What I Made

Happy Howlowe'en, Ladles, Jellyspoons, and All Children of the Night!

As a little treat, I made Blackrayne's skully dishcloth.

I also made a thing that I wanted to put on the cat, the type of thing oft modeled by the most dashing Chaos, but that might prove to be a spoiler for its intended recipient. (But Chris does such a commendable job capturing Chaos at his composed feline best...)

The Lost Reel

or, Skully Dishcloth Photo Shoot, Part Deux

Oooh...what have we here?

Here's lookin' at you, kid.

Hey! Lemme touch it...

Remember boys and girls, it's all fun and games until somebody loses an eye.

* * *

The dishcloth is Lily Sugar'n Cream in a color christened "Tea Rose" that looks to me almost exactly the shade of those dreadful oversized marshmallow peanuts.

I leave you with one last and truly geeky All Hallow's Eve Treat, the jack o'lantern of my dreams. Now if only it could make that noise the Cylons make...that would truly be the stuff of nightmares.


Holy Jingle Netties! A Finished Object

I finally finished the Razor Cami that I started back in July. The really sad part is that it's been a mere six inches of I-cord that's been holding me up for the past month.

The dark brown is Filatura di Crosa's Millefili Fine 100% cotton and the variegated is merino wool from Fleece Artist.

I wish now I'd made it a little bigger, but this is the pattern that some pixie made for size XS 30-32" bust, so I'm glad it worked out as well as it did. (Pattern said it would stretch...heh! Leave it to some tiny waif to define "stretch"...)

But I do like the pattern, and it's both my first actual garment and my first stab at something lace.

Pepper, 3 1/2 Weeks

Oh, they grow up so fast. Sigh...

She weighs a hearty 45 pounds already. Which means she's doubled in size in 24 days. How is that even possible?

She's begun nibbling on grass and hay just like a big llama. Here Grandma Switzer and mama Lacey look on as Pepper daintily samples a few blades of green.


Mooninite, As Promised

Here's the chart.
It doesn't look so bad if you click on it to make it bigger.

I'm thinking of stuffing him and making him into a pillow, so I used some really chunky mystery yarn on size 8 US needles. (see pics below)

The gauge came out to be 15 sts & 22 rows = 4 in/10 cm stockinette. I worked 22 rows seed (moss) stitch at top and at bottom, plus 6 at left and right, making the finished piece 15 x 15 inches (38 x 38 cm).


Greetings, Earthlings

All kids out of the pool!

I hope you are watching this. I am doing it as hard as I can.
Harder than I have ever done it before.

Yes, the infamous Ignignokt has materialized from bits of string. He is not blocked and looks a bit haphazard, but as you can see he is quite happy to meet you.

This is what happens when you put your knitting on the scanner. You have to fold it up and it gets all squashy, so I'm not sure I recommend it. Still, it was an interesting experiment. The color of Ignignokt is much more neon green, with a bit of sparkles in it; the blue is quite electric; and the black is, well, black. This combination of colors seemed to utterly baffle scanner, camera, screen and Photoshop. I'm sure it's even worse now on Blogger. You probably think Ignignokt is lavender and orange.

p.s. Ignignokt chart coming soon.

I Promised You Cat-Knitting Tips

They don't seem as exciting to me now as they did in the middle of the night.

Yarn in plastic pint container is neither as wiggly nor as appetizing...

...nor can aforementioned yarn be seen when container is closed (or at least not most of it, anyway).

Rubber bands (at right) keep stitches from sliding off the ends of a needle that falls into the wrong hands (er, paws). Yes, they sell those little rubber tip thingies, but Isis seems to think those are delightful toys -- it takes her a lot longer to remove a rubber band (which is, I note, also a delightful and very cat-unsafe toy).

I've taken to securing all my projects in their own ziplock or zippered baggies. This includes the pattern, a pencil, all the yarn, etc. -- any or all of which are fun things to hide under the couch, in the bathtub, behind the stove...anywhere I may not be able to find them when I want to work on said project.

This after I discovered that using plastic shopping bags (highly engaging) or regular tote bags (a little less enthralling, but still intriguing) merely invited delightful exploration, games of hide-and-seek, and the surreptitious sequestering of necessary project items throughout the house.

