Dianne’s Ladder

I think I may have invented a new crochet pattern. I’m not 100% certain this is so because I haven’t seen every pattern ever created. And designers are coming up with new patterns all the time. I watch the tutorials on YouTube and I look at instructions for patterns online. But so far, I haven’t seen one like this.

Traditionally, what I call a pattern of stitches or just a pattern, a lot of people call stitches. As in the Moss Stitch which is a repetition of one single crochet and one chain over and over. To me, the single crochet and the chain are the stitches and the way you use them is the pattern.

I’ve also seen patterns called “models.” But I think that is mostly from other countries.

In any case, I couldn’t have come up with the pattern I am calling “Dianne’s Ladder” without having learned some new ways of using stitches by watching those tutorials. So thank you all you hard working crochet artists out there.

This sample show two columns on this side using an odd number of multiples of three.

This is the other side of the same sample showing three columns.

Dianne’s Ladder is a pretty simple one row repeat after you get the foundation set up. A few notes about the pattern:

  • You work your base chain in multiples of three for the way I have done it. If you employ an even number of multiples of three, the work will look the same on either side. If you employ an odd number of multiples of three, one side of your work will have one more section of “rungs” than the other side. Or one more section of columns, depending on your point of view.
  • Also, you really aren’t restricted to just multiples of three. You could do multiples of four. Or you could alternate three and four to make the “rungs” longer on one side. On the other side the columns will be wider.
  • For the sample, I used the hook size recommended for that yarn. It worked up kind of tight. But that could just be me and my technique. For the scarf, I used a hook sized one larger than recommended for that yarn. It has yielded a looser and softer feel for the scarf.
  • Also note, do not count the turning chain as a stitch.

I like scarves because they are finished relatively quickly, just about everyone likes a scarf, and I can give them away. But I think this would work really well for a cozy blanket as well.

This sample uses an even number of sections with the rungs longer on this side.

This is the flip side of the same ample showing wider columns.

So, how do you do it? I wish I were better at writing instructions for crochet projects. I read a lot of them and I know the format. I just find it hard to do it that way. The following in my best take on the format.

Row 1:  Make your chain as long as you need in multiples of three. For example, chain 18 (as I have done for my scarf) and then chain one more for the turning chain: 3 + 3 + 3+ 3 + 3 +3 +1

Row 2:  Do not count the turning chain as the first stitch. In the second chain from the hook, make a half double crochet. Make a hdc in each chain across for a total of 18 hdcs. Chain one and turn.

Row3:  In the first (last of the previous row) hdc, make a hdc and also in the next two stitches. Then in the next three hdcs, make a front post double crochet around each hdc. In the next three hdcs, make a hdc in each stitch. Repeat alternating hdcs and fpdcs to the end. Chain one and turn.

Row 4:  In the first front post double crochet, make a hdc and also in the next two. In the next three fpdcs, make a hdc in each stitch. Repeat alternating hdcs and fpdcs all the way across. Chain one and turn.

Row 5:  Repeat Row 4 until you reach your desired length.

Also note that the chain one turning chain makes a nice way at the end of the row to get that last front post double crochet solidly in place. So do not form it around the turning chain. Form the fpdc only around the post of the hdc and between that hdc and the turning chain.

Another note, a half double crochet doesn’t have much of a “post” so just form the front post double crochet around the base of the half double crochet.

Basically think of it this way … make a half double crochet in each front post double crochet and make a front post double crochet around each half double crochet.

I sure hope that’s not all too confusing. I’m having fun with this pattern. I hope you do to.

Courtesy of CraftWorld


Courtesy of Sleep Cycle

They say everyone dreams.

My dad swore that he never dreamed. I told him he just didn’t remember his dreams. He said that no, that wasn’t it. He didn’t dream.

I sometimes thought that he felt that dreaming was a weakness of some sort.

Dad was definitely a man of the 1950s. He was tough on us. He demanded perfection from us and from himself. Maybe for him, dreaming was an imperfection of some sort. I’ll never know.

