Friday, December 22, 2006

Doll Sweater and Merry Christmas

Here is the sweater I knit for one of Len's niece's dolls (you know the one, 18", massive marketing campaign?)


It is not without it's problems (cable splay, anyone?), but I like it nonetheless. There are more pictures of it over at the Flickr site. Several years ago, Knitters magazine had a short series of matching sweaters for girls and their 18" dolls, one of what was an Aran style. I don't like that sweater so much, but figured I could steal their numbers and plug in cables that I like. I've wanted to do this for an adult size sweater and thought this would be a non-threatening way to start. My next plan is to make a lace sweater for my stepmother's doll (not an 18" one). I have a vision, we'll see if it works.

I have the next 10 days off. I may try to post once or twice during that time, but mostly I think I shall be lying around my house watching very bad television. That is my idea of a divine vacation!

Have a Merry Christmas or a Happy Festivius!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Judy's New Bed

It turns out, I'm not a complete moron just about knitting. I've managed to save some of my dork brain cells for weaving, too. I don't know how I should feel about that.

My stepmother's mother, Jan, found some yarn at Goodwill As Is. It's an odd, acrylic boucle in pink, blue and purple. After many strange machinations (involving a kitchen scale, a warping board and a lot of tangles. Don't ask.), I decided there is about 2600 yards/18 ozs. of this stuff. It isn't the sort of thing I would knit with -- the yarn is pretty fine and loopy -- but it seemed like weaving a shawl with it wouldn't be too hard. And it isn't. My brain, though, is not on. Also the math universe is broken.

I decided I wanted the piece to be 30 inches wide in the loom, which would allow for some draw-in, and 8 warp ends per inch. How many ends? 240 you say? Um. No. I measured that many, but ended up with way too many warp ends. Like 100 too many. In what universe does 8 x 30 = 140? My weaving room, apparently.

Luckily, the extra warp was easily separated while I wound onto the loom. Winding on, I'm happy to say, was a breeze. Which is a very good thing, because:
Yes, I had tied onto the front by this time. So I untied, pulled out the warp, untied from the back end, fixed the problem, tied back on, rewound and tied back onto the front.
Corrected Warp
This works a little better. The fabric looks nice, too. I kind of wish I had gone with a 10-dent reed, rather than the 8, but I am so not re-doing this warp. Instead I'm just beating the weft a little harder.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Face Not Exploded

No, my face hasn't exploded, but this cold just won't let go. I am now in the dry hacking stage, which pretty much sucks nuts.

My friend, Stef, and I went up to Threadbear in Lansing a few weeks ago (I'm very much in love with this shop). While wandering around, I made a sudden decision to knit a fair isle sweater. I don't really know what came over me. I think, in part, it was Eunny's Venezia Pullover (scroll down) in the latest Interweave Knits. So beautiful, so utterly inappropriate for me -- too small, I can't wear wool next to my skin, too warm for my office or home (where Len routinely pumps the wood stove up to 75 degrees). I enjoyed knitting the Philosopher's sweater, but the sweater is too big and floppy and the neckline continues to annoy me to no end. I hate wearing it.

I flipped through Meg Swanson's Knitting, which I have done many times and (finally!) decided to buy it. I haven't bought it before because, well, you may have noticed that I am maybe a little dim. Once I decided to buy the book, I was overcome with the desire to knit the cover sweater. Right Now. Threadbear, being the best shop in the universe (did I mention my love?), has Jamieson 2-ply Spindrift, so I made piles of colors. There were seven symbols in the key, so I picked 7 colors (8, actually, because I couldn't decide on the light background color). It turns out that one of the symbols is a purl of one of the colors and there are two colors so similar the difference doesn't show up in the book's photos (the light background). Since I couldn't commit to a background color (either light brown or light green), I bought just enough yarn to make a very large swatch.
Fair Isle Swatch 2
The colors here are: Foxglove, Mulberry (dark purple), Atlantic, Twilight (the lighter blue) and Rye (the light green in question). My plan for the swatch is to knit one more of the charts with the Rye, then do the same charts again (except the ribbing) using the brown (the name of which escapes me, maybe Mooskit?). I was thinking that I would go down a needle size to see how I like a slightly tighter gauge. I'm pretty sure I won't do that since having a tighter gauge will introduce some serious complications: this sweater needs a multiple of both 5 and 33 stitches (the large patterns are 33 stitch repeats and the peeries in between are 5 stitch repeats), I'm getting 7.5 stitches/inch which is already tighter than the 6.75 called for. At my current gauge, I should get a 44" sweater and that is about right.

