FOs--Actual Finished Objects


Constantine, Monster Hat No. 15

Constantine is another Tri-Horn Monster. He likes black-and-white photography, enjoys Russian Literature, and has a soft spot for sugary cereals. He particularly likes snail mail, so will probably remind you to write thank-you notes if you have forgotten, or encourage you to find a pen pal.

Scarves and Such

I finished this Reverse Cable Rib scarf in time to give it to its intended recipient for Xmas. It turned out lovely, very thick and lush. The only pain was that every row was in 1 x 1 rib. If you knit you know what I mean.

More Christmas giftiness. I call these the Monet wristwarmers, because of the way the colors came out holding together two strands of sock yarn. Basically they're my usual wristwarmer pattern, with 2 x 2 rib at either end. Above is a blue pair, and below some mauve ones.

Knitsy News

A fellow etsy knitter has a new blog up. Leave her a comment by December 28 and you could win a $25 GC from KnitPicks!


I Didn't Send You a Card

funny pictures

Don't take it personally, I didn't send anyone a card this year. A couple well-timed weeks of winter malaise and suddenly it was--well, too late.

But really, there's nothing better than a good I Can Has Cheezburger now, is there?

Happy Hollydays to you and all of your furbabies. And do try not to eat Santy Paws if you want any catnip treats in your stocking.


Yes, It Did


It snowed.

A good New York City snow is really quite wonderful, at least for the first day, because it creates a weird sort of quiet combined with a brief and fleeting holiday atmosphere. The kids get out of school, traffic stops for a little while, and everything gets hushed and muffled by the blanket of white. The lull and the festive feeling don't last long, of course, but while they do, it's lovely.

Above is the view from our bedroom window onto the street in front of our apartment, and here is the view from our kitchen at the back. The girls love watching the birds flitter in and out of the tree and on and off the clotheslines.

Holiday Stuff

Some last-minute gift prep.

Stockings hung by the kitchen with care.
Isis stands guard and Morgan is on bird-watch at the back window.

Every year Mr. O'Kitten sets up the Playmobil Nativity Scene, and we debate about the extent to which the cats will molest the manger and its poor inhabitants. This year Bethlehem has been hit innumerable times by Hurricane Morgan, who is particularly fond of carrying the cats (just the cats, mind you) off into a far corner of the living room for safe keeping. That, and occasionally dropping a King onto the floor by his head.

Who, me? Do I look capable of wrecking such mayhem and destruction?


Mmmmeet Claude, with Daemonesses


Claude, Monster Hat No. 14

Claude is my first adult monster hat and is truly man-sized. He is a close relative of Clarence the Cyclops Monster. Claude enjoys Impressionist Art, MMORPG games, and will eat the centers out of your Oreos and put the chocolate cookies back in the package after he licks them clean.

I really like the way these hats look from the back, and I'm especially happy with the results I got by holding two strands of yarn together. Claude is knit entirely from Yarn Lust yarn, including BFL, Donegal, Bamboo Sock, Merino Sock, and 50/50 Tencel/Merino.


Daemoness 1. She will devour you from the toes upward if given the opportunity.

She may also be able to melt you with her eyes.

Daemoness 2 believes that looking directly at the camera will render her completely powerless. Or maybe she's just difficult. It hard to tell with these feline fiends.

Daemoness 3 wants to know what the other two are up to, and gleans great demony joy by instigating fights between them.


I So Am a Demon

I so am a Demon. Or a Demoness. I'm all about things on fire. And the brooding. Plus, you may recall my fondness for all things with fangs.

Which creature of the night are you?
Your Result: Demon

Your raging id needs no chemical incentive to break out into a fiery orgy of destruction. When you're not burning, you're brooding. All you need is someone to point the way out for you.

Cthulu Spawn
Which creature of the night are you?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Thanks to The One Whom Chaos and Mayhem Own for the link.

I live with daemonesses, as well. Three of them, in feline form. And you know how wicked they can be.


