Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Knit Around – and Tell Me About It!

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 5:16 pm on Friday, January 20, 2006

I know that what I’m about to tell you risks being overshadowed by Yarn Harlot‘s astoundingly popular Knitting Olympics. (I should talk – I already signed up to compete!) But I am going ahead with it anyhow. It’s something I’ve been planning for a long time, and even before Stephanie made her announcement of the Olympics, it was my intention to introduce it this week.

I think we’re good to go, though – the Knitting Olympics are a short-term, if intense, event. But what I’m going to propose is a perpetual activity, and one that can easily be integrated with your regular knitting activities.

If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know that I like to Knit Around. What does that mean? Well, here’s the definition I wrote today:

Knitting Around is knitting in places, or under circumstances, that have meaning – whether purely personal meaning, or general historical or social significance. A true incidence of Knitting Around is more than just a picture of a knitter – it includes telling the story of the picture, and what is meaningful about it.

Why am I telling you this? Because you just might need to know what it’s all about!

As of today, I am opening the concept of Knitting Around, as practiced by Folkcat, to outside entries. Yes, that means that you could send me a link to your post with a photo of yourself Knitting Around, and I’ll post it here and add you to a Knitting Around Gallery, to be created soon.

I’ve written up a FAQ about it, where you’ll find answers to all your questions about how to participate: a definition of Knitting Around; a list of examples; instructions for sending your entries to me; and more. Please visit the FAQ for all the details, and if you still have any questions, you can e-mail me at crafty.kitty@yahoo.com .

It is my hope to have an “I Knit Around” button to offer to folks whose entries get posted. I’m open to submissions if any talented folks want to try creating one for me – my own efforts so far have frustrated rather than satisfied me. Whether I use your button or not will be entirely subject to my cat-like whims, but if I like it, I will use it, and with much gratitude to the designer.

And while we wait for those first entries to start rolling in, please feel free to help spread the word! I’d like to see Knitting Around pictures as a regular feature here, and I’m so looking forward to seeing where other folks Knit Around!

Thanks for visiting!

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Free to Stitch, Free to Bitch

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 2:33 pm on Thursday, January 19, 2006


For those among us who are disgusted by certain parties and their claim that they invented the term “Stitch & Bitch”, there’s a bright light shining. Debbie Stoller herself, author of the popular Stitch ‘N Bitch books, has taken up the legal battle to try to have their trademark cancelled. You can read an excellent explanation about it all here. (While you’re there, read The Girl From Auntie‘s last several blog entries, she’s smart as a whip and knows her legal issues.)

Meanwhile, the graphic above is being sold at a CafePress shop on various articles of clothing and housewares. All profits will be contributed to the legal fund to fight the trademark. In the event that the matter is settled without the funds being necessary, the shopkeepers have pledged to donate all proceeds to the National Breast Cancer Foundation instead.

It’s been rewarding to see the spread of this news through the knitting blogiverse. I know personally that I’ve attended groups that were called “Stitch and Bitch” since the 70’s and 80’s, and the term had been in use for a long time before that. That anyone could claim that it was never used before they “created” it in 1997 is ridiculous.

Go, support the cause, buy something from the shop if you can. At the least, please steal the graphic above and post it at your own site with a link to the shop to help spread the word.

I think the parties in question will learn a harsh lesson – it’s called Stitch & Bitch for a reason! If you’d been smart, you wouldn’t have given us an excuse to apply the second part of the name in your direction!

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Here I Go Again

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 3:29 pm on Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Did we ever doubt it?

I’ve decided I’m crazy enough a knitter to sign up for The Yarn Harlot’s Knitting Olympics. On the one hand, I don’t like deadlines. Especially artificial ones. On the other hand, I do routinely try to find things that are outside of my comfort zone to try out.

Also, I was legitimately able to identify a qualifying project right away. My desire to knit a lace shawl from my Kool-Aid dyed yarn has been mentioned a number of times in this blog, and maybe, just maybe, The Knitting Olympics will be the incentive I need to finally do it.

Stephanie herself designed this button for us athletes to display. She doesn’t seem to think much of it, but I think it’s perfect!


And then Jen over at JenLa started creating buttons specific for the different teams: Fair Isle, Cables, Socks, and – Yay! – Lace Knitters!


