I thought I would be done my Tor Grass shawl by now, but I am not.

Tor Grass

One reason is I fought with a skein of brown 2-ply wool from Christopher Sheep Farm to knit these mittens:

Brown mittens

The yarn seemed really thick, and I had to struggle to knit every stitch. I thought it was because I needed better needles with more of a point, so I went to Heavenly Yarns up in Belfast with a friend one day and stocked up on a couple sets. (Heavenly Yarns is a fabulous shop; you should go!) 

I got the needles home, and they helped, but the yarn still fought me. Anyway, I finished them and put them in a sink full of hot water to block them. 

Wow. I found out why the yarn fought me. Lots -- I mean, LOTS -- of brown, greasy stuff oozed out of the yarn. It wasn't dyed, because this particular yarn is not a dyed color, it is a natural color, it was just really dirty. It felt kind of sticky when I was knitting with it, actually, but I thought it was just the lanolin. I had to wash it three times to get the water to run clear! I knew I had had the yarn for quite a while. The natural colors of that wool have more lanolin in them, the dark brown especially, and I think it had hardened up with age. The resulting mittens are soft and lovely and warm though! I like them very much. But I spent way more time knitting them than I thought I would: two weeks instead of three or four days. 

The other reason is fleas. Pogo has fleas. Well, she almost always has fleas, but they are usually kept in control with FrontLine or something, and I brush her several times a day because she loves it, even though she is not a long haired cat. 


 This year, for whatever reason, the fleas suddenly and vehemently overtook the earth, notably Pogo and my house. Medication, both applied to the cat and sprayed on surfaces, has had some effect, but it's like the Boss Flea is laughing in the face of modern medicine, saying, "Bring it on, I will eat it up!" So, I have been cleaning. We washed every mat, blanket and pillow that Pogo laid on (and she has a lot around the house; she is pretty pampered). Mostly I have been vacuuming and washing the floors daily, through the whole downstairs.  Daily. And it is not easy for me, but it is getting easier with repetition, lol. It takes time though, lots of it, so my shawl suffers. However, better that my shawl suffers than poor Pogo.

Luckily, after a week of daily vacuuming and washing the floors, they are safe for Pogo to walk on, but I still have to keep it up, because this year the fleas are winning. So it continues. 

I have about 80% of Tor Grass complete. There are only about 21 more rows to go and then bind off. Of course, there are over 500 stitches per row, so I can only do about three or four rows a day, but it is slowly getting done. I was hoping to get it done in time for the Beekeeper Cardigan KAL that I will start July 2 or so ...  if I am not done by then, Tor Grass will have to wait for me to get the Bees done! It should only be 5 or 6 days though. That is what they say. I live in hope. 

Hmmmmmm ....

I am trying to talk myself either into or out of a thing ... a thing that is both magnificent (if it works) and brutally awful (if it doesn't work) ...

A 4 Day Sweater Knitalong!!!!!

It seems impossible, but that is what makes it desirable. I kinda want to do it. I've knit a couple sweaters in two weeks before during the Ravellenic Games, but never in only 4 days, or even 8 days.

It is offered by Olive Knits. I like her 4 Day KAL she did last year, the Stillwater sweater. It looks totally like it was not knit in only 4 days. Yet, it was!

The sweater in question for 2018, the Beekeeper cardigan, is a DK weight (it's not even chunky or bulky weight! madness!!) adult sweater that is an open front cardigan (no buttons, but you can have them if you wish -- she gives you the option) with an all over texture (not stockinette! gasp!!) with 3/4 length sleeves, though you can make them full length if you want. 

From Ravelry's pattern page: "The KAL begins July 1st and runs through July 15th with a sliding timeline for different sizes (up to 8 days). Pick and choose your days (they don’t have to be consecutive)."

I believe I will see how Olive's test knitting of this year's sweater goes, and if she survives, I'll buy the pattern. Who is with me?? 

:::Think of it like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), but it is really NaNoWriWe (National Novel Writing Week). Or NaSweKniWe (National Sweater Knitting Week) :::

Sometimes a Trip Down Memory Lane Can Be Pretty Horrifying

From McCall's Needlwork & Crafts Fall-Winter 1961-62:

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From McCall's Needlwork & Crafts Fall-Winter 1964-65:

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From McCall's Needlwork & Crafts Fall-Winter 1971-72:
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And now, a word from a sponsor:

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As an excuse, I can only say, it's cold. The frost has invaded my brain!

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The Shape of Things

For years, the form of space was thought to be Euclidean, ranging off indefinitely, seemingly flat. Measurements as we knew them seemed to confirm this. 

In the last twenty years or so, measurements have suggested that the universe may be hyperbolic, may be finite. That's sorta ... exciting! What's beyond the universe? How will we find out? What is the shape of this present universe? How can it be expanding, yet have some kind of weird shape?

