Month: October 2011

Hazeltine (Aran Scarf #1)

Happy Halloween and a merry Samhain! I have a treat for you this year.

A basic to intermediate level cable that looks more complex that what it actually it is. The pattern does require that you understand basic cabling techniques.

Elongated Left Slanted Cable

Worked over 4 stitches

All even rows are purled

rows 1, 3, 5, 7- knit

rows 9 and 19- bring two stitches to the front, either air cabling or on a cable needle, k2, k2 from needle

rows 11, 13, 15, 17- knit

Elongated Right Slanted Cable

Worked over 4 stitches

All even rows are purled

rows 1, 3, 5, 7- knit

rows 9 and 19- bring two stitches to the back, either air cabling or on a cable needle, k2, k2 from needle

rows 11, 13, 15, 17- knit

Central Panel- Entwined Lozenges from Mon Tricot’s Knitting Dictionary*

worked over 16 stitches

all even rows are worked as presented (k the knit stitches and p the purl stitches)

Rows 1- k2, p4, k4, p4, k2

Row 3- k2, p4, work right leaning cable (leave 2 to the back, k2, knit 2 reserved stitches), p4, k2

row 5- cross 2 left (leave 2 stitches at front of work, p1, k2 reserved stitches), p2, cross 2 right (leave 1 stitches at back of work, k2, p1 reserved stitches), cross 2 left, p2, cross 2 right

row 7- p1, cross 2 left, cross 2 right, p2, cross 2 left, cross 2 right, p1

row 9- p2, work right leaning cable, p4, work right leaning cable, p2

row 11- p2, k4, p4, k4, p2

row 13- p2, work right leaning cable, p4, work right leaning cable, p2

row 15- p1, cross 2 right, cross 2 left, p2, cross 2 right, cross 2 left, p1

row 17- cross 2 right, p2,  cross 2 left, cross 2 right, p2, cross 2 left

row 19- k2, p4, work right leaning cable (leave 2 to the back, k2, knit 2 reserved stitches), p4, k2

row 21- k2, p4, k4, p4, k2

Detail of the central panel–the best my camera wants to let me do right now!


Cast on 34 stitches with yarn of your choice (gauge doesn’t matter). The scarf shown was knit on size 8 bamboo needles with 1 skein of red heart super saver in dark orchid.

Work 3 rows of garter stitch.

next row: k3, place marker, work row one of elongated right slanted cable, place marker, p2, place marker, work row one of central panel, place marker, p2, place marker, work first row of elongated left slanted cable, place marker, k3.

continue working in pattern until scarf is desired length. Work 3 rows of garter stitch and bind off.

*I believe the book was published in 1986 by the editors of Mon Tricot. All I can determine online is that it’s out of print. The pattern is found on page 77. I don’t claim ownership of this particular stitch.


Linked to these parties (scroll down the page)

Sunday Legends-Killer in the Back Seat

One of the reasons that I love horror so much is the way that the genre relies on traditional imagery. There are so many folkloric stories that influence popular culture, but they sometimes receive so little attention. Sundays will be the day where I pick one story or one image and examine the history and variations of the legend.

Killer in the Back Seat

A woman in driving through back roads alone. It is an unfamiliar area and for most of the trip her car is the only one on the road. As it gets dark another car pulls up behind her.

The woman becomes uneasy as the following car begins to act erractically. As she speeds up and slows down the car does as well. The driver behind her begins to flash their high beams on and off.

Frightened she pulls into the first gas station she sees. The other car also pulls in. Scared, she begins to yell at the other driver demanding to know what they were trying to pull.

“Lady,” the other driver tells her, “didn’t you see the man with a knife in your backseat? Every time he sat up I flashed the lights.”

The killer in the backseat is one of the most iconic American urban legends. Dating back at least 50 years, it is theorized that it may be influenced in part by mistellings of actual events in New York City in the 1960s. Snopes puts the date of origin to be 1967. However, the story is marked by several features:

1. The first driver is always female.

2.  She is always alone.

3. She is always saved by a stranger who attempts to scare off the killer or lure her out of the car to safety.

It may be that this is such an enduring legend because it carries the hint of possibility. Unlike some legends, this one seems at least partially plausible which may make it slightly more frightening.

This legend in particular has been criticized for sexist and racist overtones because of the structure that is used to tell the tale. In almost every variation the same characters are used- a violent minority, and an ineffective female driver. That has not diminished the frequency of retelling however as the story has become email chain letters dozens of times. The story taps into fears of predation which makes it appealing as a legend.

The legend in Popular Culture:

Common enough to be a trope namer, the killer in the backseat legend carries enough appeal to inpsire numerous tv shows and movies. The movie Urban Legend plays up this legend as do other horror films. The trope was especially popular in the 1980s and 1990s though it still reappears on film in a full range of genres up to and including the Godfather (Tvtropes has a list of suggested scenes relying on this legend). The legend has enough plausibility and drama to be effective as a scare.