I do know this. When he was dying from cancer and my mom and sister were out of the house, it fell to me to look after him. I’d sit in their master bedroom and wait for him to need something from me. Mostly he slept. I would sometimes watch him sleep and saw him slide into rapid eye movement sleep. REM.

REM is when you dream. Or so I’ve read.

Some dreams are not all that memorable. Some dreams you’d like to forget. I also often wondered if Dad’s dreams were so unsettling to him that he wished to forget them and so he did.

I don’t remember all of my dreams. The unsettling and sometimes horrifying dreams seem to be the hardest for me to forget. So maybe that wasn’t it for my dad. Maybe he just couldn’t admit to dreaming because then we might ask what he dreamt.

Then there are the hyper-real dreams. Dreams so vivid that I feel I must be awake. But also so odd that I couldn’t possibly be experiencing that for real.

Those are burned into my psyche. I couldn’t forget them if I tried.

I’ve written up a few of them as short stories. I’ve had a couple recently that I will most likely write up some day.

They say it is essential to our health and well-being that we dream.

Sometimes I wonder just how true that is.

Courtesy of Gracious Quotes. Sometimes it certainly feels that way.

Senyru 10

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Winter is stubborn

Holding tightly to the cold

Spring waits patiently

I do wonder if spring will ever actually get a grip on things.

It’s snowing again today. Right now as I am writing this. It’s not heavy, but it’s sticking. I guess the last couple days were cold enough to cool things down. The previous storm stuck for a while but then melted pretty much all away by yesterday afternoon.

There is still, however, snow piled up in the yard from all the previous storms. It is compacted and hard and frozen in some places with sheets of ice underneath from melting and freezing.

I like snow. I like watching it come down. I like looking at as it coats the ground and the trees and the rooftops. I like how it seems to make the world a little quieter.

But really, I think I’ve had enough snow for this winter just passed and now spring.

I’ve been told that the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting that the coming winter will be like the one we just had. Hoo boy. Good to know that in advance and good that we learned a few things about our new home to help us through the next one.

Courtesy of PureWow


Courtesy of eonline

I have never liked wearing bras. Even as a young woman, I found them uncomfortable and difficult. All that was available when I was young was traditional bras with back closures. They were almost all padded to some extent … and pointy. Not at all natural looking.

Courtesy of Click Americana

As the years went by, I could never find one to fit me properly. Not even at outlets that claimed they had a bra to fit every body.

I paid a lot for various bras over the years. But I never went to the extreme of having them custom made for me. I did, however, once get fitted for a bra. I was in my late 20s and an older woman went into the dressing room with me. She took all sorts of measurements and then came back with a bra that was supposed to be perfect for me. It wasn’t too bad for the first hour or so.

There was a time when I was just dying to have a bra. I was 12 years old and in the seventh grade. The junior high school that I attended was an established one with a gym, locker rooms and showers (eighth grade the school was new and had none of that). We were expected to dress for physical education and to take showers afterward.

I was still flat as a pancake, but I wanted a bra. Mom was still providing me with the undershirts I’d been wearing for what seemed like all of my life. They were cute little cotton T-shirt knit things. Some had wide straps. Some had spaghetti straps. They all had dainty little bows or rosebuds or bows and rosebuds on the front.

Every other girl in my gym class wore a bra. Yes, some didn’t really need them any more than I did, but they wore them anyway. They were called “starter bras.” I desperately wanted one.

Eventually, Mom caved and got me one and I wore it proudly. That was pretty much the last time I was pleased with a bra.

Courtesy of Travel + Leisure

Fast forward quite a few years and we had the advent of the sport bra. They were mostly all compression-style in the beginning and I thought maybe here was the solution to my problem with wearing bras. I dove right into the trend.

I never did develop much in the way of breasts. So it didn’t really matter to me that the sport bras made me look even flatter. The important thing was that they were way more comfortable than traditional bras. I thought they were great. They kept my breasts from jiggling around when I ran or jogged. And they kept them from sagging.

