31 December 2007

All the cool dudes

My family celebrated New Year's Eve early this year, and it was pretty awesome.

So there's this really cool jazz club in the cities called the Dakota. (My mother, the non-musical one in the family, has been on stage there, as she would tell you if she had the chance. She officiated at a wedding there a couple years back.) There's also this really cool band in the cities, called the New Standards. I might have mentioned them before.

Basically, the New Standards is made up of three guys: John Munson (of Semisonic), Chan Poling (of the Suburbs) and Steve Roehm (of some other band I can't remember the name of). Everyone always plays 'the old standards', but there are some more recent songs that they think are pretty cool and worthy of attention. They play them on (stand-up) bass, piano, and vibes. They are extremely cool.

I'll try to remember what they played:
- Toxic (Britney Spears)
- I Will Dare (the Replacements)
- some song by T.Rex
- Man, Oh Man (Curtis Mayfield)
- The New Pollution (Beck)
- All the Young Dudes (Mott the Hoople)
- Oh Yeah (Roxy Music)
- London Calling (the Clash)
- Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera) (Doris Day)
- Under Pressure (Queen/David Bowie)
- My Favorite Things (Rodgers/Hammerstein)
- Maps (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)
- Heaven (the Talking Heads)
- Hey Ya (Outkast)
- Bring It On Home To Me (Sam Cooke)
- Love is the Law (the Suburbs)

I know you might be skeptical about their ability to make Toxic, Hey Ya, or the guitar solo on something like I Will Dare sound good, but trust me, it is quite possible. They're starting to play in some other cities more frequently, so if you end up with the opportunity to see them, I would highly recommend attending.

28 December 2007

Ribbit! Ribbit!

Hokay. So I don't know if Danielle reads this or not. But this project that I'm making for her (the one currently marked 'frogged' on Ravelry) - we're starting over. I've realized the shaping on it (is it a hat, Danielle? A stuffed cow? Something else? You can't tell with the info I'm revealing!) isn't working. Needs to be revamped. Starting over. Kind of frustrating. But I'll feel better about it. Really. Once I figure out exactly what is going on.

Time to go do some math.

What You've Been Missing (Not Much)

Seeing as how it's been a month since I've posted, I figure I'd better write something before the month gets away from me.

Everything is wonderful with me right now. I've had a lovely Christmas with my family, and managed to spend a little time with my friend Angie (I'm actually being social!), who's leaving in two weeks to play in the concert band on a cruise ship. She's never been out of the midwest before! I am quite excited for her.

In the knitting world, I'm working on two main projects right now: the thing I'm knitting for Danielle and some Manos del Uruguay mittens for me. (You can check both of these projects out on Ravelry, the greatest website ever, still in beta testing. I'm bdraeger.) The Danielle project is going exceedingly well, seeing as how I just figured out how to do intarsia properly. Turns out I'd been confused and had been picking up new colors incorrectly. I'm not going to rip the piece out and start over, so I'll eventually have to do a little duplicate stitch to clean it up, but I've figured it out before the serious colorwork comes in.

The mittens are going pretty well, too. I guess they're a little bubbly around the tips of the fingers, but I think the other pair I made with that pattern did the same thing. I did have to rip out almost an entire mitten, because the needles I was using were too small. But really, when it's Manos, who wouldn't want to reknit a mitten?

What have I been listening to, lately, you ask? Well, I'd shuffle the new iPod and tell you, but since my computer's disc drive isn't working, I can't import Bartok or the Hairspray soundtrack, which currently occupy semi-permanent spots in my CD player. However, my friends (Linden and Liz) and I have been making music-related top 10 lists. Here's my desert island 10:
1. Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington - The Great Summit/The Master Takes
2. The Clash - London Calling
3. Crowded House - Recurring Dream
4. Elvis Presley - The Sun Sessions
5. Steve Goodman - Affordable Art
6. Carole King - Tapestry
7. Los Lobos - Just Another Band From East L.A.
8. Laura Nyro & Labelle - Gonna Take A Miracle
9. Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run
10. The Temptations - The Ultimate Collection

There's been quite a bit of debate over the integrity of greatest hits albums being on the list, but I'll regale you with that another time. Also under question is the limit on the physical albums - does a two-record set count as one if it's vinyl? CD? Thus, please note that I would take only Just Another Band From East L.A. disc one.

16 November 2007

It's Friday night and all is well.

What a fast week! So much has been happening recently; it doesn't feel like Friday yet. Fortunately most of the goings on have been positive.

First of all, upon receiving the rejection email from Amy at Knitty, I embarked upon two new projects. In a ridiculous attempt to practice colorwork, I made a jar cover with a peace symbol, using yarn from Liz. Then, using a couple of ideas from Storm Moon Knits, I embarked upon some Dark Mark Illusion Armwarmers (pattern forthcoming). I had to scale the chart down quite a bit, from 40 sts by 55 rows, to about a eighth of the size. I'm hoping it turns out well, but I have a version of the chart that's about an quarter of the original size that I might turn into a fair isle/intarsia version. Regardless of how it turns out, it made an otherwise frustrating 2 1/2 hour OSCA Board meeting much more enjoyable.

However, I'm not working on the projects I should be working on (for my friend Andy, who's graduating in a month, and Danielle, for Christmas). I'll start them soon. For reals.

Thursday I met with my politics professor to talk about my paper. I'm researching Ingushetiya, a small region that borders, and frequently gets lumped in with, Chechnya. Basically, I didn't have a huge amount of direction in my research or argument, but every meeting I have ever had with this professor has been incredibly helpful, and this was no exception. Which is good, because December 7th is frighteningly not so far off.

However, I did receive some bad news on Wednesday. As it turns out, Tuesday morning, a woman who I knew from First Church of Oberlin UCC, who invited myself and several other students to her house for Thanksgiving last year, passed away. She had had a battle with cancer earlier in her life, and it came back this January. From what little I knew her, she was an amazingly kind and generous person. And an incredibly good cook (last year was possibly, from a food critic's point of view, the best Thanksgiving dinner I've ever had - and my family in Minnesota can cook well). Luckily, they're waiting to hold the memorial service until the weekend after our Thanksgiving break, so I'll be able to attend.

On a lighter note, the forecast for the weekend looks good. I think some combination of Linden, Anna, Danielle, Liz and I are going to hang out, possibly watch Save the Last Dance, most likely make some cookies, and maybe even write a song or two! What productive aspirations for a Friday night! We'll see how it all turns out.

14 November 2007

35 mm

Fresh from the Knitty rejection pile! (It's okay Knitty, I still love you. Let's hang out sometime?)

35mm Hat

Growing up in Minnesota, I know the value of warm winter accessories. Unfortunately, I see so many people covering their heads with boring, machine-knit hats that I sometimes get the desire to make hats for people I hardly know. Since handing out new hats to my acquaintances might come across as strange, perhaps I’ll settle on giving them to my friends and family.

