Planet Systers GSoC

November 26, 2016

Terri

Triangle Hat

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I bought some mini skeins from Knitted Wit to make a hat, but then the pattern that I was sure I had didn’t seem to exist in my pattern collection, so I made it up as I went and this is the result. (I suspect in hindsight that I might have been thinking of the triangle mitts from the Knitpicks 2015 spring accessories and not a hat at all.)


Triangle hat


I’m calling this Triangle Hat, but you have to think of this song when you say it to get the full effect of what’s inside my head. Or perhaps you’d rather not.


If you prefer, there is also a printable Triangle Hat pdf, and it’s on ravelry as well.


Triangle hat


Needle size: 6

Yarn: Knitted Wit Superwash Worsted. I am utterly in love with this yarn and immediately made two more hats after this one and will likely buy more at the next available opportunity.

1 ball main colour, 3 “gobstoppers” in contrasting colours

(This gets you two hats with leftovers)

Gauge: 21 sts per 4 inches

Sizing:

This pattern was designed to fit my head, which measures just under 24 inches. If you need something larger or smaller, the pattern happens in groups of 8, and you can scale up or down to fit your needs. For example, for a 1 year old child with a head circumference of 18 inches, you’d want 6 inches less, and the closest multiple of 8 would be 32, so you should cast on 80 stitches.


Not sure how big your intended recipient’s head might be? Here’s a head size chart. I am amused to discover that I have a “large” head as I know quite a few people with heads much larger than mine!


Brim


For “one size fits most” adult hat: CO 112 in the round.

The brim is around 1 inch of ribbing. I did the k2 through the back loop to make the stitches pop a bit more.


Rows 1-13: k2 through the back loop, p2 repeat around


Pattern


trianglehat-chart


Apologies for the chart having been done in a spreadsheet program so the numbers don’t match, but start at the bottom (with the two main colour rows) and work your way up (or make your triangles upside-down relative to mine, that’s cool too).


Row 14-15: knit all stitches in main colour

First triangle section:

16: k7 in colour1, k1 in main colour repeat around

17: k1 in main colour, k5 in colour1, k2 in main colour repeat around

18: k2 in main colour, k3 in colour1, k3 in main colour repeat around

19: k3 in main colour, k1 in colour1, k4 in main colour repeat around

Second triangle section:

20: k3 in colour2, k1 in main colour, k4 in colour2 repeat around

21: k2 in colour2, k3 in main colour, k3 in colour2 repeat around

22: k1 in colour2, k5 in main colour, k2 in colour2 repeat around

23: k7 in main colour, k1 in colour2 repeat around

Third triangle section:

24-27: repeat first triangle section but using 3rd colour instead of first


Rows 28-37: Continue to knit all stitches in main colour for another 9 rows (or desired height)


Decreasing


38: k14, k2tog repeat around

39: k around

40: k13, k2tog repeat around

41: k around

42: k12, k2tog repeat around

43: k around

44: k11, k2tog repeat around

45: k around

46: k10, k2tog repeat around

47: k9, k2tog repeat around

48: k8, k2tog repeat around

49: k7, k2tog repeat around

50: k6, k2tog repeat around

51: k5, k2tog repeat around

52: k4, k2tog repeat around

53: k3, k2tog repeat around

54: k2, k2tog repeat around

55: k1, k2tog repeat around

56: k2tog repeat around.

Cut yarn and thread through remaining stitches to close the top of the hat then tie off.


Triangle hat


Triangle hat



comment count unavailable comments

November 26, 2016 03:05 PM

November 24, 2016

Terri

Jimmy Beans Big Beanie Bag - November 2016

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

This November Jimmy Beans Big Beanie Bag marks one of the few times I’ve gotten the colourway as shown in the project photo!


Jimmy Beans Big Beanie Bag: November 2016


There’s a lot of yarn in this one, although it doesn’t poof up quite as much as October’s mega bag it’s pretty close. Beyond the yarn, there’s a knitting ruler/needle sizer (I think this is my 3rd, but again, this is one of those tools where I don’t mind a few duplicates), some “metallic measuring temporary tattoos” that I find kind of inexplicable but pretty, the typical moisturizer sample (again, I prefer the wool wash samples but I guess it’s a nice way to learn the scents available). This month’s bag is also cute with the turkey and the advice. I’ve had to opt out of thanksgiving with J’s family this year, so I’ll be doing less eating and more knitting, personally!


Jimmy Beans Big Beanie Bag: November 2016


The theme for the wool was favourite yarns, but surprisingly, I’m not sure I’ve even heard of Tahki Zara, I’ve only used Noro Kureyon once (in a YOTM sample), and I’d have to check my archives to see when I last used Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted or Berroco Vintage or even if I have (I think I’ve sampled them both, though). So obviously they’re not my staple yarns, which kind of makes this bag more fun for me. Noro is the multicoloured sample, for those of you not familiar with the brand. The pink is the Zara and it feels super soft (merino!). The deep purple is the lamb’s pride and it’s a neat mohair blend that feels dense — I doubt it’ll be my favourite but it should be warm. The brown is the Berocco Vintage which is a soft acrylic/wool/nylon blend.


The pattern is a cute hat and wristlets pattern. I like the lacing, but I don’t think I’d use wristlets, so I’ll either put a thumbhole in there or save the rest of the yarn for something else, I think!



comment count unavailable comments

November 24, 2016 03:01 PM

November 21, 2016

Terri

Jimmy Beans Big Beanie Bag - October 2016

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Bit of a photo-taking spree today, mostly of things that will be gifts so I can’t share them for a while. But I also photographed two Big Beanie Bags that I haven’t started knitting yet, so here’s one of them! I’ll probably save these for travel projects, so you won’t see them knit up for a while.


Jimmy Beans Big Beanie Bag: October 2016


When this bag arrived, I was shocked at how big it was even before I opened the package. It’s got two balls worth of Rowan Pure Wool in there! That is a lot more yarn than I expect in a bag, to be honest. It’s usually $10.95 on JBW’s website, so 2 balls makes up most of the subscription price of $25, not even counting everything else. (Admittedly, that’s on the high end from what the internet tells me this yarn costs, but it’s still nice to see that


Also in this package: a “handitool” (which is awesome, since my last one is missing somewhere in the house and I like having something like this in my project bags), a packet of soak handmade (meh, I’d rather the wool wash, as I have many little moisturizers in much more convenient packaging), jeweled stitch markers (a cute, cheap addition), and a legwarmer pattern. This isn’t the 80s, but honestly, since I walk around in damp winter all the time, I’m thinking warm woolen legwarmers might actually be awesome, so I might give the pattern a try.


The total standout this month is the bag itself, though, which might be my new favourite from them. The older ones have tips on the bags, which is handy, but doesn’t make them nearly as fun for knitting in public unless you’re around other knitters. This bag is fun for everyone!


Jimmy Beans Big Beanie Bag: October 2016


I have a “mystery” bag which means I don’t put any restrictions on the yarn (the other options are “neutrals” “cool” and “warm”). I got purples this month, which is really lovely. It’s the kind of colours my grandmother loves, and she has great taste.


This Rowan isn’t an ooh ahh so soft yarn, but it feels like it’ll be warm and hardwearing, so I’ll bet it’ll be perfect for the included pattern.


Overall, this subscription continues to live up to my expectations, and my only concern is that I won’t be able to keep up with my bags alongside all the other projects I want to do!



comment count unavailable comments

November 21, 2016 03:50 AM

November 07, 2016

Terri

Neapolitan Scarflette - Jimmy Beans Big Beanie Bag: August 2016

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I’ve been really enjoying Jimmy Beans Big Beanie Bags, but I haven’t been so good about photographing my projects for both happy and sad reasons I won’t go into right now. But despite my lack of documentation, these are great! These are like the grown-up cousin to their little yarn sample bags: more yarn, projects that are more wearable (think shawls, hats, cowls) and less trinket-like (think coasters, finger puppets). What really seals it for me is that these are a perfect “fits in the purse and keeps me entertained for hours” project when I’m running off in a hurry and need something that doesn’t require planning or fancy swatches and already has yarn measured out so I’m not carrying multiple full-sized balls in my bag. I had no idea I needed grab and go kits until I had a little stash of them!


Jimmy Beans Big Beanie Bag: August 2016


There’s the August kit: nice drawstring bag, glossy printed pattern, 4 balls of yarn, a packet of hand lotion (sometimes it’s wool wash, which I prefer), and a little notions box. The notion changes every month, and sometimes the yarn isn’t 4 balls, but it’s similar most months.


I like the little notions box, although I haven’t quite figured out what to put in all its little teensy compartments, and I should have taken a picture with it open for you to see them all!


If you’re curious, here’s the Jimmy Beans (small) beanie bag and the Yarn of the Month bag for August 2016, since this was an overlap month before I decided to drop the smaller subscriptions.


Jimmy Beans Big Beanie Bag: August 2016


August’s yarn came from Koigu, a brand I’d heard of but didn’t realize they were from Ontario. So I learned something new! The yarn very easy to knit with, maybe a bit less fuzzy/haloed than I like for my shawls, but that makes it easier to wear when it’s not really *that* cold in the office.


Jimmy Beans Big Beanie Bag: August 2016


The pattern for August is Neapolitan Scarflette by Rachel Roden. I think she’s RachelUnraveled on Ravelry, but this design doesn’t seem to be up so it might be someone else. This is a pattern that is simple to knit but annoying to count, since there’s a lot of sections that are almost but not quite the same. I assume a lot of this was just in trying to make good use of the 4 same-sized balls of yarn, but it did have me thinking a lot about how to optimize pattern writing to make the changed sections easier to notice. I suspect my next more complicated patterns are going to have a lot of colours or something as a result of this. Or possibly just be more simplified in memory of all the times I’ve cruised past the directions because I’m in a rhythm.


One thing I really liked about this pattern was the fact that it calls out a useful skill to learn: knitting the ends in as you go. Definitely this shawl encourages you to learn that one with all the colour changes! Knitting in ends as I go is not something I did all the time before and I think I’ll find myself doing it automatically now after all that practice, so I’m pretty pleased that they put that in. I’m leveling up in fibercraft in leaps and bounds lately!


Jimmy Beans Big Beanie Bag: August 2016


Here it is all balled up more like I’d wear it as a scarf, and you can see that there’s still some yarn leftover! I love the colours, so hopefully I’ll find a nice time to use these in a spot of colourwork. Doing colourwork remains one of the reasons I was willing to get so many small balls of yarn after all!


Jimmy Beans Big Beanie Bag: August 2016


Overall I was very pleased with this kit. I actually started my subscription up again right after the initial 3 months finished because I heard they had a few of these left and I could get one, and I’m pretty pleased that I did.



comment count unavailable comments

November 07, 2016 03:00 PM

November 03, 2016

Terri

Taking No for an Answer (Open Source Bridge 2016 talk)

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I gave one talk and ran one tutorial at Open Source Bridge 2016 back in June. For those of you not familiar with it, Open Source Bridge is an open source conference with a focus on “open source citizenship” that leads to a great combination of technical and social thought from people who are part of the open source community. My favourite part is actually the super chill hacker lounge, where it’s quiet enough to actually talk, and it’s totally cool to meet new friends around the lego table or bring my knitting. I don’t mind a few alcoholic conference mixers, but I have to say I meet and remember way more people at open source bridge than many other conferences.


Talk I gave this year, entitled “Taking No For an Answer,” isn’t entirely open source specific, since it’s really about a bad community behaviour you see in many other communities, but the focus and my examples come from my work in open source. I can’t seem to find the audio recording they made, so this is reconstructed from my slide notes. You can find the whole slide deck here: Taking No For An Answer (Open Source Bridge 2016) slides.


Taking No for an Answer: a talk by Terri Oda at Open Source Bridge 2016

[Title Slide] Taking No for an Answer: a talk by Terri Oda at Open Source Bridge 2016


Open source (like many fields) rewards people who are confident and even a bit pushy. Those of us who go furthest are often those who offered to fix bugs and followed through, who were ready to argue about their architectural ideas on a mailing list or irc channel. In many ways, open source is do-ocracy, where those with the time and the confidence to do things become leaders. In volunteer led communities, it can often be the case that the quality or merit of the work isn’t the big focus: it’s whether it’s getting done by anyone at all.


[Slide 1] This slide shows a collage of book covers and articles related to confidence: "How to overcome impostor syndrome" "Women don't ask" "Lean in" "Closing the confidence gap" "The impostor syndrome"

[Slide 1] This slide shows a collage of book covers and articles related to confidence: “How to overcome impostor syndrome” “Women don’t ask” “Lean in” “Closing the confidence gap” “The impostor syndrome”


So because of this, In the tech world, there’s been a lot of focus on getting people to step forwards, negotiate, lean in, DO. This can be super valuable — sometimes people do need a reminder, need some tips, need an invitation to speak, need to evaluate their internal censor and not let it stop them. There’s a reason my google image search pulled up a bunch of stuff aimed at women: there’s been a lot of push to encourage folk who are under-represented or socialized not to step forwards.


[Slide 2] Slide shows the phrase "But what about the men?" in a bold, playful font

[Slide 2] Slide shows the phrase “But what about the men?” in a bold, playful font


So clearly, as in all discussions about women and minorities, it’s time to consider what about the men? (room laughs)


[Slide 3] reads "What about self-improvement for leaders?" and shows Superman and The Hulk action figures, apparently in the middle of an argument

[Slide 3] reads “What about self-improvement for leaders?” and shows Superman and The Hulk action figures, apparently in the middle of an argument


Okay, just kidding. But surely self-improvement isn’t just for folk who haven’t stepped up yet. What about self-improvement for people who are already leaders in our communities? What about training confident people to be better? So this talk is aimed not at our most vulnerable but at some of our more powerful, as well as those who want to become more powerful and effective community members.


[Slide 4] reads "So let's talk about NO" and has a picture of a sign with a person holding up a hand to indicate no.

[Slide 4] reads “So let’s talk about NO” and has a picture of a sign with a person holding up a hand to indicate no.


So, it looks like I have a great audience of existing and future community leaders. Let’s talk about no.


[Slide 5] reads "No is a powerful tool" and has a picture of a circular saw

[Slide 5] reads “No is a powerful tool” and has a picture of a circular saw


No is a powerful tool with many uses. In my professional life, I do open source security, and a lot of my job involves saying no: No, this code isn’t right. No, you can’t skip validation. In my volunteer life, one of the things I do is coordinate a large summer mentoring program for the python software foundation. No, you can’t have more students than you have mentors. No, you can’t sign up even though it’s past the deadline. And as a minority in tech, I say a lot of no. No, I’m not available to help you with more diverse hiring. No, I don’t have time to educate you on issues facing minorities in tech. No helps me do my job, manage my time, make my volunteer program better, and so much more.


[Slide 6] reads "Now, I'm a NO professional... But lots of folk are not." there is no image on this slide, only stark text.

[Slide 6] reads “Now, I’m a NO professional… But lots of folk are not.” there is no image on this slide, only stark text.


I get paid to say no: it’s a huge part of my job, and I’ve learned a lot about when to say no, how to say no, techniques to make it easier for people to accept no, when I need backup on saying no, etc. But while I’m a professional naysayer, that’s not true of a lot of other folk in our communities.


[Slide 7] reads "Saying no can be exhausting" with emphasis on the word exhausting.  There is a picture of a tired looking kitty on the slide.

[Slide 7] reads “Saying no can be exhausting” with emphasis on the word exhausting. There is a picture of a tired looking kitty on the slide.


And frankly, saying no can get pretty exhausting. It’s not at all helped by all those “but you should put yourself forwards!” self-help books, let me tell you. I had some dude give me a unsolicited pep talk at work about imposter syndrome and seriously, some people need to learn the difference between a lack of confidence and a knowledgable evaluation of personal skill. No is hard, especially if you’ve been socialized to be agreeable, and some people take advantage of that.. There’s a whole talk to be had about how to say no effectively, and maybe some day I’ll give it, but I feel like the people who might need some help saying no are mostly the same people who needed help saying yes, and I want to talk to the other people. The people who make saying no so exhausting, whether they mean to or not.


[Slide 8] reads "That's not really a security bug" and has a picture of a box that has a label that says "enjoy denial" in the style of a coke advertisement, and a "hello my name is denial" sticker in the style of a name sticker

[Slide 8] has a title of “1. denial” and a quote that reads “That’s not really a security bug” and has a picture of a box that has a label that says “enjoy denial” in the style of a coke advertisement, and a “hello my name is denial” sticker in the style of a name sticker


Let’s talk about some common anti-patterns you get when you say no. The first one is denial. I hear this a lot in my professional life: That’s not really a security bug. That’s not exploitable. No one would ever do that.


[Slide 2] has a title that reads "2. Anger" and a quote that says "Failing this will destroy my future career!" over a picture of a young man making weird face that could be interpreted as anger

[Slide 2] has a title that reads “2. Anger” and a quote that says “Failing this will destroy my future career!” over a picture of a young man making weird face that could be interpreted as anger


The second reaction to no is anger. I hit this one a lot when teaching and mentoring: students sometimes have been effortlessly at the top of their class and don’t know how to handle having to work for results. Or they just have no way to handle failure and dust themselves off to try again. So they yell at me. They yell at people who they think have power over me. They blame anyone but themselves for the fact that I’m telling them something they don’t want to hear, and let me tell you they *really* don’t want to hear that I’m not destroying their life, their poor performance is destroying their life. And I wish I could say it’s just students, but try telling a project that they’re going to miss their shipping deadline due to a late breaking security issue or their failure to do due diligence. This is totally an understandable response, but it’s not a productive response.


[Slide 10] has a title of "3. Bargaining" and a quote that says "can't you just do this one thing?" and a picture of an advertisement with a cartoon farmer saying "you'd be crazy to miss this bargains"

[Slide 10] has a title of “3. Bargaining” and a quote that says “can’t you just do this one thing?” and a picture of an advertisement with a cartoon farmer saying “you’d be crazy to miss this bargains”


Next is bargaining. The worst experience I have ever had saying no was to someone who exhibited both the denial and bargaining anti-patterns. She wanted me to run a program that I’d run in previous years, which is a totally reasonable thing to ask, but when I said I wasn’t available because of a more impactful commitment, she would repeatedly come to me with things and it was always “couldn’t you just” — “couldn’t you just look over the wiki?” “couldn’t you just help with this one part of the project” “couldn’t you just help this one person get set up” “couldn’t you just answer this question.” It was exhausting and awful, because I absolutely did not have the time to do these things, and I’d actually made it clear that I didn’t even have time to keep telling her no. And yet, the questions still came.


But bargaining can also be a useful and productive pattern. In my professional life, when I say no, it’s pretty normal to negotiate a solution together with the dev team. Even in that dreadful volunteer experience, my final out came by begging a friend to work with her — negotiating it so that there was a buffer of no between me and her so she had a resource willing to help her and I had the ability to do the other thing I had committed to do.


[Slide 11] has a title of "4. Depression" and a quote that reads "Well, if you can't help me, then this program will die" and a picture of a young woman sitting at a picnic table with her face in her hands

[Slide 11] has a title of “4. Depression” and a quote that reads “Well, if you can’t help me, then this program will die” and a picture of a young woman sitting at a picnic table with her face in her hands


And then there’s depression, which honestly can be both emotional manipulation as well true dismay.


[Slide 12] has a title of "5. Acceptance" and contains an artistic photo of a cheerful looking T Rex toy

[Slide 12] has a title of “5. Acceptance” and contains an artistic photo of a cheerful looking T Rex toy


And finally, of course, acceptance. If you haven’t already recognized them, as well as the 5 stages of no, that was also the 5 stages of grieving. It’s sort of disturbing how much they line up. But why do we need to think about no anti-patterns?