But they don’t generally have closures so they are difficult to get into and out of.

Fast forward some more to a little more than a year and a half ago. I had a doctor-prescribed medication damage my joints. Pretty much all of them. Some worse than others. My neck and shoulders were especially hard hit.

I couldn’t get into my sport bras. Not a one of them. It was too painful and my shoulders and arms wouldn’t move in such a way as to let me even if I could stand the pain.

Which brings me to yesterday. I was getting a fresh pair of panties out of my lingerie drawer and glanced at all the sport bras neatly folded and lying dormant there. I thought I’d give it a try.

I selected the one I remembered as being the most comfortable and with some difficulty and a little pain, I managed to get into it. It was a celebration of sorts. It meant I was coming along in my healing. A couple of months ago it was still a no-go.

I took it off again, another bit of painful contortion, and had my bath. I decided I would wear the thing the next day. That would be today.

I’ve been wearing undershirts for over a year and a half now. They are not like those my mother bought for me, but they serve the same purpose. And, honestly, they are very comfortable and have never given me any trouble of any sort. I bought a bunch that allows me to pull them on over my hips which saved me a lot of pain for some time.

So I put on the sport bra this morning. I had it on for a little over two and a half hours and I got undressed and took it off again.

I realized it was messing with my posture. I had an ache starting in my upper back and neck. That ache quickly became a very nasty headache.

I am feeling much better now.

During the winter, it’s not much of a problem to not wear a bra. I wear multiple layers and they are usually a bit loose and bulky. During the warmer months, I have to contend with my expectations about my appearance.

My breasts are not large and I’ve never nursed a baby, but I’m old and they are not where they used to be. I don’t really like how they look in a T-shirt. So all last late spring, summer and early fall, I wore a vest of some sort when I had to go out in public. There were days when it was really a little too hot to do that comfortably, but I did it anyway.

I can do that this year too. But I have to wonder if it wouldn’t be healthier for me (mentally and physically) to dump the social conventions and not care what people might think of me and my old boobs.

I’ve seen other women who have done that. I don’t judge them. Others might. But I don’t. I understand.

Better yet, though, would be to change social conventions.

Courtesy of ScoopWhoop

Courtesy of QuotesGram

Senyru 9

Courtesy of BeChewy


Perched on covers on my chest

Purring silently

Miss Fuzzy Pants (formerly Mister Fuzzy Pants*) doesn’t often sleep with us on the bed. Maddie can usually be found between us and under the covers. But not Miss Fuzzy Pants. By preference, she will sleep in the pet bed on the floor next to the baseboard heater in our bedroom.

Now and then, she will get up on the bed. When she does, she invariably lies on my chest. Thankfully, she doesn’t weigh much. But even so, it can make breathing a little more difficult. Enough so, that I find it hard to sleep.

She purrs when she lies on me. Otherwise I might try to shift her. It’s her expression of contentment that causes me to lie there awake until she decides to leave. Usually, she will lie slightly off to one side of my chest and it feels to me as if she is about to slide right off. This also works to keep me awake.

Her purr is silent. On the rare occasion that she purrs loudly enough for us to hear her, we wonder just what it is we are hearing. And then it dawns on us that it is Miss Fuzzy Pants being abnormally loud.

I often wonder what makes her purr that loudly from time to time.

* No, she didn’t make a conscious decision to be transsexual. She just has too much fur back there for us to tell easily. The vet had no trouble learning the truth when he sedated her.

Courtesy of yggrasille.com

Initial Conditions

Anyone who crochets and uses multicolored yarn knows about initial conditions.

In my photograph, the coaster on the left is the first one I made. The one in the middle is the second. They both have a relatively small amount of white in the bottom right hand corner. Then there is the third one in process. Ton of white in the bottom of it.

I did not make anything else with this particular yarn in between the second and third coasters. Each one began with the same number of chains. I used the same size crochet hook for each coaster. So what gives? It’s a matter of where in the pattern of dyes that the coaster was begun. Initial conditions.