Maps and Charts (again)

Perhaps a Hybrid

Eddie Jabbour's Kick Design map proposal for the NYC subway

I love graphics and I love information, so I suppose it's no surprise that I should love maps and charts. Remember my glee at seeing all those old subway ads and maps at the NYC Transit Museum? Well, I just discovered that Eddie Jabbour from Kick Design, New York, has created a proposal for a new NYC subway map.

Detail of Jabbour's Kick Design map

I wonder if New Yorkers would go for it? They rejected Massimo Vignelli's spare, totally diagrammatic 1972 version and we've been using variations of a loosely topographic transit map since its introduction in 1979.

Interestingly, The Kick Map "...is designed with a combination of both diagrammatic and topographic features, thus enhancing the strengths and eliminating most of the weaknesses of both types. One premise of the Kick 'hybrid' map is that while most of the time a straight line is the easiest line to understand, there are important exceptions. ... [e.g.] The Kick Map employs 'route bends' in a subway line's route to signal to the user important above-ground road changes."

L-train line comparison (my own stop is Myrtle Av-Wycoff Av, at right)
Top: Vignelli's map; Center: The Kick Map; Bottom: current NYC subway map

I Got a Gift Idea

Continuing with the maps and charts theme, I found a cool site stocked with the most excellent charts, all beautifully designed, printed on archival paper, and mostly priced at $29 US. I'm so tempted to just polish off the rest of my holiday shopping right here, because I think I could find something for everyone...

How about the colorful History of Life on Earth, for example? "This poster illustrates the evolution of Life on Earth over the past 600 million years. A timeline with important ecological events and over 120 illustrations portrays the intricate changes in history that yield the rich biodiversity of today. History of Life on Earth received a semi-finalist honor at the most recent National Science Foundation International Science and Visualization Challenge." Can't beat that for $25.

Other categories include politics (Death and Taxes shows where Federal Income Taxes go), history (Race to the Moon), historical charts (like Chronology Delineated from 1813), sports (History of the Major Leagues), and pop culture (The Genealogy of Pop/Rock Music). Really good stuff.

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

"We are going to kill one passenger a minute until New York City pays us 1 million dollars."

In further NYC subway news, I happened to be up late last night and caught this 1974 thriller on TCM. First of all, I love pretty much anything set in NYC, whether it's CSI: NY, NYPD Blue, or bad 1970s cops'n'robbers movies. (Can I welcome the US debut of Life on Mars as a hybrid of all of the above?)

But The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is none of the above--it was a really good, highly suspenseful film with a great cast: Walter Matthau as a cranky Transit Authority Cop, a young Jerry Stiller (looking suspiciously like son Ben here, I might add) as his fellow Lieutenant, a super-youthful Hector Elizando as one of the bad guys, and Doris Roberts in a brief appearance as the mayor's wife.

Tell me what's not to love about Walter Matthau.
(I always enjoy a good curmudgeon.)

Start with a satisfyingly dark plot, add a bit of blood and brutality, mix with lots of New York City grumpiness and cynicism for good measure and add a dose of black humor and you've got a totally enjoyable evening in the NYC subway system. I suppose with that recipe it should've been no surprise that Dark Knight creator and Sin City visionary Frank Miller selected The Taking of Pelham One Two Three among last night's movies, as I discovered when he joined Robert Osborne on the TCM easy chairs. Maybe he's promoting the Christmas release of The Spirit?


Bespeed Your Holiday Knitting

File under: I don't know why I didn't think of this before...

My good buddy Ros over at Yarn Lust (who just posted some cute friends of mine over at her blog, by the way) suggested I could speed up knitting adult-sized Monster Hats by holding two yarns together. I've been using relatively fine-gauge yarns and size 1 through 4 needles, which is okay for small hats, but for big grown-up sized ones...um, not so much.

