Wednesday, December 28, 2005

IT'S VOTING TIME!!!!

Yes, I've tallied all of the nominations, and programmed a voting page. Congratulations to all those nominated, and good luck to those in the running.

Knit Blog Award Voting Rules
I must start by saying that my programming and HTML skills suck, so hopefully, this voting will go smoothly.

I have been able to limit folks capability for multiple voting, but not eliminate it entirely, so this year's awards may not be the most democratic of Knit Blog Award history. I would ask that you only vote once per day at the most between now and the end of voting.

I also haven't been able to disallow voters from seeing the results of the voting when they submit their votes. I would have preferred letting that be a surprise, but alas, I can't with my limited abilities.

Finally, voting might be a little cumbersome, since you will need to return back to the voting page for each category you decide to vote for and click on the "Submit Vote" button for each category. Not overly user friendly, but it's the best I could do.

Voting will continue until midnight on Friday, January 6th, 2006 (Eastern U.S. time).

Shortly thereafter, winners will be announced and posted to the Knit Blog Awards official website.

Let the voting begin.

Knit Blog Awards Voting

Hopefully, at the least, this will expose folks to a lot of new knitting blogs

Monday, December 26, 2005

Last Opportunity

Today is the last day for nominating knitting blogs for the 2005 Knit Blog Awards.

Nomination Deadline
Tonight at midnight, Eastern Time, will be the last time I will be accepting nominations for the 2005 Knit Blog Awards.

You can read the rules here.

You can send your nomination here.


I'll blog later about Christmas and knitting and other related commentary. Life has been busy setting up the voting and tallying nominations.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Communism vs. Fascism

A couple of comments questioned my label of domestic spying as communism.

Incomplete Thoughts
I agree that fascism is the term I should have used to describe it. I was thinking more along the lines of what the communist USSR was doing to their citizens and not communism as an ideal. Sometimes when I blog in haste, I forget you don't have the benefit of knowing what I'm thinking.

Ironic how President Reagan fought so vehemently against the Soviet practices, and this president feels completely justified.

Blog Awards
First of all, thank you all for your nominations and the comments some of you have included in your e-mails. I don't have the time to administer the awards and also reply back to everyone, so please excuse me if I don't reply to your comments.

One nominater, whose opinion I value, wrote the following:


"I don't know how set you are on the criteria you will use to choose the finalists, but I strongly urge you to use your own discretion, in addition to popularity of nominations. I've already seen buzz on some knitting lists and boards, and get the impression that a lot of people are basing their nominations on friendship or kissing up, and not on which blogs they earnestly think are best. I'd hate to see a blog make it to the finals because someone has a lot of friends on the Knittyboard, instead of someone who has many fans who appreciate their blog outside of their personal relationship with the blogger. I know it's likely that these awards will turn into a popularity contest of sorts once we get to vote on finalists, but I think it would be fantastic if those who make it to the finals get there based on blog quality, as much as is possible."

Ideally, I would have preferred to have an awards committee that would have helped establish the criteria for nomination, helped choose the nominations and vote on the winners. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to organize that this year, and so I settled for a democratic method. I know it's not perfect, but hopefully it will be better in future years.

Current Knitting
I've finished the first of the two sleeve lengthenings on the wool/hemp sweater, and I'm hoping to finish the second one this weekend (despite all the craziness I'm expecting at home).

I also have to decide on whether I'll go back to the lace design project, or start a new sweater. Since I have off of work next week, I think I'll focus on the lace, but we'll see how it goes.

Merry Christmas
Since this will probably be my last post before Christmas, I hope you all enjoy the holiday (even if you don't celebrate it). I figure with pregnant virgins and flying reindeer, you can't really go wrong with a holiday.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Checks and Balances

I feel I must comment on the presidents "constitutional right" and his authorization to allow domestic spying 30 times since 9/11.

What About My Constitutional Rights?
I can honestly understand that a president might want to bypass certain laws to make sure his country is free of terrorists and terrorist acts. But it honestly worries the shit out of me that this president and his administration have no understanding or concern for the downstream impact this kind of decision could have on civil freedoms. Ignorance may be bliss for him, but it's hell for others.

Since his 30 authorizations to allow domestic spying, two important tramplings of civil rights have occurred and been reported on without anyone to oversee.

A protest in February at New York University, with the law school's LGBT advocacy group was classified as "possibly violent" by the Pentagon.

In addition, a "don't ask, don't tell" protest at the University of California at Santa Cruz that featured a gay kiss-in was labeled by the Pentagon as a "credible threat" of terrorism.

Neither of these protests could reasonably be considered as potential terrorism. And even if they were examples of "rogue agents" displaying personal discrimination, they most probably wouldn't have happened if a subpeona had been required to spy on the two groups.

I think that if the president can feel empowered to authorize this form of Communism in this country, then he should be responsible for verifying that it's not abused.

Knit Blog Awards
So far the nominations have been quite popular with blog readers from all over. We've gotten over 100 nominations, and they continue to roll in. You've only got until this Monday, December 26th to get in your nomination.

Check out the rules at www.knitblogawards.com.

Nominate blogs at nominations@knitblogawards.com

Quilt Finishing
Believe it or not, I still haven't sent the quilt off to be finished.

Honestly, I just sewed together the pieces of the backing this past weekend, so now it really is all ready to be sent out...once I get the okay from the finisher I want to do it for me.



Hopefully, it will keep us warm next Winter.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Missing Links

I realized I should have included links in yesterday's post for the Knit Blog Awards main page and for the e-mail link for nominations. Here they are:

Knit Blog Awards Web Site

nominations@knitblogawards.com

Other Weekend Knitting
In addition to getting the body extension done for the wool/hemp sweater, I also did quite a bit of work on the kid alpaca bed spread (you remember...the "faintly fecal" colored one).



You'd never know it, but I actually did over an inch of knitting on this project over the weekend. And that is the reason I decided long ago that I couldn't maintain a blog if this blanket was my only project.

Could you imagine the boredom of seeing this project grow by millimeters?

Christmas Plans
Marilyn had a very atypical, yet wonderful blog entry about Christmas time with the Curmudgeon family, so I thought I'd share my family's plans this year.

There are seven kids in my family, all of whom have either a partner or an ex-partner, and all but Thaddeus and I have procreated. Since my mother lives down the road from me, it was decided that the entire family would come to my home town for Christmas this year. Unfortunately, my oldest brother and his family won't be able to make it, but that still leaves the unthinkable chaos of me and five siblings, five partners/spouses, twelve nieces and nephews and my mom and her husband.

I'm looking forward to it with some trepidation.

My mother and sister are hosting the larger dining events...they are braver women than I am. I'm hosting a mere dessert/coffee on Friday night.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Knit Blog Awards - Again

I have received nominations from about fifty people so far, and already some categories have exceeded the limit of ten nominations. So, the number of nominations for a blog will make a difference as to whether you will get to vote for the blog.

