Archive for January, 2006

hat directions

Monday, January 30th, 2006

Very cool, Rebecca! That seems like a crackpot project, all right…

I’ve been working on my blue jacket. The fastenings will be different than anything I’ve done before. I spent 2+ hours this am trying to get a tube of the wool turned. Success at last! But not quite as many steps as your hat.

The finished hat

Monday, January 30th, 2006

Assuming I can get a picture to post, here’s the hat, in all its blindingly contrasting glory
Hat with earflaps

How to knit a hat, crackpot style

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

1. Decide to make a hat with earflaps for running, using fair isle-esque techniques.
2. Determine desired yarn characteristics: superwash worsted weight wool
3. Search internet for patterns
4. Find one pattern that is nice, except
a. gauge is different
b. hat is knit top-down
c. top shaping is strange
d. I only like some of the colorwork
5. While at yarn store, covet some Cascade 220 superwash yarn, but resist buying it because I have multiple other projects in process
6. Go back to said yarn store two days later, only to find that one of the colors I’d wanted to buy is no longer in stock, and I can’t make a pleasing color combination with other colors which are available.
7. Decide to knit with Dale Freestyle yarn instead.
8. Since the freestyle comes in smaller skeins, decide to buy 4 colors instead of the previously-planned two.
9. Spend a long time debating which color should be the 4th in the set. Yarn store owner advocates one color, I decide I prefer the other
10. Get in line to check out with choice of colors.
11. While waiting in line, try to put the colors together in 2-color subsets.
12. Decide that there isn’t enough contrast.
13. Switch to other possible 4th color, which provides more contrast.
14. Purchase yarn.
15. Knit gauge swatch
16. Decide I’m getting 11 stitches/2 in
17. Cast on 110 stitches, but don’t start knitting
18. Determine that the colorwork I liked from the pattern I found on the web doesn’t have a stitch repeat that will fit evenly into 110 stitches.
19. Look through numerous books in search of a colorwork pattern that will fit evenly into 110 stitches.
20. Chart something that is vaguely pleasing.
21. Decide that I really should admit to myself that I’m getting 10.5 stitches/2 in, so I should use 105 stitches instead.
22. Look through numerous books for colorwork patterns that will fit evenly into 105 stitches.
23. Downsize a 17-stitch pattern to make it 15 stitches
24. Add some more color changes to it to reduce incidences of long floats.
25. Chart out pattern.
26. Start knitting hat.
27. Realize while doing the 2nd repeat of the pattern that I think I would’ve preferred the “less contrast” color combination after all, or smaller bands of color. Grumble to self.
28. Oh well, I can always make another hat suitable for wearing in public when it’s not 6 am and I’m not running.
29. While at work, ponder top decrease options and come up with really cool idea for reducing star size.
30. Work on hat some more, see that really cool decrease idea would lead to incredibly long stocking cap.
31. Do far less exciting, but much easier and shorter decrease pattern.
32. Determine size of earflaps, chart out earflap pattern
33. Choose color combination for earflaps
33. Knit earflaps on to bottom of hat.
34. Grumble to self about two-color purling, ponder using slightly different purling techique for one of the yarns, but that would take more thought.
35. Note that earflap color combination makes the high-contrast second pattern repeat stand out even more.
36. Use one of the high-contrast colors for edging along bottom of hat.
37. Rationalize less-than-attractive color combination as a way to prevent wearing of sweaty running hat in polite company
38. Further rationalize that the color combination with less contrast still wouldn’t have coordinated with the scarf I made earlier in the winter for dressy wear, or the mittens I’m going to make to coordinate with the scarf.

Unfortunately my digital camera likes to eat batteries even when turned off, so no pictures until batteries are recharged.

Crackpotty Update

Sunday, January 22nd, 2006

All right, a small crackpotty update. I haven’t yet taken pictures of any recent projects, but I hope to get around to that at some point.

Current knitting projects:
Last night I cast on for a hat for myself. It’ll be some sort of Fair Isle-esque pattern and have earflaps. I figured an earflap hat would be good for running in really cold weather – the hat I made earlier in the winter is great for merely cold weather. It’s a true crackpot project. I’d found a pattern I liked, except it was the wrong gauge, I would switch it from top-down knitting to bottom-up, make the top shaping different, and change some of the color pattern. Ok, mainly I liked the snowflake pattern, earflaps, and applied i-cord edging. Of course, once I figured out my gauge for knitting the hat, it turns out that the snowflake pattern isn’t a width that will fit evenly into my stitch count, so I’ll have to re-think that. Maybe I can fit the snowflake pattern on the earflaps, though.

Also in progress, I have socks and a rug.