So I took her suggestion, and it was like mixing paints for the first time. This swatch photo is a variegated blue-green bamboo sock with two different shades of BFL--a bright blue/turquoise on the one end and a grey-hued one on the other. It's real pretty, right? In case you try this at home, a 2 x 2 rib (at left) worked just dandy, while a 1 x 1 rib (at right) looked all wonky.

So the beginning of the hat I've just begun is bamboo/blue BFL, blue BFL/donegal, then grey & green merino/grey BFL, grey BFL/grey-hued merino, which will now be most of the body of the hat. And instead of doing a M/L adult hat on size 3's at about 8-9 stitches per inch I'm using size 7's at about 5 stitches per inch--woohoo! And I think it looks just as beautiful. It's also producing a really thick, rich knit texture that I just love, not to mention the color blending.

Mildly curious, or wildly disinterested? Always hard to tell...


Mmmmmore Monsters

Otto, Monster Hat No. 9

Otto is a distant relation of Theseus, the Surprised Bunny Monster, only Otto is far less surprised. Unlike Theseus, Otto enjoys Easter Egg hunts and has been known to foster baby chicks on occasion.

Hank, Monster Hat No. 10

Hank is an Alien Monster, as should be obvious from the rather prominent single antenna on his head. Aluminum foil helmets may be worn in his presence to avoid having him read your thoughts.

Ramon, Monster Hat No. 11

Like his sister Clytemnestra, Ramon is a Kat Monster, though he objects to the diminutive term "Kitty." Unbeknownst to Cly (as he calls her), he often tries surreptitiously to return the various small items she steals.

Henrietta, Monster Hat No. 12

What can I say about Henrietta the TriClops? She loves to play Old Maid, but often loses because she starts giggling uncontrollably as soon as she gets the Old Maid.

Matilda, Monster Hat No. 13

Likely related to Clytemnestra and Ramon (above), Matilda is really good at Scrabble, Lawn Jarts, and making one mean cup of tea.

The Isis Monster--also possibly related to Clytemnestra, Ramon and Matilda (as we go to print this rumor is as yet unconfirmed)--looking as unimpressed as ever.



I've been very busy making wee monster hats for the holidays. I can't resist giving you a sneak preview of what's been taking up so much of my time lately. Details of the exact yarns (most of which are from Yarn Lust) and sizes will be on Ravelry (I'm okitten there) soon, but for now, just a few pics of some of the spooky creatures will debut here. Custom orders available on etsy!

Clytemnestra, Monster Hat No. 2

Clytemnestra is a Monster Kat. She stalks tuna (in or out of the can), craves sashimi, and can't help but pocket sparkly things that catch her eye.

Franklin, Monster Hat No. 3

Franklin the Green-Horned Monster is quite possibly from Sasketchewan and enjoys ice fishing, curling, and riding on the back of the Zamboni at the hockey rink.

Sam (Samantha), Monster Hat No. 4

Sam is a Triclops Monster that avidly follows the financial markets so she has been a little depressed lately. She likes to sleep in the business section of your local paper, or wrapped snugly in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, if she can get it.

Clarence, Monster Hat No. 5

Clarence the Cyclops Monster is a bit myopic so he is very shy and prefers to stay at home working crossword puzzles, doing the jumble, and playing mah jongg solitaire on the computer.

Theseus, Monster Hat No. 6

Theseus the Surprised Bunny Monster has not recovered from some unspecified Easter trauma. I rather suspect it had to do with a basket of brightly coloured eggs and some stranger dressed up in a furry suit.

Othello, Monster Hat No. 7

Othello the Toothy Monster is always slightly baffled, but enjoys riddles, knock-knock jokes, and trivia about Hollywood celebrities.

Agnes, Monster Hat No. 8

Agnes is a Tri-Horn Monster. She is extrememly sensitive and may even have ESP.

Morgan-Monster is very curious about the other monsters in her house.

Isis-Monster remains unimpressed and prefers her mouse to monsters.