Here's a couple of "meaty" links today, both from Monster Crochet.

A short, picture-filled post featuring Mixed Grilled Mats. Mats, as in table placemats!

And most importantly, a really good entry on Demystified Design. She goes quickly through her design process for creating crocheted "meat men." Totally awesome project, and uber-useful design information for someone wanting more than the basic yarn store pattern books.

Mittens for Minerva

Mittens for Minerva
Mitten for Minerva

Fug Friday: Balaclava for the Whole Family

These hideous knitted facial monstrosities known as "balaclavas" freak me out to the point of nightmarish fits of sleep. But then, I suppose Halloween is just around the corner. There's still plenty of time to download the patterns and knit one of these "bad boys" up.

Custom Arm Warmers

My first pair of custom arm warmers made for a person much smaller than myself. It's always so easy when the customer's measurements are close to my own, allowing me to check for fit while making the pattern up as I go. I always check gauge, but this required a lot of blind faith. I'll be interested in seeing if they fit the customer perfectly or not.

Lems' Arm Warmers
Lems' Arm Warmers
Lems' Arm Warmers

Also worth noting: they're made from super-soft organic cotton that is not dyed. Go go ninja knitting skillz!

Rasin Gloves

Raisin Gloves

Remember that awesome custom "raisin yarn" from These were knitted from it.

Fug Friday: More of His Dirty Patch

Two things a tie should never be:

  1. Knitted in any shape or form.
  2. Patchworked in any shape or form.

Two things a man should never wear:

  1. This man's pants, especially when paired with an unmatched blazer.
  2. This man's tie.

Neck Warmers Attack

I'm finally starting to list the mass of neck warmers I have stacked up... Looking at all of these, I can't help but feel a little bored with them. I have some much more awesome goodies in the works, I just need the time to finish them.

Buttered Popcorn Neck Warmer
Pink Elephants on Parade Neck Warmer
Fall's Cocoa Neck Warmer

Fug Friday: Filthy Hippie Bibs

Because I primarily knit, I slam enough fugly knitting patterns. It's time to give crochet some lovin', especially now that I've completed a scarf and a half entirely in crochet (pictures to come soonish).

Asymmetrical Jive Cymbal Necklace

Asymmetrical Jive Cymbal Necklace
Asymmetrical Jive Cymbal Necklace

Fug Friday: You Bad, Bad 80s

Bernat is the king (or queen) of terrible patterns—at least patterns that are free. Here's another beauty from their website: the "Super Scarf", or "Super-Mega-80s-Acid-Reflux Scarf".

Project: Learn to Crochet, Part II

Happy Hooker

When Debbie Stoller's Stich 'N Bitch first came out, I snapped it up for a friend who had expressed an interest in trying to learn to knit. Said friend came over to my apartment a few times to knit with me, and was doing quite well at learning. However, she seemed frustrated with her misshapen scarf.

I knew nothing of this book, nor how popular it would be soon after its release. All I knew was that I was looking for Christmas presents, my friend was trying to learn to knit, the University Bookstore was having a major one-day-sale for students, and the title was hilarious. A quick scan of the book showed detailed diagrams of stitches and how to execute them, light-hearted and interesting writing, and some fun beginner projects that might help ease my friend's frustration.

I'd love to tell you that this very book helped inspire my friend and coach her to learn knitting, but I don't think she's picked up a pair of needles since she scrapped her misshapen scarf over three years ago. However, this book wouldn't be so damn popular if it hasn't helped numerous others learn. If I had learned to knit when this book was around, I would been one of those others. Instead, I taught myself at the tender age of ten using the much less fun Knitter's Handbook, which I checked out from my local library for over two months before buying.

This weekend, I once again turned to Debbie Stoller and bought The Happy Hooker. This time, the recipient of this crochet manual was me. After a number of frustrating hours teaching myself to crochet with a hook in hand and a laptop on my stomach, I decided I not only wanted something that held my hand a little more in describing the movements of each stitch, but I also wanted something I could turn to with beginner projects. I'm a learn-as-I-go person, not content to do swatch after swatch before moving onto a project. And yes, sometimes this bites me in the butt. However, my interest is peaked more when working towards an actual project. Stoller's book fits the needs of both swatch-by-swatch learners and people like me, who tend to run straight off the cliff.

