Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Carol Sulcoski

In a brilliant literary move, Carol has taken on the mantle of knitting expert has deservedly put herself in the annals of knitting history with her latest book.

A Place In History

Much like "Principles of Knitting" has taken a place in knitting history, so will Carol's latest book "Knitting Ephemera," which is an incredibly well-done compilation of factoids, quotes, points of interest and fun read...all about the broadly popular topic of knitting.

The photo of the book above is without its dust cover for two reasons...first, it's beautiful, but second, it's how I imagine finding a copy of this gem at an antique book store years from now.  Go here if you are one of the few who haven't seen the book in all its dust-cover glory

Carol will also now be the go-to expert on knitting for any interviewer wanting a depth of knowledge on the subject.  And I couldn't have wanted a more knowledgeable and well-spoken advocate for our craft.

I've written this before about a knitting book, but this book is a must-have in any knitter's library...if you're a knitter or if you know a knitter, this book is the ideal gift (or self-gift).

I couldn't be more pleased to own a copy.

Current Knitting

More work on the nephew cardigan, and I've decided to try something new for me.

A slanted pocket!

Yes, I'm working in slanted pockets into this cardigan and I think it will be quite cool...I've actually been dreaming about how I'll create these pocket openings and the pocket band and the inside pocket liner for a while now.  If they turn out how I've envisioned, they will be useful and nice looking.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Help Beat the Koch Brothers

Here in the U.S., two extremely rich brothers, Charles and David Koch (CEO and EVP of Koch Industries) have used their billions of dollars of inherited wealth to purchase our government.

Take It Back!

Back in 2012, I got to meet Cecelia Tkaczyk, a sheep farmer in Upstate NY who also happened to be running for NY State Senate in a heavily gerrymandered district.  It wasn't likely she was going to win against the incumbent.  I couldn't vote for her, but I could contribute money towards her campaign, so I did.  It wasn't much, but I figured it was enough to purchase a few of those lawn signs getting the woman with the unpronounceable last name, a little name recognition.

It turns out that Cece was elected that 18 votes.  I truly felt I had made a positive difference.

I'm hopeful to do that again.  A friend of mine Chad Putman is running for NY State senate this year against an incumbent who has been in office for over 40 years.  He will be very difficult to unseat based on how they've carved out the district, but if anyone can, it's Chad.

Please help support Chad for NY State would be great to see such a wonderful upset to someone that clearly doesn't care about term limits:

And thank you for any support you can throw his way.

Current Knitting

Now that the Suke-Suke scarf experiment is completed, I have been focusing only on the cardigan for my nephew.

The back is finished (29 inches) and I've just barely started the front-right section.  Cascade Rustic in a Shaker rib is very soft and fluffy.  It's also very light and warm.  It's a great fabric for a nice casual cardigan.

Monday, February 01, 2016


Lately, on a lot of television shows, the culmination of the show is "the reveal" and I've grown to enjoy the anticipation of this type of show summary for a while now.

One of Many Examples

Thaddeus and I enjoy watching "The Dead Files"...a paranormal show where Amy tours the house speaking to the dead and Steve, an ex-homicide detective, interviews the house's occupants and investigates the history of the house.  And then at the end, they synch up their stories at "the reveal."

I find the concept of the show mildly interest, but my interest is definitely multiplied by the concept of the final review of all both Amy and Steve have found out and how close they match.

So, today, I reveal the mystery stitch I was working on last week.

Current Knitting

Last week, you'll remember I was working on a new stitch, but I wasn't sure how it would come out.  I was thinking much like my two other Koigu scarf designs, (Cross Stitch Scarf and Interlocking Crochet Scarf), this design might look fantastic in two or more colorways of Koigu KPPPM yarn.

Here's the result of my reverse-engineering of the pattern stitch.

The scarf is based on a pattern stitch I found on Pinterest and then Ravelry called Suke-Suke by Olga Buraya-Kefelian, and I loved how it looked (I even liked the back of the stitch, which is important for a scarf).  I haven't purchased Olga's pattern...I was able to figure out the stitch pattern without buying it (I think).  I've decided I won't be writing up this scarf pattern for publication for a couple of reasons...mainly because I'd feel like I was copying someone else's design work, but also, because it would be a pain to write up, and it's already written.

For those interested in knitting it, I will ask you to buy the Suke-Suke pattern and let you know that my scarf was knit on US4 (3.5 mm) needles, using fingering/sock weight yarn (I recommend using a smooth yarn...either superwash wool or tightly spun yarn, like Koigu KPPPM), I cast on 215 stitches, did 7 repeats (or really 3 and a half repeats) and ended up with a scarf that, after blocking is about 9.5 inches wide and about 54 inches long.

I can't wait to try working this pattern using Koigu.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

QueerJoe's Top 10 Rules for Successful Knit Blogging

Do you blog about knitting or other fiber arts?  Are you considering starting to blog?