This hat was designed for my older brother, Colin. He has a strong interest in television and movies, so I thought a filmstrip image would suit his taste. Since the hat is double-knit, it not only provides two layers of warmth on cold, windy days, but it is reversible, too!

to fit an average or large adult head

Circumference, unstretched: 19 inches
Will comfortably fit up to 25 inches

[MC] Nature Spun [100% wool; 245 yd/224 m per 100g skein]; color: Charcoal; 1 skein
[CC] Nature Spun [100% wool; 245 yd/224 m per 100g skein]; color: Pepper; 1 skein

Alternate color scheme:
[MC] Patons Classic Wool Merino [100% wool; 223 yds/204 m per 100g skein]; color: Chestnut Brown; 1 skein
[CC] Ella Rae Classic [100% wool; 219 yds/200 m per 100g skein]; color: #103; 1 skein

1 set US #8/5 mm double-point needles
1 16-inch US #8/5 mm circular needle

stitch marker
tapestry needle
cable needle (optional)

17 sts/25 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch

Construction Overview:
The number of stitches in the cast-on row is the stitch circumference of the outer layer of the hat. By knitting into the front and back of each stitch in the first knit row, the stitch count is doubled, which creates the inner layer of the hat. Both layers are knit simultaneously, with outer- and inner-layer stitches alternating around the needle. (Here’s a wonderful video that explains double knitting (scroll down).) Then, for each decrease, four stitches must be regarranged so that two outer stitches are next to each other, followed by two inner stitches.

Note: When double-knitting in stockinette stitch, you knit the outer-layer stitches and purl the inner layer stitches. However, both strands of yarn must travel together. That means, if you’re knitting with the MC, the CC needs to be at the back of the work with the MC, even though you’re not using the CC for that knit stitch. On the next stitch, when you purl with the CC, bring both strands to the front of the work, and purl with just the CC. (This is very important; it allows for the two layers to stay separate.)

Methods: To create the filmstrip, you will use these four color sequences.
Method 1 [solid MC outer row]: (k1 MC, p1 CC)
Method 2 [solid CC outer row]: (k1 CC, p1 MC)
Method 3 [alternating MC/CC outer row]: (k1 MC, p1 CC, k1 CC, p1 MC)
Method 4 [6 sts MC/2 sts CC outer row]: (k1 MC, p1 CC) 6x, (k1 CC, p1 MC) 2x

Dec 2 (decrease two): When rearranging stitches for decreases (which occur in pairs), it may be helpful to use a cable needle. Here’s how you should work each dec 2:
Sl 1 (MC) to right needle, sl 1 (CC) to cable needle, sl 1 st to right needle, return (CC) st on cable needle to left needle, return 2 (MC) sts on right needle to left needle. K2 tog MC, p2 tog CC.

Hat is worked from the bottom up. As you decrease for the crown, switch to dpns whenever you feel the circular needle becomes awkward to use.

Using MC and circular needle, CO 88 sts. Place marker and attach CC. The rest of the pattern is worked in the round.

Rnd 1: (K into front of st w/MC, k into back of st w/CC) around. 176 sts.
Rnds 2-6: Rep Method 1 around.
Rnd 7: Rep Method 2 around.
Rnds 8-9: Rep Method 3 around.
Rnd 10: Rep Method 2 around.
Rnds 11-17: Rep Method 4 around.
Rnd 18: Rep Method 2 around.
Rnds 19-20: Rep Method 3 around.
Rnd 21: Rep Method 1 around.
Rnd 22: K1 CC, p1 MC, rep Method 1 around.
Rnds 23-39: Rep Method 1 around.

At this point, the hat should measure approx 6 inches in length.

Begin dec for crown, cont in Method 1 for rest of hat:
Rnd 40: (Work 18 sts, dec 2) around. 160 sts.
Rnd 41 and future odd rows: work Method 1 around.
Rnd 42: (Work 16 sts, dec 2) around. 144 sts.
Rnd 44: (Work 14 sts, dec 2) around. 128 sts.
Rnd 46: (Work 12 sts, dec 2) around. 112 sts.
Rnd 48: (Work 10 sts, dec 2) around. 96 sts.
Rnd 50: (Work 8 sts, dec 2) around. 80 sts.
Rnd 52: (Work 6 sts, dec 2) around. 64 sts.
Rnd 54: (Work 4 sts, dec 2) around. 48 sts.
Rnd 56: (Work 2 sts, dec 2) around. 32 sts.
Rnd 58: (Dec 2) around. 16 sts.
Rnd 60: (Dec 2) around. 8 sts.

Cut MC and CC, leaving 6 inch tails. Using a tapestry needle, thread CC through rem 4 CC sts, weave in end on inside layer of hat. Then, use tapestry needle to thread MC tail through rem 4 MC sts, weave in end on outside layer of hat. Weave in the ends at the cast-on edge and put it on your (or someone else’s) head!

Here's my dad wearing the hat I made for my brother:

29 October 2007

Saturday = BEST DAY EVER

So my break was wonderful, as was Chicago, and all of the lovely people I hung out with. Saturday, however, was kind of amazing. So, of course, it is list time. We're doing this chronologically.

1. I woke up (at 6:15 AM so we could bring Liz to the airport) but I was waking up intermittently for the half hour or so beforehand and for a while, one of Liz's cats was curled at my feet.

2. Liz's dad drove me to Hyde Park and told me cool things about the U of Chicago campus and Nabokov and The Brothers Karamazov, which I apparently really need to read.

3. On the way to Hyde Park, we saw a flock of birds flying in these circles. It was extremely bizarre.

4. Liz's dad dropped me off at Starbucks, and I chilled there for a while with a venti hot chocolate and a delicious delicious pumpkin scone.

5. I did most of a NY Times Monday crossword by myself. Just the top left corner was unfinished.

6. At Starbucks, they were playing Bruce Springsteen's new album. I was reminded of how catchy "Livin' in the Future" is.

7. I overheard some great conversations some of the locals were having. They were in really good moods, and after being in high school so recently, I sometimes forget that average Americans are so interesting and like to talk about smart things. It's a good thing to be reminded of.

8. I talked to my dad for 40 minutes, and in the process remembered that it was Saturday, so I wasn't interrupting him at work AND I was awake before he was.

9. I spent a while working on memorizing the Pushkin poem, and achieved knowledge of 2 or 3 stanzas, and familiarity with the rest of the six stanzas.

10. At 10:10, after it opened, I walked over to Borders. I sat that the cafe for a handful of minutes, and then Anna called. To not disturb the people reading, I walked over by the knitting books. While she and Dan figured out their morning, I spent an hour and 40 minutes reading/exhausting the knitting section. There were more good musical times as the sounds of Prince's Planet Earth wafted through the store.

11. I kifed a pattern for fishnet stockings from a book of lingerie patterns. It's like my journal is carrying contraband. Except that it's not really stealing. I would have just found the book at a library and copied down the pattern later. I'm saving time.