Dr. Daina Taimina first sought to make a hyperbolic model with crocheted shapes, and she succeded. They're everywhere, and patterns can be found on Ravelry (36 for 'hyperbolic' alone) and all over the Internet (I found 57,100 pages on Google when I searched 'hyperbolic crochet pattern'). Hyperbolic crochet is hot. 

I think it's interesting that the shape of something like the human brain, a coral reef, and the universe all share a similar feature with Grandma's doilies. I think women have always known, deep down, that We Understood The Shape Of The Universe and Everything. (Well, ok, crocheting men maybe, too.) 

Dr. Jeffery Weeks, a freelance geometer (what a cool job that would be!) has calculated if the universe is finite, it's hyperbolic radius might be 18 billion light years. The Institute For Figuring (IFF) said that "The WMAP [Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe] satellite currently taking pictures of the early universe will hopefully provide evidence one way or other in the next few years, so that humanity may at last know the shape of existence itself." The satellite has been finished with the evidence for two years, when NASA concluded its observations of the cosmic microwave background, the oldest light in the universe. Did it prove the existence of a hyperbolic universe and I missed it? Do they need more time to go through the results? This is the kind of thing I wonder about. 

Human-brain_1001_600x450   Coral-reef_507_600x450    Crochet_12

(photo credits: the human brain; a coral reef; a model of a hyperbolic universe)


Oh, and Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! Beannachtai Na Feile Padraig Oraibh!

Daily Dose of Knitted Oddity

In the interest of a quick blog post, here are some of the weirder knitting things I have run across in my surfing lately: 

2. Knitted Poop. (Well, it does kind of go with #1. Although I made it, appropriately, #2.)

3. Knitted News that you can wear. 

4. Dr. Who Fan in Knitted Puppet Row (who can resist a headline like that??)

and not knitting related but.....

5. Kittenwar! May the cutest kitten win!

Yes I am pathetic. But I did knit today :) 

You keep knitting too, so you can avoid pathetically crawling the internet for knitting stuff like me!

Orchestral Knitting!

This scheduled event will occur at Conflux HQ on Saturday, September 13, from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM.

Project Description:: Knitting Jam!
Participants at the Conflux Festival are cordially invited to knit and become a part of a musical knitting orchestra. Both knitters and non-knitters alike are welcome to play/knit on Laure Drogoul’s souped-up, amplified knitting instrument. The Apparatus for Orchestral Knitting amplifies, the sound of the knitting and is mixed and played back live. All materials supplied.
“Apparatus for Orchestral Knitting is a sculptural object, a musical instrument, and a knitting circle’s companion, where the repetitive nature of the craft opens up to produce not only textile but also sound and community.”

Click HERE to read the rest of this article and see pictures of how knitting can be used as a musical instrument!

6 Weird Things About Me

Petula tagged me with this.... :D

Hmmm, 6 weird things about me... god, I barely know 6 *things* about me, heh heh. Let me think.


1. My fingers are double jointed and can bend backwards.

2. My two favorite spectator events to watch live, in person, are opera and hockey.

3. I learned to program in Fortran in the late 70's. I made a program that caused a printer to print an ASCII version of a Playgirl magazine centerfold. You can see similar ones here. (It's under "People" in the menu on the left.... in the category "Naked Women".) The instructor liked it. (Sorry to any of my family members who may be shocked at this, heh heh :::blushing:::)

4. I hand coded all the html for the Unique One website (not the catalog part).

5. Two of my hobbies besides knitting (which is, I guess, not really a hobby anymore) are geology and astronomy. I especially love graptolites and was excited to learn my hometown of Portage is in a critical graptolite area. There used to be a certificate hanging in the town office stating so. And, I own a dee-luxe Meade ETX125 reflector telescope as well as a sweet pair of Bushnell binoculars that my husband gave me for Christmas.

6. When I got out of high school I wanted to join the Navy, but they wouldn't let women on ships back then. I thought, what's the point??? heh heh


You may have been told, when young, not to play with your food. Now, where's the fun in that??? Here are a couple of fun food links... food is fun!

  • Click here to see a list of 14 Odd Deep-Fried Foods! There are both savory choices, like deep-fried macaroni & cheese and deep-fried pickles and (major yuck) deep-fried cicadas..... and sweet choices, like deep-fried Coca-Cola (note to Tracy TTB: I bet you could do it with Dr. Pepper, too), and deep-fried cheesecake. Yum yum!

  • Once you have recovered from the above, you can learn How to Calculate Pi by Throwing Frozen Hot Dogs! Hmmm... this is not only fun, but also useful. You can also substitute any long, thin, straight food like celery sticks, if you are on a diet! Or use knitting needles if you are fasting! Fun, fun, fun!!!