It also, to me, points up the essential problem with statistics. Seeing how the first two coasters turned out, one could assume that the third one would turn out similarly. Just like finding out your orange cat is not a male, but is actually a female. Something like 80% of all orange cats are males. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that 80% of the time any orange cat you encounter will be male. I have a tendency to turn on my skeptical circuit when people start using statistics as proof of anything.

So, back to my starting point, consider boiling a pot of water. You could define the amount you are going to boil (say one quart). You could stipulate its beginning temperature (say 67 degrees Fahrenheit). And you could set the amount of heat that you will be applying (you’ve set your electric cooking element on “Hi”) and from there you should be able to determine the amount of time it will require to bring that water to a rolling boil (assuming you’ve defined just what a “rolling boil” is).

But … have you taken into account the elevation at which you are attempting to boil your water? Have you considered the size and shape of the vessel in which you are boiling your water? The number of variables that must be taken into account can be staggering.

Physicists look at initial conditions this way:  An initial condition is a starting value of a variable that affects the evolution of a dynamic system. For example, the movement of an object will depend on where it has been set into motion relative to its position at that time. And you might think that sums it up fairly well. But how well have you defined the starting position of the object?

Pretty much everything in life is a dynamic system.

Initial conditions play a role in every aspect of our lives, but it’s not something we think about on a daily basis. Maybe we should.

Or maybe I’m just way too obsessive about some things.

And that’s my thought for the day.

Courtesy of A-Z Quotes

Tried Something New

I’ve been crocheting for about 46 years. I got by with the basics for a long time. Made lots of afghans and scarves and doilies. Socks and slippers were a mainstay for a while. Tea pot cozies and toaster covers were popular once. I made a couple of rugs too.

Last year, I learned how to make hats. Well, one kind of hat anyway. This year, I branched out and did things a little differently, but I was still using only the basic stitches: chain, slip stitch, single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet and treble crochet. Well, not all in one hat.

I never really tried any of the fancy stitches (except for maybe clusters and puffs, well and front and back post double crochets) because I’d done so well with the basics. But lately, I’ve fallen in love with the Alpine Stitch and the Moss Stitch. I haven’t quite gotten the hang of the Star Stitch. And I’ve yet to try the Iris Stitch, but it looks very pretty.

So I decided to make a hat using the Moss Stitch. I had no real idea how it would work up, but I liked the look of the sample I made.

I used the front and back post double crochet to get a rib knit look to the bottom band of the hat. I worked it flat and then joined it into a circle. Then I did a row of half double crochets in a different color around the band. From there I started the Moss Stitch which is ridiculously simple. You do a single crochet and then chain one. Skip the next stitch from the one you put the single crochet in and make a new single crochet and then chain one. For the next row, you make a single crochet in the chain one space and chain one over the single crochet from the previous row. That’s really all there is to it. But it makes this really nice texture.

Because I had no idea how to decrease in the Moss Stitch, I decided to gather the top. Instead of gathering it at the last row and adding a pom-pom on top as I did for the Christmas hats I made, I gathered it further down in the body of the hat.

But that looked too plain. So I looked online to learn how to make a flower. Turned out there was a really simple to make flower that looked pretty awesome. I sewed that onto the side of the hat next to the base of the gathers and voila!

I gave this first Moss Stitch hat to my husband to take to work and give to a fellow employee. It was her birthday. It’s nice when your experiment turns out well the first time. I’ve had my share of failures that I had to take apart and start over. But one of the nice things about crochet is that you can do that. Very little yarn gets wasted.

I might make another hat this way in a different color combination. I might keep that one.

Courtesy of Happily Hooked

Common Misconceptions, Part Four

Courtesy of the Encyclopedia Britannica

Bulls are Enraged by the Color Red

Do you remember school field trips? Do they still do those? Or is the educational system in most districts so strapped for cash that field trips are a thing of the past? Or is it considered too dangerous?

