Sunday, September 9, 2012

roach jars: knitter's edition

roach jars: knitter's edition, originally uploaded by fudh4x0r.

So, I've been saving all these nubbins of yarn and putting them in the jar in the middle for the last year. Yesterday, I found a whole ziplock of other remnants in my stash and put them into other jars. These are quart jars, by the by. Each of these represents a finished object and I feel pretty proud of myself each time I look at them. I keep these on my desk at home.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


section, originally uploaded by fudh4x0r.

Here is my finished Clockwork, spread out on the king sized bed. I didn't wet or steam block it because I'm still scarred by the sadness of my last project.

This is knitted of 4 balls of KnitPicks City Tweed dk in Romance and 5 in Orca. I made 3 slightly smaller sections. This thing is snugglier than you can imagine. I will not be cold at work this winter! Take that crappy HVAC!

Friday, August 31, 2012

See what I mean?

Untitled, originally uploaded by fudh4x0r.

Here you can see the nugget of yarn leftover on top of the baktus. There is quite a contrast in the brightness of the yarn vs the product that apparently CAN'T EVER GET WET! I didn't even impulsively wear it before blocking so this never got out and about before it turned to muddy pale green crap. BOO.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Disappointment and Improvisation

Once the baktus was finished, I put it in the sink to soak and the colors ran into a muddled horrible mess. I pulled it out and squeezed it before too much ran out and blocked it on the ironing board, folded in half. I tried resoaking it with a color catching sheet and it didn't help.  I tried putting it in the washer on delicate with the color catching sheet and it looks WORSE. The colors ran more and the yarn fuzzed out like a 14 yr old boy.  All that work and the yarn just looks like total shit.  I am considering an overdye of blue to make it a blue and green affair, but I am still pissed off that the dyer didn't set the dye properly and the washing instructions were a wicked lie.

I cast on the Bold and Bulky Mini Cardi using the recommended yarn in dark gray.  I started it intending only to modify it by making it longer, and giving it long sleeves instead of 3/4 length. That plan has gone quite out the window.  I've gone up from a 13 to a 17 in needle size.  I've twisted the yarn overs when knitting them to eliminate the holes.  I added 2 short rows to the back since it was riding up a bit.  I have 5 skeins of the dark gray, and 2 skeins of light gray for the contrast trim.  I'm an overbuyer of yarn.  I believe I will make the entire sweater in the dark gray and use the light gray for some easy Christmas gifts or something.  I am pretty sureI will have at least 1 extra skein of the dark gray as well.  The pattern is easy-peasy to follow.  It would be an excellent sweater for a first time sweater knitter.  The only sweaters I've made before are the cruelly misnamed Five Hour Baby Sweater and the incredibly clever Baby Surprise Jacket. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Baktus Variation

IMAG0719, originally uploaded by fudh4x0r.

I knitted this baktus with a lattice edging. I put it aside for the Ravellenic games. I need to block it yet and I think I will string block it. I'd like to get a little more depth out of it. There was a lot of pooling in the yarn, Knit It Up: Squishy. Hey, that is the price you pay with hand paint. I will say that I found the base yarn a bit splitty. Blue shoes and happiness is the color name. I may not keep this one. I have a couple of aunts who want shawls and this seems like a good one to give up.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

My Ravellenic Medal Podium

IMAG0718.jpg, originally uploaded by fudh4x0r.

The Cowl is a simple seed stitch border, some stripes with slipped stitches, and then another seed stitch border. I made it for Chas. The yarn is Red Heart Soft.

The WIP Wrestling is Byron the Clubfoot Sheep. He was knitted in fourteen pieces that then had to be sewn up together. Did I mention I hate sewing up? I knitted 7 feet in order to produce 2 pairs that matched. There was no way I could have knitted 4 that matched. The yarns are Hobby Lobby's Bamboo Spun for the wooly parts and Bernat Cotton Tots for his head and extremities.