That might have been more information than you wanted. All I meant to say was: I love Threadbear. I love fair isle knitting. And I love these colors. Which is good, 'cos I'm sick to death of coughing!
Fair Isle Swatch 3

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Feeling Crummy

I've been working on yet another nasty cold. Two colds in as many weeks. How festive. I'm going home and plopping my head on a pillow.

I'll leave you with these two pictures.
With Light Green
With light green

With Brown
With brown

These are for a new project I'm contemplating. More on this tomorrow, unless my head explodes.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Things You May Not Have Heard About

A couple of interesting things came across my desk today, thanks to Docuticker:

The American Sociological Association filed an amicus brief last week with the First Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the plaintiffs in Cook v. Rumsfeld (challenging the constitutionality of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy). The signors of the brief (go here for a list and press release) argue that there is no empirical evidence to show that gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military would harm military performance or unit cohesion.

Bill Clinton signed Don't Ask, Don't Tell into law 13 years ago today. I couldn't imagine anything more damaging or inhumane than that policy and didn't vote for him again (and couldn't bring myself to feel particularly sympathetic during the Lewinsky thing).

Also on Docuticker was the Human Rights Campaign's Buying for Equality 2007. The guide rates companies based on their support for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. What I like about this is that so often we are told who to boycott (I still haven't forgiven Shell for not pulling out of South Africa during the apartheid era), and rarely who we can support (without guilt).

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Finished Towels

I've been feeling a touch of writer's block lately, so I'm going to just do a quick post. I finally pulled the Cat Track and Snail Tail towels off of the loom (much to Judy's chagrin) and got them washed and dried. The colors are not coming out in these pictures: the towels are dark purple (not black) and off white.
I'm pretty sure I wound enough warp for 4 towels, plus a little extra, but it was so long ago, who can remember. I have 3 towels, plus a little extra. Not exactly a set.
Detail-Purple Weft

Detail-Buttonhole Stitch
I love that the Buttonhole Stitch held up. It was a wee bit tedious to do it (who wants to do buttonhole when you could be weaving, after all), but it got a lot faster as I got better at it, and then at the end, no knots to tie, or hem sewing. Just rip the things off of the loom, cut 'em apart and throw 'em in the washing machine. Nice.
I also started Icarus. The yarn is Alpaca with a Twist Fino (alpaca and silk) and this picture doesn't begin to do justice to the color. It is a deep, rich blood red.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

I don't generally have nice things to say about Thanksgiving. I'm from a divorced family and the day always involved what felt like hugely complicated decisions, hurt feelings, guilt and way too many people.

So I will say this: may your crazy relatives be merely entertaining, may your turkey breast be moist (brining!), and may the drinks flow liberally. Eat some real stuffing for me; I'll be having Stovetop.

By the way, one year ago I wrote my first post (there was a post the day before, but it was really just a test).

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


It's been a while since I posted about anything I've read. Frankly, I've been in a bit of a slump. I've been reading, but slowly.

In the last couple of months, I have finished "Home Cooking" and "More Home Cooking" by the late, very-missed Laurie Colwin. I've probably read these books 20 times by now. They are collections of essays Colwin wrote for Gourmet Magazine (mostly), and if you love food you must have them. They are gems.

I've also been reading "Ascending Peculiarity: Edward Gorey on Edward Gorey". I didn't know anything about Gorey, so it's a bit of a revelation. I really had no idea that he died in 2000, I honestly thought he was a Victorian era illustrator. Yes. I am a dope in most aspects of my life!

I'm also reading the new edition of Janet Szabo's
"Aran Sweater Design". Yes. I am a geek. I lie in bed and read about cable crossings and gauge. Don't you?