Thanks, Jen! And thanks to Stephanie for having this great idea to begin with!

Later when I have the energy to mess with my template, I’ll pop these into the sidebar. Meanwhile – I think that’s going to be all for today. I’m trying to rest up – I had some sort of lightweight bug last night, mostly just a low fever and an edge of a sore throat. I seemed to be better this morning, but I’m beginning to feel warm again. And I want to squelch this by tomorrow night so I’ll feel up to Knitting Around at Panera again this week!

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Am I an Athletic Knitter?

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 1:42 pm on Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Craft Circle night tonight, so not a lot of time for posting today. I’ll try to hit the highlights, anyhow.

Had fun with the Golden Globes last night! Lots of humor, as always, and generally I agreed with the choices when it came to the winners. I won’t bother recapping more than that, I’m not an entertainment reporter, and there will be so many people who are more skilled at it than I am who have probably already blogged all about it.

The pizza, btw, came out great! I had never made that particular combination before, and some of the ingredients – especially the Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Sauce, which came in a jar – were items I’d never used. So it was complete guesswork as I shopped that these things would go together.

Well, they did, and beautifully. I love it when a recipe comes together! I admit, the flavor was so good, I did overindulge a bit and ate more slices last night than I should have, but I’m not regretting it at all.

As I expected, no knitting got done during the show, but that doesn’t mean that knitting hasn’t progressed at all. I set aside the Ruana because the size and weight of it is starting to take a toll on my hands, and I focused my knitting time on Edgar. Edgar is now well into the second ball of my Mega-Stoppino yarn that I got in Syracuse, and looking good! I’m thinking I’ll continue until at least the end of the second ball, maybe a little further, and then see if I have enough left to make an ear-warmer headband to go with.

After my hands have rested on the lighter-weight projects for a day or two, I’ll get back to work on the Ruana. I hope to complete that while the weather is still cold – it’s meant to be the replacement for the Ugly Crochet Poncho that I wear while knitting in the living room in front of the drafty window.

Over at Yarn Harlot, Stephanie has proposed that we conduct a Knitting Olympics in conjunction with the Winter Olympics in Torino in February. The concept is that we choose for ourself something that would be a challenge to knit in 16 days – from the opening ceremonies to the closing ceremonies. Gold-medal wins are determined by completing the item before the torch is snuffed at the end of the games. No particular prize other than your sense of accomplishment and, apparently, a gold-medal button designed by Franklin. Heck, those work for me!

The big question I’m asking myself now is, do I want to take on a challenge, especially one with a deadline? If I do this, I’ll probably choose to finally knit the lace shawl I’ve been wanting to do for some time. Maybe something from A Gathering of Lace, even, though I still fancy Kiri as a pattern that can take my Kool-Aid dyed yarn and not lose its lacy identity to the melange of color.

I’m not ready to make a final decision yet on whether I’ll participate in these Olympics, but I’m giving it serious consideration. Stay tuned, and find out what I choose to do.

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Versatility, Yes – Willpower and Time, Not So Much

Filed under: Beading - Confessions of a Chantraphile — folkcat at 1:21 pm on Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I wish I could say that the beading situation here has improved since the last time I wrote, but, well….no. Not much, anyway. Problem is, my knitting has been so very satisfying lately – and so easy to do even when my studio and crafting tables are buried in stuff – that I’ve been putting all my energy there.

I am trying to make at least a small amount of progress each day. That could be as little as moving one box or bag of accumulated crafting supplies from the floor in the studio corner. Doesn’t matter much to me, as long as it’s a visible change for the better. I’d like to say I have the willpower to just put everything else I want to do aside and focus on getting the studio corner workable in one manic session of tidying, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

Someday, though. And it does get a little better all the time.

I’ve talked before about the charms I was cutting from recycled Target prescription bottles, and how I hoped to have a hot knife someday to try it with. Well, armed with a discount coupon from an A.C. Moore flyer, and a gift card from a Craft Goddess that I got for Christmas, I’ve now got something called a Versa-Tool! Put out by Walnut Hill, a company that offers many craft supplies for small woodcrafts, as well as DIY clock components, this gadget combines all the functions of a woodburning tool with a hot-knife, and even light soldering! And it all comes packed in this little box to hold all the parts.

