Smile
google images

Good thing I'm far too lazy to do that.

Bwa ha ha

Hook On!

Monday, April 4, 2011

2KCBWDAY7 - Fun Time

2KCBWDAY7 Day seven: 3rd April. Your knitting and crochet time.

Write about your typical crafting time. When it is that you are likely to craft – alone or in more social environments, when watching TV or whilst taking bus journeys. What items do you like to surround yourself with whilst you twirl your hook like a majorette’s baton or work those needles like a skilled set of samurai swords. Do you always have snacks to hand, or are you a strictly ‘no crumbs near my yarn!’ kind of knitter.

Day late, dollar short. Eh. Life.

Here we are at the end of another round of the fun and lovely community activity that is Knitting and Crochet Blog Week. So quickly too. Alas.

So. Last year there was a topic about actual physical place-of-crochet. This topic is broader in scope but the response begins in the same place – my chair in the living room. No photo. Not ever. I’m rather embarrassed by the state of things around here these days and prefer to wallow alone in my shame. Actually, no photos at all for this one. I’m afraid that we are off another whirlwind adventure down my the foaming stream of my dizzying consciousness. Bring your Dramamine, everybody?

I crochet while watching TV. In fact, I often keep the ole boob tube on for the background noise alone. Why not music? I don’t know really. We just didn’t sit around listening to music in my youth. More a conversation, TV and play with the cats and dogs and other sundry critters type family. There were records and radios and we all loved music but that wasn’t the real focus of our entertainment. Except for physical things like cook-outs and cleaning house, where the beat made the mood and enhanced the activity.

I did listen to music more often while in college and grad school. Usually in my bedroom at a desk where a TV always felt rather out of place. So I studied with music playing. Drove the inevitable long distances commuting to schools and jobs with music too. College was and hour commute daily, each way. Grad school wasn’t at first but eventually it too was an hour in traffic. Hmm. Then most, if not all, of my real grown-up jobs were long commutes. Hey, culinary school too. Shoot, even my first out-patient treatment center was a long commute. Lucky I guess. No wonder I was always so tired and cranky.

And with all of that driving, I listened to the car radio. Maybe I equate the radio playing with the drudgery of endless, mindless hours at the wheel and aching, bubbling, enraging frustration of dealing with big city long distance traffic. I don’t know that I can relax listening to music anymore. I haven’t really tried. I just stick with the TV.

Daytime programming is nice and monotonous. Nothing too exciting to drag my attention away from the hook. The white sound is important, but the visual stimulation is also quite helpful. All the changing patterns and colors of standard TV broadcasting decorate the periphery of my sight as I hunch over my hook and thread. Prime time can be a bit problematic though. Sometimes I have to put things aside and focus on something with a unique plot or irresistible character interaction. Funny enough, when I stop and think about it, there isn’t a lot offered prime time these days that will make me put down the crochet. I like that term. Interestingly enough, I heard that about a TV show once: they added a young, hot guy to the cast to get the girls to "put down their knitting" and some hot girls to get "Dad out of the garden". Brtitish show, kind of obviously.

Anyway, summer reruns are coming and I can crochet to my heart’s content while only marginally responding to the TV. Have been on basic cable for only six months now, but it didn’t take long to find out that daytime cable is rerun hell … or crochet Eden depending on your mindset. This all works for me. Keeps my hands hooking and my synapses firing. In fact the only glitch in thoroughly enjoying my crochet time comes from the daily, often seemingly hourly, wrestling match with the cat.

Like most cats, Wulfie is an attention whore. The sight of hook in hand is his signal that the human is nicely fluffed up and awaiting his sprawling presence. In other words, he wants to sit on my chest and will squeeze his fuzzy little head under hook and thread and up between my hands completely blocking my line of vision. And if I’m not fast enough, I’ll lose hook, thread and any other small accouterments I may have temporarily stored on my shirt under a solid 108 degree wall of fluffily annoying catness. Of course, even if I can clear the deck fast enough, I will have to put the work away anyway and attend to his satanic majesty or I’ll get kitty-claw pin cushioned to death as he tries to get comfortable on my person. Remind me why it is that I think I like cats?