And last night I finished "Cross Country: Fifteen Years and Ninety Thousand Miles on the Roads and Interstates of America with Lewis and Clark, a Lot of Bad Motels, a Moving Van, Emily Post, Jack Kerouac, My Wife, My Mother-in-Law, Two Kids, and Enough Coffee to Kill an Elephant" by Robert Sullivan. What a great book! It's about pretty much what the title says: driving across the country with family, odd details about Lewis and Clark, the history of the U.S. interstate system and the coffee cup lid, a bad luck story about a moving van, and more obsessions than should really be crammed into a 256 page book. It's funny, smart, and incredibly interesting.

When my brother Ken and I were 9 or 10, my dad drove us from Michigan to Montana to visit his parents. In a pickup truck. One of us sat up front, one of us rolled around the back (yes, at least there was a cap). We had a two person tent (which my dad made, from a kit, himself!) which my dad and I slept in, and Ken slept in the truck (his choice). I remember fried spam, crummy campgrounds, and severe boredom. Good times! Seriously. I would totally subject small children to the experience and I would willingly sleep in a tent again to do so (I wouldn't otherwise). I remember that KOA campgrounds were the worst (they put us next to the trash dump) and National Parks were the cleanest, even if you had to pee in an outhouse. According to my dad, one night we were surrounded by the KKK (my brother is black): he described it as a bunch of headlights in the night and the park ranger apologizing in the morning. They weren't exactly menacing. I remember looking up one night and understanding why it's called The Milky Way.

We went across the country again when we were about 13, this time with my stepmother, Linda and a pop up. I don't remember what they were driving, I can't imagine it was the pickup again. Maybe they had the mini-van by then. I don't have as much nostalgia for that trip, mainly because Ken was in a bad way.

I drove to Seattle with my cat in a Drive Away. And not much money. I drove through the Badlands screaming Pearl Jam. Nope. I wasn't cool enough for Nirvana. I drove home again, with the same cat, a couple of years later when my life fell apart. I think it was on that trip that I went into Walmart for the first time.

I wouldn't trade those trips for anything. This country is huge. "Cross Country" is an approximation of the experience, but only a slight one.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Friday, November 17, 2006

Knitting and Bad Lighting

This isn't going to be very exciting. Just pictures of knitting taken in very bad light. Photoshop can do only so much.
Mom's Scarf
This picture isn't so bad: the colors are right anyway. This is a scarf I've been knitting for my mom since last winter. I took it out again this past weekend.
AmGirl Sweater
My head is too full of snot to be able to explain this properly, but I'll try. This is going to be a sweater for a doll. Len's niece, Emily, got another American Girl doll (her fourth!) for her birthday, and while I find these to be less offensive (but far more expensive) Barbie dolls, she likes them. It seemed like a good an excuse as any to try my hand at designing a miniature sweater.
And here is another scarf (oh how I hate them so!). Why do I keep making scarves if I hate them, you ask? Good question! I don't really have an answer. Moving on: this is a Berroco rayon ribbon yarn that I bought many years ago. It is also an example of how all the Photoshop in the world can't make bad lighting good, especially in my inexperienced hands. The colors are right, but the picture is sort of blah.
I made this stitch pattern up. I sort of feel like a genius. Only sort of though. Mostly I feel like I have a lot of snot in my head. I need a nap.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Days off

I took a few, much needed, days off of work. I got tons of knitting and some weaving done and you would think I might have taken the time to take some pictures of said knitting and weaving. But no. I took no pictures. Pure laziness, on my part. The weaving looks quite a lot like it did in a previous post, and Judy continues to sleep on the warp. I don't really understand why.

In lieu of knitting, I offer this picture of Len and I. My friend Andy took it on Friday night. I don't think he was drunk.
The Essential Us
I wasn't drunk either.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Do you know what I like the best about the election results? Pennsylvania dumped that rotten Santorum.

Rumsfeld was so sad, he resigned.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Well, the pictures aren't very exciting, but I really have been weaving. Overshot reminds me knitting fair isle. It isn't really difficult, but I really have to be paying attention so that the shuttle with the right yarn is going through (I have two shuttles going, one with doubled yarn, which makes up the pattern, and one with a single strand for the tabby) and that I have the right treadle depressed (pattern and tabby). And don't forget the floating selvages.
Cat Track and Snail Trail
The pink yarn is the new waste I'm using. It's nice and smooth, so my needle isn't getting caught in it while doing the buttonhole stitch. Speaking of which. Is that really going to work? I'll be able to cut these apart, remove the waste yarn and have nice fringe without having to do anything more?
Close Up
See the mistake? So easy to make. So don't care.