Versa-Tool Contents
What’s Inside the Box? All This!

I haven’t tried it out yet – well, you saw my desk! There isn’t enough space to safely give this a trial run until I’ve made a lot more progress on the studio clean-up. But I’m looking forward to seeing how well I can cut up plastic with it. I’m hoping to give soldered jump rings a try, too – and I may experiment with soldering a ring onto the bottle cap charms instead of trying to drill a hole.

So, no eye candy today, I’m afraid, and no finished projects to share. But as you can tell, there is some hope for the future!

Thanks for sticking with me!

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My Name is Folkcat,and I’m an Award Show Slut…

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 7:16 pm on Monday, January 16, 2006

It’s Golden Globes night here at Chez Folkcat.

Some families have sports widows. Not here – neither of us is that interested in sports. Instead, Gryphon is an Award Show Widower.

Hi, my name is Folkcat, and I’m an Award Show Slut. Okay, maybe not a slut – I won’t watch just any award show. I don’t watch the People’s Choice Awards, or any awards shows with MTV or VH1 in the name.

No, I’m hooked on the Big Drugs – Emmys, Oscars, Tonys, and the season-opening event, the Golden Globes.

I’m a solitary Award Show Slut. (I almost referred to the disease by its initials there. The unfortunate acronym was totally unintentional, I promise!) I don’t hold a party and invite lots of people over.

No, on award show night, Gryphon goes off and enjoys a book, or computer game, or just tinkering with the array of technical equipment in his office. And I spend the afternoon watching the pre-shows on E!, and the Red Carpet (I enjoy this much more since the Rivers’ were sent into exile), and then, of course, the big show itself.

I have been known in the past (though I’m not doing it tonight), to print lists of awards and nominees and highlight the winners as the evening goes by. I’ve been known to shout at the screen when I disagree with a winning choice. I’ve been known to squeal in delight and dance when one of my favorites wins.

I arrange my Tivos to catch any other programming I want, but I still leave the living room Tivo available to record the award show even while I’m watching it, because I want to be able to pause, and instant replay, and all those great features so I don’t have to miss a bit of the fun.

Even though it’s a party of one, I plan, shop for, and prepare some sort of special celebratory food to accompany these evenings.

Excuse me, the timer just went off. Tonight’s special dinner is ready to come out of the oven…

Shrimp, Snow Pea, and Grape Tomato Pizza
Award-worthy Food – Shrimp, Snow Pea, and Grape Tomato Pizza

Doesn’t that look yummy? I decided tonight to make a fresh pizza – something that Gryphon and I have been doing fairly frequently lately. If that’s the case, then, why is it special?

I got to make it any flavor I wanted! This particular pizza is topped with a Roasted Garlic Parmesan sauce (from a jar, but still…out of the ordinary!), chopped onion, water chestnut, snow pea pods, grape tomatoes cut in quarters, shrimp, and a four-cheese Italian pizza blend.

You’d never catch Gryphon eating anything like it, but I love this sort of thing!

Here, take a closer look…

Shrimp, Snow Pea, and Grape Tomato Pizza Close-up
Hungry yet?

Keira Knightly is wearing a gorgeous dress, btw. And I’m loving Isaaz Mizrahi’s approach to the Red Carpet Interviews. He’s asked some of the most outrageous questions, but has remained funny and hasn’t actually offended anyone or been just plain tacky – the way some former Carpeteers would have been.

Okay, that’s enough. It’s a few minutes after 7 p.m. Eastern, the big names are hitting the carpet, and my pizza should be just rested enough to be really, really good. I’m off!

P.S. Felicity Huffman is looking great tonight, too. And Marcia Cross’s dress is lovely, but should she really have worn bright orange?

P.P.S. Will I knit while watching the show? Nope! When I get really involved in watching something, I simply can’t knit. So many of you talk about how much knitting you got done while watching this movie or that DVD, and I sort of envy you. But I simply can’t watch a really involving program and knit at the same time.

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B is for Blogs

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 4:22 pm on Monday, January 16, 2006

Yeah, I know…pretty obvious choice, isn’t it? And how many others of you will be making the same choice for the ABC-A-Long?

