In which Eve puts Search Engine Sunday into hibernation (for now).

Monday, August 28th, 2006
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For the past few weeks, there hasn’t been a new Search Engine Sunday because I haven’t had a lot of original search strings to work with. It’s all been “World Cup Soccer Ball” and “tea cozy” and “cast on,” and little else. Until Google indexes me for anything but those and the surprisingly consistent “uruguay porn,” I’m going to have to put SES on hold.

I was going to title this post “In which Eve kills Search Engine Sunday,” but I really like the idea and I’d like to keep doing it in the future. I may even compile a list of tea cozy patterns for next Sunday, as a final send-off. But after that, I will nuzzle it one last time and then guide it gently into its den for a deep winter sleep. Farewell, my furry statistical friend. Farewell.

The One Spinner: Part Three

Tuesday, August 8th, 2006
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This is Part Three of The One Spinner Choose Your Own Adventure series. Read Part One and Part Two if you haven’t yet.

DEATH.

HUNGER.

LACE.

The wobbly, tomato-soaked letters in my Alphaghetti taunt me with their accidental arrangements. We don’t want to start a fire for fear of attracting attention, so we’re eating the soup cold. I slurp down the artificially-thickened, artificially-sweetened mixture. I smush the pasta with my tongue. No need to chew it; I haven’t used my teeth on anything but tree bark and mushrooms for the past three weeks. I stare into the bottom of the bowl and my eyes refocus out of boredom. I stir my soup, absently.

WASHINGFON.

That one doesn’t count.

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Search Engine Sunday: Casting On and Binding Off

Sunday, July 23rd, 2006
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In this series, I post the most popular search strings for my blog (minus the ones looking for “uruguay porn”) and answer the questions people seem to have when they get to my blog. Just my way of giving back to Google, and all you folks at home. You can read the whole series on this page, or subscribe to the RSS feed. Last time I talked about stitch markers and amigurumi, among other things.

There have been quite a few people getting to my site via questions about casting on and off, so that’s what I’ll be featuring this week. It’s incredible how much more professional a piece looks when it uses an appropriate cast-on; when I was knitting the Snowdrift Mittens for my aunt a few months ago, I was amazed by how a tubular cast-on transformed them. Compared to them, the other mittens I knitted looked painfully amateur; it was like my snowdrift mittens had been taken to a higher plane of mitten existence.

Before we get to the Search Questions, I want to start by offering links to tutorials for my very favourite cast-ons: The picot edge and the tubular cast-on. I guarantee you will not be disappointed by them. They’re actually incredibly easy to do, and such an ego boost when you try them for the first time and see what they’ve done to your finished product! I love adding little embellishments to patterns, and picot edging is perfect for top-down socks and shirt sleeves. Picot-edged garments are so cute, they could even be classified as “kawaii.”

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Search Engine Sunday: Episode One

Sunday, July 2nd, 2006
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The blog stats program I use has a useful little feature that tells me which search engines people are coming from and which search strings they use to find me. For example, in the past month my top five search strings have been:

I don’t think I can (or want to) help people looking for world cup nipples, but I might be able to help people looking for knitted amigurumi. So in the spirit of “you scratch my blog, I’ll scratch yours,” I’ve decided to start a series where I answer the questions people seem to be having when they reach my site.

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The One Spinner: Part Two

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006
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This is Part Two of a Choose Your Own Adventure series for the Amazing Lace KAL. Read Part One if you haven’t yet.

The blizzard is wilder than Carrot Top on a coke spree. It’s so thick, I could cut it with a knife. And I would, if you trusted me with sharp implements. It’s been 8 years, but you still haven’t forgiven me for accidentally slicing your Fabergé watermelon in half with a katana. It wasn’t my fault; I was trying to cut the “sexual tension” and missed.

We’ve been trudging through the badlands of Canada for five weeks now, searching for “The One Spinner.” We haven’t met a soul. We have to fight with wolves and coyotes for every scrap of food we carry with us. It’s so cold, I’m starting to rethink all the ice cream I packed.