Whimsy Twins

Saturday, January 7th, 2006

Here, with a little luck, is a photo of the Whimsy Twins, the name I have given to the critters Rebecca knitted for all of us for Christmas. Rebecca, as you can see, creativity begets creativity. First, it was clear to me that your little critters needed faces, and that brought me to my button box. As you can see, they do indeed have faces. But my button box also contained a cow button and some beetle buttons that clearly needed to be used. So the Twins became Beetle Belly and Cow Tummy. Then I filled their bodies with dried navy beans and stitched them up, so now the Twins can stand up on their own. For now, they will hang out in the general vicinity of my sewing table until Nicholas and Andrew arrive to play with them.

Questions for our Web Guru

Thursday, January 5th, 2006

Hi, Cathy!
So, I’m very proud of myself for editing my post on Associate Crackpots, but then I remembered that I used Mary’s last name in a comment I made on “How to post a comment.” How do I edit that? And it was easy to edit my post on Associate Crackpots because there was a button right at the bottom of the post that said ‘Edit.” So I did. But none of the other posts seem to have Edit buttons. Is that because I can only edit posts that I wrote, so that button only appears on my posts on my screen?
And how do we get rid of old stuff when it starts to clutter up the blog? You all know how I hate clutter!! I don’t want to delete any really important stuff, but I doubt that we need to keep posts or comments that are basically, “Wow! Look at me! I just figured out how to log on!!”
One more question. It seems that I never logged off several days ago when I left the site because I was still logged on when I tuned in today. Is that a problem?


Wednesday, January 4th, 2006

I am not getting the e-mails that Ann wrote about… er–now I get it–someone has to comment on my comment… Duh!


Wednesday, January 4th, 2006

OK, so it took me four times to get logged in–must be a typing issue… Thanks, Cathy, for setting this up. We had such a great time in Indy that it has taken us 24 hours to recover! Now I am trying to remember what projects I have in the works so I can get going on something. As I do nearly every night, I was looking through some quilt books last night. With the enthusiasm that comes with the beginning with each new year, I would like to try to make some more difficult blocks. I think I might just pick some semi-coordinated fabrics, and just get started. Then maybe I can put the various blocks together in a semi-coordinated afghan.
Love, Marty

Some thoughts on online privacy and security

Monday, January 2nd, 2006

Hi there, Crackpots! I’m so happy to see everyone using the blog! This is really very exciting.

Since people have very different ideas about online privacy, anonymity, and security, and have very different “comfort levels” with these issues, I thought I should take a moment to talk a little bit about some of the factors I took into consideration when setting up this blog, so that everyone knows what’s going on and is comfortable with it, and has a chance to comment on it.

You may have noticed that we’re all identified here by our first names only, and that the various relationships between us (daughter, sister, other-in-law) aren’t explained anywhere on the site. While I wrote that we live in North Carolina, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin, I didn’t say who lives where, nor did I say what cities in those states. Also, our email addresses never appear on the public side of the blog. And there are no photos (yet) of any people – only quilts.

All of these were very conscious decisions that I made in setting things up. Many people are perfectly comfortable using their full, real names and photos online (see or for good examples). Many people feel very strongly about NOT ever having their full names, identifiable photos, etc. available online, and there are very good personal-safety reasons for being somewhat paranoid about that.

I fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum: while I’m not happy about identifiable photos of me online (there currently are one or two, but not many), I’m not going to go to great lengths to avoid them. Likewise, my real full name and identity are online and available for legitimate professional reasons. But there are certain more frivolous aspects of my online life that I prefer to do under a pseudonym, for similar professional reasons: I don’t necessarily want a future employer to find my goofy posts to an online forum about The West Wing, or what have you.

So what I’ve tried to do with our blog is set it up at a pretty high level of privacy and anonymity, so that everyone will be comfortable at the outset. We can work out the details as we go along (and I’m sure we’ll all be respectful of each others’ comfort levels on these issues). Some things to consider as we’re going along:

  • Be careful about using full names – I goofed and put my full name on “The Fine Print,” and Ann pointed it out to me, so I’ve changed it. It’s easy to slip!
  • Obviously, stuff like street addresses, phone numbers, etc. are right out.
  • If you want to post a photo with someone’s face in it, you might want to check with the person and see if it’s okay with them to post it. This goes for non-Crackpots too.
  • There’s considerable disagreement about posting photos of young children (infants, toddlers, etc.) online. Some parents are okay with it, some are emphatically not. I think we’ll leave this up to the parent(s) to decide what’s okay for their kids.
  • I’ve made an executive decision that our email addresses won’t appear on the public side of the blog: this is for spam prevention as much as anything.

I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m setting up a bunch of strict rules – mostly these are just guidelines that I’ve encountered in a lot of years of observing online conversations and communities. I want us all to be comfortable with the level of security we have with the blog, and I think we should talk about it if we have any questions or concerns. Okay? Please let me know what you think (and sorry for the epic length of this entry!)