Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa Claus on a Steam Whistle

Check this out from my Mom's home town of York, PA - Christmas carols played on a factory steam whistle. Totally not bourgeois.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Pattern A Day

I should have blogged this ages ago, but better late than never -
My lace and loop scarf has been featured in the 2009 Knitting Pattern a Day Calendar - it's a great little looseleaf box o' knitting love, and with umpteen patterns to choose from, from newbie designers and established yarn companies, it's one of the best bargains going - and a great last-minute stocking stuffer!

...and, of course, the pattern will be available for download in the shop soon!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rocks, Grandma, Gas Giants, and Especially Girl Giants...

Here are some things that might not seem to go together at first, but they do.

I hade a wonderful cookie party yesterday - I channelled all kinds of Grandma energy and drank instant Cafe Vienna (like Grandma used to) and poached some pears and made Rocks and Gaufrettes. My house filled up with wonderful friends.

I blogged Gaufrettes last Christmas. Here's Rocks:

1/2 pound butter
2 C light brown sugar
3 beaten eggs
1 pound raisins
1 pound dates, cut in small pieces
1 pound walnuts
tsp cinnamon
tsp cloves
3 C flour
tsp baking soda

Mix it all up and drop onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes or so at 375.

These are called Rocks 'cause they get really hard after a couple days. An apple wedge or a slice of bread in the cookie jar will soften them up. Many thanks to Mom's big brother Bick for bringing the recipe home from his paper route decades ago.

Here's a picture of my mom and me in my Grandparents' living room:

This is right before or after another posed photo where we're both looking at the camera and mom isn't blurry, but I like this one best. Lots of people saw it yesterday 'cause it's been on my bulletin board ever since I got it from my Aunt Marty last spring. There's a lot going on here - I'm maybe three, which would make mom 26. The table and chairs I'm sitting at had just been made by my Grandpa. The paintings above the couch were made by my Grandma's parents. I live with some of these paintings - the yellow one with the poppies by Mom's head is in my bedroom. I'm not sure who made the green afghan on the couch. This is the same room where Mom disproved the sweater curse by unraveling Dad. Clearly I come from a long line of people who are really driven to make stuff.

Here's a drawing my planet-obsessed god-son Silas made at the party:Translation: A LONG TIME FROM NOW THE MOON WILL TURN INTO A RING.

The source of this knowledge: Uncle Steph. Silas has been planet-obsessed for a while now. He's been watching youtube videos comparing the size of the Earth to VY Canis Majoris. He knows that someday the sun will explode. Unlike me, who totally freaked out when I figured out that the universe was infinite, this seems to be ok with him. A while ago he was having conversations with his Dad Dan that went something like: "I love you, Silas." "I love you too. How about 40 kermillion years from now when the sun explodes and swallows the earth, will you still love me then?" "Um, yes."

This morning I wandered out of my bedroom to find that my apartment still smelled spicy and holiday and awesome. I did the umpteen dishes the party left behind singing along to Kimya Dawson, and especially this song:

It all goes together.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mom, Dad, and the Sweater Curse

Here's a Christmas knitting story. You know about the sweater curse, right? As in, if you knit your sweetie a sweater before you tie the knot, you're done for? I've got proof that it's bogus, or at least not 100% - in fact, I'm living proof.

My mom learned to knit as a sophomore in college. Her sister Sarah taught her, and Mom's first real project was a sweater for her boyfriend. It was a green scratchy pullover, probably acrylic - it was 1971, so acrylic was scratchy back then. The shade of green she chose is somewhere between Army Green (there was a draft on - I still have trouble wrapping my head around that) and the Avocado Green that would soon dominate every stylish 1970s kitchen.
Mom learned in November and knit like crazy so her beau would have a sweater by Christmas. I've seen my mom's knitting - to this day she knits slowly and really tight. Christmas was a big deal that year - her fella was going to stay with her family in Pennsylvania over the holidays, instead of going home to his own folks in Illinois. He'd transferred colleges that year to be closer to her, and his mother was convinced my mom was promptly going to ditch him, leaving him broken-hearted and stranded at Penn State.

