Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thursday Tab- Saalfield Honey Kitten

In all respects, this looks like a Merrill set, but it's actually Saalfield. I don't know anything about it except that it appears to be set in an orphanage staffed entirely by cats. And it's wonderful.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What is it? A Contest

Today's Photo Challenge is: What is it?

I took a couple of shots- post your guesses in the comments-two commenters will be randomly drawn for a prize (each winner will receive one of the last two Taunton Threads Selects booklets).

Your answer doesn't have to be right, by the way. Any post will do. You have until Friday night to post, at which time I'll post the answers and the winners.

Make sure your name is somewhere in or near your post (if you post anonymously)!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Averaging about one feather/spacer section per evening...

8 1/2 feathers to go...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thursday Tab- Artcraft Wonderful World of Brothers Grimm

Evidently, these dolls were based on a Cinerama movie. I don't remember it, but since the movie came out in '62, I would assume the paper doll set was published the same year. The outfits are unusual in that some of them cover the doll entirely. And now that I look closer at Paperdoll Friend Dottie's scans, we appear to be missing the back cover, which would feature one more lady and a child (or puppet). Does anyone have the back cover of this set?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Oh the counting...

So very much counting. Every row with the counting. For the most part, I can see where I am in the row and how far I need to knit before turning, but there is a stretch of 12 rows with no visual cues, just counting 46 one way and 41 back... counting counting counting...concentrating on counting, 38, 39, 40, what?, 54 degrees out?, 37, 38....

But man, it's pretty

And I think I'm going to have to find a way to roll and secure the finished portion because it's long enough now to tangle the yarns when I turn for the short rows (which most of them are).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Dreambird Progress

Now that American Idol is over, and most of the shows that I watch are in summer hiatus, I should make good progress on the shawl.

It's still a lot of counting, but I'm getting better at *seeing* where I am in the pattern, and I'm not losing my place nearly as often now. I'm about 1/3 done!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

AI Season 12 Finale

Well here we are. Ryan looks good in his navy tux. Candice and Kree, both in black and white, are facing each other, trying to look stern but mostly they're just giggling at each other. Once again there are 7,000 people in the Nokia theater, all waiting for news that won't be revealed until the last possible second of the show.

We segue immediately into a Top 10 Group Sing. And by *immediately*, I mean that everyone is already on stage and the music has begun even before we get back from the commercial break. All 10 kids are dressed in some version of black and white, and I find that it takes me a beat or two to put a name to most of the guys. They're singing I'm Glad You Came and there are many jumps and lots of fist pumping. The only outfit details I notice are Candice's holey knees and Kree's sweatpants.

Keith is wearing a dark jacket over tonight's tee shirt. Nicki is wearing fur boots, white jeans and a black zipper jacket (possibly suede), and blonde hair. Randy is in a lemon-yellow jacket. Mariah is wearing a black and tan long dress with a honeycomb decoration on the bodice.

In the audience I spot Adam Lambert, TAYLOR HICKS!, Danny Gokey, and I think Bo Bice, looking a little worse for wear.

The Band Perry is onstage, and it appears that they are a trio: two guys (one wearing Keith's black and white tee from last night), and a blonde with her hair up in a French roll. Everyone is dressed in black, as is Janelle, when she joins them a bit into the song. I have not a clue what this song is about but the choreography is aerobic and fierce, with a lot of high kicks and whipping hair.

We're reminded that 5 guys in a row won American Idol. We get a pretty amusing montage of this year's guys floating conspiracy theories as to why they went home all in a row. Curtis Finch says that Kree sabotaged him with a red paisley jacket. Angie encouraged Paul to tell bad jokes. Amber drugged Devin. Janelle wrote the wrong notes on Lazaro's music. Candice stole Burnell's lunch money. The mastermind behind it all is none other than the last female winner, Jordin Sparks, whose explanation was that none of the guys played guitar. It's funny, but also maybe just a tad painful. No one comes up with the real reason that the guys went home early: the show stacked the deck with mediocre guys and very talented girls, and also made certain that none of them played the guitar since America cannot resist voting for guys with guitars.