And in case you know nothing of Stoller's books and couldn't tell from the title, "The Happy Hooker" is quite snappy in delivery. Think of it as learning from your youngest aunt, who has more than one tattoo, rides a Harley, plays bass in a rock band, has a Ph.D in Early American Literature, and owns a closet full of merino yarn.

This book is an indisputable reference for the beginner at crochet. No prior knitting knowledge is required. Stoller includes a thorough section about types of yarns and how they relate to the art of crochet, diagrams of how to execute each stitch, pictures of stitch swatches so you can easily see if you're doing it right the first time around, and a section on how to read patterns.

And of course, the patterns themselves account for more than half the book. The patterns are designed with fun, fresh fashion in mind. No granny afghans or bulky, form-hiding sweaters here. There's a few funky scarves to start on, a pair of lacy fingerless gloves, a shawl, a caplet, a slew of hats, purses purses purses, flower pins, iPod cozies, and more yarn-intensive sweaters and a blanket or two. While the book is obviously aimed towards women, a few men's patterns are also included. You know; for your manflesh. The Happy Hooker alone will certainly guide the crochet beginner on through intermediate status with the numerous fresh projects and their varying degrees of challenge.

Now excuse me while I go back to my flower scarf. I need to finish learning to crochet so I can teach my manflesh. He was expressing interest in making those hyperbolic shapes.

Project: Learn to Crochet

I had the brilliant idea of mixing crochet motifs with a regular ol' scarf today. Of course, the crochet motifs are the problem. That requires that I actually learn how to crochet.

I originally resisted the art of crochet for a long time, though it's something my mad-knitting cousin moved over to years and years ago. But I was never quite convinced. I never quite liked the projects I saw, the fabric results I saw. I still prefer a basic knitted fabric to a basic crochet fabric, but within this past year I've recently recognized the potential crochet also has—particularly in the form of motifs and lacy fabrics.

I've been using three websites to teach myself. The results are not excellent, but I think I'm figuring everything out. The biggest problem I'm having right now is finding a swatch online of a basic crocheted fabric to compare my results to. I think I'm doing it right, but how do I know?

It seems to me that crocheting is something like knitting's ugly step-sister. At least, when considering the popularity of the two. There are so many more beautiful patterns for knitwear out there, while crochet is still stuck in the dark ages of afghans and unflattering sweaters. Sure, it has its shawls and doilies, but I don't want shawls and doilies, damn it! I want—I dunno. But I don't want doilies, or shawls. Or afghans. God no, no afghans.

While I continue to wade through this new world of crochet, and hack through the remnants of horrid pattern designers who still haven't lost their day-jobs, feel free to browse the links I've been trying to learn on. It ain't easy for someone starting from scratch. If I find an easier way, I'll be sure to let you know. I'll also let you know if I find any awesome patterns that aren't doilies, shawls or afghans.


  • Annie's Attic: "Annie" has a ton of video files and diagrams on stitches, knitting and other fiber arts included.
  • Stitch Diva Studios: They mainly sell patterns, but they have a great free tutorial section with step-by-step pictures instead of drawn diagrams. Just another way to reference something if Annie's isn't doing it for you.
  • Crochet at I have a love/hate relationship with I hate the design and all the ads, but the information they have is generally pretty good. This section could be a lot better, but there aren't many good sources out there for crocheters on the vast and expansive interwebs.

Potato Chip Bag Shrinky Dinks

I found a totally random—but totally awesome—tutorial at Craftster: Candy/Potato Chip Wrapper Cuff Bracelet Tutorial. Who would have guessed that you can pop these plastic bad boys in the oven and they'd shrink down just like shrinky dinks?

Fug Friday: Step on Spider

Nothing more tasteful than a macrame plant hanger with a big ol' demon-eyed spider hanging off a branch.