So the big moment came on Christmas morning. Mom presented the sweater to her man. He held it up - it looked like it would fit perfectly - well, maybe a bit snug... He put it on ... wriggle, wriggle, wriggle - pop! His head came out of the top. The torso and sleeves fit great, but the collar was a little ... tight. Actually, a lot tight. He tried to take it off, but he couldn't get the collar back over his chin. A struggle ensued. I envision all seven of my mom's siblings, plus Grandma and Grandpa, each getting a piece of the action and trying to tug the brand new sweater over the poor benighted fellow's head. Nothing worked.

Finally they got out the scissors. Mom snipped the cast-off edge and unraveled her creation until her boyfriend could breathe easily and the sweater would fit back off over his head.

Over the coming weeks she scoured the yarn shops to find a matching ball of the same dye lot. She re-knit the collar and cast off as loosely as she possibly could.

I'm sure you already know the punchline to this story. Three years later, they graduated college and got hitched. The fella is my dad. The sweater lived on in our family - it was the perfect raking-leaves-in-the-fall sweater. Scratchy and super warm. I wore it sometimes in high school after dad got a little paunchy in his thirties and outgrew it. I wonder where it is now...

Hey, family: If I missed any cool details in this story, let me know and I'll fill them in!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Paging AmberCake

We have a winner to the 100th post give-away. Amber, it's you! Unfortuntately the email address I had for you bounced back to me - drop me a line or stop by Muffy's and I'll get your prize to you.

Thanks again to everyone for your comments!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Radical Knitting on the Colbert Report!

All you cable and tv-antenna deprived people (like me!), check out this bit featuring tank-cosy-crocheter extraordinaire Jerilea Zempel on the Colbert Report! Watch closely for B-roll shots of Bitch magazine and Hansigurumi's octopus! Great work, Jeri! and thanks, Peter, for letting me know!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree, I Shall Knit Thee!

Whenever I'm around my sisters at the holidays, I like to sing a version of O Tennenbaum in which all the words are "Oh Christmas Tree." Try it some time. It's fun.

The freshest latest in the Molting Yeti Shop is not one, not two, but three Christmas Trees to knit and adore. They knit up simply and quickly, and they'll make a great centerpiece, stocking stuffer, or huggable softie for anyone on your naughty or nice list this season. Plus there's three of them, so you can knit yourself a triumvirate of tactile tannenbaums, or a veritable tree trifecta! I hope you'll have as much fun making them as I did!

Fun Stuff to Do on Thursday

I'm totally psyched for the opening of Luvable and Huggable over at Gallery Hanahou this Thursday. It promises to be a plush-tastic wonderland, with work by super-awesome softie makers from all over the world. I'm especially excited to see Katie Park (aka Caffaknitted)'s knitted Henry the 8th and his umpteen wives dolls in person. If you haven't seen it yet, check this out:

Here's the details:

Opening party: December 4, 6-9 pm RSVP
611 Broadway, Suite 730, NYC
(7th floor of the Cable Building, NW corner of Broadway + Houston)
Hours: Mon-Sat 12-6 pm.

If you can't make the opening, get there as soon as you can. Since it's a toy show, stuff leaves the gallery as it sells, and you'll miss out on seeing stuff! I made it to last year's show too late to see Anna (aka Mochimochiland)'s knitted lemmings in the flesh. Or in the fluff, rather.

There's also a super awesome zine release party Thursday night. My friend Amanda wrote a sweet little zine called I (heart) NYC, well, not really, but I'm trying. Her writing is really great and it's got everything you'd ever want from a zine about the city with the world's gummiest sidewalks - cotton candy, Coney Island and even Jim Croce.

Here's the skinny:

Amanda Plumb understands that it takes a year before anyone likes living in New York, but after over 2.5 years, New York still does not feel like home to her. And frankly, she's not sure if she wants it to. Amanda's zine, I HEART NYC, well, not really, but I'm trying, is part visitor guide and part perzine. While it's geared towards other transplants who are similarly struggling in the city, she's confident that even New York natives will learn a thing or two about their fair city by reading her zine. This is Amanda's first zine. In 2007, she wrote an article about work zines,"Zines from the Shop Floor," for the journal New Labor Forum. Amanda hails from the Palmetto State and is really happy that she used her own images in the zine.