Knit Blog Award Clarifications
Some questions have come up with regard to the rules.

Ted asks, "I have blogs I'd like to nominate for several categories, but I'm puzzled as to why "number of other sites that link to the newcomer's blog" is listed as criteria for any of the catagories other than the newcomers blog. Is that specification is a copy/paste error in these other categories?"

Some of the criteria is common to all the categories. I considered that links from other bloggers are usually a good indication that the blog is one that even other bloggers read, so it would apply to even a newcomer's blog as one of the criteria for evaluation.

Cynthia asks, "Are you exempt?"

Not that I would expect to win anything anyway, but I won't accept a nomination for an award since I'm doing most of the administration of the awards, and didn't think it was fair to include myself.

Cindy and La ask "Did you ever see this site: http://knottygirls.com/jenlablog...index.php? p=175. It might give you some ideas?"

I wish I had been able to find these awards from last year in a Google search before I started this effort. Their categories are very funny.

Marcia asks, "The "Quality of Comments" criteria is a bit confusing. Are you saying blogs will be partially judged on the overall, sheer genius or fucktardedness their commenters? If so, how does one measure that?

One way I evaluate a knitting blog is by the folks that participate in the comments forum for that blog. So, for instance, if I believe the commenters add to the interest of a blog, I am more likely to read that blog.

Jay notes, "It'll be a good launching pad for blogs that people aren't familiar with though!"

I totally agree with this comment. The most commonly nominated blog is one that I had never even heard of until now.

Current Knitting
I did finish the knitting and the grafting of the body on the wool/hemp sweater.



I know the picture sucks, but even if it was clear as a bell, you still wouldn't be able to see where I grafted it together.

Who is this Kitchener and how did s/he come up with such a great technique?

I still have to lengthen the sleeves a little.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

2005 Knit Blog Awards

It's official. I have decided to organize the first annual Knit Blog Awards.

Knit Blog Awards Particulars
The official name of the awards is "The Knit Blog Awards", with an acronym of KBA. Unofficially, they will be know as the Knibbies. Thanks to reader, Gail, we will also have an official website soon, www.knitblogawards.com.

For the first year, the Knit Blog Awards Committee (the KBAC) will keep it somewhat simple. There will be a total of four awards for 2005:

Best New Knitting Blog
Best Technical Knitting Blog
Most Entertaining Knitting Blog
Best Overall Knitting Blog

We will accept nominations for each of the four categories for approximately 12 days. Up to ten blogs in each category will then be put up for a popular vote for the following 10 days. If more than ten blogs are nominated, only the ten most commonly nominated blogs that meet the category criteria will be listed and available for voting.

The criteria for nomination and voting should be as follows:

Best New Knitting Blog
Blog should have been started within the award year, or the prior year. The blog should be evaluated on the following criteria:


- Quality of writing
- Overall look of the blog
- How well the blog promotes knitting
- How quickly the new blog has garnered a regular readership, as evidenced by:
- Number of visitors (if publicly available)
- Number of other sites that link to the newcomer's blog
- Frequency of being mentioned on knitting list and in other blogs
- Consistency and frequency of posting
- Quality of comments (if applicable)

Best Technical Knitting Blog
Blog should be based on the following criteria

- Quality and quantity of useful knitting tips and techniques
- Blogger's demonstration of technical ability through personal knitting projects
- Overall look of the blog
- How popular the blog is with readers, as evidenced by:
- Number of visitors (if publicly available)
- Number of other sites that link to the newcomer's blog
- Frequency of being mentioned on knitting list and in other blogs
- Consistency and frequency of posting
- Quality of comments (if applicable)

Most Entertaining Knitting Blog
Blog should be based on the following criteria

- Quality and appeal of writing
- Blogger's application of writing skills relevant to knitting
- Overall look of the blog
- How popular the blog is with readers, as evidenced by:
- Number of visitors (if publicly available)
- Number of other sites that link to the newcomer's blog
- Frequency of being mentioned on knitting list and in other blogs
- Consistency and frequency of posting
- Quality of comments (if applicable)

Best Overall Knitting Blog
Blog should be based on the following criteria

- A combination of any or all of the criteria for the other categories
- Overall look of the blog
- How popular the blog is with readers, as evidenced by:
- Number of visitors (if publicly available)
- Number of other sites that link to the newcomer's blog
- Frequency of being mentioned on knitting list and in other blogs
- Consistency and frequency of posting
- Quality of comments (if applicable)


Knit Blog Awards Rules
Blogs can be nominated and win awards for multiple categories. While it will be impossible to prohibit cheating, nominators and voters are encouraged to only submit one list of nominations and to vote only once.

I think in future years, I may have to pull together a KBA committee
who will select winners based on committee-determined criteria. This year, it will be based on who can get their readers to vote more.

Knit Blog Awards Dates
Starting today, I will begin accepting nominations for each of the categories via e-mail. Again, thanks to Gail, you can e-mail your nomination(s) to:

nominations@knitblogawards.com

Please submit only one e-mail which can contain nominations for any or all of the categories listed above.

You can nominate the same blog for multiple categories.

Please limit nominations to one blog per category.

So, for instance, you can nominate "Acme Knitting Blog" for Best New Knitting Blog, and "Ace Knitting Blog" for Best Overall Knitting Blog, but not "Acme Knitting Blog" and "Ace Knitting Blog" for Best Overall Knitting Blog).

I will accept nominations until Monday, December 26th, 2005, Midnight, Eastern Standard Time.

After that time, I will set up voting for the top ten most nominated blogs in each category. Voting will continue through midnight on January 6, 2006 and winners will be announced Monday, January 9, 2006.

Knit Blog Awards Winners
Winners in each category will be sent a blog "button" that they will be able to proudly display, and listing on the page for official winners of the 2005 Knit Blog Awards. Franklin has graciously offered to design and create the winning blog button.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Bad Morning

Waking up to sub-zero (Farenheit) temperatures is not my idea of fun.

It Gets Worse
After five hours sleep, I woke up tired and cold, and I had to get ready quickly so I could stop to get gas. My tank was close to empty.

Carefully wrapped in my gay pride scarf (a gift from James last year), I scraped frost off my windshield, and made my way to the only gas station near my hotel. Inserting a credit card, pressing the "regular" octane button and lifting the nozzle, I tried to pump gas, but nothing came out. I try again. Again, nothing.

I move to a different pump...same result. I go inside the little gas-mart, and ask if there are problems. She tells me that she's restarted my pump, but the pumps often don't work when it's cold.

Uh...hello???...it's fucking Albany, NY...don't you think it might be a good idea getting gas tanks that work when it's cold? (I thought this, but didn't say it.)

On fumes, I made it to another gas station. But, of course, I had to deal with unbelievably bad drivers.

Given my reaction to the events of the morning, I realized I was just destined for a bad day, and it probably had more to do with my mood than the actual events.

