Saturday, December 14, 2013


My brother is embarking on a box-building project. That’s about as far as the specs go, but he is soliciting ideas and materials. I posted some of my fiber-ish thoughts over on Pinterest.

No, I am not including a tissue box cover. You can’t make me.

ETA I have not done extensive testing, but Pinterest doesn't seem to work for doodly on Firefox.  IE 11 is fine, though.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Keeping Our Skies Safe From Jam - At Only a Very Minor Risk of Botulism

My checked bag was inspected by the TSA yesterday and I was deeply impressed by their vigilance. They risked life and limb to tear off the produce bag impeding a clear visualization of every single one of 16 small jars of home-canned jam, to make sure they weren’t… [NOTE TO SELF: what? [NOTE TO NOTE-TO-SELF: sorry, haven’t the faintest idea]].

Combining efficiency with thoroughness, they scorned to undo those fiddly twist-ties and simply ripped each bag open. They then liberated the jars that were nestling indecorously in my underpants and gave everyone a stern talking-to about the TSA’s position on unseemly behavior in luggage. (Thank goodness I’d packed the leopard skin bikinis in my carry-on luggage.)  Of course, nothing was actually taken. Every single bag and twist-tie was put back into the suitcase. Even the underwear was released on its own recognizance.

Clearly, the TSA knows best. So what if they removed all the cushioning from the jars, and the bags that would have helped to contain any leaks, and entirely re-arranged the suitcase so as to allow freedom of jostling? They knew I was just an over-concerned packer, and that nothing would come to harm. Nor did they waste the taxpayers’ hard-earned money by stretch-wrapping the jars securely in their boxes, or any such effete nonsense. And, you know, they were right. Nothing did break. (However, I hope some alert entrepreneur will seize the market opportunity and start selling TSA insurance. After this experience, and the agency’s thoroughness with Matt’s art, we would line up to be the first customers.)

The only problem is (and I do hate to complain (not wanting to end up a Bad Person list)) but I can’t be sure they didn’t open any of the jars, because the airplane journey would have resealed any jars that had been opened. But I suppose I behaved so badly, by transmitting dangerous jam through our nation’s fair skies that, really, I deserve it if my family gets botulism for Christmas.

In any case, they probably didn’t let the sniffer-dogs-in-training lick the jars as a reward for their good work. Probably.

I can also be grateful that 9 Chickweed Lane’s Creepy National Furtiveness Agency is just the bugbear of a disturbed and unpatriotic mind. So I don’t have to worry that the NFA has bugged my bikini bottoms. Oh. Wait a minute. Erm. They’ve just heard every word I’ve typed, haven’t they? Well, if this blog goes quiet for a bit, don’t worry. They’ve only called me in to assist with their investigations…

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Crazy Like a Fox

We interrupt the Adventures of Esmerelda  for a brief word from our sponsors.

Welcome blog tourists!  I am proud to introduce to you, Fennec (Ravelry link), from the Global Warming section of the nearly-here super-cool book, Doomsday Knits, curated by Alex Tinsley.  The book will be out in digital form next month, with print to follow later, and it’s available NOW for pre-order. [Word to the wise – since you plan to use the book both before and after the apocalypse, you should probably spring for a hard copy.  You know, to avoid the deadly office supply store skirmishes being fought over the dwindling supplies of toner.]

Without further ado, meet Fennec.

Ahem, let’s try again.  Drumroll please...

Oh come on!

There we go.  Whew!

My first thought on seeing the severely under-dressed ladies on Alex’s Global Warming mood board was, "Oh, those poor girls -- they're going to get burned to a crisp and go sand-blind to boot."  Fennec is my attempt to give the post-apocalyptic woman clothing more appropriate to the environment without obscuring her fundamental scantily-cladness. 

I chose Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool because it’s one of my favorite yarns, comes in a good range of colors, and has exactly the right mix of crunch and drape.

One of the things I love about having other people publish my patterns is letting them do the photography.  Here’s why:

Me, trying to strike heroic desert-y poses, against a cold lake wind in January (observe the clenched hands and red fingers)

The professional (photography by the very talented Vivian Aubrey, who reportedly accomplished the entire shoot with a baby strapped to her back)

Naming the thing was more of a challenge than usual.  I proposed it as a Post-Apocalyptic Shrug.  The working title was Cropped Burnoose, which continues to amuse me, but wasn’t quite the thing for publication.  Alex and I researched winds, animals, deserts and I don’t know what all (more on my Pinterest board), but nothing clicked until I told Alex that what I really wanted was a charismatic desert mammal that sleeps with its tail wrapped around its nose (having previously considered and rejected jerboas).  To which Alex replied, what about a fennec?

And that was, irresistibly, that.

When I talk to Matt about the people of my day, it seems unfair to expect him to remember them just by name, so I add little appellations.  Alex Tinsley thus became Apocalyptic Alex.  Apocalyptic Alex has been fantastic to work with.  Her moodboards were a blast, and her Kickstarter promo video absolutely endearing. And now she’s organized her herd of designer cats into a month-long blog tour!  Apocalyptic Alex is pretty fitting – this is a woman you’d want to have your back if the apocalypse does hit.

I’m so looking forward to the rest of the tour, and the book itself.  Even though I’ve seen all the patterns, it’s still a thrill to see each one in public for the first time.

Next up on the blog tour, visit Theatre of Yarns on November 7 for a front seat audience with Ringmaster (which is definitely next in Esmerelda’s queue, and which I am being very noble and loyal not to blab about right now).  Hint - it's one of the pictures on the Cooperative Press order page.

You can find the tour schedule for the rest of November (and for any earlier stops you may have missed) on Dull-Roar, Alex’s web site.

Click on each picture for its accompanying blog post.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.  Say tuned for tomorrow’s thrilling episode, in which Esmerelda Teacup braves the apocalypse and observes that she does not want a pickle.