This is Kat's Writing.

Following are a series of words and imagery.
Do not be too alarmed at life nor too complacent in the world. There may be alarming things here. There may not be. Have I mentioned scatological yet?



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

HOW TO: Sew up some Square Pads! (Part 2)

Still with me? Good! Part Two!

Halloween snow!

I made two other kinds of pads to go with my six square pads. 

HOW TO: Sew up some Square Pads! (Part 1)

Several months ago I made me a stack o' pads. Yes, ladies THOSE pads. Gentlemen.. this may not be a post for you.

I made all different shapes and a few sizes. I followed quite a few tutorials.. but none of them pleased me. Most were too fiddly.. or used non-breathing fabric.. or something.

I found the circle pads tended to bunch up..but that may have been my thighs. I'm thick.

The ones shaped like commercial pads took forever to dry.

"Inserts" SUCK. 

My favorite ones to wear ended up being folded squares and for light days.. a sort of winged rectangle. I then tested them for months. I likey. And, there aren't too bad to make either!

This is a very visual post. Easier that way.

You will need:

Roughly 3 yards of a cotton flannel.
About a half yard of some sort of silky fabric. I used a scrap of fake silk.
Pair of athletic socks.
Sewing Machine (this could be a hand sewn project if you are into that.)
A packet of metal snaps.
Thread. One dark, one light.
Sewing needle.
Moon pads in a basket!

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Mabon Crocheted White Oak Leaf (Pattern)

A mini-alter for Mabon.
It's Fall! Autumn! The time of the second harvest, when the Earth has born her leafy children of summer and they have set fruit, nut and gourd, and now the last of that harvest is gleaned from the ground. Those who walk upon her have fatted up, living well and easy in the heat. Now is when we begin to nest up for the coming cold, to store up a few supplies, drag out the heavy clothes and get ready to stay warm and well when the snow begins to fly.

While not one of the 'big' pagan holidays, and coming soon after Lughnasadh (the first harvest) it is a nice way to mark the equinox and the true change of seasons.

This is the time of the Dark Mother, the Crone, and when we begin to see the earth dieing into a deep sleep, when the plants go brown and dormant..or dead... and the wild animals find snug dens for the coming hardship. The Harvest Moon has come and gone and now it is truly autumn and the nights grow chill as we contemplate what comes afterward.

But it isn't that cold yet. First comes the turning and falling of the leaves! And so I made some leaves for my alter! (and my hair too!) Please note that these are made to not lie flat. True, real fallen oak leaves are not flat things and neither did I feel that my Mabon decor should be flat things.

And why white oak in particular instead of generic 'leaf'?

My grandparents yard has two huge white oaks. There used to be 4 huge old oaks but the two nearest the house worried them... and so now there are 2. I like these tress. Big, messy with acorns and twigs and leaves.. but I like them. They are friendly trees. They also have oddly shaped, randomly pointed leaves.. so does my pattern!

Big White Oak Leaf.

Roughly 60 yards of WW in an earthy/leafy color and a crochet hook that is properly sized. I used Peaches and Cream in 'Good Earth' and a 4.5 mm hook.

Beads, if you want to randomly bead your leaves. (This is done much like beading a knit project with a tiny crochet hook and drawing the bead over the stitch.) Size 2/0 in Ruby mix is what I have used here.

hdc - half double crochet
dc - double crochet
sc- single crochet
dr - decrease
in - increase
st - stitch
sls - slip stitch, generally worked straight into lower row to begin a chain

(All are American crochet terms!)

1. Chain 28+2, work hdc into third loop from hook.

2. 17 dc, leaving a 'stem' chain. Slip st into 18th st. Chain 20.

3. Work hdc into third loop from hook, hdc 2x. DC 29, slip st into 30th loop. Chain 5.

4. hdc into third loop from hook. hdc 2x. dc 10, dr 1, dc 10, dr 1, dc 7, sls and chain 5.

5. Work hdc into third loop from hook, hdc 1, dc 4, dr 1, dc 3, dr 1, dc 7, dr 1, dc 7, sls and chain 4.

6. Work hdc into third loop from hook, hdc 1, sc 5, dr 1, sc 1, hdc 1, dc 6, dr 1, dc 5, sls and chain 4.

7. Work hdc into third loop from hook, hdc 1, sc 7, hdc 1, dc 5, hdc 1, chain 9.

8. Work hdc into third loop from hook, hdc 1, in 1 (use dc), dc 3. Skip next loop and stitch into next loop, pulling yarn tight (creates a 'tuck' in the fabric). Dc 7, hdc 1, ch 12.

9. Work hdc into third loop from hook, hdc 1, dc 3, in 1, dc 4. Skip next loop and stitch into next loop, pulling yarn tight. dc 12, hdc 1, ch 3

10. Work hdc into third loop from hook, dc 12, dr 1, dc 4 hdc 1, sc 1, chain 5.

11. Work hdc into third loop from hook, dc 2, sls into second dc after chain, pulling the yarn tight (creates a little weird angle), hdc 3, dc 9, hdc 6, sc 1, ch 1.

