Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Last night I played this game with my god-son Silas. He and his folks and I were walking home from dinner out and he said "I want to bump into you" and I said "if you bump into me I will say CHA! at you!" So he chased me and Dan and Shana up and down the sidewalk and around the grocery store, and bumped into us when he caught us, and we said "CHA!" at him every time he did. I didn't think of it at the time, but it was kind of like rollerderby - at least in the sense that spectators got bumped into. Plus if booty-checking somebody into the third row had a sound effect, it would probably be CHA!

My favorite is when he uses CHA! as a verb, though. One afternoon walking home from the tot lot we said CHA! at everything we passed - a car - CHA! - a trash can - CHA! - a dog - CHA!. Did you see me CHA! that tree, Daniel? Yes, I did.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Representing for the fellas...

Not that I've ever claimed to be representative of my sex, or that my new crop of facial hair has resolved all of my gender stuff, but...

Ariadne found a somewhat spooky youtube featuring knitting fellas. Hey dude, what're you making? A hammock. With sharpened pool cues. Yipes.

Not to diss the pool-cue guy (I mean c'mon, it's kind of awesome), but it brings to mind the Dave Cole stuff from the Radical Lace show - hey! look at me! I'm a man! and I'm knitting! with back-hoes! (or whatever you call those things). So that makes it art!

I mostly knit on the subway, and I don't have a knitting circle. I've met plenty of knitters on public transit, but only a couple of knitting men. Knitting breaks the NYC subway rule - strangers talk to you. Here are a couple of random boy-boy knitting encounters I have to share...

(one) More than a couple times, I've had people ask me if I went to Waldorf school. Subway conversations always start in the middle of things - "Waldorf school, huh?" "Um... no? Why do you say that?" "Oh, all the Waldorf school kids learn to knit, even the boys..."

(two) Last year I met a teacher on the subway. I was knitting penelope, and she was wearing a sweater she'd made herself. She told me her dad started knitting during world war II - he was on a submarine. There's lots and lots of down-time on a submarine, and in between it's pretty hectic, so knitting sounds like a perfect stress-relief and time killer. Her dad got everybody knitting by the end of their tour. Better than scrimshaw, that's for sure.

(three) The last time I went to a punk show, (Mastodon & Against Me! this spring) the bouncer checked my bag. I was carrying the cotton and sticks that became the anemone blanket. He said, oh, man, I'm learning how to do that! Who knew?

I know the knitting fellas out there in the ether have more to add... to be continued...

Monday, September 3, 2007

Doilies and Dresser Cloths!

I named this blog Tatting my Doilies 'cause it's about all my little arts and crafts projects. It's also about the self-deprecating way I usually talk about my little arts and crafts projects. What are you up to lately? "Oh, you know, riding my bike, tatting my doilies... " The first stranger that found me through the interthing was Lady Shuttlemaker - a real life, bona fide tatter and maker of fine ceramic tatting shuttles besides.

Then last month when Grandpa died I inherited two real life lace doilies, made I think by my great grandma (his mom). I asked Lady S if she knew how it was made, and she asked her lace people, and then pointed me to this website. Apparently it's needle lace. I did some more poking around and found this honkin' bibliography, too. Wow. So thread and a needle, and a little scrap of cloth in the middle is all it's made of. I find needlework totally bewildering. It's so tiny! Lots and lots of little tiny knots. I can't really think about how she made it without feeling the urge to squint my eyes up. Anybody else out there in the ether made needle lace? Does it take absolutely forever?

I also inherited three lace-crocheted dresser cloths - basically big rectangular doilies just the right size for the tops of the dressers in grandpa's bedroom. I haven't figured out what to do with these yet, but tracking down the pattern (and learning to crochet) is somewhere on my list...

Penelope Pattern

The divine (tee hee) Ariadne officially put the bee in my bonnet to set this one down in writing. So after a couple weeks of doing other stuff and spending some time re-creating the border to figure out how I made it in the first place, here goes... I'm super-new to writing patterns down, so please if any of this doesn't make sense, let me know!

Finished Measurements: 6" (10" including edging) by 9 feet

Materials: Karabella Zodiac in orange, lots and lots of it (I think I used 8 balls)

Size 5 needles.

Gauge: 21 sts and 28 rows per 4" in st st as worked on size 5s

Concept: A really, really long scarf of fishnetty lace. Diamonds grow and shrink in the center. The diamond pattern makes it like to fold in half vertically, which works out great when wrapping this multiple times around your neck. I finished the piece, blocked it, and found that it still very much liked to curl... the sawtooth lace edging is applied at the end and counteracts the tendency towards curliness somewhat.


This is a 32-row repeat

Cast on 30 stitches using open cast-on (I didn't do this, but in hindsight, I should have).
Row 1: k1, *yo, k2tog*, end k1
Row 2 and all WS rows: purl
Row 3: k1, *yo, k2tog,* 6 times, yo, k2, k2tog, *yo, k2tog* 6 times, end k1
Row 5: k1, *yo, k2tog* 6 times, k4, *yo, k2tog* 6 times, end k1
Row 7: k1, *yo, k2tog* 5 times, yo, k6, k2tog, *yo, k2tog* 5 times, end k1
Row 9: k1, *yo, k2tog* 5 times, k8, *yo, k2tog* 5 times, end k1
Row 11: k1, *yo, k2tog* 4 times, yo, k10, k2tog, *yo, k2tog* 4 times, end k1
Row 13: k1, *yo, k2tog* 4 times, k12, *yo, k2tog* 4 times, end k1
Row 15: k1, *yo, k2tog* 3 times, yo, k14, k2tog, *yo, k2tog* 3 times, end k1
Row 17: k1, *yo, k2tog* 3 times, k16, *yo, k2tog* 3 times, end k1
Row 19: repeat row 15
Row 21: repeat row 13
Row 23: repeat row 11
Row 25: repeat row 9
Row 27: repeat row 7
Row 29: repeat row 5
Row 31: repeat row 3

Repeat until you've reached the desired length. 17 times, in my case.

Edging: Use a double-point and a single-point

PU: Pick up st from body of the scarf either using left end of LH double-pointed needle or end right left end of RH needle as appropriate.

S&W: Slip first st purlwise. Wrap the yarn around it counterclockwise 1 1/2 times, ending with yarn in front.

BO: Use wrapped bind off: K first st. Wrap the yarn twice around the stitch just K, ending with yarn in back. K next st and pass first st over second. Wrap the stitch just K before knitting the next.

Row 1: PU 1 st, CO 4 more
Row 2: S&W, *yo, k2tog* twice, PU1
Row 3 and all WS rows: K
Row 4: S&W, *yo, k2tog* twice, yo, PU1, k2tog
Row 6: S&W, *yo, k2tog* 3 times, PU1
Row 8: S&W, *yo, k2tog* 3 times, yo, PU1, k2tog
Row 10: S&W, *yo, k2tog* 4 times, PU 1
Row 12: S&W, *yo, k2tog* 4 times, yo, PU1, k2tog
Row 14: S&W, *yo, k2tog* 5 times, PU1
Row 16: S&W, *yo, k2tog* 5 times, yo, PU1, k2tog
Row 18: BO 8, *yo, k2tog* twice, PU1

repeat rows 3 through 18 the whole way around the scarf. It will take you an eternity, but it may keep those pesky suitors at bay.