Knit Meet-Up
I got a chance to sit and chat with Selma (the axe murderess) last evening at the local Starbucks. It is always great to see her.

We pored over the latest Interweave Knits magazine.



Overall, it wasn't very good, and I don't think that I'll buy this issue, although some of you may want to own this issue for one or two of the women's designs.

The two really great designs were both kimono-like jackets. Both had excellent shaping and used great colors. The best of the two had a pleat in the back that was very nice looking. There was also a short-row hat by Veronik Avery that was quite cute (it went along with an extensive article on short-row techniques).

I got a chance to show Selma the "faintly fecal" colored kid alpaca blanket, and one of the Brooks Farms scarves that I did using the Koigu Cross Stitch pattern. Since she is going to be making a similar scarf, I thought I'd show her how to do the stitch, since it's much easier to do than it is to understand from the pattern.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Thank you all for your comments/suggestions on the self-striping yarn I'm trying to spin.

Marilyn says, "I would definitely let the plyed yarn sit for a few days. That might help, although I'm not hopeful."

This is exactly my thoughts about it. I am considering trying to just steam the yarn a little (while trying not to ruin the bobbin) to see if just a little bit more humidity will help the join hold, just so I can get it off the bobbin in one piece. For the next time I attempt them kind of plying, I'm thinking I might run a binding thread along with the colors to have a continuous fiber that will hopefully keep the joins together.

I also like what Carol said. "Sometimes you learn more from that, actually seeing why it doesn't work, than just abandoning the idea."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

GLBT History 101

Being the self-centered, egotistical queen that I am, I am always surprised when one of my open-minded, liberal friends has never heard of Stonewall, or the fact that gay men were more brutally treated than most other prisoners in the Nazi war camps.



The Pink Triangle
That's why I was very gratified to see Carol's blog post from the other day on the death of a gay holocaust survivor. It's a very moving blog entry, about someone I didn't know anything about, but am glad I do now.

Most of my straight friends aren't aware that gays had their own symbol pinned to their prison shirt, similar to the yellow star of David to denote a Jew. The symbol for gays was a pink triangle. In later years, the symbol was reclaimed as a symbol of gay pride, but I always try to let folks know of the origin of that symbol. Check out more of the history if you're interested.

Current Knitting
I finished securing both rows of active stitches on the wool/hemp sweater and even knit about an inch of the two inches I have to add to the body. The knitting doesn't take anywhere near as long as the separation of ribbing from the body and securing all the stitches. Grafting will also take a little while.

Hopefully the sleeves will go a little more quickly.

I even did a couple of rows on the kid alpaca blanket yesterday.

Weekend Spinning
There's good news and better news and awful news.

The good news is that I finished spinning all the merino singles and wound them off onto individual balls for plying.



The better news is that I was able to double-ply individual colors. It took me a while to get somewhat efficient at the process, but overall, I was quite happy with the result. Don't get me wrong, there is some barber-poling effect at the joins, and I had to slightly over-ply, but overall, I was quite happy with how it was plying up.



The awful news is that when I tried to wind off the bobbin onto a skein, at least 3 out of the first 4 joins came loose...UGH!.

I know a lot of you told me not to waste my time trying this, but I am definitely someone that has to touch a hot burner to know that it's hot. I also think I might be able to salvage this (I mean, afterall, I'm so close!) by seeing if the joins will hold if I let the yarn set up and relax into the ply a little before trying to wind off the remaining yarn off the bobbin.

Otherwise, I'm not sure what I'll do.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Taking The Christ Out of Christmas

It appears as nothing short of ingenuous when a so-called Christian is offended when Walmart announces a "Holiday" sale.

The White House Holiday Card
Did you hear that the Christian right is pissed off that Bush's White House sent out cards that said "Season's Greetings" and a verse from Psalms?

Yes, they see it as another demonstration that folks are de-Christianizing the yuletide, and that the card is just another example of how folks are losing sight of the purpose of Christmas.

As far as Walmart is concerned, I will rely on a quote from Scott Simon of NPR:

"What!?!?, retailers are trying to commercialize Christmas?!?!?

Uh, hello...wouldn't you want to market to the largest possible holiday crowd if you were in their shoes?

If you believe in Christ, please go celebrate a holy Christmas day (even though your savior was actually born in June or July), but please, leave us heathens to celebrate as we will.

Weekend Knitting
I couldn't face working on the lace project, so I went with the closest project I could stand working on.



This is the Bed Spread/Grave Blanket that I started years ago, using a fine baby alpaca that is soft as silk, light as air and warm as hell. The color is hideous, but eventually, I will dye it some other color.

This does have some yarn-overs and right and left slanting decreases, so it's almost lace.

I also put in some work on the wool/hemp sweater that I finished about a month ago



I gave the sweater to my friend Stephen, and it was about 1 or 2 inches too short in both the body and the sleeves. I didn't want to have to re-do the ribbing, so I just severed the body from the ribbing, picked up stitches and I'll insert an inch and a half before re-grafting the ribbing.

I'll do the same for the sleeves.

Blog Awards
Despite all opposition and criticism, I think I'll go forward with this idea. What's the worst that happens? The winners will be blogs I don't like and I never do the awards again? I don't consider that a very big cost.

More details to follow this week.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Blog Awards

Has anyone ever started a blog awards contest specifically for knitting or fiber related blogs?

Historical Awards
At one point, blogmechanics.com had some sort of blog awards, which included a category for knitting or fiber crafts, but they don't seem to be around.

I'm thinking there needs to be some place to nominate and vote for various knit-related blogs. I'd consider running the contest myself, but I'm afraid that even if I took myself out of the competition, my preferenences for others' blogs might sway voting.

If folks would like me to take nominations, I'd be glad to initiate this. Perhaps we could get some clever graphic designer to design a "Best Knit Blog" button that the winner could boast with on their site?

I'd be interested to hear others' thoughts on this.

Current Knitting
Yesterday was a very busy work/social day, and I got absolutely no knitting done. I did however, re-teach a friend up here how to knit. He's actually quite good at it with very little practice.

Other Weekend Fiber Activity
I finally finished spinning all the different colors of merino singles.



Okay...so I have a little bit left undone. I will be done with all the singles this weekend, and I will hopefully get a chance to experiment with plying. Wish me luck.

I did do some additional work on the lovely tan roving on the Robin wheel (no, that's NOT it's name...I don't name inanimate objects...who the fuck would do that?).



When I get a chance to dedicate some time to this incredible wool, I really think the result is going to be exquisite.

Monday, December 05, 2005

More Blog Fame

Hey...check it out! I've been quoted again, this time by Bust Magazine.

Men Knitting Article
Kelly Schindler has an article in the current issue of Bust Magazine on guys who craft.