[Slide 13] reads "So few experts, so many asks" and contains no picture

[Slide 13] reads “So few experts, so many asks” and contains no picture


And the answer is that these anti-patterns harm our communities. In a situation where you have very few experts and many people asking, anti-patterns surrounding no contribute to communities denial-of-servicing our few experts. This happens to me as a security expert sometimes: I’ve had weeks where I wind up arguing with people about lousy decisions endlessly, so much so that I then don’t have enough time to do advanced secure code review, or help other groups triage security issues well. It happens to me a lot more than I would like.

[Silde 14] has a title "Causes of burnout" and then a copy of a slide by Cate Huston that has a picture of an owl and reads 1. lack of control 2. insufficient reward 3. lack of community 4. absence of fairness 5. conflict in values 6. work overload"

[Silde 14] has a title “Causes of burnout” and then a copy of a slide by Cate Huston that has a picture of an owl and reads 1. lack of control 2. insufficient reward 3. lack of community 4. absence of fairness 5. conflict in values 6. work overload”


My friend Cate has been giving a great talk on burnout and I just wanted to share this slide, which talks about the fact that burnout isn’t just caused by high workload. No is a great tool for avoiding high workload, but it’s also a great tool for avoiding being put in situations where you’ll be hit by the other 5 things on this list. That’s one of the reasons that it’s absolutely essential that leaders need to learn to take no for an answer so that their communities can actually be *healthy* and not burnout factories.


[Side 15] has a picture of a ballerina in a practice outfit holding a pose that requires strength and below the words "How do I accept a no with strength and grace?"

[Side 15] has a picture of a ballerina in a practice outfit holding a pose that requires strength and below the words “How do I accept a no with strength and grace?”


So how can I learn to accept no with strength and grace?


[Slide 16] has only large text that reads "Step 1: Accept"

[Slide 16] has only large text that reads “Step 1: Accept”


The first step to accepting gracefully is to actually accept that no was in fact the answer given. If you catch yourself doing any of the anti-pattern things, you aren’t really doing a good job at this. Consider the lady who wouldn’t take no for an answer and kept asking me “couldn’t you just…” — if she’d been able to accept the no, we could have had time to help her find a better solution. But instead, the whole experience left me frustrated, exhausted, and telling my friends cautionary tales about the experience. This was a bad outcome for both of us, and for the people she wanted to help.


[Slide 17] has only large text that reads "Step 2: Listen:

[Slide 17] has only large text that reads “Step 2: Listen:


The second step is to listen. If you’re convinced this was the right choice, take time to find out why the answer was no. Be prepared to have that answer challenge your assumptions. One of the things I do at work sometimes is review open source libraries to see if they have good enough security hygiene for inclusion in our products, and I get a lot of push back when I tell people they need to choose a better library. They’ve made assumptions that don’t match up with my metrics, and the only way for them to learn to make better choices and thus get products to market faster is to learn what assumptions are leading them to poor decisions.


[Slide 18] has only large text that reads "Step 3: Plan"

[Slide 18] has only large text that reads “Step 3: Plan”


The last step is to form a new plan. You might be able to do this with the help of the person who said no, but you shouldn’t assume that — No means no, folk. If you want to be a great leader, you need to take responsibility for finding a new plan if you want the thing to be done.


[Slide 19] reads "But I don't want to get a no" with emphasis on the words "don't want"

[Slide 19] reads “But I don’t want to get a no” with emphasis on the words “don’t want”


But I don’t want to get a no.


[Slide 20] reads "But I can't afford to get a no" with emphasis on the words "can't afford"

[Slide 20] reads “But I can’t afford to get a no” with emphasis on the words “can’t afford”


But I can’t afford to get a no.


[Slide 21] says "How do I turn no into a yes?" with no emphasized in red to evoke a "stop" and yes emphasized in green to evoke a "go"

[Slide 21] says “How do I turn no into a yes?” with no emphasized in red to evoke a “stop” and yes emphasized in green to evoke a “go”


How do I turn no into a yes?


[Slide 22] reads "If you want to turn no into yes, first consider: Am I being an asshole?" The phrase "Am I being an asshole?" is emphasized.

[Slide 22] reads “If you want to turn no into yes, first consider: Am I being an asshole?” The phrase “Am I being an asshole?” is emphasized.


If you want to turn a no into yes, first consider: Am I being an asshole? (audience at OSB laughs, pulls out smart phones to take pictures of the slide). This is a legit thing you should ask yourself pretty regularly as a community leader, actually. For example, sometimes you’ll be asking for things to be done in a way that makes them easier for you at the cost of others. Sometimes you’re just demanding that things be done the first way you thought of when that’s not the important part of the request.


[Slide 23] reads "If you want to turn no into yes, first consider: What do I really need?" The phrase "What do I really need?" is emphasized.

[Slide 23] reads “If you want to turn no into yes, first consider: What do I really need?” The phrase “What do I really need?” is emphasized.


But perhaps more usefully, ask yourself what you really need. The answer is almost certainly not “I need to irritate my valuable volunteers” but what is the answer?


[Slide 24] has an image of a hand raised as if to ask a question and reads "How do I improve my ask?"

[Slide 24] has an image of a hand raised as if to ask a question and reads “How do I improve my ask?”


So, if you’re getting a no and you want a yes, clearly you are doing something wrong in the way you ask. How can you improve your ask to get better results for your community even if you have to get a no sometimes?


[Slide 25] has a picture of a woman looking into a microscope in a scientific lab and reads "Step 1: do your research"

[Slide 25] has a picture of a woman looking into a microscope in a scientific lab and reads “Step 1: do your research”


Step 1: do your research.


[Slide 26] repeats the title from the previous slide "Step 1: do your research" and follows it with a list of questions: What do you really need? Who else can you ask? Where else can you get more information? How long will what you’re asking for actually take?  How stressful is it?

[Slide 26] repeats the title from the previous slide “Step 1: do your research” and follows it with a list of questions: What do you really need?
Who else can you ask?
Where else can you get more information?
How long will what you’re asking for actually take?
How stressful is it?



  • What do you really need?

  • Who else can you ask?

  • Where else can you get more information?

  • How long will what you’re asking for actually take?

  • How stressful is it?


[Slide 27] has a picture of two kids sharing and reads "Step 2: use your empathy"

[Slide 27] has a picture of two kids sharing and reads “Step 2: use your empathy”


Step 2: Use your empathy


[Slide 28] repeats the title from the previous slide "Step 2: use your empathy" and asks a range of questions (will appear in text below this caption) The emphasis is on the final sentence, which reads "Empathy is not about what you want, but what they want."

[Slide 28] repeats the title from the previous slide “Step 2: use your empathy” and asks a range of questions (will appear in text below this caption) The emphasis is on the final sentence, which reads “Empathy is not about what you want, but what they want.”



  • How can you make saying yes more beneficial to the person you’re asking?


    • Can you pay them?

    • Can you provide other rewards?

    • Can you make it align better with their career or life goals?

    • Can you make sure they get more thanks, recognition?


  • How can you make it easier for them to say yes?


    • Do they need childcare?

    • Do they need a better schedule?

    • Does the task need to be better-defined?

    • Could they help with something smaller?


  • Should you just leave them alone if they say no?

  • Empathy is not about what you want, but what they want.


If you don’t know how to empathize, you’re going to end up with asks that are utterly unappealing or outright insulting to the people whose help you want.


[Slide 29] has a picture of a snowy scene with my mom and her dog Buster and reads, "I'm Canadian.  People die of exposure"

[Slide 29] has a picture of a snowy scene with my mom and her dog Buster and reads, “I’m Canadian. People die of exposure”


And in a striking example of that, one thing I and many others often get offered for my time is “exposure” — I’m from Canada. My people DIE of exposure. But jokes aside, exposure is often a double-edged sword for people in your community, and you need your empathy and knowledge of your community of volunteers to know when that’s something they might want and when it’s something they want to avoid at all costs.


[Slide 31] has a title of "Step 3: make a backup plan (or several)" and a Foxtrot comic about the need to make computer backups *before* doing something on the computer

[Slide 31] has a title of “Step 3: make a backup plan (or several)” and a Foxtrot comic about the need to make computer backups *before* doing something on the computer


Make a backup plan (hopefully this will be easier with the research!) If getting a yes is really important to you, you should try to do all of these things in advance.


[Slide 32] is a summary slide described in detail below.

[Slide 32] is a summary slide described in detail below.


Refusing to take no for an answer is damaging behaviour: it contributes to burnout, denial of service, assholism.


Steps to graceful acceptance of no:



  1. Accept

  2. Listen

  3. Plan


If you really need a yes



  1. Do your research

  2. Use your empathy

  3. Make a backup plan


And do all of this before you ask if you want the best results and the happiest community. If you’re asking for something, the onus is upon you to figure out who might want to do this and find a way to make them feel great about saying yes.


Learning to accept no well and productively will make you a more effective leader.


nopetopus

Nopetopus source


Photo credits:

“Superman vs Hulk (131/365)” by JD Hancock https://www.flickr.com/photos/jdhancock/4600608792

“Talk to the hand” by Bridget McKenzie https://www.flickr.com/photos/bridgetmckenz/7822818160/

“Power tool” by Helen Cook https://www.flickr.com/photos/hvc/2681974174/

“Sleepy” by Sera Photography https://www.flickr.com/photos/seraphing/15305580251/

“Denial pack” by andres musta https://www.flickr.com/photos/andresmusta/6175939561/

“Anger” by kunkelstein https://www.flickr.com/photos/21370407@N08/2091127037

“You’d be crazy to miss these bargains” by Christian Heilmann https://www.flickr.com/photos/codepo8/1309725237

“Acceptance” by Kitty Mao https://www.flickr.com/photos/kwseah/21683299393

“Beautiful Ballerina” by Grace Trivino https://www.flickr.com/photos/graceyheartphotography/4741052547

“Raised hand” by usdagov https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/22484527807/

“Sharing” by Binny V A https://www.flickr.com/photos/binnyva/8600465534

“Out for a walk in the woods” by Terriko https://www.flickr.com/photos/terrio/8304718546/



comment count unavailable comments

November 03, 2016 02:01 PM

October 27, 2016

Terri

Spinning continued

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

My class has been done for a couple of weeks, but I’m still spinning! It’s actually kind of killing me to leave my wheel behind for my upcoming trip, but I haven’t even tried a spindle yet so there will be no spinning for a little while. So to tide me over, I’m posting some pictures of my almost-finished skeins today. Hopefully I’ll have some comparison photos with them after washing and finishing later when I have time for more photos.


First plied yarn


Before washing:

First skein of handspun yarn


This is two different PCC fleeces. At least I’m pretty sure it was: the label on the bag of the white is definitely PCC but I didn’t check the bag of the brown since that was what we were using in class. That brown skein is my very first thing off the wheel, from the very first class! (It was also done on a wheel that we decided didn’t quite suit me, so I switched out for the rest of my class rental.) Both colours are natural and undyed.


Second plied yarn


Second handspun yarn


This is the same white from the two-toned first skein, out of the same bag. I found the white way easier to spin than the brown since it wasn’t as “sticky” and all of a sudden I could keep it consistent and smaller. Of course, it could have just been that I’d had more practice!


My second handspun yarn!


I was focused on spinning so I didn’t stop quite often enough for bits of grass and stuff stuck in there, making this a little extra-rustic. Can you spot any in the photos?


Third plied yarn


In progress:

My third handspun yarn, during plying


This is a super beautiful hand-dyed fiber braid from Kashmaier Creations. I decided after the success of my second yarn, I wanted to treat myself by trying out some of her beautiful fiber, and I’m really pleased by how it came out!


Looking dramatic:

My third handspun yarn


The fiber is a corrie cross that was recommended to me as suitable for beginners, and I think I agree. I was intentionally making it thicker than the 2nd yarn because I wanted it squooshy, and the plied yarn turned out almost exactly how I envisioned.


Yarn having a bath:

Yarn having a bath


Look at those colours! I’m not sure what this yarn will be yet, but I definitely want to make it into something I can show off.


Next up, one more hand-dyed extravagance with a different sheep breed as base, then I might try to do something a little more slippery to see how that works out.


I’m really enjoying the process: running the double treadle wheel I’m using is like a little moving meditation, and since I had a hard week of sore leg and sore head, I was sorely in need of that. I didn’t think I needed a new hobby, but I definitely don’t mind having one. If you want a little spin-spiration, check out enfiber‘s great spinning series and fascinating guide to understanding different fiber types. They’re part of why I was willing to stretch my horizons with a new fiber craft, so I was ready to sign up when the right class came along!



comment count unavailable comments

October 27, 2016 02:00 PM

October 13, 2016

Terri

Starry Stole

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Starry Stole


This was actually my first beaded knitting project, and it’s a miracle it wasn’t my last, as it called for threading hundreds of beads (700 the pattern said!) on beautiful laceweight wool.


It took me 5 years to finish.


Well, okay, I can’t be sure it was 5 years, because I didn’t actually put this project in Ravelry with a start date, but it was pretty early on in my knitting career, and was started when I lived in Albuquerque, so that only really gives me a possible 2 year window. It’s at least 4 years, anyhow. It felt like forever.


Pattern: Starry Stole

Yarn: I believe it was the discontinued Knitpicks Shimmer Hand Dyed Lace

Ravelry Link: My Starry Stole


I can definitely tell you that I wouldn’t try to string beads on that yarn again — it felted little rings as you slid the beads along, the beads wrapped around each other making terrible almost-knots. I’m more experienced now, and I know that fighting with yarn and beads like this is unnecessary now thanks to nice tools like my bead-aid. Stringing them on meant I could slip-stitch them to float on one side, though, and that is actually pretty nice in the final feel of the piece.


Starry Stole


Despite many frustrating moments and the huge number of times I set it down in favour of some less irritating project, the final piece is beautiful. The soft lace yarn floats over my skin with the beads providing sparkle and just enough weight. I wish the yarn wasn’t discontinued! It feels like something out of a fairy tale, and it looks like it too.


Starry Stole


Because this was a very early project for me, it’s pretty easy for me to spot the mistakes: here’s where I had too heavy a stitch marker and it pulled on the yarn, here’s a place where I botched the lace edging and guessed at a fix, here’s a section where the tension isn’t quite even. But blocking smoothed most of that out and the result is beautiful even with some signs of my inexperience knit in to the piece. Maybe that tangible record of how far I’ve come is part of the magic of this shawl.


Starry Stole


I learned a lot from this one, and I’m glad I finally finished it, because it really is lovely.


Starry Stole



comment count unavailable comments

October 13, 2016 02:03 PM

October 10, 2016

Terri

Craftsman Shawl

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

This shawl is another part of my fall finishing spree, which was inspired by someone in one of my online groups asking how many WIPs I had. I took stock, then finished this one before posting my answer (which is probably cheating) and then started in on the gloves and another one I’ll post soon.


Craftsman Shawl


I saw this in the shop at Twisted and it’s very striking with those square holes, and I love the inspiration from Craftsman homes. Combine that with a local yarn, and you get a pleasantly local pattern. I suspect those are always an easier sell around here, since “buy local” is something that people really commit to in the PNW. I know I’m quickly becoming a sucker for pacific-northwest themed stuff, and I’ve only lived here 3 years. (But oh, when I step out into that misty fall rain, sometimes it feels like my heart’s been here forever.)


Craftsman Shawl


Pattern: Craftsman Shawl. While this pattern looks pretty ornate, it’s surprisingly simple, and has lots of straight-up knit rows which were very pleasant while I was on conference calls or watching videos or whatever. I don’t think it’d be a great beginner project, but it’s probably only a few steps up from beginner level.


Craftsman Shawl


I love the aesthetics of the pattern, but once I got it finished, I was surprised to find that it wasn’t nearly as warm as I expected because the blocking opened up those big holes so it no longer trapped air as well as it did while I was knitting it. So don’t plan for this to be a great warmth piece. But it’s actually kind of nice as a mid-weight piece, and it’s more or less earned a place on my favourite chair for when the sun goes down and the living room starts to cool off.


Craftsman Shawl


Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Silky Victoria. I picked this up also at Twisted, I think maybe using a coupon intended to get people to come back after the Rose City Yarn Crawl. Smart marketing, although the store is kind of picked over at that point. Twisted is one of the first shops I visited in Portland, and it’s still one I take yarn-loving visitors to because it’s got a nice selection of local dyers for your tourist yarn needs and gives me an excuse to drive across the city.


Craftsman Shawl


This was a *giant* ball of yarn. It’s soft, but still wooly, and doesn’t feel super silky to me (compared to my fancier blends) but it shines with that silky almost-sparkle. that’s really highlighted by the tonal reds. I’m a big fan of the Blue Moon colourways, and this is a pleasant base that really shows the rich colours at their best. It’s not one of those yarns that makes me immediately want to run out and buy more just because it feels so amazing, but their colours (and their hilarious names) always tempt me.


Craftsman Shawl


My project on ravelry, in case you want to queue up your own.


How am I doing on that finishing spree? I had 8 works in progress if you count this one, 4 are done, and I started and finished a 5th that’s currently blocking.


Two WIPs you know about are the abandoned cardipalooza cardigan and the dreaded second glove from the catch a falling star MKAL. I’ve got two more WIPs that I don’t intend to finish right now because there’s pattern rework to be done.


But then I started a hat this morning because I needed a purse-sized project that wouldn’t poke holes in things (the needles for those fingerless gloves are deadly) and the new yarn from the <a href="http://flockandfiberfestival.com/>flock and fiber festival</a> was calling to me. So I&#8217;m currently at 3 in progress, two stalled. Good thing I&#8217;m not *too* worried about having a few things on the needles at once!</p>



comment count unavailable comments

October 10, 2016 02:01 PM

October 06, 2016

Terri

Cadfael Shawlette

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I did a lot of crochet in August, mostly amigrumi for ABQ Maker Faire, but there was also this pretty little thing for myself:


Cadfael Shawl


Pattern: Cadfael Shawlette by Kat Strieby


I really loved the Rimsky-Korsakoffee-Cake Shawl that was the crochet mystery-a-long for the Rose City Yarn Crawl 2016. I’d only chosen to do that one because I met Kat at my local yarn shop, but I particularly like Kat’s crochet charts, which are exceptionally pleasant to use, and will rave about them to anyone who asks.


I don’t know if I ever posted pictures of me in that shawl here, so here’s one:


Rose City Yarn Crawl - Day 3 - Mystery Crochet-a-Long


That shawl remains one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever made, as well as a great experience to make. So when my friend M suggested that we do another of her patterns and a knit-a-long together, I took her up on it. It became an excuse to send her ridiculous photos of the shawl in progress for a while:


img_20160905_192934


The new shawl isn’t quite as striking as the coloured layers of my old one, but it’s certainly going to become a favourite piece for me to wear:


Cadfael Shawl


Yarn: Teresa Ruch Designs Tencel 5/2. I don’t know the name of the colourway (It had just come in the day I bought it and I’m not sure any name had stuck yet at the time that I bought it), but it’s a special shop colour exclusive to Black Sheep at Orenco, so you should order from them if you love it.


Cadfael Shawl


This tencel is quickly becoming my favourite thing to crochet with, especially for shawls, because it’s light and drapey and the colours come through as saturated and shiny. Since it’s a very smooth synthetic, it doesn’t stick to itself which means you can slide things around easily during blocking. It’s also quite nice for beads. I’d guess you could even string them on in advance since this yarn doesn’t felt, but I used a Bead Aid because it’s so much easier.


This shawl is a somewhat unusual shape, which becomes more striking during blocking.


Before blocking:

Cadfael Shawl (pre blocking)


During blocking:


Cadfael Shawl (during blocking)


Although to be honest, you don’t see it much the way I’ve been wearing it as a scarf lately:


Cadfael Shawl


It’s a really lovely piece and I’m glad M convinced me it was time to try this pattern!