Thursday, Dec. 4
Angels and Kings
500 East 11th St. between Ave A and B

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


The starfish pattern that's published in the new One-Skein Wonders is now available as a download in the shop, too! So head on over.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I'm thrilled to announce a new pattern in the Molting Yeti shop - a scarf called Phineas. A whole new take on the meaning of "tube scarf," Phineas makes a perfect last-minute gift. Even if your gift give-ee sees what you're up to, she'll never guess what it'll look like when you're done. The pattern is named for Phineas Balk, inventor of the pneumatic tube.

Thanks again to Connie for photographing and Heather for modeling!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Albino Fauna in a Tote Bag

Here's the batch of toy samples preparing for a long journey. Join me in wishing them bon voyage!

I'm working on a gigantimon shop update today - new patterns galore are coming this week!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

100th Post Give-Away!

This spring went by without me marking my blog-i-versary, but here I am with 100 posts! What started out mostly as a place for me to organize my creative-ness has grown so much. I started writing down and sharing my knitting patterns, after Ariadne dared me to, then made my "website website" to sell my patterns and (soon!) toys. In the meantime, I went on two gigantical bike rides and lots of littler ones, told some goofy stories, drew you some pictures, and got some of my work published in pixels and in print. And I decided I love exclamation points after all. They're great! Yay!

Since I started counting last fall, my wee little blog has gotten 35,000 hits from 28,000 visitors, and about 50 of you are subscribed to my feed - so who are all of you? Say hi and you might win a prize!
I'm giving away my extra copy of Luxury One Skein Wonders with my starfish pattern in it. (Because of course I ran out and bought myself a copy before my free one came in the mail). I'll mail it anywhere, and I'll even sign my page for you if you want. To be eligible to win, leave me a comment - tell me what you like about my blog, or what I should knit next, or just say hi! Make sure you use a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. I'll pick a random commenter on December 1, so get those comments in by midnight EST November 30. Good luck, and happy delurking!

Friday, November 7, 2008

I Was a Ball of Yarn for Halloween, and Here's the Photo

I like being nouns for halloween. The year I moved to NYC I was a beaded curtain. One of these years I'm going to be a doormat. (A boy can dream, right?) This year I was a ball of yarn.

It was a super fun costume, tho in retrospect I should have put styrofoam or a balloon in the middle - there's about 15 pounds of yarn on my head, which made dancing at party we went to totally difficult. My favorite part was Amanda (who's rocking the closest thing I could find to a kitten hand-puppet) unraveling me on the subway home.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Glee

This Photo by Brad Aaron of Streetsblog kind of sums up how last night felt:

The neighbors got the news before the party I was at did - we could hear people in the next building whooping it up. When I was walking home around 1 a.m. there were still people on the streets honking their horns and generally being jubilant, and a totally boisterous crowd walked past my first floor window as I was nodding off to sleep. Needless to say, Flatbush loves Obama. Voting never felt like this before. Yay!

DIY Salon Tomorrow Night at the new MAD Museum

Hey y'all - If you're in NYC tomorrow night, stop by the newly-covered-with-porcelain-tiles Museum of Art and Design (formerly the Craft Museum). The show upstairs, Second Lives, is all about creative re-use. And Church of Craft (aka my friends and me) will be doing a hands-on Salon from 7 to 10:00. There'll be sweater unraveling, plastic fusing, notebook making, and zippered dymaxion pod-homes will be built for oddly crocheted mustachioed creatures. Plus there's delicious eats and homemade beer. It'll be fun.

The museum is pay-what-you-will Thursday nights, and the Church of Craft part costs ten bucks. It will be worth it.

The Museum of Art and Design is at 2 Columbus Circle (the south side of the big circle at the intersection of 8th Avenue.) Take the A,B,C,D, or 1 right there, or the N, R, Q, W, or F to nearby.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yes Ma'am, No Ma'am, I Don't Know, Ma'am

Hey that girl's looking at my butt!
Wait is that a a girl or a boy or - what?
-- Team Dresch, song for Ann Bannon

Today at my day job somebody called to do the copier scam. You know - where people somehow try to scam you by figuring out what kind of copier your office has? I've never really understood what they get out of the deal, but they call us all the time trying to find out what kind of copier we have. Here's how it went today:

Hi this is Carol from Customer Service, I'm calling about the copier.
Me: (laughing) What about it?
Carol: You know, the copier?
Me: What copier?
Carol: The big one. In the copy room. You mean you don't have a copier?
Me: (just laughing)
Carol: What's your name? Are you a man or a woman?
Me: Are you a man or a woman, Carol?
Carol: Because you sound kind of like a man, but you laugh like a girl.
And with that, she hung up.
Which is as good a segue as I can ask for to regale you with scintillating stories of semi-inadvertent genderbending when I worked at the call center in Oregon. But first, I also finally have an excuse to use the telephone sheep photo!:

Jean Luc Cornec's Telephone Sheep, via hanneorla on flickr.