I found the magazine last night at my local B&N, and it's an extremely well researched and well written article on guys that play in the fiber arts. She mentions many of the male knit bloggers, like James , Jon, Tricky, and Jerry Gaiser. She also gives a lot of well-deserved publicity to the guys at ThreadBear Fiber Arts

I did an interview with Kelly months ago, and she wasn't sure if the article would ever get written or published, so I had completely forgotten about it. What a nice surprise. I have Kristin D. to thank for letting me know about the article. She sent me an e-mail over the weekend with the particulars.

Wow, I feel as famous as Lily and Annie.

Current Knitting
I got a little side-tracked. A friend asked me if I could modify his commercially-made open-finger gloves. All of the fingers were open at the end, but the thumb wasn't and he wanted me to open it. The gloves also had a mitten-flap that he wanted removed.

Removing the mitten-flap was easy. It was loosely sewn on. The thumb was a little more difficult. First of all, there was a thin leather covering of the palm that extended up the thumb, so I had to be careful not to unravel past where that was sewn on. The glove was also lined with Thinsulate, including in the thumb, so it was hard to get inside the thumb.

I ended up just snipping the top, unraveling down to the leather patch and binding off with the unravelled yarn. I don't know what he'll think about the Thinsulate sticking out.

I did no work on the watchcap or the lace.

Blog Gifts
I don't know how James does it, but he sent out a bunch of Christmas gifts to blog friends, and again, knit all of his wrapping materials. I was lucky enough to be one of the recipients.



His lovely card from New Zealand had some wonderful comments as well. What a great guy.

Knitting Sucks!

Or at least mine does lately. Quilting is starting to look better and better.

Current Knitting
I restarted my lace project...again. This time, I cast on and knit a few rows in plain stockinette stitch. Then I purled one row of slippery yarn, in a color that easily contrasts with my laceweight merino. Then I put dozens of stitch markers wherever they would help me keep my stitch pattern correct.

Then I mysteriously found two extra stitches, dropped about a dozen stitches while trying to fix that and said "fuck it!"



I will go back to it this week, but I had to put it away for a while before I burned the yarn.

I cast on for a simple ribbed watch cap for Thaddeus so that I could have some mindless knitting to work on.



It's hard to see the rib because of the color, and harder to see the size since it's on a 12 inch needle. I will finish the hat this week before I restart the lace AGAIN!

Readers' Comments/Questions
Concerning the new lace project, Marilyn asks, "Is this lace pattern knitted lace or lace knitting? That is, patterned on one side or on both? Patterning, e.g., yo's, on both sides can be extremely taxing, especially if you find you have to include a yo in a decrease."

Since it's on both sides, I'm assuming that would be lace knitting. And yes, "extremely taxing" is a mild descriptive of how I feel about it right now.

Lisa asks, "I understand the theory of a safety line, but not actually how one does it--you thread the dental floss or what have you through a row of stitches so that you have something to rip back to?"

The safety line gets threaded through the active stitches, not knitted in as you go along. The technique works best when you're working on a cable needle. Ever five or ten rows of successful knitting, I move all my stitches to the thinner cable between the needles and thread through a slippery yarn.

Duffy asks, "You mentioned yesterday that you think the chart may be off. Have you considered taking the instructions and doing your own?"

I'm pretty certain it's my knitting, and not the chart that's off (I was just trying to blame someone else). Once I understand this stitch pattern a little better, I will probably rewrite the 8 row pattern repeat in shorthand, so I can remember it more easily.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Blogger's Resentment

It's my own damn fault. If I'm going to freely offer my help, then I shouldn't be resentful when I get stymied by blog reader ignorance.

Blog Reader Don't
I got an e-mail from someone this morning, who has never read my blog, but found it during a Google search for a Charlie Brown scarf pattern. She wanted to know if knew where she could find such a pattern.

I don't know of any such pattern, but I thought she might want to know how she could make her own knitting graph to make an intarsia Charlie Brown herself.

So, I explain in great detail how she can print off her own knitter's graph paper, and then print a graphic of her choice onto the graph paper.

I also make the suggestion that she could knit a plain pale yellow scarf with a zig-zag black stripe, to look like Charlie Brown's shirt.

When I go to send the e-mail, it comes back that her e-mail address doesn't accept mail from anyone outside her mailing list.

If you really want to piss off a blogger, this would be a good way to do it.

Current Knitting
I've hit another milestone in my lace knitting. I knitted and ripped out five rows of lace knitting.

I'm debating whether I should just give up on this pattern stitch and do something else, but being the stubborn idiot that I am, I will try at least one more time.

This time, I will put in some stitch markers to help me keep track of where I am. I also fully anticipate using the "safety line" technique once I get up to about 10 rows or so.

Other Fiber Activity
This past weekend, I made a small amount of progress on the blue spruce merino. I know I've said this before, but I'm hoping that I finish it this weekend.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Cheryl asks, "Well aren't you glad that Thaddeus didn't love Phoenix?"

I don't know how we got so lucky, but Thaddeus and I have very similar taste when it comes to things like movies and interior decorating and places to live. So it's no surprise that neither of us wanted to move to the Phoenix area.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Meeting Celebrities

If you want to be interesting, be genuinely interested.

Bad Manners
At the concert the other night, there were two local on-air personalities from the local NBC news affilliate sitting behind me. Since the concert wasn't in the area where I stay, I didn't recognize them, but a man in front of me did, and pointed rather drunkenly at them and said, "Hey, you're the news ladies...I don't even know your names."

Both of them smiled politely and nodded. They were clearly used to dealing with idiots on a regular basis.

At intermission I was chatting with one of them, and she was very nice. I found that by asking her questions about her, she found me extremely interesting. She seemed to appreciate being able to let down her guard a little, and also appreciative of non-glaring attention.

Current Knitting
I've had to completely rip back the lace knitting twice now, and I'm starting to get frustrated. I'm actually thinking that the initial pattern stitch I've selected might require more concentration than I currently care to give to it.

I've just re-completed the first three rows, and now I'm struggling with the fourth row again. At least I know I have the correct number of stitches, but this row in the pattern graph just doesn't seem to look right. I think I'll just carry on and hope for the best.

Completed Reading
I forgot to mention in my description of the book The Traveler, that the author mentions The Panopticon a number of times. Even though I've been reading Franklin's blog for a while, I never took the time to find out what Panopticon actually meant.

I still have no idea how Franklin named his blog, but the concept is interesting nonetheless.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the Barenaked Ladies, nod asks, "Why didn't you want to meet the band? They are super nice."

Actually, they seem like very funny, genuine guys. I was just still feeling a little intimidated at my lack of BNL music and history.

In response to a comment from Shelle, Frank writes, "I live in Phoenix, in a lovely community called Moon Valley and I don't happen to think it is a pit at all."

I agree with Frank, and I don't think Phoenix is a pit and that most areas have at least some crappy areas. I didn't mean to disparage Phoenix at all. It's just not the kind of place that I would choose to live.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Concert Madness

Concerts have changed a lot since I used to go, and I blame cell phones for any of the things that are worse now than they used to be.