I remember field trips. I loved them.

I grew up in southern California. We lived in eastern Los Angeles County in a little town called Pico Rivera. It wasn’t too far from areas that were still quite rural with dirt roads, orange and avocado groves, and dairy farms. That was a long time ago now and yes, I am old.

When I was ten, we actually moved even further east and closer to the dairy farms. But before that, my class had a field trip to one of the local farms. In fact, it was the farm that produced the milk sold in our school’s cafeteria.

I wore red on the day of the field trip. It was my favorite red dress. It had a white Peter Pan collar and a little black bow tie. There were decorative black buttons down the front to the waist where there was a thin, black, patent leather belt. White socks and saddle Oxfords completed the ensemble.

Part of the tour of the dairy was a stop at the pen that held the bulls that kept the cows “happy” so they would continue to produce milk. These days they just use hormones. I’m not sure the old way wasn’t healthier. But then you had the problem of all those calves. And on a dairy farm, you really only want to keep the females so the male calves … well, it’s not nice to think about.

Our tour guide, a nice man whose name I don’t remember (give me a break, that was something like 62 years ago), had me step forward when we stopped at the bull pen. He asked me if I was worried. I told him no. Then he smiled and he said to me that I was wearing red and that toreadors waved red capes to get the bulls to charge. So I said to him that my dad had told me that bulls are color blind and that it’s the movement of the cape that bothers them.

Then the tour guide laughed and told the rest of the group that I was exactly right. Then he took us to see the cows that made the chocolate milk. We all got some really great chocolate milk at the end of the trip.

So, as it turns out, my dad was half right. But cows are not actually color blind. They just don’t see the color red. In addition to gray and black, cows see muted versions of yellow and blue. Unlike human eyes, cows have only two color receptors. They won’t see all the possible shades of yellow and blue, especially as they lean toward the green spectrum, but their world isn’t totally made up of shades of gray.

Courtesy of The Guardian He certainly looks as if he is about to whack the hell out of that ball.

“Golf” is not a Misogynistic Acronym

Golf is a game. Or a sport to some. I’ve never understood the appeal of golf. Now, if we are simply talking about taking a club and whacking the hell out of a tiny ball, I might get behind that.

Once when I was really angry and frustrated about something (can’t remember what), I went into the back yard and hacked away at a small tree with an axe until I had reduced it to a stump that stuck up about four inches from the surface of the ground. I was a hot, sweaty mess by the time I finished but I felt sooo much better.

But hitting a tiny ball with a club and aiming to get it into an equally tiny hole in the ground that you can’t even see when you first start whaling on the ball, well I just don’t get it.

So, apparently (be forewarned, I seem to use that word a lot when writing these posts), some people think that GOLF stands for Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden. There is no evidence for this. “Golf,” as a word, existed in the Middle Scots period as a standalone word.

Did the Scots actually invent golf? It’s debatable, but commonly accepted that they did. However, while the modern game of golf originated in 15th century Scotland, the game’s ancient origins are unclear. Some historians trace the sport back to the Roman game of paganica, in which participants used a bent stick to hit a stuffed leather ball. I’m not sure what the point of that was either.

Courtesy of Vox

Viking Helmets

Vikings did not have horns on their helmets. This was so disappointing to me when I learned it.

How anyone can actually know this for sure, I don’t know. I mean, metal might last a long time in the ground, but horns are organic material subject to decomposition. So I’m still holding out hope for the horns.

But apparently, the horns on Viking helmets in popular fiction today are attributed to an opera by Richard Wagner titled, “Der Ring des Nibelungen.” So, what? Did some prop master or wardrobe designer say, “Hey! Let’s put some horns on those helmets. Wouldn’t that look bitchin’.”

Courtesy of DW That band near the head is called the clitellum and secretes a viscous fluid to encase its eggs.

Two for One

When earthworms are cut in half, two baby worms are born.

I never thought this was true, but someone told me this once … maybe several someones more than once. Apparently, there are people who believe this.