A bunch of years ago, I worked at a call center in Tualatin. We answered the phone for about a billion different companies (okay, not a billion, but over 700) and whatever it was we were supposed to talk about would pop up on a computer screen in front of us. "Thank you for calling Used ATV Parts, how can I help you?" or "You have reached the Hollywood Movie Money Hotline, may I have your zip code please?" Most of the time we helped people order stuff out of catalogs, but other times we were supposed to be "creative" - like "sorry, Frank just stepped away from his desk, may I take a message?" Even though Frank was in Topeka and we were in Oregon.

The weirdest thing to happen to me there - my high school girlfriend called a lawyer's office in California after hours and got my voice instead. Hi, Alissa, if you're reading this!

Some of the places we answered the phone for were overt scams, and we'd make a game of it, being as polite yet pointedly unhelpful as we could to somebody's disgruntled customer to try to get them to cuss. Once they said a four-letter word, it was within the rules to say "I'm sorry sir, but I don't have to listen to that kind of language" and hang up. Sometimes they'd call back again madder than ever and ask for a manager. "Hey Diana," I'd say, "Wanna be my manager?" Diana (or whoever was sitting next to me that day) would pick up the call and assure the disgruntled so-and-so that I was now in big trouble.

The other thing that would happen all the time was that a whole bunch of the callers would assume I was a woman. I'm not sure what-all was behind this -- sometimes an expectation that the person at the other end of the line is "the gal in the phone pool," I guess, but I got it from all sides. People calling about ATV parts ma'amed me constantly, and every now and then I'd wait for to hear a ma'am me and then pointedly lower my voice and sound as dude-ly as I could to see if I could get them to stutter. And I once had a somewhat stoned caller serenade me with the entire "I'm a joker, I'm a smoker, I'm a midnight toker" song before he realized he was crooning to another fella.

But it wasn't just men that ma'amed me - we took phone orders for herbal creams purported to make men junkier and women bustier, and I once got a woman who was calling with a zillion questions about the bust cream. I read her all the info I had about it, and finally she asked, "Well, do you use it?"
"No, I don't."
"Why not?"
"Well, because I'm a man."
"Oh! Oh, well, I guess that's good then."

Monday, October 20, 2008

I'm in print!

My Starfish pattern made it into the new One-Skein Wonders book! It came out this week - I'm so, so happy about it. A real live book, beautifully photographed in full color, with a table of contents and an index and everything! All right, you all know what books are like, but one of the weird surprises about how happy I'm feeling right now is how great it feels to flip through the index and see "Yuhas, Daniel" at the very end.

The other thing I can't stop grinning about is the copy they wrote for my page:

With five points to grab hold of, your baby will love this toy! The construction is ingenious -- no breaking of yarn, no sewing of seams -- and the yak-merino yarn keeps things soft.
Ingenious -- I could get used to that. And it is. It's a pattern that's tricky and simple at the same time, way easier than you'd expect and really fun to make.

And there's a hundred more patterns in it besides -- tons of accessories, loads of lace, and scads of baby stuff -- each made with a skein or less of super-luxe yarn. My piece used a yak-merino blend from Karabella, and the designers used the gamut of fiber from quivut to corn.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fiber Haze

I went to Rhinebeck yesterday - holy cow! I've read about a bazillion blog raves about how awesome it is, but I was spooked by thinking it would be just a super-gigantical yarn shop that would sneakily devour the entire contents of my wallet, leaving me broke but unsatisfied. Then Knithound Lisa told me at our Stitch 'n Bitch how much more it is than that. There's all kinds of sheepy goodness, and also carnival rides and delicious food and fiber-y contests and sheep judging and sheepdog competitions and, and, and, and, and... I had to leave by 2 to return my friends' car, and the four hours I had there were barely enough to cover most of the ground, let alone to go to the book signings or classes or contests or the Ravelry party to follow.