Ah. Cats and crochet. They go together like Spring and flowers, hearth and home, tar and feathers…

Hook On!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

2KCBWDAY6 - Aspiring

Aspiring to be more timely with these posts. My bad. Lost an entire day somewhere. Weird. Back to it.

2KCBWDAY6 Day six: 2nd April. Something to aspire to.Is there a pattern or skill that you don’t yet feel ready to tackle but which you hope to (or think you can only dream of) tackling in the future, near or distant? Is there a skill or project that makes your mind boggle at the sheer time, dedication and mastery of the craft? Maybe the skill or pattern is one that you don’t even personally want to make but can stand back and admire those that do. Maybe it is something you think you will never be bothered to actually make bu can admire the result of those that have.

Sometimes I get the urge to build. Something that I can assemble in a few hours instead of a few days. I’m not sure if it is the planning of said projects, you know - the dreaming, or the actual desire to make that captures my imagination. After all, some of these objects would take days if not weeks to actually complete, and that’s only if I already knew how to do any of the construction. I like to imagine myself as bright enough to figure things out from the internet, a couple of books and some blind struggling. I rather love trial by fire, if I can beat the fire that is. I only kind of like a little adrenalin and am not full-on masochistic.

Although many things cross my twisted little tinkerer-wannabe mind, the thing I am repeatedly drawn to is clear materials. Lucite, Plexiglas, pourable resin, glass, crystal, acetate sheets - all of it. No matter where my ideas start, I always wind up in the land of see-through with high hopes, deep wishes and insufficient coffers.

For example, one day I started dreaming of not being crushed beneath the weight of collapsed columns of poorly balanced crocheting supplies and decided to devise a more stable storage method. The format that came immediately to mind was that of the old, now decommissioned library card catalog chests with the all those lovely drawers.

Wine Storage Card Catalog

They have popped up a lot in design blogs and studio organization literature. I really respond to compartmentalization. You should see the trees of folders I have on my desktop. Any cons? Uh, yeah. The mothers cost a lot, weigh a ton and the worst offense - the drawers are too small to hold the balls of crochet thread I use. Arghh.

OK, so how about the old style apothecary chests. I love the “mad scientist in the land of copper and glass” aspect of them and the drawers are a good size:

Apothecary Chest

Bigger Apothecary Cabinet

Ha ha. The prices for these babies are even funnier than those for the card catalogs. Even, or maybe especially, the reproduction ones are out of the same solar system as my budget. Clearly, trendy and commercial is not the way to go for me. Sooooo. DIY it is.

The idea of hacking CD/DVD towers into my own version of an apothecary chest came to mind. The result of “internet inspiration” re: thieving photos off the net.

CD Drawers (apparently)

I like the possibilities. Get a plain, unadorned version and Cecinatrix it up. Would this mean I had to invest in paints and cabinet hardware and lacquers or whatever? Considering that my workshop would be in my tiny apartment where random flurries of cat fluff assault the atmosphere? Uh. No. Anyway, my heart had become set on something clear in which to store my cotton threads. A system that would offer both quick and easy access while presenting the world (OK, me) a constant display of colorful sparkly big time pretty.

I found these acrylic boxes in the ULINE catalog:

The Stassssh

I lo-uh-uhve catalogs. Anyway, I misunderstood the description and as I’ve mentioned before (only like every time I talk about these boxes), the outside dimensions are perfect for my packages of crochet thread. The inside dimensions? Short by 1/4 inch in every direction. Alas. But I make do. Stubborn and cheap to the rescue!

Then I stumbled across a pic of what I really wanted:

Mother F-ing choir of angels!

Yes. A plexiglass apothecary-style chest. Mmmmmmmmmm. Lucite. The company that made this is a custom fabrication place in California I believe. Fun, fun, funny fabrication prices. Completely worth the cost, too. It's just – you know - the money flow suckage. DIY? Maybe. This project/idea is resting on the back-burner for now. I’ve done the "construction research" (all that I have the patience for) and am all ready to tinker and catch fire. But the supplies? Maybe if I was patient, thrifty and shifty, I could buy a shelf sized piece of acrylic every couple of months until … judgment day.


