Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Bunnies, you say? What???

Ok, so there's this contest we have at work. If you create something (music, art, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, etc.) you can enter it to have it judged and if they like it, you get published in the Magazine. The BIG PRIZES get money.

I won last year, but I got a certificate. So this year, I wracked my brain and I came up with something unique.

Y'all know I knit. So I figured that since the theme this year was "food" I could knit food! But not just any food. No cupcakes, no lobsters, no wedding cakes, no hamburgers. And if you think I'm kidding, just go search for "knitted lobster" or any of the other things I just mentioned. Knitted pizza? Seriously. But no thanks.

I found a "chocolate bunny" to knit. Here's where I found him:  Blah, Blah, Blahhhg: Knitted Chocolate Easter Bunny Pattern.  - and yes, I spelled it exactly how the link looks on my paper.

I thought about the bunnies I have received. And I always liked the white chocolate bunnies the best. But I know there are 3 kinds of chocolate: dark, milk, and white. The foodies will tell you that "white chocolate" isn't really chocolate since there's no cocoa in it. But that's ok. Here are the yarns I picked:

Bunny yarn
At about 11 o'clock, the "milk" chocolate is Bernat Cashmere Natural Blends, color 16013, "Earth." It's leftover from a prayer shawl we did for a friend, and it's a blend. It's 65% acrylic, 30% nylon and a mere 5% cashmere. Not sure how they get "Cashmere" right up there at the front of the name, but it doesn't matter. The yarn will make a nice "milk chocolate" bunny.

At about 2 o'clock, the "dark" chocolate is Bernat Satin, color 04013, Mocha. This is a lovely 100% acrylic, and right below the hank, you see the bottom of the dark chocolate bunny. Size 6 DPNs.

At about 8 o'clock, you will see Stitch Nation (Debbie Stoller) "Full O' Sheep" which is a gorgeous 100% Peruvian wool that is almost "roving" in texture. The color, coincidentally, is "Little Lamb." I bought this just because it was on sale. But it's really a stunning yarn. It's so soft that it makes Cascade feel rough. Take a look at these shots. You'll see that there's barely any twist to this.

The pattern calls for using needles smaller than the yarn label indicates, so that it's a tight fiber. Look at this close-up shot; you'll see that this white bunny will be plenty tight!

Check out the ply here!
I've just started the white one; and I have to tell you that though I am no speed-knitter, this little stinker works up quite quickly. I did the dark chocolate one in just a few days. With the texture of this yarn, though, I may go a little slower so I don't pierce the fiber with the needles. Once you get the stitches picked up, you just knit. You're in the round so it's all a lovely Stockinette Stitch without even having to think.

There's some shaping in the form of making the body and then tapering the ears, but seriously, there is NO SEAM on this bunny after you graft the ears. I used a Kitchener stitch for that, but if you've got a better grafting technique, by all means: go for it! The instructions just say: graft ears together.

So. The accessories. If you check out the pattern (and no, I don't know if the link is still alive), you will see that the creator recommends embroidering the eyes. I could certainly see this if you were going to give this as a baby toy.

Since I'm using it as a strictly decorative item, here's what my bunny looks like. Isn't he cute?? I used some old shirt buttons I had, and then some lilac sheer ribbon, since I remember my bunnies coming with a bow. 

Here's a hint: Start stuffing WELL before the pattern tells you because the neck is really, really  narrow. I started right about his belly button.

And here's another hint: I used about 1/2" of pony beads at the very bottom. That gives him a little stability, because you bounce him lightly to make sure his bottom is flat, and with the beads, he stands right up.

So for the white chocolate bunny, I might just use regular sewing! The eyes don't need to be embroidered or tightened down, because the bunnies will be sitting on a doily.

The other thing I'm thinking of adding: about 7 pysanky, Ukrainian Easter Eggs. See here for more information on those lovelies:

For the record,  no. Mine aren't that pretty. And if I can't make them look like I've done them actually with HANDS instead of FEET, then I may skip that part. Heck, I can always KNIT Easter eggs!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Violation of "fairness" or pre-emptive "screening" to avoid hurt feelings?

 Today's Donesbury was pulled in the Chicago Tribnue because the Trib said it "violated its (the Trib's) fairness standards."

Read it for yourself and decide. Was it pulled because it was an apparent scoop which couldn't be verified, or is the Trib protecting half-governor Palin?

I know lawyers who'd argue tooth-and-nail about free speech, and I have to wonder what the Trib's motives were. Doonesbury is executing its own freedom of speech by the cartoonist doing his thing. I realize that the newspapers have syndication agreements and cartoonists have to play by certain rules, but I wonder if editorial cartoons have a different standard. Because they've slammed Obama left, right, and center.