I did get to watch some of the sheepdog competition. Here's a youtube of border collies - towards the end it shows what sheepdog trials look like. It was weirdly fascinating and not a little bit funny to watch in real life. The dog tries to herd the sheep through a variety of gates and chutes and the sheep rebel by staying put, then suddenly bustle briskly about as if they just remembered where it is they were going.

Yes, I know -- right after my two-second appearance on Fox News, dog videos is probably the second least likely thing you were expecting to find here.

And now here's some fiberporn.

Before Rhinebeck I used to get annoyed by knit-bloggers showing off their stashes - I love to see people's accomplishments and works in progress, but showing off the yarn that will turn into something some-day -- possibly years from now, or never -- always rubbed me the wrong way. And it always drove me batty when people waxed rhapsodic about "Fiber" - you know, like "Oh, how I long to go dancing among the beautiful sheepy or alpacalicious strands and slubs and puffs, and to press skein after skein to my cheek to inspect their staple, accepting or rejecting their advances toward my tote bag like prospects to my dance card. I could just curl up in a yarny coccoon and sleep forever, dreaming the most delicious fibery dreams." It always rubbed me the wrong way - like an artist bragging about her oil sticks instead of her paintings. But then, Van Gogh did try to eat his paint.

About one o'clock yesterday I found myself in the Decadent Fibers booth, talking to a fellow t/Raveler whose name I forget while we both fondled the same three jumbo hanks of the most gorgeous orange yarn. I'd told myself I didn't need any more wool than was already in my bag, and had been seeking out some raw silk for a project I have in mind chiefly by smell -- you know that strong funky silk smell? -- the aisles and aisles of yarn were starting to mix together into one big blur, and my eyes were tired from taking it all in. Then I saw this incredible orange out of the corner of my eye. The light hit it just so, like the first tree to go full orange in the fall. I had to know all about this! Fellow t/Raveler and I talked as we both fondled the yarn somewhat adoringly, mesmerised, falling in love with it: I want to make you mine. It was a weirdly shared sensual experience. We ended by collapsing into a huge bout of the giggles. The finally stopping until you look at the other person and it starts all over again giggles.

And I want to share that gleeful moment with you too, O blogosphere. I know the crappy pictures my Kodak Easy-share takes will never do it justice. But maybe, if you've ever had a similar experience, I can set off the mirror neurons in your brain and give you that warm, fuzzy you know, fiber-y feeling.

Here goes:Decadent Fibers Creme Brulee - 50% Merino, 30% Silk, 20% Mohair

And some yarn I'm even more excited about: Four Directions Colors from the Earth, 85% wool, 15% Mohair,
"Hand dyed using leaves, roots, bark, and bugs" - this is dyed with real live indigo, and I also got some ruddy brown that 's made with madder root. The colors are really deep and subtle - I wished I could afford them all. I can't wait to cast something on with it. I know just the thing - check back in a year or so to see how it turns out.

P.S. I've been reading Erica Jong - does it show?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hi Mom, I'm on Fox News

Ok really, can you think of anything I'm less likely to say?

I can't get FoxNews's embedding gizmo to work, but you can click here (hopefully) for a video clip of the Tour de Pink riders appearing on Fox & Friends yesterday morning. I couldn't find myself in the crowd on the clip, but you can hear me woo-hoo-ing, so count me as part of the general clamor.

I'm actually a bit hoarse today from hooting and hollering through three states on this trip, cheering on my fellow riders and screaming my head off down some really delicious hills. I'll have a more in-depth ride story later on after I get the pics from my super-awesome sis who joined the trip as a volunteer and got me involved in the first place.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

... And He's Off!

First thing tomorrow morning, I'll be off to Pennsylvania for Tour de Pink! It's going to be great fun, and I'll soon have stories and photos to share instead of this lovely pink logo!

So far the event has raised $470,000 to benefit the Young Survival Coalition, and I've exceeded my fundraising goal of $3,000! Thank you yet again to everyone who has supported me in this ride - emotionally, financially or otherwise. Your encouragement has meant the world to me, and the money we've raised will mean a lot to all of us who've struggled with breast cancer in our lives.

