Sunday, August 1, 2010

Yarnigami - Or How To Turn a Rectangle into a Vest

In May, the wonderful folks at Skacel Knitting had a design competition, and I was thrilled to have my pattern, Cross Hatch Wrap, chosen as one of the five winners. The scrumptious Kid-Seta yarn was a dream to knit, and their photographer did a great job of capturing some of the possible ways to wear this vest.

Some people are having trouble with the concept of how to transform this long rectangle into a wearable with armholes! Following are step-by-step directions to guide you through the process, with my not-very-professional photographs.

1. Fold the rectangle in half so the cast-on and bind-off edges are together, and mark the center point. Unfold.
2. Bring down the cast-on and bind-off edges so they are next to each other, with the inside length of the rectangle together. Sew from A to B - about 9 inches.
3. Bring down the Center so that it touches the top of the seam at B.
4. Make a diagonal seam outward on each side from the Center, leaving an opening on each side - these are the armholes.

You have just made a Y-shaped seam from one of the long edges of the rectangle. The other long edge runs the length from bottom, around the neck, and down the other side. The cast-on and bound-off edges are the bottom. Fabric topology!

Worn as you have just sewn the garment, it is a swing vest. Flip it upside down (180 degrees), and you have a shrug with tuxedo points. Fasten with a shawl pin, or tie the points together.

Have fun finding more ways to wear it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Why I REALLY Have WIPs

I confess, I really have WIPs because I'm addicted to playing Bubble Breaker on my phone. It's an incredibly stupid game, but I'm mesmerized by the colors. I just can't put it down. Sometimes I have to charge my phone every day because I've played so often.

Put down the phone and knit.

Public Service


It has been a full week of doing my civic duty in St. Louis.

One week ago was the municipal primary, for which I served as election judge supervisor. I have been privileged to serve as an election judge since before the chads were hanging, and have enjoyed seeing and supporting the technological advances.

Now, I have been voting since I could read the ballot. Mom always took me into the booth with her, and when I was growing up in the Quad Cities, there was indeed a booth. I helped pull the levers next to the candidates we had chosen (usually Democrats), and then she pulled the big lever to cast the votes. Magically, when she pulled that lever, the curtains on the booth opened! Okay, today I understand the mechanics, but as a child it was magic.

Voting in Missouri just never had the romance of that voting booth. A spindly desk with punch cards didn't thrill me. Still, I voted in every election, because the responsibility was instilled long ago. I believe that if you don't vote, you don't have the right to gripe.

And I volunteered to be an election judge. I'm always saddened by the poor turnout, even during a presidential election year. Last week, for example, at my polling place we had less than 500 voters, from a possible 13,000. Most people weren't aware that it was election day.

I get a lot of stitching done on municipal election days. Two years ago I completed almost a whole sweater.


This year I made two baby hats for charity, and a collar for my gray shirt. It's entirely coincidental that I choose mainly red yarn for my election day stitching - I'm partisanally blue, and colorfully purple!

Heads up everyone, there is another municipal election on April 7, and we vote for school board as well as mayor. Contact the Election Commission for details.

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of judging the high school NFL Speech & Debate District competition. These are the bright and creative young men and women who give me hope that this generation will be able to care for me in my old age. They are hopeful, and eager, and I suspect they will vote when they come of age.

I met a fellow raveler among the judges/coaches, and made a baby hat.


Monday I reported for jury duty. As directed, I brought no knitting needles, but began crocheting a cardigan/shrug/shawl. No, I'm not sure what it will grow up to be, and I lost my hook this evening between the den and the kitchen. Sigh.

The presiding judge was Thomas C. Grady, and I will gladly vote for his re-election whenever I see him on the ballot (usually I vote against the judges just because). He was genial, jovial, charming, and every Irish compliment Andrew Greeley could care to name.

Today I got knitting needles past security, who didn't even look at the image of my bags. Unfortunately, I wasn't chosen to serve on the final panel, and wasn't there long enough to do any stitching. Check back with me in two years.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Your Vote Won't Count Unless You Cast It

Today is an election day in the City. Bet you didn't know that. It's the primary for the mayoral and aldermanic races. And one month from today we vote on a school board which may or may not have any power to determine the futures of our children.