My Hints, Tips and Suggestions for Knit Bloggers

I've been consistently blogging about knitting and queer issues since 2002, and not always well, but I've learned a lot of things about blogging in those years, and thought I might share my top 10 list of "do's and don't's" of knit blogging.
  1. Pick The Right Blog Host Platform - If you're not currently blogging and want to start, make sure you pick the right platform for your blog.  Technologies have changed a lot since I first began blogging...I used to have to FTP photographs to my blog server and then write my own HTML to embed the photographs into a blog entry.  While I have ended up on Blogger as my platform,  I don't know that I would have chosen it if I was starting today.  Here is a great, simple comparative guide of many of the popular blog platforms.  In my mind, it's a matter of deciding between flexibility/functionality and technical abilities.
  2. Pick a Theme and Stick With It - I blog about fiber arts and queer issues.  Every blog entry I've ever done has one or both of those in it.  Don't start a knitting blog and then start writing posts only about your latest, favorite recipe.  Unless that's part of your theme...knit blog with Recipe-Thursday get the idea.
  3. Post Regularly and Persistently - Nothing bugs the shit out of me more than fast finishers...especially in blogging.  Don't start blogging without committing to it for at least a year.  Nothing worse than getting all excited about a new blog, and it peters out faster than a...well, again you get the idea.
  4. Post a LOT of Photos - Even if you write exceptionally well, and you're very witty (like Franklin or Stephanie), people are still usually more visual and want to see bright, vibrant, well-staged photos.  My photos aren't always anywhere close to that and the quality of my photos is probably one of the reasons I'm not a top-tier knit-blogger.
  5. Do You Knit Enough to Supply Blog Content? - Knitting isn't the fastest hobby on the planet, so make sure you'll be able to keep up with the demand.  Yarn store purchases, fiber-related flea-market finds, gifts of pattern books...all of those help fill in the gaps when you can't knit quite fast enough.
  6. Pay For a Domain - Nothing says you're committed to continued blogging as your purchase of a domain name to represent yourself.  It's relatively cheap, although, you do have to know how to forward your blogging platform to the domain name, but it's worth it.  I love that's I've been for all this time.
  7. Let Readers Get to Know You - Blog readers want a relationship with you.  Let them have one.  Include lists of "100 Things About Me".  Post photos of yourself, your partner/spouse, your pets.  Reply to comments and/or e-mails to make sure readers know you're actively participating.  Make sure you keep the important things cautious about posting photos of children, location information in your photos, work-related things you don't want public, etc.
  8. Market Your Blog - There are a number of ways to do actively about lots of things in Social Media...and make some of those posts about your blog entries (with links), participate on others' blogs through comments, but be careful about posting links in comments without permission.  Use the label settings to include search terms about your blog, so that it shows up in search engines more.  Have contests and prizes.  Ask other like-blogs to exchange links.  Link to other more popular like-blogs.  Set up an RSS feed (if you don't know what it is, it might be worth looking up) Don't be discouraged if you don't get hundreds of readers a day right away...just keep at it.
  9. Consider Monetizing Your Blog - You're not likely to make a ton of money even with a very popular blog, but I do make enough to pay for the blog costs.  Here is a good blog post about a bunch of bloggers' ideas on monetization and how to do it.  And know that you have to balance the possibility of alienating readers with flashing ads to what minimal income you get doing it.
  10. Enjoy Yourself - If blogging isn't fun, stop doing it.  For me, it's never been a chore.  I love interacting with readers, I love the excitement of coming up with a new topic I think y'all will like.  I love writing.  I love being a minor celebrity in the online community of knitters.

Current Knitting

See?  There is knitting content!  Kind of.

Here are the three projects I'm currently and actively working on.  The niece blanket, the nephew cardigan and the experimental stitch project.  I've made significant progress on the experimental stitch, mostly because it's like a lace project that looks like a lump of yarn before it's blocked.

Readers' Comments/Questions

Regarding the experimental stitch project, Sue H. writes, "what does the stitch look like when completed? Please show!"

Someone has taken a lot of effort writing up a beautiful pattern for this stitch and I'd prefer to give her credit and I'd prefer not to give away all the secrets of this cool pattern stitch.  So, if my experiment comes out well, I will be pointing you to this designer's pattern in all it's glory.  I'm making a different type of garment, so I may give supplemental information about mine, but it will still require that you purchase her pattern for the stitch, or re-engineer it yourself.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Reading My Knitting

Many long-time knitters say that the most important skill in knitting, is to be able to "read" your knitting...or understand how a stitch looks on the needles, so you know when it looks wrong  (here's a great blog on doing that).

Needing a New Skill Set

I've recently decided to try and re-engineer a stitch I saw on-line, which requires that I do a "tuck stitch", by counting down rows below my needle on the reverse side of stockinette stitch, and I really have no idea what I'm doing.

Don't get me wrong, I can clearly see the difference between a knit and a purl stitch and my fingers even feel when a stitch has been twisted when I go to knit or purl it.  I can easily count rows on the right side of stockinette as well, but counting them on the wrong side has got me stymied.

So I came up with a way of marking the stitches with a coil-less safety pin, so that when I get up to the place where I need to count down rows, they will already be marked.

I honestly thought that after doing a few of these tuck stitches, I'd be able to recognize 9 rows below on the purl side of the stockinette stitch...I still can't, so I'm just sticking with my stitch markers.

Current Knitting

Yes, I did start a new project...I saw a really cool looking stitch and I just HAD to try and re-create it.

I'm going to keep this one un-named for now...until I've successfully re-created the stitch and that one be established until the garment is finished.  More to come.

I did also do some additional snow-bound work on the niece blanket.

It's moving along a bit more quickly than most linen stitch blankets I've made...thank Dog!