My project on Ravelry in case you want to see more pictures or queue it up yourself.



comment count unavailable comments

October 06, 2016 02:01 PM

October 02, 2016

Terri

Learning to spin!

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I really don’t need new hobbies, especially not ones that require a bunch of equipment. But sometimes you get an opportunity and you just have to go for it: in this case, it was a class taught by an instructor who I was sure would be great for the way I learn. So I’m learning to spin yarn this week and next.


I’ve got to say, I’m not exactly a natural at this, but it’s still kind of a relaxing set of motions, and I’m quite enjoying it. Here’s my first attempt (the fluff on the right is just some unspun stuff at the end):


My first attempt at spinning!


And my second, which is still on my borrowed wheel waiting for me to continue practice. (The class sensibly includes a wheel rental for practice, although I need to switch wheels tomorrow when the new rental wheel comes in).


My second attempt at spinning


Both of these are, I believe, from fleece from the flock at the Portland Community College. Undyed, just different sheep.



comment count unavailable comments

October 02, 2016 11:14 PM

October 01, 2016

Terri

Grey gloves (Phase 1)

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Grey gloves for J


I’ve been on a bit of a finishing spree, pulling out older projects. This one technically isn’t finished yet, since I’ll be putting a finger cover to make them convertible gloves, but since I gave them to J to try out in case it’s cool while he’s traveling east I figure they’re finished for now!


These were started in the spring, but abandoned when it got too warm for them to be useful. It’s still too warm, but I wanted to make sure they were done before it actually got cold.


Pattern: Line by Line mittens. This is a bit of a silly pattern to use with a solid grey yarn, but I had a copy (I think maybe it was a giveaway once?) and it has a size that’s suitable for J. Since this wasn’t a surprise, I got J to choose how long to make the fingers, so it’s not exactly to pattern.


Yarn: Misti Tui from Misti Alpaca. Sport weight, chains of thin alpaca. This is the same type of yarn I used for my Easy Kitty Hat. It’s probably not ideal for gloves, but it’s so soft and easy to stuff in a pocket that I thought J might enjoy some gloves out of it and offered to make them.


I don’t know if I’d recommend it for gloves in general because I doubt it’s super hardy, but so soft, and if they got worn out it’s not too hard to patch them up or make more.



comment count unavailable comments

October 01, 2016 05:54 AM

September 29, 2016

Terri

September as start to a new year

Probably because I have three academic degrees and then worked in a university as a postdoc, I still center my life around September as beginning of the year. This year doing so that way feels especially odd because September is the one month where no one in my household is traveling so it's less busy rather than the usual school year of more busy, but it also feels apt because I'm settling into new stuff at work.

But let it not be said that because I'm out of school I'm not learning. I'm actually even signed up for two classes:


1. I signed up for a two-session spinning course at my local yarn shop. The instructor is a friend from the Saturday knit group and I'm super excited because I've watched and listen to her teach so I know she'll be great. I absolutely positively do not need a new hobby, but learning new things is fun!

2. I also signed up for a free online course in a subject I know nearly nothing about: "Osteoarchaeology: The Truth in Our Bones". Why? Because Kathy Reichs novels and crime shows have no doubt left me with a jumbled impression of how bone identification works and I like random real biology and science in my life (a hazard of being raised by biochemists). I plan to watch the first few lectures and decide whether to stick to it, which is something a friend taught me to do with courses when I was an undergrad and it's the one thing I wish everyone knew to do because it lets you try a broader range of things.

If anyone else wants to watch lectures and chat with me about them, I find I stick with these things more if I talk about them with someone, so hit me up for class gossip!

Other than that, I've been doing some more new-years-resolution type stuff:

a. I've been finishing up some work-in-progress knitting things that got shelved for various reasons, and it's strangely satisfying. Hopefully I'll get some time to do some pictures soon and write those up.

b. I bought a new band for my fitbit and am trying to be more serious about using the data it gives me to walk more and sleep more. It's not going super well because my schedule is so random right now, but I'm working on it.

c. I changed up all my subscription boxes, stopping Birchbox, Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags and trying to stop Yarn of the Month (although apparently I didn't get the email out correctly because I got a shipping notice). They're all great subscriptions, but they all piled up over the summer and I think I'll let myself enjoy what I have for a bit.

I did, however, sign back up for the Jimmy Beans Big Beanie Bags, which turned out to be a sanity saver for me several times because it meant I had small kits on hand when I was going somewhere without much notice and needed an easy thing to do. So the plan is to do that up to when the Rose City Yarn Crawl mystery-a-longs start in January and then decide if I need more or I need a break. :)

d. I'm back in work choir and am looking for some better ways to do vocal training, because Christmas music has a lot of high soprano parts and I'm a mezzo soprano with a lousy range that I know I can improve if I work at it. Advice and technological learning help much appreciated! I'll probably start with some Rock Band sessions, since I'm way out of practice from the summer.

It's a good start to a new year, even if it isn't a new year exactly!

comment count unavailable comments

September 29, 2016 04:30 AM

September 04, 2016

Terri

Library books returned and read

Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy:…
Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy: Shadowhunter Academy, Book 1
by Cassandra Clare, Devon Bostick (Narrator), Simon & Schuster Audio (Publisher)


This one was a cute short about Simon trying to live up to his own legacy (see previous many books) by going to Shadowhunter Academy. It's mostly funny almost a mockery of an anime high school heroes drama, but clearly setting up for a more serious tale about what it means to be a hero. Pointless to read without having read the other series, I expect, but an enjoyable lighter follow-up if you have.


Burned (An Alex Verus Novel) by Benedict…
Burned (An Alex Verus Novel)
by Benedict Jacka

Still enjoying this series, surprisingly, because this is around the point where the political drama and awful things happening to characters I love starts to wear on me. Still enough light in the dark, and it was nice to see some of the characters come to terms with each other.

Prez Vol. 1: Corndog in Chief by Mark…
Prez Vol. 1: Corndog in Chief
by Mark Russell, Sean Parsons (Illustrator), Ben Caldwell (Illustrator), Mark Morales (Illustrator), Dominike"domo"stanton (Illustrator)

In a not-so-distant future, corporate personhood and attention economy has led us to the point where a teenaged girl gets elected as president of the united states after she starred in a crappy video and a hacker group decided to push her as a viable 3rd candidate. This book chronicles her rise and her attempts to make something out of her figurehead presidency after all. This one jumps around a lot (likely an intentional choice) but is an interesting story at its core.


Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling by…
Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling
by Tony Cliff

Book 2 in this series is a bit less swashbuckling with a touch of Jane Austen, but still fun. Love the denouement with her relatives.


The Spirit Ring by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Spirit Ring
by Lois McMaster Bujold

Apparently I'd never read this Lois Mcmaster Bujold? This tale could be cast in the mold of "plucky girl hero saves the world" but with our young heroine's rage and willingness to bend the rules to get what she needs, it's a strangely strong story that quietly breaks many of the rules we quietly have about stories told about young heroes and women. Here is a heroine who doesn't feel guilt or uncertainty about her power and intelligence and rages against having to hide it, who gets angry, who doesn't follow the rules and this doesn't lead to downfall and repentance but rather to success. This is a quietly subversive story wrapped in a traditional fantasy mold. Sure, it's maybe not the epics and maybe isn't as full-package clever as her later works, but it's a surprising gem for its genre.

comment count unavailable comments

September 04, 2016 06:58 PM

August 22, 2016

Terri

Crochet Pokéball Postcard Pattern

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

My favourite local yarn store, Black Sheep at Orenco, got turned into a pokémon gym with the advent of Pokémon Go, and I was so pleased by this that I thought I’d make a pattern! Now, pokéball patterns are a dime a dozen, but what I wanted was something that would be easy to print up nicely and give away, so that’s what I made. I’ll have a batch to give away at Albuquerque Mini Maker Faire on Aug 27-28, and hopefully the lovely folk at Black Sheep at Orenco will let me give away some there too.


Here’s the pages as images, but if you’d like to print it yourself or save it in your collection, I recommend the Pokeball postcard pattern pdf. It’s intended for a 4×6 postcard, or both sides will print onto a single 8.5×11″ sheet of paper.


Pokeball-pattern-1


Pokeball-pattern-2


(The text version of the pattern is at the bottom of this post)


Need help? There are lots of great tutorials out there, including video tutorials on youtube. If the first one you find doesn’t work for you, there’s many more options!


Here’s a few tutorials you might need for this pattern:


Still confused? You can probably also find an expert or a class at your local yarn store.


Love the pattern and want to thank me? Here’s a few things you can do:


  1. I don’t take tips, but I love seeing photos of what people have done with my patterns, so feel free to drop me an email at terri (at) toybox.ca.

  2. Make a pokeball and leave it for someone to find at your local pokestop or gym!

  3. Buy something at Black Sheep at Orenco so my favourite yarn store stays in business. (If you’re a crocheter and haven’t tried Teresa Ruch’s tencel, I recommend splurging on a ball and making a shawl or scarf. Such saturated colours with beautiful shine; the pictures hardly do it justice!)


Feel free to print this pattern out for friends or strangers and do whatever you’d like with your pokeballs! (Although please don’t hurt anyone with them!)


Crochet PoKéBall


A free amigurumi pattern by Terri Oda


Materials: Yarn in red, white, black. Crochet hook appropriate for yarn or smaller to avoid holes.

Yarn needle. Stuffing (polyfill and/or beans work well)

Picture uses worsted weight and size I or 5.5mm hook.

sc single crochet

inc increase by doing two single crochet in a single crochet stitch

dec “invisible” decrease: pull up loop in outside-of-ball half of next stitch, then full following stitch. Finish by pulling though all 3 loops on hook.

When starting your next stitch, be careful not to re-use the 2nd stitch in the decrease by accident.


Button:

0 (white): 6 sc in a magic circle loop

There are great tutorials for magic circles online!

1 (black): Switch colours to black, 2sc in each stitch (for total of 12 stitches)

Cut yarn, leaving a long black tail for sewing

Ball:

0 (red): 6 sc in a magic circle loop (6 stitches)

1 (red): increase (inc) 6 times (12 stitches)

2 (red): inc in next stitch, sc in following one repeat 6 times (18 stitches total)

3 (red): inc, sc, sc 6 times (24 stitches)

4 (red): inc, sc 3 times 6 times (30 stitches)

5-7 (red): sc around (30 stitches)

8 (black): change to black, sc around (30 stitches)

Don’t worry if your colour change looks obvious, it will be covered by the button.

9-11 (white): change to white, sc around (30 stitches)

12 (white): dec, sc 3 times 6 times (24 stitches)

13 (white): dec, sc, sc 6 times (18 stitches)

Start filling ball. You may need to stuff more as you go

14 (white): dec, sc 6 times (12 stitches)

15 (white): dec 6 times (6 stitches). Last chance to stuff!

Cut thread and pull through to close circle.


Sew button onto ball, covering the area with colour change. Toss at a pokémon to catch it!



comment count unavailable comments

August 22, 2016 01:25 AM

August 20, 2016

Terri

Brief book reviews: poodle mysteries and sexy aliens

Been a while since I did book reviews, eh? Not going to bother to catch up, but here are the books going back to the library this weekend:

Alien Proliferation (Alien Novels) by Gini…
Alien Proliferation (Alien Novels)
by Gini Koch

Amusingly, this is from the same series of the last book reviews I did, back in March! That was book 1, I'm now on book 4.

Series is still full of sexy aliens and crazy terrorist plots. Loving the characters and the way the author doesn't feel a need to pry apart established relationships in order to feed the drama. That actually matters quite a bit to me -- I get tired of longer series when they keep doing that, and here instead our main characters are growing into their relationships while chaos swirls around them. Less loving how brutal the bad guys were in this one. Still love the characters, but I might have to move this series from my personal "fun romp that will cheer me up" pile to a "read when you're ready" one.

Hair of the Dog (A Melanie Travis Mystery)…
Hair of the Dog (A Melanie Travis Mystery)
by Laurien Berenson

Also a book 4! This is a poodle mystery series my mom recommended to me after she saw how often I post pictures of dog shows (one of my coworkers breeds champion wolfhounds and I try to go out to some of his local shows when I can). It's a cozy mystery series set against a backdrop of dog shows, and it's everything I wanted in such a series. Sure, by book 4 it's getting a bit ridiculous that this amateur keeps getting surrounded by murders... but on the other hand, I can sort of see how police wouldn't get all the nuance of dog-show-based motives so at least our amateur sleuth has a clear role. It's been a while since I read the previous book, but book 4 had me right back into the swing of things in no time. Very fun!

comment count unavailable comments

August 20, 2016 07:17 AM

August 15, 2016

Terri

Yarn of the Month Club, July 2015

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Hello my poor neglected maker blog, long time no see! It’s been a busy few months, in good ways, in bad ways, in sad ways. But I have been making things, and maybe I’ll eventually take pictures of my wedding dress and maybe I’ll eventually frog that section of the cardi that wasn’t right and maybe I’ll take some better photos of the pokéball and get some cards printed to hand out. Or maybe I’ll get caught up in the new things I want to make for maker faire and disappear again. Such is life.


What I will do today is document July’s YOTM shipment, since I finished those swatches and finally got around to taking some photos of them.


Debbi Bliss yarn samples (YOTM)


These two yarns are pretty similar, with the black Cleo slightly thicker than the pink Loli, but both with a similar icord type structure.


Cleo by Debbi Bliss


4.75 sts/inch on US 8

62% cotton, 38% polyester

98 yards. Color: 60001


Front of swatch:

20160812-IMG_0865.jpg


Back of swatch:

20160812-IMG_0866.jpg


I really love this swatch: it’s pleasantly sproingy and black, which means it would make a lovely face scrubby for makeup removal. I may just adopt it for that rather than saving it for the swatch blanket.


Loli by Debbi Bliss


6 sts/inch on US 6

80% cotton, 20% polyester

120 yards. color: 61006


Loli by Debbi Bliss (YOTM Sample)

The colour pops are actually looser than the main yarn, which was a surprise!


Front of swatch:

20160812-IMG_0867.jpg


That’s definitely not the promised 5″ square, but I decided I wasn’t in the mood to re-knit it at the time because the needles I was using tended to snag.


Back of swatch:

20160812-IMG_0868.jpg


This blend is much more cotton-like than the Cleo, feeling more like a more stretchy cotton rather than like a lofty polyester.


Both of these yarns were pretty similar to knit: springy, liable to catch on the lousy needles I was using but no problem with good needles. I liked the swatch patterns (thankfully no mistakes in the swatch this time!) I gather from a bit of searching that they’re meant to be beginner-friendly yarns, which makes some sense.


They knit up quickly once I switched needles. I’d definitely consider using these yarns for kids toys or anything else where washability and durability was a priority. They’d probably be good for summer stuff or folk avoiding animal fibers, although they don’t feel particularly luxurious to me so I don’t think I’d make big projects out of them. Still, fun to try!



comment count unavailable comments

August 15, 2016 05:37 AM

July 20, 2016

Terri

Wedding wrap-up

Wedding photo links here:
https://wedding.afront.org/

Yes, it went well, aside from one of our friends getting a sprained ankle walking in and having 3x the amount of food we needed I think.

No, there are no honeymoon plans, as I need my vacation for family this year. Perhaps another year.

Yes, I did make my own dress. Note the pocket I added the morning of my wedding day. It was invaluable as it meant I could carry my cell phone and give my parents and grandmother a bit of a personal tour of the site.

No, I am not becoming American at this time. Do you people even know how long that takes? (But I don't want to anyhow, so it's moot.) I got my green card some weeks before the wedding, so this does not affect my immigration status in any way.

Yes, I am still recovering.

comment count unavailable comments

July 20, 2016 06:03 AM

June 18, 2016

Terri

Miscellaneous frequently asked questions

Do you still have a job?

Yup, so far! J too. But J's dad has had to switch companies. Thankfully, he got an interview and offer right away for a position that's up his alley, so that's cool. Sadly, he'll be moving for the new job shortly after our wedding.

How's that wedding planning going?

Actually pretty well. We're hardly done, but we spent time this week painting the stairway and reading stuff from the choose-your-own-adventure ceremony guide our most excellent officiant sent. Some of the options in the book were... hilariously not us. Much laughter ensued. :)

But yes, we've got a list and we're ticking things off it. Being internet generation that we are, the list is actually a Google spreadsheet and the closest thing we have to a wedding planner is a grumpy sysadmin in Denver who is determined that we won't run out of food. Okay, we also have a whole IRC channel full of folk who are also double and triple-checking our checklist. We are seriously lucky to know such great people.

Are you getting stressed out yet?

Not this week -- we've actually been relaxing a little again. We've got a great community of friends, as I said above. And especially lately, J and I have been especially in sync as we sort out tasks and try to finish the last house reno stuff. (I would never have thought looking at carpet could be so hilarious, but it was!) We were pretty worn out after Pycon and the cold we caught, but we've been kind to ourselves and each other, and it's been good. It probably helps that neither of us cares deeply about the details: there'll be food, and friends, and a legal tying of the knot, and everything else will work out or it'll be a hilarious story to tell people later. We're so very lucky that there aren't huge complicated wedding traditions on either side of the family, but also that both of us are quite happy to say no when we're told we just "must" do something. ("But there have to be flowers!" "There are, they're in the garden" "But couldn't you just buy..." "... buy more flowers and put them in the ground?")

Anyhow, life is good, but painting the guest bedrooms and dealing with lists *is* taking up a lot of my evenings, so you might not be hearing *that* much from me for the next few weeks. Wish me luck!

comment count unavailable comments

June 18, 2016 07:08 AM

May 03, 2016

Anne

5 Simple WordPress Security Best Practices

Here’s a compilation of some of our best practices for WordPress security. These are good measures you can take as an average user without either coding expertise or server administration experience. We believe they drastically decrease the odds of a Wordpress site getting hacked, and we’ve been able to observe them effectively protecting our own websites and some of our customers’.

You’ll see me recommend the free plugin All-in-One WordPress Security several times in this post. In addition to many, many things this plugin can do, All-in-One WordPress Security makes all of the following suggestions very easy. I personally don’t turn on all of its features, because there are a lot, and some cover the same bases as other features, but in addition to using its login lockdown, database prefix, and failed login records features, it can help with everything below. However, this plugin is not at all required for any of these suggestions, and much of what it does is above and beyond these top-five suggestions.

Let me tell you, learning to keep your WordPress site secure because it’s already been hacked is not the way you want to do it. Once hackers get in, you have to take drastic measures to get them out and keep them out. We’ve scrubbed a few hacked client sites lately and it’s tedious, grubby work. The minor inconvenience of applying security measures in advance is vastly preferable to the major inconvenience of cleaning up a hacked WordPress site–and most of these suggestions are easy.

1. Don’t Name Your User Something Obvious

If the attacker knows your username, that gives him half of the user-password puzzle. When your username appears as the post author, or anywhere else on your site, an attacker then only has to guess half of your login credentials. Why make it easier for him?

Wordpress security -- Usernames

In WordPress, under your user settings, you have the option of making your public display name anything you want, using your first name, last name, and nickname fields. It should NOT match your login username.

Wordpress Security: Keep Your Username Unknown!

WordPress Security: Keep Your Username Unknown!

Attackers will also try to guess your user name from context. The first thing they try is “admin.” (Never name your user “admin.” If you have an “admin” user, delete it and replace it with a different one.) Then they may try your site name, site title, or contextually important key words, so don’t use those in your username.

The plugin I mentioned, All-in-One Security, allows you to view login records, including failed login records on your site, so it can allow you to see what usernames attackers are trying. This can be useful. If you see one of your valid usernames is compromised, you can delete and replace that user, or at least ensure that user has a very strong password.