If you'd like to push the red part of the fundraising thermometer further over the top, you can click here to donate - my fundraising page will be up and accepting donations until December 1.

And lastly, although I'd never under any other circumstances tell anybody to watch Fox News (meathead blather like that is a big part of the reason my TV doesn't have an antenna attached to it), the whole bunch of us are scheduled to appear on Fox and Friends Monday morning. If any of you out there in blog-land have cable and wanna tune in, you'll see me waving!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Spira Mirabilis

Here's the latest addition to the Molting Yeti pattern shop - a totally spiral-tastic baby blanket! Alternating between stockinette stitch and simple fishnet lace, this blanket spirals as it grows.

Logarhythmic spirals are really cool - they occur in nature as the shape of spiral galaxies, the arms of cyclones, the paths of hawks to their prey and moths to light bulbs (which is extra cool 'cause moths are really aiming at the moon, which would be a truly gigantical spiral indeed), and the nerves of the cornea. Jakob Bernoulli was fascinated by their properties - especially that the shape of the spiral remains the same as it grows, and called them "spira mirabilis", which is a pretty awesome name.

If you'd like to make a Mirabilis for a new miracle in your world, head on over to the shop for the pattern.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How to Pickle Like a Rock Star

This year I signed up for a CSA in my neighborhood. CSA is Community Supported Agriculture - you pay a farmer up front in the spring, and every week from May to Thanksgiving or so you get a box of food from the farm.

I've had ridiculously delicious tomatoes in my house since June, and since it's basically been a blind date with vegetables all summer, I've been learning to play nicely with zucchini and eggplant. Well, trying to learn, anyway. There were cantaloupes as big as my head in July, some of which I ate, and some of which turned into Cantaloupe Gelato. I've also had more cucumbers than I knew what to do with.

Pickling to the rescue!

victorian pickle bookmarks by barking-madcrow

I know it's past cucumber time in this hemisphere, but here's my fridge-pickle recipe anyway. This is the recipe I used for 5 or 6 biggish regular (not "pickling") cukes - and the basic brine should work as well for just about anything that would taste better or last longer all vinegared up.

Slice cucumbers thickly and layer them in a bowl with sprigs of dill and cloves of garlic. I go heavy on the dill, mostly so it won't go to waste.

Mix up 2 1/2 Quarts (10 C) of water, 1/2 C salt and 1 C cider vinegar

adulterate this as you like with black peppercorns, mustard seeds, and red pepper flakes.

Bring the brine to a boil, turn off the heat and pour it over the cucumbers. Let the bowl cool to room temperature overnight on the countertop, and then put the bowl in the fridge.

Start tasting your pickles after a couple of days - optimum pickle magic for me was about 10 days in, but your taste buds may vary. If you want to keep your pickles at room temp all year long, jar them up and process them in a hot water bath. I'm no expert on this part, though I do know that the high acid from the vinegar makes pickles one of the safest things to can. Check Putting Food By or the Ball Book for better instructions.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tour de Pink Update

Nine days from now, I'll be on a bus from here (NYC) to Hershey, Pennsylvania. Yes, that Hershey, the milk chocolate capital of the world. Starting the next day, I'm going to ride my bike the whole way back again (210 miles or so) with 149 of my newest friends. And this time I won't be the only one rocking a pink jersey - we all will.

It's Tour de Pink, a fundraiser for the Young Survival Coalition, the premier international network of breast cancer survivors and supporters dedicated to the critical concerns and issues unique to young women and breast cancer. You can see a bunch more about what the YSC does here.

Thank you so much to everybody who's contributed to my ride. As of right now, my friends, family, co-workers and blog readers have chipped in $2,780, and I'm only $220 away from reaching my fund-raising goal of $3,000. I'm amazed and grateful at the response this has gotten.

So please, if you've been seeing that pink oval on the top of this blog for a while and meaning to contribute something, there's no time like right now. Please click here to donate. Thanks a billion.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mackerel Sky

Last night riding my bike home from Church of Craft the sky looked awesome. The moon was full and there were a million tiny clouds blopped evenly over the whole thing, and that illusion happened where you're looking up at the sky through the trees and it feels like the sky is moving the same speed you are and the trees are staying still. The leaves of the trees were lit up grayish green by the streetlights and night was that inky color of darkish blue it always turns in NYC in September. Where did the summer go?