The Scarf Hockey has a 6 stitch cast on, twisted loop bottom in lieu of fringe, knit all the even rows, expand to 20 stitches by adding 1 stitch on each side on every odd row. Then GARTER GARTER GARTER until it's time to reduce down to 6, do the twisted loops, and cast off. The yarn is the remainder of the bamboo spun from Byron plus another skein I bought at the same time because I thought I might want to make a bunch of sheep. HAR.

All in all, I am quite pleased with the amount of knitting I did during Those Games That Don't Want Us To Associate With Them. I am having some neck pain on the left and elbow pain on the right. We won't even start on how sore my eyes are.

I think my favorite part of the Olympics is seeing countries recently or not so recently liberated, where the athletes may now truly sing their own anthems.

Seeing the moms hug their winners gets me every time as well.

In Mom News at my house, my baby turned EIGHT today. My mind, she is blown. The day he was born, he turned at the last minute, to an unfavorable position, leading to an emergency c-section. There was a hurricane Charley on the news. Life has been like that since then. This kid, my Charlie, continues to amaze me with his curiosity, his humor, his volcanic temper, his foul feet, his amazing energy and his big, loving heart.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Not that kind of shrub

IMAG0633.jpg, originally uploaded by fudh4x0r.

I just strained my first batch of shrub. (A colonial era method for preserving fruit where you steep it with vinegar and sugar and drink it later mixed with water and possibly a little hooch.)

I made it with a bag of frozen mixed berries, 3/4 cup turbinado sugar, and 1 1/2 cups vinegar. I basically chucked it in the fridge, giving it a little shake now and again over the course of 3 weeks. I am having 4T in a pint of club soda. It's delicious.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Winner: Iz Won

I won a copy of the new Jill Shalvis book from Dear Author!  I have just started reading book one and so far it is a great read.  I'm a sucker for construction/renovation themes.  The Home Repair is Murder books are good for mystery fans, by the by.  I guess I need to hit the bookstore/library/innerwebs for books 2 and 3 so that book 4 makes sense.   I haven't been getting through many books.  Actually, I have a little case of startitis.  I am in progress on 4 books. 

The first subject I'm reading on  summer reading for kids.  The Chuckster is not a huge fan of reading, so finding him something is a challenge.  The Augster is big time into the fantasy/sci-fi genre, so finding him stuff that is both good and age appropriate is a challenge.  James Patterson has a site called Read, Kiddo, Read! with excellent recommendations for little dudes.  Nancy Pearl's blog has great recommendations, but is a little light on the organization.  I do love a tag-cloud something fierce.  Of course, you can also sign up for recommendations from the Omaha Public Library, or presumably your local library.  Caldecott and Golden Sower awards have their lists of past winners on their websites also. 

The next subject I'm reading on is really an undisciplined sort of gang of work related topics.  LEAN, group dysfunction, automated test tools, testing methodology, IT Culture, Women in IT.  I haven't been happy with any of the personal development plans I've written since I came over to IT from the business, mostly because my department reorganizes a lot. I've reported to 9 different people in 7 years.  Some of them more than once.    Every manager has different ideas for what I should be doing, but I don't get to stick with one long enough to make any traction.  One course of action is to write my own and present it as a done deal.  Or you know, I could opt out of doing it inside my employer's system and maintain total dominion.  Presenting it as a done deal carries the challenge of sticking to my plan and tactfully refusing suggestions.  Tactful. . . . hmmmmmm.  Opting out presents the challenge of paying for it myself and finding my own time to get shit done.  I notice that the most productive bloggers in terms of writing tend to be contractors who are hitting software in a variety of industries.  A lot of testing focused bloggers also split time with speaking, writing, and working.  I am not interested in being a public speaker.  Well, I am not interested in traveling around to speak.  You're all invited to come over for a beer to talk about testing. 

As far as yarn goes, Hitchhiker is an excellent knit for variegated yarns.  Sadly, I am quite prone to purling the first stitch on each row instead of just on the pointy side.  I'm on the 32nd point of the 42.  I'd show you a picture, but my phone is sulking.  I put it in time out.  (Note to HTC Incredible Overlords:  your constant changes to the OS of this phone don't seem to make it any better, so knock that shit off.)