The upshot is that there is no cat-PROOFING of the knitting to be had, but merely a couple things I discovered that decreased the frustration I was experiencing. I mean, they DO love to help.

Did I hear someone say they needed some help?

Here I am! Here I am!


Catsuits and Catbaths

Found object, New York Daily News. Bad pun headline included.

Hot Girl on Girl Action

Bite, bite, bite, wrestle...

Aaah, nuzzle, nuzzle.

Lick, lick, lick.

Ow, Isis, too hard! That hurts! [biting paw]

Mmmmm, much better...

Catproofing Your Knitting Tips Coming Soon to a Blog Near You!
(um, probably this one)


Those Elusive Alien Ships

I am encountering many obstacles to completing my Alien Illusion Scarf.

Some of them are in the form of Grey Cats (at left, usually sleeping) and Black Cats (generally not sleeping, but chasing needles and breaking yarn).

Sometimes I have Black Cats and Striped Grey Cats instead. They might be watching me; washing each other; fighting with one another, me, or the knitting; or, with any luck...


AI Scarf Improvisations

Once begun, I realized I didn't have enough green yarn to get very far with my Alien Illusion Scarf pattern. As the yarn was stray stash yarn, unlabelled and unidentifiable, buying additional yarn wasn't an option. Hence, AI scarf has become two scarves in one:

I tried to get a shot of the elusive alien craft, but they are in stealth mode (black on black). Fortunately, I was able to capture their outline in chart form (see Oct. 19 post, below).

Next, to the Moon

Suffering today from egregious knitting ADD, I made a new chart, of one of the Mooninites (Ignignokt) from Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

In the process I realized that a knitting chart isn't exactly a square--i.e. my gauge for the AI scarf (bulky yarn on size 8s) is 24 rows and 16 sts = 4 inches. This is not, you may notice, 24 rows/24 sts = something, or 16 rows/16 sts = something, but an unequal number of rows and stitches. "Hmmmmm," I thought to myself, stuggling to work out this silly little chart. "Maybe this explains why my spaceships turned out looking eye-shaped instead of cigar-shaped the way I drew them on the chart..."

Live and learn! As soon as I test out my new Mooninite chart--presuming it works--I'll post it as well.

And Now For Something Completely Different

A friend who raises rabbits just gave me some rabbit fiber (grey and white, and caramel and white), and I've begun carding it with fleece from Graty's spring shearing.

And boy, does that rabbit ever give the llama fiber a lovely glow! You can see it blended together in the carder at top left, and in the rolags ready to spin in front of the box. Raw rabbit fiber is in the plastic bag on top of the box (yes, I know I need to put it in a paper bag before it gets all felted), and you can see Graty's fresh-off-the-llama fleece at right. I can't wait to begin spinning this up...


My First Official Chart

I wanted to put some spaceships on my Alien Illusion Scarf, so my spouse sketched up a little alien craft and I came up with this chart.
It's designed for the 40-stitch scarf width, with the little ships running the length of the scarf (after the Alien pattern ends, that is). The grey squares are optional purl stitches in keeping with the illusion pattern of knit 3 rows, purl 1 row, and kind of look like some weird landscape for the spaceships to fly over.

Well, it's the first chart I've ever posted, so I welcome any feedback. General consensus is that such spaceships were good enough for Atari, so they should work for this, and so far I like them in my scarf.

By the way, I used Excel (of all things) for the graph. You're welcome to use the pattern, just click to make it bigger and print it out. If you have Excel and want a blank chart with the pre-numbered grid on it, just leave me your email and I'll send you one. It was surprisingly easy to do with Excel, since you can both outline and fill in cells with a limited palette of colors. (Photoshop is not my friend, and I spent far more time trying to make my Excel spreadsheets look nice than any sane person should ever admit.) I like Excel. Hence, Excel is my friend.

We Interrupt This Program...

...to bring you a message from the PMS Emergency Broadcast System.

Please stay tuned, as we anticipate only a brief interruption in your regularly scheduled programming.

And we have such sights to show you...


Weapon of Choice

When choosing a film to watch, I'm pretty easy to please. I have three primary criteria. A movie should have 1) lots of explosions, 2) Christopher Walken in it, and/or 3) a happy ending.