12. I copied (out of another book at Borders) a list of novels knitters might enjoy. Now if anyone makes me read a Sue Grafton book, I should choose D is for Deadbeat, because it apparently has crafty undertones.

13. Dan (Anna's U of Chicago friend) let me keep my stuff in his room in the afternoon/evening.

14. I found out that I didn't need to go to the Museum of Science & Industry to see the Star Wars exhibit, because it'll be in Minnesota this summer!

15. We went downtown. I walked for at least an hour through some semi-sketchy neighborhoods to get to Nina, at 1655 W. Division St. But it involved public transportation by myself. I felt all sophisticated and grown-up and city-dwellery.

16. At Nina, I had a nice conversation with one fo teh women there and got to sit down and look at a couple of magazines. Particularly enjoyable after walking so much.

17. I bought two skeins of bright red Manos del Uruguay. It cost about $35, but I would have paid that much to stay at a youth hostel, which I didn't end up needing to do.

18. In Nina, I found Karan and Cara, two women on their way to a wedding downtown. I asked them for a ride back downtown, and it worked out!

19. Cara's brother picked us up in a mini-Cooper.

20. The ride back downtown included a nice view of downtown, including a Michigan Ave, which was quite busy and good for people-watching.

21. Between the Nowaks (the above wedding), the one Linden was at, and Tom Hoberg and co. in Oberlin, today was a good day for future anniversaries. 3 weddings!

22. I managaed to find Anna in downtown Chicago without being confused.

23. We saw some art in the Cultural Center, which is this really pretty building by Millennium Park. Mosaic-y ceilings and whatnot.

24. We had dinner at Qdoba, which is exactly like Chipotle except not related to McDonalds. There was a reprise of the good music phenomenon, this time featuring some R.E.M.

25. The guy who made our burritos at Qdoba was awesome. It was by far the most enjoyable burrito-building experience I have had. We were talking about meat, and the benefits of vegetarian burritos (namely, guacamole doesn't cost extra). I've started asking for both the corn and hot red salsas. "...How do you guys feel about dairy?" PRETTY AWESOME.

26. Anna and I had a really good conversation. I showed her my lists of words, and was a T Rex for a couple of seconds. Then we examined the social implications of guacamole. Unfortunately, due to the inside nature of inside jokes, it's hard to explain the significance of this exchange. It was powerful, though.

27. After dinner we went to Millennium Park and hear storytelling! What good stories! We pretended that we were preschoolers. It was too bad David Reese was still in Ohio.

28. After the stories, we went to the bean and flew on the ground and took many silly pictures.

29. We employed our mad bus waiting skillz in anticipation of our return to Hyde Park. Everyone else at the bus stop seemed pretty bored, but as you can guess, we were pretty good at entertaining ourselves. The more tired we are, the more amusing it is.

30. Back in Hyde Park, we talked in (and about) various accents (British, Irish, Australian, Russian) for many minutes on our way to the coop.

31. En route to the coop with Anna, Dan and Marcelo, I did a double take when I saw someone I recognized...
"Do I know you?"
"Do you go to Oberlin?"
"Yeah. ...What's your name?"
"Bethany. And yours?"
"I'm Meagan."
"You're on OSCA Board!"
"Yeah! That's where I know you from!"
... "Well, see you on Thursday!"

32. Upon arriving at Haymarket House (the coop), Anna and I laid down and barely moved for 20 minutes. It was almost meditation, and most relaxing after a long day.

33. We also hung out with one of the Haymarket cats for a while.

34. In retrospect, in response to everyone who asked me where I'm from, I said I'm originally from Minnesota but go to school in Ohio. Where in Ohio? Oberlin! And unlike the uninformed residents of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, they knew what I (and Anna) was (were) talking about! They either
- knew someone who recently graduated
- said "Oh yeah. Oberlin! I tell a story about Oberlin. (To Anna) You know what, you have my email address. Send me an email and remind me that you're the Oberlin student. I'll send you a CD with that story for free."


Happy day happy day happy day.

Nosebleed, but no Nougat

First nosebleed of the season: Monday, October 29, 2:24 A.M.

I really wish that when I get nosebleeds I could just eat half of a piece of candy and they would go away. Fred and George Weasley were onto something there.

24 October 2007

Off to Chicago!

I can say this: Biking down Main Street in Oberlin, half-asleep, at 6:30 in the morning, is a pleasure that I have now had.

The Oberlin Public Library has their movies back, though, and that's what's important.

37 minutes until departure. I should go wash some dishes and clean up a bit...

18 October 2007

Friday Pie Blogging: Initiative Thursday Edition

In response to Fafblog's depressin lacka updates, I've decided to take it up myself. What prompted this, you ask? Why, maybe it's cause I ate that big slice o' pie this afternoon! Initiative pie!

Most folks don't know about initiative pie, on accounta the fact that you can't find it in the store. See, initiative pie is only initiative pie when you make it yourself from scratch. Serve it up at family gatherins all you want, but it's not gonna make your relatives more helpful. O' course, you could disguise the recipe as lemon meringue, an have the kids fix it. That could work.

Anyway! So initiative pie makes the you thinka things, talk them over with yourself for a coupla minutes, an commmit to 'em indefinitely. Like takin over the responsibility o' roughly weekly pie-based internet posts!

Initiative pie is also good for the college student crowd, speically those who're headin into fall break this week! Since you clearly put off studyin for your midterms until the last minute an spent the last week stressin about papers an stuff. So during break - bake some initiative pie! An eat it! Then you can do research an prepare for classes next week and have some relaxin times when you get back! It'll be great!

Warning: If you're not careful about cookin it long enough, initiative pie doesn't turn out quite right. It kinda becomes meets-the-minimum-requirements pie. But you can still eat it, seein as its pie an all. Tastes pretty good.

...Turns out another parta initiative pie is that you have to go find your own picture of it. Specially since my computer's not wantin to load images properly.

09 October 2007

Long Overdue Story

Here's an interesting and true story that happened to me, that I should have blogged about a long time ago. If you're not a former or current Oberlin students, reading the bits in the parentheses would probably be a good idea.

Three or four weeks ago, back when Old B (the student run cooperative I eat in) was still in interim (the process of figuring out who will do what jobs for the semester), I was KPing (kitchen prep, before a meal) for lunch. The other KP wasn't there yet, so I started chopping eggplants (the head cook leaves instructions for the KPs).

Now, I was not very familiar with eggplants, as I don't think I'd ever eaten one, and frankly, we don't chop large amounts of vegetables at my house. At least, we stick to things like tomatoes and bell peppers, which are a bit more tedious. Also, at my house, we have really good, sharp knives. So I'm don't have to worry about distinguishing the sharp ones from the dull ones. YES FOLKS, you are correct. That is foreshadowing.