How funny is it that the spell check of Blogger doesn't recognize 'bloggers' as a correct word?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Book 22: Let's Pretend This Never Happened

Do you read The Bloggess?  No?  Click the link.  I'll wait.

Jenny Lawson's memoir is screamingly funny.  I am torn between wanting to make all my friends read it and not.  If they read it, they will certainly find me less weird.  On the other side of that equation, if they read it, they will certainly find me less funny too. 

Jenny grew up in Texas with the  most profoundly weird father since Gomez Addams.  Can you handle reading about taxidermy?  What about a duck that gets eaten by hoboes?  The story of her courtship with Victor is very sweet.  And there is a chapter about her pug, Barnaby, that made me cry and laugh and cry and laugh. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

In Dreams

Last night, I dreamed I was had by Zeus.  I had twins and one of them was a black swan.  (The other one was a boy, human.) Jason was not pleased.   In my defense it went down in Ireland and Zeus was really funny.  And a god. 

I'd been listening to Irish public radio and the announcer had been interviewing Pagans about some change coming.  She was rather rude about it "Have you ever seen Pan?"  "Maybe your baby is a fairy changeling" etc.  I turned off the radio and went to walk past the docks to a swimming cove and saw him out of the corner of my eye.

Then it was flash forward to the awkward moment in the delivery room when I was handed a swan and a boy.  So the sexytime happenings were but a memory and not truly part of the dream.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Finished Object: Radiating Star

IMAG0592.jpg, originally uploaded by fudh4x0r.

This is the Radiating Star blanket, by Alexis Layton. I used just shy of 4 skeins of Lion Wool-Ease and it's 4 ft across. The edge does curl a bit, so I believe that after it's had a little bath, I shall block it aggressively into an octagon shape. The bind off was a real slog.

I did end up using the expanded rows, so if you make this of worsted yarn, be prepared to have both parts.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

2012 Books 12 - 21

Book 12: Bring on the Blessings by Beverly Jenkins. 
This was one of the free Friday books available to nook users.  The heroine gets a metric crapton of money in her divorce, so she buys a town founded in Kansas by freed slaves in the 19th century but now floundering and saves it.  Some of the townsfolk don’t really want her there.  The children, praise the Lord, are NOT plot moppets.  It was a rather wish fulfillmenty sort of book with religion/spirituality sort of skirted around.  I have heard great things about Jenkins historicals and I will have to pick one or 2 of them up. 

Book 13:  Sweet Enemy:  A Veiled Seduction Novel by Heather Snow
I find historicals with scientists to be rather interesting.  I wish I had taken some of the classes in college about the history of science.  The heroine is a chemist.  Sadly the book lacks in explosions.   Well, outside of the bedroomy types.

Book 14:  A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare
More historical science, this time archeology.  A nice addition to the series.

Books 15 and 16 The Year of Living Scandalously and The Revenge of Lord Eberlin by Julia London
Book 15 has a plot moppet, but I did like the story overall.  Book 16 has an Alpha-hole hero I was much less fond of this one.  I have the 3rd book in this set, but I’m not in any hurry to read it. 

Books 17, 18 and 19 The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Like millions of others around the world, only slightly later, I have finished reading the Hunger Games Trilogy.  I read nearly the entire trilogy over Easter weekend when we were in Western Nebraska. So I sort of pictured a beige expanse of emptiness as the perfect stadium for a battle to the death.  It’s harder to hide on the prairie.  Also, the water above ground frequently has farming and ranching runoff.

I found the first book to be the best in terms of pacing.  Very tightly wound.  I have a hard time following Epic Battle Scenes.  Yes, Epic Battles are chaotic, but the writing of this was more organized and I didn’t have to go back and reread to find out who killed whom. The ending really was an ending but also was an introduction to the idea that it was about to hit the fan.

Catching Fire was full of fan hitting craziness, but the ideas were plotted well.  I did find the whole dithering over whether or not Katniss would pick Gale or Peeta to be supremely irritating.  Reminiscent of the dreaded Team Edward Team Jacob Nonsense from the Twilight books.  Katniss’s experiences growing up under the regime of the capital made her emotionally crippled in many more ways than an ability to give and receive romantic love. Those other ways were not really plumbed to their depths. 