I’ve accidentally cut them in half while gardening. It didn’t happen as much when we lived in Arizona. Two reasons for that: (1) I didn’t do much gardening because our yard was not really set up for it, and (2) the dirt was terrible, mostly clay, and the worms were small and very few in number.

Here in Wyoming, I’ve sort of gotten into gardening. Good dirt. Big damn worms. I always feel badly when I’ve unearthed them and quickly bury them somewhere else. Should I happen to cut one in half … well, I don’t cry over it, but I do feel awful about it. I usually say “sorry” out loud even though that helps no one.

The truth is, that if you cut an earthworm in half, only the front end might survive. The back end dies. Every time.

And honestly, why would you want to purposefully cut an earthworm in half to begin with. Don’t they have a hard enough life without people wanting to somehow double them?

Courtesy of A-Z Quotes

Aren’t Hardly

Courtesy of Shutterstock

This morning, I caught myself saying “Today there aren’t hardly as many crows as yesterday.” And I wondered where “hardly” came from.

Like saying “Do you prefer these ones or those ones?” the word “hardly” is akin to the word “ones.” It’s totally unnecessary.

I could make a case that “hardly” in my sentence is an intensifier of sorts (this morning there were only four crows in the front yard and yesterday there must have been about 30). But wouldn’t “nearly” have worked better? No. The more I thought about it and said it out loud, the more “Today there aren’t as many crows as yesterday” seemed perfectly adequate.

“Hardly” has been used this way for a long time. But originally it meant “harshly.”

So how do things like that creep into our mindset and speech?

I can remember years and years ago when I first heard a young person (meaning anyone younger than me) say “these ones.” It grated on my ears. It offended my sense of good speech (not that I’m an expert, but there are some things that just chap my hide). Then before long, I began to hear people my own age and older using the word “ones” in the same way.

It boggled my mind.

I had a revelation once that rocked my world. For my 21st birthday, my sister gifted me a dictionary. She knew how much I loved words. I still have it even though it is woefully outdated now. Yes, outdated.

In the beginning of the book was a list of the people on a panel who reviewed all of the words in the book for changes in usage. It was then I realized that words could change meaning based on how people used them. That it wasn’t the word that had intrinsic meaning. People give words meaning. I couldn’t believe it at the time. I mean, if you couldn’t rely on a word to mean the same thing to everyone everywhere all of the time … well that was too chaotic.

Flash forward to today. Ask is now a noun. Woke doesn’t just mean you stopped sleeping. Gaslight has become something other than a thing that offers illumination. It bothers me even though I know it probably shouldn’t. Apparently it is the natural order of things that words get repurposed. But I’m not sure I will ever truly become accustomed to it.

And that’s my thought for the day.

Courtesy of Tarun’s Blog

The Cynical Optimist

Courtesy of BrainyQuote. While looking for good images to include here, I encountered a lot of quotes and images that seemed to indicate that cynicism is akin to prejudice and bias and a very negative thing. The above quote is more how I feel about it. It’s a tool.

“The Cynical Optimist” seems like it should be a contradictory title. But if you define optimism as a belief that things will turn out as you think they will turn out, then maybe it’s not.

Optimism is more commonly defined as hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something. This would seem to presuppose a positive outcome. Whereas, my definition above does not make that supposition.

Cynicism is generally viewed as an inclination to believe that people are motivated purely by self-interest. And you know, when you take things down to their very basics, I think that is probably true. But then, I’m a self-confessed cynic and I don’t necessarily think that is a bad thing.

Thing is, I’ve done a number of good and nice things for people simply because it pleased me to do them. Not because I thought I was behaving laudably. I got a sense of fulfillment from the doing. I’d call that self-interest.

I’m 70 years old. I’ve seen a few things. I’ve become fairly cynical over the years. But, I’m still an optimist at heart. Because while I don’t expect much, every now and then something surprises the heck out of me.

It’s those little surprises that keep me going.

And that’s my thought for the day.

Courtesy of A-Z Quotes