Hence, I am devoting this post to one of my absolute favorite people, Christopher Walken (see #2 above).

"This Queens, New York born actor/performer has been in show business since 1946 when he was just three years old. ...He began films as early as 1968, but it wasn't until a notable appearance in the film Annie Hall, playing Diane Keaton's suicidal brother that he began to regularly work in film. Shortly after, he appeared as the haunted character Nick in The Deer Hunter, for which he won an Academy Award. This catapulted his film career and Walken has gone on to do more than 90 films, two music videos, and notable appearances on Saturday Night Live. [See below.]

"His specialty has always been playing villains or psychos, but Walken does very well in comedy, romance and drama genres as well. His unique look and way of speaking has made him a favorite of impersonators and a scene-stealer in any movie he appears." (From Walken's bio)

Birthdate: March 31, 1943

I should've known Walken was from Queens, as is my beloved spouse, also a born-and-raised Queens boy.

Following are my Favorite FAQs from Walken's Fansite:

Q. Does Christopher Walken have any affiliations with any charities?

A. Not publicly. He really loves cats, so we assume that he probably gets involved with cat-related charities from time to time. There was a campaign shortly after September 11th to raise enthusiasm and tourism for New York City. Mr. Walken did an ad for this campaign dressed as Santa. He also did a voice for a firetruck in a short film about September 11th.

Q. Why does Christopher Walken always play menacing roles, can't he do anything else?

A. Well, he doesn't always play these roles! People who ask this obviously don't know his body of work. If you look at his filmography, he has done many different roles. He has played a stoic farmer from the 1910s, a janitor, a record producer, a 1960s family man, and even a cat in a children's film! If asked, Walken always says that he gets menacing parts because movies are a big gamble and the producers want to make sure they have the right person for the job, so many actors will get typecast in this way. He also attributes these parts to the way he looks, his pale skin and sunken eyes can always translate into intimidating. He also has an interesting way of speaking, which makes him a bit unusual and a favorite for strange characters.

Q. Is Walken scary or strange in real life?

A. Not really. Being raised in show business, Walken often says he is from another planet. When we met him, he seemed like an Earthling as far as we could tell. He is actually a very nice person; charming, charismatic and with a wry sense of humor. If you expect him to be intimidating, then you might interpret him that way. Interviewers are notorious for this. Maybe it is good to keep the reputation going, but his fans know him as friendly.

The Song and Dance Man

Liza Minelli's first starring theater role was opposite Walken in Best Foot Forward (1963). Go Liza...I heard her say this on the Biography channel, and it is confirmed here. (This bio also has great archive photos plus excellent quotes from Walken.)

Here my hero cuts the rug in 2001 to the Fatboy Slim. (Is that what the kids are calling it nowadays?)

Behind the Music

Don't Fear the Reaper: A classic appearance on Saturday Night Live. (Watch how the cast can't even keep it together. If you're one of the few people who've never seen this sketch, trust me, this song will never be the same.)

(Walken as Music Producer) Bruce Dickinson: That...that was gonna be a great track. Guys...what's the deal?

Band: Are you sure that was sounding okay?

Bruce: I'll be honest. Fellas, that was sounding great. But...I coulda used a little more cowbell. So let's take it again and Gene, really explore the studio space this time.

I could go on and on, but I'll spare you. Wikipedia (of course) has good pics and bio, too. [Where do you think I found the links for obsidian the other day?]

But mostly you should just watch him over and over and over again.
Because he is Christopher Walken.


Snow, Catnaps, Madcats

It snowed this week, but it's all melted away now.
It is sunny today and more like fall.

See--sun. Hence, cats.

Isis lolls, Emma pretends Isis isn't there,
and Grey really is completely oblivious.

Cat Goes Mad in Tree

Who, me? Whaaaaaaaat?

I was just, um, watching some stuff down there on the, uh, floor.

No, back it's there! Wait! There it goes! Didja see that?

Now it's over there! Hey, come back here you! I'll get you yet! C'mere...you just come on over here and get a piece of me...we'll see who's laughing THEN, won't we? ...


