Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Hawaii didn't have a poet laureate until 2012, when Steven Kealohapau'ole Hong-Ming Wong was selected to represent the state. Hawaii, like the mainland, has its own flavor of melting pot, and Steven, who is known as Kealoha, is representative of that with a diverse background both genetically and experientially. 

Part of the Polynesian cultural tradition includes chant, and our modern Slam Poetry could be considered analogous. Kealoha is a long-time slam Champion, and has founded several slam groups and events, including First Thursdays, which is the best-attended regular slam in the world with 500+ attendees, according to Wiki. 

Kealoha was a scholastically gifted child, especially in math, and enrolled in MIT for college, where he studied nuclear engineering. After school, however, he switched paths and went into the business and administrative sector. It isn't hard to see how this could be disillusioning, so he started his first salon-type discussion group, supposedly inspired by Fight Club.  Slam didn't come until 2000 on a trip to the Bay Area. 

As with other Slam poets I've looked at in the past, the letter or lyrics of the poems are often hard to find, but there are lots of videos. This site shows a video and the text together, which is nice, for his work Intentions. I did, however, discover a good source for written-word Hawaiian and Islander poetry. (I have been saving these tabs open on my phone since we got back from our vacation, it's been weeks with this has been sitting in my mind waiting to be written). The Kahuaomanoa Press (review, actual site here)comes from poets of the University of Hawaii Manoa campus. It contains works written in English, pidgin, and Hawaiian. That link has some examples of the poems from that particular issue, such as Coming to Paradise by Sage U'ilani Takehiro: 

17-year-old Keahi Ho‘oulu is pregnant
with her second child; she dropped
out of high school to clean toilets at
The Breathtaking, Fantastic
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park
Open 24 hours every day of the year!
of verdant plantlife
dance legendary hula in the
Savor succulent exotic hues
of a colorful culture mix that
pampers, restores and heals
Your body and Your Spirit.
Hawai‘i’s whole culture
is based on Aloha—
and that’s a commitment we take
Very Seriously.

Here is another by Takehiro, Kou Lei (you can get her book Honua here): 

I was a fetal spirit born in the ti leaf womb of our mother

You uncurled my body and saw severed stems of white ginger
      layered over each other
            ‘awapuhi ke‘oke‘o standing side by side
                                                braided tightly in fine fibers, woven
                        into rope by loving hands
                                                                 that dangled
       on each end

You pressed your nose against me
                                                kissed my fragrance
and opened your eyes as you returned your breath

You held me in my ti leaf cradle, saw the brown footprints of rain
            and ‘A‘ala Honua that blows through the strands of your hair

                        You knew that I slept on a bed of ginger roots
                                                                                    drizzled with dirt

You watched my petals unfold and twist
eyes of white ginger
jumbled into my wrists as I rubbed them, crying
for Honua to feed my flowers
while forbidden blossoms were held firm
                        by the rope bones of my body

You peeled me from the ti-leaf and held me against your chest
I wrapped my arms around you and you tied my hands behind your neck
my mana
carried by yours

I lay on top of your shoulders
listening to our life beat
through your skin
You carry my beauty                                   
while I breathe yours

I am your lei 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Baby Centurion Helm pattern

Baby Centurion Helm

For an approximately 16” head
Made with worsted acrylic, I used US 4 double-pointed needles
4.5 sts/in
Yarn needle

CO 42. Work flat in garter, 6 ridges or 1.5”, switch to stockinette. RS: K5, pm, K 32, pm, K5. WS: P5, K32, P5, etc. Once 2” of length is reached, cast on 28 across the “face” portion of the helmet by backwards loop cast-on and join in the round (70 sts total). Knit the 5 edge stitches in garter, the back of the head in stockinette to the 2nd marker, and then garter across the “face” portion. Continue in this manner until 6 ridges have been completed above the face portion, knit all stitches until hat measures 4” tall from the face portion on up. Decrease according to your preferred method. I divide the stitches into 4 (more or less since the total st count isn't divisible by 4) and do *rnd 1: K to 2 before marker, ssk, slip marker, k2tog* around, then rnd 2: knit. When 8 sts remain, cut yarn and draw through stitches, secure.