Barenaked Ladies
First of all, I have to say the concert was great. I've always like Canadians, but these boys give their countrymen a very good name.

They sang most of my newly learned favorite songs, and they brought an energy to their songs that was very appealing and highly enjoyable. If given the opportunity, I would absolutely recommend seeing these guys.



I didn't end up getting to meet them at a pre-concert reception, which I was kind of relieved about.

Vacation Reading
I forgot to mention that I ended up reading two books while on vacation last week.



The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks was an interesting fantasy novel that harshly criticizes the constant encroachment of government and commercial industry on our privacy and civil liberties. This isn't usually the type of novel I would read, but it was enjoyable, light reading. Perfect for vacation.



Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote, was an excellent little short story, that I read after having seen the movie, Capote. I loved getting wrapped up in the lives of the two main characters. It was the first time I had read anything by Capote, and I can clearly see why his writing is considered genius. There were three shorter stories in this book that I also enjoyed reading. I've also purchased In Cold Blood and I'm looking forward to starting it in the near future.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Marilyn asks, "So what's the lace garment? Or is it a secret?"

It's going to be a rectangular wrap. Currently, I'm planning on making the center panel with three diamonds going across, over a background of a very loose lace pattern stitch. Once that part is done, I'll try to figure out an appropriate border.

Carol S. asks, "Isn't 'southwestern style' a bit of an oxymoron?"

I know she asked this as a joke, but I have seen some extremely well done interiors done in Southwestern, but it takes a true expert to do it well. I liken it to the difference between some nerd mixing stripes and plaids, and Kaffe doing the same thing.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Southwestern Style

As a decorating style, I have never been too fond of "Southwestern," but it seems my living room has taken on that flavor despite any personal preferences.

Outside Influences
When Thaddeus and I first bought our house about 15 years ago, we decided we were in no rush to furnish or decorate the place. We made a concious decision to find good furnishings that we both liked, and not hurry through the process.

One of the first pieces of furniture we bought for our living room is a beautiful thick, cherry wood couch with cushions. We had a choice of upholstery, and selected a fabric that turned out looking a bit more Southwest than I would have expected.



While I still love the couch, many of our friends or family that came to the house assumed we were going for a Southwestern look, and bought gifts that reflected that. So, despite the fact that this is the only Southwester-looking piece of furnitrue in the house, folks still seem to think we're decorating in a Southwestern style.

Current Knitting
It seemed odd to me that the scarves I knit whilst on vacation in Arizona had a distinctly Southwestern feel to them, and it was completely unplanned.

I've decided to start a new project, using the laceweight merino I bought from Skaska Designs at Rhinebeck.



I'm designing my own lace garment, so between the incredibly small gauge for this yarn and the trial and error nature of my design process, I don't expect to have this project grow incredibly fast at the beginning.

New Web Site
I got an e-mail from new blog-knitter, Matt, and thought folks might like to take a look at his web site.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Emma asks via e-mail, whether she could purchase the Koigu Cross Stitch Scarf pattern directly from me, instead of getting it from The Knitting Vault.

Emma, I tried to respond via e-mail, but your e-mail address errored out on me, so I'll answer your question here for everyone to see. You can purchase the pattern directly from me for the same price as The Knitting Vault, but there are two hitches. First, I don't send a pattern with a picture, like you'll get on the Knitting Vault, and second, you'll have to use PayPal to buy it from me, whereas, TKV takes charge cards. I also have an agreement with TKV to not sell the pattern for any less than I charge on their site.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Arizona Dissappointments

Back from a week-long trip to the Grand Canyon State (although, we didn't go to the Grand Canyon) and I have mixed emotions about Arizona now that I've seen some of it.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
First of all, we stayed in a lovely Westin resort in Scottsdale. The Phoenix/Scottsdale area is beautiful and our weather was perfect. I even got to spend some time around the pool. The Phoenix area has some very nice restaurants. One Thai place in particular, Thai Lana, had excellent food that we enjoyed a lot.

However, I couldn't ever see my self living in Scottsdale. It would feel too much like being a regular character on the Golden Girls. Everything seemed so staged, that I don't think I would enjoy living there at all.

On Tuesday, we took an overnight trip down to Bisbee, Arizona, which is about 2 hours Southeast of Tuscon (which is about 2 hours Southeast of Scottsdale). This was the place we had been investigating via the web for about a year, and neither Thaddeus, nor I was very impressed. It is a lovely town, but the housing is run down and looking dilapidated. I don't think they've ever condemned a building in that town, although we saw a few that should have been. And while I'm sure we could have found a house that would have met our asthetic tastes and our needs, I didn't find that there was anything to do in Bisbee at night, other than go to bars or socialize with friends. There were a couple of good restaurants, but no movie theaters or other entertainment.

Thaddeus did end up buying a hat while we were in Bisbee. There is an exceptional hat store in town, where he found the exact hat he's been looking for.



This isn't the hat he bought. His was a deep gray, rabbit fur, felt hat, that he had customized with a simple black band of leather. It fits him to a "T". The man in the picture was the one who sold us the hat. He, like most of the folks from Arizona I met, was extremely pleasant.

Finally, we went up to Sedona. For those who have been, I don't have to tell you that it's truly beautiful. I didn't take any pictures, because my camera battery died, but feel free to do an image search on Google for Sedona. Other folks have taken much better pictures than I could have anyway.

Current Knitting
I finished a total of three scarves during my travels, all of them using the Brooks Farm yarns and the Koigu Cross Stitch pattern (slightly revised to get the length and width I wanted in the scarves). The first scarf, which was pictured in the last entry, was way too short, so I also made it somewhat narrow and figure it would make a beautiful scarf for a little girl.

Then I made these two scarves.



Here's a closeup of the unblocked fabric.



I love how these scarves turned out, and the Brooks Farm wool/silk yarn was both the perfect fiber and amazing colors.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Completion

This weekend was all about trying to finish outstanding projects.

Bad At Multi-Tasking
What can I say, I'm a 16 bit kinda guy in a 32 bit world.

When I try to get a lot done, I seem to get less done overall.

Current Knitting
I was able to finish the sleeve and the collar on the wool/hemp sweater.



I still need to weave in ends and block this sweater before giving it away. I'll do that when I'm back from vacation.

I also finished knitting the edging for the Vineyard Throw, and I even sewed on one side of it.



Now I just need to sew on the other edging (already finished knitting) and weave in all the ends. This will be a wonderful afghan to come home to after keeping warm in Arizona.

New Project
I needed a new project to start that wasn't overly complex or bulky to take with me on vacation. I decided to take the four hanks of Brooks Farms wool and silk yarn and make some cross-stitch scarves.

I already started my first one so I could make sure I had enough yarn to keep me going in Arizona.



The picture sucks, but the fabric this stitch is creating is perfect for this yarn and colorway.