Mockingjay could have explored the  differences between the two oppressive regimes a bit more.  In fact, I think Star Trek TNG did a better job with the idea of a regime that is peacefully oppressive in several episodes.   Ultimately, a lot of pointless deaths and a not very satisfying ending.  I have to imagine the survivors made some of  the most fucked up parents of all times

Books 20 and 21:  A Great Deliverance and  Payment in Blood by Elizabeth George
I’ve picked up the Inspector Lynley series.  It should take me a while to get to a point where I am impatiently waiting the newest book.   These people are SO MESSED UP.  Sure, they can spot murderers, but they can’t seem to get their acts together and be anything but glum, lonely, or grimly determined.   Allow me also for a moment to beat upon my old drum. Ebooks where the original publication was years ago should not cost the same as a new paperback.  I’ve purchased the  first 2 Lynley’s as ebooks, but I’ve got the next several from the used book store  I would be so much more inclined to pick up established series of books if any books over 10 years old were half the price. 

Monday, April 23, 2012


I have started the  Wingspan pattern from Tri'Coterie Designs and it is fun.  I am doing my short rows with the holes.  I would like to learn a hole-free technique, but I think for this project, the holes are fine.  I have, like many knitters, a crapton of sock yarn, so I've also bought the Hitchhiker's set of patterns from Martina Behm.  I will probably get some new short row techniques for the Hitchhiker and the Lintilla.  (I may make Trillian first though.  I really like that one and have a pretty green and purple yarn for it.  I must say that it is rough that many of the patterns call for The Elusive Wollmeise yarn, seldom found in the wild and rarely found for trade unless the colors are Too Much For Me.) 

Knitting the wingspan, I got a small way into my 7th triangle and found I had dropped a stitch  that was supposed to be slipped and it fell so far that I had to rip back to the first third of the 6th triangle. The yarn giveth and the yarn taketh away.

I am using the e-wrap to cast on new stitches and I think I'd have preferred something a bit firmer. 

I'm using some hand dyed sock yarn from a local vendor who no longer vends.  It has a looser twist than I can sometimes handle, but the colors are great.  Green flecked with Blue-Brown-Gold. 

Using my first Addi Turbo Lace needle.  The hype:  I GET IT.

Lately while I knit I've been watching Inspector Morse mysteries or episodes of Foyle's War.  Morse really needs to stop sleeping with suspects. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Books of 2012

Just the ones I've finished so far:

Book 1: Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead
Book 2:  Notorious Pleasures by Elizabeth Hoyt
Book 3:  Drink Deep by Chloe Neil
Book 4:  Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Book 5:  Bet Me by Jennifer Cruisie
Book 5:  One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Book 6:  Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins
Book 7:  She Went All the Way by Meg Cabot
Book 8: Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt
Book 9: Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

Book 10: Lynchpin by Seth Godin
Book 11: The Dip by Seth Godin

I must say, I found Seth Godin's books utterly irrelevant to my life. His assumption is that everyone wants to climb as high in the corporate ladder as possible and presumably make as much money as possible.  He is rather glib about dispensing the advice to quit and move on.  Clearly, the guy has no one in his life who is financially dependent upon him.  And the fact that he tries to spin his past business failures as expertise is pretty much revolting.  I have to wonder how many lives of others who were along for his enchanted ride in goofyland were financially or emotionally ruined.  He seems pretty self involved and clueless, frankly.  Plus, I went to his website and he wears stupid glasses.

If you are looking for good business reads, I recommend Jason Seiden ("My Life is Profersonal") who discusses the mingling of professional and personal without devolving into some idiotic mommy war.   His blog is great.

I also recommend a thoughtful read of The No Asshole Rule.

Grimm Legacy was a very fun read.  My son got it at the book fair a couple of weeks ago and it was my favorite type of book as a youngster, combining a certain autonomy from adults (see also, The Secret Garden and The Boxcar Children) and magical stuff (see Harry Potter, The Crystal Cave, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe,  and the first 7 or 8 Xanth books). 

The Succubus series conclusion was satisfying.  I was glad to see it was not going to drag on ad infinitum.  