For the eyepiece:

CO 38. Knit 4 rows stockinette, ending with wrong side. (if using long tail cast on, you will only need 3 rows). Next row, knit each live stitch together with the cast-on stitch of that column, forming a welt. Knit a few rows, on one RS row, k3, Make bobble, K to 4 stitches remaining, make bobble, K 3. (I made my bobble by Kfbf in the same stitch, turning, purling 3, and then Sl1, K2tog, psso to bring it back to 1 stitch). K 2 rows. Begin to short row: K to 3 sts from edge, work preferred short row method, p to 3 from edge, short row. K to 3 from short row, p to 3 from short row, etc. Repeat until 20 sts remain un-short-rowed. K 1 row, picking up wraps or closing short rows in your preferred manner. Knit in garter for a few rows, bind off. Use tails to attach eyepiece to helm (it shouldn’t move much).

For ridge (panache-ish):
I didn’t take good notes here.

CO approximately 25 sts. Knit flat in stockinette for ~1”. Purl a turning ridge. Knit in stockinette for 1”. Bind off leaving long tail. Use tail to attach ridge to helm.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

An Alien Face-hugger to knit

These are not complete, test-knit, or very good but you are welcome to them!

Alien Facehugger
US 4 DPNs for body, US 3 DPNs for legs
Sewing-up needle
Pipe cleaners (if you want body structure/pose-ability)
contrasting waste yarn
Polyfill or stuffing of choice
1 skein Cascade 220 or other worsted yarn (I did use nearly the whole skein)
2 skeins Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino for legs
BC: slip 2 sts to cable needle, hold in back, K2, K sts from needle
FC: slip 2 sts to cable needle, hold in front, K2, K sts from needle
Body (starts at tail)
With larger needles and worsted yarn, CO 4.
Work 5 “rows” of icord.
Inc 2 over row (I use “make 1” increases where possible), knit 8 rounds (split onto 2 needles).
Inc 2 over row, (K 10 rnds, inc 2) twice. Length approx 5” at this point.
Continue knitting in stockinette, increasing apace, but every 8th or 9th round, insert a purl round, until tail reaches ~14” (26 sts around)
Inc 10 sts spaced over a few rounds, 36 sts. Begin body cable.
Staghorn body cable: (from Field Guide to Knitting)
Knit the wrong side (belly), and even-numbered rows in plain stockinette.
Place marker on either side of 16 st cable repeat
1. (RS) K4, BC, FC, K4
3. K2, BC, K4, FC, K2
5. BC, K8, FC

Execute 9 repeats of staghorn cable AT THE SAME TIME increasing 2 sts for every 2 repeats (I think sometimes I increased 3 per round as it got fatter), length ~21” at this point.
Begin “thorax”:
Should be 46 sts at this point, if not, do a round or two to get to count.
1 rnd plain,
1 rnd inc 4 (on the “back” of the monster only)
2 rnds plain
Repeat in a similar fashion until you have 21 sts on the “belly” and 31 on the “back”.
At this point, you will begin to knit flat, on the “belly” stitches only, to leave a slit between the stomach and back.
Knit 10 rows, break yarn.
Re-join and knit flat on the “back”, inserting 2 rows of reverse stockinette every so often for ridges (I did not note how I spaced these out). Knit 10 rows, join again in the round.

(at this point, or even before, it is a good time to place stabilizing pipe cleaners inside the tail and stuff it).
Knitting in the round, (K 4 rnds, dec 2 from “back”) twice.
Before you get too much farther, knit the “pods” as mentioned below.
Pods (attached to sides of body): make two
I am told these are the air sacs that keep the victim alive whilst being face-hugged; I achieved them thusly:
Pick up 16 sts around each opening on the side of the beast.
K 1 rnd.
Continue knitting, increasing 4 per round at “edges” (if the monster were laying flat, so they will be wide and flat. If it helps, place markers at the “edges” and increase to each side of them) until the “pod” measures 48 sts.
K 4 rnds
Decrease mirroring the pattern of increases (without a plain knit round between after the first set), perhaps decreasing more frequently towards the end, stuff the pod before closing it off.

Back to the body:
Dec 2 from the “back”, Knit ~1”, adding purl ridges to “back” only (if desired), decreasing until body measures 40 sts. *At this time you will prepare to add the legs. 2 sts from “edge” of the body, with contrasting waste yarn, K 5. Place sts back on needles, knit with main yarn. Do this for each side. Knit the body repeating this step 3 more times for 8 legs total, with 5 rnds (or so, you can add more if you don’t want the legs to be so close together) in between each leg. After 2nd leg set, decrease 2 sts per space between legs. Maintain purl rounds on the “back” of the alien only.

