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I’ve Got Magic Balls

Hey, get your mind out of the gutter! I was here first.

What is it about the word “balls” that sends me into giggles like a silly little third grader? We use that word as knitters. Alot. You would think I’d be over it, but every once in a while it just gets me in the giggle trigger.

Have you heard of these yet? I’ve been seeing them around in the blogosphere and noticing knitalongs for projects utilizing them, as well as people selling them on etsy. As someone who finds themselves physically incapable of disposing of even the smallest shred of yarn, magic balls are incredibly appealing. Here’s a way to use up all those little wooly bits that are really too small to make much out of, yet have a way of sitting around indefinitely staring you in the face and reminding you you have WAY too much yarn.

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For an embarrassingly long time now (we’re talking years here, people!) I’ve had an afghan in my care that I received from a college friend. Her grandmother (I think) had knit it and it had been passed down to her now teenage daughter. They’d noticed it was starting to show some wear and asked me if I could repair/fix it for them. They weren’t sure if it was knitted (turns out it was) or crocheted and since I was the only person they knew who did either, they asked for my help. I was honored of course, but being the Queen of Procrastination that I am, I kept putting it aside. Early this year I decided it was high time I fixed it and sent it back. There are just too many of these unfinished things dragging me down and stressing me out with guilt. Anticipating a long extended repair effort, I was surprised and sheepish to discover that it took me only about an hour to fix the few small spots that needed work. Oy. But one of the things I’d hoped to do when I first received the blanket was to try to decipher the pattern so that if, in the future, one of the panels (it’s knitted in panels which are then crocheted togetther) disintegrated, I’d be able to replace it for them. Now that the repair job had gone so quickly, I felt obligated to put just a little extra time in to try to accomplish this. These are dear college friends, in case you haven’t figured it out :) The blanket owner is the daughter of my college boyfriend and my college roommate. How’s that for sounding awkward? Totally isn’t though. I even went to Maryland for their wedding many years ago!

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Enter magic balls. I wanted to try my hand at making one, and I needed yarn to experiment with for my reverse engineered blanket project, so it just seemed like it was meant to be. I used these instructions to make my first magic ball and spent a couple days working out the pattern for the blanket panel. After lots of trial and error, I came to realize that any knitwear designing dreams I might have harbored have absolutely no chance of realization since it’s obvious I’m not cut out for it. Two days to figure out a simple lace pattern? Yeah, no talent here. But yet, part of me is proud to say that I actually did it! And I’m happy with the results, so I see a blanket made of magic balls and this reverse engineered pattern in my near(ish) future.

The first strip is completed and it looks like this:

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All the blue shades remind me of mimeographs from when I was a kid (yes, I’m dating myself with that comment!) so that’s what I’m calling my nascent blanket. Can’t wait to make my next magic ball and next blanket strip! The yarn is already picked out and just waiting for me to get my yarn needle and winder out.

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Queen of Den-iPad

Something has come between us, my knitting and me. He’s adorable and hilarious, this interloper, but he is also demanding and ferocious and hard to deny. Thanks to a chance Christmas encounter with a cousin’s new Nintendo DS, Knittymunchin is now full blown obsessed with the electronic wonders of my iPad. Trouble is – my iPad has become indispensable to my knitting.  All my counters are there, without which I have no idea where I am on any given project (and you know how many of those there are!); not to mention the patterns I use in pdf form (who needs print these days?!) and swift access to Ravelry.  It’s a foregone conclusion that knitting has all but stalled here.

We’ve worked through all sorts of “solutions” to the problem. The clearest, most effective alternative has been to just leave the iPad off & have neither of us use it.  R. Darling thinks this is ridiculous and says that I am the adult and should therefore have unlimited access, while preventing use by the kiddo.  Ha.  Try telling that to a 5 year old! Especially one that will wheedle and cajole and persist until you consider giving in just to shut him up for two seconds. The current plan includes no iPad at all on school days and 30 tokens (1 token = 1 minute) allotted at the start of each day with potential to lose tokens for misbehavior or gain more tokens for good behavior.  We are on day 2 of this plan and so far it seems to be working, though we are still experiencing minor tantrums when the timer goes off and pleas of “I just want to do one more thing!”

Still, I feel denied. It seems like a necessary sacrifice at this point to keep a lid on the development of a tiny zombie in my living room staring at a video screen.  But I want my iPad. And I want my knitting.  Who sounds like a 5 year old now? So I’m kicking it old school. Magazine in hand, manual counter, and notepad, I do what I can.  I just started #24 Lacy Wrap from a 2011 issue of Knit Simple for R. Darling’s Grandma. It seems fitting that the stash yarn I’m using is from 2008, way before my iPad entered the scene.

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I suppose I shouldn’t be too critical.  The momentary video game obsession has allowed me to write this post after all…..

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Oh, Hello.

Nice to see you!  It’s been a long time.  Some of you may remember me. If I’m lucky, I haven’t met some of you yet & we’ll have lots of fun getting to know each other.  And if I’m super lucky, some of my old friends will come back to say hello!

I used to be a regular around here, and then Knittymunchkin arrived (nearly 5 years ago now!).  He is my dearest, darling, (not so baby) boy & along with R. Darling (my sweet husband) we make up Chez Funkytown. Which is kind of funny since none of us speak French.  But doesn’t “chez” sound ever so much more fancy than “casa”? I kind of like fancy.

A little bit about me……

I’m a 41 year old stay at home mama. I used to be a mad scientist (microbiologist) in a nice little lab where we tested food, water, & milk for bacterial pathogens. Sounds a lot more complicated than it really is.  In fact, there were WAY more shenanigans going on than you would expect from a roomful of science nerds.  But shhhh…. Don’t tell anyone or our reputation as a bunch of poindexter smarty pants scientists might be ruined forever.  It’ll be our little secret.

I’ve been knitting since January 2006 and blogging since October 2006.  And mostly I meant to only blog about my knitting, but before long my blog became a record of so much more as I got to know wonderful people across the web who were curious about other aspects of my life.  I was honored people thought I had something worth talking about besides my knitting projects! The last 5 years have been spotty as I stopped and started blogging so many times I lost count.  Knittymunchkin really requires so much of my attention. I never expected to be working harder at home than I ever did at a “regular” job, but surprise surprise, that’s exactly how it worked out. But he’s getting older.  In a few months he’ll be in Kindergarten (!) full days & life will be so very different.  I have a feeling I’ll NEED all of you much more when I’m rattling around in the house during the day by myself.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am going to love having some extra time to put into my house & my own projects, but I’m sure Knittymunchkin’s absence will affect me more than I can anticipate & it would be nice to have all of you to talk to if I get lonely.

So, hello again & hope to see more of you soon! Happy New Year to you!