See You When I Get Back From Vaction
I'll respond to any comments/e-mails when I get back.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Amazon Advertising

Since my internet cookies show that I have a predilection toward fiber crafts, I received an advertisement from Amazon yesterday for this book.



Assigning Mystical Qualities
Knitting has deeply affected my life. During a time of confusion and indecision in my life, I found a hobby that has been satisfying in ways that defy description. But honestly, it could have just as easily been collecting matchbooks, or flying model airplanes that provided a needed outlet for me.

What I'm saying, is that I don't assign mystical qualities to knitting, just because it was the hobby I happened upon at an important decision time in my life.

However, I know there are folks that do like this kind of relationship, and I didn't want to exclude promotion of such a book on my web log, in case I haven't chased away all of the folks that might harbor such thoughts about knitting.

Check out what the publisher has to say about the book here.

One final word about this from me. I enjoyed reading the list of some of the other books recommended by Barnes & Noble or Amazon for someone ordering this book:

The Knitting Way: A Guide to Spiritual Self Discovery by Linda T. Skolnik
Knitting Heaven and Earth : Healing the Heart with Craft by Susan Gordon Lydon
PuppyKnits: 12 QuickKnit Fashions for Your Best Friend Jil Eaton

Current Knitting
Made some additional slow progress on the wool/hemp sweater. Tonight should allow me a little more time to get the sleeve finished and move on to the collar.

Not sure yet what kind of collar I will do on this. It's a wide opening, so I'll have to fill it up with something. Just not sure what yet.

Other Weekend Fiber Activities
I did get in a few hours of spinning this past weekend. If I had focused all of my spinning attention on the last color of merino, I would be close to finished with it (or perhaps, I might have actually finished it).



But, I couldn't resist allocating some of my spinning time to the Robin wheel and the unknown tan fiber I'm spinning on that.



It was worth splitting my time. I'm loving spinning both fibers.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Cynthia asks, "Any idea of a good resource/reference for learning to fix knits?"

Since you specifically reference moth holes, I'm assuming you're looking for instructions on darning. Here is the best tutorial I've found on this.

Coming Out

Cheryl asks an excellent question, "How could you not be "out" if your blog is called "Queer" Joe...?"

In Your Face
I would rephrase her question a bit. I would have asked, "How can you say you've never really come out if your blog is called "Queer" Joe...?"

I never said I wasn't out. I am about as out as a gay boy can be. But my thought was that I never make formal declarations of my sexual orientation.

But when I read Cheryl's question, I realized I do, in fact, make such a declaration with the name of my site. Sorry for the lie.

Current Knitting
I have done very little, albeit some, work on the sleeve of the wool/hemp sweater.



Believe it or not, I have very little left to do on this garment, and the sleeve goes faster and faster as I have fewer and fewer stitches. I've actually completed another couple of inches on the sleeve since this picture was taken. I'm hopeful to have finished the sleeve by tomorrow night and to have started on the collar.

Work Deluge
I'm usually quite efficient at combining work and social life with my knitting and blogging, but for the last week or so, I've been struggling to keep up with it all. This is my way of apologizing in advance in case my posts are sparce between now and vacation.

While on vacation, I don't anticipate posting at all.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Upcoming Vacation

Yes, Thaddeus and I will be taking a trip to Arizona next week, for the week of Thanksgiving.

Arizona Dreaming
We're heading to the Southwest for a couple of different reasons. First, his sister and her family invited us down to Phoenix for the week, and we thought it would be an interesting way to spend the Thanksgiving holiday week. Second, Thaddeus and I have been considering retirement locations, and one of the possible places is Arizona.

While we're down there, we plan on going to Sedona and also down to a little town called Bisbee.

I'm hopeful that I enjoy the area.

Current Knitting
I ended up finishing four more scarves for the craft show, for a grand total of 16 scarves (actually 1 shawl and 15 scarves).



Here's a close-up of the fabrics for these lovely scarves.



I will work this week on the wool/hemp sweater and hopefully, finally finish this sweater by the weekend before we head off for vacation.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the Barenaked Ladies, JoVE asks, "(D)id you get that there is at least one gay guy in BNL?"

I haven't gotten that impression, but we can always hope.

Mindy asks, "Joe, am I remembering correctly, are you spinning the merino for socks? If so, how many plies will you use and how tightly are you spinning it?"

Yes, the merino is for socks, and I'm overspinning it some, so that I can ply it tightly (hopefully, it will help with the wear on the socks). I'm planning on double-plying it for sock-weight yarn.

Marilyn asks, "(D)o you think all bipolars should "come out" as well as gays?"

I think folks should live their lives as if they were proud of who they are (unless they're left-handed, and then they should just suffer in silence). Believe it or not, I have never "come out" in my life. I do talk about Thaddeus openly when it comes up as appropriate, and similarly, if I were bipolar, and the situation arose where discussing it was relevant, I'd do that too. Now, I think a more interesting question would be, if you consider pedophilia a disease, and you were recovering from that, would you be "out" about it?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Gifts From Friends

It is very exciting getting an unexpected gift.

Barenaked Ladies
A woman I work with in Albany has become somewhat of a regular at one of the semi-local Native American Reservation casinos. Due to her high-roller status, she has been assigned a Casino Manager who gets her all kinds of nice gifties. Since my friend is Canadian, and she loves Phil Esposito and the musical group, Barenaked Ladies, and the Barenaked Ladies are scheduled to perform at the casino(and Phil Esposito is not), she decided to have her Casino Manager get her free tickets and free hotel rooms for both she and I. The performance is on November 29th. I'm looking forward to it a lot.

The Problem
When she told me she had arranged for this performance, I realized with some panic, that I couldn't even name one BNL song. So I immediately went out and bought their "Greatest Hits" CD and began to listen. First song, The Old Apartment, never heard of it. Second song, Falling For the First Time, never heard of it. Third song, Brian Wilson, never heard of it (I know, I know...it gets worse). Fourth song, One Week (Since You Looked at Me), THANK GOD!, I knew this one. Fifth song, Be My Yoko Ono, never heard of it. Sixth song, Alternative Girlfriend, never heard of it. Seventh song, It's Only Me, never heard of it. Eighth song (and this is where it gets really bad), If I Had $1,000,000, never heard of it.

Now I'm starting to worry, especially since there's a possibility that we'll be invited to a pre-concert reception to actually MEET the guys in BNL (for those of you like me with limited knowledge, there are no "ladies" at all in this band, barenaked or otherwise).

Finally, I ended up recognizing four of their 19 greatest hits. I have since crammed for the concert, and I have memorized all the words to Brian Wilson and If I Had $1,000,000. I've studied the band members and listened incessantly to two of their CD's.

I think I could pass the immigration test for Canada now, and I'm almost ready for the concert.

I am grateful that I do like their music, elsewhise, this could have been painful.

Current Knitting
I finished another novelty scarf, similar to the terry-cloth-like green one. This one is bright orange with two thick green stripes in the middle. I'm also halfway through a fuzzy black scarf.

