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!

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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!

Posted in Uncategorized

50 Hours of Happiness

This is just stunning: BBC has released 50 hours of video from Earth II which they’re calling a “visual soundscape” as part of their Real Happiness Project. Nature — even nature video — has been proven to increase happiness, so they’ve put together five 10 hour videos of nature and posted them on YouTube! You can click through to all videos from this Treehugger article and add the videos to your playlists (or create a massive 50 hr playlist)! As the heat of summer increases, actually spending any significant amount of time in nature becomes more difficult—but you can now pour a cold beverage and sink into breathtaking landscapes anywhere you may be. Enjoy!!!

Instagram, Ravelry, Socks, and Wine

Wit Beyond Measure Socks are Sheep Thrills!

This self-striping yarn colorway is called “Wit Beyond Measure” and is one of Brazen Stitchery’s yarns. (Love their geeky yarn names: this one is the motto of Ravenclaw.) Finished the socks yesterday evening. Coincidentally, I stumbled across a wine called “Sheep Thrills” yesterday, too. Follow me on Ravelry (AinyRainwater) to see more projects and on Instagram (@ainyrainwater) for a more eclectic assortment of pics. In yet another coincidence…Dictionary.com’s Word of the Day today is ovine: pertaining to, of the nature of, or like sheep. 😆

Posted in Uncategorized

Support Net Neutrality! Internet Protest July 12th

Can you believe it? It’s been over 3 years yrs & we still haven’t put a stake thru the heart of the Anti-Net-Neutrality forces. But people love being screwed over by big cable companies, right? We love media providers being able to block & censor us, right? We love having to pay a lot more money (which we don’t have) to giant corporations who want to control the internet and all the media we get from it, We love the whole idea of our government (it is, constitutionally, supposed to be our government) colluding with corporations to force people to pay more money for both cable and internet. right? WRONG! Support Net Neutrality. Join the online protest July 12th. Get more info at Battle For the Net.

Posted in Uncategorized

International Calm Day

Today is International Calm Day, so the Calm app which I’ve been using free for the past month, has unlocked ALL it’s staggering amount of content for meditation for today only. I’ve been pretty pleased with the regular unlocked free content (breathing bubble, unguided meditation, and the wide assortment of beautiful scenes and sounds to meditate to.) I got up early this morning so I’d have plenty of time to try out the premium material. I did the Daily Calm, then the first few days of the 7 Days of Calm, then I listened to some other types of “7 Days of Calm”, specifically for Stress and Anxiety, as well as “Emergency Calm”, the first of the Winnie the Pooh Daily Calm series, Walking Meditation (which I tried out in the backyard because I generaly don’t like walking around with earbuds), and a lovely selection of John Muir’s writings about Yosemite which was one of their “Sleep Stories”. My family is going through a very stressful time right now, so I was not only evaluating how useful the paid features would be to me, but also trying to evaluate how useful they would be to someone who hasn’t practiced meditation before. It seems to me that the paid features would be very good for people who are new to meditation. The approach is secular and the technique is good and well-grounded. There are a lot of options besides the ones I “test-drove” this morning: guided meditations focusing on things like Happiness, Self-Esteem, Sleep, Lovingkindness, Forgiveness, and Commuting (one of the other meditations I listened to also touched on handling the frustrations and tensions of traffic). There’s even meditation for Kids, and Sleep Stories for Kids. Like I said, lots of options. Additionally they have a new “Daily Calm” guided meditation every day for subscribers. I’ve been very pleased with the free options and I think that the stunning amount of material available to subscribers (which is very well-done) would surely be more than worth it for some people. Check out all the goodies free today, April 5th!