12. Sc into second loop from hook, sc 1, hdc 2, dc 10, hdc 2, sc 2, chain 4.

13. Work sc into 2nd loop from hook, sc 1, hdc 2, sc 2, chain 4

14. Work hdc into third loop from hook, hdc 1, dc 3, hdc 1, dc 9, chain 8.

15. Work hdc into third loop from hook, dc 12, hdc 1 chain 7

16. Work hdc into third loop from hook, hdc 2, dc 12, hdc 2, sc 1, chain 4

17. Work hdc into third loop from hook, dc 3, dr 1, dc 4, dr 1, sc 1, hdc 1, sc 2, ch 5.

18. Work hdc into third loop from hook, hdc 1, dc 11, hdc 1, sc 1, chain 3.

19. Work hdc into third loop from hook, dc 2, dr 1 dc 5, dr 1, hdc 1, ch 1

20. Sc into second loop from hook, hdc 1, dc 5, hdc 1, sc 1, chain 1

21. sls 2, hdc 1, dc 1, hdc 1, sc1 ch 1.

22. sls 1, hdc 1, dc 1.


SC around edges till you reach the 'stem'. HDC down stem front, sc up back of stem. SC back to top of leaf.
My three beasties surround my Mabon alter.

A loop may be placed somewhere to hang this leaf. I just laid it somewhere harvest-y (my table alter) as a cloth.

I'm working on a headband version for Samhain. I'll be sure to add that as well when it is done.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Avoiding the Gorram'ed Pre-Beading Session for Hookers too!

For a Spiderweb Samhain thing!

There are times when I want the fun bling of beads in crochet without the pain of pre-beading or the wallet umph of buying pre beaded yarn.

Take my little lovely friend up there.The yarn is a cheap Red Heart crochet cotton, #3.. around 2 dollars. The beads I believe were a buck fifty. Stringing all the beads, distributing them along the yarn (because anal me HATES the rat tail of beads!!) was around 3 hours work..making that a pricey ball of beaded yarn.

Granted, I was watching movies (Amistad and Pulp Fiction).. but still it was tedious and ate into actual knit/crochet time. Now, I was able to very easily take my little ball o beaded yarn and work on it elsewhere.. but if I were to be staying home with it, well, gorram it, three hours is half the time it takes to MAKE the actual damned doily-thing!

So I kept thinking that some other smart person has to have come up with a way to bead crochet like knitters do. No pre-beaded waste of time... and if they have, google has hidden them from me. Even so, I'm probably not the first to come up with it. After fiddling with beads and yarns.. this is how I got the best look.

Avoiding the Gorram'ed Pre-Beading for Hookers 

Needed supplies:

- One project that needs the beads.

- Beads that will fit over said yarn. Worsted uses size 2 or ponys, sock/sport/size 10 to 3 thread stuff uses size 6 beads. I'd assume smaller thread would be ok with smaller beads... but the hook would be itty bitty! For more go read my beading for knitters, I think I made a nice table or links or something.

-One itty bitty hook.

Pictured is an US 11/12 or a 1.00mm hook to use to bead. The hook in thread (working hook) is a 1.65 mm (US 7). The thread is Red Heart Classic Crochet in size 10. Excuse the pictures I was having nasty lighting issues.

 What ya need to do.
First decide where you want to set the bead. On half double and single crochet the bead tends to look best when sat as close to the lower row as possible. In double and longer (triple and so on) the bead looks best when you put it more towards the center of the stitch.
This is a half done double crochet stitch. I am placing the bead in the center of the stitch, or as close to it as I can anyways.

A double stitch ready for center beading.

To add a bead to the second level of a double crochet: First, work half the stitch as normal. Look at the above picture.Like that. Now move to the next picture.
Stick bead on tiny hook and prepare to slide it onto the yarn.

Really easy right? It stays easy! Slide that bead onto that thread/yarn so it looks like this:

Urpin' easy!
Good, good.. Next step is to..

Stick that yarn/thread back on the working hook.
This is the only tiny tricky bit. You place the yarn back on the working hook. Then you draw that yarn tight so you can use that loop to finish the stitch. The tricky bit is deciding which side you want the bead to stick out the most on.
The next step looks like this:
Easy and done!
As you have already decided where that bead will sit you simply flip it more to that side when you work the next stitch to 'fix' it in proper.

A variation, or beading right on the lowest loop.

If you like the beads lower down, then your setup would look more like this in step one/two/three:

See the three loops on the hook? The bead is always added to the loop you pull through.
And then your next step would be more like this:
A double crochet, half worked, with bead placed by lower row.
Then you'd just finish up the stitch and work the next 'fixing' the bead in the right place.


Now, when you are looking at all those lovely beaded projects out there and you see the designer gently trying to chide you into believing the pre-beading is not that bad... or any of the other nasty and un-fun bits that go with pre-beading cutting your yarn to add more beads, thus knotting up your work. UGH!