So here I am, lost in slumber with see-through dreams. Let me share a few items with you that make me very happy to look at even if I could never, ever afford them; and truth to tell, I wouldn’t necessarily want all of them in my home. For a lot of these things, it’s the desire to figure out how to make them for myself, after which, of course, I’d probably lose interest. Either that or go maker-wild, turning my bedroom into Lucite Labs. Does cat hair interfere with acrylic bonding?


Rimfrost Hack

Three Rimfrost Hack

I missed the Ikea Rimfrost shade by a few years. Drat! Curse their thrifty Scandinavian good-business practice product rotation! The fun I could have had. Bwa ha ha! I digress.


Ghost Candelabra

How awesome is that!?

Lamp shades:


Crystal. Lampshade. Crystal. Come on!

Entire 3D lamp:

Bourgie Lamp
also MOMA
although I seem to have
misplaced the link info

Comes in gold-tinted see-through goodness too. I saw that one at but sorry, they are much too clever to let me acquire by questionable means any usable photos for me to offer them unethical, yet free advertising.


Hmm. OK. Maybe furniture leaves me a little cold. I may like the idea of a cabinet and chest of drawers and even a slick nightstand/end table/coffee table but these chairs? They are turning up all over the design blogs, some TV shows and even a few craft-art mags. The “forefront of a popular trend” has never been a selling point for me, in fact quite the opposite is true. I resist many things on the basis of their popularity alone.

But, the real trouble I have with the Ghost Chair is that I can’t get past the image of naked thighs beneath the short pants featured in the requisite Texas summer survival gear kit. I don’t know a lot of supermodels and the image of folds of sweaty exposed flesh pressed up tight against clear sparkly acrylic doesn’t exactly make me want to run out and get the bank loan I would need to purchase one of these babies. That image would haunt and terrorize my beautiful see-through dreams causing me to awaken hourly with fevered screams.

But then again, maybe that’s just me.

Hook On!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

2KCBWDAY5 - Experimenting

2KCBWDAY5 Day Five: 1st April.

And now for something completely differentThis is an experimental blogging day to try and push your creativity in blogging to the same level that you perhaps push your creativity in the items you create.

There are no rules of a topic to blog about (though some suggestions are given below) but this post should look at a different way to present content on your blog. This can take one of many forms, but here a few suggestions:

* Wordless, photographic post
* Video blog post
* Podcast
* Cartoon/sketch of an idea
* Write about a subject from a different perspective (for example, you could write about a day in the life of a knitted sock from the point of view of the sock).
* Interpretive modern dance (why does someone always suggest this?
* A poem or piece of rhyming verse
* Stop motion animation


Meow. Meowmeowmeow. YAAAAOWL!




Just kidding. April Fool! Just wanted to share a little of what my nights have been like lately. Nights. Afternoons. Trips to the bathroom. Or kitchen, or front door. Sitting on the couch. I really miss REM sleep.


So many things I can think of…

“Desire fo Rorrim” ala sdrawkcab nettirw tsop elohw eht…

(ie " The whole post written backwards ala “Mirror of Erised”…")

…block word by backward maybe or

(ie "or maybe backward by word block…")

or in surface crochet cursive…


or free-air crochet cursive…


or hand drawn and colored penciled…


or entirely beaded...


or even on pennant flags…

wahoo, buckeroo

Nah. I think I'll go somewhat virtual:

Fun. No, really. But now I have all these ideas bouncing around inside my head and I'm itching to play with them all, but I just can't seem to justify the copious amounts of time that they would each require. Sigh. Ideas are seldom the problem - it's the realization that frustrates.

Hook On!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

2KCBWDAY8 Wildcard – Embellishing

Uhm In the interest of full disclosure (ie sharing waaaaay too much), I'm doing the Wildcard option today because the Day4 topic "Whatever happened to your _____?" is not my kinda thing. I never keep track of things I make for other people and the stuff I make for myself that actually gets used are socks and my nasty-ugly-walked-barefoot-through-crushed-glass-in-a-wild-cactus-patch-in-winter feet tear through those too quickly to justify photography.