Just another of those tiny moments that made me glad I was on my bike. Impossible to photograph, and impossible to experience any other way. Wikipedia tells me it was a Mackerel Sky.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Apparatus for Orchestral Knitting

So remember the Apparatus for Orchestral Knitting? I went to watch, and there were two empty seats, so I wound up being part of it!

It was kind of like this (the youtube's from an earlier performance in Baltimore), but it was in a museum instead of a yarn shop and it sounded way better, at least from where I was sitting. The needles had pickups on the end that made the sounds of knitting come through the speakers. Being all hooked up like that (yarn on one end of the needle, pickup and wire on the other) reminded me of my days working at the call center in Oregon - we were all tethered to the machine. It was pretty cool.

Someone was videotaping the performance - if the one with me in it shows up on youtube I'll post that one.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Knitting Orchestra - Tomorrow Night

If knitting on the subway doesn't quite fill your knitting-as-performance-art void, check this out! I don't know if I'll be able to make it tomorrow night, but it sounds potentially awesome and certainly super fun!

from the Very Esteemed Callie Janoff via CraftZine:

Knitting Jam at the Chelsea Art Museum.

556 West 22ndStreet, New York, NY 10011

Laure Drogoul invites one and all to participate in an evening of musical knitting.
You are cordially invited to knit and become a part of a knitting orchestra. Knitters and non-knitters alike are invited to play/knit on Laure Drogoul's souped-up, amplified knitting instrument. The Apparatus for Orchestral Knitting amplifies the sound of the knitting, is mixed and played back live. All materials supplied.

Program presented by the
Chelsea Art Museum & Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center
This evenings events are free and open to the public.

Monday, August 25, 2008

North Fork 2008

I rode the North Fork Century yesterday. No hills, no thunderstorms, no bottled water, lots and lots of friendly people and pretty farms and wineries and wetlands and osprey nests and sweet, sweet flat and smooth roads. There were a few eensy rolling hills that were just big enough to be fun - push really hard to the bottom and you'll coast to the top! I took a wrong turn and wound up on the 66 mile route instead of the 100 (this is kind of a theme with me), but that was ok - I've barely been riding except for occasional commuting since the Harlem Valley ride, and I still felt pretty great at the finish. And I got to be on the first bus back, so I was home again before dark. Hopefully I'll be ready for Tour de Pink in October!

Here's a drawing of me trying to sleep on the bus on the way home. I had really weird dreams, but I forget what they were.Oh, and in the picture I'm wearing the old school wool jersey ex-boyfriend Scott gave me for my birthday. He had it embroidered to say my last name in block letters and "I knit squids" in cursive underneath. Coolest present ever.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Casting On in the Middle

I love knitting in the round - little tiny circles spiraling out into great big circles! Starting in the middle opens up a world of possibilities - pentagons, octagons, umpteen-a-gons, not to mention spheres and eggs and octopi and all manner of seamless toys. But how exactly do you get started?

Here are some great tutorials that other folks have done:

Emily Orcker's Circular Cast-On from Bagatell
(a crochet cast-on)

Fleegle's Blog - Simple Ring Beginning for Circular Shawls
(a really elegant ring made with one knitting needle)

And the line-art wizardry of TechKnitting(tm):
Casting on From the Middle - Disappearing Loop Method

And here's how I like to do it - you may notice it gives the same result as TechKnitting's method, but I go about it a little differently. You'll need two double-pointed needles and a tapestry needle.

1) Make a slip knot and secure it to one dpn, leaving a generous tail 6 or 7 inches long.

2) Hold a second dpn parallel to the first. Wrap the yarn under the bottom dpn, then over the top one, making a figure-eight.

3) Continue figure-eight-ing until the top needle has the desired number of stitches plus one extra.

4) Thread the tail through a tapestry needle. Holding the working yarn in place, carefully slip the bottom needle free from the stitches.

5) Drop the slip knot off the left side of the dpn and thread the tail through the empty loops from right to left using the tapestry needle.

6) Gently tug the slip knot to undo it.

7) Distribute the stitches over the desired number of dpns and begin working in the round. After you've worked five or six rounds, pull the tail snug. Reinforce it by threading it through the loops a couple times.

