Blankets, Big Knitting Needles, and Inappropriate Comments About Cows and Doctor Who

You are probably already aware that I’m kind of a terrible person.  I say a lot of stupid stuff and make poop jokes way too often.  My friends, thank goodness, pretend not to be disturbed by my odd brand of off-color humor.  It must be a difficult feat because anything can trigger unsettling thoughts in my head that shouldn’t be funny, but are so outlandish that they make me laugh myself into a coma.

One of these moments happened recently during a Facebook conversation with my friend Marcy.  While we were discussing the harmless topic of knitting blankets with great big needles and multiple strands of yarn, she made an innocent comment that was a catalyst for my signature creepy thoughts.  I have to share the conversation because it got bizarre as hell.

I have altered our profile pictures for this post.  Marcy is wonderful and squee-tastic, so her new picture is Pusheen the cat.  I am awful and take too much pleasure in things that should repulse me, so my new picture is Me Gusta.

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To see that David Tennant gif in action, go to this tumblr page.  Now imagine a cow is giving birth right in front of the Doctor.  Congratulations.  You can now enjoy the same lovely mental image that I will have every single time I have to save a dropped knit stitch.  Allons-y!

Marcy, here’s The Christmas Invasion. It’s $1.99 on Amazon Instant Video. Just thought I’d drop this little link here in case you wanted to get an episode of Doctor Who AND support my blog at the same time. But, you know. No pressure.

Here are some massive knitting needles. You can get a pair of US size 50 (25mm) circular needles that are 47 inches long. I kind of want some just to use as nunchuks.

To hear more of my weird thoughts, follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. I’m good at weird thoughts.

Marvelously Bumpy Potholders – Free Knitting Pattern

I like practical projects.  That’s one of the reasons I love knitting with cotton.  After I bought a massive amount of discounted cotton yarn a few months ago, I figured I ought to put some of it to good use.  Since I love baking cookies and casseroles, I decided that I should try knitting some potholders.  The thing about potholders, though, is that they need to be thick.  Really thick.  Poorly made potholders can cause serious burns!  So, instead of risking injury by creating an impromptu pattern, I did a little bit of potholder research.

I tried a few nice patterns, but I wanted a very specific look.  I’m not sure why, but I wanted bumpy potholders.

And that is how my Marvelously Bumpy Potholders were born!

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As always, please forgive my photography. I do my best, but my skills are still lacking.

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Angle changed to highlight bumpy texture.

I’ve made most of my potholders with variegated yarns (two strands held double the whole way), but you could just as easily use solid colors.  I made one set with a strand of yellow/white variegated yarn and a strand of solid yellow.  I think it turned out nicely!

wildblueysohi, wildblueyoshi.com, knitting, knit, potholder, cotton, yarn, handmade, yarn tails, marvelously bumpy, yellow, variegated, peaches and creme, preaches & cremewildblueyoshi, wildblueyoshi.com, knitting, potholder, yellow, white, variegated yarn, yarn, cotton, peaches and creme, marvelously bumpy potholdersThese potholders make great gifts.  I’ve given out several sets, and all the recipients liked them.  Besides, Christmas is only fourteen short weeks away.  I suggest my fellow crafters get to work!

Without further ado, here’s my Marvelously Bumpy Potholders pattern.

Materials

  • 2 balls Peaches ‘n Creme 100% cotton yarn* in any color (yarn will be held double throughout)
  • Size 8 (5mm) needle, or size needed for gauge.  Please take time to check your gauge.
  • Size I/9 (5.5mm) crochet hook.  If you don’t use size 8 knitting needles, just use a hook that’s one size larger than your needles.
  • Darning needle

Gauge

28 rows and 16 stitches = 4 inches (10.16 centimeters)
One potholder is 5.5 x 5.5 inches.

Note:  In case you didn’t notice, gauge is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT for this project!  You need a tightly knit fabric to make the potholder sturdy enough to protect yourself from burns.  People say “take time to save time” regarding gauge, but in this case, you need to take time to save skin.

Pattern

Holding two strands of yarn double, cast on 24 stitches.