* AT THE SAME TIME as you prep the body, the “belly” will have a “sucker” cable on it. I didn’t write down exactly how I did it, but it was similar to the staghorn cable.
1. K4, FC, BC, K4.
Plain rnd
3. K2, FC (purling the sts that will be in the middle of the sucker), P4, BC, K2
Knit the knits, purl the purls
5. K2, P8, K2
Knit the knits, purl the purls
Reverse the steps to close the cable

After all the legs’ waste yarn is in place, K 2 rnds, decreasing 4 sts, place sts on a holder. Knit legs.

Legs: (make 8)
On smaller needles and with smaller yarn, CO 4.
K 2 rnds in icord.
Inc 2, divide on to 2 needles
2 rnds plain.
Inc 2, 2 rnds plain, until it measures 16 sts distributed over 4 needles (or whatever is your preference).
K until tube measures ~4.5”.
Work 2 short rows (there and back) across 12 of the 16 leg stitches for the knee. Insert a pipe cleaner and stuff the lower leg. Continue in the round for 3.5”, switch to larger yarn. First rnd purl.
K 4 rnds, purl a rnd, K 3 rnds, p 1 rnd, K 3 rnds, place stitches on waste yarn. (Leave a long tail for grafting).

Once you have all your legs, open the waste yarn holes on the body one at a time and place them on spare dpns. Put the leg on spare needles as well, and graft to the body as best as you can (making sure the pipe cleaner enters the body and connects to whatever other pipe cleaners you have in there). The leg has more stitches than the body, so some leg stitches will need to be doubled or otherwise distributed (if I did this again, I would change something about this part, my grafting was messy). Make sure the legs are bending in the right direction for the monster. Once you have all the legs attached, finish stuffing the body if need be, and put the body on the needles. Over 3 rnds or so, decrease to a handful of stitches and break yarn, drawing the end through the sts to bind off. (you can tell I stopped taking good notes at the end, huh).

Enjoy your facehugger and scare your friends!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Free pattern to test knit: A Very Modern Monster

Well hello.

 Here's a free pattern I am hosting to be test-knit and then hopefully for-real knit for the 600 Monsters Strong for Connecticut project. Please knit and comment here if you encounter issues/have improvements for the pattern, or view the Ravelry group 600 Monsters Strong to comment there.

A Very Modern Monster

This monster can be made with lots of mod and color choices for a unique toy

Supplies: US 4 knitting needles (or whatever size needed to get gauge)
Approximately 200 yards worsted weight yarn
Yarn needle
Washable stuffing
Small amount of contrast-color waste yarn
Stitch marker/pin (optional)
Stitch holder (optional)
Crochet hook (optional)

Tension: 24 sts and 8 rows to 4 inches yields a monster ~11” tall. Larger yarn and needles are okay to use to make a larger monster, as long as you have a nice firm gauge.

Glossary: K: knit
CO: Cast on
Magic Cast on: see http://knitty.com/ISSUEspring06/FEATmagiccaston.html for a good tutorial on this cast on
* *: repeat the instructions between asterisks
KFB: knit in the front and back legs of the stitch to increase by 1 stitch
KFBF: knit in the front, back, and front leg again to increase by 2 stitches
SSK: Slip a stitch knitwise, slip a stitch purlwise, return stitches to left-hand needle, knit through the back loop for a left-leaning decrease
K2Tog: knit two stitches together for a right-leaning decrease
Rnd(s): Round(s)
Sl: Slip the stitch
PU: pick up stitches
RS: right side I-cord: Knit across sts, without turning work bring yarn back to right-hand side and knit, pulling firmly.
SK2PSSO: Slip 1,
K2Tog, Pass slipped stitch over for a decrease of 2 sts
BO: bind off

Body: Using Magic Cast on, CO 22 over both needles, which is 44 in the round.
Mark end of round with marker or pin if desired
K 1 rnd
Increase: *KFB, K19, KFB, K1* twice (48 sts)
K 2 rnds *KFB, K21, KFB, K1* twice (52 sts)
K 4 rnds *KFB, K23, KFB, K1* twice (56 sts)
K 4 rnds *KFB, K25, KFB, K1* twice (total 60 sts)
Knit 22 rounds or until piece measures ~4.5 inches.
Arm set-up row:
K 27, begin to knit with contrast color waste yarn: K6, Sl 6 sts back to left-hand needle, K 6 with working yarn. K until 3 sts before end of round. Using another piece of waste yarn, K 6. Sl 6 sts back to L needle, K 6 with working yarn, K to end of next round. K 17 rnds, or until piece measures ~7”.
If you want to make a tail, consider adding it here.
Decrease rnd: K1, SSK, K 24, K2Tog, K2, SSK, K 24, K2Tog, K1
K 2 rnds
K1, SSK, K 22, K2Tog, K2, SSK, K 22, K2Tog, K1
K 2 rnds
Break yarn, put body sts on waste yarn or other holder. (At this point, it is a good idea to add eyes and any mods to the top of the monster, weave in ends, and knit the arms)