The guys take the stage for a montage of oldies, fronted by Frankie Valli. They sound great (Devin certainly never sang that well during his run) on Let's Hang On, Walk Like a Man, Who Loves You?, Can't Take My Eyes off of You, and Grease is the Word. Man, Frankie Valli is wee, shorter than all of the guys. I'm still not taking in many of the wardrobe details outside of Devin's teal suit and Lazaro's peacock shirt (and still with the very fitted pants). The whole medley was great fun and the judges rocked out and sang along.

Mariah takes the stage in the mermaidiest mermaid dress that ever mermaided- all white and spangles and feathers, and an inability to manage more than a 6" stride. She's also wearing some major diamonds as she sings a medley of every hit she ever had, with Randy Jackson playing bass behind her. She finishes with her new song, and she still sounds autotuned as she hits notes that only dogs can hear.

Amber, in camo jeans with odd piping, a white and black tank, curly hair and golden heels, sings Next to Me with Emeli Didn'tcatchherlastname. Emeli is dressed like Rizzo in a blue pencil skirt, white blouse, black leather jacket and blonde updo. This song has a lot of woo hoo in it, but nothing else of note.

We get a deeply unnecessary recap of the Ford Fiesta Missions, which were plenty boring the first time around. Candice and Kree visit their mentors (Grandma and guitarist, respectively), and present them with the keys to new Fiestas. Both appear to be surprised and pleased.

Next up, wearing saggy-crotch Beiber Pants, is Psy. Sigh.

Keith is onstage now, singing his new single. I am rather late realizing just how adorable he is. His tee shirt says: What the Fox? Naughty naughty Keith. The song is nice, country with a bluegrass flavor. Well done.

Candice, in a black spangly top and black jacket, begins Inseparable solo. It's wonderful as always. The camera pans to the staircase and Jennifer Hudson emerges. Huh, didn't see that one coming. Wow, these two sound great together (though I admit to liking Candice's voice more). Right here, in my own living room, I set my notebook and pen down, and give them a Standing O.

However, I am a little worried about the timing of this duet- the show has been known to telegraph the winner by showcasing the runner up earlier in the finale. Truly, Kree would be a great winner too, and I know full well that the winners don't always become stars, so I'll try not to fret.

It's Angie's turn now. She's wearing a stupidly complex top- it's black, and it's leather, and it has neck ruffles that run all the way down the front on either side of a panel that exposes her belly over very low-slung black leather pants, and it has a pleated leather peplum, and it seems to tie up in the back like a little girl's summer pinafore. It may be the most inexplicable garment seen onstage this season. She's at the piano (natch) singing Titanium, and she's joined by Adam Lambert. Amber's ability to sing and play and follow the camera at all times is still up and running. The performance improves when she gets up and sings with Adam- these two sound fantastic together.

Adam then stops and introduces Jessie J, who is blonde and bald (yes, both), and who is wearing the second most inexplicable outfit of the season: a green jungle print shorts onesie whose neckline plunges widely all the way to her waist. Jessie J starts out behind the judges, and then prances her way to the stage. Once again, we get a lot of jumping and fierceness. Jessie J announces her UK tour and asks Angie to perform with her. Ryan explains that Angie had planned to sing her own new single tonight, but that was scrapped in favor of the duet with Jessie J. He doesn't explain why the 3rd place finalist got two Star Duets.

The kids talk about the judges: Mariah is classy and a lady and wears tight skirts that inhibit Standing Os, and says daahling a lot. Keith is cool and wears tee shirts and has a readily recognizable listening-face. Randy is loud and has some buzz words, not that I noticed or anything. Nicki cuts no slack, and then the kids do a hilarious bit on her wigs. Nicki appears to be amused.

