Tuesday, June 30, 2009

No amount of sparkling could make up for what they're missing...

So if you were to take it into your head to grill a head of garlic out back with your steak, you might then realize that the leftovers, in combination with some raw cloves, would make a nice garlic-infused olive oil. Were you to then dump said cloves into a pot of extra virgin olive oil and heat it gently until said oil were infused with garlicy goodness, you might then be tempted to remove said cloves, now sweet and warm and mushy, and spread them all over some fresh-baked crusty bread. Were you to succumb to said temptation, you would have yourself quite a nice little midnight snack.

I'm almost ready to say I have this bread recipe perfected. I have one more permutation of the wheat bran to wheat germ ratio to test, and then I will post the recipe here. :-)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

And This Is Why You Swatch

Update on Person Cozy: it'll be a while.

I didn't swatch. Rather, I used my hot water bottle cozy as a swatch to figure out gauge and how the yarn would behave after blocking. I figured this was perfectly reasonable - I was using the same yarn, same size needles, same stitch pattern - the only difference was the colorway. And oh, what a difference it made!

Berroco Peruvia in "sea turtle" is soft, squishy, warm, luscious with just enough of a halo to make it cozy. In black, however, it is scratchy, straw-like, less elastic, itchy and hairy. "Halo" is not the word - it's hairy. I noticed the difference early on while knitting - the yarn wasn't as soft, it was hairier, it was splittier than when I'd knit it in "sea turtle." I figured it would all even out after blocking. I was a fool.

The lesson I have learned, and I hope you'll all learn from my mistake, is to SWATCH!!! Swatch even when you don't think you need to. Switching to a new yarn of the same weight? SWATCH!!! Switching to a new colorway that feels slightly different? You're not crazy - SWATCH!!! I feel like I've flushed an itchy, hairy sweater's worth of yarn down the toilet. Ugh.

But in reality, I haven't. I have a prototype, I tried it on. I now know that the basic design works the way I wanted it to. I now know that if I raise the neckline and shorten the shoulder straps, it will look perfect. I now know exactly how much negative ease I want (it fits great width-wise, but the black yarn had less vertical stretch than the green yarn). I will find suitable yarn, I will swatch, I will knit a perfect and glorious Person Cozy, and it will be good. Someday. When I can afford the yarn. Like the phoenix, Person Cozy will rise again!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Knitting in Public

Today is World Wide Knit in Public Day. Rejoice! There was a group meeting at a farmer's market not far from me this morning to knit in public. I thought about going, but decided that I'm probably just not strong enough to spend time surrounded by luscious, local, largely organic produce, meats, eggs, dairy and baked goods without buying something. Particularly circa breakfast time. And have we been keeping up with how pathetically jobless and broke I am? Yes.

So I humped my needles down to the park this afternoon. I found a nice, quiet, shady spot with a good view. It was pleasantly solitary, but there were enough joggers and bikers out today that it qualified as "knitting in public."

Pictured above is your basic garter stitch swiffer cover. While I'm usually not a huge fan of garter stitch, I find it's excellent for scrubbing and picking up schmutz! I got a whole mess of Sugar 'n Cream cotton from my mother a while back. Free yarn = free swiffer covers and washcloths! This is excellent from my broke-ass perspective! I might post a pattern for the swiffer cover at some point, but it's so stupid easy, I'm not sure the demand is there.

I have a hemlock ring blanket to finish that I'm out of yarn for. A couple of hats that are almost ready for testing. A new project I can't tell you about. But today - today I needed something simple and mindless that didn't involve buying new yarn. :-)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What's Next

After posting my very first pattern, Hot Water Bottle Cozy, a friend of mine commented that it looked on first glance like a sleeveless turtleneck. I agreed, and thought furthermore that it would be pretty freakin' awesome if said sleeveless turtleneck existed.

And thus, "Person Cozy" was born. :-) Person Cozy will have the same basic construction as the bottle cozy - buttoned shoulder flaps instead of seams, an optional ribbed turtleneck that'll basically be a matching, tight-fitting cowl, and also matching removable sleeves. It's very modular, this piece. And, because of the shoulder flaps instead of seams and the torso being knit in the round, it has the added bonus of being completely seamless.

I have the last shoulder flap and the turtleneck to go. I'm so close to being done with the knitting, and yet I'm so far from having this thing ready to publish. I've got to block it (it looks like an ill-fitting piece of ass right now, but I think it'll block to perfection), finish it, and last but by no means least, have it tested in various sizes. I'm writing it in sizes x-small through 3x-large, and I'm just hoping and praying that the size standards I have for the larger sizes actually work the way they're supposed to on a woman's body! It's a rather fitted piece, you see.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009



Every spring, the hills of Central Texas turn blue, submitting to a thick blanket of wildflowers. Inspired by this lovely blue bamboo and silk yarn (from Paton's), I wanted to make a simple headband that captured this flower in lace. Open-work ribbing creates the blossoms, and slipped stitches and cabling create the stem and leaves below. This is a pretty quick project (I think my test knitters all finished before they thought they would) and would be a great first lace project.

Big thanks to my boyfriend, who shall remain nameless (unless you look very carefully), and RiverKiva for the wonderful photography. Thanks also to adriennepdx, CraftyCripple, preservationgal and tinker37 of Ravelry for testing the draft of my pattern. They were wonderful to work with, and their headbands came out gorgeous (you can see one of them here, at CraftyCripple's blog)!

You can purchase this through Ravelry, or just click the "buy now" button at the top of the page. If you have any questions, email me or check out About the Patterns.