Rows 1-2:  Knit.

Rows 3-4:  Knit 2.  *Knit 2, Purl 2, repeat from * 4 times.  Knit last two stitches.

Rows 5-6:  Knit 2.  *Purl 2, Knit 2, repeat from * 4 times.  Knit last two stitches.

Repeat rows 3-6 9 more times.  (If you have large hands and want a longer potholder, feel free to add extra rows.  Just make sure that you write down how many rows you added so that you can make the second potholder the same size.  To make the potholders wider, simply cast on four extra stitches and add one [knit 2, purl 2] repeat to rows 3-4, and one [purl 2, knit 2] repeat to rows 5-6.)

Knit one more row.

Most of that is pretty easy, but binding off is a little different in this project.  It’s not difficult, though.  Please read through the next two paragraphs before binding off!

I suggest that you use the crochet bind off.  (This link goes to a how-to video.  Watch it if you’re confused.)  Personally, it’s my favorite because it looks so nice and neat.  It also manages to be looser than the generic “leapfrog” bind off while still leaving a sturdy edge. To bind off the potholders, I normally use a size I/9 crochet hook (5.5mm).  It’s a good idea to use a crochet hook that’s one size larger than your knitting needles to prevent puckering.  Confession:  I typically go up TWO sizes on other projects because my crochet gauge is so tight.  But, since the potholders need to be super sturdy, I tend to stick with a 5.5mm hook for their bind off row.

Alright.  Now bind off as you please, leaving one stitch left on your crochet hook or knitting needle.  (If you didn’t use the crochet bind off, just slide that last unfinished stitch onto your crochet hook.)  To make the final little loop, crochet a short foundation chain.  My chains always turn out really tight, so I usually make a chain of 12 on these potholders.

Now look at the photo below.  Insert your crochet hook, front to back, into the space where I stuck the darning needle in the photo.  It’ll go under what looks like two “legs” of a stitch.  Be careful not to twist your chain.  Meaning:  keep the “V” side of the chains facing the outside of the loop.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Pull up one loop and make a slip stitch. Cut yarn and pull the tail through. Make it snug, but not too tight. Imagine the slip stitch hugging the potholder without strangling it.

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Now weave in your yarn tails.  Ta-da!  You’re done!  Uh, except for blocking.  The potholders will be functional right off the bat, but they will probably be kind of misshapen and awkward looking until you block them.  So don’t be lazy.  Block them!  I’m the laziest of the lazy, but I still block all of my potholders before gifting them.

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PROOF! I blocked mine on a towel, but it’s probably better to block them on a self-healing mat. They’ve got fancy grids and rulers on them, which makes it easier to block the potholders into a uniform size.

So there it is!  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Note:  Make as many Marvelously Bumpy Potholders as you want, but please don’t share this pattern without linking back to me.

The Baby Blanket Saga

In my weekly wrap-up post on Sunday, I posted a picture of the garter stitch baby blanket I’m knitting.  I also mentioned that its “saga” was kind of ridiculous and deserved its own post.  Well here we go.

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I am aware that the name is stupid.

First, the backstory.

Two Christmases ago, my dad and stepmom gave me a bunch of yarn.  By “a bunch” I mean something like fifteen big skeins.  They don’t know much about yarn, though, and gave me cheap acrylic stuff that they found in a big box craft store.  Now, I can appreciate pretty much any type of yarn that I don’t have to pay for.  Even the scratchy and exceedingly cheap stuff – you know, the yarn that practically squeaks as you work with it? – has its uses.  And boy, howdy!  I will use the hell out of that yarn when I find the right pattern for it.  And, when it comes right down to it, they were really sweet to get me all that yarn.

However.

Six skeins of the yarn was Bernat Pipsqueak.  It’s cute enough, I guess, but I don’t really like it.  For one, the colors are pastel and I am not a fan of most pastels.  For two, the yarn and I do not play nicely together.  It feels flimsy and I’m constantly scared that I’m going to break it.

