Thursday, February 18, 2010

If You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take it.

Where there was one there will be two.

I'm moving this blog over to Wordpress, and it feels like it's time to split things up a little bit.  I started Tatting my Doilies back in the spring of 2007 as a place to talk about all of my creative adventures.  I gardened, sewed, cooked, godparented, built bicycles, rode them really far, covered our back fence with clothespins, and, much to the chagrin of the lacemakers who've stumbled on to my posts over the years, still haven't learned to tat.  "Tatting My Doilies" used to be my self-deprecating shorthand for my creativity and artmaking, and part of my intention when I started this blog was to flip that within myself by sharing my creativity with the universe.

Through the crafting blogosphere (doesn't that word already sound so dated?), I started to find an audience, and my knitting really took off.  Ariadne dared me to start writing down my patterns, and I did.  I started submitting my designs to Knitty.  I got inspired by pre-Ravelry etsy sellers like CraftyHedgehog and HansiGurumi to start selling my patterns as pdfs instead of giving them away, and started obsessively reading CraftBoom.

For a couple weeks after I published my squid pattern I tried selling patterns straight from the blog, but that felt tacky so I built my own site. - A totally hard name to remember unless you already know what tatting is, and if you do know what tatting is, you're probably hoping tattingmydoilies sells patterns for, oh, I don't know .... tatted .... doilies?  Knitted squids?  Uh, not so much.
So two summers ago I stuck "tatting my doilies" into an anagram server, and out popped "Molting Yeti."  I thought the name had a very New York Times crossword puzzle feel to it - 11 down:  "The abominable snowman with its hair falling out?"  MoltingYeti is where I teach people how to make things out of hair - that's way closer!  Plus it felt really fun and goofy, and my designs are all about making knitting fun.

So here I am a few years later.  My designs have been published in Knitty, Interweave, Creative Knitting, Yarnforward, and a couple of books.  I started showing my work as art and teaching at yarn festivals.  I launched KnitsyBitsy last fall to connect woolly critters directly with loving adoptive homes, and spent just about every free moment of December selling hand-knit stuffed animals at craft fairs.  I cut back the hours of my day job so I could devote more time to my creative endeavors, and started trying super hard to figure out how to make my creativity support me.  As I've gotten better at this, more and more folks are tuning in, and this is starting to feel like a professional, "Hey!  Look what I made!" blog where most of the time I talk about my knitting designs, and festivals and craft shows and fiber art.

But I still want to talk about lots of other things, too, things that don't always fit with a knitting blog.  Like Helen Adam and countertenors and Tycho Brahe and ancient greeks using trigonometry to figure out the distance from the moon to the bottom of a well and smashed watermelons on the subway platform and how people still assume I'm a woman on the phone .  So I'm moving things around.

If you're just here for the knitting, is the spot for you.  

If you're here for the everything else factor, and tune out every time I start talking in secret knitters code, is the new place to be.

And by all means, read me both places!

I've divided things up and imported a bunch of the old posts into Wordpress, but this site will stay up as an archive, too.  If you've been following along  in a blog reader, the RSS feed is now pointed to  Here's the moltingyeti feed link, just in case.  The RSS for the new Tatting My Doilies is over here.  

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mirabilis Spirals in Nature

This is mostly a pretty pictures post, but first a word from our sponsor:  If you'll be anywhere near Pittsburgh this weekend, come to the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Show.  I'll be teaching four classes - the Lace and Loop ScarfMirabilis, Brain Coral, and Pinwheel Blankets.  Besides my four classes, there'll be demonstrations and classes galore, including a bunch by cable maven Melissa Leapman, and even an art show highlighting other folks like me who use math in their fiber arts.  My big silver spiral - robot ice cream cone? - will be on display.  And of course, there'll be more yarn and fiber than you can ever hope to shake your sticks at.  If any of my readers out there in blog-land have been following along since the wonderful Bedford Springs retreat last fall, I look forward to seeing you again!

Now the pictures!  I found all of these spirals when I was putting together my handouts for Mirabilis class.  I've been saying for a long time that the spirals I'm so obsessed with occur all over the place in nature - here are a few:  

The Milky Way

Nautilus Shell

Airplane Wake

Fiddlehead Fern

Wikipedia also tells me that hawks follow the same spiral paths when they're zooming in on their prey, and moths do the same thing around a candle or light bulb.  You'll just have to imagine those ones.  And of course, here's the Mirabilis blanket I'll be teaching everyone to make:


And mostly 'cause I love neck ruffles so much, 
here's the mathematician who gave Mirabilis its name:

Jakob Bernoulli

(Fiddlehead photo:  Forest and Kim Starr.  
All images not by me from WikiMedia Commons)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Blobfish Facing Extinction

Caution:  This post contains pictures of blobfish.  Lots and lots of blobfish.

Last week, Google Analytics told me my post about the knitted blobfish I made for my friend Tamara was getting lots of hits.  First I thought I'd been linked to by somebody famous, but no - everybody was coming in from search engines.  So I googled it up myself and found out the blobfish may be going extinct.

Apparently, the inedible, gloppy, poor little buggers swim at the same level as crabs and lobsters, so they're getting trawled up in the same nets.  You can read the whole news story here from the Telegraph in the UK.

Here's a picture of my knitted blobfish:

And my new favorite, here's a screenshot of Google Images when you look for blobfish pictures:

... which of these creatures is not like the other?

Now I have that old Shonen Knife song about the Bison stuck in my head - who else could write a bubblegum pop song about animals going extinct? - except now it's about he blobfish.  I couldn't find the whole song online, but you can hear half of it here on Amazon:  here.

               We're only making plans for / Da da dirty dirty [blobfish]
               We don't like him so much / 'Cos he's very very ug ug ugly
               We're only making plans for/ Da da dark brown [blobfish]
               He has a right to live / though he's Ill ill ill ill-shaped

               He's on the way to extinction
               We only want what's best for hi-i-i-im

               Bear up [blobfish] never say die! [x4]
Buck up, Blobfish!