The Night Huntress books by Jeaniene Frost started off slow-- the heroine is immature and rather stupid in the first book.  I am sorry to say that  she has a certain dynamic with her mother, where she craves her mother's approval which her mother is pretty clearly withholding intentionally, ugh.  Hate that.  Grow a pair, girl.  Also, gentle readers will want to skip the next part because it's about Ess Eee Ex.  These books have A LOT of it, and it is graphic.  I have heard it said that in Urban Paranormal that Anal is the New Oral and umm, I guess it is in this series.  So if you are not into that sort of thing, I've warned you.

Now that I am caught up on the Chicagoland Vampires series, I have to wait till August for the next installment.  Like a NORMAL PERSON.  It's so nice to start a series a few books in, but sooner or later, I get caught up to the author.  The end of the previous book was very WTF and this book ALSO was very WTF at the end.  The vamps of Cadogan House spend Drink Deep under observation by the big council of whatever.  I found the vibe in the house very much like what it was like at work under the previous regime.  And that's all I have to say about THAT online.

The Maiden Lane Series by Hoyt starts well, falters in book 2 in my opinion, but then gives us one of my favorite romance tropes-- Pirate With A Heart of Gold.  (Other favorites:  Girls Dressed As Boys Making Hero Wonder if He Has Caught The Dreadful Affliction of Ancient Greece, Heroes or Heroines Who Are Secretly Authors/Artists/In Trade, Treasure Hunts, Ghost Stories)

The 3 Contemporary Romances I read were by pretty much my 3 fave contemporary romance authors.  Cruisie, Higgins and Cabot are all very funny and write a sweet romance. There is really not enough humor in Romance as a genre. Unlike life, where Romance and Humor are often hand in hand. 

Impending reading topics for non fiction will focus on Agile and Lean methodology for software development.  Don't be jealous!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


IMAG0506, originally uploaded by fudh4x0r.

This pattern from Westknits is mostly garter stitch, and yet, I didn't find it too much of a slog at the end.

I swapped with a friend it for some cross stitch. I knitted it in dk yarn (Kashmira from Joann's Sensations line) on a size six needle. It blocked out to be the size of the top bunk-- a twin bed. Well, a wee bit wider. After blocking, I would have liked the gauge a bit more snug. I have some other dk yarn set aside to make one for myself. I may though, make West's current pattern from Knitty. This one was well worth the money, so I may also buy another of his lovely shawl patterns for the yarn in question. The yarn is rather aggressively girly, so the geometric qualities of his patters will balance things out.

Stitch Markers

IMAG0518.jpg, originally uploaded by fudh4x0r.

There are a crapzillion tutorials on the web for making these. Here is mine.

For tools, I had only crimping pliers and some sort of pliers with a bent front? I think I needed some other needle nose pliers. I may well have them, but I can't find them. Oh, and I spilled an entire jar of glitter in my craftsman tool chest that I use for nonknitting craft stuff. Glitter: The Herpes of Crafting. I will NEVER get rid of that shit.

For materials, I had findings in gold plate. I couldn't find sterling and nickel irritates my skin. I'm a thenthive printhess. The findings included 2 inch gold plated headpins, 10 mm rings, gold crimp beads, bead spacers. I bought a small tube of beads to supplement my random leftover beads.

Put 3 random beads with spacers or crimpers between them. I used some crimp beads as spacers because I am pretty sure there are no crafting cops.

Above that, put a crimp bead.

Bend the head pin over, making a loop and thread the non-head end into the crimp bead. That was the part that was the biggest hassle. I had a couple head pins that got hopelessly mangled.


Add 10mm ring to the loop on the headpin.

If I were doing these again, I would use a 3 inch headpin and skip the 10mm ring. I would make the loop and then give the end a little twist above the beads, on the stem, as it were.

So now. . . .my knitting has jewelry. More jewelry than I do, actually. I think I spent about 90 minutes making 24 of them. I am not built for speed though. I tend to fuss unnecessarily over things like making them all the same or all unique. I went with unique, but then I wondered if I had randomized the bead placement enough. It's tough work being nuts.