The biggest problem, though, is that it is so fuzzy that I can barely see what I’m doing with it.  The fuzz does hide mistakes, which is nice, but also makes it harder to correct booboos.  I actually tried crocheting with Pipsqueak at first.  That was a disaster.  I couldn’t see where to stick my crochet hook in order to make more stitches.  There are published crochet patterns for this stuff, though.  I don’t understand!  How can ANYONE crochet with it?

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SO FUZZY. This colorway is called “candy girl.” Notice the baby on the label? That means it’s for babies. Pastel yarn is always for babies. Because, um, babies just love pastels?

Fortunately, the beauty of knitting’s culture of gift giving means that I’m not required to put up with this yarn forever.  I can always knit something for an actual baby instead of for myself.  One could make a strong argument that I’m more of an overgrown child than an actual adult, but I digress.  As fate would have it, this is exactly why my dad bought the Pipsqueak yarn that Christmas.

My niece was born earlier that year, and Daddy insisted that I knit a blanket for her.  He bought the yarn, after all, so I suppose the request is reasonable enough.  (Thank goodness my sister-in-law likes the “candy girl” colorway.)  However, Daddy started to get on my nerves because he kept asking me “When are you going to make a blanket for Clara?”  Every single time I saw him, he’d ask me again.

Before I go any further, I want to state that my father is usually a pretty nice guy.  He buys me beer and gives me blueberries that he grows and picks himself.  He hates gossip and is the best secret keeper I have ever met.

But, bless his heart, he is a little clueless.

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No, Dad. NOT winning.

After hearing “When are you going to make a blanket for Clara?” one too many times, I got what my mom calls “snippy.”  I told him that I was working on another blanket that I had been planning for weeks before he gave me yarn for Clara’s blanket.  I also told him that it takes a LONG time to knit or crochet something as big as a blanket.  I appreciated the yarn, but bugging me about when I’m going to make something with it is not very nice.

I could tell that I kinda hurt his feelings and I felt like a heel.  However, he was a teensy bit presumptuous about the blanket.  Non-knitters like my father are often oblivious to the amount of time and effort required for knit projects.  Even if they mean well, they can be frustrating.  He did not ask about it anymore, though, so something resembling peace returned to the family.

Alrighty.  Let’s fast-forward approximately fifteen months.  I have FINALLY started Clara’s blanket.  I figured I’d bite the bullet and get it over with before the kid goes to prom in sixteen years and tells her friends all about her loser aunt who wouldn’t even knit her a baby blanket.

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“I’d do it, too!”

But, Clara obviously is no longer a newborn.  This means that I should probably make a blanket that is larger than what six skeins will make.  So, I went ahead and got a skein of white Pipsqueak a few weeks ago just to see how it looks with “candy girl.”  As you can see in the photo at the top of this post, it works.  So now I need to get more white.  Unfortunately, our local Wal-Mart no longer carries ANY Bernat Pipsqueak yarn.  Those bitches.  Now I’ll have to hit up expensive internet retailers or drive for miles just to get a few more skeins of that dinky, fuzzy yarn before I can finish the blanket.  Sigh.

This situation got so much more complicated than I ever anticipated.  First, my well meaning father and stepmother give me some yarn that I don’t really like.  Then, I hurt my dad’s feelings and took FOREVER to start the blanket.  Now Wal-Mart is punishing me by drying up the local supply of Bernat Pipsqueak.

This has gotten just plain silly.  I should write an epic poem about it and set the saga to sad music.  I’m as tragic as Oedipus Rex.  Uh, minus the you-know-what with relatives.

When Yarn Tails Attack

I hate yarn tails so much.  This is not a well kept secret.  Sewing them into my projects after I’m done is the absolute worst.  When I crochet, I like to crochet right over tails so that I don’t have to fiddle with them later.  But when I knit?  Sigh.  Weaving in yarn tails is pretty much the one thing I hate about knitting and I literally put it off until the last possible second.

I know that I should weave them in as I go along.  At the very least, I should sew them in as soon as I’m done knitting my project instead of letting the whole thing sit around, gathering dust with a bunch of tails flapping in the breeze.  That way, I wouldn’t have a bunch of potholders – each of which is made with two strands of yarn held together, meaning twice the number of tails – and dishrags to finish one day before I try to sell them in an art festival.