2KCBWDAY8 Wildcard – Embellish the story

Embellishments come in all types and forms. Some are more than purely decorative and form a practical function – pretty buttons are as much part of holding a garment together as mere decoration, and some are just there to give a piece an extra ‘something’. Blog about an embellishment, be it a zipper, amigurumi eyes or applique patch which you are either saving to use or have in the past used to decorate a project with. Write about whether you are a very minimalist kind of knitter with classic lines and timeless plain knits or whether you love all the bells and whistles or sticking sewing and otherwise attaching decoration to your pieces.

I am a loud creature by nature. Love bright colors and shiny sparkly things except of course when I don’t. “Inconsistent” is the word I hear used most often and I am strangely okay with that. Why do the same thing the same way twice? That sounds to much like work – chain gang sledgehammer smashing big rocks into little ones type work. I prefer that my work day be neither Dickensian in its constant soul-crushing repetitive mindless automaton sweat-shopery nor Orwellian in its level of overbearing supervisory interference cum guidance. I kind of like being a flake. But I draw the line at being called “childish”. I am not so much immature as easily filled with wonder and awe.

So, yes, I have a child-like fascination with baubles and gee-gaws. Not only do I have bags of buttons yet do not sew but quite a few of those are novelty buttons shaped like all sorts of fun things. Have a few beads too although I don’t consider myself a jewelry maker. I just like color and shine and texture.

Most of these embellishment items I purchased when taking a stab at being a mixed media person. I don’t paint or bring myself to tear up books so I find that I never could quite find a niche in that world. But I did use all sorts of things I never used before, like pipe cleaners. Oops. “Chenille stems” – my bad. I showcased the gloriously malleable fluff factor of those stems as a detail alongside my crochet appliqué motif creatures (I haven’t settled on what I want to call them.):

Alex in Wonder Land
(should be Land of Wonder -
we are still a litigious society)

I really like the way this turned out but was alone in my enthusiasm. Still, I often do things merely to amuse myself. I added the Alex piece to my collection of books. Come to think of it, I seem to reserve most of these embellishments for use on my books:

Roses Are Dead

On the Fence About the Fence

Postcards from Home

Particularly the spines. I’m not about to leave an unadorned open grid of a spine just hanging out there in dead space. And my usual form of detailing and embellishment would hinder the free movement of those pivot points.

I do like to include a lot of detail in the construction of my pieces, and that usually means adding lots of structures created out of thread:

Ides of Uh Oh

Still, I hold on to and often add to the beads and buttons and little doo-dads because they strike a chord in me. They are the toys of my adulthood. I know that for myself, when I stopped playing with toys of any sort, I started to stagnate and fester from within. Depression with the big, clinical “D” was the diagnosis. The view was pretty dim from the bottom of the crevasse I dug for myself when I tried to became a productive and mature member of 9to5 society. Crochet was the way out.

I started by refamiliarizing myself with the how of stitching and then stepped up to teaching myself filet crochet. Just made things to see if I could make them at first. I was never really aware what was happening, but I was having fun playing with crochet thread and kept going slowly but steadily and kind of crocheted myself a rope ladder out of that abyss. Sure medication helped, but they will always be external - elements being put into me to stabilize me and turn me into some semblance of a functional citizen. Crochet comes from me, is me. Let’s me know that I am alive and that I can touch the real world. I can make something funny, beautiful, silly, painful, meaningful, nonsensical. I can make a small noise in this world. A tiny dent in the fabric of reality. And that is a hell of a huge reason to love crochet.

So, I treat embellishments like my playthings - reasons to smile and be sarcastic and ... well… be me. Crochet was my first toy-for-life and it is the grandest embellishment I could ever hope to include into my life and work.

'Nuff Said, True Believer

Hook On!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2KCBWDAY3 - Organizing

Day Three: 30th March. Tidy mind, tidy stitches.