You can now smirk with arcane and gleeful knowledge and use that extra three hours of your life on something meaningful, useful or more fun. Like picking lint off old sweaters or watching cacti grow because you just don't have to do that crap anymore!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Hurricane

My car is stuck in a puddle. I'm soaked to the bone from wading home in driving rain. The wind is screaming around my building.

It's good to be home. It's where I keep my stuff; my guy and my critters.

Wherever you are, give your loved humans and furrballs a squeeze.

Monday, August 22, 2011

I Need more Fuchsia in my Life.

You read right. More fuchsia. More of that bright and annoying color that takes it's name from a rather fussy and hard to keep alive flowering plant. I used to have one. Darn thing dropped dead flowers everywhere, demanded a cool but sunny spot and threw fits if I forgot to water it regularly.

But, the flowers. Each was a little reminded that all in life is not dull, death and loss. They were so bright that I was asked from time to time if the plant was fake. I loved that little plant. I unfortunately lost it when my basement warmed up a bit too much and the little guy came out of hibernation and died from lack of light and water before I realized what had happened. Now have several years pass, and now you have today. I had forgotten my little plant of happy, fussy flowers.

Then I went thrifting. I was kind of looking for a new summer dress or two; it's been hot here (very hot!!) and when It's hot I favor loose, flowy cotton/silk/good rayon dresses simply because a single item of clothing is just more comfy and more cool.

Dress of color!

And this dress is all of that. Bright, cheerful, and cool and comfy. The colors made me very happy. But, can't wear it outside of the warmest part of the year.

So I made this:

Wee little dice bag of Fuchsia!!

There really is no pattern to speak of, if you wish a bright bag of your own. It's just half double crocheting into a chain to create a little pocket (like my simple nook sack) and then working your way up. And I really didn't take any notes... it is that easy.

The recipe for A Fuchsia Bright Bag.

Three basic stitches. (American)
Double Crochet
Half-Double Crochet
3 stitch Picot Crochet Edge
Plymoth Yarn Sockotta in plum, about 100 yards.

The hook was an E.
One bead with a big enough hole for a few strands of the yarn. 

I did an even number of stitches around, I believe it was 24.
I did do one row of crochet into back loop for two stitches, crochet into front loop for two stitches, work two rows plain hdc. Do a second row of back/front fun. It gives a bit of texture to a very plain stitched bag.
The cord row is worked as: double crochet one, next stitch worked as a chain one, repeat.
The cord is real crochet I-cord. This is the easiest way to make the stuff.I used 3 stitch, as in video.
Work a row or two more of hdc. Get to a corner of the bag (I prefer the slightly lower edge) and begin to work 3 st picot.
Run your icord through the holes in such a way as the tails end up both on the outside.
I rammed the ends of the cord into a camel bone bead and knotted it.
Fill with dice or other little fun thingies.
You can see the detail the front/back post rows add to the little bag. In a quieter yarn they'd be nice worked all through the body.
I decided I needed still more fuchsia fun in my life... so I picked up some fuchsia (and yellow for the base) nail polish. That may be too much fuchsia for sane people though. It may be too much for me... but I won't decide that till February when everything is dead and grey and covered in ice.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I'm a new convert. I admit it. I love the goop. It is only the second day mind you... but OMG, my hair.

- It is baby-soft.
- I'm still curly.
- The reds are so pretty.
- It just feels and looks amazing!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

This Summer's Heat.. cooking me. First it was over 90 for a week straight outside.. my apartment averaged 96 to 98. Now, the humidity is hovering around 100%. I'm guessing the earth has decided that simply baking us to death is not good enough. We must be steamed to release the proper flavour.

Anyways, I have barely been able to stand touching any crafty thing almost all month. No drawing, no painting, very little sewing and almost no knitting or crocheting. I'll start and then the heat just wears me out or the idea of touching heat trapping yarn or cloth or smudgy messy things that will then require me to clean atop of making the artz.. just no. Dog and I have spent so much time outside swimming and hiking slowly around that this whitest of white girls has a tan. In my search to keep my cats from cooking in their fur they have grown used to cool water dunks. Funny how weird things like that can happen.

So, enjoy this lovely sunset. Two angles, same sunset, 15 minutes apart.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Made Hair-Toys! And did girly things with hair..

Those few of you who may read this who know me in RL will be surprised at this. I've got hair most of the way down my back these days. I don't plan on cutting it any time soon either. All this really means is I need fun ways to keep it off my neck in this heat that aren't ponytails. I've been braiding my hair a lot...and playing with buns.

I have very thick hair. While not 100% accurate, my ponytail is nearing 6 inches (this is not accurate to the nnth degree because I used string to measure this) in circumference. It is also curly and on the finer end of textures. All of these things mean it is a bitch to do anything with. It's thick, so lots of hairstyles need it to be longer to look right. Curly means brushes just rip it out. It not being coarser means it will slip out of do's faster.

But, I can do hairstick stuffs.
Freshly Created Hair Sticks!!
I will say that there is very little original about how I made these. But it was a lot of fun! I took Chinese take out bamboo chopsticks and first cut them to the length I wanted, used a pencil sharpener to make a point on the rough cut end (and both ends in the case of the longest set), then took a new nail file (I had no sand paper) and filed them smooth. They rather look like knitting needles at this point. (And indeed people do use knitting needles for this purpose!) Then, I started to paint them. Here, I took pictures and stuff...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Applogees, People.