Yarndemon, bringing you sometimes useful information nearly daily (stop laughing) since 2004!

The Sheep Market

Well this is kind of interesting, in a "why?" kind of way.

You can click here to visit "The Sheep Market". Move your cursor around the ten thousand miniscule dot-like things in the bottom half of the page, which prove to be ten thousand highly-miniaturized sheep drawings. When you find one you like, you can click on it to select it. Then, you can watch it being drawn in the box at the top of the page. If it really is the sheep you want, you can buy it as part of a set of "collectable" adhesive stickers. Or, you can send it to someone, by email I presume -- although I couldn't get that feature to work (I'm using Mac OSX and Safari; I suspect it works in Firefox or on a PC).

I picked sheep #8655. He's my best buddy, now:

Oh, and by the way -- I took the Unique One Spring Newsletter to get copied today, so it will go out in the mail on Thursday or Friday! Look for it soon! E-mail me (look at the upper right corner of my blog, there ya go) if you want to be added to the mailing list. By Friday I should also have the online version available for you to read on the Unique One website (click "Our Current Newsletter" when you go to the Unique One web site.)

But Is It Art???

We all grew up with those cool paint-by-numbers kits, right? Nasty-smelling little pots of oil in mostly ugly colors, with maybe that one pretty turquoise or bright red whose use in the picture was never demanded as often as we would have liked. Remember having to stir up the paint, getting all that odorific oil blended into the pigment? Yeah, those were the good old days.

Kids today, though, they do things different. Here's a link to a place where you can order a Chew By Number art kit -- instead of painting or coloring in the picture, you chew different flavors of gum and then spread the gum around in the numbered spaces to create the picture. The website also has a handy list of Top 10 Reasons to Chew Gum. A quote from the web page:

"These kits allow kids to create vibrant artwork by chewing tasty wads of gum and spreading the chewed gum onto the ChewByNumbers art board. Each kit teaches project planning skills and helps develop fine motor skills, concentration, and creativity. Meanwhile, kids enjoy every step of the artistic process. Art has never tasted this good.

Chew and spread gum for fun by trying a ChewByNumbers GumArt kit today!!!"


Okay, so I am going to invent a Frog-by-Numbers Kit, where you unravel a Kaffe Fassett sweater that is making you unhappy, and use all the many colors of crinkly, wrinkly yarn to re-create The Last Supper. And I'm going to make a Top 10 Reasons to Unravel Projects You Hate, as a little extra for Frog-by-Numbers shoppers. :)

Re-arranging the Furniture

I've been moving stuff around on the blog. As you may have noticed over on the left margin, I've gotten rid of the "On My iPod" list in favor of a list of my favorite songs, constantly updated courtesy of Pandora.com. Under the list of songs is a link to Yarndemon Radio, which is a station I created on Pandora and which plays music that I like. Ostensibly. (Some of the artists I chose; some of the music played on the station is chosen by the Pandora software, based on the analyses of the Music Genome Project. You can make your own radio station. It's easy! and fun! I did it; you can too.

I think it's cool.

Thanks go to Stacy, who Must Get a Blog SOON since I appear to be talking about her all the time and could be linking to her.

So, unrelated to the entire rest of this post--
From the Off-the-Wall Department....here's a list of my 5 favorite things today:

1. Pandora.com.
2. Cute Bento boxes.
3. Camilla the Hen.
4. Wearable Animal Heads.
5. Food Sculpture.

Outknit Saddam!

.....from the Department of This Is Just Plain Weird:

You know how web pages have these interactive "games" that are really click-through ads? Usually they're something like "Shoot the rubber ducky and win a FREE IPOD!!!" or "Outrace the Lone Ranger and NEVER PAY INCOME TAXES AGAIN!!!". Usually I ignore them; they've become so ubiquitous, such a common site on the internet that they're not even visible to most of us, anymore. Until I saw this one:


I must say, it caught my attention. I did not click on the giant red "knit" button to try to outknit Saddam and win a free ringtone -- I have a hard enough time as it is, recognizing my ringtone as my phone, and I don't want the extra spam I'm sure I'd get by clicking through -- but I must say it was tempting. I would love to get one-a them dandy "KNIT" buttons, though. I'd get a lot more done if I had one!

Regarding the ad image: I can understand the Granny stereotype. Knitting will probably never be able to kick that one, despite some knitting blogs coming up in Google searches for phrases like "sexy ebony butts". But what the heck -- pairing up knitting with Saddam? Where did that come from? The designers must have been knitting with hemp yarn that day.

(ducking from Tracy & Tom)

(Seriously, hemp yarn is wonderful to knit with. We sell it at Unique One! You should knit with it! Make sure you outknit Saddam.)