Arms: Carefully pull out 1 st of waste yarn at a time, placing 6 bottom sts on one needle and 7 top sts on another as they become live. K 6 bottom sts, PU 1 st around the arm hole, K 7 top sts, PU 1 st, (15 sts). K 22 rnds, or ~3 in. *K2, K2Tog* around, (12 sts) K 1 rnd *K2, K2Tog* around, (9 sts) K 1 rnd Break yarn, draw tail through lives sts using yarn needle and secure. Repeat for arm 2. Weave in ends, stuff arms.

Legs: Should be 52 sts on waste yarn/holders. Starting at front center of monster, put 26 sts on needles (left leg). K 26 Using Cable Cast on, CO 8 sts and join in the round for leg (34 sts). K 4 rnds Knit around, decreasing 4 sts evenly spaced. K 27 rnds or until leg measures ~4 in. *K2, K2Tog* around (23 sts) K 2 rnds *K2, K2Tog* (18 sts) K 1 rnd *K2Tog* (9 sts) Break yarn, draw tail through and secure. Leg 2: Put remaining 26 sts on needles. K 26. PU 8 sts from top of leg 1, join in the round. Complete as for leg 1. Before binding off, stuff any remaining insides, weave in ends, etc.


Use these (or any other) cool mods to make your monster unique. Just remember to attach all extra parts securely for children’s safety!

Bow/Bowtie: CO 5
Rows 1-3: K
Row 4: K2Tog, K3 (4 sts)
Row 5: K2Tog, K2 (3 sts)
Row 6: K2Tog, K1 (2 sts)
Row 7: KFBF twice (6 sts)
Row 8: SK2PSSO twice (2 sts)
Row 9: K2 Row 10: KFB, K1 (3 sts)
Row 11: KFB, K2 (4 sts)
Row 12: KFB, K3 (5 sts)
Row 13-14: K BO

Antennae: Using a needle or crochet hook, PU 4 sts from monster head. Holding the RS facing, begin working in I-cord 8 rows (or more if desired). KFB 4 times. Knitting in the round again, k2 rnds. K2Tog 4 times. Break yarn, draw through live sts and secure. Repeat for a 2nd antenna.

Tail: To make a larger tail while knitting the monster body, use the same method for the arms. To set up, use a piece of contrast color waste yarn and knit 6-9 sts. Slip those sts to the left-hand needle, then knit them again with the main color. When it comes time to knit the tail, pull out the waste yarn and place the sts on needles. K in the round until tail reaches desired length. To make a tail after the fact (or a skinny tail) use the same method as the antennae.

 Pocket: Can be a plain pocket or mouth for the monster!
CO 12 sts
Row 1: P 1
Row 2: K1, KFB, K 8, KFB, K1 (14 sts)
Row 3: P
Row 4: K1, KFB, K 12, KFB, K 1 (16 sts)
Row 5: P 1 row
Rows 6-11: Work 6 rows in stockinette stitch
Row 12, 14: K1, (P2, K2) 3 times, P2, K1
Row 13, 15: P1, (K2, P2) 3 times, K2, P1 BO in ribbing.
Using matching yarn and yarn needle, stitch sides and bottom of pocket to monster, leaving top open.

Hey look! a Monster! hammer 015

Monday, September 14, 2009

Free Pattern

I've already shown this sweet baby outfit, but a request for the pattern has come in, so I will attempt it! My pattern notes are messy, so we'll see how it goes.

Melly's Baby Dress

US 4 Needles
Lion Brand Cotton Ease, 50/50 cotton and acrylic; my go-to for babies (I think I used one ball and change)
Aprox 4/4.5 sts/in

For the head I assumed 16.5" circumfrence for a newborn, and used an 18-19" chest measurement because babies are lumpy.