The fact is, I really never considered posting a picture of me knitting while reading blogs to be a valid entry for my personal Knitting Around challenge. After all, one of my criteria for Knitting Around is that the place or circumstances in which you’re knitting have to be at least as interesting or meaningful as the knitting itself.

But then I thought about it. And thought some more. And when you get right down to it, the meaning that blogs and blogging hold in the context of my life is pretty darn special.

Two years ago, I knew that blogs existed and they were the next “cool thing” on the Web. One year ago, I had made my own first small forays into the world of blogs by starting one for my then bead store.

By May of last year, I was blogging heavily. And I’d begun to read knitting blogs.

That’s one of the keys. The knitting blogs that all of you creative and clever people have out there have given me a sense of knitting community that is sometimes hard to achieve in a small town. Watching as you all create your various knitted pieces, hearing you discuss the designing/knitting/frogging/joyous/tragic progress, seeing the pictures of the finished objects – it has all supported and nourished my own knitting in a way that I don’t think I could have managed through any other means.

And so:

B is for Blogs

B is for Blogs
Folkcat does her daily blog reading while knitting on Edgar

I read yours daily, I post to my own multiple times a week. You nourish and inspire me. You encourage me. You connect me to the world, and tell me about knitting ideas and options I would never hear about otherwise. You help me to see that our knitting foibles, failures, skills, tricks, and cleverness are universal – that we are not alone.

My own blog helps me with accountability (I said I was going to knit this, what happened?), documentation (Hey, that worked great, here’s what I did so I can repeat it!), experimentation (Well, that sucked. Let’s make note of what didn’t work and what we’ll try next), celebration (Look! I did it! Woohoo!).

Blogs are the most significant instrument of change in my life in the past year. I can honestly say that, without blogs, I’d still be knitting as regularly as I do every other craft in my life. But with blogs, I’m doing that knitting at a much more challenging, skilled, interesting, useful, and above all, enjoyable level.

Thank you to all the bloggers I read, and even to all the bloggers I don’t, because you are read by others and your knowledge and spirit are part of the general knitblogging cosmos that is so important to me now. The whole of the blogging knitiverse is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. (If you’d like to check out the blogs I read that I count among the more direct of these influences on my own knitting, please find the “Whose Blogs Do I Read?” item on my sidebar under Links.)

And thank you to all who read me, whether you’re a blogger yourself or not. Because of you, this whole thing becomes a two-way street, and that’s how we keep the flow of ideas and creative energy going.

Thank you!

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A is for Atmosphere

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 9:58 pm on Saturday, January 14, 2006

I’m a late adopter, but I’ve decided to join up with the ABC-A-Long!


The basic idea is simple – there are 26 letters in the alphabet, and 52 weeks in the year. 52 / 2 = 26. So, starting with the letter “A” and working through the alphabet, with a new letter every 2 weeks, participants post a photo to their blog that relates to the current letter.

Really, it’s that simple. I’m going to mix it up Folkcat-style by making all my ABC entries into Knitting Around pictures as well – that should be fun!

Being the last day of the first two-week period (the “A” weeks), here I am with my entry:

A is for Atmosphere

Like so many parts of the country this latter part of the week, our weather warmed up a bit. Couple the warmer air with snow still on the ground, icy-cold winter rivers, and lots of trees, and the Atmosphere in New Hampshire got a little thick today:

Thick With Atmosphere, Souhegan River, Milford, NH
Fog on the Souhegan River, Milford, NH

The mist was fascinating to watch. The wind blew it along – sometimes there was more, sometimes there was less. You didn’t want to blink, lest you miss some fascinating dance of wind and fog.

Rivulet with light mist along the Souhegan River, Milford, NH
A Rivulet along the Souhegan River with Light Mist

Rivulet with Fog on the Souhegan River, Milford, NH
The Same Rivulet, only Four Minutes Later

Knitting Around with Atmosphere
Folkcat Knitting Around with the Atmosphere

Days like this, even though they’re caused by warm air, the dampness of the mist puts a chill in your bones. So I’m trying to hurry up with the Edgar Scarf as I Knit Around here.

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Final Test

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 8:28 pm on Saturday, January 14, 2006

And how about block quotes again?

Will they display the way I want?

Another test

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 8:21 pm on Saturday, January 14, 2006
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