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: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lee-jeannette/

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.