Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Spooky Knitting for Halloween

Some years ago, I designed some knitting patterns for a proposed Halloween knitting book. That book ended up morphing into something else which ended up being lovely, but deep down I was so sad that the Halloween book never happened. Fortunately the new version of the book was able to still use all but one of my patterns, and that pattern is now up on Ravelry. But I still really want that Halloween knitting book.

Here are the gloves that didn't make it into the book. They are my "The Eyes Have It" Fingerless Gloves, and they are available on Ravelry. 
Photo by the lovely Melissa Wagley

Here are my spooky themed patterns that DID make it into some knitting books.

Dark Dream Socks

Cthulhu Fingerless Gloves

There's also an eyeball hat in the works... but I need to get on that. Maybe in time for next Halloween?

Enough about me. Even though that Halloween knitting book never happened, there are tons of really beautiful and spooky knitting patterns on Ravelry. I know, because sometimes I go on there and add a bunch more to my (already overflowing) queue. I think the world needs to know about these wonderful patterns, so I'm going to post photos and links for some of my very favorites. 

Today, being Halloween, meant it was time for me finally cast on for the Just Batty Socks by Jennifer Vaughn. I've wanted to knit these for a very long time, and I finally purchased the pattern and some yarn (Knitpicks Stroll Sock Yarn in the colors Pumpkin and Black). 

Another pattern that I know I need to knit soon, is Spider Socks by Terri Knight. It's a wonderful pattern knit in a single color, and takes advantage of texture to create the design. 

A pattern I just discovered today is Fangtastic Socks by Wendy Gaal. Look at that design. Brilliant! I will be knitting these very soon. 

I can't resist socks! Here's one more for you! Look at the beautiful Halloween Skull Socks
by Fir Tree Knitwear!

Obviously, socks are kind of my thing, but don't you worry! I've found spooky things to knit that aren't socks. I'm pretty sure I need to knit these Night Creatures Mittens by Adrian Bizilia. 

These aren't the only mittens I need in my life. Check out these gorgeous Bat Mittens by Johanne Landin! 

I'm a sucker for bats, and mittens, but I love fingerless gloves even more. Check out Belfry Bats Fingerless Mitts by Patricia Wake!

Another fantastic fingerless glove pattern (that I knit up almost immediately after finding) is Skull Mittens by Jennifer Thompson. I believe I bought the pattern from the KnitPicks site, but it looks like it is also available on Ravelry. You have the option of making a glove or a fingerless glove, so you really get your money's worth on this one. 

Okay, we have to throw at least one scarf in the mix. I'm loving Dancing Skeletons Double Knit Scarf by Frivolite Handcrafts. I just need to practice double knitting, which might be the scariest part of this pattern.

Well, okay. Here's another one. Do you really REALLY like fair isle? If so, I have the Halloween knitting project for you! You need to knit the Halloween Fair Isle Scarf by Siouxsie Stitches ASAP. 

Now let's add a spooky and fabulous cowl! It's the Hocus Pocus Cowl by Thea Eschliman.

The Phobia Cowl by Sharon Mooney is another one I'm going to need to knit, but with some really amazing solid color yarn. I'll be raiding my yarn stash soon!

Oh, shoot. I can't forget hats! Like Halloween Kitty Child/Adult Beanie by Sandra J├Ąger. In all fairness, I wouldn't knit this for a child. I'd definitely knit it for myself!

Have I mentioned that I love bats? Because of that, I can't help but love the Bats in the Night Sky Beanie by Joan Rowe. Look how interesting it is!

You want to knit something ridiculously cute... I mean scary? Check out the pattern Halloween Delights by Phoeny. There's actually a surprise in that first pumpkin...

Another super cute knit critter pattern, this one written by a favorite designer of mine is Boo the Bat
by Anna Hrachovec. I've knit this one several time, but I've never managed to keep one for myself!

That's all I have for now. Do you have any wonderful scary/spooky patterns you want to share? Post in the comments. I definitely (don't) need more knitting projects in my life!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Voodoo Lily (Dracunculus vulgaris)

I planted some Voodoo Lily bulbs I got a Menard's a few years ago. Nothing came up for a couple years, and then last year I noticed the appropriate leaf pattern on a plant in that area. Last year there were only leaves, but this year it came up again, and I came out the other day to see this - an unopened bloom! 

This morning I came outside and saw this. There were flies swarming everywhere around it. I went in to take a photo, and the rotten meat smell was so overwhelming that I had to hold my breath.

A closeup of the flies. They love this thing.

Day 2:

Day 3:

Day 4: 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Bullying in Roller Derby

I recently posted something about this on Facebook. I received a lot of responses, while at the same time I was disappointed at the lack of responses from people who knew what I went through. Here is basically what I posted with some edits and additions.

Bullying in roller derby... it's a serious issue that leagues and WFTDA seem completely uninterested/unwilling to address.

I went through some serious shit during my time playing roller derby for two different WFTDA leagues. There were actual threats to my safety (skaters who expressed their intention to hurt me at practice), skaters who worked to get me removed from a team or roster solely because they disliked me, doxxing by a WFTDA officer (which WFTDA did nothing about, despite the grievance I filed), lies spread about me without my teammates or coaches bothering to come to me for my side of things, and emotional abuse and gas-lighting by coaches and teammates - just to give you the highlights of what I personally experienced.

In all that time, only one person EVER apologized to me for their behavior. That's how normal and accepted bullying is in derby culture.

The sad reality is I actually saw/heard worse things happen to other skaters. While part of me wants to tell their stories, I know that's not my place. Some of those people still want to be involved, and calling out their problems with bullying could jeopardize that.

I've noticed that some of the biggest bullies are often among the most popular people in the league. Their position of power/authority/popularity means people rarely believe or want to acknowledge their less positive behavior.

I've also noticed the fact that not all people have the same experience in derby leads some to think that bullying isn't happening. I guarantee you that it is. Bullying culture is pervasive in roller derby. You can be a member of the Fluffy Kittens and Love League, and there will still be significant bullying. Until that fact is acknowledged and people who try to speak up are not punished for doing so, nothing will change.

I've also noticed that some people want to deny that bullying is happening, because they love roller derby and their league. They feel like somehow acknowledging anything negative will mean they are not being loyal. Or maybe they're afraid that if they speak up, they will be punished for doing so (and believe me, that absolutely happens).

The simple fact is that ignoring the problem will not make it go away. The issue needs to be brought to light, talked about, and dealt with. I don't have any easy solutions, because this is a complex, nuanced problem.