I did not realize I had so many damned ads on this thing. I *thought* I had one small one on the side and one way at the bottom buried below everything. Both are supposed to be text only and blended in to not be obnoxious. I turned off a few security things for a minute and all of a sudden I had all of these new little boxes popping up on the blog control panel. Opened a preview and... yeah. I'm sorry.

I fixed it. I was adding a pattern link box and updating other stuff to make this thing better.. and those ads were just too much. I did add a music widget from Amazon but my quick check tells me it won't start blaring at you all of a sudden. And, I like music. I like clicking on music widgets. That one can stay.

Awesome Thing found in a Thift Store! And SPARKLIES!

I'm not sure what exactly it is but it is indeed awesome. It is a Thing from the Thrift Store!
This is what happened.

After the Great Burn of Last Month, I am really keen on not getting crispy again. I now have fresh new unholy strength sunblock (safe even from Hell's flames!), an actual tan..I'm really not sure how that happened.... and a desire to somehow protect my head skin and hair too. Did some reading. Turns out that one of the best things one can use to protect both your hair and your scalp from a burn is dark smooth silk. So, I need at least one silk scarf. But, Jesus on a pogo stick, those things are so not cheap. I mean, 40 dollars for a chunk of fabric with hems on? Argh! No thanks.

So on to the thrift store I go.. in search of silk shirts.. After a search I find what I seek. Two silk shirts of silky silk. Mmmmmmm. One is blue and one is a faded jade green. I will dye them with pretty dyes in tye dye or batik and fashion as I need. Haven't decided yet the final shape. But those are not what this post is about. They are only what drove me to the thrift store. I may post them later after I've sniped and dyed and made them into scarves.

This is what it is about!

Awesome thing is AWESOME!

I really wish I knew what it was supposed to be used for. Or, if it is like the blue and white Willow Pattern plates with meaning and stories behind it. Or maybe it's just a simple design. It is a lovely Indian lady in a Gagra choli or shalwar kameez (my google fu is unclear here) with a 3 leaved pot atop her head walking through a field. The pot is steaming or on fire..or?? 

On a side note, googling her dress gave me serious outfit envy. I really need to stitch up a white fat girl friendly version of one of these. First, must finish what I have already started.That is, I must finish my skirt retcon (adding batik fabric to a black mini) and finishing the top I have all charted out from craftster (the backless black one, but done reversible in black paisley and blue pseudo-batik and with a bit more coverage/ties instead of single fit) and do a bit of drawing.

Any way it is, it will look lovely on the brickwork wall in my apartment. I will probably shine it up a bit with brasso first.

And... I must share these!
Nail polish this summer is just full of the sparkles. Last week I picked up a deep sparkly green and a gold glitter. I like them together, with the green nice and dark and the golden glitter lightly brushed over the tips. It's very summer goddess. On a whim I went by the polishes on my way to craft supplies and had to get these:
Shiny. Oh, so very shiny.
That is a chrome, five colors of sparkle in one polish, purple glitter and silver glitter. The shiny, I'm blinded by the shiny and the sparklie. I need more hands so that I can wear all these faster.

Now, time to do my nails!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Random Foodie Post: Seared Tomatoes!!!

I made something awesome today for dinner. I, like many veggie aficionados,often buy a few too many veggies that can be consumed willingly in  say, the week before they rot. This time it was tomatoes. The store had a sale on vine ripe red tomatoes... and even though they are no where as good as farmer's market 'matoes I bought two pounds of them thinking something vague about giant tossed salads and Greek Pizza/ white pizza (For those who DON'T KNOW -sad for you!- a Greek pizza uses a white sauce or olive oil with herbs and feta cheese with sliced tomatoes... and white pizza is just Greek pizza without the feta. Yummy!). 

And today, I opened the fridge to figure out what to make for dinner I saw the last of these poor things. Still OK but with that slight skin dimple of impending doom. I had to use them but I was fresh out of dough, and another salad would turn me into a bunny.

Now, all praises to the mighty internet gods because it came to my rescue. And that of my poor wilty tomatoes.
Meet Skillet Seared Tomatoes. Ah.. the answer to my prayers.

But I did not have all the things. Some of these things are a bit outside the family's shopping comfort level because they go bad before we can use them. So, I subbed. And, our salt has the iodine in. Everything else was the same.. their directions were followed to a T.
So..these are thier ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large ripe plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup shredded Gruyere, Comte, fontina or mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar, (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Instead use:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • teaspoonish of oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic and parsley seasoning (it is dried garlic and parsley, NO SALT!!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • regular pepper, to taste.
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar
And I ended up with these.
Pan seared tomatoes. So tasty!!
We had them with barbecued beef sandwiches. Very fresh and tasty. Were I to make them again I'd add more garlic (it cooked up a bit too sweet in the oil)... and a bit more sugar since these were not heirloom style tomatoes. The sharpness of the cheddar played very nicely with the sweet garlic and zing of the tomato though. I'd also probably leave them on high heat a bit longer to brown them a bit more.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Nook Gets a Case!

