Making Me Happy #2

Round two of what’s been tickling my fancy this week.

1. Magic Realism Bot (@MagicalRealismBot)
Ok this one is just silly, but silly things are insanely fun. Every two hours, this twitter account posts a plot from a magical realism movie/book/whatever that it automatically puts together. The best thing is, every once and a while you see one that makes you think “hmmm, that actually could be interesting” or “I’d watch a movie about that”.

2. Everybody’s Inis Oirr projetcts
The KAL for Inis Oirr just started but people are already starting to show off what they’re doing, and I’m absolutely loving it. I really love too all the colours people are choosing – from keeping to neutrals like the Fawn one I did, to blues and purples and reds. It’ll be weeks for the first finished projects are completed, but I’m absolutely loving the fun everybody is having while knitting it.

jupiter3. Juno makes its first close approach to Jupiter
I’m very excited by the Juno project, and watched with anticipation as she entered Jupiter’s orbit for the first time via a series of tricky manoeuvres on July 4th.

Now NASA has received confirmation that she’s safely completed her first close up fly-by of Jupiter, coming to just within 4200 km above Jupiter’s clouds. The data sent back will be instrumental in learning how our solar system (and others!) formed. Within the next few weeks we’ll have close up images of the Jovian atmosphere, along with the north and south poles than we’ve ever had before.

The image above shows the approach while Juno was about 703,000 km away from the planet on August 27th, travelling towards Jupiter for the fly by.

You can read a general overview of the Juno mission here.

Inis Oírr KAL & Contest

blanket-2 Let me tell you, the response I’ve gotten from Inis Oírr has been awesome. I’m excited that you’re excited (seriously), and I so can’t wait to see everybody’s progress as they go along. I don’t have a kid, but I imagine that this is what it must feel like to birth something out into the world (heh).

All joking aside, I am quite chuffed at the love I’ve been getting for this pattern. So, Jody over at Knotions (where the full pattern is published) decided to have a Knit-a-long and contest to celebrate!


The KAL has already started, and you can join too! The main hub if it is being held on the Knotions group over on Ravelry here. I’m acting as general cheerleader for everybody participating (and there’s already pictures up!), and I would love to see yours too, so head on over and join in.


You can read all about & enter the contest here. Just leave a comment letting us know what colour of Valley Yarns Northampton is your favourite, and you’re entered to win 10 skeins to make your own Inis Oírr with. I made mine with Fawn, and it was really lovely working with the yarn (which Webs sponsored for me to design the pattern with!). The contest is open until August 28th so be sure to leave your comment soon to be entered to win.

Making Me Happy #1

So I listen to podcasts. A lot of podcasts. One of the podcasts I’ve been listening to for the longest, uninterrupted, amount of time is from NPR called Pop Culture Happy Hour, wherein they discuss two subjects per week relating to something (as the name might have suggested to you) pop culture related. Often it’s a movie (or a genre of movie), a TV show, sometimes books, sometimes comic books. Sometimes the topic is a bit more nebulous than those things, instead being about a season and how pop culture relates to that, or maybe a segment on voice acting, or maybe they talk broadly about TV musicals.

You get the idea.

One segment they’ve had from the beginning is at the end of each episode, the hosts list one or two (maybe three) things they’ve come across that week which has tickled their fancy. What I like quite a bit about this segment is that it often alerts me to something I hadn’t heard of before, and might not have otherwise.

I really like that idea. What I like most is that in what appears to be an age of internet outrage, it’s a nice little reprieve just to celebrate some fun, and often silly, things that are bring joy. And I like that.

So, in my completely unabashed borrowing of their idea (I don’t think they’d mind), I’m going to start doing that myself. Every week, a little blog post with one or two (maybe three) things that I’ve come across that I’ve enjoyed this week.

The-wolfman#1 – The Secret History of Hollywood
Speaking of podcasts, this is another one I’ve been listening to for a while. Not for the faint of heart, these are absolutely exhaustive episodes on a specific point in Hollywood history. By exhaustive I mean, 5-9 hour episodes on topics such as sex in film in the pre-code era, a history of the rise of Warner Brothers, a nine hour three-part episode on Alfred Hitchcock and his life.