Kree takes the stage to sing Where the Blacktop Ends with Keith and Randy. In amongst the *yo yo yos* and the *in it to win its* and the *this girl can sings* and the constant name dropping, I tend to forget that Randy is a real musician, with a pretty amazing track record. Kree is having a genuinely good time on stage with them, she's relaxed and happy and showing more personality and joy than we've seen all season. I wonder if she wouldn't be more comfortable fronting for a band than being a solo artist.

Keith, this time wearing a gray jacket over his tee shirt, and Randy, dressed in Grandma's pink floral couch cushions, head back to the judge's table. Ryan cues a lame good-bye montage for departing judge Randy Jackson (though if rumors are to be believed, all four may be on the way out) acted by actual dawgs, with clips of lots of famous Idol Alumni, terrible clothes and hundreds of glasses frames. Randy watches dry-eyed, though Nicki looks a little misty.

Though she's in New York, and being broadcast on the big screen, all five girls now get to sing with Aretha Franklin. I would make fun of Aretha's blue and silver nightgown, but Aretha Franklin can wear any damn thing Aretha Franklin wants, any damn time Aretha Franklin wants to wear it. Since I'm in South Dakota and not in Hollywood or New York, the long-distance group-sing works as well  for me as any other performance does on this show. Maybe even better, because, you know: Aretha Franklin. They sing Natural Woman, Never Loved a Man, Respect, and Think, and it's great, though I am distracted by what appear to be golden spangly lion paws appliqued to Amber's shirt right over her boobs.

Aretha gives a little rah-rah speech for Candice, saying that she'll be a winner whether or not she actually wins, which worries me.

Ryan shills for next season's auditions (so, I guess there will be a next season), and they play a quick montage of all the winners, including my beloved Taylor! Ryan also hands Candice and Kree the keys to their new Ford Escapes.

We get a mercifully short Season 12 montage of the good, the bad, and the Kez Ban.

Next up, JLo (who is rumored to be returning, though frankly, I will miss Nicki Minaj... words I never thought I would type). The song seems to consist of phrases from Uplifting Facebook Motivational Memes. The backup singer/dancers are dressed in pastel floaty nighties and white corsets. JLo is in all white, with a leather corset, and a filmy skirt which she ditches. The others ditch their filmy skirts too, and they engage in a lot of pelvic gyration and crotch caressing, and then, inexplicably, squat thrusts with their butts firmly pointed at the audience. If nothing else, JLo worked hard- she finishes panting and glistening.

Okay, it's 8:54, time to get on with it. Kree and Candice are both lovely in black prom dresses. They sing a sweet medley of One Less Bell to Answer and A House is not a Home. They sound good together, but it's obvious that Candice has the better voice. They finish, smiling and happy, and I think, each ready for the other to win, and totally okay with that.

So, it's 9:03 now, and after the national vote, the winner of American Idol Season 12 is:

Candice Glover!!!!

Kree seems genuinely happy for her, confetti falls, streamers shoot out everywhere, Candice sings her incredibly blah coronation song and cries. Her family is thrilled. The audience is thrilled. The judges are thrilled. Her fellow finalists are thrilled. Ryan is thrilled. Candice is thrilled. And I am thrilled.

So, after 175 pages of hand-written notes, and two nights a week for five months, whether or not Seacrest is, I'm out. I now return you to your regular programming.

Thursday Tab- Assorted Magazine Children

Some different one page dolls from magazines. I especially like the bear suits.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

AI Season 12-Top 2 Performance

We open with itty bitty adorable Kree being interviewed  by Rosie O'Donnell on her show. And then we see bits from each of Candice's three auditions (she went before the judges each time, and last year made it to the Top 40). In case we didn't realize it, the show informs us that Tonight! They! Sing! And they're only going to sing for one hour. Woohoo!

Ryan is in a tux, and they're broadcasting from the Nokia theater with 7,000 fans in the audience (including Rob Schneider, who I could go my entire life without seeing again). Keith dressed up in a black tee shirt with a white medallion design. Nicki has straight blonde hair and a white bandage dress that cris-crosses at the neck. Randy is in a lavender Mod jacket with white piping over a black tee. He coordinates nicely with Mariah's lavender, one-shouldered prom gown. Mariah is also wearing a fairly intricate amethyst and diamond (I assume) necklace.