The Killer in the Back Seat



in the mouth of madness

i have a confession to make.

i love lovecraft, but i can’t read him. i’ve never made it through a single story. his writing style just makes my head hurt.

but i love lovecraftian themes.

in the mouth of madness appeals to both my respect for lovecraft as a horror master and my love of horror that messes with reality. i deeply adore horror that messes with reality as it is, that suggests that the fabric of reality can be bent out of shape. it appeals to my interest in theories on the nature of social reality- that perception IS reality and reality IS perception.

it helps that the movie is also full of deeply creepy images. the entire town is one big creepfest. the hotel is straight of psycho.

and the children. if you hate creepy children this is not the movie for you. if you love creepy children…well, the horror digest sums this up better than i can. my personal stance on creepy children is similar to my stance on zombies…i ‘get’ it but i just don’t ‘get’ it. but in this case the natural innocence and manipulation potential of children is used to good effect here.

and yes there are snake armed monsters.

that i couldn’t really see. i think that’s my only really issue with this film. it’s too dark. i get that dark films are atmospheric but i really had a hard time seeing what was going on here. what i could see was deliciously horrible (crab walking, anyone?).

besides the movie opens with the carpenters. that can never be a bad thing.

homemade candy corn

that’s obviously not a picture of my currently imaginary candy corn. i love morgue file for free stock images.

i’m toying with the idea of making candy corn. i have no idea why i want to get into candy making; i haven’t made candy since i was in grade school.  there’s just something about the idea of making candy corn that appeals to me.

cakespy linked to this post during her cookbook virtual tour and it doesn’t look…that… hard? i could try my hand at it. next month we’re having a cookie night for our monthly open house and i think it would be cute to put out a bowl of handmade candy corn.

…even if i think that candy corn is best eaten stale beyond words. blame my dad for that.

the most misunderstood horror movie ever.

i feel that there is one movie that gets completely overlooked at halloween, due to how entrenched it is in another holiday.

a christmas carol.

think about it. there are at least four main ghosts in the story. one of them glows like a candlestick and gets snuffed out, one is essentially death, and another walks around with pestilence under his clothes.

the basic premise is creepy as well: let us show you how you are destroying your life. just because he’s redeemed at the end doesn’t make it less creepy.

scrooge’s overwhelming displeasure at the world just adds a depth to the whole thing- his anger is almost another character in and of itself.

the story was written specifically as a christmas ghost story, which was a common practice at the time dickens was writing. but it’s still just a creepy story all the way around. the most amazing part of it is short of versions aimed at truly young children, every single version of this story filmed is bizarre and macabre.

i’m not saying that we should switch the holiday this story’s associated with. but maybe…just expand it’s season a little.

ghoulaide (blackberry koolaide)

i tried a picture search and came up with nothing.

the seasonal halloween koolaide flavor this year is supposed to dye up a deep clear purple ranging on the indigo end. it does look more blue to me in the pictures that i’ve seen, but i’m not sure what base fiber it was over.

i guess that it’s fairly hard to find. i managed to find it at tops and picked up 10 packets. i’m not sure how much longer it’ll be out though because most stores seem to be flipping into christmas already- though maybe that means that they’ll have a green color for that season? a dyer can only hope anyway.

i’m hoping that this will be a decent indigo range purple for my faux gradient once i get to spinning and dyeing again. it would be fun to see what this would do with solar dyeing.

some of the yarns that i’ve seen dyed up also look to be vaguely steel grey. in that case i think that if you wanted to replicate the color, using a 2 to 1 purple to orange ratio may work, just being sure to use at least twice as much purple to orange.

The Gravedancers

This is going to sound silly.

But it can be halloween now. i have watched the gravedancers so now it can be halloween.

i’m not certain why or when this came to mean halloween for me. i just know that it became a necessity to have seen this movie before i could feel like it was really halloween.

the film carries overtones of the haunting of hill house and 13 ghosts though it’s not nearly as grandiose as either of those films. i don’t think that detracts from the effect though as i’m not sure that was ever the aim.

a group of college friends reunite after one of their mutual acquaintances is killed under mysterious circumstances. at the gravesite the friends find a letter suggesting that they not lament death; in fact it suggests that they should dance for death. so they do. on several different graves.

the act of desecration causes the spirits of those graves to awaken and all hell breaks loose for the friends. they call in a paranormal investigation team for aid, but that aid falls short.

it’s not a perfect film. the female cast sometimes comes across as stereotypical (the slighted wife is a little too angsty, the old flame is a little too tragic) and the male cast is a little clunky. the paranormal team comes across as hysterical in a couple of scenes. some of the ghosts look like gollum and the effects are starting to look dated. but the way the ghosts are handled is really nice. each ghost is presented in relation to the way they died.

it’s a fun ride though.