As I was merrily chopping along, several eggplants in, I got down to the last couple of slices on this particular eggplant, and OUCH. I slice one of the fingertips on my left hand. It seemed relatively small at the time, though perhaps a bit deep, and it bled quite a bit. Of course, I stopped slicing eggplants, switched knives and threw those couple of slices out, which = no contamination, and washed it at bandaged it with the first aid kit in the hallway. I stood around for a few minutes, not sure what to do, waiting for the other KP to show up. She came, and I told her what had happened, and she seemed to think I was quite the trooper. She said I should go to Student Health (known for being not extraordinarily helpful) Really, there was no need for a butterfly closure; I think she was overreacting.

I went to class, and went about my day. I was late to lunch, and actually missed the dish that involved the eggplants, but I've had the chance to eat them since then. Fried eggplant is mightily tasty on pizza. ANYWAY, during my afternoon classes, the cut seemed to be bleeding again, underneath the bandage. Why it chose to do this I have no idea. A friend in my Russian Visual Culture class said I should go to Student Health.

Being without Neosporin, I decided going to Student Health was probably the smart thing to do.

In short, I did, and they were helpful. They gave me some packets of Neosporin-like substance to put on it, and some more bandages. It stopped bleeding, and it's completely healed to the point where I can't remember/tell if it was my middle or index finger that was cut.

But by far the best part was in the waiting room. I was flipping through People Magazine, and saw a book review. The book? Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant.

You can't make this stuff up.

25 September 2007

Not all that newsworthy...

So! I have been knitting quite a bit recently. Recent endeavors include:
- a Charlie Weasley sweater for my new phone (pictoral evidence forthcoming)
- a pattern, which I submitted to Knitty!
- a sleeve for the Mermaid Mesh Tunic, which is my first real garment, and is almost done! This week for sure, folks! I'm terribly excited about finishing this. I should probably consider handing off the second sleeve to a friend, if I ever want to get work done.

In yet other crafty realms, I'm taking an ExCo (one credit courses taught by students or community members on just about anything under the sun) on wool! It's called Fabulous Fibers, and we're starting out with wet felting of wool roving. I made a few balls in class, and am trying to adequately dye them (with Flavor-Aid) and add the necessary wings to make them into a set of mini Quidditch balls. Really, what else would you expect from me? I'm hoping to make a dragon as a larger project, and I'm totally going to read up on them in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and decide upon a species. No garden variety dragons for me.

Now that that's out of the way, I can tell you about the fabulous tunes I've been listening to! In the last few days I have rediscovered Fountains of Wayne's 'New Routine', off Traffic and Weather. I'm not entirely sure if I'm allowed to rediscover something that's only been out for five months, but I did it anyway. It's quite wonderful. I can't believe critics didn't fall in love with that album. It defined my summer (as I've probably already mentioned)!

And then there's that musical equivalent of comfort food, Crowded House. For the first time EVER (that I can remember), I've tuned my guitar down a half-step so I can play along with Fall At Your Feet. Dad, you're absolutely right, it's one of my new favorite songs. I'm going to become quite familiar with C#m, D#m and G# because of it. And new chord-playing abilities is awesome. The most unfortunate part of the whole deal was that my guitar was perfectly in tune before I took it down to Eb, etc.

Hopefully I'll get some work done, what with all the knitting- and Crowded House-induced excitement. I'll have to; I have that paper proposal for Friday. (Ingushetiya!) Speaking of work, I think I'm going to wander off to the Language Lab to record the speaking part of my Russian test.

...But first, I think I'll play Fall At Your Feet one more time...

23 August 2007

Cows and Chess

What’s a road trip without counting cows? A heck of a lot more fun. Even though I enjoy the inconsequential banter over herd estimates, it’s nice to take a nap without missing anything more than a Colorado license plate.

But it’s not like we didn’t see any cows. The first herd we saw had formed a line. A cow queue! And then there was one that was black on the front and back thirds, and had a big white stripe around the middle. And then, when I was waking up from a nap and didn’t have my glasses on, according to my dad, there was a llama.

We were planning on going to a minor league baseball game in South Bend, IL. The South Bend Silverhawks vs. the (I’m not joking) Lansing Lugnuts. Due to a ridiculous amount of rain and the fact that we tooled around Madison for half an hour looking for a grocery store, we got behind schedule and ate dinner at Cracker Barrel instead.

Of the many interesting conversations of the day, perhaps the best was about chess. We got to the subject of chess from me talking about working at the Dome (one of the women I met teaches chess) and the Civil War came into the picture when my brother was listing off Ken Burns films. My dad remembered this Civil War chess set that used to show up in magazine ads all the time. This comedian, Tim Cavanagh, used to do a bit about how to win at Civil War chess. Step one: Be the North. This got me thinking.

So, I would guess population wise, the North was whiter than the South, so the black must be the South. Technically, what with Fort Sumter and all, black (not white) moves first. It’d be a little out of order, but the South should get sick of the North and try to quit the game at some point. And then, the North should threaten to free the South’s pawns, which they do, and some of them start helping out the white pieces. When the game's over and black has lost, some of the black bishops and rooks act like they've won and fly their little flags over their elementary schools. The white pieces look on these individuals with great disdain.

I feel like this could be fleshed out. If I was better at chess, I would be really cool and make up an annotated game log.

Oh, and we stopped at a few rest stops, which brought some awesome graffiti to my attention. Thanks to this guy for the photo.

13 August 2007

Birthday, etc.

I can't remember what I was going to write about, so I'll tell you about a couple of other things and hope it comes back to me.

So I turned 20 yesterday, and it was a great day. What made it so fabulous, you ask? Why, several things.
1. My dad and I cowrote this song about Micah 6:8 (What does the Lord require of you? Do justice, show kindness, walk humbly with God) and played it in church. The pickup for my acoustic guitar had a broken connector, so I ended up playing it on my Telecaster, which doesn't get much attention from me. (If it were a child, it would have been removed from my custody years ago.) We sounded awesome. I'll post an mp3 of it when I get the chance.
2. I cleaned my room. Though the process isn't a pile of giggles, the end result sure is neat. (Pun intended. I'm sorry.)
3. I had a party with my family. My family usually gets Dairy Queen cakes for birthdays, and I had one with dinosaurs on it! When we ordered it, the employee, upon hearing our choice of design, thought it was a cake for a small boy. My mother is probably still shaking her head at me wanting dinos on my cake, since that was the theme of my birthday party when I turned five. (I remember decorating t-shirts with dinosaur sponges dipped in paint. We probably played pin the tail on the brontosaurus, too. My mom is brilliant when it comes to throwing birthday parties for kids.)
4. My dad and I finished the NY Times Sunday crossword.
5. Among the gifts I received were 3 Barnes & Noble giftcards (the gift of textbooks! They will make the end of August much less financially painful) and the soundtrack to the movie 'Music and Lyrics'. This movie is so awesome, I must tell you about it, which I will do momentarily.