I has an awesome BF!

He got me a Nook for my birthday. I hacked it into a tablet... then made it a little Nook Sack.

(And then started to write this post.. got horribly distracted.. and then felt guilty. And, then put it off because I felt guilty.And put it off some more. But... it was eating at my soul, this post. It was so close to being finished, so close to being done. All I had to do was go back and edit a bit.. and then hit Publish.

Argh. I just couldn't deal with the nagging feeling of guilt that comes from a completed post unpublished. So here you have it, a crocheted NookSack, the really easy easy way. And, since this item has been in my rather hard-wearing use since early May I can now say that the thing holds up great. It hasn't warped out of shape, the thick stitches really pad the piece and my Nook looks great. I do plan for a hard case if we ever did any serious traveling.. but this crocheted thing is great for pursing the Nook. Also, as my man so delicately put it, "It looks like a little girls purse that her mommy made for her so no one will be tempted to steal it." Ain't he sweet.)

The Crocheted NookSack.
My haxxor skills. FEAR THEM! All kidding aside, this was easy as installing a program on a Windows device. (Now I have CM7 on it but whatever.)
I used crochet to make a squishy thicker fabric...and because it's faster for me. All it is is a worked in the round single piece with a fastened down (at each end) flap in purple as a lid.

The way the colors lined up pleased me.
5.00 mm hook
4.25 mm hook
yarn needle
1 skein Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing Co., Inc Peaches & Creme Ombres. I used winterberry.
At least 40 yards of a pleasantly complementary color. I used purple.

This thing is SUPER EASY! All sts are American half double crochet.

First, using the 5mm hook, chain 27. (Note: This will make a fairly snug pocket. As it is cotton it will stretch as you use it.) Chain two and turn and work back to end of chain. Now you will work the same chain sts to create a pocket. First, work a second half double st into the last chain st. Then, work a third half double into that same st. You will have three total in that last st.

Now work back along that chain, putting a half double in each chain again. (This is why we used a bigger needle for the base chain... it needed to be a bit loose!) It will look like this:
..kinda like a little boat..

Work another half double st into the end chain st (again) to have three total.. again. Now, work a single chain and begin the next round, spiraling up the piece of work. I worked around 15 rows till Nook top is reached. Chain once and attach to row after nook top is reached.

Work back and forth along slightly higher pocket side in second color. I did 6 rows. Using yarn needle very carefully stitch each flap edge to the pocket's edge.

I was going to stitch an Irish rose and leaves onto the front of the cover... but then I started to worry about the extra fabric pressing into the screen when it was in my bag. So no rose.I already had the rose made so no I'm working on giving it a new home.

And there you have it. World's easiest crocheted NookSack.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I Went Hiking! A Pictorial Post.

Francis Slocum PA State Park, pile of boulders.
Francis Slocum PA State Park, marked trail.
Francis Slocum PA State Park at rock shelter. 
Francis Slocum PA State Park, A view from the foot of a hill on the trail.

Francis Slocum PA State Park, the shelter site.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Ipod Excuse

I'm a plump sort and I'm pretty ok with that. But, I don't like to be unhealthy... even so. And after watching my mother unable to move from her weakness due to her illness and compounded with being very out of shape..and heavy.. I do want to get back into shape. I do, I really do. It was cancer that killed her. I do believe that her lack of physical strength sapped her will. And, I do believe this helped speed the end for her. I hated having to see someone I really loved go through that utter weakness and do not want my loved ones seeing that happen to me if I can help it. 

Thanks to freecycle I've got a comfy reclining bike that works really well.. even if I cannot adjust the tension on the roller after my three (now four! Old Kid!) nephew made it go *pinkpink* the first time he over-wound it... and a few light weights and stretch bands. And I have been using them pretty regular since I got them too.

For some time I've put off the serious walking/jogging for three reasons beyond my lack of a good sports-bra and shoes.

One. It's still cold out.
Two. I don't have a case that will keep the rat-cage Ipod from wacking around and yanking the earbuds out of my ears.. because I went with earbuds instead of headphones for once. (Still not sure I like them. But.. they are purple..!.)
Three. All my good upbeat techno type music is on a machine I can't start up since it needs a part.

I walk my dog almost every day, just around the block or three as long as it isn't too cold. That's about 20 or so minutes. And I like to hop on the bike for a half hour at least three times a week. But, it is hard. It gets dull. I very often listen to audio books when walking and I've tried to do the same with faster workouts.

But it doesn't work. I loose momentum unless I pay a bit of attention there. I start cycling at the rhythm of the spoken word and that is far slower then I'd like. But then I found this (with the help of rav peoples and google). PodRunner.  And it is free! (I did have to tweak my highly restrictive web security settings but Avast didn't make a meep about it afterward.)

If you have iTunes, there is even a free version of  'couch to 5k' from these guys you can get. I haven't tried it yet...but I'm hopeful! Check reason number Three!