Please cast your vote in these municipal elections. If you don't, I won't listen to you complain about the outcome.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another Knitting Injury

Yes, it's happened again, not my shoulder this time, but in that same general area. And this time I'm blaming it on KIPing. Yes, this too.

I have one perfect chair in which to knit:

When my grandparents moved to Austin I appropriated this chair. It's perfect for me. It rocks (literally, it's a rocking chair). It is low to the ground so my feet can firmly and completely rest on the floor. It's cushy, though threadbare. And it has short armrests.

The armrests are the key, I think, to comfortable stitching. When I KIP, there are generally no armrests, thus adding strain and causing pain. What's a KIPer to do? On with the arnica and the Advil PM, and stitch some more.

P.S. Yes, that's another, bigger baby modeling a larger hat.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why I Have WIPs



I didn't used to have so many Works In Progress. I had one project which I worked on until it was finished, then I started another. Of course, in those days I could only afford one project at a time, but still, it didn't occur to me to begin another before I had finished the first.

I also didn't used to have stash.

Until last year I was unaffected by those WIPs; they came out of the box whenever the whimsey (sic) took me, or they staid out of sight, quietly waiting. No one noticed. No one pointed at them, shaking their heads at my sloth. No one sighed when I bought more yarn even though a project was still quietly waiting. No one even cared if I had to buy more needles of the same size as the pair in the quietly waiting project.

And then came Ravelry. Yes, it's a fabulous website, blah, blah, blah. Every time I log in, however, My Notebook confronts me with those WIPs. I can't just stay away from my notebook, because I'm addicted to those hearts, and I must check often for new ones (hint, hint).

So how and why did it happen? I've chosen to blame KIPing. Yes, that's right, the need for social interaction. I cannot reliably follow a pattern while making scintillating conversation (no, I don't engage in any conversation that doesn't scintillate). Most of my WIPs are complicated, and require mindless television as the simultaneous activity. I KIP Tuesday night, all day and night on Wednesday, Thursday night, and all day Friday. Often there is KIPing on Saturday, and there is definite KIPing on Sunday afternoons.

I am thus compelled to begin other projects which don't require much thought or attention. Or else RogueKnit pretends that I've issued a challenge, and I am further compelled to begin a project to answer the challenge I didn't issue! If you doubt the veracity of this, you should take note of all the hats completed between us, though she wins the prize, I'm still in the game.

Lest you think I'm casting aspersions at her, think again. Thanks to RogueKnit, I may soon be taking one of my projects out of hibernation and back into the active phase. Of course, that gives me another WIP....

Enough words, I have a beach bag to finish.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The President's Challenge



No, this challenge doesn't involve an economic stimulus plan, or an increase in volunteerism, or a commitment to educating our children, or health care for everyone. In fact, the challenge didn't come from the current president. No, this challenge began with President Eisenhower, and it ruined gym class for thousands of children every year. Yes, you guessed it - it's the President's Challenge on Physical Fitness.

The good news is there's a twist: you can take the President's Challenge as an adult, and virtually any activity qualified! You don't have to climb a rope, or do chin-ups or run a 50-yard dash. Crochet doesn't count, but croquet does. Darts is sanctioned, though probably they don't mean adding them to sweaters. Other activities you mightn't expect include gardening, household tasks, children's games (ring-around-the-rosy, not Candyland), fishing, hang gliding, horseshoe tossing, and sky diving. Yes, the "normal" activities are there, too. Even Wii sports is on the list!

You log your activities online, and earn points for each activity. There is a mysterious algorithm for calculating points based on difficulty of activity, cardio/vascular benefits, and lengh of time (probably Charlie Eppes could explain it, but we just have to take it on faith that running is worth more points than playing darts). As you accumulate points you earn prizes - those elusive certificates that the jocks got at the final school assembly, or really cool Olympic-style medals.

I earned the three certificates and my bronze medal during the last administration, and was well on my way to the silver, but I just couldn't bring myself to have another item signed by that president. So I waited, and now I'm beginning to log my activities again. I created a Ravelry group, so all you knitters, crocheters and spinners can compare your progress. After you create your challenge account, you can click on the groups and choose ravelry. (For those of you who aren't yet on Ravelry you should click through and join that, too.)

Will you take the challenge?