But this strip apparently kicked in some mechanism which caused it to be "verboten" today. The Trib might've considered how much coverage the strip will ultimately get as people pass this 'round the 'Net and jeer at the Trib for its cockeyed standards.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Facts Sometimes Hurt...

So at the revival meeting for St. Ronald of Reagan the other night (otherwise known as one of the first Republican candidate debates), the various Republican candidates were trying to "make like Ronnie" and prove who could out-Gipper the Gipper.

Let's see -- most of the chatter actually seemed to be at cross purposes because you can't channel the Gipper AND claim loyalty to the tea party, which is actually a very small percentage of the Republican party. And "real" Republicans are now - or should be - trying to pour oil on the tea to calm the zealots down. If they ever want to win something, it won't be on the attributes of the screaming wing-nuts. Just because they're noisy doesn't mean they're great in numbers. Luckily, most people are more moderate - we hope!

The Chicago Tribune, never a liberal bastion of journalism (at least in my memory) had an interesting article on September 7, entitled Revisionism at odds with reality. Go figure, the Repubs are re-writing the Gospel of St. Ron...

Here are the facts in the actual Gospel, all of which have been overlooked as the various candidates jockey for position and attempt to re-write history to fit their own purposes:

1.  Reagan approved several tax increases to deal with a huge budget deficit. Haven't we been told repeatedly that tax increases don't "create jobs"? And that the only way to balance the budget is to CUT taxes? Hmmmmmm. Math, anyone?

2.  Reagan repeatedly boosted the nation's debt limit which is quite the 'no-no' for this current crop of legislators.

3.  Reagan signed an amnesty law aiding millions (yes, MILLIONS) of illegal immigrants and you know how Republicans feel about "illegals." Particularly the brown ones.

4.  Reagan oversaw an increase in the size and spending of the federal government which is also "against the rules" because any good Republican knows that "big government is bad." Which makes you wonder why Rick Perry is asking for FEDERAL aid for the Texas wildfires. I thought that the poor and unfortunate were supposed to "pull themselves up by their own bootstraps" when they had troubles, and not look to the big government to help 'em out. How's that workin' for ya, Rick??

5.  Reagan, as governor of California, enacted the largest (at the time) state tax increase in American history. Almost makes Pat Quinn in Illinois look like a piker.

6.  Reagan signed into law one of the most permissive abortion laws of any state. And we all know that to Republicans, a fetus is important. A child? Not so much. But God Save the Fetus!!

The article goes on to state, "Reagan's willingness to compromise also has fallen badly out of favor in a Republican Party fired by its give-no-quarter ranks of tea party loyalists."

I would like to think that, since in his favor he was rather a pragmatist, he wouldn't have fallen prey to the tea party blathering. The final quote in the article says it all:

"I don't should cherry-pick history."

Kinda sums up the entire Republican strategy, doesn't it?

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Here's the Lap Robe...

Ok, remember a few posts back where I showed my pillow for my LYS owner? Well, I saw the finished lap robe.

So it's a bit bigger than a lap robe. The person who put it together went a little crazy with the crocheted border. And she put one square in backwards. It had a cable - it was easy to see but apparently, she missed it. Oh well - there's not much anyone can do about it.

Completed chemo throw
Here's a picture of it:

As you can see, it's quite extravagant. The entire thing is in Cascade superwash wool. I love that the white and cream blocks anchor the entire blanket. I'm not sure that the cream was a good idea to do the connecting and border, but I can say, if you click on the picture, the detail in the border really pops in that color.

I love the top right square with the "sweater in the square" theme. And the grey one in the middle is fun, with its abstract design.

Each square rather reflects the person who knitted it.

They're giving it to her in the next 10 days or so, and I'll probably miss that - but I took the picture before it was blocked, just so we could print the thing and have the photo on the "picture board" in the shop.

This throw is the essence of "crazy" because while everyone picked from 2 main pattern books, there was no organizing of the squares - it's not like everyone said, "Well, let's all do cable variations." The squares are the representation of the knitter's ability and that's what's cool about it.

The pillow
As a reminder, here's a shot of my pillow. I understand that one or two others are making pillows, which is a great idea.

The pillows can be under her arm if she's having an IV treatment; they can be at the small of her back, or under her knees if she wants.

And EVERYTHING is washable!

When you think about this, the warmth of the objects is magnified by the affection with which they were knitted. We didn't have them "blessed" like you would a traditional prayer shawl or afghan, but I think that the "blessings" accrued in the knitting and organization of the project.

Often, when a group of women have been together a while, things get so comfy that we can get ourselves into pickles without realizing it. That just happened at the shop, at a time when we should all be pulling together.

This project was an example of the pulling together. We don't always get along: we're human! And there are spats: disagreements, political stuff (which really shouldn't be discussed when you've got sharp sticks and scissors!), family squabbles that create strong opinions.

But we set that all aside. We had a 2-week window to get the project done. And we did it.

That's a blessing indeed.