On Obsidian

The Nature of Obsidian

ob•sid•i•an (ŏb-sĭd'ē-Ən) ►n. A hard, usu. black or banded volcanic glass formed in rapid cooling of lava. ►adj. Indicating the black color of such glass.

"Obsidian is the result of volcanic lava coming in contact with water. Often the lava pours into a lake or ocean and is cooled quickly. This process produces a glassy texture in the resulting rock. Iron and magnesium give the obsidian a dark green to black color.

"Obsidian has been used by ancient people as a cutting tool, for weapons, and for ceremonial purposes and is sometimes found by archaeologists in excavations.

"Obsidian has several varieties: Sheen Obsidian or a rainbow sheen called Rainbow Obsidian. Inclusions of small, white, radially clustered crystals of cristobalite in the black glass produce a blotchy or snowflake pattern producing Snowflake Obsidian. Small nuggets of obsidian that have been naturally rounded and smoothed by wind and water are called Apache Tears."

From "The Mineraloid Obsidian," Amethyst Galleries Mineral Gallery

Obsidian Possesses a Peculiar Property

"Obsidian is commonly used for ornamental purposes, for it possesses the peculiar property of presenting a different appearance according to the manner in which it is cut. When cut in one direction it is of a beautiful jetty black; when cut across another direction it is glistering gray.

"Obsidian was highly valued in certain Stone Age cultures because, like flint, it can be fractured to produce sharp blades or arrow heads. Like all glass and some other types of naturally occurring rocks, obsidian breaks with a characteristic conchoidal fracture. It may also have been polished to create early mirrors.

"In Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican culture obsidian use was extensive and sophisticated with carved and worked obsidian for tools, as well as for decorative objects. Well crafted obsidian blades are capable of having a cutting edge as fine as high quality surgical steel scalpels. The ancient Mesoamericans also made a type of sword with obsidian blades mounted in a wooden body."

From bleedingdge.net

Obsidian is Hot Stuff

"Obsidian...even the name is exotic. Ever since I had my first rock collection as a child, I've loved obsidian. Sharp and shiny, obsidian is so different from other rocks. But until a few years ago when I made my first obsidian collecting trip to Glass Buttes, Oregon, I thought obsidian was pretty much just black glass. That amazing trip really opened my eyes. The ancient volcanic hills called Glass Buttes hold a dazzling variety of gem-quality obsidian, including: mahogany, red, flame, midnight lace, jet black, pumpkin, brown, rainbow, gold sheen, silver sheen, green, lizard skin, snowflake and more. My goal in this article is to increase your awareness of some of the more fascinating aspects of this incredible stone."

Read more: Obsidian is Hot Stuff by Jim Miller, B.Sc., M.Sc. Geology

The Obsidian Order

Enabran Tain, Head of the Obsidian Order, The Cardassian Secret Police on Star Trek's DS9.

The Obsidian Kitten

Our obsidian kitten, a.k.a. Isis Kyle.

All of the obsidian cats are shown here.

Sir John Tenniel's obsidian kitten

"One thing was certain, that the white kitten had had nothing to do with it--it was the black kitten's fault entirely. For the white kitten had been having its face washed by the old cat for the last quarter of an hour (and bearing it pretty well, considering): so you see that it couldn't have had any hand in the mischief.

"The way Dinah washed her children's faces was this: first she held the poor thing down by its ear with one paw, and then with the other paw she rubbed its face all over, the wrong way, beginning at the nose: and just now, as I said, she was hard at work on the white kitten, which was lying quite still and trying to purr--no doubt feeling that it was all meant for its good.

"But the black kitten had been finished with earlier in the afternoon, and so, while Alice was sitting curled up in a corner of the great armchair, half talking to herself and half asleep, the kitten had been having a grand game of romps with the ball of worsted Alice had been trying to wind up, and had been rolling it up and down till it had all come undone again; and there it was, spread over the hearth-rug, all knots and tangles, with the kitten running after its own tail in the middle.

"'Oh, you wicked, wicked little thing!' cried Alice, catching up the kitten, and giving it a little kiss to make it understand that it was in disgrace. 'Really, Dinah ought to have taught you better manners! You ought, Dinah, you know you ought!'" ...

Read Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass now (free etext)