Kree and Candice enter from the steps and they walk down them slowly and deliberately, as anyone wearing stilettos would. Kree is in a beige studded negligee, and Candice is wearing a loose red top, black pants with large black leather diamonds on the sides of her thighs, and sparkly boots. Ryan tells us that tonight Round #1 will be songs chosen by show producer Simon Fuller, Round #2 will be the Winner's Single (though let's not fool ourselves, both will be released), and Round #3 will be the girls' favorite song from the season (though again, let's not fool ourselves- the songs will be the ones that the girls' think have the best chance of impressing the voting audience).

Kree won the coin toss and has elected to go first, which is an odd choice, and I think signifies Kree's expectations for the evening.

#1 Simon fuller has chosen Sarah McLachlan's In The Arms of the Angels, for Kree, and I hope we will not be forced to watch videos of sad and abused doggies during the performance. Speaking of the performance, it should be wonderful, this song is right in Kree's wheelhouse, but for some reason, it isn't. I think nerves are getting to Kree- a couple of the notes are slightly off, and she seems lackluster. Still it was lovely. Hmmm- no judge commentary.

#2. Fuller has chosen Chasing Pavements for Candice. I do not know this song, but damn... that voice. Candice was a great singer right out of the bucket this season, but man, she's grown as a performer.
M&R joint commentary: Randy dings the song choice, but gives the round to Candice. Mariah babbles.

Next up is Carly Rae Jepson's voter participation song, the one where fans got to choose all the details and some of the lyrics. Jepson is 28 going on 15, wearing black shorts with legs that appear to be of uneven lengths, a black and white striped shorty top, and a lemon yellow leather jacket. Ah, now the shorts' hems match, so one leg was just rucked up a bit. The song is every bit as good as you expect a fan collaboration to be. I don't think anyone will be humming it tomorrow. Ryan informs us that Jepson was a Canadian Idol Finalist, which I did not know.

#3. Kree is wearing baggy baggy black pants, a baggy baggy black top, and a white jacket. Her hair is now side-parted, with one side pinned back behind one ear. I didn't catch the title of this song, but as a Possible Winner's Single, it's pretty good. Kree is giving 100% to this performance, and it's light years ahead of the previous one.

#4. Candice is wearing a black leather top and jacket. The jacket has plum leather bands and accents. her pants have holey knees. Her Potential Winner's Single is called I Am Beautiful, and it's much more like the usual winner's singles: bland and blah. But even so, this is still Candice, and she's doing a lovely job.
K&N: Keith admires Kree's composure, and gives the round to Kree. Nicki gives it to Candice,

#5.  Kree is wearing an unflattering red long gown with waist gathers and a wrapped bodice with a plunging neckline. Her sideswept hair looks great. Her personal choice song is Up to the Mountain, which I, personally, do not remember hearing her sing (it was performed in Vegas, and likely the song was never aired). Well, this one is not going to beat Crystal Bowersox's amazing performance of the same song, but Kree is doing very well with this. She gets a 4-way Standing O from the judges, and unanimous love from them.

#6. Candice is in a knee-length black spangly dress. She looks totally glam. She's singing I Who Have Nothing and she starts out a capella... and... omigod... goosies on goosies on goosies. We get a glimpse of Keith's Listening O Face, and Candice gets another 4-way Standing O.
K: rendered incoherent
N: asks if this is the first time we've seen Candice's legs (Answer: yep)
R: that girl can sing
M: any song is a vehicle for Candice's voice.

So I give Round #1 to Candice, Round #2 to Kree (mostly because her song is better), and Round #3 to Candice. I do want Candice to win, but I won't be sad if Kree wins- these two were my favorites from the start of the season, and I think both are very talented.

So tomorrow night is it for the season- about damn time.

