Gymshoes Music — Big Changes Ahead

For those of you who follow my music as well as my fiction, there are major changes in distribution: specifically albums will begin disappearing from the usual online stores in March. For more info see my post on my Gymshoes Music site. If you want to get my music from Amazon or iTunes, do it now.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Zazzy Pussy Hat: A pattern praised & modified

Catching the second wave of pussy hat knitting here at the beginning of 2018, I adapted the pattern for circular knitting. Notes on this are below. But first, let me say how brilliant Kat Coyle’s original pattern is. I thought about that a lot as I knitted this hat. The concept is brilliant, but also the design of the original pattern is brilliant for the whole idea of a mass protest hat. By designing it as a flat rectangle with only knit and purl anyone could make this hat. A person taking their first knitting lesson could make this hat. Cast-on, knit, purl, cast-off. One set of straight needles. Sew side seams. The idea was for as many people as possible to make as many hats as possible, and really I don’t see how the original pattern could possibly have done a better job of being accessible to as many people as possible. Another brilliant thing about the pattern is the wide K2, P2 ribbing. This is an extremely stretchy ribbing and by having it comprise half the hat it insures that one size really will fit most, if not all, heads. No shaping is inherent in the design concept, but the ribbing makes all the usual initial decreases unnecessary, anyway. The broad band of ribbing can be adjusted on the wearer: some may wear it as is, but others may adjust the fit by turning up the front band. Really, anyway you look at it, Kat Coyle’s original pattern is a brilliant design for its purpose and audience.

So, why did I mess with it? Well, I prefer knitting in the round. Circular knitting is a natural for hats. And I hate sewing seams. I’m not a beginner, so the technique doesn’t have to be rock-bottom basic. Though, really, even knitting this in the round isn’t more difficult than knitting it flat. (Easier, in fact, because no purls for stockinette stitch.) But it does call for an extra technique that a beginner wouldn’t typically learn right away, the Kitchener stitch, for neatly and seamlessly closing the top.

Here’s my adaptation of the pattern. It makes a hat just like the original: all I changed was the technique (and the yarn).

Special techniques needed: Kitchener Stitch for seamlessly closing the top. (I occcasionally refer to this tutorial to refresh my memory on the Kitchener stitch.)

Needles: Size 8, set of 5 dpns. (A circular needle with a short cord would probably also work, but you will still need straight needles for finishing.)

Yarn: Caron Simply Soft Party (“Party” designates a sparkly yarn). Color: Fuchsia. 1  3 oz/85g skein (164 yds or 150 m)

Cast on 100 sts. (I used the German Twisted cast-on, which is a nice stretchy cast-on that’s become my usual, but there’s no need for a special cast-on; your favorite is fine.)

K2, P2 ribbing for 4.25″.

Then knit another 4.25″ in the round (stockinette st). Total length of piece should be 8.5″.

Divide the sts evenly between 2 needles (straight or dpns). Break yarn leaving a very long tail. Finish with Kitchener Stitch. Weave in loose ends and you’re done!

You can view my projects, pics, notes, etc on Ravelry. I reciprocate friend requests!

Posted in For Readers, For Writers

Halloween Soundscape

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Halloween Soundscape

It’s that time of the year again! Halloween is around the corner, and if you haven’t gotten my Halloween Soundscape album, it’s available from iTunes, Amazon, and other online stores. Eerie ambient music inspired by classic stories. You can read the liner notes over on my Gymshoes Music site. Besides unsettling trick-or-treaters, it’s nice dark music to accompany your scary Halloween reading this month. Enjoy!

Posted in For Writers, Uncategorized

Staring at the sun…

Yesterday I took the day off. I figured that a solar eclipse was a legit reason for a science fiction writer to skip out on writing. Other good reasons to take a day off writing SF: alien invasion, giant meteor heading for earth, rise of the machines, rampaging triffids, or somewhat less unlikely possibilities like humans going to Mars, or NASA returning to the moon. (If we went back to the moon, I wouldn’t just take the day off, I’d throw a party!) Today I’m back at work on the book!