One more angle, just for fun:
Artsy Angle

Last Week

Snow Berries

Friday, November 03, 2006

Ballot Proposals

In Michigan, some people (both from here and not-from-here) have decided to take it upon themselves to make law, rather than relying on the judgement of those we elect. Thus, they have gotten up petitions, gathered signatures, fought a court battle or two, and now we have 5 Statewide Ballot Proposals. Some of these will amend the State Constitution, some just create laws.

1. A constitutional amendment to mandate the conservation and recreation funds can ONLY be used for their intended purpose.

This is already The Law, but the Michigan Economy is so bad right now, I think the folks behind this are worried these funds will start getting sucked up for other purposes. I'm having a hard time with this one. How hard it is now to get at those funds? If it isn't allowed under any circumstances, or in only the most dire of emergencies, why bother with an amendment?

2. The "Civil Rights Initiative". This constitutional amendment would ban affirmative action in public institutions. These institutions include state and local governments, public colleges and universities, community colleges and school districts. Oh. It would ban discrimination, too.

Don't you want to take a shower after reading that? They call themselves the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative and then claim they didn't perpetuate fraud in the signature gathering process (signature gatherers were accused of misrepresenting the petition). The name alone is fraudulent. While I will vote HELL NO, I have a bad feeling this will pass.

Jennifer Gratz (that's her official bio), who is heading up this initiative, sued the University of Michigan Law School, claiming that she was denied admission because she is white. I heard a rumor that she was wait listed, and had she returned her postcard, she would have been admitted. Is that true?

3. A referendum to establish a hunting season for mourning doves.

Didn't the legislature already vote for this and Granholm vetoed it? I'm inclined to vote against this one for that reason alone. We elect people to make laws and a governor who has the right to veto that law. Live with it. Otherwise, I don't really care; neither side has made much of a case. The doves aren't endangered, nor are they pests. I don't know why you would want to shoot one, but I don't really understand why people do anything (besides knit).

4. An amendment to prohibit government from using eminent domain for private enterprise.

Do you mean to tell me that Napoleon Township can take my house and let Mall of America build a cathedral to commerce in it's place? I don't think so!

5. A legislative initiative to mandate school funding levels.

I don't have kids but I think public schools are among the most important institutions our society has and I had a really hard time making up my mind about this one. On the one hand, schools have really been shafted in this economy -- primary and secondary education are underfunded and are stuck teaching to shallow standards. Higher education is becoming so expensive that soon all but the most privileged will be able to afford it. However, I'm really uncomfortable with mandated funding levels, especially when politicians are afraid to raise taxes. Michigan Radio has been doing a series on the State elections. They talked to an administrator of a Jackson elementary school who isn't taking an official positions, but wondered what would happen to other services the school uses, such as fire, police and road repair. That is what finally helped me make up my mind. I will gladly pay more in taxes to fund schools, but I just don't think this is the way.

So there you are. My blowhard opinions on our fun ballot initiatives, worth about as much as you are paying for them.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Much Knitting

Despite not having posted about it in a month, I have, in fact, been knitting. I mean really, when aren't I knitting? Unfortunately, lighting has not been conducive to great photography, so you will have to bear with me.
This is the second of the scarves I am making for the ALS/Sue Smith Euchre Tournament. This is random wool of the same variety as the other scarf. I had a really hard time picking a stitch pattern for this one. I had a few criteria: I didn't want the ultimate owner to have to block the scarf when it is washed; it had to be an easily memorized pattern (which pretty much limits it to or two rows for me) without being soul-suckingly boring; and I didn't want it to curl. While this pattern doesn't quite measure up, I like it enough to keep going. It curls and it is boring. The latter can't be helped, that is the nature of scarves, but I wish I had done something about the curling. Since I kind of suck, I can't remember which stitch dictionary this comes from, but it's a stockinette-based mesh; the yarn overs happen on the knit side, the decreases on the purl side. To prevent the curling, I could very easily have changed this to a garter stitch-based pattern without much trouble, but I had already ripped this yarn out many many times and I really didn't want to do it again. I've decided that it is a design feature. Moving on:
Swatches! Not just swatches, washed and dried swatches. I feel faint. I never do that, my usual swatching technique is to knit a few inches, decide it's right and rip it out and start the sweater. That just wasn't going to work this time.