How do you keep your yarn wrangling organised? It seems like an easy to answer question at first, but in fact organisation exists on many levels. Maybe you are truly not organised at all, in which case I am personally daring you to try and photograph your stash in whatever locations you can find the individual skeins. However, if you are organised, blog about an aspect of that organisation process, whether that be a particularly neat and tidy knitting bag, a decorative display of your crochet hooks, your organised stash or your project and stash pages on Ravelry.

The only positive thing I have ever heard consistently in past job performance reviews was “She’s organized”. I won’t go into the negatives from those reviews except to say that I AM what the Home Ec films warned you about in high school.

But it is mostly true. I love using spreadsheets to keep track of things, 3 ring binders to store hard copies of POs and important information like MSDS sheets and just generally like for things to have their own designated spot complete with carefully selected item-specific storage container. That is so much easier to do at work than at home. My need to compartmentalize my organization efforts suffers in the face of having to pay for the storage places and supplies out of my own pocket. So I close my eyes, grit my teeth and do my scraggly best.

The corner of my bedroom is my little way station for all things crafty not in current use. I have a little folding craft bag next to my chair in the living room where I do all my crochet work and other craftniverous type activities not requiring a flat work surface, but you are not getting a picture of that DMZ. Instead, let’s talk yarn.

I rarely use yarn. Does that mean I don’t have a stash? Heh heh, yeah, that’s funny. I decided a few months ago to collect all the stray skeins I bought for some project or another that I self-proposed but never actually realized and this is the result:

Great Leaning Tower of
Yarn and Yarn-like Fibers

Not too huge a stash but not so small as to fit in a single box. The boxes? Free... once we ate the bakery goods that came with them. Well, they are corralled, stacked and dust free. Doesn’t have to be pretty or high quality as long as the solution solves the major problem. Right? It's the story of my life, so it better be right.

I use thread for my work. Lots and lots of crochet thread. Mostly cotton but some nylon. I never know what to call the package type – ball, sleeve, skeinette? – but they tend to take up a lot of room. Especially since I found these cool, not too expensive clear acrylic boxes to store them in. I have to grease the sides to fit the new packages in these boxes (the outside dimensions are perfectly the right size for these things. Perfect. The outside. Soooo close.), but they fit great once I use up a couple dozen yards of the thread:

Upper Right Craft Corner

Contained, stackable, dust free, tangle free, cat-slobber free. All a gal can ask for in my apartment. Too bad I already outgrew the 25 I bought and need to place another order. That’s the reason for all the little scrunchy plastic bags. The very bags the boxes were shipped in – how’s that for ironic and miserly upcycling? Alas, time to start saving up the pennies that don’t already have Lincoln screaming from all the pinching that goes on around here.

The only real problemito with this system was that I need access to all of the threads when I’m making my appliqué pieces and vignettes. Often the detailing requires only small amounts of thread and I would have to be constantly interrupting my work flow to get up off my buttocks and grab a snippet of thread from the bedroom every time I need a new color. As cool as the boxes are, they are bulky and storing them handily in the living room would just add even more flotsam to the already copious jetsam and that all just makes me want to toss my frumpy apartment-frau /domestic non-goddess cookies at the sight. The solution:


Embroidery floss bobbins! Yay! So I keep this huge jailer's keyring with me at the work comfy-chair and only have to refill the bobbins periodically. I may have to hide the ring from zee kit-tees, but then again, what don't I have to hide from them. Besides, this system is actually working for me. Who knew?

Hook On!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2KCBWDAY2 - Learning

Day Two: 29th March. Skill + 1UP

Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year?

“Learned new skill. Gained new knowledge."

Well, last year on Knitting & Crochet Blog Week, I went on at great length about trying out broomstick crochet. Have the tools and the technology but I just didn’t get Steve Majors Austin out of the wreckage in time. [Character/actor mishmash - my bad. 3/31/11]

However, I did manage to take a stab at hairpin lace which I also mentioned last year,if only in passing. I wanted to play with the Berroco Boho Colors ribbon yarns I acquired in a protracted fit of “oooh that’s pretty” and hairpin seemed the way to go to preserve their lovely tapeyness.

So with loom, hook and ribbonated yarn in hand and an article in Interweave Crochet propped up against my tumbler of scotch uh, “diet soda”, I started hairpinning my little brains out.