2. Use a Strong Password

This is simultaneously the single most important and easiest step you can do. One of the hack recoveries I’ve been involved with was a site that I could tell got hacked through a weak password.

Passwords that use straightforward English words are easier to crack than ones that don’t contain only dictionary words. Passwords that contain “admin” or the user’s name or the name of the website are particularly easy to guess. The worst are generic passwords like password, changeme, 123456789, etc.

Wordpress Security: Strong PasswordsWhat does a strong password look like? welovecats is weak. w3l0v3c4ts is better. gU’^P-!zc}z58N/U is best. The WordPress user preferences page will now generate strong keywords for you.

One thing that strikes me using All-in-One’s feature to monitor failed login attempts is the volume of failed login attempts from unknown users. I see around a hundred per day on some of our sites. And if All-in-One’s login lockdown feature were not in effect, forcing the attacker to change IP address every time login fails, there might be many more. How long will it take to crack your password?

Use KeePass or another password tool

Why don’t people use hard passwords? Because what’s hard for a machine to crack is also hard for a human to remember and to type. Well, there are solutions for that. We use KeePass, a free tool, to manage our passwords. You can copy/paste your difficult-to-type passwords straight out of KeePass into your WordPress login. A strong password is 1000% worth the slight inconvenience, and you realize this if you ever need to clean up after a hack — or pay a technician in limbs and firstborn babies to do it for you.

3. Update your Plugins & Core!

Wordpress updates are critical to securing your site!

WordPress updates are critical to securing your site!

I would rank this as the next important after your password, yet most WordPress users I’m familiar with are fairly delinquent on their updates. I’ve been involved with at least one hack recovery that was due to an out-of-date version of WordPress.

New versions of WordPress (and other software such as plugins) sometimes contain fixes for discovered exploits. When you continue to host old versions on your site, hackers can utilize those known exploits, especially if your WordPress installation broadcasts its version in the footer or some other location. Most modern themes are smart enough not to do this. But that does not mean an attacker coming across your site won’t try the old exploits. Also, WordPress and plugin versions may be publicly available if someone uses their browser’s web inspector or a crawler bot to view your site’s code.

4. Don’t Use wp-login.php

If the attacker knows your site is a WordPress site (which is easy to tell), then they know your login page is probably wp-login.php, the WordPress default.

The easiest way to change this is with a plugin, such as All-in-One Security. There are others — Rename wp-login.php or Loginizer. I haven’t tried either of these two, but they have good ratings as of this writing.

When I do this, I try not to name the login destination something too obvious, but something that I or the client will remember. One way to do this is to name the page something tangentially-related to the site. For example, if you’re doing a site for a local airport, you could name it takeoff or tarmac.

I don’t know that renaming the login is super-effective, but I don’t think it hurts to do it. When I use All-in-One security to monitor failed login attempts, it seems clear to me that hackers who specialized in this sort of thing are still easily finding a way to attempt logins.

5. Advanced: Disallow Scripts from Your Uploads Directory

Some host services (e.g. Dreamhost) do this for you when you install WordPress (via Dreamhost’s One-Click Install). Dreamhost does this by creating an .htaccess file in your wp-content/uploads directory with only one line:

SetHandler no-handler

To do this yourself, you can open a text editor and creat a file named ‘.htaccess’ with NO extension. Save it with the above line, and upload it by FTP into your site’s uploads directory.

In the hacked sites I’ve examined, I found the attackers did add files to the uploads directory. These files were named like you would expect WordPress files to be named, but there should not be such files in your uploads directory. By placing this .htaccess file in your uploads directory you prevent script, especially php, from running in that directory.

Bonus Tip: Keep a Clean Server

I think that hackers like messy filesystems, because it makes it easy to hide malicious code in plain sight. If you keep lots of directories on your server in addition to your WordPress files it gives hackers lots of creative places to store code. For example, if you have old site backups, development directories, image or pdf repositories, or personal files sitting on your server, hackers can tuck code in these places that either interacts with your WordPress site or that facilities easier access to your site or server.

These days, personal files can be stored at Dropbox or other cloud storage services. Images or pdfs needed by your public site can be moved into your WordPress media library.

The most dangerous thing you can do it leave old WordPress installations sitting somewhere on your host’s server. If you have a development site or an old backup of WordPress sitting there, it can be subject to those known exploits mentioned above. If they can get into this old version of WordPress, they might be able to access your whole server, or at least interact with your current WordPress site.

WordPress Security: Helpful Plugins

In addition to All-in-One Security, I have found Exploit Scanner useful for identifying potential malicious code on sites that were hacked or I suspected to be hacked. Exploit Scanner will scan your WordPress files for common signs of bad code. It will (usually) find a lot of false positives and it is up to you to recognize files that should be there and that should not, but it can help you get a sense whether something fishy is going on beneath the hood of your website.

Comment Spam

I am also asked frequently in the same breath as the WordPress security topic for recommendations about comment spam. This is related, as spam containing links to malicious websites is basically a type of insertion attack. We usually install WP Spam Shield. It’s free, kept up-to-date, and seems effective.

Have ten gazillion spam comments in the backlog that need moderated? Bulk Comment Remove will delete ALL pending comments with a single button push. Make sure you don’t have any legitimate comments hiding in there!

by Bret Norwood at May 03, 2016 04:02 PM

April 05, 2016

Terri

Preserving America's Freedom

A friend posted a screenshot of this impressive webkit issue:

12717998_10208687820094489_6961418503102908676_n

Which of course, inspired me to write this:

"Really, it was only a matter of time before someone tried to present the Yellow Sign in court. It was something of a miracle that more people hadn't tried to enter it into the public record. Still, she'd apparently gotten complacent about it in her old age. As voting expert Persily pulled out his maps, she didn't notice the sign tucked into the corner of the document until his voice started to change. Thankfully, while youth and speed had long since passed her by, age and cunning held well in their stead, and the glasses she'd had enchanted did their job leaving her mind clear despite the exposure to the symbol. She waited a moment as he continued the incanatation overlaid in some statement about voting in Texas, then began her own counter-charm. Justice Ginsberg wasn't about to let some cultist stand in the way of government accountability, not this day."

And to think I was just thinking, the other day, that it was a shame that I didn't write as much fiction as I used to. I'm not even sure how I feel about this now. ;)

comment count unavailable comments

April 05, 2016 05:39 AM

April 04, 2016

Terri

Strawberry gloves

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

My other goal for 2015 was to try some more stranded colourwork that wasn’t double-knitting. I had intended to do more simple stuff, but I fell in love with this pattern and you know how it goes from there.


Strawberry Fields gloves


The pattern is Strawberry Fields by Jami Brynildson. It was one of the shop patterns offered by Knitting Bee during the 2015 yarn crawl (shops offer one or two patterns free with purchase during the crawl and they’re available for sale after the event). I got the kit at Knitting Bee during the crawl since it was one of the patterns I knew I wanted to make.


The yarn is Black Trillium pebble sock yarn, which is amazing and I would totally work with again. The kit was more than enough to do the pattern, so I’ve got some nice little balls left over for a dash of colour in some future project.


Watermelon helmet, Strawberry gloves


These gloves have actually been done since sometime in 2015, and I wear them around town all the time because they’re among the smallest warm gloves I have. I particularly like that the colours go with my watermelon bike helmet, which is from the delightful Nutcase Helmets. I also like to think that their name is a statement on my mental state, which I assume is why they put it on the front of the helmet. I saw someone with one of these out on the road by the grocery store and knew I wanted one when my helmet was due for upgrading.


The gloves a little more beat up than they were fresh off the needles (you can see a yarn tail that’s come unwoven in the photos) but I hadn’t shared them when they were finished so now’s as good a time as any!


I did modify the thumb a little bit, as the original one felt too tight for my comfort. I don’t like having my motion restricted, and being able to spread my hands wide is kind of important when braking on the bicycle!


Strawberry Fields gloves


Things I learned from doing this:



  1. Working with wool for colourwork is much easier than acrylic or cotton. My other tests had been with cheaper yarn, and it turns out I wasn’t doing myself any favours. The wool is much more forgiving, blocks better, sticks to itself better, and is just all ’round easier.
  2. Don’t pull anything tight. Those floats behind need to be longer than you think, and I can still see places where I pulled a bit too tight to fully block out.
  3. I need more practice doing colourwork while using magic loop (I did two gloves at a time on a single long circular needle).
  4. Blocking is magic. These looked ok on the needles, but they look beautiful after blocking.
  5. I want to do more colourwork!

As to the last, I’ve already started on more experimentation with colours thanks to my yarn sampler subscriptions, but expect more projects in 2016!



comment count unavailable comments

April 04, 2016 03:03 PM

March 31, 2016

Terri

Japanese Knot Bag

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I was browsing this thread about project bags, saw this design, and thought I should try it out. A quick search of the internet found me some basic instructions (this tutorial has particularly decent pictures and nice clear indications of where to sew), so I free-handed a pattern and gave it a shot.


Japanese Knot Bag


In the picture above, you can see my free-handed pattern. I knew I wanted a project bag for my current knitting project (the sweater) that always has me carrying at least two balls of yarn (that’s to allow me to switch back and forth between two balls and avoid abrupt colour changes when I switch balls). So I basically put the two balls and proto-sweater on my grocery store ad and drew around it.


Japanese Knot Bag


You cut two of both the inner and outer colours, then pin them right-sides in.


Then sew the outside/bottom edge of the bag EXCEPT the outside handles. Basically, start below the handle part and sew along the bottom until you get to where the handle starts on the other side. If you look at that first picture of my template, you’re basically ignoring everything above the grocery store ad likes that say “organic” on one side and “home & family care” on the other. Snip along the curve if you want it to sit better.


Also, sew the top flat part of the handles at this point.


Then, you turn the inner lining right-side out and stick it into the bag, re-pin, and sew the whole top curve INCLUDING the handles but only the one side of them.


It’s going to look kind of goofy as you turn it right-side out:


Japanese Knot Bag


You pretty much have a big oval bag attached in the center with handles sticking out. Wrap it all around and you get a bag with holes in the handles on either side. You need the holes in both handles for it to turn correctly, don’t try to do something clever like I did or you’ll be making friends with the seam ripper. There’s probably some way to do that so it works, but I wasn’t going to experiment too much.


Japanese Knot Bag


Iron the edges so they’re folded in and then complete the seams, do a bit of stitching at the bottom of each handle for strength, and voila, you have a bag!


You fold the long handle through the short one, and it stays reasonably closed and looks like it could be a cousin to the little hobo bag on a stick of the type you see in cartoons (wikipedia tells me this is called a bindle).


Japanese Knot Bag


It’s a pretty simple project, on the same scale as my favourite drawstring bag, but with curvy seams instead of a fiddly drawstring.


Japanese Knot Bag


We’ll see how it does after I’ve toted it around for a while, but it certainly looks prettier than the beat up old small cloth conference bag that I was using before! This is also a great bag to hang on a wrist if you’re knitting while standing in line or just want your yarn close at hand so it doesn’t get tangled or tempt a kitty.


Overall, I think I’d need to be a bit more careful if I were giving this as a gift, since I didn’t love my final seams that much, but I like it enough that I kept my freehanded template in case I want to make another!



comment count unavailable comments

March 31, 2016 03:00 PM

March 28, 2016

Terri

A sweater for me (just started!)

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

One of my goals for 2015 was to knit an adult-sized sweater, but I cheated a bit and made one for my sister (who’s smaller than I and one of the smaller adults I know).


So I revised my goal for 2016 and here’s the start of something cool, I hope:


Cardipalooza swatch


That’s the swatch for my very first sweater for myself!


I’m participating in Cardipalooza” (Ravelry Link) in hopes that having a group to post pictures to will help me stay on track. It’d be better if there were weekly checkpoints or something, but I guess I can make my own.


The yarn is Malabrigo Rio, a beautiful 100% merino wool superwash that comes in the most lovely colours. I wanted to treat myself but still have something that wouldn’t be so hard to care for that I’d never want to wear it.


Proto-cardigan


I’m trying Acorn Trail, which might be a bit of a challenging pattern for me because of all the many many fit options, plus all the seaming. But I like the way it looks, and it’s not like anything else I have, so that’s what I’m starting with. Probably not the most scientific way to choose, but honestly, I think most yarn projects are just “I want” and anything else is just justification anyhow.


The photo is from earlier in the week — despite having to tear back twice due to messing up the decreases, it’s bigger now!



comment count unavailable comments

March 28, 2016 03:07 PM

March 24, 2016

Terri

Yarn of the Month Club, January 2015

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Yarn of the Month, January 2016


January’s Yarn of the Month package has some serious variety in it! Raffia, cotton-linen gradient, and a single ply acrylic-wool super-saturated gradient. These were all super fun, but I was most taken with learning to block raffia. So flexible and shape-able when damp!


Classic Shadow


Yarn of the Month, January 2016



Classic Shadow

“This yarn has such beautiful colourways – it would be perfect at jazzing up a simple project”

4.5 sts/inch on US 8

70% Acrylic, 30% wool


Single ply, acrylic-wool, super-saturated colour goodness. I love the swatch pattern!


Front unblocked and blocked:

Yarn of the Month, January 2016

Yarn of the Month, January 2016


Back unblocked and blocked:

Yarn of the Month, January 2016

Yarn of the Month, January 2016


Those colours are great, although I will caution that they bled a little upon blocking. After a wash or two, though, I could totally see using this in a brilliant “screw all those pastels” baby project.


Good Earth Adorn


Yarn of the Month, January 2016



Good Earth Adorn

“This yarn is perfect for lacy spring knitting”

4 sts/inch on us 8

47% linen 53% cotton


This is a really nice linen-cotton blend. I could actually see making a garment out of this one, even though I’m not the hugest fan of working with linen (the “so soft after many washings” is too long a pay-off for me).


I think the stitch pattern might make a nice dishcloth, though, and those things get washed a lot more than garments:


Yarn of the Month, January 2016


It wasn’t evident to me that it would be a gradient from the ball, so that was a neat treat. Here it is blocked:


Yarn of the Month, January 2016


And in kite form! 😉


Yarn of the Month, January 2016


Yashi


Yarn of the Month, January 2016



Yashi by Universal Yarn

“This yarn is challenging to knit and creates beautiful and sturdy projects”

3.75 sts/in on US 9

100% Raffia!


I’d been curious about raffia but I couldn’t bring myself to buy a whole ball to try it out. Thankfully, this is exactly the sort of reason I subscribed to Yarn of the Month so I was quite pleased to get such an unusual yarn! It feels weird to be knitting something that feels like paper, but I got used to it quickly. I honestly didn’t think it was that hard to knit after you got into the swing of things: the raffia is much more flexible than I’d have expected.


I didn’t like the seed stitch swatch recommendation because it didn’t really show off the neat flatness possible with this fiber, so I switched mine up with some bands of stockinette to show the difference:


Yarn of the Month, January 2016


The biggest surprise of using the raffia was learning that it can be blocked. (Thanks to the fine folk at Black Sheep at Orenco for telling me that!) It was super satisfying to block, as the damp raffia becomes flexible and soft.


Yarn of the Month, January 2016


I was surprised by how taken I was with the Raffia. I might have to see about making myself a hat or something!


Conclusion


An interesting batch of yarns, but the real winner for me was getting to try out the raffia. Who knew I’d like it so much? I should see if there’s still some in the sale bin at Black Sheep at Orenco…



comment count unavailable comments

March 24, 2016 03:05 PM

March 23, 2016

Terri

It's been a while, how about some book reviews?

GSoC is, as usual, eating my life, but it's not so bad. If you're reading this and want to help mentor for Python, drop me a line, I have a project that needs help and is willing to train new folk.

But let's talk books in brief, since I've read a couple I enjoyed:



Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch



This title sounds like smut, and there's definitely some steamy scenes (The aliens look like supernaturally hot humans, because of course they do), but it's also a hilarious campy mashup of Men In Black combined with a romance novel, and it's *fun*. This one starts when protagonist Kitty walks out of a boring day of jury duty and sees a case of road rage turn into a savage and not-entirely-human attack. Thinking quickly, she jumps in to help... and in the aftermath, finds herself carted off to New Mexico by mysterious and hot government agents as a new recruit.

The weird combo of space-Judaism, code breaking, aliens and terrorists... well, you've got to read it to believe it. I'm particularly a fan of Kitty's mom, but I can't tell you why without spoilers. I've already got the next book from the library.



The Imager Portfolio (Series) by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.



The author's Recluce series marked the point at which I stopped asking questions about a friend's book recommendations and just started reading whatever he suggested. I haven't read all his other series, though, so I picked this up from the library because it was one where they had the first book. As I've come to expect, this one has fantastic world-building, politics and societal questions, characters I come to care about, and action to keep everything from getting too dense. I just finished the second book today.

This particular book is about a young man who starts his career at as a portrait painter, but as one might expect from the title, he eventually figures out that he has "imager" powers -- that's basically this world's version of a mage. Soon enough, he finds himself making powerful allies... and enemies. It's a serious study of power in the political/social arena, and while I do think it skirts the edge of being preachy at times, it's good enough that I don't mind, and I even found myself pausing to think about what the characters were saying more than once, and not just because I was knitting and needed to re-read passages if my mind wandered too much.

comment count unavailable comments

March 23, 2016 07:16 AM

March 21, 2016

Terri

Jimmy Beans Wool Beanie Bags, January 2016

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags, January 2016


January 2016’s Beanie Bag was all about yarn construction. I got the purple version, which was really quite nice! This month’s notion was a shawl pin from Knitter’s Pride (I was so glad mine arrived intact — apparently a few got broken in transit!), there was the usual little package of wool wash from soak, a pattern coupon (I forget if I used this one or not), and of course the 4 balls of yarn.


Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags, January 2016


I just want to give a quick shout-out to January 2016’s bag: The snowflakes are so cute, and I was initially disappointed that the new zipper didn’t look as pretty until I realized that it also doesn’t seem to catch the yarn as much as the chunkier old ones. So score one for improved functional design!


Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags, January 2016


There are 4 samples. You can read about them on the Beanie Bags website for Jan 2016, but in short they were:

20 yds of Alpaca Lana D’Oro

20 yds of Highland Duo

20 yds of Cloud

20 yds of El Cielo


The last one is exactly the same, including the colour, as a sample I’d tried from YOTM, so that was amusing. I used it very differently in this project, though.


Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags, January 2016


The pattern was a simple kerchief, like a big chunk of granny square since I did the crochet version because I like crochet colour changes better. I’m not sure what I’ll use it for, but that super-soft edge is really nice. I’d never really worked on a project with 4 completely different types of yarn before. Kind of fun, and something I would totally do again.


20160115-IMG_9662.jpg


Just to do a quick compare/contrast, here’s the Beanie Bag yarns beside my Yarn of The Month yarns. The YOTM sample (on the left) has a broader variety of unusual yarns to try (a single ply with bright colours, raffia, and a gradient linen-cotton mix), while the Beanie Bag yarns although different are intended to go together. It’s kind of interesting how the strategy is different. Also, in case anyone’s curious, I weighed the yarns and the Beanie Bags samples came in a bit heavier than YOTM in January, but it’s pretty close.


Also, I had forgotten that Jimmy Beans does a 5% cashback on yarn, and that this applies to the Beanie Bags and was auto-applied to this bag because I’d gotten to the threshold of $1, so I got this bag for $9 instead of $10. It might have been fun to build up a larger discount over time and then treat myself, but this is so much more convenient and practical and I never forget to use it. Handy! Between this and the fact that YOTM has had to raise their prices a bit to $9.50 (from $9.25), the prices are even more close than ever for people who keep a continuous Beanie Bags subscription.


Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags, January 2016


Overall, I don’t think I learned as much from this Beanie Bag as I have from others, but it’s still a very nice bag! I got a usable project (although I don’t know how much I *will* use the kerchief as it’s started to become itchy as I wear it to write this… and I’m not sure which yarn I’m reacting to!), a nice shawl stick, a great bag, and a convenient travel size of wool wash.



comment count unavailable comments

March 21, 2016 03:01 PM

March 17, 2016

Terri

Jimmy Beans Wool Beanie Bags, December 2015

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Beanie Bags, December 2015


December’s theme was “superwash” and it included 5 samples in worsted weight. This seemed like a perfect time for me to practice my colourwork, since “do a small fair isle project” is on my craft goal list for this year, and I need practice with colourwork.


Beanie Bags, December 2015


In addition to the yarns, there’s some pom-pom makers, patterns for wine bottle cozies, a packet of Soak wool wash, and a coupon for a discounted pattern (which I forgot about before it expired, alas!)


I took quite a few photos of this bag, but honestly when I’m looking for info on a bag I often wish there were more pictures rather than less, so if you’re curious, I put even more pictures up in my curiousity.ca/things I’ve made album on flickr.


Here’s some photo spam of the yarns:


Plymouth Worsted Merino Superwash


Beanie Bags, December 2015


This was the softest yarn of the bunch!


Beanie Bags, December 2015 - Plymouth Worsted Merino Superwash


Madeleinetosh Tosh Vintage


This has the subtle colour changes that Madeleinetosh is known for, although they aren’t super obvious in my photos of the little ball.


Beanie Bags, December 2015 - Madeleinetosh Tosh Vintage


Lorna's Laces Shepherd


Beanie Bags, December 2015


This is a nice woodsy variegated with a looser, squishy ply.


Beanie Bags, December 2015 - Lorna's Laces Shepherd


Rowan Pure Wool Worsted


Beanie Bags, December 2015 - Rowan Pure Wool Worsted


A pleasant heathered yarn. I particularly liked working with this one.


Beanie Bags, December 2015 - Rowan Pure Wool Worsted


Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted


Beanie Bags, December 2015


Another pleasant heathered yarn which was a great match for the Rowan.


Beanie Bags, December 2015 - Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted


My Fair Isle sampler


Overall, they all felt pretty similar, and it’s possible that difference in softness was a function of the dyes more than the yarn itself (although the different plying does make some difference). This was great for my purposes, since it meant they worked okay together!


Beanie Bags, December 2015


This detail shot shows you two important things: #1, the variation in colour in the madeleinetosh sample. #2, the lesson I learned about fair isle samplers, which is that you *really* need to work in some sort of border to anchor the colour changes. I’ll keep this in mind for the next time I do a colourwork sampler!


Here’s the whole piece:


Beanie Bags, December 2015


The patterns were taken from “Mastering Colour Knitting


I’m not sure how I’ll fit this long sampler into my blanket made of samples yet, but I think I’m at the point where I should start putting it together rather than filing all my samples in a binder!



comment count unavailable comments

March 17, 2016 03:02 PM

March 15, 2016

Terri

Pi day swap!

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

One of the Ravelry groups I enjoy runs a pi/e themed yarn swap and I decided to participate this year because seriously, how awesome is that? The deal was that you had to include yarn or spinning fiber, some edible goodies, a handcrafted item, and other goodies related to pi or pie. Target value was $30-40, which was actually hard shopping in all the yarn crawl stores with their beautiful handpainted, hand-made items! But I managed!


My swapee likes batman, so I made her a project bag which *might* have just been an excuse for me to buy some batman fabrics.


It’s reversible, so here’s the outside and the inside:

Batman project bag for Pi Swap

Batman project bag for Pi(e) Swap


I also made some papercraft pie boxes to fit the bag and some tea into. The lemon meringue one is a pattern from the silhouette store, and I modified it to make a blueberry pie one since I was putting blueberry tea inside:

Pie boxes for Pi(e) swap


I also made some magnets and a button, and a whole set of pretty stitch markers suitable for even bulky needles, but I didn’t take pictures of those separately.


Here’s two views of the whole package:

Pi(e) swap package


Pi(e) swap package


It included lovely yarn from Thoroughly Thwacked, a Brittany Crochet hook that my swapee was looking for, and some wooden buttons that I thought looked cool as well as the other things I mentioned. I hope it suited her!


And, since I’m sure you’re all curious, here’s the package I got from my upstream partner:


My Pi(e) swap package!


I see she noticed that I like tea :)


Also, check out the amazing little cherry pi pie charm:


Cherry pi pie charm from my Pi(e) swap package!


And the hat fits perfectly!


Super awesome hat from my Pi(e) swap package



comment count unavailable comments

March 15, 2016 01:06 AM

March 13, 2016

Terri

Yarn Subscription preview, February 2016 (Yarn of the Month and Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags)

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

One more preview photo for today!


Yarn Subscription preview, February 2016 (Yarn of the Month and Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags)


These yarns have been sadly neglected in favour of Rose City Yarn Crawl stuff, but they’ll be coming up soon! I’m very much looking forwards to more teensy tiny sample knits.


Yarn of the Month is on the left, with that tempting stained glass pattern that might have me ditch the usual swatch patterns in favour of trying a two-colour affair. Jimmy Beans is on the right with the Eddie the Eagle-themed package. Apparently they yarnbombed the Sundance film festival in celebration!



comment count unavailable comments

March 13, 2016 02:50 AM

Yarn Subscription preview, January 2016 (Yarn of the Month and Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags)

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I took this picture back in January but apparently never actually shared it, so here’s a belated preview, if that makes any sense:


Yarn Subscription preview, January 2016 (Yarn of the Month and Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags)


Yarn of the Month is on the left, Beanie Bags on the right. Since I’m planning to block the YOTM samples tonight and nearly done with the project for the Beanie Bags, I’ll leave further discussion of the contents until the full reviews.


I had not taken a picture for February because the Beanie Bags package was delayed to the point where I was completely entrenched in Rose City Yarn Crawl knitting when it arrived, but I’ve taken a quick snap today that I’ll put up shortly!



comment count unavailable comments

March 13, 2016 02:35 AM

Yarn Subscription preview, March 2016 (Yarn of the Month and Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags)

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Both my subscriptions arrived on the same day, so here’s a quick preview!


Yarn Subscription preview, March 2016 (Yarn of the Month and Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags)


My Jimmy Beans Beanie Bag on the left is a collection of sport weight merino in pretty pinks, with the newer square bag like they did last month, a Soak wool wash packet and this month’s notion, which is plastic spiral stitch markers. I don’t have any of those so I’m pretty pleased!


My Yarn of the Month Club mailing has two larger samples without any obvious theme. The yellow is a neat wool/linen blend with an interesting texture. The white is a slippery, shiny wool/polypropylene/nylon blend that is unlike anything I’ve ever knit by feel alone, but it’s even neater than that because it changes colour in the sun! I’ll try to get some better pictures of it tomorrow when I’ve got more sunlight!



comment count unavailable comments

March 13, 2016 01:42 AM

March 03, 2016

Terri

Rose City Yarn Crawl - Mystery Crochet-a-long (Clue 3 and 4)

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Crawl starts soon, and of course I’m last-minute blocking!


Here’s clue 3:


Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Crochet-a-long Clue 3


And the final clue, clue 4, unblocked. I actually missed the final colour change, those last points are supposed to be cake-coloured. But honestly, I’m so in love with the yellow/orange yarn that I’m kind of glad I made the mistake. Plus it looks better with the beads I wanted to use.


Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Crochet-a-long Clue 4


Soaking so you can see that I did actually add beads:

Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Crochet-a-long Clue 4


Or maybe I should call them sprinkles, given the cake theme?


Blocking:

Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Crochet-a-long Clue 4


Great pattern, but now I’m going to bed to get some sleep for tomorrow’s crawl!



comment count unavailable comments

March 03, 2016 08:37 AM

February 21, 2016

Terri

Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Crochet-a-long

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I’d planned to just do the knit-a-long for the Rose City Yarn Crawl, but then I went out to a knitting group and saw what the pattern for the crochet-a-long looked like… Not only does it look lovely all crocheted up, but the pattern itself has the most gorgeous crochet charts I’ve ever seen. Colours to distinguish rows! Highlighting to show you where pieces should line up with rows below! Careful layouts to make everything easy to read! One of the reasons I learned to knit (besides needing something to do on the 3hr long car ride to the Very Large Array) is that there are so few good crochet patterns and learning a similar craft was the easiest way to expand the range of patterns I could do. So it would be a shame to know of such a nice pattern and not try it out!


The Yarn


Rose City Yarn Crawl - Mystery Crochet-a-Long


I’d been so good about using stash yarn for the MKAL that I decided to treat myself to something at Black Sheep for this one. These are both from Teresa Ruch, a local dyer who works with synthetic fibers and uses amazingly saturated beautiful dyes. The yellow-orange ball is Tencel, the grey is bamboo rayon. It’s a neat combo because the tencel is much shinier than the rayon, so there’s a serious contrast between my two colours. And it’s a nice excuse to try some different synthetics, since I’m always on the lookouts for allergy-friendly options.


The pattern


Here’s a teensy peek at those charts I’ve been raving about:


mcal-chart


Not only are the charts clear, well-written, and easy to follow, but the “flavour” of this pattern is cake, so it’s described in layers of cake and icing. People in the thread have been naming off cakes to go with their colours, and it’s awesome. I’m calling mine creamsicle mousse.


This pattern is named after Rimsky-Korsacoffee house, one of the local places that takes “keep Portland weird” as a personal mission. Also, it has great cake.


Clue 1


Clue one included a layer of cake and the first layer of icing:

Rose City Yarn Crawl - Mystery Crochet-a-Long Clue 1


It’s approximately kerchief-sized at this point, and a bit to fit into my photo lightbox unfolded, so I kind of need natural light to take pictures of it (my flash is somewhere in a box from the move).

Rose City Yarn Crawl - Mystery Crochet-a-Long Clue 1


Clue 2


Clue two, also included a layer of cake and layer of icing. The icing is pretty similar, but the cake is quite a different stitch pattern! At this point, it’s starting to really look like a shawl:


Rose City Yarn Crawl MCAL - Rimsky-Korsacoffee-Cake Shawl Clue 2


And a close up:

Rose City Yarn Crawl MCAL - Rimsky-Korsacoffee-Cake Shawl Clue 2 detail


This is the first larger, non-amigurumi crochet project I’ve done since I got some “ergonomic” crochet hooks, and I’ve got to say that it makes a difference. My right hand doesn’t get tired nearly as quickly. In fact, it’s usually my left that gets tired first now! If you crochet at all, I highly recommend investing in a set. It doesn’t even have a very expensive investment: They are cropping up at absurdly cheap prices on amazon and elsewhere, maybe $10-15 for a set of hooks with a case and sometimes with some stitch markers or other notions thrown in. I have a set from clover that has a significantly more expensive list price (I got it on sale) but I honestly can’t tell the difference between it and the cheaper sets. I do admit I haven’t tried crochet with the cheaper ones for any length of time, though.


The only weird thing about these hooks that they don’t match up with the sizing of the other hooks I own, so my new G hook is a bit smaller than my old one (4mm vs 4.25mm). Thankfully, it seems to be working out fine on this shawl.


Doing both the MKAL and the MCAL was probably a bit too much, since it’s meant that I haven’t even touched my January Beanie Bags or YOTM samples, let alone the February ones, but I’m really excited about the final piece taking shape, and it’s kind of neat to be doing the less-common one. The last clues came out this past Wednesday and my deadline for the shawl is when the Crawl starts in two weeks, so it’s looking like I’ll be able to finish both without much trouble!



comment count unavailable comments

February 21, 2016 03:45 AM

February 15, 2016

Terri

Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Knit-a-longs (Clue 1 and 2)

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

As I mentioned in my post about knit-a-longs, the Rose City Yarn Crawl runs both a knit and crochet a long in the month leading up to the yarn crawl. It’s a real treat seeing people wear their creations out on the crawl, and I wanted to be one of those gals sporting a new finished object on the crawl this year.


I decided that enough of my yarn was unpacked that I should be able to find some stuff out of my stash. This is actually hard, since I mostly buy yarn for specific projects and this is my first cowl, so I haven’t really shopped with that in mind. Since it’s Presidents day down here in the US, I’ll show you the red-white-and-blue yarns that became my short list before I decided on my two required colours:


Rose City Yarn Crawl - Mystery Knit-a-Long


Okay, so it’s actually blue-white-red like the French flag, but I am Canadian after all! This is KnitPicks Diadem yarn, bought during the big yarn sale in November two years ago on spec, because it sounded lovely and I wanted to try it. It’s a super fluffy alpaca-silk single ply that *feels* like heaven, but it’s kind of hard to work with because it sheds fluff, splits, and the fluff felts into little loops around the yarn that I have to cut off pretty frequently plus it sometimes loops around to make knots. And it’s hard to photograph because of the halo of fluff.


I was initially pretty disappointed by the yarn, but as I’ve gotten used to it, the luxurious feel balances out the finicky nature of the yarn. This is going to be one luxurious cowl, although I’m going to have to work for it!


I really wanted to do red & silver but once I saw the first clue, I decided silver & blue would suit it better:


Rose City Yarn Crawl - Mystery Knit-a-Long


Clue 1 is supposed to remind you of bike treads. I think it does!


Rose City Yarn Crawl MKAL - Velo Cowl Clue 1 detail


The whole pattern is written like a story about a bike ride, with twists and turns. Clue 2 involves some scenery and then some winding roads.


Rose City Yarn Crawl MKAL - Velo Cowl Clue 2 detail


It was at this point that realized that I’d somehow chosen my high school colours, silver and blue, because it reminded me of an old high school shirt when I started to get into the “scenery” part. Oh well, they’re great colours even if it is a bit funny.


Now let’s zoom out and see clue 1 and most of clue 2. I needed to take the picture while I still had nice light and figured you’ll see the last part next time. Clue 3 has been out since Wednesday so I’m a bit behind!


Rose City Yarn Crawl MKAL - Velo Cowl Clue 1 & 2


That… does not look like a cowl at all, to be honest. What a strange beast! I look forwards to seeing how this construction is going to work in the end.


Overall, the story of this cowl kind of makes it fun, and I’m loving how it feels even if the knitting process can be a tad annoying thanks to finicky yarn. I do think I’m done with mystery knits for a while after this, though… after seeing how beautiful other people’s cowls look with colour two as a variegated, I have a deeper understanding of how much I like selecting colours with advance knowledge of how they’re going to work together. But I did choose something high-contrast which looks pretty good, so I can’t be too sad!



comment count unavailable comments

February 15, 2016 03:04 PM

Catch a Falling Star MKAL Clue 3

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I’ve paused on this knit-a-long since the Rose City Yarn Crawl ones have started and I foolishly have tried to do both, but here’s what it looked like at clue 3:


Catch a falling star MKAL (Clue 3)


I really liked the bind-off in this. You can’t tell from the in progress photo, but it’s designed so that the bind off is thicker in places to follow the curve, so I plan to block it curvy. Overall, this was a very technically interesting pattern! And very nice for a free KAL to start the year, although not the easiest one on my hands. I really need less slippy small double pointed needles, I think, but my knitpicks laminate ones broke while I was using them. (They replaced them, but I’ve been too nervous to try the replacement.) Anyone got any recommendations?


I’ve actually finished this one glove, since as you can probably guess there’s just a few thumb stitches left. I haven’t finished the second glove because I’m on to the next project, but it’s cast on and waiting for me when I’m done and ready to come back to it!



comment count unavailable comments

February 15, 2016 12:05 AM

February 09, 2016

Terri

Bonus beauty: Panda Eye Stick

Birchbox January 2016

I mentioned that I was using my $10 coupon to buy adorable kbeauty things. This is the best one: a little aloe eye stick in an adorable panda container. It is greenish, makes my eyes feel cool for a minute, and serves basically no purpose in my life except that it looks adorable beside my sink. I'm ok with that. :)

comment count unavailable comments

February 09, 2016 08:11 AM

Birchbox January 2016

Unsurprisingly, the Birchbox for January is new year's resolution themed. Here's the eye-searing outside:
Birchbox January 2016

And the contents:

Birchbox January 2016

So let's talk about 'em!

Birchbox January 2016

Key West Aloe Gentle Aloe Facial Cleanser

I know, I know, more lather doesn't equal more clean, but I love how this lathers up and it's so easy to see to rinse clean even if I'm exhausted when I head to bed. I normally don't think much about my cleanser, but this one feels like a treat. The person who described it as smelling like pina colada mix isn't wrong, but I like it.

I've tried a billion cleansers thanks to birchbox and most of them make very little impression on me. Since it's sometimes a struggle for me to remember to wash my face as much as I should, I figure anything that makes me actually happy about doing it is a good thing. I'm putting the full-sized version in my next birchbox order!


Birchbox January 2016
Birchbox January 2016
0.2 Meet Your Destiny® 0.2 Eau de Parfum - 50 ml

It's a perfume. While I don't immediately hate it, I also don't love it or even care about it. It's a grand meh on the perfume scale. The nicest thing I can say about it is that the incredibly meh "0.2" name goes well with the meh scent and the meh packaging.

update: okay, after putting it on my wrist and leaving it there while I wrote the rest of these reviews, I care about it enough to wash it off. bleh.

Birchbox January 2016
Ciaté® Nail Polish

I love getting nail polish samples and I'd never tried out Ciaté so I was pretty excited. It looks pretty neat on my nails, fairly different from the way it looks in the bottle. But unfortunately, that's where the fun ends for me: it's a fairly thick, textured polish (not a personal favourite) and it chips pretty easily so my mani only lasted two days. Maybe fun for a special event, but certainly not a daily wear for me. Alas!

It did look pretty for a day, though:
Birchbox January 2016

Birchbox January 2016
TONYMOLY Delight Tony Tint

Using this feels like I'm staining my lips with strawberries -- it's got that berry scent and a light liquid formula. I kind of love it! It's quickly become a favourite of mine because of the easy-to-pocket small curvy sample container. Do be careful on chapped lips: it can stain dry edges a bit more than other places and leave you uneven, but I've used this as motivation to remember to put on lip balm overnight so that I can use this in the morning.

Definitely nicer and easier to use than the benefit stain, maybe a bit less easy to use than the stainiac one, similar to the one I have from Sephora but the scent is more fun.

Birchbox January 2016

Birchbox January 2016
Eyeko Fat Liquid Eyeliner

This seems like a perfectly nice liquid liner, but I just can't seem to get the hang of using it even in a nice big easy-to-hold pen. I did manage to get some thinner lines without much difficulty, but I still end up with mis-matched eyes half the time I try. I guess at least there's lots of sample for me to practice with?


Birchbox January 2016

In conclusion...



I guess if I had to pick one of those stickers, I'd go with creativity, since when I thought about resolutions, I realized most of what I had were craft/maker goals. I think honestly, though, that it's less about creativity and more about refinement. My goals are mostly based on learning new techniques that complement what I know and using the skills I have more effectively, and about tackling bigger projects. That's honestly true across non-maker goals too.

I think this carries over to makeup: I'm feeling less like it's a fully creative endeavour and more like I'm in a slow skill-building phase. And this is good, because tuning the looks I can use at work is super useful, and also means I have a sense of subtle tweaks that make a difference in my continuing use of makeup as a social engineering tool. (everyone uses makeup that way, I'm just more intentional about it than some, I guess.)

Anyhow, overall, this was a good box for me: I loved the cleaner and the lip tint. While I didn't love the nail polish or eye liner, they were both products I'd considered paying for and I'm glad to know not to spend money on them. A few dollars of sample continues to be a much better investment for me than most full-sized products, even if I wind up with perfume samples every other box.

I've been wondering if I should give up my birchbox subscription when it comes up for renewal this summer since I've gotten myself into another yarn subscription and honestly, how many boxes does one gal need? But given the way I use makeup, it's still looking like a reasonable investment especially because it encourages me to keep my makeup fresh and toss old samples so I don't have bacteria-filled tubes of mascara around. Plus, I like the points system. I'll make a decision when the subscription comes due, though.

comment count unavailable comments

February 09, 2016 07:49 AM

February 01, 2016

Terri

Jimmy Beans Wool Beanie Bags, November 2015

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I finally sat down and made a decision about what to make with my Beanie Bags yarn. So freeing!


First, let’s look at the package. The mailing envelope contained a single bag filled with stuff:

20151110-IMG_9149.jpg


The packaged contained 4 balls of yarn in the same shade of grey (although the light catches them differently in the photo below, they’re clearly the same shade in person), a plastic yarn needle, and a packet of soak fabric wash.

Jimmy Beans Beanie Bag, November 2015


Here it is all together with the card and packaged-by note so you can see the other side of the bag, which is fun too:

Jimmy Beans Beanie Bag, November 2015


Very cute! You can read about the yarns on the Jimmy Beans Wool website. The “learn a thing about yarn” theme here is blending. I’m familiar with doing custom yarns in this way since here in Portland we have Yarnia, an entire store dedicated to custom yarn blends. I visited Yarnia as a stop on the Rose City Yarn Crawl and while I wasn’t willing to wait for winding something custom, I was impressed by the huge selection of options.


As I said in my previous post, it took me a while to sit down and decide what to do with these yarns, since there were a bunch of possible combinations. I finally settled on a pair of two-yarn blends.


Shibui Pebble and Cima


I just want you all to admire how black and white the yarn ball photos look. I had a momentary freak-out when they downloaded from the camera because I thought something had gone wrong and I was getting a greyscale photo instead of the original, but no, I just took very monochrome pictures.


Shibui Cima and Pebble

Shibui CimaShibui Pebble


Cima is super soft, Pebble has nice texture. The combo gives you the best of both worlds! I grabbed a stitch dictionary and tried out a kind of leafy swatch. Here it is unblocked:


Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags, November 2015


This is “lace ribbons” on page 63 of Melissa Leapman’s “The Knit Stitch Handbook” if you’re trying to duplicate it.


Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags, November 2015


The end result is soft, flexible, and has that texture. Very nice! The swatch stretches out and looks a bit more angular when blocked, but the flexibility and softness of the yarn remain.


Shibui Maai and Staccato


Maai is pretty similar to the chained alpaca yarn I used for my kitty hat (it’s Misti Tui) and my one complaint with that yarn is that it’s too soft and fuzzy show much stitch definition.


Shibui Maai and Staccato

Shibui MaaiShibui Staccato


This blend, however, is all “by our powers combined!” and it’s got reasonable stitch definition with a bit of a sheen, but it’s still soft and plush with a halo of fuzz.


Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags, November 2015


The swatch is “tumbling blocks” from page 46 of Melissa Leapman’s “The Knit Stitch Handbook.” Chosen because it’s a knit/purl only texture so there isn’t too much help if the yarn can’t carry on its own. The photo is unblocked and only one side, but it basically looks the same blocked and on the reverse side.


Conclusion


Once I got around to using it, I really loved this Beanie Bag. I got to try a new technique and honestly, once I sat down with the stitch dictionary I didn’t have any trouble figuring out what to do. Just needed to get over the hump of indecision, I guess, and decide that swatches were the plan for this bunch. I loved the Shibui yarns and could see myself buying more of any of these, and it’s nice that I can turn around and just get them from the Jimmy Beans Wool website..


I’m not sure I can see myself doing a whole lot of yarn blending in this way, mostly because I can’t see myself building up a stash with appropriately matching colours for that. It seems to me that it would make more sense to take advantage of local store Yarnia if I wanted a blend, since they have a huge range of yarns and colours right there.


But I *could* see myself going out of my way to blend a yarn that wasn’t working for me, and now I’ve got a better sense of how a couple of blends work, so I feel like I learned a useful technique. Thanks JBW!



comment count unavailable comments

February 01, 2016 03:02 PM

January 25, 2016

Terri

Yarn of the Month Club, December 2015

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Astute readers may note that I’m doing the December YOTM review but still haven’t done the Beanie Bag full review. That’s because even though it’s January I still haven’t knit up anything with any of my Beanie Bag yarns. How embarrassing. Now, I could blame a busy holiday, but I the answer is much simpler than that: I don’t know what to knit. Without a recommended swatch just sitting there in the bag, and a combo of yarns to choose (remember, this was the “try two held together of different types!” package), the barrier to just sitting down and doing it is a lot harder. What needle size should I use? What should I knit? Which combo of yarns? Should I try the included headband pattern even though I barely ever wear headbands? This isn’t a “grab all the supplies and throw in purse” kind of project and apparently that’s a barrier.


This isn’t an unsolvable problem, of course, but since the idea behind doing tiny yarn samples was that I wouldn’t have a huge backlog of unused yarn, it’s a bit distressing to realise that not having swatch patterns in the bag makes such a difference. I’m approaching the end of my self-imposed “I’ll try this in 3 months and then decide” and I’m torn. I love the packages, they feel like a serious treat and I like the way each one has a theme that involves teaching you about fiber, and I like taking pictures of them, but if I’m not using them, I should probably give up and move on.


So expect some experimentation on that front soon! I’ve grabbed some stitch dictionaries and a set of interchangable needles and queued up an episode of Dr. Who, but there’s a percent chance that what you’re going to see next is a bunch of tiny octopi.


Anyhow, in the meantime, here’s the easy-to-use Yarn of the Month for December!


Yarn of the Month Club, December 2015


This month’s yarn was *super* posh. The black is fuzzy and soft, and the red is one of the nicest silk blends I’ve ever used. It was a huge contrast to the pleasant-but-unexciting superwash in my other yarn bag, which isn’t to say that the other was bad at all but wow did I ever want to play with these first!


The pattern


Yarn of the Month Club, December 2015


It’s a Santa hat! I think I might stop mentioning the patterns; I hardly ever use them.


Soavia


Yarn of the Month Club, December 2015


Soavia

“Really soft and smooshy with a beautiful sheen”

5.5 sts/inch on US 7

65% Wool 20% Kid Mohair 15% Silk

164 yds Color: 60


This yarn is plush and soft. You can’t tell too much from the photo, but it’s got a really pleasant halo and somehow manages a teensy sheen as well in person. It would make a positively lovely scarf or cowl, or anything worn close to the skin. It’s the sort of yarn you just want to sink your fingers into.


Yarn of the Month Club, December 2015


Given the halo, it’s pretty surprising how easy this is to work with (sometimes fuzzy yarns can be pretty temperamental). The stitch pattern with the long criss-cross thing really shows off the yarn. It’s soft even knit into tiny stitches, but those long ones are especially easy on the fingers. So very soft. It makes me want to do a bigger project with fuzzy yarns, even though it’s getting warmer and warmer here.


Roslyn


Yarn of the Month Club, December 2015


Roslyn

“Colourful and subtle and a workhorse yarn with great texture”

5.25 sts/inch on US 6

65% Wool 35% Silk

382.76 yds color: 06


This is one of the nicest silk blends I’ve ever worked with. It’s flexible, soft, and feels like it would make amazing clothes because it’s a bit lighter than many wools. It somehow feels silky without feeling too slick. The heathering and colour is fun too.


Yarn of the Month Club, December 2015


The stitch pattern is a pretty neat cable. Although I don’t think I got the sides quite even! Yarn was very easy to work with, the slight side-to-side difference is a me problem, not a yarn problem, and it might even block out.


Yarn of the Month Club, December 2015


I was surprised to see that this yarn’s regular price is $15/100g because it feels like a much fancier and more expensive blend. Thank you Cascade for producing such nice luxury yarns!


Summary


December’s YOTM was a real treat, even in the face of me working with the super nice yarns I was using for presents in December. I’d definitely use either of these yarns again, and Cascade at least should be a thing I can find around here so I can check out the other colours. Guess I’ll keep an eye out during the yarn crawl!



comment count unavailable comments

January 25, 2016 03:00 PM

January 22, 2016

Anne

Fun with regular expressions

Regular Expression Too Complicated Error MessageI’m working on transforming html files containing full Shakespeare plays, cleaning up the tags and adding some semantic content we need to have for a customer project. I’ve been prototyping with the nice Perl-based regular expression in good old UltraEdit, my editor-of-choice for a long time now.

In the course of referring to the UE web site for syntax and other tips, I discovered that UE has a scripting feature I just never paid any attention to. So now I’m gluing together my regEx transforms with javascript and running them in batches as I figure things out.

But I just blew my poor editor’s mind and got one of the better error messages.

I had thought that a few were getting a bit hard to understand. As in:

 strFind = '(?s)(go-scene-)(.*)(</h3>)(.*)(<a )(.*)(line-)(.*)1""';
 strReplace = '\\1\\2\\3\\r\\n<a id="go-\\80" name="line-\\80"></a><br />\\4\\5\\6\\7\\81';

BTW, when I told my daughter Becky a couple of weeks ago that I was embarking on a little regular expression project, she immediately shot back with an XKCD oldie-but-goodie that was new to me:

xkcd regex cartoon

 

by ag at January 22, 2016 10:09 PM

January 21, 2016

Terri

Catch a Falling Star MKAL week 2

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

The week 3 clue came out on Friday, so I’m a bit behind still. But Clue 2 was much easier than clue 1, at least! Here’s what clue 2 looks like for me and my dino buddy:


Catch a falling star MKAL (Clue 2)


Still loving that thick cuff, but not so much loving the transition at the wrist bead line — it feels and looks a bit lumpy around my wrist, and the beads make strange cool spots. Of course, this is also the part of the pattern that cramped up my hand. Bah!


Catch a falling star MKAL (Clue 2)


This is where the mystery is a bit of a disadvantage: if I’d seen the finished product, I might have done something about that transition line. Or maybe I just have absurdly dainty wrists? Either way, I’m not willing to rip back now, though I’m debating a little bit of elastic thread or ribbon to deal with the issue, or maybe it will block a bit flatter. I will ponder it. In the meantime, on to the next clue!



comment count unavailable comments

January 21, 2016 03:04 PM

January 18, 2016

Terri

Catch a Falling Star MKAL

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I did manage to cast on one of those knit-a-longs: the fingerless mitt “Catch a Falling Star” MKAL. since clue 2 has now been released (as I write this — I think clue 3 might be released by the time this posts), here’s my pictures from casting on and clue 1!


Catch a falling star MKAL


I’m using Knitpicks Capretta in the Admiral colourway. This is super lush:



Fiber Content: 80% Fine Merino Wool, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon

Weight: Fingering Weight

Knitting Gauge: 7-8 sts = 1 on #1-3 needles (2.25mm – 3.25mm)

Crochet Gauge: 21 – 32 sc = 4” on B – E hooks (2.25mm-3.5mm)

Yards: 230

Grams: 50

Put Up: ball

Care: Hand Wash/Dry Flat


I decided after taking this photo to go with the green beads, since I like how they catch the light.


Catch a falling star MKAL (Clue 1)


This is not an easy pattern to do: the beaded section made my hand cramp up so badly that I had to take painkillers and rest, and I haven’t had sore wrists with any regularity since high school. I had to switch needles to metal ones to handle the purl-yo-purl that makes the texture there. And you knit part of it inside out and have to do a stitch swap… it’s definitely a challenging pattern.


Catch a falling star MKAL (Clue 1)


But it’s so pretty! And it is super soft with the cashmere blend yarn and those plush bobble-like POP sections.


Catch a falling star MKAL (Clue 1)


I haven’t done the second cuff because I’m not feeling like pulling yarn out of the middle of the ball *and* I’m not feeling like cramping up my hand again, but I think I will move on to clue 2 now that I’ve documented clue 1!



comment count unavailable comments

January 18, 2016 03:09 PM

January 15, 2016

Terri

Yarn of the Month Club, November 2015

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Not sure what I’d say what November’s theme was, but it certainly resulted in some pretty yarns arriving on my doorstep!


20151110-IMG_9143.jpg


The Pattern


A drop stitch shawl. Probably won’t make it into my repertoire because there are just so many shawl patterns in the world, but who knows, maybe it’ll be perfect for some specific ball of yarn?


El Cielo by Cascades Yarns


20151110-IMG_9144.jpg



El Cielo by Cascades Yarns

“This warm and ethereal yarn is excellent for large lace patterns.”

4 sts/in on US 8

89% superfine alpaca 11% Nylon

579.6 yds color 04


This is so soft and light! I always love alpaca, but this turns alpaca into something like mohair, and it’s amazing. It’s also teensy-tiny if you don’t count the fluff — it took me way longer than I expected to knit that tiny swatch!


20151214-IMG_9608.jpg


The stitch pattern gets a bit lost in the halo of this yarn, but with a bit of light or white behind it, it becomes a subtler, fuzzier version of lacework that I quite enjoy.


20151214-IMG_9607.jpg


Artliea by Borgo De’Pazzi


20151110-IMG_9146.jpg



Artliea by Borgo De’Pazzi

“This superwash yarn is soft and snazzy and super fun to knit up”

3.25 sts/inch on US 11

69% superwash 30% polyamide 1% polyester

79 yds color 89


This is basically two yarns sewn together: a slow variegated superwash and a shiny metallic ribbon:

20151110-IMG_9148.jpg


The ribbon works really well to add a bit of sparkle. This is thick and pretty easy to work with because the two pieces are sewn together rather than just plied. My only complaint is that it isn’t quite as soft as my alpaca, but I understand that I am getting ridiculously spoiled.


Yarn of the Month Club, November 2015


I think this one would probably be a really fun treat for a new knitter, since it’s not to hard to work with and the slow colour change and sparkle ribbon really add a lot to even pretty basic stitches. Even basic garter stitch would be pretty neat because the yarn showcases the up-down of the knit stitches and the horizontal nature of the purls.


Summary


Really great yarns for November! Although I liked the Artliea I don’t see myself buying more because I’ve been doing a lot of texturework that needs solids and tonals to really shine, but I could definitely see picking it up as a gift. El Cielo is one I’ll remember as a beautiful fuzzy lace option — I’d actually love to do a sweater from this but I think I’d start with something easier for myself before I could tackle this. Maybe a huge fuzzy shawl for my grandmother, though?



comment count unavailable comments

January 15, 2016 02:15 AM

January 11, 2016

Terri

Celtic Shawl for M

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Made this one for my friend M. But apparently this is the only picture that turned out!


Celtic Shawl


Pattern: Celtic Myths (heh, I typed “Mythos” first — I think a bit too much Cthulhu in my life)


Yarn: Timberline Ice by Alexandra’s Crafts. This is a really lovely blend: 63% superwash, 20% silk, 15% nylon, 2% silver. Yes, actual silver! So pretty.



comment count unavailable comments

January 11, 2016 03:00 PM

January 10, 2016

Terri

Birchbox December 2015

Birchbox December 2015

I love the knitted fair-isle look of the December birchbox. So pretty! And in a rare circumstance, I was actually able to use the $10 coupon they provided (it looks like it'll be a gift cert, but it's actually just $10 off $35 worth of stuff in their shop. I had a couple of cutesy k-beauty things I wanted and I wanted to replace a lip balm that's gone AWOL in december, and with the coupon and my birchbox points, I got $40 worth of stuff for $0. The points system remains a serious benefit of the birchbox subscription!


Birchbox December 2015

jane iredale Just Kissed Lip and Cheek Stain

I would buy another of these in a heartbeat if I could get it in this sample size -- so classy looking and easy to slip into even the tiniest dress pant pocket! And it's a metal tube, which just make it feel way more posh than my usual plastic ones. I thought the orange colour would be over the top when I opened it up, but it turned a beautiful peachy tone when combined with my skin. Subtle and buildable on my cheeks especially.

Birchbox December 2015

My only complaint is that I've already crushed the top into the top of the tube twice. Apparently I don't know how to lipstick?

Birchbox December 2015

Silhouette by Christian Siriano Eau de Parfum 50ml

Meh, it's a perfume. This one was a bit more interesting than most because of the weird stopper-bottle sample container, but frankly it's a bit too much of a grey-haired classic scent to appeal to me, if I even wore scent. On the bright side, maybe it'll appeal to J's mom?

Birchbox December 2015

gorge* I’ll Make You Look Amazing Daily Spray

I've been using the Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle spray since I tried it in my Birchbox many moons ago. This sadly doesn't seem to detangle as much (it doesn't claim to, but I really like that about BP) but it's a pleasant enough alternative scent that I'm happy to have it to try! Alas, it looks to be about twice as expensive since the bottle is half the size, so I don't think it'll make it into regular rotation for me.


Birchbox December 2015

Coastal Scents® styleEYES Palette

The gold is lovely with the perfect amount of shimmer on my lids. I wish the green had the same pay-off! It's a little more washed out and not as shimmery. Neither had a lot of staying power without a primer, but eyeshadows rarely do for me so I'm not sure if that's a function of my eyes or my unwillingness to spend $$$$ on eyeshadow when I rarely wear it.

Nice sample, though, with a little magnetic lid.

Birchbox December 2015

(MALIN+GOETZ) clarifying clay mask

This is a pleasant clay face mask: cools the face a little while drying due to evaporation, gritty texture encourages thorough face washing after. I found it a bit more annoying to remove than most, but the careful face wash is probably part of why my skin feels nice afterwards, so I guess it's just part of the experience!

comment count unavailable comments

January 10, 2016 08:42 PM

January 07, 2016

Terri

Alpaca Pome Hat for Mom

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

This one was always intended to be a Christmas gift to my Mom, but I finished it in May. That might be the earliest I’ve ever started or finished a present.


Alpaca Hat for Mom


(whoops, sorry about the cleavage. SLR selfies are hard.)


Pattern: Pome by Agata Smektala

Yarn: I think it was Cascades Eco Alpaca or something. Super soft, pretty natural colours. My enthusiasm for the yarn might be why this got started so early!


Alpaca Hat for Mom


(No, really, SLR selfies are hard…)


Hat selfies are hard with an SLR.


Anyhow, I think the hat worked out! It’s a bit smaller than her favourite blue one, but the alpaca is definitely soft and hopefully warm enough for her daily walks. At this point, J would remind me to tell you all that alpaca is also also fire resistant. (He had an amusing chat with the alpaca rancher at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival once.)


Alpaca hat detail


I would definitely use this yarn again, and probably do the pattern again, although with so many neat cabled hat patterns out there, it’s hard to resist the lure of the new!



comment count unavailable comments

January 07, 2016 03:02 PM

January 05, 2016

Terri

Why are there so many knit-a-longs starting in January?

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

January is apparently the month to start knit-a-longs! I guess it makes some sense, since many people are done with holiday gift knitting, and maybe have made new years craft resolutions to try new things where a KAL would be a good way to get help and tips as they go. But oh my goodness, I’ve seen so many of them that I feel rather overwhelmed. Normally I see a KAL once every few months, not a pile of them stacked into the new year! Even though I’m totally excited to try some of these, I just *barely* finished a Christmas present shawl to give it to M before I left Ottawa and I’m torn between taking time off and jumping in to these!


Here’s the three KALs that I’m seriously considering, of the very very many that I’ve seen:


2016 Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Knit Along : This is one of two mystery patterns associated with the RCYC, a big event in March where you visit some of the many yarn stores in the Portland area over the course of the weekend. This year it’s 14 stores, and that’s not even all the stores in the area! I’m tempted to do this one because it’s so neat seeing so many people making and wearing the same pattern, and I kind of want to have my own plumage for the event this year! There’s actually two Rose City Yarn Crawl mystery alongs, one for knit and one for crochet. I’m gravitating towards the knitted one because I love the description they used to help you choose your yarn. First clue comes Jan 27, so I still have some time to decide.


Catch a Falling Star MKAL: This is the January Mystery Mitt KAL for the Fingerless Glove Fanatics Group on Ravelry. I honestly don’t remember buying the pattern, so I think maybe it was free for a bit in December and I clicked the link on spec. But the designer has nice stuff and I’ve found fingerless mitts incredibly useful in the Portland weather, so I’ll probably be digging through my stash for a skein this week. First clue is already out, next due on Friday! (The Ravelry notification is the only way I remembered that I had this pattern.)


Twin Leaf Crescent KAL: This was designed by a local designer who creates beautiful patterns that are clear and easy to understand, and I’ve loved doing KALs with her in the past. The gradient kit for this is from Black Trillium, a local dyer whose yarn I’ve loved working with, and the colours are beautiful. But it’s a big shawl to add to my KAL list, overlapping directly time-wise with the RCYC cowl, and it requires a yarn purchase.


Since it seems weird to have a post on this blog without a photo, here a quick cell phone snap of what’s currently on my needles that I want to finish as well as these potential KALs:


Hobo Mitts in Progress

Hobo Mitts in Progress


This will be a set of convertible mitts for J, who says his old ones are getting pretty beat up. (I think maybe I bought them for him when we were first dating and he didn’t have enough cool-weather gear for regular visits to Ottawa?) They look super tiny on the needles, but they’re *really* stretchy and I didn’t want them to be too loose, so that’s the way they’re going to be… assuming they feel right to J when he tries them on a second time later in the process. They’ll fit more easily in a pocket this way, right?


That picture represents only a couple of days of kniting (I cast on two days ago and barely knit anything today), so they’re going fast enough that I’m hoping I’ll get these done well before the RCYC MKAL starts up! We’ll see if it gets messy when I get to the fingers!



comment count unavailable comments

January 05, 2016 08:31 AM

December 15, 2015

Terri

Yarn Subscription preview, December 2015 (Yarn of the Month and Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags)

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Quick peek at my yarn subscriptions for December 2015:


Yarn subscriptions December 2015


On the left is Yarn of the Month Club, on the right is Jimmy Beans’ Beanie Bags.


As with last month, Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags really wins on presentation. The bag is cute and just packed with pretty cards and offers and patterns. I think they win on sheer amount of yarn this time, too! Those circular things are pom-pom makers. This wasn’t obvious to me until I read their info page, but I’m kind of excited ’cause I was just thinking that my current system of cardboard tends to make kind of messy pompoms and that I could probably do better.


This month, Yarn of the Month Club wins on having the more luxe yarn with their theme of silk/wool blends (one’s silk/wool, one’s silk/wool/mohair). As you know if you’ve read my reviews, YOTM isn’t always so fancy, so it’s a particularly nice treat this month that it’s so different from my other samples! It’s hard to tell from the photo, but these are super soft.


Excited to try both of my subscription bags, but with the holidays and my holiday knitting, it might be a little while before I get to them! Although they are small enough to fit in my suitcase…



comment count unavailable comments

December 15, 2015 03:00 PM

December 13, 2015

Terri

Yarn of the Month Club, October 2015

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

It’s Dec 13, which means I’m a little overdue for my October YOTM review. I did the swatches and I’ve had the pictures ready to go for a while, though, so it’s time to write!


Yarn of the Month Club, October 2015


October 2015’s yarns have a autumn colour scheme: brown and orange. The swatch descriptions this month also included the maker of the yarn, which I’d been looking up/guessing before. Hurray!


Pattern


Fall vines tablet cover. Simple and cute! The paper was so messed up that I don’t really feel like it’s worth photographing the picture, though.


Classica


Yarn of the Month Club, October 2015



Classica by Silvia

“This washable yarn is soft and shows strong stitch definition”

4.5 sts on US 8

100% Acrylic

229 yds colour: 121


Yarn of the Month Club, October 2015


This is a pleasant to work with, a workhorse acrylic yarn. Comparing with the acrylics I use for amigrumi, it’s a bit softer than Red Heart but not as soft (or splitty) as Caron super soft.


Yarn of the Month Club, October 2015


My experience with the swatch was ok as far as knitting went, but blocking had no effect on this yarn, so what you see when you knit it what you get with little flexibility. That’s ok for some applications, but as a recent convert to blocking, I have to admit I was pretty disappointed for it to have no effect.


Yarn of the Month Club, October 2015


Honestly, even though I liked the yarn, I’m not sure I’d buy it since it’s more expensive has harder care instructions than my cheap craft store yarns. That isn’t to say that it’s a bad yarn! It’s quite pleasant to use, it’s just a hard category to get a win in.


Yarn of the Month Club, October 2015


Big Hug


Yarn of the Month Club, October 2015



Big Hug by Euro Yarns

“This superwash jumbo yarn is squooshy and an easy knit”

1.25 sts/inch on US 17

50% Wool 50% Acrylic

40 yds color: 111


This yarn sample is *huge*. I took a bunch of photos trying to show how big it is, but I’m not sure I found the right comparison. The sample bag was probably more than double the size of a regular one, though!


Yarn of the Month Club, October 2015Yarn of the Month Club, October 2015


Yarn of the Month Club, October 2015Yarn of the Month Club, October 2015


This was super nice to work with: soft, fluffy, huge and quick. I actually wound up starting the swatch recommendation then ripping it out to create something I liked better, so I can tell you that it unknits pretty nicely.


Yarn of the Month Club, October 2015


My knit up sample could probably be used as a potholder, it’s so thick. I’m guessing it’s going to wind up as a heat pad for my teapot because we finally found the oven mitts and after months of having nothing but crummy potholders for taking cookies and cakes out of the oven, I kind of never want to use one again.


Yarn of the Month Club, October 2015


I’ve been busy doing gifts in fingering weight yarn since before this sample arrived, so the sheer size of it was a real treat. It has definitely rekindled my interest in working with some bigger chunky yarns!


Yarn of the Month Club, October 2015


Summary


Pleasant yarns to try, and I loved Big Hug enough that it got me excited about doing some more stuff with giant fluffy yarns!



comment count unavailable comments

December 13, 2015 09:42 PM

December 10, 2015

Terri

Recipe: Spiced Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies with a hint of Sriracha

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I’ve had a few different types of bacon chocolate chip cookies now, because I have the type of life where that’s a viable dietary choice and plenty of friends who are willing to try something new. But I’ve got to say that I’ve got mixed feelings about them.


Chopped bacon on cutting board.  I actually cut all these pieces smaller before putting them in the cookies.  I figured they'd be best if the bacon chunks were similar in size to the chocolate chips.

Chopped bacon on cutting board. I actually cut all these pieces smaller before putting them in the cookies. I figured they’d be best if the bacon chunks were similar in size to the chocolate chips.


Some bacon chocolate chip cookies are pretty much “I put bacon in this existing recipe” which is fun but not always a true melding of flavour. Some are even “I put bacon on top of this chocolate chip cookie and glued it there with maple goo” which is more the voodoo donut approach to sweet and bacon.


Those are fun, don’t get me wrong. But this is the type of cookie where people go “hey, sure, let me try one of those” and then they do and they go “that was neat” and then they move on to more traditional cookies.


What I wanted was more melding of flavour, which is hard since chocolate and bacon don’t dissolve into each other, flavour wise. So I decided to try merging my favourite spiced cookie recipe with some bacon chocolate chip cookie recipes, in hopes that a bit of spice would bridge the gap.


Spiced bacon chocolate chip cookie dough

Spiced bacon chocolate chip cookie dough


The resulting cookies taste sort of like a candied bacon with spiced chocolate, which is what I was aiming for. Hurrah!


I took these to a cookie exchange party on the weekend and am pleased to report that more than one person tried these, said “hey, that was neat” and then ate a second one immediately. This is a particularly high compliment given the number of truly excellent cookies on offer at the party! So I’m declaring them a success and publishing the recipe.


Are these actually the best bacon cookies? The title is a tongue-in-cheek nod to academic speak for “we don’t want to over-state our claims but we’ve made some real improvements in this area.” So they’re probably not the best cookies yet, but I think I feel comfortable saying that I’m on a viable path in the search for the best!


Spiced bacon chocolate chip cookies ready to be baked

Spiced bacon chocolate chip cookies ready to be baked


Spiced Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies (with a hint of Sriracha)


Note that I’m calling these “spiced” but not “spicy” — you can easily tweak the spice level, but the current version of the recipe doesn’t rate on my spice scale. The dominant tastes are chocolate, bacon and cinnamon.


1 stick butter

1/2 c brown sugar

1/2 c white sugar

~3 tbsp bacon grease

1/4 c milk

1 egg

1/2 tsp sriracha (in place of vanilla; if you want less spicy you could revert)

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

2 C flour

1 1/4 C chocolate chips

1/2 C thick bacon cut into 1/4 inch pieces (make them similar in size to the chocolate chips)


Cook the bacon until the edges are just crispy, but the bacon is still chewy enough to work in a cookie. Set aside to cool. I don’t really recommend shelf-stable bacon bits for this because they tend to be too salty and crispy, and thicker bacon is better. Don’t waste money on getting the nicest bacon ever, though; you probably won’t be able to tell once it’s covered in cookie dough.


Cream together butter, sugar and bacon grease. (We just poured warm grease directly from the pan after eating some of the bacon with breakfast, so 3 tbsp is an estimation.) Don’t worry if there’s lumps in your brown sugar, no one minds. Add milk, egg and sriracha and mix further.


Mix in the soda and cinnamon, then stir in the flour slowly and stop when just mixed. Add chocolate chips and bacon, stir. You can tweak the amount of chips and bacon to suit your tastes, but remember that the bacon may be a stronger flavour than the chocolate.


Set the whole thing aside in the fridge to cool for a few hours.


When ready to cook, heat oven to 350F and make small (~ 1 inch) balls. Bake for around 14 minutes. (possibly less if you didn’t bother to chill the dough)


Makes around 48 small cookies.


Spiced bacon chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven!

Spiced bacon chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven!


Notes


You can totally make big cookies with this recipe if you want, but I don’t recommend it for two reasons:



  1. The chilled dough is really solid (all that cold bacon grease?), so small balls easier to make.

  2. This is the sort of cookie people will be curious about but not want to commit to, so smaller cookies let them get a taste and decide if they actually want more.


There’s three things that I think really make the meld of flavours work better, so if you’re tweaking the recipe, approach these with care:



  1. The substitution of bacon grease for butter/lard/shortening. It works!

  2. The cinnamon. I think you need this to make the flavour meld work. It might not be the only spice that could do this.

  3. The sriracha instead of vanilla. Seriously, it makes the dough quite a bit different than the original recipe, in a good way.


If I were doing this again, I would increase the sriracha to at least double, probably more. It seems overwhelming when you add it to the batter, but by the time the flour is mixed and the cookies are baked, it’s not as detectable as it could be.


The original spicy cookie recipe this was based on included cayenne pepper to make a mexican hot chocolate style cookie. I removed it because I think sriracha goes better with bacon and my taste tester dislikes cayenne, but if you’re into a bit more chemical heat, that’s a good option to experiment with.


I declare these a success, but there’s not much call for bacon cookies in daily life, though, so it might be a while before I try this again!


Single Spiced Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookie, waiting to be baked

Single Spiced Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookie, waiting to be baked



comment count unavailable comments

December 10, 2015 10:02 AM

December 05, 2015

Terri

Things I always forget about setting up git

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

You may have seen xkcd’s comic about git:


Comic about git


I feel this pain. Because of Mailman, I actually learned Bazaar when many people were learning git, and did most of my contributions through launchpad, so I’m a relative newcomer to git and doing contributions on github (Mailman’s on gitlab now, but I do github for work and other reasons). This is constantly embarrassing to me because I’m a pretty seasoned open source contributor and so people always assume that I’ll be good at git. But I’m not. And lots of other people aren’t either! I was amused at how quickly that comic made the rounds with everyone saying things like, “I thought it was just me!”


Of course, my boyfriend not only does git but used to develop gitweb, so he was horrified when I laughed at said comic and thus cemented his role as my personal git tech support forever. I am both relieved and horrified that he has to look this stuff up all the time too.


Anyhow, in the interest of making my own life easier, I’m writing myself a teensy tiny reminder of the parts of git I most often get wrong. (It’s possible that this tutorial is also wrong, but I’m bugging J as I go so I don’t screw it up too badly.) I’m hoping that writing it out will make it easier to remember, but if not, at least I know where to look.


Setting up my repo



  1. Fork

    I do this through the web interface so I have a personal copy to work with and sometimes so I don’t accidentally try to push directly upstream on projects like Mailman where I totally could do that if I wasn’t paying attention.

  2. Clone my fork on my local machine

    This makes a nice local copy I can poke at and grep through and whatever.

    git clone git@gitlab.com:terriko/mailman-website.git

  3. Set up an upstream

    This helps make it easier for me to get changes from the upstream original project and integrate them into my local copy.

    cd mailman-website

    git remote add upstream git@gitlab.com:terriko/mailman-website.git



  4. If I want to get changes from upstream, I then do

    git fetch upstream

    git merge upstream/master


Note to self: don’t use git pull. I know that git pull basically just fetches and merges, but somehow I always screw something up with it if I have changed any file anywhere. As far as I know, git pull seems to be the equivalent of releasing angry flaming wasps into your repository. You might try to clean it up for a while, but eventually you’re going to decide that dealing with flaming wasps is way more hassle than just making a new repo copy and going there.


I know, the guides always tell you to use git pull. I assume most of the guides on the internet are written by angry flaming wasps who desire new homes in your repo.


A wasp saying "git pull" while fire comes out of its butt.


Making a branch


Note to self: always make the branch before making any changes or you’ll find a way to get your tree into some sort of screwed up state and all the git stash and revert attempts in the world won’t push your mess out of the way enough to make git happy. The flaming wasps will win again.


git checkout -b mailman3doc --track

(This will use my upstream settings (set above) and tie this branch to that upstream. With magic.)


Saving my work and pushing it publicly


When I want to check stuff into my branch (aka save what I’m working on) I do



  1. Add the ones I want to save



    git add $files_I_have_changed_and_want_to_save


    If I’m not sure which files I changed, I can check


    git status


    Note to self: I never forget how to add, but I often try to use git diff instead of git status so that’s why this is here.


  2. Check in my files

    git commit -m "Useful commit message goes here"

    I also rarely forgot this one, because it’s basically unchanged from the first version control systems I used. yeay!


  3. The first time I want to push my branch to gitlab or github, I do

    git push -u origin $branchname

    The -u part sets the magic for the branch so that in theory in the future I can just use


    git push


Note to self: The -u stands for “upstream” but after some point, I’m losing track of what is upstream and what is origin and I can never remember what I need here. It’s all magic incantations as far as my memory goes.


A unicorn saying "git remote" "-u" and "--track"


Cleaning up my commit messages before a merge


Often I make a commit, push it upstream, then realize that I have a typo in a comment or something that I want to fix quietly without anyone knowing. Thankfully, git rebase is here for me. If it’s just gone to my personal fork and not to the main repo, I can use it to hide my shame.


git rebase -i HEAD~2


Will “interactively” let me mess with my last two commits. There’s a nice tutorial on how to do this here so I won’t write one out myself.


A series of checkin messages with all but the first one crossed out and a magic git wand leaving sparkles across the screen


That’s the most common ones I can think of off the top of my head!



comment count unavailable comments

December 05, 2015 03:04 PM

November 30, 2015

Terri

Easy Kitty Hat

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Remember my simple hat post? It’s been done for a while now. The cloud helpfully made a collage out of my selfie attempts showcasing the finished object:


Easy Kitty Hat Collage

Easy Kitty Hat Collage


What’s fun about this hat is that it’s actually just a rectangular bag that you wear on your head. the “ears” aren’t built in at all, they’re an artifact of your head filling out everything except the corners of the bag, leaving you with “ears” made out of the corners. Here is it looking flat and hanging out on a tree in my backyard:


Kitty hat in flat, rectagular mode.


I put the pattern in the last post, but here it is a bit more fleshed out.


Pattern


Link to this pattern on Ravelry in case you want to add it to your queue!


Super short version of the pattern

1. Cast on 126 stitches and join in the round

2. k2 p2 repeat until you have around 1″ of brim

3. knit in stockinette for another 6″

4. Divide stitches evenly on two needles, (63 stitches on each) and graft closed with kitchener stitch.


That will get you a 21″ hat assuming a gauge of 6 sts/inch in your yarn. But if you want to use different yarn or have a different sized head, read on for more detailed instructions!


Yarn: Misti Tui from Misti Alpaca. Sport weight, chains of thin alpaca.

Any yarn would do, though, just do the calculation for your head circumference.

What’s the gauge? 6 st/inch on US 7 (4.5mm)

What’s my head circumference? Around 21 inches

Calculating…

Since I didn’t want much negative ease (i.e. stretch), that meant 21 inches x 6 stitches/inch = cast on 126 stitches


Brim ribbing (1 inch/2.5 cm): Cast on 126 stitches and join for knitting in the round

k3, p1, k1, p1 repeat 21 times (or as many times as you have inches of head circumference)

Repeat brim rows until you reach an inch or so then switch to stockinette


Main hat (6 inches/15 cm): knit in stockinette (e.g. knit all stitches in the round) until hat measures a total of 7 inches (17.5cm), including the brim.


Finishing:

Arrange on two needles with equal numbers of stitches (63 for my hat) and graft using kitchener stitch.


Notes


This can be done with any yarn, although the ears may not look as ear-like in a really bulky one. Just do the calculations for your head circumference!


If I were doing this again, I’d do a simpler brim ribbing. You can’t really tell this from a k2p2 ribbing unless you’re looking for it.


I went the knit in the round + kitchener route because I like knitting in the round and having a seamless hat. If knitting in the round or kitchener stitch is not for you, you could knit flat and sew up the sides.


If you want, you could also put a few sewed stitches in to keep the ears in place. I actually like them as they are because they’re a bit moldable for expressiveness if I want to be more sad kitty. Or I can tuck them in so they don’t lay weirdly under my bike helmet.


Kitty Hat

Kitty Hat


Also, just for fun, here’s a picture of what the path down the side of my house looked like around when this hat was finished:


Maple path


We’re a bit past fall and it’s now freezing every night and thawing every day. That hat still meets my needs! I *really* love this hat: it fits in my pocket or under my bike helmet. I’ve already bought myself yarn to make a backup copy because it’s so handy that I’m afraid I’ll misplace it!



comment count unavailable comments

November 30, 2015 03:02 PM

One thoughtful thing

The house is finally shaping up to someplace I'm happy to live, and our renovation choices are paying off.

But there's one little part of the house that really makes me smile and think of John when he's away: the bike rack in the garage. See, I would never have thought to get a bike rack (I've always just left my bike leaning against the side or on a kickstand) but John decided to surprise me with one, and every time I glide in from a ride and put my bike away, I think about him. It's just such a nice touch to make me feel like my bike is a first-class citizen in the garage, and it's especially sweet because I ride a lot more often when he's out of town so it often gets me when I'm missing him.

I guess he's a keeper. ;)

comment count unavailable comments

November 30, 2015 08:23 AM

November 19, 2015

Terri

Yarn of the Month Club, September 2015

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

September was blue for Yarn of the Month.


Yarn of the Month Club, September 2015


The Pattern


This month’s pattern is “UTurn Scarf” which is a fun mitered knitting scarf, good for self-striping yarns. I don’t know if I’ll try it or not!


Amitola Grande


Yarn of the Month Club, September 2015



Louisa Harding Amitola Grande

“This single ply yarn is subtle and soft”

4.5 sts on US 10

80% Wool 20% Silk

273 yds Color: 516


I love single ply yarn because it can be so soft and you don’t have to worry about it untwisting or catching threads in the same way. This is soft, squishy and quick to knit up.


Yarn of the Month Club, September 2015


The standout part of it is the nice slow tonal gradient. I really love these colours and they look great knit up in the swatch too. The swatch is an odd little “knit into the stitch a few rows back and drop” stitch ribbed thing that I wasn’t too sure about when I was doing it, but it looks ok when complete and the loosened stitches go nicely with the squooshy yarn.


Front:

Yarn of the Month Club, September 2015


Back:

Yarn of the Month Club, September 2015


I can really see using this for quick knits and with the pretty colours, it’d be great for scarves. Maybe a really nice present for a beginner knitter? I can see keeping some on hand for last-minute gifts, too.


Sisa


Yarn of the Month Club, September 2015



Sisa

“Squishy, braided yarn feels oh so delicious”

5 sts/inch on US 6

60% wool 40% Alpaca

137 yds Color: 09


This is soft, dense and seems warm. I do so love alpaca! I didn’t have much trouble with the smaller threads in the braid coming loose, so it was nice to work with.


Yarn of the Month Club, September 2015, Sisa yarn


You can’t always see it because the yarn it overall so dark, but it does have some very nice heathering in there with glints of purple.


The swatch pattern is cute, if a bit hard to see because of the darkness. Really shows off that stitch definition as a texture, but the dark makes it not show up so much in photos.


Here it is front-lit:

Yarn of the Month Club, September 2015


And back-lit so you can see the holes:


Yarn of the Month Club, September 2015


This screams sweater yarn to me, since it holds up for interesting stitch patterns but is still soft against the skin. It’d probably be nice for colourwork, although it’s hard to tell without trying. I could see it making a nice hat too, but it doesn’t have nearly the thickness I want for my scarves unless it was double-knit. Still, very nice and something I wouldn’t mind using in larger quantities! Maybe this would be good for the next baby sweater I do?


Summary


Two great yarns this time! I could see buying both of these myself for specific projects, and Amitola Grande especially as a gift because of the colours. Definitely happy with my subscription for September!



comment count unavailable comments

November 19, 2015 03:02 PM

November 16, 2015

Terri

Clapotis Wrap for S

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I was visiting So Much Yarn in Seattle and looking for possible presents for folk with September birthdays. When I saw this beautiful rayon yarn with a thread of gold in it knit up in the store, though, I knew I had a winner for my sister.


Shawl for S


The Pattern


Clapotis on Ravelry (so you can add it to your queue and see other people’s versions)

Clapotis on Knitty (so you can actually see the pattern)


Shawl for S


I love the description of French women and their scarves, which actually kind of reminds me of my sister (although she’s best known for her hats).



French women are known for wearing scarves. Starting in September and until summer arrives, this is a most important accessory. The scarf may be striped or patterned, colorful, wrinkled and is much bigger than the scarves you probably have. Women just wrap the scarf around their neck in a “Je suis belle et ça ne demande aucun effort*” sort of way and off they go.


Since I have lived in Paris, I have realized that these ladies are on to something. I find I am much warmer wearing a scarf, even if I’m not wearing a jacket, so here is my knit version of the French scarf.


Shawl for S


This is a very popular pattern on Ravelry (over 20k projects!) and you can see there that it looks pretty different depending on the yarn.


Shawl for S


The construction of this one is a bit unusual. Can you tell that the early pictures are of the same shawl?


Shawl for S


You knit clapotis as stockinette with some twisted stitches for stability, and then drop the stitches later on and unravel. It’s kind of fun, although it feels weird to do it since normally you’re trying to avoid dropped stitches when you knit!


Shawl for S


The Yarn


Shawl for S


This particular yarn was very silky and it’s got lovely drape. Just look at it knit up!


Shawl for S


This is Blue Heron Yarns Rayon Metallic, and loved it so much that I may well buy more if I can figure out which colours I actually like. (Sadly, some of the colour ways *really* didn’t do it for me in the store, so I’m hesistent to buy more online!)


Shawl for SShawl for S


One skein made a nearly full-sized Clapotis (I had to leave off the last repeat, but honestly it was big enough!).


Shawl for S


Conclusions


While knitting stockinette is “boring” to many, I kind of like it because it means I can concentrate on other things and multitask. Plus, the yarn itself really made this a treat to make.


Shawl for S


I may have to make one of these for myself!


Shawl for S


Also, next time I ask J to take photos of me, I will skip reminding him that I want photos of the project, not the background, and I will remind him not to cut off my head. He really needs to up his portrait photography game!


Shawl for S



comment count unavailable comments

November 16, 2015 03:01 PM

November 13, 2015

Terri

Yarn of the Month Club, August 2015

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

August’s colour scheme was a light lavender grey. I decided to liven up some my photos a little, colour-wise, in part because I haven’t found my light box since the move, but also because I like a tad more colour in my selections.


Yarn of the Month Club, August 2015


The pattern


This month’s pattern was for a bracelet made of woven icord that was actually small enough to make with the sample, so I did that instead of the swatch.


Maya


Yarn of the Month Club, August 2015


Berroco Maya

“Soft chained yarn with beautiful stitch definition”

5 sts/inch on US 8

85% pima cotton 15% alpaca

137 yards Color: 5650


This was soft and nice to play with. As is common with these chained yarns, I do have some trouble where I accidentally pull the individual threads and have to unknit and try again. Definitely not yarn for knitting in a dark theatre or other time when you’re not looking at it.


Yarn of the Month Club, August 2015


The pattern is a pretty cute little bracelet, made with a bunch of icord that you then weave together before picking up stitches and finishing the end. If I did it again, I’d probably leave off the side icords: they put them there so you could use them with beads, but since I don’t really like things clunking against my keyboard, I decided to leave my bracelet bare, and it was annoying to have to sew the side icords on to the center braid. I think the structural integrity would be better without them if you’re not in it for the beads.


I haven’t dug out my buttons to finish it yet (they’re still buried in some box from the move), so I haven’t worn it. I strongly suspect it’ll wind up getting used as a coffee cup sleeve more often than it’ll get worn, since I rarely wear bracelets, but it’ll be nice and thick for holding hot beverages too. Maybe I should wear it just so I have it when I need it for hot beverage purposes?


Captiva


Yarn of the Month Club, August 2015


Berroco Captiva

“Silky, slippery, slinky with a shimmer and a sheen”

4.5 sts on US 8

60% cotton 23% polyester 17% acrylic

98 yards Color 5557


They are not kidding about this being slinky. It’s a treat to work with, firm but slippery, and the swatch pattern shows it off nicely.


Yarn of the Month Club, August 2015


I can see this making a pretty neat summer scarf. It’s got kind of a loose sliding chain feeling, satisfying to fiddle with, and the whole sample scrunches and stretches in a pleasant way.


Summary


Two nice yarns and a fun pattern! I don’t think I’d buy Maya again, because I’ve since worked with 100% alpaca in this chained format and I love it so much more, but it was good to try and a nice fit for the cuff pattern. But I may pick up a ball of Captiva to make a scarf when I need something pretty for a present or something!


Yarn of the Month Club, August 2015



comment count unavailable comments

November 13, 2015 03:07 PM

November 12, 2015

Terri

Cultural differences

November 11 is one of those things that superficially seems the same in Canada and the US but really isn't

In Canada, it's called Remembrance Day, and the focus is about remembering the horrors of war, thinking about peace, and honouring those who have sacrificed their lives as well as our living veterans, although in a very somber way. Honestly, for most of my public school days the focus was 2nd world war because we could invite living veterans to come and talk. (My grandfather, slightly too young for ww2 service but a veteran of the cold war, used to go to local schools too; I presume someone else has taken up that torch.)

In the US, November 11 is Veteran's Day, so it's less about the dead and more about the living in some hard to describe way. It's definitely not about remembering the way it is in Canada. Which means work was trying to break a world record in most number of people doing pushups in an event with a hashtag and a line about "give 'em 20."

Just another small moment of culture shock in the neverending sea of them.

I do wish the US actually celebrated peace, 'cause I miss that part of Canada's pomp and circumstance, and I find the US attitude towards its military very hard to wrap my head around. But I do like work's reminder that veterans are our colleagues and that there's life after military service, even if asking a bunch of nerds to do pushups seems like an odd event choice.

comment count unavailable comments

November 12, 2015 08:29 AM

November 11, 2015

Terri

November 2015 yarn subscription preview

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

There’s a new small yarn subscription service in town! Jimmy Beans Wool has a new subscription service they call “Beanie Bags” which is fairly similar to my existing Yarn of the Month Club subscription.


Here’s the yarn portion of both of them for November:


Yarn of the Month yarn compared with Jimmy Beans Wool Beanie Bag yarn (November 2015)


I’m excited about my mail, so you get a preview today that jumps my posting queue. (September’s YOTM post is queued and October’s swatches are on the needles, though!)


A brief comparison


Price:

YOTM is $9.50. BeanieBags is $10.00


Contents:

YOTM is 2 (or sometimes 3( samples of yarn, with a paper including a pattern and swatch suggestions.


BeanieBags is 4 much smaller samples of yarn, some small notions or other includes, a bag, and a postcard with sample info and some links to their website. (Also this cute Small Yardage group on Ravelry for more ideas of how to use your teensy samples!)


(You’ll have to wait ’till my full review for pictures of the full Beanie Bag kit.)


First impressions


The Beanie Bag is much more polished, with the pretty printed postcard and the bag. If I were gifting a subscription to someone else, this is definitely the one! (That’s part of why I justified trying out this subscription, actually.) The little extras are a nice touch, and I like bags. I particularly like that these are white cotton canvas type material, so if I keep up the subscription and tire of having similar bags, I can always dye them.


I *was* kind of sad to get all the same colour yarns in my Beanie Bag, but having actually gone to their website that was an intentional choice specific to this month’s yarns: the yarns are meant to be mixed and knit together. So that makes more sense now, and it’s a neat new thing to try!


I’m still pretty fond of Yarn of the Month, though. I’ve gotten interesting samples from them and I *really* like their approach of “make some 5×5 swatches every month and by the end of the year you’ll have a blanket” which is a pretty practical way to enjoy all those yarns. (My Beanie Bag doesn’t appear to include explicit swatch patterns, just blending suggestions this month. I’ll figure something out from my library, I think.)


Even if you aren’t doing the swatch blanket thing, I do think YOTM still gives you a more useful amount of yarn to play with and get to know. Generally speaking, I get enough for an edging on a hat or scarf or similar project accent, so even if I wasn’t swatching I feel like this is enough yarn to use as part of the types of projects I do. (These teensy balls look good for small colourwork, but my stash doesn’t really have enough to support that yet.)


And, of course, YOTM is somewhat local to me, and a small business to boot, so I feel good about supporting it.


Summary


So far, I like both but for different reasons. YOTM walks the line of novelty and practicality so I don’t feel like I have random teensy yarn projects piling up around the house, while Beanie Bag has a polished product with more to coo over.


The plan is to do a 3 month stint with Beanie Bags and then decide if I want to choose one or continue with both, or think about it for another 3 months. We shall see!



comment count unavailable comments

November 11, 2015 06:41 AM

November 10, 2015

Terri

Camp Erin Teddy Bear Cardigan Variation

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I’m not big on charity knitting because often it’s much more sensible to donate money that can be used to support more tangible aid (witness the story of the penguin sweaters). But Knitting Bee, one of my local yarn shops (there are so many in the Portland area!) was doing a drive for teddy bear sweaters at the same time that a friend of mine was trying to get rid of a bag of free wool, so I decided I’d participate!


Here’s the finished sweater on the bear who went to Camp Erin, on display in the shop:


Camp Erin Bear


About this pattern


This is a variation on Mr. Bear’s Top Down Cardigan, Hat & Scarf from Knitting Bee (Mr Bear’s Cardigan on Ravelry). I just made the modifications as I was knitting a sweater for Knitting Bee’s charity drive. The variation is nothing too fancy, but I thought I’d write it down in case I ever want to duplicate it.


Teddy Bear Sweater for Camp Erin


I’m happy to have you use this variant sweater in any way you want, but do note that the original has a line at the bottom saying it was made to support Camp Erin, not for commercial purposes, so you go according to your feelings on the matter.


Yarn


I used 4 colours, two blues, one grey and one black.

I’ll call the light blue one the edge colour or EC in the pattern below.


Teddy Bear Sweater for Camp Erin


Teddy Bear Cardigan


Cast on 58 sts in EC to begin neckband.

Row 1: (k1, p1) repeat.

Rows 2-5: continue in seed stitch


Now we’ll be begin the first stripe.

I used 3 strands of yarn, two in the edge colour and one for the stripe colour, twisting them together where the colour changes but not breaking the yarn until the stripe colour change.


Row 6 (Right side): In edge colour (K1, P1) twice (to continue neckband)

Change to stripe color, K5, place marker, K11, pm, K18, pm, K11, pm, K5

Switch back to edge colour and (K1, P1) twice.


Row 7 (wrong side): (P1, K1) twice for edge in EC then switch to stripe colour

In stripe colour, purl, slipping markers, until the last 4 stitches.

Switch back to MC for other edge then (p1, k1) twice


Row 8 (Right Side): (k1, p1) twice, then K to one stitch before marker. Increase by knitting front and back in stitches before and after each marker, knit other stitches up until last 4, (k1, p1) twice. (increase by 8 stitches)


repeat rows 7-8, changing colour every 5 rows, until you have 5 stripes.

(Work should measure around 4.5″)


Slip sleeve stitches onto holders or waste yarn. (Those are the stitches between the 1st and 2nd markers, then the ones between the 3rd and 4th markers.)


Continue to knit body as established only without increasing. I added two more stripes (~1.5″). Shorter bears probably only need one.


Switch entirely to edge colour for final edge.

k across for one row.

Last 5 rows: (K1, P1) repeat (or vice versa) for seed stitch. If you missed an increase somewhere, you may need to k2tog so that the front bands line up with the bottom seed stitches.


Bind off loosely. I use the following bind off, but any loose one would do:

k2tog, slip bound stitch back to 1st needle, repeat until all stitches are bound off then pull through the last one.


Transfer held sleeve sts to double pointed needles or magic loop. Attach yarn and knit all sts; join for knitting in the round.

I knit two more stripes at this point, but a shorter teddy probably only needs one.


Switch to edging colour and work edge in seed stitch:

k around once

then (k1, p1) around until you have 5 more rows. You’ll need to k2tog at the end of the first round to make the seed spiral around nicely.


Bind off loosely.


Weave in all ends.


Teddy Bear Sweater for Camp Erin


The Hat


Same deal with the stripes applied to the original hat pattern. (I didn’t take detailed notes, but you can probably figure it out from the pictures. If you’re trying to duplicate this and need help, please feel free to ask!)


Some more pictures


Here’s a few more snaps of the sweater, modeled by one of J’s stuffed toys:


Teddy Bear Sweater for Camp Erin

Teddy Bear Sweater for Camp Erin

Teddy Bear Sweater for Camp Erin

Teddy Bear Sweater for Camp Erin



comment count unavailable comments

November 10, 2015 01:38 AM

Birchbox October 2015

October's Birchbox was pink in recognition of breast cancer.

Birchbox October 2015

I've become suspicious of pink things in recognition of breast cancer, since it's come out that often very little or no money goes to cancer research. Thankfully, this "awareness" does indeed come with a more tangible donation: $104k to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) which will apparently fund a year's work in a lab. I presume that's for a single person and materials, not the whole lab, given what I know of the costs of breast cancer research from a friend who used to work in the field.

So maybe not earth-shattering, but at least it's tangible!

Birchbox October 2015

Let's talk about what's inside:

Birchbox October 2015

CLEAN White Woods



This perfume didn't trigger a migraine and smells vaguely like babies and not at all like woods. I actually like it despite myself, although it's not something I plan to buy as I cannot wear perfume at work or in much of my private life.

It still irks me that even when I tell birchbox I don't do perfume, the option is "no more than 6 times a year" which means half of my boxes contain perfume. But at least I can pass it on to someone who might like it.

Birchbox October 2015

Lollia by Margot Elena Shea Butter Handcreme



I love shea butter, and this is no exception -- it leaves my hands feeling super soft for ages. The name is "sugarared pastille" (a candy or throat lozenge) but I think it smells more like generic hand lotion to me. The scent isn't too heavy or noticeable, anyhow.

Birchbox October 2015

I do particularly like the retro packaging and little metal tube with the bees in the design. It's a little thing, but in the sea of hand cremes I've tried since I started birchbox, it's hard to stand out, and I think this one will just because it's got this classic pretty vibe going.

Of course, it also stands out in that it's got macadamia nut in it, which means it's an allergen for my boyfriend. It won't kill him if I use it, but he definitely shouldn't use it himself, and I can't really buy more once this sample runs out. Good thing Birchbox has basically removed any need for me to buy hand creme again anyhow. ;)

Birchbox October 2015

Acure Organics Cell Stimulating Facial Mask



Directions: Apply evenly over the face until you look like a green sea-monster.


Now these are the kind of directions I want to see on products I sample! ;) This comes out dark green, and you smell like a sea monster (with a hint of mint) as you put it on. I know you all want to know exactly what it looks like, so here's what I look like with half a tube of the sample on my face:

Birchbox October 2015

Sea monster indeed! Might also double for zombie makeup. Made me want to put on an episode of Arrow while I matched the green theme of the superhero.

It doesn't harden too much as it dries so I wasn't itching (literally or figuratively) to get it off. I was surprised to discover that when you attack it with a warm wet washcloth, it actually foams up. It doesn't *look* like it has permanently stained my washcloth either, although I suspect I should dump it in with tonight's laundry to be sure.

It left my face feeling clean and soft but perhaps a bit dry, so I followed up with a bit of moisturizer. I found it amusing and pleasant even with the seaweed-mint smell.

Incidentally, I think the whole stem cell and growth factor stuff is probably crap pseudoscience, because most things about makeup seem to be, but I haven't bothered to look up the details yet. If anyone knows, comments welcomed!

Birchbox October 2015

Number 4™ Texture Styling Crème



Why does this have a bunny on it? Is it cruelty-free, or specifically tested on bunnies? Do bunnies have styling cream secrets I need to know about? I do wish they'd said something about it on the sample.

I'm not a big user of styling creme on account of my default hair style being basically "long flowing hippie folk singer-songwriter" but I *had* wanted to try a waterfall braid and failed because after messing up a few times my hair had become so static-y that I couldn't get it to stay sectioned. So this arrived at the right time! I don't love the smell and it basically makes my hair feel a teensy bit slimy, but it *does* make styling easier, and I finally managed the motions to make the waterfall braid work.

I wish this product came in an unscented version, but it does do what it purports to do, and I'll probably make use of it again as I learn to perfect the waterfall braid!

Birchbox October 2015

Eyeko Black Magic Mascara



I was kind of disappointed to receive this, because it wasn't the sample that I'd chosen for this month's box! Thankfully, Birchbox customer support was apologetic and supposedly the correct sample is in the mail (I'll probably review it with some future box).

That said, this is a very nice mascara. Significant length, not too clumpy or thickening. It makes my eyelashes absurdly long without making them thicker or particularly heavier. Here's a photo (sorry about the weird angle, but it was the best way to show the lashes):

Birchbox October 2015

You can compare with the sea monster pic above if you're not sure what my lashes look like normally. But yeah, it works nicely, and I'm not sad to have gotten it after all!

Birchbox October 2015

Summary



This was one of the most consistently good boxes I've had in a while! I liked all the products. (Shockingly, even the perfume) My birchbox subscription keeps me stocked in all these product categories so I don't think I'll buy more when these samples run out, but I'll use all of these myself except for the perfume, and at least I know someone who will likely enjoy the perfume sample!

comment count unavailable comments

November 10, 2015 12:42 AM