The two swatches on the left are the blue tweedy Rowan yarn (Magpie!) from the other day. That yarn decided to be a sweater from a 2001(ish) Interweave Knits called Tuscan Hills:
Tuscan Hills
It's a simple, rolled edge pullover with the added fun of ridges: on the wrong side, you pick up stitches from several rows below and purl together with the next regular stitch (you do this at varying number of rows and it's supposed to resemble the "rolling hills of Tuscany". I've never been to Tuscany so I wouldn't know.) I was having trouble getting gauge and not really enjoying the yarn during the swatching process, when I remembered something from a discussion on the Aran Knitlist: wool can "bloom" and relax in unexpected ways. So I knitted a swatch on size 7 needles and one on size 8's. They were both stiff, curly and kind of unpleasant; once they were washed the fabric became soft and drapey, with the one done on size 7's being a little denser. I didn't get gauge with either needle (and really didn't want to go any smaller than 7), so I made some calculations and am knitting a size smaller than I would normally.

The swatch on the left is the yarn that Judy found for me. It thinks it would like to be this:
Modern Lace
I wasn't getting gauge with this either, but washing the swatch seems to shrink the yarn just enough. This seems to be the same basic pattern as my Waving Laces socks, which is good, because for some reason the chart for this one is giving me fits.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Back to Weaving

I finally sat down for a rousing bout of weaving on Sunday evening. This included discovering that one should perhaps not use fuzzy wool as waste weft if one is intending to do something like buttonhole stitch. Better I realize this now, rather than once all the towels are off the loom and I can't get the $#%@ wool out of the *&(&$% cotton. I might not be the brightest bulb, but I'm learning.

At the end my Sunday of weaving fun, I looked down and essentially saw this:
I really saw a longer strip of this, but this shot sums up the lack of pattern I was seeing.

Monday morning I went into the weaving room and saw this:
From Above
which bears a striking resemblance to what it is supposed to look like. I need to beat on the weft much harder, but it looks like something!

Judy thinks she has a new bed.
Not Helping
I don't find this particularly helpful. Amusing, yes. Helpful? Not so much.

Monday, October 30, 2006

How Many of Me?
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Sean at Sean's Soapbox provided the above link. Many years ago I lived in a small town in Southwest Michigan. Very soon after moving there, I developed the first in a series of major-but-not-really-life-threatening diseases*: Pleurisy. It was the most painful thing I've ever experienced, including major abdominal surgery. I made an appointment at my mother's doctor's office and hobbled in. They were very confused: I was 40 years younger than the Lee Ridley they knew and it took them awhile to get it sorted out. Eventually, I would come to find it amusing, as I moved through the series of illnesses I would announce myself to office as "Lee Ridley, the younger one" (unfortunately, the office began to know me by voice). Apparently, she didn't find getting phone calls from my friends looking for me amusing at all. I never met her.

*The diseases were, pleurisy/pneumonia (once the pleurisy cleared up, the pneumonia was a breeze. Except it wouldn't go away, costing me meager wages plus about $1500 in hospital expenses), Mono, and fibroids (resulting in one minor and two major surgeries).
Plus an assortment of warts, infections and other nasties. Yep. They loved me over there in Sturgis.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

What's on My Loom?

All Tied Up
Tied Up Detail

We last saw this sad, unappreciated warp in August. I measured the warp in {gasp} March. I suck. But I have some bobbins wound, I have momentum. I. Will. Have. Towels.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006



I have a Flickr site now as well. Just sayin'. It's here:

What Happens When I Don't Know What to Knit Next


Seriously, I have no idea. I have yarn, lots of yarn. Yarn that I am happy to use, but for what? I have boatloads of lace weight: a 1# cone of Henry's Attic Alpaca Lace (actually, I already know what this wants to be: this shawl, but lacier); about 2,000 yards of a silk-merino blend (the name of which is escaping me); and I just found 1,900 yards of random wool (same wool as this scarf, different color) which I had bought for a particular sweater, not bothering to check something so meaningless as, you know, gauge. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm just not that smart.