First, I must add this short blurb to indicate the end of the Awesome Things About Yesterday List, to clarify that I'm changing the subject.

So Music and Lyrics is a romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. Hugh Grant plays Alex Fletcher, who is a washed up 80s pop star, who was in a band called Pop!. (Basically he's the guy from Wham! that isn't George Michael.) He's picked to work on a song for a modern Britney/Christina-like pop star, but he was the half of a broken up songwriting pair that wrote the music, and can't write lyrics to save his life, most of the time. (I feel like Paul McCartney may have gone through phases like that.) He hires a lyricist who is very like Jack Black, but less funny, and ends up finding out that Barrymore, who's filling in for his plant-waterer, is really good a writing lyrics. Humor, awkwardness, romance and foolish mistakes ensue. The music in this movie is FANTASTIC. The Pop! song and video are spot-on with 80s style, and three of the other songs were written by Adam Schlesinger, the genius behind Fountains of Wayne (if you haven't yet heard 'Traffic and Weather', the album FoW released this spring, your summer has been lacking). It's awesome.

In less joyous news, the concert I was planning to attend tomorrow (Wilco was playing somewhere in Duluth) has been postponed. Most unfortunately, it has been rescheduled for September 4th. I'll have been in Ohio for a week and a half at that point. So for me, it's not so much postponed as canceled. I was feeling for a while this afternoon that this summer was becoming the Summer of Things Not Panning Out. But out of concern for my happiness and the fact that this post is already incredibly long, I shouldn't dwell on that long enough to make another list.

Happy Monday the 13th!

Oh, I was going to mention a dream I had this morning. My dad and I were robbed, along with several other patrons of a convenience store. It was kind of lame. But I was kind of glad I hadn't replaced my dead iPod yet. I woke up halfway through it, so the police might have ended up getting involved. I did notice that the two young criminals didn't really have their hearts in it. They seemed kind of bored, like they were doing something mundane.

09 August 2007

Oh Yeah!

Several days ago, I had a great dream.

I actually don't remember much of it at all, and I think it might have been kind of bad, like the dream where my parents got divorced, as in so-bad-that-I-have-to-go-back-to-sleep-and-dream-something-better-before- I-start-my-day bad. However, there was one thing that truly amazed me; it has never happened before:

The dream took place in my house, and it was architecturally structured exactly like my house! Whenever I dream about places I know, there's always rooms in different places, and rooms that don't exist in real life. But this house in my dream ACTUALLY looked like the place my family lives! Maybe even down to the furniture!

...I know, you were probably expecting something much more exciting, but this is the best I've got.


After two trips to the Apple Store in Roseville, I have to face it: it looks like my iPod mini is dead. After only two years! About a week ago, I plugged it in to let it charge, and it didn't respond. I tried to reboot it, and it didn't react.

As it turns out, Apple doesn't really stand behind its products. They don't really do much as far as repairs go. The folks at the Genius Bar, with all their training from HQ in CA, know how to run all the troubleshooting tips they give you in the user's guide. Other than that, I guess they've been trained to tell people about how Apple doesn't repair damaged products, and prefers to replace them, but it's not worth it unless it's under warranty. I wonder how long it took them to pick up the 'you can use our iPod recycling program and get 10% off of a new one!' sales pitch. Heck, I could work for Apple and fix iPods if that's all that's required.

Perhaps they train them in grief counseling, so that when customers get upset, they can make them feel better enough to be willing to buy another Apple product.

Or perhaps I just tend to exaggerate when I vent like this.

Anyway, I'm kind of skeptical about sending my iPod to an online retailer to be fixed, as the second Genius I spoke to suggested. It's a trust issue, you know? Not that there'd be any incentive to run off with a small, dead, green electronic device. But still.

All I can say is, even though it costs more - GET THE WARRANTY. BUY APPLECARE. I don't think it was even offered to me when we bought my mini, but seek it out. It's worth it.

02 August 2007

Another Harry Potter dream!

So I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows a week and a half ago. Sunday night this week I had some pretty vivid dreams.

The first one was really bad. In it, my parents were getting divorced. It was bizarre, because in real life my parents have the most incredibly stable relationship that I know. In the dream, it wasn't even that they were fighting. They were just getting a divorce. It had this diplomatic tone to it, but it was horrible. So of course, when I woke up around 9:00, I thought 'I can't get up after a dream like that! I must go back to sleep and dream about something else.' So I went back to sleep and dreamed about something else.

My second dream was crazy! It was an alternate ending to the seventh Harry Potter book, and it was really believable at the time. I'll do my best to relate it.

The dream begins during the final battle. However, it was happening at a place that was a cross between the Burrow and Hogwarts - there were several students living there, but it was a house. Oddly enough, it was laid out pretty much exactly like my house, except that my brother's room was a little bigger.

I was Harry. Many witches and wizards were near the garage, where Voldemort was dueling with various people. Ron and I were in the house. The ring was the only Horcrux left to destroy, and we'd known where it was the whole time. I think we were supposed to leave the ring for the end. Dumbledore had told us it was in the house, in this green suitcase (which looks exactly like the one I bought at the United Methodist Resale in Oberlin last fall, hm) in the bedroom that Ron, Neville and I lived in (Seamus and Dean may have lived there, too, I forget). Ron and I ran into the house to get the ring, but it wasn't in the suitcase.

Some more setup:
This bedroom (my brother's) was on the back corner of the house. On the wall there had always been this big rectangular mark; it looked like a large chunk of drywall had been replaced. On the floor along the other outside wall, underneath a window, there were wooden boxes connected to one another, numbered from ten to one. In each box was a different prank from Weasley's Wizard Wheezes (there were ten of one item in box 10, nine of another in 9, and so on).

I stared at the mark on the wall and realized for the first time that it matched up with the location of a window on the outside of the house. Judging by the outside walls, there should have been two windows in the room instead of one. So Ron and I walked over to the mark, and pushed it in. It fell away from the rest of the wall, and exposed a closet-sized space filled with things that clearly belonged to James and his friends when they lived there many years before. It became obvious that the missing ring was somewhere in the closet. I began to look for it, any tried not to get too distracted by my dad's various old belongings and robes.

While I searched, the witches and wizards in the garage needed Ron's help in fending off Voldemort. He proceeded to take pranks from a box, and go use them against Voldemort. In the number 8 box, there were eight little disembodied hands, about the size of maybe an eight year-old's hands. When you threw them at someone, they'd crawl all over that person's body and tickle them.

I really wish I'd been able to see Voldemort being tickled. I don't think he could handle it. I doubt he's ever been tickled in his life. Unfortunately, I was looking for the ring. Also unfortunately, I don't think the dream ended while I was still looking for the ring and Ron was still lobbing Fred and George's creations at the Dark Lord. I'm assuming that we won, somehow.

Then I woke up and it was 12:55 P.M. (story of my life).