So, my number One... it will be in the 50s/60s this week!
My number Two. I fixed that.
This is the back of the piece.
Here is how:

About 40 yards of one color WW yarn and about 20 of a second.
Set of 5 sized 5 US DPNs (or whatever you like for working in the round).
Crochet hook about 4.5 mm in size (smaller then a sz 5 needle)
2 pretty beads. (optional)

This is a great pattern to learn two handed stranding. Check out this KnitPicks video to see what I mean.

Note: I have the older model of Nano. It's the longer and thin type instead of those little squares. So, this should fit 5th, 4th, 2nd and 1st gen models. I checked with my 1st and 4th and it fits just fine.

I have this simple little chart to illustrate the decorative stuffs. It's a quick and dirty little pattern for a REALLY easy little sack.

So, cast on 24 stitches with your main color. Join without twisting..
Work two rows.
Work Part 1 of the chart. You may have to skip the last YO/k2tog pair to give your sack the proper number of holes to run the cord through. Just don't sweat it if this happens. It looks fine when done.
Work 5 rows in Main Color. Work Part 2 of the chart.. the first colorwork here!
Work 7 more rows and then work Part 3 of the chart. Repeat it two more times total for a total of three chart repeats.
Work 5 more rows.
You can then kitchener stitch it closed. But I HATE kitchener so I do this instead. Turn the piece inside out and arrange the stitches on two needle equally in such a way you have a front and back. Use a crochet hook to crochet bind-off through both loops at once as if they were a single loop. Turn work right side out and the bottom looks kitchenered.

Use a 4 stitch icord to make the cord. Just stick it though the fabric in the back and fasten it securely. Don't break the yarn to do so! A crochet chain with beads on the end make a nice pull cord.

Now go do something. I'm gonna.*
(Please excuse dopey picture of me. I'm not a fashionista!)
*No running.. not yet.. I need a real sportbra for the girls and the right sneaks.. but lots more walking till then!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fat Bottom Girls Need Warm Legs Too!!

I have a confession. I don't have thin little willowy legs. I've got German carthorse legs, thick legs, legs to keep going over snowy veldts, legs made for using and really not seeing. And, they are really white. I don't tan you see. But, they are my legs and I loves them.

That doesn't mean I don't wear skirts or dresses and like wearing them. (And in the summer I even do shorts and short skirts! The scandal, comfort over concealment!) But, in the wintertime... my legs get cold. I often wear leggings of some sort or sometimes even the non-stylishly cozy warmth of thermal undies.

But sometimes, a girl wants something a bit jazy, a bit colorful and even a bit cute. AND I had this lovely Noro laying around...and some chunky homespun 'art yarn'. So here goes!

2 skeins Noro Kureyon
Around 80 yards of a chunky thick/thin or heavy homespun yarn.
set of 5 size US 7 DPNs
set of 5 size US 10 DPNs
Tape measure

You may like to divide your homespun into two equal balls before hand.

I knit on size 7 needles for the Noro and size 10 for the chunky yarn. The Noro was at a gauge of  5 stitches to the inch and 7 rows to the inch.

First, you measure yourself. My ankles are around 10 inches. I used 54 stitches to even out the ribbing. Arrange the stitches around four needles so half the stitches are on two needles and half on the other two.
I did 2x2 ribbing for one inch.

Then plain out knit each row till your piece reaches where your calf muscle begins to swell. Increase once after knitting the first two needles then increase once more at the beginning of the next two. (Essentially you increase on either side of the legwarmer.) Knit a row and repeat the increase row again. So, I had 58 stitches. I knit till almost the end of my first skein.


Join your chunky yarn and begin knitting with the big needles. Knit three rows and decrease twice in the same manner as the increases, on either side of the warmer. Knit a row and repeat the decreases. Knit a last row. Work an eyelet row of (YO, SSK). Knit till you have enough yarn to bind off with plus one yard.. I did two more rows and then bound off using the lace BO of *knit 1, YO, knit a second stitch*. Slip first two stitches over last stitch. Repeat. On the last stitch slip an empty needle into the first bound off stitch and hook the last stitch over that. Turn work right side out. Weave in ends. Take leftover yard of yarn and run through the eyelets and back through front. You can also use elastic as an way to help keep them up.

Repeat for other leg.

I think they are pretty awesome myself. And warm! :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Blackberry Bag and a Cute Cat

I'm constantly dropping my phone in my purse with lots of pointy things.. stuff like knitting needles, keys, random twist ties, shiny rocks (just don't ask) and other bits and bobbles. A long while ago I'd made a little knitted lace bag for my camera. I figured why not toss one together for my Crackberry? (really, smart phones are crack imagine if you've never had one what it would be like to have a teeny tiny little computer in your pocket. Imagine...your favorite crap you do at home on the 'puter you can do waiting in line at the store.)