Size: one (38" long by 4" at its widest point)
Skills: simple lace, cabling, increases and decreases, provisional casting on

Bluebonnets is copyright Sasha Evans, all rights reserved. By downloading this pattern, you agree not to redistribute it or to use it for commercial purposes, unless you ask me very very nicely and I say yes.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Very Silly Post

The following post is very silly and reflects my occasional fascination with Google Analytics. By way of preemptive apology, please accept this picture of blueberries and this weekend's chocolate torte. It was good. Wish you'd'a been there. :-)

Dear North Dakota,

What gives??? You are officially the only state in the union to have sent me no visitors whatsoever in the entire 6 months I've been maintaining this blog. I thought we were buds. Seriously, where's the midwest solidarity? South Dakota likes me just fine.


Dear Russia,

Seriously??? I'm getting my effing PhD in you!!! Georgia sent me visitors, are you gonna let Georgia show you up??? I freaking have friends in you RIGHT NOW! If you don't send me some visitors, I will have them gang up on you and all visit my blog right now while they're inside you, just to spite you!

No love,

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Feminist Media

I like to read feminist blogs, webzines, news sources, things like that from time to time. I find it provides a useful counterpoint to mainstream media - pointing out biases we take for granted and forget we have, offering viewpoints and experiences that are often underrepresented, making radical arguments that sometimes ring surprisingly true. Of course, "feminist media" is tough to define. It's difficult to pin down what qualifies.

Case in point, Double X. Based on the obvious biological allusion of the title, we all know about what we're going to get - a feminist (or at least unapologetically female) perspective. I skimmed through the headlines this morning and was pleased to find a variety of perspectives on a variety of topics, from abortion to the economy to the election in Iran.

Reading the articles wasn't terrible, but it was a bit anticlimactic. Their article on challenges to Myriad Genetics' patenting BRCA1 and BRCA2 (the "breast cancer genes") reads like a list of talking points prepared by the ACLU, glossing over many of the very details that make this case interesting and important. Their five-part series of letters between three authors of "What It's Like to Be a Military Wife" books was maddenlingly circular and strikingly uninformative, repeating what mainstream media has already made sure we all know - it's hard to be a military wife, and really confusing when you think you're a feminist. Despite the media-induced familiarity of their lives and despite how different and varied they keep insisting they are, their stories were uniformly distinct and alien from my own experience - to read them, you would think only officers married. Is this just a chip on my shoulder?

Wondering what their angle really is, I went to their "About Us" page, which, I realized, says very little. "Double X is a new Web magazine, founded by women but not just for women," - is it reactionary of me to think this comes across as apologizing for their readership? "...We started a conversation among women—about politics, sex, and culture—that both men and women listen in on," two sentences in a row, no less. It's as though they're saying, "We're oreinted around women...but not too much." Their topics are "sexual politics, fashion, parenting, health, science, sex, friendship, work-life balance, and anything else you might talk about with your friends over coffee." Is it silly of me to find that trivializing? They describe their approach as "unabashedly intellectual but not dry or condescending." Is it overly sensitve of me to find that very phrase condescending? So...just what is Double X about? News for girls? And for guys to? News written by girls? That guys can read too? If they never use the word "feminist" in their self-description, are they a feminist media source? Do they want to be? Or at least to look like one?

Contrast this nebulous self-description with the "About Us" section from bitchmagazine.org. "B-Word Worldwide is a nonprofit (501c3), independent, feminist media organization best known for publishing Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture, a print magazine devoted to feminist analysis and media criticism." It goes on to describe how and why they achieve this very clear objective. They have a focus - feminist analysis of pop culture, not "anything...you might talk about...over coffee." They're not afraid of the f-word, and their intended audience is, presumably, anyone who's interested enough in their topic and focus to keep reading. They don't bend over backwards to say, "It's ok, boys! You can read too! We're not scary!" Rather, they show men - and their readers in general - the respect of not asuming they're so jittery as to be scared away from material that might interest them by "f-bombs" (the 8-letter kind) and female authors.

This is not an issue of moderate versus radical feminism, it's an issue of having a focus and not apologizing for it. It is okay to have a specific focus - your focus does not negate the presence of different viewpoints well-represented elsewhere. It is okay to write with a specific demographic in mind - that focus does not negate all relevance to other demographics. And to those who feel unwelcomed by not being specifically greeted, I offer the same response I gave in college when asked, "Why should there be all of these high-calliber women's colleges but no high-calliber men's colleges?"

"No reason I can see. Quit whining and go start one."

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The End is Near

Bluebonnets is officially - finally - in the testing stages (you thought I was going to say "done" didn't you? Well the piece is done - done and GORGEOUS - and so is the pattern, it just needs to be tested. I will never charge money for a pattern that has not been tested or professionally tech edited, of that you can be sure)! I expect to have the pattern up for sale next week. Winners of the "Tied Up and Twisted" blog giveaway will get their free pattern as soon as it's up.

Has anyone else noticed that I was posting more often during finals than I am now that it's summer and I'm unemployed? Yeah. Funny how that works.

Anyway. I'd also been working on another much larger-scale project that I'd intended to submit to Knitty. Life, however, in the form of externally-imposed deadlines and sudden shortages of yarn, got in the way, and it's just as well. It was going to be great, but it's going to be better now that I'm not rushing to finish it. I'll post pictures of it soon, but here's a hint: it's a one-of-a-kind original sweater, but you'll recognize it. *smiles coyly*