A thing with feathers...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Finding my rhythm

Dreambird is coming along- it's still not a fast knit, but I'm falling into the proper rhythm, and doing better about keeping track of stitch counts (not to the point of being able to engage in conversation and count at the same time, but improving). It's going to be pretty amazing.

And for those who are wondering, the colors are changing almost exactly in the center of the feather just by chance. It's just working out that way. Cool, no?

Monday, May 13, 2013


Notice anything about the second Dreambird feather?

On the first one (the lower feather), I tried to follow the (translated) written instructions, which are full of things like *shorten the row by 5 sts* and *place the dark pin*. I thought I was doing it correctly, but evidently and obviously, I was thrown off somewhere (most likely in not realizing which pin I was supposed to knit to).

Some of the problem is the translation (which is awkward), and some of it is that the instructions are just plain written in a way that I am not used to following (note, that I am not saying that they're wrong, or bad- just different, and for me, pretty confusing). By the time I got to the gray middle section, I switched over to the numerical instructions (the separate PDF download that comes with the pattern purchase).

Those worked much better. Note, I said *better*, not *easier*. This isn't a difficult pattern, but it's also never going to be mindless knitting. With the numerical instructions, there is no placing of pins or markers, just straight notations of how many stitches to knit (or purl) before turning. That means that every single row has to be counted (which also severely limits any conversation while knitting... or, in my case, listening to Mythbusters as Tori sings 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, which is probably where I messed up on the first feather).

At any rate, the second feather looks much more like the pictures, and I am happy with it. I'm not going to tear the first one out, in part because I am lazy that way, but also because it looks okay. It's the first feather on a mythical bird, it should be smaller than the others...

One thing I definitely did not understand, and I've read them over at least twenty times, is the description of casting on at the end of a row to offset the feathers. I gave up and did the backwards loop cast on and called it good.

Actually, it's all good- and I am enjoying this project. I think after a couple more feathers, I may even be able to answer The Hub when he asks me as question while I knit.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Let the madness begin

Okay, the Dreambird instructions are a little murky, I think mostly because they're a translation. But once you get past the *oddness* of it, it's fairly easy to follow. I substituted my own short-row turn (any non-wrap turn will do, and probably the wrapped turns will work too, if you're used to doing them), and if you get the pattern, be sure to download the PDF with the numerical instructions (with exact stitch counts). I switched over to that for the gray area after the feather and found it easier to follow. Bear in mind, there is a lot of counting. A LOT.

But man, this is going to be amazing.

The first feather took an entire evening to knit, but I imagine it'll speed up as I get used to the routine.

Only 21 more to go...

Friday, May 10, 2013

AI Season 12- Top 3 Elimination

We open with an animation and assorted characters I don't recognize, including a Prince and a slug and a guy named Professor. Aah- they're from Epic, a movie I have no intention of seeing. So, did you know that we'll learn who are the finalists tonight? If you didn't know that already, you know it now. And you'll know it again in five minutes. And regularly throughout the show, because Ryan can't stop reminding us. He also broadly hints that Randy may be making an announcement later.

Nicki is wearing a short sleeveless, scoop-neck black dress with a full skirt. For some reason, she's walking across the stage in that weird cross-legged catwalk stride. I have nothing to back this up, but have a feeling that she's doing it to make fun of Mariah. Speaking of whom, Mariah is wearing a mid-calf, tight red sheath. Randy is in a black wool blazer with wide lapels and another *thing* of some sort pinned to the breast pocket. Ryan is in a crisp black suit and tie, and a white shirt.

The girls sing Who Says, a song I've never heard, and never need to hear again. Actually, I'm not hearing it now because there is something wrong with all three hand-held mikes. It doesn't matter anyway because the tune is a non-entity. Kree, however, looks as relaxed and happy as I've ever seen her on stage. Knowing she's going to be eliminated has done wonders for her mood.

The last (I hope) Ford Fiesta Mission sends the girls off to meet with a high school choir. Either the choir members were coached, or they actually did recognize The Three. They seemed impressed, anyway.

Jimmy Iovine Opines on Round 1, saying exactly what he did on Wednesday: Angie won Round 1, though she should have played the piano.