The result:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Is That a Yeti in Your Mailbox?

So a couple weekends ago when I was working on the new website, I went to my mailbox to find this awesome yeti shadow puppet waiting for me! It was shipped from Owly Shadow Puppets (who sells on Etsy) with a note on the envelope that said "you are secretly admired."

It's totally adorable - if you pull the wire on the wooden handle the arms go up and down. Rawr!

Who are you, oh mysterious mailer of yetis? I still don't know. But thanks, whoever you are - I admire you right back.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Molting Yeti is Go!

Without further ado, I give you!

Hey everybody, here's my new website - it's a lot like my old website, but all grown up - prettier and more consistent and with a logo and a tagline and everything!

Oh, and it's called Molting Yeti. You know, 'cause all my creations are really made of hand-spun strands of Yeti fur that I wild-gather from the ultra-secret Yeti dens in the underpasses of deep Brooklyn. Yetis in Brooklyn? Aren't they abominable snowmen? Well, they got lost. We did have a coyote in Central Park that one time.

And that is why I never sleep.

Ok, maybe none of that stuff about the Yeti fur is true, but it's still way funner to say and easier to spell than

Both sites will be up at the same time for a while yet (at least until I figure out how write a redirection page that doesn't make my head explode), and this here blog is staying right where it is.

Thanks again to Tamara for the logo and design advice, to Maria Sputnik for the yeti drawing, and to everybody who's encouraged me! I'm really super excited and happy about this - eek! look out! there's globs of glee all over the road!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Louise Bourgeois!

I saw the Louise Bourgeois exhibit at the Gugg this weekend and loved, loved, loved it. I spent probably half the exhibition grinning from ear to ear. If you live near NYC, go! (It's pay-what-you will Friday nights, and it'll be up through September 28.)

Robert Mapplethorpe, Louise Bourgeois, 1982

I hadn't seen much of her work before seeing the show, but I knew this famous Mapplethorpe photo from my childhood - as a queer kid growing up in Cincinnati with black fingernails and a subscription to ArtNews, how could I not promptly start dreaming that a different, better world existed when such beautiful evidence arrived in my mailbox? I honestly think that this image is the first inkling I got that being sexual and being happy could and should go together. I still, even today, keep re-checking the picture, surprised at her mischievous, satisfied smile.

Louise Bourgeois, Blind Man's Bluff, 1984

The piece she's holding is less plainly representational and way more ambiguous when not tucked under Ms. B's devious arm. There's all kinds of gendered sex-parts-ish stuff going flippy-floppy in her work, which is of course super awesome. There are metaphors upon physical metaphors, and they all kind of miss in a way that draws you in. I lost track of how many of the helpful white placards under the titles referenced testicles, breasts, and sometimes knees in the same sentence.

Louise Bourgeois, Spiral Woman, 1984

And in her more recent works - "Cells" - She encloses the work with cages and guillotines or old doors stuck together, so you get that birdcage, reliquary for a private metaphor, Joseph Cornell kind of feeling except less goofy and way bigger and you're peering through keyholes or catching glimpses through slats for a zoetrope effect. Totally, totally juicy in a way you have to see in person.

If you go, make sure you don't miss Confrontation - it's in one of the little tangents off the Guggenheim's main spiral - an installation and video of a performance piece from 1978: people dressed up in blobby latex costumes having a fashion show with the audience squashed into little white boxy chairs. It's beautiful and hilarious. Don't be afraid to laugh.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Blobfish, Blobfish Everywhere, and Not a Drop to Drink!

I asked my friend Tamara, who does design-ey things for a living, to make me a logo for my new web site. In return, she asked me to knit her a blobfish. Blobfish are globby, gross fish that live in the deep waters off of Australia and New Zealand, and they don't have any muscles - their gooey flesh is a little bit lighter than water, so they don't sink. They look like this:

(send your own blobfish e-card at

Here's the blobfish I made for her - I wanted it to be totally understuffed, so it's filled it with ping pong balls instead of fluff. And it's all in reverse stockinette stitch, 'cause sometimes the ugly side of knitting gives me the heebie jeebies. It'll also make a decent, though kinda fragile, bath toy, since the ping pong balls will make it float!

and here it is again in its new home on Tamara's bookshelf: