Tuesday, March 31, 2009

On and Off the Needles

Did you think I meant that I'm on and off the needles? Because that would have been a hilariously inaccurate misconstrual! I am very much on the needles. On them like a drug. Here's what's off, though:

That's my Foliage. I wore it on the bus this morning, and who should step onto the bus as I sat in my morning fog but some random stranger wearing the same hat in a nice, warm yellow! I was delighted, and kept awkwardly trying to catch her eye to flash her my "Hey, we have the same hat which is cooler because we both obviously made the hats as well!" smile, but to no avail. She never looked at me, and I started to feel weird and stalkerish, so I gave up. It was a bit of a let-down, in the end. Now for what's on my needles:

Meet "Bluebonnets." If this turns out as nicely as I think it will, I may offer it for sale. We'll see. It's going to be a headband with two lacy bluebonnets knit down its length. This should be a great beginner lace project, and a really quick knit. I'm knitting it in Paton's bamboo/silk blend. It's shiny and slippery and smooth and silky and I'm really falling in love with the idea of bamboo yarn, not just from an ecological standpoint, but from a purely aesthetic one as well.

I have a number of larger-scale projects in the planning and knitting stages as well, but I can't tell you about them yet. Rest assured, I am smiling coyly as I type this.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chipping Away at the Quilt

This is what the quilt looks like right now. There's a system, trust me.

I've laid out the quilt top and am getting started sewing all of the squares together. Once the top is put together, I'll start thinking about backing and batting and whatnot.

I think the colors look more garish in these pictures than they do in real life. They're really a bit deeper and richer than what you get here.
Mongo approves!

Have I mentioned that I hate sewing? As I suspected, this isn't as bad as sewing frequently is, when I'm involved. Straight lines. I can do that. My sewing machine, however...I can't believe I haven't thrown it through the window yet. That's all I'm going to say about it right now.

In a fit of procrastination, I went and priced similarly-sized quilts online to see if I'm actually saving money in this little endeavor. Based on what I've spent so far (got the fabric on sale), and what I estimate I might spend on backing and batting, the grand total will come to about the same price as a similarly-sized quilt on clearance at places like Bed Bath and Beyond or Linens 'N Things. Meh. I guess that's not so bad. Clearance quilts are kinda ugly, and mine will be glorious. I'm keeping a mental list as I go, however, of ways I can cut down on the cost next time around.

I feel the need to have a knitting love fest here before long, so I'm gathering pictures of FOs and WIPs and yarn and will revel in those here once I have what I want. I have several projects to show off, several that I can't show you yet (sniff), and some really yummy yarns to rave about. So stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

Very nearly every blog I read these days is posting pictures of tender, green buds and waxing all excited over the newly blooming spring flowers (seriously, even Neil Gaiman). T'ain't nunuh that here. Spring, for those of you just now joining us, is by far my favorite time of year, and I'm really excited to be living in a place with real seasons again for this very reason. The harder and nastier your winters, the harder the flowers bloom when it's over. We're just not quite there yet.

Don't get me wrong, we've had some lovely days this March. It's just too early for flowers, and this week has been pretty consistently cold and dreary. So the Van Gogh umbrella helps. I feel like I'm forcefully unfurling sun and summer onto the tale-end of winter. Chasing it out. Or blending winter with summer, hoping the shake-up will settle sooner, rather than later, into real-life spring.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It's Mah Birfdaaaaaaaaaaay!!!

Today, she is mah birfday. So this morning, I woke up and made birfday scones.

It's been a lovely day. In my book, birthdays aren't about getting things or giving things, but about feeling special. One should be made to feel special on one's birthday, which may or may not involve presents. I tend to shower my boyfriend, who shall remain nameless, with food on his birthday - either elaborately prepared at home or elegantly purchased at some schmancy restaurant. This year, I received several very thoughtful presents, and was made to feel very special through a combination of phone calls, a Facebook blitzkrieg of "happy birthday" wall posts and a lovely evening at home.

My boyfriend, who shall remain nameless, made me fried spiced beef with bacony ranch asparagus (or, "how to make asparagus bad for you"). The beef is actually a traditional Italian recipe that dates back to the Venetian spice trade...or something. I'll look it up for you when I can move again. I can't move, cuz then my roommates made QUADRUPLE CHOCOLATE CAKE!!! Uuuuuuuuuugh, so good, can't move! They also bought me a bag of Starbucks French roast that's bigger than my head. It's so beautiful. I'm just glad a sack of coffee that large exists. God bless Costco, and God bless Brad and Carrie! :-D

Anyway. I've had a day, a wonderful day, and it's not over. I'm going to go now. TA!!! *flits off into the Springtime*

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I'm back!

You, of course, did not realize I'd left. I had not mentioned it. But I did leave. And now I have returned.

My boyfriend, who shall remain nameless, and I spent the weekend in Muncie, visiting my grandmother. We met my father and brother there and had a wonderful time. I love getting to spend time with my family. It's relaxing, like a deep, intellectual sigh, and I love how my boyfriend, who shall remain nameless, fits into the mix. I am often reminded that some people dread spending time with their families, or enjoy the company of their families as long as it's kept to small doses. I feel very lucky to have such good people in my family. I can't spend enough time with them and would be satisfied to turn out like any of them later in my life - even the wackiest, most idiosyncratic of them is a really good person.

We stayed at the McDowell-Nearing House, and if you're ever in Muncie, I highly recommend you stay there. The proprietor, Jane, is very friendly and an excellent cook! Her breakfasts were much heartier than I'm used to...in a good way...and absolutley delicious! Breakfast on our first day was a slice of pound cake, fresh fruit, a breakfast casserole, cheesy grits and this baked apple...sausage....thing....God, it was good. Plus, of course, coffee and various types of juice and tea. After 3 mornings of this, my body was begging me for a salad, but I said, "NO!!! This stuff is GOOD!!!" My brother had to leave at the crack of dawn this morning with no time for breakfast, so she left him some cake and yogurt in the fridge. The rooms were spacious and comfortable. I have nothing but glowing, wonderful things to say about this place!

Brought some knitting along, didn't get much done. I guess I did, but it's a long, thin thing, so progress isn't really the spectacular kind. No, you don't get pictures yet. :-P For my upcoming birthday, my boyfriend, who shall remain nameless, got me a bread stone! With it, I made this. I'm getting seriously into baking bread. I've discovered the world of no-knead bread, in which one can have bread-dough ready to rise and bake on hand in the fridge at all times. You can find a basic recipe here (adapted by the New York Times from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François).

In other news, I returned home to discover three things. 1) I did not get a fellowship for next year, which is ok because I need to teach at some point anyway. 2) A good friend of mine got tenure. w00t!!! 3) Another good friend of mine from undergrad was accepted to the department of design studies here at UW Madison. This means not only will I have a good friend with whom I go way back living here in town, it means my friend is TOTALLY GETTING A PH.D. IN KNITTING, I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING, PEOPLE!!! Yes, you heard right. Ph.D. In knitting. HOW COOL IS THAT???

Friday, March 6, 2009


Did you hear that, nature??? I know you did because I got to wear short-sleeves today! w00t!!!

Today and yesterday have been in the 50s, and I've been wearing a skirt! I have never been so excited about skirts as I am now, on the tail-end of my first Wisconsin winter. It's been sunny in the afternoons with hints of rain to come. The piles of snow in everyone's yards are slowly decomposing and disappearing, leaving moist, black mud behind. There are no flowers yet by a long shot, but I can hear birds now, and I know that rich, thick mud has life starting to stir buried deep down beneath what I can see.

This morning was grey and mild and moist - the wind at the busstop was like silk on my cheek, not claws of ice. It made me feel Springy and happy, so I put on a skirt with boots and my polka-dotted tights! I traipsed into lecture feeling girly and bright, only to have a friend point out to me that I was clad entirely in shades of black and grey. Which was true. AND I DIDN'T CARE BECAUSE I HAD POLKA DOTS!!!

This is how Spring begins. The white fades to grey, leaving black on the ground before any color can emerge. But it's warm, and there's life and you're happy that it's finally starting to thaw. And this afternoon, my arms got to feel the wind for the first time in MONTHS!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Oh, this so figures. I knew my first pattern would have at least one error in it. I didn't catch it. My proofreader didn't catch it. It was far too obvious for us to have caught. So I am very indebted to Leah, from Ravelry, for very nicely pointing it out to me.

Hot Water Bottle Cozy:
Line 4, in "Front" section, before "Begin Cable Pattern:"
Original: 2/14/09 - Continue in P2K2 rib
Updated: 3/1/09 - Continue in P2K4 rib

Original: 2/14/09 - 16st/26 rows = 4" in cable pattern
Updated: 3/26/09 - 22st/26 rows = 4" in cable pattern

I will track errata for future patterns in this entry as well and will link in Ravelry and elsewhere where appropriate.

Copyright Notice

For Sale Patterns:
Any pattern for sale here is copyright Sasha Evans, all rights reserved. What this means is:

  1. Please do not share or distribute copies of my pattern, but feel free to pass along a link to my blog.
  2. Make as many changes to my pattern as you want while you're knitting - be creative - but please do not publish an altered version of my pattern.
  3. Please do not use my pattern for commercial purposes. This means you may not sell copies of my pattern, altered versions of my pattern, classes based on my pattern or finished objects made from my pattern.
  4. If you would like to sell something based on one of my patterns, please drop me an email! I will take it as a compliment, and it's entirely possible - nay, likely - that we can work something out. I'm prepared to make exceptions to these stipulations, but please ask me first.

Free Patterns:

Creative Commons License
All of my free patterns are copyright Sasha Evans and are protected under the Creative Commons attribution non-commercial license. A straightforward explanation of this license, which includes a link to the full legal, code, may be found here.

In plain English, though, what it means is this:
  1. Feel free to share the pattern with your friends, but be sure the copied pattern includes my name and the URL of my blog (found at the bottom of each page of my patterns).
  2. Feel free to make changes to my pattern, or new patterns based on my pattern, but please give me credit. Mention the pattern of mine that inspired you and include my name and a link to my blog. This protects you as much as it does me - not only do I get credit for the work I've done that inspired you, but your innovations will not be confused for my work.
  3. Please do not use my pattern for commercial purposes.
  4. As always, if you'd like me to make an exception for you, please drop me an email!

If any of this doesn't make sense, please let me know. I'd be happy to discuss any points that may be unclear through email.

Questions I Would Imagine Would Be Frequently Asked, Had I Not Preempted Them

Important Informational Links:
Copyright Notice - copyright information appears on every page of every pattern I publish. This information, as well as a link to an explanation in plain English, is also available in any blog post containing a pattern link. I've tried to make my terms of use as clear and easy to find as possible, as downloading my patterns constitutes acceptance of them. My terms are very standard, but if you feel strongly that you need to use my pattern other than how I currently allow you to, just email me. I don't bite, and I'll make exceptions in some cases. :-)

Errata - so far just for the hot water bottle cozy. A link to the errata page will also appear on the page of any pattern that has errata.

1) How does purchasing from your site work?
As of now, the only pattern for sale is Bluebonnets. Clicking the "buy now" button will take you away from my site to PayPal. There you can pay in a secure online environment either with a PayPal account or with a credit card, debit card or bank transfer. You do not have to have a PayPal account to purchase from my site, even though you will do so through PayPal! If you are a member of Ravelry, you can also buy my patterns through my Ravelry store

After your purchase, you will receive an email with an expiring link to download the pattern PDF. The link will expire 30 minutes after the first time it's used, so be sure to save the file!  The "download here" links on my free patterns automatically begin downloading the pattern files - you do not have to enter any information or leave my site.

2) What kind of pattern support do you offer?
First and foremost, should any errata appear for a pattern you've purchased, I will notify you via email. In addition, if you have any questions about the directions in the pattern, please email me, and I'll try to clarify. I can't teach you how to knit, but I can help you understand what I've written. Same deal with patterns you've downloaded for free, except I don't send out errata updates. You'll have to check back here yourself if something seems wrong.

3) If I can't read your pattern before I buy it, how do I know it's any good?
Being a member of Ravelry or another online knitting forum helps. Here's what you do know: All of my for-sale patterns (and some of my free patterns) will be either test-knit or professionally tech edited, to catch as many mistakes as possible before publishing. Errata will be posted promptly if and when they're found. All for-sale patterns will include a list of skills involved, so you know what you're getting into before you shell out cash for it. Sorry, no refunds.

4) How long do you hold onto my email address, and what do you do with it?
When you purchase one of my patterns, you'll be asked to enter your email address.  I hold onto it indefinitely, and I do two things with it: I send you the pattern you've purchased, and I notify you of errata, should they occur. That's it. I'll never send you emails about blog updates, sales, etc, and I'll never give your emails (or any other information) to third parties.

5) Can I use a picture from your site?
Email me for permission, and we'll talk. Many pictures (particularly in patterns) were taken by people other than myself and used with permission. In these cases, I can't give you permission to use them, but I can put you in touch with the photographer.

6) What is your nameless husband's name?
I'm not telling, but if you're very clever, you can figure it out. *smiles coyly*