-Provisionally cast on 66 with provisional cast on of choice.
-Knit stockinette in the round for 2.5 inches, or so.
-Decrease as for regular hat (knitters choice: I use paired K2togs on alternating rows like in my circles in the square hats)
-Bind off!
-Pick up and knit all 66 sts of provisional cast on.
-first round: [K2, K2tog] (editorial: I don't know why I decreased here, but i'm assuming it was because the provisional cast on was way too loose, and this may be omitted if you have better skill than I)
-Knit 2 rows plain.
-Row four: K to 10 sts from the end, wrap and turn, K to 10 sts from the end, w&t.
-Row 5: Knit plain, picking up wraps.
-Row 6: K to 20 sts from the end, w&t, K to 20 sts from the end, w&t.
-Row 7: work as for row 5
-Row 8: K to 30 sts before end, w&t, K to 30 sts from end, w&t.
-Row 9: work as for row 5
Bin off loosely so the brim doesn't curl. Options here include applied I-cord or other stiff knitted border, knitter's choice.
Finishing: I stitched a decorative ribbon over my provisional cast-on area because it was sloppy looking. This is also an option!


-Starting at hem of dress, cast on 111.
-Lace pattern is Fir Cone lace from my stictionary:
WS rows: purl
RS rows 2-8: K1 [yo, k3, sk2p, k3, yo, k1] yo, k3, sk2p, k3, yo, k1.
RS Rows 8-16: K2tog [k3, yo, k1, yo, k3, sk2p] k3, yo, k1, yo, k3, ssk.
-Work at least 3 repeats, more if you are less lazy than me.
-1st work first row plain
-2nd row K2tog every 10 sts
-3rd row plain
-4th row K2tog every 10 sts (aprox 88 sts)
1 Eyelet row: [yo, K2tog, K2]
K plain stockinette for 10 rounds
(at this point my notes get fuzzy) BO 4 sts on each side of piece (for armholes) continue knitting plain for 4 more rounds for back (K back and forth, aprox 40 sts).
-place front sts on holders (aprox 40 sts)
-Bind off center 28 sts, leaving 6 on each side for straps. Work straps for 2.5 inches, place on holders.
-Knit front for 1.5 inches plain, working back and forth.
-Bind off center 28 sts (or however many are needed to make straps 6 sts wide), work straps until they match the back straps.
-Join using 3 needle bind off.

Finishing: at this point, the tunic can be worn as is. The eyelet row serves to showcase a pretty ribbon or strip of I cord. The neck of the tunic can have a pretty knit or crochet bind-off applied to it, as can the armholes. I did tiny cap sleeves using short rows, and evidence of them is nowhere in my notebook, so I'm not going to try!

Since I gave the garment as a gift last month, I don't have it to refer to. I hope this pattern works for you in the spirit which I intend it: not to be exact! The fudge factor is strong with me, so things rarely turn out exactly as planned!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Short Row Star

Here's a little free pattern for you. If you have experience with short rows, this will be very easy. If you do not, please consult what I found to be the most helpful resource: Cat Bordhi's video

US 4 DPNs (only 2)
scrap yarn, worsted weight ish. I don't know exactly how much, this star was made with a ball smaller than fist size. (Damn I need a scale!) 
Needle and yarn size are absolutely customizable for whatever size star you'd like. Try to keep the gague relatively dense if you want to stuff the star afterwards. 

For the large star pictured:

CO 30 sts. *Knit 2 rows plain (one RS one WS), then knit 29, wrap and turn. P 28, w&t. Continue wrapping and turning until 4 stitches remain unwrapped. Knit 4, pick up and knit wrapped stitch, w&t. P 5, pick up and knit wrapped stitch, w&t. Continue until all wraps are picked up.*

That is the basic structure, it is exactly the same as a short row sock heel/toe, for those of you who have done one, except "skinnier".  It's really easily adjustable. For a five pointed star, repeat four more times. It can be done four times for a square, or more for a crazier star shape. 

Smaller or larger stars can be made by using the same method, just casting on more or fewer stitches. 

Once the knitting if finished, use mattress stitch to sew together the cast on and cast off edges. Sew one of the remaining 'holes' in the star shut. Stuff with polyfil, stitch the other hole closed. I feel like this pattern is so simple and intuitive (once you have short rows down) that I shouldn't even take credit for it. Making short rows work for me and seeing how I can use them in construction is one of my knitting  goals for this year, and I'm looking forward to seeing how else I can use them.