We were on a train to Bangalore, Ontario when the ambiguously Eastern-European gentleman approached us with this mission. We’d known about it for less than five minutes before my twin sister, Katerina Katamari, was brutally murdered. We jumped from the train and made our way to safety, but only after a magnificent explosion and three car chases. Now we trek alone through Kingston, which even in the summer is dark as night and more frostbitten than a nudist on Cold Mountain.

The man said Intunisia. That’s where we have to go to find The One Spinner. Google Maps says that’s 15,000 kilometers from here, or 9,320.57 miles. My gut says that’s a long way, and I trust my gut.

We manage to find an old farmhouse with a family living in it. The father, Barnabas, has the gnarled hands of a Tom Cruise impersonater, a large nose and a burly chest. His wife Zemira has a fat bum; the dog, a glass eye. The children are a mass of arms and legs and other moving parts too dizzying to be resolved into recognizable human shapes before they’ve whizzed off into another part of the house. They offer us food and wash our clothes, and ask us where we’re going.

“We can’t say,” you say. “It’s too dangerous.”

“I once did a gig at a scientology youth recruitment drive,” says Barnabas. “They were like rabid dogs in heat. Until you’ve seen a 13-year-old scientology convert try to eat your placenta, you haven’t seen danger.” He shudders and stuffs a sausage into his mouth. No one asks questions after that.

After dinner, the family sits down by the television and the two of us pull out our knitting. We haven’t gotten much done since the train. After a while, Zemira glances over at us and smiles.

“My sister used to spin. Would you like to see her yarn? You can have some of it, if you like. I haven’t knit in 10 years.”

A knitter can’t say no to that. She takes us up to the attic; it’s stuffed from top to bottom with broken chairs, dog calendars, painted trinkets and old Top Gun outfits. Zemira walks to the very back corner and pulls out an old cardboard box. It’s filled with delicate roving and a single skein of handspun silk, dyed green with a touch of turquoise. She hands it to you, and within seconds your fingers recognize the yarn, the texture, that characteristic twist. But it can’t be… Can it?

“Zemira… Who did you say your sister was?”

The attic door booms open and your heart nearly jumps out of its shoes. “Zemira! Our friends have company!”

A rocket-propelled grenade blows a hole in the attic wall. We’re met with a rain of fire and bullets. Zemira takes one in the arm. She dives for the box marked “Books & Guns” and pulls out an M-16 assault rifle, returning fire. I grab your arm and jump out of the house; we land in a carefully choreographed summersault and sprint into the woods.

We keep running for miles and miles before we’re sure we’ve lost them. We collapse by a tree and you pull out the yarn you’d stuffed in your pocket. The one key we have to finding The One Spinner. You notice a small card folded inside.

Room 314 1/2, Martha Stewart Wing, The Pentagon.

A rough sketch of what looks like a lace chart is scribbled next to the address. I inspect it carefully, and realize how similar it is to my own project. I reach for my knitting bag to compare them. My lungs twist as I realize that we left both our bags at the farmhouse. I turn to you, helplessly.

It’s time once again to choose where to go. Do you continue trekking towards the asiatic mists of Intunisia, or do you change course towards the Pentagon? And most importantly, do you go back for your knitting? Cast your vote in the comments!

The Amazing Lace Challenge #2: The One Spinner

Sunday, June 18th, 2006
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This is part one of a Choose Your Own Adventure series for the Amazing Lace KAL.

We’ve been on the train for 5 hours, our knitting needles click-clacking as the train shifts back and forth on its metal haunches. A yawn escapes from my mouth. Another row of garter stitch. I glance over to see how you’re doing; faster than I. Harumph.

A man with a dark hat and small, round glasses enters our car. “Excuse me. Are you ze famous Eva Katamari, international spice merchant… and illegal yarns dealer?” He lets his voice lower with those last four words. I glance about to ensure noone heard him.

“You’re looking in the wrong place, stranger. I sell mercerized cotton. Nothing illegal about that.”

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