- - - Beware: Minor Spoiler Ahead - - -

On a similar note (similar to Voldemort being tickled), while I was reading about the final battle, I thought it would be really funny if Voldemort had been killed because someone chucked a Mandrake at him. I guess it would have been kind of anti-climactic, though.

I also kind of wanted to check in with the Dursleys one last time, but oh well. Other than that it was AWESOME!

35W Collapse - (also posted on FTFDB!)

If you've had access to news coverage, then you probably heard about the collapse of the 35W bridge in Minneapolis at around 6:05 last night, where Intersate 35W crosses the Mississippi River. 35W is one of the main freeways in the Twin Cities; about 50% of the time when I drive, I'm on the chunk of that road that's in the northern suburbs.

I'm okay, as is my family. To the best of my knowledge, everyone I know is safe. I was working at the Metrodome (base/football stadium) during the collapse, and my carpool to work drove over the bridge about 2 hours before it went down. The Metrodome was really close to the site of the collapse, and it sounds like the only reason the game was played at all was to keep the 20-25,000 people off the roads for a few hours.

Fortunately, my parents both work in the suburbs, so they won't have to deal with the extra traffic (there's tons of road construction going on everywhere), but getting to the Metrodome to work at the games in the next few weeks is going to be interesting.

I hope it doesn't take too long to find and identify the people who are still missing. I can't imagine how it would feel to not be able to contact someone who's often on that stretch of road. Also, it appears that this might be drawing the needed attention to older and weaker infrastructure across the country that needs repair. Despite the inconvenience of huge construction projects, this is definitely worse.

It's kind of scary. My dad, brother and I went to the Twins game on Monday night, and we crossed that bridge at around 6:05. If it had been two days earlier, it might have happened to us.

28 May 2007

I Take It Back!

So for a while I had been saying that I thought it would be really funny in (Harry Potter) book 7, Harry got shot, or something. The idea being that everyone was so concerned about him being killed by Voldemort, and then J.K. Rowling was all, 'Hey, look, Muggles can be a dangerous bunch too. Mostly harmless? Hah!'. Then I had this weird dream the other night.

Ms. Rowling, or someone, was reading from book 7, but it can't have been the night it was released, because we'd have all had our own copies and been driving home. But I was there, I think with my dad. Perhaps it was a few hours before midnight and someone was breaking the rules. Anyway, the location was on this street and in this type of building that seemed like it would fit well on Main St. in Oberlin, near the Feve, maybe. We were crammed in this little room, where there was a little stage set up, where the person was reading from. In the back was this big three story apartment. I went over there to use the bathroom a couple of times, it was really hard to find, involving walking up some steps along the back of the living room, the directions the residents (who I think I knew, it might have been the Slocums, or someone very much like them) gave me were very complex. They had a dog, and I was hanging out in the backyard by this big pond later, but that's another part of the dream that probably didn't make any sense ever. But down to the book. It was being read aloud, I think, but played out in my head like a movie. Harry and Ron had been separated from Hermione. They'd been riding a bus, and for some reason had to get off, but Hermione stayed on. Harry and Ron were wandering around in some woods, and they eventually came to a road. Somehow, they were exposed to the (Muggle) media, and there was a story about how the bus had crashed and several people had died. It never said directly that Hermione had died, but it sure implied it. Then the story stopped, probably because I was really upset about Hermione dying. I shed a couple tears for Cedric every time I read book 4, but man, for Hermione, I sobbed for 10 minutes, straight. My dad seemed to think it was a bit ridiculous, but it wasn't. It was horrible. (Then the backyard stuff with the pond-lake that makes no sense, then I woke up.)

But yeah, I'm sorry I ever thought it would be funny for one of the trio to die. Even in a mundane way like a motor vehicle accident. I take it back.

02 May 2007

Russian Roulette

So in the X Files eXco class I'm taking (a 1 credit class taught by fellow students or community members on almost any subject imaginable), there was a presentation on an episode we watched a couple of weeks ago. The episode is called "Pusher", and it's about this guy with the ability to mentally force his will on others. Late in the episode, he forces Mulder to play Russian Roulette with him, and at one point has Mulder point the loaded gun at Scully instead of at himself.
The presenters mentioned that the Wikipedia article about Russian Roulette involves a really complex formula about one's chances of losing. I was intrigued, so I checked it out. Turns out, it really is complex. There are also several young people who have foolishly played and lost. But there's one instance that kind of makes me laugh/sigh:
"In 1999, three Cambodian men all got drunk, and decided to play Russian Roulette with a land mine, each taking turns to stamp on the mine. The three died in a great explosion minutes later. They were later posthumously awarded a Darwin Award."
I don't know if the Darwin Awards are a good thing or not. They make death seem slightly more humorous to smart people, which includes pretty much everyone I know, but I suppose the recipients end up having their ridiculous, fatal decisions magnified. But, then again, they kind of deserve it. A land mine? Seriously.

20 April 2007

Super Stition!

Last night I was looking over my syllabus for Russian 102. I didn't get much sleep Wednesday night, so I was looking at the homework for the 26th, instead of the 19th. Now our Friday Russian class is usually a discussion (we're watching a long movie in small pieces), so we don't typically have work to hand in. However, next Friday (and oddly enough, today, too) we have homework to turn in. Why? Because, according to the syllabus, there's this Russian суеверие (superstition) that says:

If you fail to do your work for the last Friday in April your nose will drop off!

Now: is that not the greatest superstition you've ever heard? Beats the heck out of black cats walking around.

15 April 2007

Classical Equation

So, between an Oberlin Orchestra concert earlier this year, and the senior recital of my fellow Minnesota Obie, Jenny Lang, which featured First Rhapsody (Folk Dances): Prima Parte (Lassu) and Seconda Parte (Friss), I have stumbled upon a truth.

Bela Bartok = cool!

Also, in the spirit of the day:
Jenny Lang = cool, too!

05 April 2007

Yarn curse?

I went to Ben Franklin today... and discovered some bad news. Turns out, Red Heart's Tweed line has been discontinued. Bah.

My dad has this weird relationship with aftershaves. He'll find one he likes, and then they'll discontinue it. It's happened several times, from what I understand (though his latest choice seems to be doing well).

The woman at Ben Franklin did describe a similar sort of phenomenon: they discontinue yarns that sell well in Oberlin.

So I could spend $15 and get three skeins of the stuff from eBay. However, I think I'll just figure out where the rest of the skein went and unravel some of those things.

Hopefully Ben Franklin is cursed, and not me.

04 April 2007


So I've described this fingerless mitten that's gone missing. I'm still looking for it, but am starting to look around to find the yarn (Red Heart Tweed - Cranberry) to knit a replacement. However, this is much more difficult than it should be. I tried the internets. It's not really helping. I only need a small part of a skein. Here are my options:
1. Spend $15 on eBay and get 3 skeins.
2. Request that Ben Franklin order more.
3. Knit it in a different color (which I really don't want to do).
4. Try to figure out what I used the rest of that skein for and unravel those things and reuse the yarn.