Judy, bless her heart, found 17 balls of gray-mauve DK wool, plus 12 balls of different colors, in a closed-box-with-something-heavy-on-top (Judy is very talented). The original intention for this yarn was a Jo Sharp intarsia sweater (Ariel), because that one makes sense for a first intarsia project. Why yes, I am a bit stupid, thanks for pointing it out.

I also have 2,000 yards of Rowan blue tweedy aran weight something-or-other-that-Google-won't-show-me. This yarn has wanted to be a sweater for a long time, but frankly there isn't quite enough yarn for a full-on Aran sweater (for me anyway), and hasn't seemed to want to be a plain sweater. Several months ago I got about 3,000 yards of a purple aran weight. This yarn definitely wants to be an Aran sweater, but hasn't decided whether it wants to be this sweater, or whether I should design a cardigan myself.

I flipped through most of my Interweave Knits last night, while watching the Tigers get creamed . I have a couple of sweaters in mind, which I will post about sometime this week.

By the way, I am feeling much better than I was last week. It's a relief because my depressions are often last much longer. I do need to edit the post to read "Len wouldn't necessarily be a refuge". His has depression as well, but his storms rarely last more than a day or two.

Friday, October 20, 2006


I turned 39 a couple of weeks ago and since then, I've been depressed. I hate admitting it, even to myself. I don't have anything against my birthday, or being 39 particularly -- I am a big fan of birthdays (even though I can't ever remember them) and I have no desire to be younger than I am. Some birthdays, though, hit me hard.

When I turned 23 I realized that time was moving forward. That had been a spectacularly awful year (I had been very much in love with someone who was very much not in love with me). There is a line in High Fidelity, "Only people of a certain disposition are frighten of being alone for the rest of their lives at the age of 26. We were of that disposition." I was 23 and very frightened. When I turned 27 I realized I was only ever going to get older. It was an odd feeling, not bad really, just odd.

This year, though. It seems to have hit me hard that my biological clock is timing out and I'm finding myself grieving. I know women have children into their 40's, and certainly that is still a possibility for me, but it isn't what I wanted. Not for myself, and not for a child. I didn't want a child to be stuck with a tired, crabby mother, especially because Len wouldn't necessarily be much of a refuge. Len would be a wonderful father in many ways, but he can be just as crabby, tired and depressed as me (but more fun, there is that).

Part of what I regret is how little control over the direction of my life I took. I let things happen, or not happen, for better and for worse. Mostly I'm happy with where I have landed: a job I don't hate, a house in the country with someone I love very much, time to knit and weave. But I can't help but feel that there has been a price to pay.

And of course. This all so petty. My mother has a close friend who's teenaged son was killed early this week. Any stupid feelings of regret I have pale in comparison to the horror she must be going through.

Monday, October 16, 2006

10 Knitterly Things About Me

Last month, Grumperina listed "10 Knitterly Things You Didn't Know About Me" and challenged others to do the same. This is my attempt at the list, but I don't know how far I'll get.

1. It's all Martha Stewart's fault. About 10 years ago, I took a weaving class at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and took one of my projects home to tie off the ends. It was a revelation. Not the weaving so much as the "I can do something while watching TV or listening to NPR!" Since I didn't have a loom at home, I tried all kinds of crafts -- mainly cross stitch and wreaths -- and devoured craft magazines, including Martha Stewart Living. One of the issues included knitting instructions and a pretty (and very plain) scarf. I tried it and failed. For some reason, I thought it might be the fault of bad instructions. My mother, who hadn't knit in 30 years, showed me the very little that she remembered and bought me a book: Learn to Knit in Just One Day. It took more than a day, but I've never looked back. And I never cross stitched again.

2. It took something like 2 years before I could see the difference between the knit and purl stitches. I'm pretty dim.

3. Aside from that, knitting just made sense to me from the very beginning. While there was gnashing of teeth, tears, sweat and recriminations, I never wanted to give it up. Ever. Ok, there was that one second I thought I might take up crochet instead when I couldn't figure out how to do that stupid purple ripple afghan (what was I thinking?), but I persevered. And never learned to crochet.

4. I hate to teach knitting and I'm not good at it. I'll do it because I'm all about spreading the gospel, but I just don't have a lot of patience. It's not knitting specifically that I can't teach, I'm really not a teacher.

5. I've only taken one knitting class (on knitting Fair Isle the Philosopher's Wool way). I seem to learn better from books and doing. That could be part of my problem with teaching.