Zarathustra inspects the contents of my poor abused Coach (thrift store, 7 dollars). And I don't smoke but you never know when you'll be stranded somewhere and would freeze to death but hey, you can make FIRE!
And here is how I made it. :)
About a half skein of Suger'n Cream Twists in 'Vintage'
set of 5 US5 DPNs
Two pleasing beads to go on drawstring

You'll be working this bottom up. Using Turkish Cast On, cast on 6 stitches. Knit front/back in each stitch to create a total of 12. Arrange stitches equally over 4 needles (3 on each).
Increase as follows: Knit to last stitch on each needle. Knit it front and back. Repeat that for 6 rows, total of 32 sts. Knit two rows, and repeat increase stitches once for 36 total.
Knit all for five rows. Now for the Chart!
I just did this on one side and repeated it twice. I just wanted a little decoration, not a theme. Do as you like. This is what I did though. After repeating the chart twice, knitting uncharted back stitches, I knit five more rows. My Precious now fit quite well. Almost done, which was nice because I knit this thing tight.

Then I did the rows with holes to run the cords through.
1. K2tog, yarn over, knit two* repeat for row
2. knit all.
3. Knit two, yarn over, knit two together*repeat for row
4. knit all.
5. knit all
You can bind off at this point. Run a section of yarn or icord through the yarn over holes. Add the glass beads to the ends of the yarn, and tie them off. Keep your baby safer in your purse.. or fill the bag up with dice or condoms or shiny rocks. Your choice.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I've got a new pattern. A Nasturtium for your books.

The Zar Kitten approves.

Half the proceeds from sales will go to a breast cancer group. As soon as I can find one that isn't doing crap like suing people over silly crap that is. And it is plenty inexpensive... just a buck fifty!

Nasturtiums are vine growing, prolifically flowering plants that are easy to grow and will reward little effort with masses of white, orange and red flowers. They are also edible and make a nice spicy addition to a summer salad.
I miss the summer you see, I'm tired of looking at dark skies and the dreary greys and browns of the Northeast winter. I want my summer back. I'm ready to flop myself under a shady tree by some lovely flowers and read a good book in the afternoon heat.

I can't have all that warm and outside yet, but I can have my flowers. I hope you like them.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Paintin' the Hooks Red! (With Beads and How-To)

So I'm a bit newish to beading. For the longest time it just didn't make sense. Then, I actually started to mess around with beads and hooks and yarn and bits of dental floss.

And I learned a few things.
First, it isn't that it is intuitive or that beading is hard. It is a bit unintuitive if you are used to using a crochet hook to actually crochet stuff. The dental floss thing makes sense after you do it.
Second. Beading projects tend to get messy. They are not travel friendly. Beads are small tricksy things that like to dive onto floors and scurry into the deepest darkest shadow they can... or at least the nook you have the most trouble getting them out of.
Thirdly, a single sized bead can be used on everything from fingerling to worsted.
Fourth, all steel crochet hooks look alike in the box..

I felt the second and fourth were issues that would impede my enjoyment of sticking bits of shiny glass on yarn. Must fix. 

So , everything I've learned from other places and trial and error and what I will call pure idiot moments is here. Maybe it will be usefully to someone else.

First, the tools of the trade.
Knitting with beads tools.

Don't mind my 5th hand crafting end table. It's a bit rough, but I don't feel bad if I spill paint on it.

The Basics
I use these items to knit with beads and or crochet with beads. You see here creamy beads in an old medicine container (keeps kids out), beads in a bead flat (works pretty good if you are somewhere with a table) and beads on safety pins.
Those pins are great if you want to bead in public or bead in a car or somewhere lacking table. You see a big bead on a pin, some dark shiny beads on a normal pin and a bunch of lighter shiny beads on a safety pin that I unbent. Depending on how handy you are with the pliers you can also bend the sharp tip of the pin into a hook and thus use your traveling bead holder as your beading hook as well. It's one less thing to drag around ya know? Just be careful not to jab yourself bending it...

Now for the things most people use for beading. Crochet hooks and dental floss. See the white thread there? That's floss. The travel size floss is behind the yarn. See the silver sticks with nail polish on them? Those are hooks that I have color coded. They are all about the same size. They range from 1.00 mm (the red one) to 3.5 mm (the black one). I use the tiny one to bead most yarns and the biggest one to grab dropped stitches in worsted projects. It was most annoying to grab the wrong one from my box o' crafting tools (because I can't be bothered to craft up a pretty tool holder.. I'd rather be making fun stuff!) So, I took some handy nail polishes and colored the end of each a different color. I marked the ones I used the most in the brighter/most noticeable colors. Now, it is very easy to grab the right one without having to always check the size. This was born of a pure idiot moment, heh. If you want to get all Martha on them.. you can do that too. I'd rather spend the time making other stuff though.

The yarns are Noro Kureyon and Rowan 4 Ply Soft. I have used these both with the same sized needle and bead. The Noro is a aran/worsted weight and the Rowan is a fingerling. Obviously, the bead was a bit tighter on the worsted yarn!