It's such a cool yarn, and judging by the limited presence of it, they might be discontinuing it... or maybe it's just a lesser known brand of theirs.

I did find one site that appeared to have it, but the prices and other colors weren't showing up.

I am sick and tired of clicking on links, thinking I've found a seller, and it's only another search engine. Gah!

01 April 2007

Epiphany: Revolutionary Style

So I'm happily reading the chapter in DeFronzo about the Revolution in Nicaragua, and he talking about how the Reagan administration were a bunch of lying, corrupt jerks who acted in ways that the whole rest of the world disagreed with, pretty much. I knew that already, though not in so much detail. Then in two sentences:

"The contras had received tens of millions of dollars in the two-year period during which Congress blocked U.S. government funds. It was disclosed in 1986, 1987, and 1988 that Reagan administration personnel had sold weapons to Iran (involved then in its war with Iraq) at two to three times the cost, evidently diverting some of the huge profits to the contras."

WHOA. I totally have a minute understanding of what people mean when the refer to 'Iran-Contra'. Even if I learn nothing else for the rest of the year, my semester will have been worth it.

April Fool's (Birth) Day

So, today is my brother's birthday. Woo!

Also, today is the birthday of Fred and George Weasley. A thought: In the wizarding world, does the day on which a person is born have an influence on their personality? I'm pretty sure it doesn't in the muggle world (unless you believe in that whole Chinese New Year business where everyone born in the same year has the same qualities). I suppose there aren't that many days that seem to have a unique character, but April Fool's certainly is one that does. In other words: are the Weasley twins jokesters because they were born on April 1st, or is that a coincidence?



Sleep in and miss church the second weekend of spring break (even if it's Palm Sunday)?



31 March 2007

Spring Break!

Here's everything you could possibly want to know about my spring break, which is drawing to a close. I'm sorry if this ends up being a really long, self-indulgent, overly-detailed account of the past week. But hey, what's not to like - the list is ALPHABETIZED!

- BENNY and Joon. I watched this movie early in the week, probably Tuesday. I had intended to view it earlier in the semester with a couple of friends after a Contra Dance, but we only had a VHS copy on hand at the time, and couldn't find an open lounge with VHS capabilities. However, Linden (my roommate) has the DVD. It was interesting. I'm still not entirely clear on why 'Joon' is spelled the way it is. I know that Sam (Johnny Depp's character) isn't good at reading and writing, but we the spelling wasn't mentioned in the film (though the spelling of 'Benny' was). Hm.
- CLEAN room. Finally. Sort of. Mostly, anyway. I should still vaccuum and recycle some bottles, but it looks waaay better than it did during midterms.
- ELYRIA. Liz didn't leave for break until Monday, so on Sunday (after church) we took the Lorain County Transit to the mall in Elyria. I bought some suspenders for my Drag Ball costume (I'm going to be a newsie), and Liz contemplated some hair dye. We ate in the food court, and I discovered (due to my non-meat Lenten discipline) that being a vegetarian leaves one with few options in a food court. Then, we went to Michael's and Jo-Ann's, where I looked for royal blue Wool-Ease so I could make a hat (which will be mentioned later) using the same brand of yarn in for the multiple colors involved. I didn't find what I wanted, so I settled for some gray Red Heart yarn, deciding to make the hat in a lower-quality yarn. This means:
- As of Sunday, my successful yarn diet came to an end (after four months!).
- FOOD! I ate at the Agave Burrito Bar a couple of times, dousing my burritos with cayenne pepper. I also purchased food from IGA, and spent too much money on the good green beans and the good orange juice. I had some delicious cereal, and scrambled eggs. Later, some cous cous with peanut sauce. I still have a potato, carrots and canned fruit. The food I ate was pretty healthy, overall. There's just so much! The culprit: My sleep schedule was so off that sometimes I only ended up eating two meals a day. (It seems ridiculous to eat dinner when lunch was at 10pm.)
- HARRY Potter. Several subitems here.
1. I listened to MuggleCast quite a bit. (It's a podcast talk show run by the folks at Mugglenet, a leading fan-based HP website.) Provoked much thought regarding book 7, and film 5.
2. The cover art for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has been released.
3. I watched the Prisoner of Azkaban (which I have determined to be my favorite of the movies thus far) and Goblet of Fire. While knitting hats, of course.
4. I have started rereading the Order of the Phoenix again, which I tried to start back in August, but was distracted by schoolwork. If hope to reread at least books 5 and 6, if not all of them, before the release of 7.
5. I Ravenclaw scarf may be in the works. It would probably be more along the lines of the PoA scarves, though I'm not sure.
6. In the third and fourth movies, I noticed Draco's cold weather hat choice. It looks like they put a cossack on top of a black baseball cap. Really. It doesn't cover his ears, and in one scene, if you pause it, you can see some of the cap's black fabric underneath the fur. I don't think hats like this really exist. I think the costume people are making it up.
- KOFI Annan. So I have this one class that has about 200 pages of reading/week, at least, and my professor told us to get this book about Kofi Annan (former SG of the UN), and to read it because it's interesting. I read the intro and Chapter 1. So much progress!
- LORAIN County Clerk Center. I applied for this really awesome program to study Russian language in St. Petersburg this summer, so I applied for a passport. This really nice guy from church, Marty Buck, gave me a ride.
- MIA Knuck. I knit up a pair of these fingerless mitts earlier this year, and painted an X Files theme on them. The knuckles read 'trustno1', but more recently, it says only 'tno1'. I can't find the right one. Also, Ben Franklin is out of the yarn I used to make it, as am I. It's been missing for a while now, but I did my laundry this week, and didn't find it amongst clothes. I'm starting to lose hope.
- PARCEL. On Tuesday, I got a nifty package from my parents. Contents included some chocolate, music, and little Eastery basket things. My mom even wrapped everything in pastel-colored tissue paper! The best part:
- RUSSIAN children's book. My mom got me a book from the Red Balloon Bookshop (this really great children's bookstore in MN), called 'First Thousand Words in Russian', and it has an online pronunciation guide. Russian vocabulary through direct object association! How great is that? (Answer: really great.)
- SHIRT. I've been knitting this shirt since summer, and I finally finished the front this week. Last Saturday, a few of us watched Pleasantville, and I began working on the back. Which I'm about 1/3 of the way through now. It should actually be done soon, maybe. Probably before those socks I'm (still) working on.
- STAR Wars hat. Specifically R2D2. It turned out really well, for my second attempt at Fair Isle (multicolor knitting technique). It didn't pucker at all, and only looks funny around the parts where I was trying to knit little circles of color in the round. The best part is, the awesomeness of the fact that I'm wearing R2D2 on my head overpowers any small flaws.
- TEENAGE Mutant Ninja Turtles. I had never seen the first movie all the way through, so I watched it early on in the week. Then I decided to make up a knitted version of a crochet pattern I found on Craftster last week for a TMNT hat. I made a Michelangelo hat, since he's sort of my favorite (though I'm quite partial to Rafael, too). (Photos in pattern post.)
- WAVE hat. Oddly enough, the pattern is named Cowabunga and it has nothing to do with the preceding item. Go figure. I'd attempted to make this last fall, but it turned out really bad. (Probably my worst project.) It used Fair Isle (see STAR Wars for more info), but it puckered a lot and looked really bad. The brim was kind of out of control, and it was really big. The instructions say to cast on 132 stitches, which is way too many. I also failed miserably at the Fair Isle part, since I was using 8 double pointed needle, in absence of an appopriately-sized circular needle. This week, I undid the failure hat and reknit it using fewer stitches and a circular needle, and came out with something much, much better. Behold the before and after shots.