6. I hate knitting scarves and baby blankets. I'll make them, but only under duress or a sense of obligation. Unfortunately for me, it isn't hard to make me feel either duress or obligation.

7. I love knitting needles. All of them. Straights, circulars, and double points. Straight needles are so...knitterly, when you think "knitting" doesn't your mind just go right to straight needles? And I love the rhythm I get into with double points, how the stitches shift around, pulling out the empty needle and sticking it into the new side. I love how it looks complicated, but isn't. And circulars are just so useful.

8. You know those people who tell you they don't have a television, or if they do they never watch it, or they only watch Public Television? That is so not me. I don't know anymore if I watch TV because I knit, or if I knit because I watch TV.

9. I'm way more about texture than color. I love knitting complicated lace and cables, I can even match a color to pattern. But putting colors together? No way. And as much as I love looking at handpainted yarns, I have no idea what to do with them (I suppose it works out, since they are generally too expensive for me anyway). And let's not mention intarsia.

10. I've been thinking a lot lately about Art and Craft and I have come to the conclusion that knitting is Craft, not Art. Unfortunately, I find it really hard to articulate why I believe this, especially when someone like Kaffe Fassett exists. I may try, at some point, to expand this into a full fledged essay, but in general I think art and craft exist along a continuum and that one is not more or less than the other. On one end of the continuum, there is Katharine Cobey, who uses knitting as a medium in her art. On the other end is Eunny, who is a master craftsperson. And Kaffe? Well Kaffe exists along the entire continuum. There is a lot to be said about vision, intention, utility and beauty. But I won't go there now.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Cleaned Up

I think I've gotten the blog cleaned up sufficiently. It isn't the same as it was, and I find change uncomfortable, so I don't know how I feel about it yet. What do you think?

A Visitor

Thanks, Angell, for your comments. Gwen (this picture taken with my old crummy camera) is a mutt. I got her and her brother, Simon, from a random person (my step-mother knew someone who knew someone. That kind of random). She's been the most neurotic cat I've ever known from the very beginning. Simon let me give him a bath the night I brought them home, she wouldn't let me near her for two weeks. She wouldn't let my boyfriend touch her for more than a year and she whines a lot. She isn't allowed in our bedroom any more (unless we are in it) because she pees on everything. But, she is awfully cute and cuddly when she wants to be. Plus I have a pretty sizable financial investment in her (she was very sick a couple of years ago). Anyway, I'm so sorry you lost your's and I do hope you get another (they manage to make their way into your life when you are ready).

Under Construction

Sorry for the mess! On Friday, I decided to "upgrade" (which, right now seems a rather loose term) my blog to Blogger's new Beta version, which includes the ability to label posts. At some point you will be able to see all of the posts in which I show that I am a bit of a dumbass. Unfortunately, I didn't realize what a big change this was going to be and did it late on Friday, so left a big mess here. I'll be working on it over the course of this week.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Monday, October 02, 2006

A Very Fast Shawl

I've been working up a post about comfort reading (it's kind of like comfort food, especially when reading about food), but instead you get pictures of my finished Swallowtail Shawl. I finished it in less than a month, something is wrong with me!
Here it is pre-blocked (on my dirty carpet). A sad, crumpled mess, and tiny.
Here it is blocked. This brought out my obsessive streak with a vengence, to good effect, I think. Both sides look pretty much the same.
I bought my new camera a big memory card. In return, it gave me this picture. I think that makes us engaged.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Pictures of Knitting!

With some PowerShot action:

Now with actual detail!
Swallowtail Shawl, in almost actual color!

Extreme close up, evil nupps* and all!

*Purl 5 together was designed by an evil, sadistic genius. Just sayin'. Then again, I guess I'm a masochist for knitting them; my method involves a very sharp size 0 needle and the potential to poke out an eye. I knit dangerously.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Studies in Tomato

I've had a few days off of canning tomatoes, so I can offer these pictures without swearing like a sailor*.

If these pictures seem like a big step up in quality (and size) from any you've seen here previously, it is because I finally bought a decent camera. A Canon PowerShot A530, if you must know. I'm pretty much in love with it; we'll be married soon.

*To be honest, I suspect my Navy brother-in-law, does not swear as much as I do!