Pictures will have to wait until the end of the week.

Other Fiber Activity
I did get some spinning in this past weekend. I focused mainly on the Blue Spruce merino, although I didn't get incredbily far toward finishing it.



You'll note I still have quite a bit to go to finish this last color of merino.

I also did a little bit of spinning on the Robin Wheel, and the unidentified tan wool.



I'll focus more on that when I'm finished with the merino.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Geraldine asks, "What colour is that hemp/wool sweater? It looks different in every picture, or is it just my monitor?"

The color (or colour, if you use the other Queen's English) is just a natural off-white. The reason it changes so often is because I sometimes like to take the picture without a flash so I can get the pattern stitch to show up. This will often make it look very yellow.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Big Lips

What is it with these disgusting, unnatural looking lips that some folks think make them look sexy?



Plastic Surgery
As a gay man, who's major concern in life is looking good, I have no problem with folks that have work done to hide wrinkles, or remove body blemishes. I plan on doing it some day. But how can folks like Lisa (above) or Joan Rivers think that their freakish looks, caused by plastic surgery, are anything less than hideous?

I'm in favor of having an approval board that will evaluate whether a person can have a cosmetic surgical procedure done before they're allowed to get it. I'd be glad to volunteer my time on such a board.

Current Knitting
In my last post, I forgot to mention that I had completed some more of the sleeve on the wool/hemp sweater.



With all the work I've been doing on crappy scarves, it's no surprise that I forgot to mention the work on the sweater. I'll be able to pick this back up over the upcoming weekend. Hopefully, I'll be able to finish it soon, so I can mark this off my list.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding my review of Cast-On Magazine, Tapetum mentions, "I found three designs that were not completely awful." and then ponders, "Though I am curious if your two are part of my three."

One of mine was a child's cable/Aran sweater that I thought was too ordinary to mention and the other was a simple women's garment with a yarn that had gold sparkles in it (if I remember correctly). Neither of them remarkable in any way.

Marilyn offers, "If you want to read interesting history books, read Stephen Ambrose."

Honestly, I've never been a big fan of reading history, but it's good to know that if I have an urge, that a like-minded reader has given me an option. Thanks.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Moving Deadline

My craft show friend let me know on Sunday morning that she needed my completed scarves that day at 4:00 pm.

Completed Scarves
Thinking that I had until this coming Saturday, I had hoped to close to 20 scarves for the show. I ended up handing over only 12.

Here are the last two I completed.



You'll note I wasn't quite finished with the scarf on the right, but I had tags on both of them nonetheless.

When I delivered the 12 completed scarves, she did say she could take any additional scarves up until Friday, so I'll be working on one or two more before then.

Non-Knitting Time Drain
I have been keeping true to my decision to dedicate time to reading. I just finished:



This is my first McCullough book, and while he is definitely talented with this genre of writing, it will probably be my last. Don't get me wrong, I learned a lot about our country's history, and found some of the knowledge surprising. But it didn't feel leisurely and fun to read. I also found his style of writing to be somewhat repetetive and choppy.

Vitriol-Free Magazine Review
My mother really always did say, that if I don't have anything nice to say, to not say anything at all. It was usually said in a shameful tone after I had just spewed some hateful commentary about someone or something.

But that isn't why I'm not showing the awful designs in the magazines. You know I don't have any difficulty being vitriolic.

I'm only including the positive reviews so readers can know if it's a magazine worth purchasing (if the reader is in agreement with my taste in knitwear design). If you want to read enjoyable ridicule, You Knit What does a much better job than I ever could in a short sentence.



That being said, I bought Cast-On's Winter issue, and I can't find even one thing to recommend. The $5.95 was a complete waste of money as far as I'm concerned. The designs are truly awful, except for two that aren't awful. The articles are useless and even the advertisements weren't appealing.

I don't think I've ever written this before in my blog, but don't waste your money on this issue.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Norah's Book

For those of you who don't know of Norah Vincent, she has been a controversial voice in the GLBT community for years and a free-lance political writer. With quotes like,

"The left had become little more than a meeting place for balkanised groups of discontents, all bent on extracting their quota of public shame and their slice of the entitlement pie,"
you can understand why she'd be viewed as controversial. You may have seen her on "Politically Incorrect" or read her articles in the national GLBT magazine the Advocate.

So Typical
Isn't it just like the women associated with Norah's new book to send praise and thanks for being mentioned, but do I hear one single word from Ned, the main character?...uh...no.

Men!

I've been fortunate enough to have met Norah, through her knitting partner, Lisa. She is incredibly sharp and funny, and has that quality that makes people just like hanging out with her. She and Lisa are also one of the most gorgeous couples on the planet in an indescribeably non-traditional way.



Lisa and Norah told a few of us about her book two Christmases ago, but she asked us not to discuss it until the publishing agreement was final. I can't believe the book will be out in January of the upcoming year. I've already pre-ordered my copy.

Current Knitting
I did finish the latest novelty yarn scarf, and then did a couple of dozen rounds on the sleeve of the wool/hemp sweater. I fell asleep last night at 8:30 and didn't get up until 5:30 this morning. With Winter coming on here in Albany, I clearly felt the appeal of hibernation.

I'll post pictures over the weekend sometime.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Magazine Overload

I don't subscribe to any magazines at the moment. I used to subscribe to the national rag for the GLBT community, but it turned into "People" magazine with a gay slant.

Explosion of Magazine Choices
When friend, Lisa, mentioned "Radar" magazine, it was no surprise I had never heard of it. Since she recommended that I pick up a copy, I struggled to figure out what genre of magazine it was. It turns out, it's some mongrel mix of politics and pop culture.

After a struggle, I located my copy of Radar Magazine at my local B&N.



You'll note the section of the cover that I expanded at the side. This is what a national magazine had to say about Lisa's partner's new book, Self-Made Man - by Norah Vincent. I've been very excited about the publication of this book, and it's expected out in January. Getting a preview of it in Radar only whet my appetite more.

Current Knitting
I didn't quite finish the novelty scarf yet, although I'll be certain to finish it tonight. At which point, I'll start working on the last sleeve of the wool/hemp sweater. This weekend will include doing a couple more scarfs as well.

Other Fiber Activity
This past weekend, in addition to novelty yarn scarves, I got a little more done on the Blue Spruce merino spinning.



If I'm very lucky, I might be able to finish off the spinning of all the pounds and pounds of merino this weekend. If I'm not so lucky, the merino spinning may carry into the following weekend. Fortunately, I've enjoyed the experience immensely.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Friend Lisa, characteristically asks, "OK, OK, it's all great and positive just to focus on the stuff that's worth mentioning, but where's the vitriol about the stuff that's craptastic?"