Season 10's Runner Up, Lauren Alaina is here to sing a song from her new album. We see a montage of her audition and other clips. Eighteen year old Lauren doesn't look a day over thirty-two. This is one hard teenager, with her blonde shellacked hair, black pants with gathered hems, high heels, and a high-necked halter top which is half black and half white. Her song is Barefoot and Buckwild, and her performance involves a lot of high stepping and strutting which only needs flapping arms akimbo to turn it into a chicken walk.

For Round 2, Jimmy says that the judges loved their own song choices, and that Kree had the best back story and song.

Mariah took the girls into the studio, ostensibly to teach them wisdom about artistic choices, but really it's to introduce her own new video in which she becomes very familiar with her motorcycle in front of a green screen and a wind machine. I swear that her voice (what little there is of it, in this "song"), sounds autotuned. If there's one person in the entire recording industry who should not need autotuning, it's Mariah Freaking Carey. Makes no sense to me.

Then we get a clip package from Adam Lambert, who is on tour in Singapore. He's dressed like the unholy love child of Kurt Russell, Elvis Presley, and an Avon lady's sample case.

Beautiful Alicia Keys is on stage (though with no judges in the audience, so it was pre-taped), singing her new song, Tears Always Win.  Her short, straight hair has a side part, and she's wearing a black bustier and... well something dark, but she doesn't stand up, so I don't know if it's pants or a skirt, or shorts, or what. The song reminds me of This Girl is on Fire- it has sort of the same rhythm, but it has a lot more words and has a Gospel feel, and is, all in all, a much better song. Note to Angie: See? You don't have to bounce around on the piano stool.

For Round 3, Jimmy says that the judges didn't like the producers' song choices and that Candice gave the performance of the night (also exactly what he said on Wednesday).

One nice thing about watching the show later: fast-forwarding through the commercials gets us to the meat of the episode a whole lot quicker. The girls are sitting together, holding hands. Candice is in a zebra-striped top, a white jacket with short sleeves, and black pants. Angie is in a black straight skirt with a lighter diamond pattern, and a white top. And booties. Kree is in a leather sleeveless vest over a black tee shirt, and very weirdly pleated black pants. Candice and Kree both look like they're going to throw up, Angie looks like a kid on Christmas morning, itching to get at the presents.

Ryan dims the lights and names the first Season 12 Finalist... and.... it's Candice!!!!!! Yay Yay Yay Yay. The judges give her a 4-way Standing O, the audience goes purely crazy, and Lazaro can barely contain his excitement. Candice looks gobsmacked.

And then, Ryan names the second Season 12 Finalist... Kree looks sad but resigned and Angie grins even wider... and... it's Kree!!!! Kree is stunned. The judges are stunned. The audience is stunned. Angie is frozen, her smile is glued in place but her eyes are wide and unbelieving.

By the time Ryan gets over to Angie to hand her the mike for her singout, she's already crying. She's doing her best to hold it together, but man, she's falling apart as she watches her video journey. She's so emotional that she has to give up singing, and is joined by her dad, brother, and dry-eyed mother.

Candice and Kree are the Final Two of my dreams, and I can't even pretend to be sorry that Angie isn't in the running, but I do acknowledge her talent. I suspect she'll do just fine.

So next week we can put this season to bed. It's about damn time.

P.S. Despite Ryan's broad hint, Randy did not announce his resignation.

AI Top 3 Elimination coming up tonight

I had a very important band concert to attend last night, so I haven't even watched the Top 3 Elimination Episode yet (though I admit to cheating with my phone on the way home last night, to find out the results). We'll watch it tonight, and I'll write and post my recap then.

To hold you over, here's proof that I wasn't kidding about Nicki wearing *pink and cleavage*, or Mariah's belly shirt.

Rumors are swirling about a shakeup in the judging panel, as though the judges are the reason that ratings are falling. It'll be very interesting to see what happens in the next few weeks.

Thursday, May 9, 2013