You’ve probably already guessed that what I just described was not a hypothetical situation.

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As if Speck has any room to mock someone for being lazy.

A few months ago, I had yarn tails in three pairs of potholders and one pair of dishrags to weave in before blocking.  All this on the day before an art festival where I planned to offer all of these for sale.

Let’s review. Continue reading

InvaderCON III: Final Doom – Getting Autographs

Last weekend, Hubbles and I attended InvaderCON III:  Final Doom in Austin, Texas.  It was a super fun convention celebrating Invader Zim, which is one of our favorite cartoons.  We got autographs from four of the voice actors and one of the writers.  We attended their panels and Q&A sessions, too.  It was totally worth the ten hour drive to Austin.  (Also worth the ten hours back home and all the Dr. Pepper and Whataburgers that powered us through it.)

I figured I would tell you all about the con because that’s just what I do.  Prepare thyself for the beautiful insanity that is InvaderCON!  This is gonna be a long post, but hopefully not a boring one.  I’ll just focus on getting autographs and pictures right now.

First on my list are some snazzy pictures we took with the writer, Eric Trueheart.  For my picture, I got “creepy.”  Naturally.

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Luckily the creepy smile masked how nervous I felt.  (More about my GIR hat – which I made! – below.)

Hubbles said that I had a “Joker smile” going on here.  Personally, I’m impressed that my chin looks like it’s about to stab someone.  I first posted this on the creepyfaceaday tumblr that I share with my sister, hence the URL on the picture.  Click the picture itself for a link to the original post.

Anyway, I didn’t ask Eric to make a “creepy face” or even mention my tumblr.  I think that’s just his default expression for fan photos.  Somehow it would seem wrong for him to smile, you know?  Besides, smiling in hundreds of photos with fans would make for a sore face.  I saw him smile genuinely during the con, but not in our pictures.  Hubbles, however, looked downright giddy.

Continue reading

Lazy Knitting Confession: Dum Dum Stitch Holder

Sometimes I’m too lazy to bind off before starting another knitting project.  I’ve been known to leave a nearly finished piece on its needles for months when all I need to do is bind off the final row.  If I happen to need those needles to begin a new project, things can get weird.

Oh, I could just bind off that last row.  Or, I could just use an improvised stitch holder.

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Behold: the height of my laziness induced ingenuity!

Yup… I used the stick of a dum dum sucker to hold four stitches instead of binding them off.  I know I should be ashamed, but I’m too impressed with the dum dum thing.

Are you an impressively lazy crafter?  Tell me your best lazy crafting stories in the comments below.  It would make my day.

Oh, Yarn. You Deceptive Devil.

I’m participating in a craft show in a few weeks and I’m doing a lot of crafting in preparation.  One of the things I’m doing is knitting dishrags and potholders to sell.  This requires plenty of cotton yarn.  That’s why I was insanely excited to find these four HUGE cones of Peaches & Creme yarn in the super cheap clearance yarn aisle a few weeks ago.

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Good thing cotton is absorbent, because I drooled a bit.

The only color I truly liked was the yellow, but I didn’t buy this yarn for me.  I bought it so that I could sell the stuff I made with it.  My preferences for yarn color aren’t universal.  Who knows?  Some customers at the craft show might love these colors.

I still thought this yarn was kind of ugly, though.

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The colors are darker and more vibrant in person. My photography skills have not improved since the last time I posted crappy pictures on my blog.

The weird purple and green mix just didn’t “do it” for me.  It looked like a really bland Mardi Gras parade in yarn form.  The color name is Pageantry (#1201).  I figured someone would like it, though, so I started knitting a hair kerchief with it.

I kept on knitting, and lo and behold!  It’s beautiful!  Now I like this yarn.  A lot.

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I kinda pulled this pattern out of my butt. I need to post it sometime because it’s pretty nice.

Somehow, the yarn looked awesome once I started knitting with it.  Who’da thunk it!

So, yeah.  This yarn fooled me.  Has this ever happened to you?