Here's my thinking. Reviews help folks decide if they want to buy the magazine. Telling them the projects that I think are worthwhile helps them do that. Detailing the remaining sewage only lets potential buyers know what they'll have to wade through to get to the good stuff. Since reviewing only what I consider worthy is a lot easier, I've opted for that.

Besides, "You Knit What" does a great job of making fun of the crap out there in the knit-World.

Marilyn notes, "Those sweaters are OK but frankly, hardly worth the money for the mag."

I am in total agreement, I hope my review didn't indicate otherwise. If Marilyn wants to make the Asian Mystery garment, I'd gladly give her my copy of Knitting.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Knitters Fall 2005

I guess 3 out of 24 ain't bad.



Knitters Review
Yes, I bought the latest issue of Knitters and overall, I'd call it rather dreadful.

For a price of US$5.95, you get 24 designs, which includes:


- A man's scarf/bow tie design
- A woman's hat/scarf design
- An intarsia blanket
- 3 Children's sweaters
- A design for neck ties

The articles are dull and useless, unless you enjoy reading Perri Klass' writing.

Of all the designs in the magazine, I found three worth mentioning.

Asian Mystery - by Katharine Hunt



Nice use of mosaic slip stitch patterning in black and white. Good shaping and simple, yet professional finishing. A good classic garment with lots of interesting techniques.

Channels & Ribs - by Kathy Cheifetz



This is an excellent use of Manos del Uruguay yarns, and I love how she combined the solid brown with a variegated collar. This is an extremely stylish design that appears to be a joy to wear and wrap yourself in. Despite using heavy yarns, the garment comes off as sleek and long. A very successful design.

Murphy by Ronbin Melanson



A very simple design, I just liked the designers use of color. It's unusual, but still yet very appealing to the eye. While I wasn't overly thrilled with her cuff treatment, she made up for it with a zipper edging that works very well.

Current Knitting

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the craft fair I'm making my novelty scarves for, Lorre asks, "Which craft fair?"

I'm not sure...I think it's a benefit craft fair in Neshaminy Hills if that gives you any clue. I won't even be going, I'm just giving my scarves to a friend who sells her jewelry there, and she will sell them on my behalf (I think).

The Marvels of Technology

And the marvels of a tech-savvy lover.

Okay, Not So Marvelous
Thanks to Thaddeus and the help of technology, I have access to the pictures on my camera that I took this past weekend.

So...I get to show you the lovely green scarf as I described.



And the black, jewel-like scarf.



I even have a closeup of the "jewels."



Scarf Patterns
For the novelty scarves, I usually only do three different pattern stitches, and the selected pattern is based on the yarn characteristics of the scarf.

If the yarn is fuzzy and will show virtually no pattern definition, I simply knit all rows in garter stitch. It's easy and fast, and it doesn't make much difference anyway.

If the yarn will show some pattern stitch design (such as the green scarf above), I knit two rows and then purl two rows. This gives more length than garter, but it also requires a little more attention, because sometimes I can't tell whether I've just completed a purl row or a knit row on some of these yarns.

Finally, if it's a glitzy yarn, that will make an accent scarf (as opposed to a functional, warm scarf), like the black/jewel scarf, I use a simple four row repeat.

Rows 1 and 2 : Knit
Row 3: K1, YO, rep to last st, K
Row 4: K1, drop YO, rep to last st, K

This gives a very open, drapey scarf that maximizes the often low yardage of many of these novelty yarns.

Current Knitting
I'm working on another black/jewel scarf. I really like how that one turned out, so I thought I'd make about four of them for the craft show. Folks often like black and bright shiny colors, so this scarf should sell well. I'm about one quarter done with the scarf, and I'm hopeful to finish it by tomorrow sometime.

Regarding my antique circular sock machine, Marilyn asks, "Is it a Harmony sock machine that you have?"

No, it's a Gearhart. I've got two cylinders 80 and 100 needles (if I remember correctly) and the ribber attachment. When I had it all set up and working well, I created two standard ribbed socks in 45 minutes. It would take me a while to get it all set up and getting it tuned and oiled again, but when I do, I could crank out those socks. Also, I don't anticipate getting a loom anytime while I still live in my current house. I'd want a big muthafuckin' loom, and I just couldn't accommodate one now.

Alison asks, "Joe, did you know? Having taken over Scharffen Berger first (nooooo!), Hershey's bought out Joseph Schmidt in August."

No, and this is very disappointing. I'm hopeful nothing changes with Joseph Schmidt, because it has been a constant source of extremely beautiful and tasty gifts. Thanks for letting me know.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Dismal Failure

While we had two other gifts for our friend Charles, and I supplemented with a third one of spectacular truffles from Joseph Schmidt Chocolates, I wasn't able to finish the scarf this past weekend.

Loser



All-in-all, it was a successful birthday dinner for our friend, but it had no handmade gifts.

I added a few more inches to the scarf, but Thaddeus and I both felt it was a little skimpy for a fine gift, so I'll just finish it at a later time.

Another reason that I'm a loser, is that I left my camera, with all weekend knitting and spinning pictures at home.

And to make matters worse, I'm in Albany until Friday this week.

I'll try to supplement blog entries with pictures stolen from other places. Please feel free to donate pictures if you think they might help illustrate my blog.

Damn, if I could only draw like Franklin.

Current Knitting
After I stalled on the Charles scarf, I decided to work on the craft show scarves. I got two more done and started up on another.

The two latest scarves are quite cool (I have pictures in the camera at home). One is a very loose and open scarf of black binding thread and bright jewel-like, primary color slubs. The second is a plain parrot green scarf that looks almost like an elongated washcloth. I used a Lana Grossa yarn for the green scarf that is very soft and like terry cloth.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Cynthia asks, "Do you have to have a sewing machine to put in a zipper?"

I do, but I find it easier to hand-sew in the zippers on sweaters, although I've not tried it since I got my new sewing machine.

Cynthia then goes on to ask, "Also, I finished my Manos throw and now have the three strips to sew together. Do you think I should block then sew, sew then block, or block, sew and block again?"

Ideally, you should block, then sew, and if necessary, block again, but I can't imagine you'll need to block it after you sew it.

Regarding the Charles Scarf, Marilyn notes, "That yarn appears to be biasing. If it is, no amount of blocking will save it. What yarn is that?"

It was the Indigo Farms (?) yarn I got at Rhinebeck. It was torquing a little bit, but not so much that a little steam blocking didn't get rid of it easily.

Geraldine mentioned, "Joe, you must be devastated that your favourite holiday spot has been so badly damaged by the weather!"

Yes, I actually got to see pictures on national news of the lobby of one of the Marriott hotels where we stay. It was pretty awful. We're scheduled to go back in February, so hopefully, things will be fixed and we can help support their economy with travel dollars.

Helen asks, "Also, have you ever discovered the circular knitting machine from the 1800's?"

Yes, I actually own a circular sock knitting machine from the early 1900's. I've successfully used it to make a couple of pairs of socks, and one day I will get back to tuning it.