The idea was to make longish panels in a combination of colors that I probably wouldn’t want to wear in public and assemble them into some sort of vaguely defined, poorly imagined and imminently ill-conceived tunic top that would allow me to bear the heat waves bouncing off my beauteousness while avoiding the violation of any uptight civil laws against rampant nekkidness. Trouble is, the pattern I was looking at for inspiration/instruction was for a fancy scarf with an intricate joining technique that resulted in lots of curves and open spaces and that kind of garment wasn’t gonna keep me of any episodes of COPS. But I’m a preternaturally clever thing (when not leaving my keys in the car door lock overnight) and between the article, the instructions on the back of the package the loom came in and some judicious web stalking I figured out how to make and join straight panels. Kind of.

Hmmm. Helpful.

Under my cat's watchful gaze and with the pins set arbitrarily at about 2.5” apart I went to town:

Loopy Goodness

I liked it but didn’t think that the loops would offer much coverage at these widths. So I moved the pins in to the approximately 1.5” marks and tried again:

Eh. O. K. I. Guess.

Not sooo bad. In fact, I rather like the tight packing of all the pretty colors. Besides, to complete what I see in my head with panels of this width will probably be much more tedious than necessary with the added bonus of requiring way more product than a sensible person would commit to a single project. Perfect. My kind of ordeal!

Being a curious but lazy monkey, I had no intention of undoing the larger strip and redoing it at my newly preferred setting. So I just ran keeper threads through each set of loops as recommended in one of my source materials (Good Lord, No. I don’t know which) and have the two strips in storage/limbo. But before relegating them to the land of blurry flying saucers and even blurrier yeti peepshows, I managed to catch a wild hair about trying to join the strips:

Comfy Chaos

Hmmm. The scarf in the magazine was made with a solid color ribbon yarn so the joins were less... dramatic. I have no idea if they are allowed to be as blatantly noticeable as mine or not, but I march to the beat of my own Tim-tom and like the zippy, vaguely Morse code/ bones on the fish skeleton look of this join. So why did I only join about a fourth of the two strips together?

I have no idea. I did this months ago now. I think I might remember something about wanting to have strips/panels in alternating ribbon color patterns because I didn’t have more than one ball of yarn in any one colorway. See, I knew full well that one ball of any yarn wasn’t enough to cover even my collar bones and since I was ordering more than one ball anyway I couldn’t resist buying different color patterns. Individual balls. On sale. Closeout sale. Discontinued in perpetuity sale.

So, I have the one purple based yarn you see in the photos and one beige based that I know doesn’t sound at all like something I’d like only it has this gorgeous coppery bronze segment in it that I can’t stop drooling over. Sigh. Two lonely little balls. (ooo, irony) That’s not getting me covered up in any kind of way. Maybe I’ll wait for a sale and get some of the solid colorways still available and just commit fully to a full on Frankenshirt.

Monkey likes to see progress when working on something or she’ll get frustrated then bored then distracted by something shiny and everything will get put into back burner storage hell. So, even though I liked learning/blindly struggling through how to do hairpin crochet, I’ll need to wait for the muse to strike me upside the head before I recall the project from perdition. Hey, speaking of Hades, summer is coming pretty soon. Maybe another heat wave will wake up that peaky muse.

Here's hoping that the ape-ling hasn't written the technique off as "figured out - don't need to proceed". Curious, lazy, clever and apparently crazy monkey signing off now.

Hook On!

Monday, March 28, 2011

2KCBWDAY1 - Blog Week

Time for the 2nd Annual
Knitting and Crochet Blog Week event.A great idea launched by Eskimimiknits last year. A week of knitters and knotters blogging about a different communal topic a day.

I love to talk, hate to come up with my own subjects and like feeling a part of the community, so I'm in for sure.

I participated last year too. Was a lot of fun. Search the tag knitcroblo2010 or follow this link to the first of my humble offerings for the 1st Annual ...

Wow. Upon review, I was quite a bit peppier last year at this time. Oh well. The posts won't be as long or photo heavy this year, but they'll still probably bedazzle and amaze the casual reader with their meandering gabbiness.