The Beads

Now, the beads I use are a size 6 bead. Seed beads have bigger inner holes I'm told; you can use a bigger hook with them, a 1.5mm steel hook (US 8, UK 4 1/2), and that combined with bigger hole means they are easier to get on bigger yarn. Regular sz 6 beads work better with a 1 mm hook (US size 12, UK size 6 1/2 and while you can use them with worsted, they slide better on smaller yarns. For most beaded knitting projects these sizes will do ya.
If you want a smaller bead on the smaller yarns or crochet thread (size 10 thread is what I've seen kicked around and it's roughly the same as lace-weight yarn or size 0 in the weight system), a size 8 will be what you need. You will need either a 1.0mm hook or possibly smaller. For thicker yarn, use a pony sized bead. Yes, they come in glass and other non-kiddie plastics. But, they are heavy. Use a regular small crochet hook or a 3.50/3.0mm hook.

How-To With a Hook

Making a sock..
Now for a little how-to lesson. With pictures! Because that indeed makes it simpler.. What you see here is Premier Serenity sock yarn on size 1 needles. It's a fairly fine yarn. It will also be our beading modal.

First you knit the stitch to be beaded but don't pull the new stitch tight. Instead pull it loose on the needle. Stick a bead on your hook.
black size 6 seed bead on 1.00mm hook
Replace the needle with your hook.
Your hook is now the needle.

Now slide the bead over onto the yarn.
The bead is now on the yarn. BEADED!!
 After sliding the bead onto the yarn remove hook, replace the knitting needle in the loop above the bead and pull the stitch tight as the rest.

For Dental Floss
I use this when my bead hole is too small for the hook or when the small hook would shred the yarn. It's not my favorite way to do things but it does work. Start the same way as with the hook method. Knit the stitch. Pull the loop loose and off the needle. Slide one end of the floss through the yarn loop. Pull taunt, but not so hard you are messing up the gauge.
Floss in knitted loop, bead waiting on table.
Stick the ends of the floss together. Feel free to lick the ends to make them stick together if needed. Slide bead onto floss.

And bead is on the floss!
Slide bead down floss and over onto the yarn.
Whee!!! You're beaded!

Now, just slide that loop above the bead back on the needle, tighten that stitch up and keep on trucking.

Now, I have yet to pre-bead yarn. I like sticking mine on as I go. I'm told one of the easiest ways to do this is to use a BigEye needle. They sell them where you get beading supplies. Or, you can use beading wire or dental floss. Instead of flossing onto one stitch, you just keep pulling those beads down the strand. One day I'm going to try this though.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tiny dog needs help (not mine!)


Spare some change for this lil guy? He reminds me of my old cat with the bum leg. Poor thing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Diamond in the Rough.

This patten assumes some basic toe up sock construction knowledge. It came to be as I was in a place where working any sort of complex pattern would be impossible... but I would have been bored to bits working a plain sock. I was also using Patons Kroy FX. It is a yarn which has continuous color shifts using changing colors spun together instead of a single spun strand that is simply dyed. I wanted to showcase this feature of the yarn. It was why I had chosen the yarn in the first place! I love this look.

I had bought two skeins of several colors  of this stuff on sale... so I used a single skein per sock. This was enough for a sock, but if you like knee highs or have really big feet to cover you may want a third skein. Also this pattern assumes you know things like Turkish cast on and how to do a short row heel. Don't sweat if you don't...that's what google is for. :) Lastly, if you like this pattern, please consider making a donation to either breast cancer research or an animal shelter. If you are broke, you can always just give a click. If there are any mistakes in this pattern, my apologies. Just let me know via comments. Some sizing is possible. 6 diamonds from the center fits my US woman size 9 foot very well. Another repeat to 7 diamonds fits my US 11 man. Adjust as you need.


2 skeins of Paton's Kroy FX
One set of 5 US size 2 needles (or circ equivalent)
You need to be able to knit/purl, knit front/back, and turn a short row heel as well as an YO Bind-off

Using a Turkish cast on,  CO 8 sts over 4 needles. Knit one row and place a marker.
Increase to 64 in the following manner:

1. From marker, knit one. Knit front/back, knit to one stitch before end of second needle, knit front/back. Knit last stitch. Knit one stitch on third needle. Knit front/back. Knit to second to last stitch on fourth needle. Knit front/back. Knit last stitch.
2. Knit all to marker.
Once you have increased to 64 sts total you begin the sock pattern.

Purl across the instep, knit across the sole. Begin diamond pattern on instep.

1. p1, k7. Repeat across instep. (To even out the pattern slip first stitch of third needle onto second needle to be purled.)
2. k1, p1, k5, p1 Repeat

3. k2, p1, k3, p1, k1 Repeat
4. k3, p1, k1, p1, k2 Repeat
5. k4, p1, k3 Repeat

(All rows on sole are plain knit.)

Continue till long enough,being sure to end on row 1 of pattern.

Do short row heel. It will be divided as 11 sts wrapped, 10 center sts and 11 sts wrapped. Begin pattern (if desired) on back of leg on final knitted row.
Work at least 4 repeats of diamond pattern on leg. When finished, knit two rows before beginning k2, p2 ribbing. Work ribbing for 6 rows (or more if yarn and desire to rib are sufficient) before binding off in the YO stretchy bindoff. Enjoy your subtle but super socks.