Adam Roche is the host, producer, and writer, and the episodes are so stylish and wonderfully put together it’s hard for me to imagine he has no formal training in audio production.

But my absolute favourite episode is A Universe Of Horrors – a seven hour documentary on the rise of not just Universal Horror (although definitely focused on that), but also highlights the rise of the horror genre within film. I have listened to this episode four times (that’s all together more than a full day I’ve dedicated to listening to this one episode) and I will be listening to it again.

#2 – Denali Kennel Puppycam
A troupe of little puppies was born to one of the sled dogs up in Denali National Park, and they put a webcam on them. They’re still only a few weeks old, but getting more active every day. Need to watch some cute puppies wag their tails so hard they fall over? Me too.


#3 – The Milky Way Project
I love going to Zooinverse and participating in the astronomical projects they have going. The Milky Way project was one of my favourites, went down for a while so the project team could procure more photographs, and it just came back up recently. This project is so cool, no only because you get to look at stunning astronomical images (which I love so much I made a pattern inspired by one), but the images classified are actually used by the science team to learn about star formation. It’s like an interstellar scavenger hunt that you get to participate in.

Tutorial: Working A Border Edge Join

Inis Oirr

The idea of seaming sends chills down my spine. Especially for a border of a shawl because to me (and my poor skills at said seeming) really make the finished piece look not anywhere near as polished as it should. I hate working forever to get a piece just perfect, only to have the seaming be done, riddled with errors, making the whole thing look messy.

Drives me absolutely bonkers.

So for my pattern Inis Oírr, released today, I finagled an edge join on the wrong side. I found that this allowed for a more seamless border with all the cabling and textured stitches I was utilizing. There’s a lot of slipping stitches, passing other stitches over, and picking up stitches (not necessarily in that order). I even confused myself while I was trying to figure it out, but the final result is exactly what I was looking for.

I don’t assume that I made this seaming method up by any means. I tried a few of the standard knitting-on-a-border techniques that you can find with a quick google search, but nothing quite fit the look of what I was trying to achieve. Throw that in with the fact my pattern uses cabled mitred corners, so I needed something that would work for the corners as well as the straight parts.

The result is this technique, and I thought it’d be best for any future knitters of the pattern to have some detailed instructions to work off of rather than text alone. So, without further ado, here’s a little photo tutorial of how to work the stitches to create a seamless piece (which works really, really well for knitting borders onto big things).

Step 1

On the wrong side of your piece, knit to last stitch of the border.

step 1

Step 2

step 2

Slip the last stitch onto your working needle

Step 3

step 3

Pick up a stitch with your working yarn through the slipped stitch on the main body. This pick up is done through the wrong side, which seems counter-intuitive, but trust me on this one.

step 4

Step 4

step 5

That stitch that you slipped before the picked up stitch? Now pass that stitch over the stitch you just created.

step 6

Step 5

beg rs

Now turn your work, and slip the first stitch purl-wise onto your working needle. This will give you a flatter join around the edge. Continue working your border in your established pattern.

That’s it, you’re done! A seamless wrong-side knitted on border that will be much quicker than seaming your whole piece together.

Here’s a bit closer up shot of how the join looks on the back. I used the different colours to highlight the join specifically, but when using the same colour, it’s almost impossible to see:

beg ws cu

Some Extra Notes

I worked this join specifically through a piece that had the first stitch slipped every row on the main body. This not only makes a much neater edge on the body of your piece, but also makes it easier to pick up your stitches. I picked up every slipped stitch (which is two rows per on the main body), which allowed for no bunching of the edge.

For the cast on and cast off edges pick up every second stitch, not every stitch, otherwise you’ll get a whole lot of bunching that blocking might not be able to get rid of.

A good trick to create a truly seamless piece is to provisionally cast on your border. Then once you’ve knit around the whole piece, you can use the kitchener stitch to seam together your beginning and end.

Coming Aug 20 – Inis Oírr!

Inis Oirr

I’m excited to announce that Inis Oírr will be available for free through Knotions on August 20th! I’m really pleased with this pattern, and hope you all will be too. Stay tuned, I’ll link to the actual pattern page on Knotions on August 20th, but until then you can head over to Ravelry and like and queue it there.

You can also go over to the Hot Right Now page on Ravelry, where Inis Oirr is sitting pretty at #2.