So, to Day One

Day One: 28th March. A Tale of Two Yarns.

Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

Can do.

I spent some time this past year doing a little R&D for a very good customer and a potential new project. The D has stalled out a bit, but the R has forever left it’s mark on me. I have had my hands in the bubbling cauldron of fiber-greater-than-1 mm-in-diameter and I am hooked … so to speak. (Ow and Yikes on that one)

These two lovely little numbers live with me now:

Twinkle Soft Chunky
super bulky, pure virgin wool yarn


Plymouth Yarn Confusion
bulky, synthetic mix
Pink and black

Both from WEBS. Soooo convenient and awesome.

Now considering the earthy tone on tone colors my client prefers, I have no idea why I even suggested these particular color options - except maybe that I find them oddly hypnotic for some reason. I’m not usually that into purple but I do love jewel-tones and the color royal blue so the shiny purpleness of the wool found me especially vulnerable to its seductive dance of undulating wavelength of light. The synthetic mix, well I love controlled chaos. “Come to me, my jumbled amalgam of texture and color.”

The wool:

I’ve never crocheted with wool before, or any animal sourced fiber for that matter. Although I deeply dislike the idea of annoying baby animals to get yarn (a separate thought for another time), my wool-less past has less to do with ethical deliberation than with a simple, circumstantially and personality driven issue - I’m broke and cheap to boot. Truly, a deadly combination that has me tractor beamed blindly through the friendly neighborhood crafti-plex and directly into the 99¢ bin of acrylic wonder. But we were working on a vision here, so I held my cheapskate breath and clicked “order now”.

Oooo. This stuff is soft and pretty and just shiny enough without going Vegas and nostalgically like those fuzzy hair ribbons of my Neolithic youth and… and… Freakin’ Huge! What am I supposed to do with this? Besides the obsessive fondling it, I mean. Chain? Huge honking chain? Maybe keep it smooth and purty? Maybe something exotic? Something Zen-adjacent? Smooth flowing yin to rough and tumble yang. Which brings me to -

The synthetic:

Looks so great in the photo. A little more black and pink than the photo may lead one to believe but all in all lovely chaotic fuzziness. Hmm. Actually, it is pretty great in person except for the one tiny detail that I always seem to forget – “bulky” can also mean very thin with butt-loads of texture.

Confusion Strands

Once again, my first thought is chain. But with what hook? One of my steels? Maybe. Lots and lots of drapey little chains sounds like the start of a good fiber neckpiece. Like dreadlocks for the throat and shoulder area. Might lose a lot of the gorgeous texture details in little knotty chains though. How about that big plastic S hook I picked up for another way-way-way-in-the-future project? Oh wait, I detest big open gaping flaccid crochet stitches. How about with multiple strands?

Confusion Chain

Hmmmmmmm. Me like. Still need to play with the logistics. Well, “need” to be read “want very, very, very much”. The disparate textures and harmonized colors go so well together...

Chunky Confusion

... yet I am stuck. I don’t have a lot of fiber neck-piece experience which is pretty obvious from the "uhhh, me wrap big soft around fuzzy wuzzy" styling genius depicted in that picture. I do like fuzzy chaos as an aesthetic, I just don’t know how to think that way and my two beautiful new friends languish in oblivion for my shortcoming.

Individually they are wonderful yarns, but together… oh, so much greater than the sum of the parts. I am inherently drawn to the beauty of duality. So much so that I often collect synergistic elements without any thought of their application. Case in point, while gathering the photos for this post, I stumbled across an even more glorious combination of colors for this duo. Something more in keeping with my obsession with the color blue:

Sapphire Twinkle Chunky

Purple/yellow Plymouth Confusion

I would love to get my hands on these two yarns, but I simply can not justify the expense without a clear idea of my plans. I can only allow myself to collect the photos for now.

Sigh. Flat broke fiber enthusiasm really blows. Oh well. I can still drool over the photos and dream of the possibilities anyway… besides, I do still have the lovely purple and pink/black versions with which to play. Now if I can just learn how to think…

Hook On