- WHERE the sidewalk ends. No, I didn't read Shel Silverstein poetry, but I did go for a walk. For those of you who know the geography of Oberlin, I walked along West Lorain street, which passes Wilder and Hales. I walked all the way to Sacred Heart (the Catholic church), where the sidewalk on the north side of the street stopped. It was quite enjoyable. The Student Health Center has the weirdest architecture. I really must go on more walks in the future. I was going to go on another walk early Friday morning, but never really got around to it.
- X Files. Yes, I watched the end of season 8 and the beginning of season 9 without my friends. Here's a ratio that makes it seem less bad though. New X Files episodes viewed during spring break last year/this year. 43:7. How can Linden and Liz be disappointed in me?

Here ends this beast of a post. If you read this, you've just read three Microsoft Word-pages of text. Congratulations. Hasn't this been a wonderful way to spend your time?

14 February 2007

Unburglar / Face Hat

My friend Jenny commissioned this ski mask/hat a couple of weeks ago, when it was really cold here in Oberlin. She wanted a hat that would cover her face, but not make her look like she was about to rob a bank (hence the pretty colors). Since the college is closed today (SNOW!), I'm finally getting around to posting the pattern.

Since it leaves very little of your face exposed to the air, and it's made of wool, it is an extremely warm hat. The neck part is long enough that it may reduce the need for a scarf. If you or someone you know is looking for reasons not to wear scarves, that is. I'd wear a one anyway.

It should fit any reasonably sized adult head, as it's worked entirely in a 1x1 rib. My head is slightly larger than average (somewhere a bit over 23"), and it fit me just fine.

Oh, and thanks to these two patterns for their inspiration/framework:

Ski Mask

- size US 7 – 16” circular needle
- size US 7 – dpns
- Araucania Nature Wool (100% wool, 100g/220m) color 50 (1 skein)
- Ella Rae Classic (100% wool, 100g/200m) color 10 (1 skein)
- stitch marker
- yarn needle
- cable needle (optional, see notes on decreasing)

5 ribs (10 sts) = 4 cm
9 rows = 4 cm

*Note on decreasing(abbreviated ‘DEC’):
Since this whole hat is ribbed, the decreases come in pairs. There are two ways of doing this.
With a cable needle:
- sl 1 st to right needle
- sl 1 st to cable needle, hold at back of work
- sl 1 st from right needle back to left, k2tog
- sl st from cable needle back to left needle, p2tog

Without a cable needle:
I’ll employ a diagram. Here are 4 sts:
D C B A -
D and B are purl sts, C and A are knit, and the dash is where you are (before you decrease).
1. sl A to right needle
2. insert tip of right needle into C
3. sl B and C off left needle (C is now on rh needle)
4. with left needle, pick up B
5. put C and A back on left needle
Now it looks like this
D B C A -
Finally, k2tog, p2tog.

- With 2 strands of one color, CO 102 sts, pm
- K in k1p1 rib for 10 rnds
- work rib for 46 sts, DEC, work rib for 48 sts, DEC (98 sts)
- work rib for 2 rnds
- work rib for 44 sts, DEC, work rib for 46 sts, DEC (94 sts)
- work rib for 6 rnds
- work rib for 42 sts, DEC, work rib for 44 sts, DEC (90 sts)
- work rib for 3 rnds

- work rib for 32 sts, wrap next st, turn
- work rib for 22 sts, wrap next st, turn
- work rib for 21 sts, wrap next st, turn
- work rib for 20 sts, wrap next st, turn
- work rib for 19 sts, wrap next st, turn
- work rib for 18 sts, wrap next st, turn
- work rib for 17 sts, wrap next st, turn
- work rib for 23 sts, turn
- work rib for 10 rnds
- work rib for 9 sts, p1f&b, work rib for 21 sts, p1f&b, work rib to end of rnd
- work rib for 2 rnds
- work rib for 31 sts, wrap next st, turn
- work rib for 18 sts, wrap next st, turn
- work rib for 19 sts, wrap next st, turn
- work rib for 20 sts, wrap next st, turn
- work rib for 21 sts, wrap next st, turn
- work rib for 22 sts, wrap next st, turn
- work rib for 23 sts, wrap next st, turn
- work rib for 24 sts, wrap next st, turn
- work rib for 25 sts, wrap next st, turn
- work rib for 26 sts, wrap next st, turn
- work rib for 29 sts, turn
- work rib for 32 sts, turn
- work rib for 2 rnds
- work rib for 8 sts, BO 26 sts in rib, work rib to end of rnd (64 sts)

switch colors! (still use two strands)

Top of Hat:
- remove, work rib for 8 sts, pm (this is the new beg/end of rnd)
- work rib for 7 rnds
- cast on 30 sts, work rib to end of rnd (94 sts)
- work rib for 4 rows
- work rib for 4 sts, DEC, work rib for 14 sts, DEC, work rib to end of rnd (90 sts)
- work rib for 17 rnds
- *work rib for 14 sts, DEC* around (80 sts)
- work rib for 2 rnds
- *work rib for 12 sts, DEC* around (70 sts)
- work rib for 1 rnd
- *work rib for 10 sts, DEC* around (60 sts)
- work rib for 1 rnd
- *work rib for 8 sts, DEC* around (50 sts)
- *work rib for 6 sts, DEC* around (40 sts)
- *work rib for 4 sts, DEC* around (30 sts)
- *work rib for 2 sts, DEC* around (20 sts)
- *DEC* around (10 sts)
- cut yarn, leaving a 15cm tail. using yarn needle, thread tail through rem sts, pull tight, weave in end on the inside.

weave in all other ends on the inside of the hat.

This is what Jenny would look like, in her new hat, if she was at a 90 degree angle to the camera.

And this is the little poem that I wrote, to remind Jenny of the laundering instructions (feel free to insert your own name, but try to keep the overall iambic pentameter). I apologize for the forced rhyme.
"Bethany Draeger knit me out of wool,
So hand wash me in water that is cool.
Some mild soap would be all right to try -
But make sure that you lay me flat to dry!"