Thursday, August 31, 2006

We Want More Rumsfeld

Could the White House have hosted a more ridiculous representative that was any more hated than Donald?

Let's Vote Now!
With his scrunched up, scowling face, he spouts incendiary lies that question the patriotism of the folks the question his supreme authority.

If this is the best our federal fascists can do to help keep Republicans in the house and senate in November, I say give us more.

If you haven't seen the Olberman commentary on Rumsfeld's speech, it's a must-watch/read. Check it out here. It's about time the media started calling a spade a spade.

Current Knitting
I made some additional progress on the new lace stole, and it's continuing to look lovely. I'll post pictures in my next blog entry.

Other Fiber Activity

Yes, the bobbins on the Robin wheel are empty, and this can only mean one thing.

The neverending bag is finished!

Yes, I'm finished spinning all the Romney-like fiber I got from my sister-out-of-law.

I've labeled each ball with the total length, weight and grist (yards per pound). It all comes to just about four pounds of yarn and about 4,000 yards. At about 1,000 yards per pound (on average), I've got a pretty standard worsted weight yarn to work with.

Now I just have to make a decision on what exactly to do with two large sweater's worth of yarn.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Rachel asks, "I can't find your patterns in The Knitting Vault web site. Under what name should I look?"

As Barb noted later in comments, the designer name is under DoublePointed, but you should also check out Lucy Neatby's designs. I've bought a few of her patterns already, and will probably get more, especially if she publishes a beaded scarf that she was designing when I met was being knit on the bias. How about it Fredda, is Lucy going to publish that design on the vault?

kathy notes, "That yarn looks amazing, amazing. Is it a little furry?"

Yes, the yarn is lofty and soft and has a bit of a halo. Not enough to detract from the lace pattern, even without blocking.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Such Excitement

Isn't it great when a new design project starts to work right from the start?

Black Bunny Hopalong
Not fond of the name. Not fond of knit-alongs. But I am incredibly glad I was convinced to participate in this project.

I decided to use a huge hank of laceweight yarn that I bought from Carol a while ago.

Just winding this ball took about 15 minutes of constant winding.

I selected three lace patterns from Barara Walker's second treasury and did the math and before I knew it, I had finished 37 rows of my new lace stole.

The bottom few rows in light gray are just a few rows of stockinette that I'm using as waste yarn/provisional cast on. On each side, there will be a border of more solid lace, and in the center, a looser, more open lace pattern.

Here's a closeup.

I'm really loving knitting this. The yarn is soft and gorgeous, the color differentiations are perfect for this pattern, and the pattern stitch is interesting, but not overly complex.

This will be my next published pattern on The Knitting Vault.

If you want to see a little more detail on how I started this project (plus all the other blog posts from Black Bunny Hopalong folks), check out the Hopalong Blog.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Coming Clean

Okay, I don't really find John Karr attractive...even a little.

In Fact...
...I've never seen pictures of a man who can look quite so sallow and clammy at the same time. I can't imagine what all the boy-whores in Thailand felt about having to touch his disgusting skin.

Fresh Air Fund For Ted Update
Thanks again to the amazing generosity of readers, we have reached our goal of $300 for Ted's visit to Rhinebeck.

As Rhinebeck gets closer, the goup of folks that goes each year will post a place where folks can meet Ted and any of the other members of our acerbic little group who will be there this year.

Thank you all for helping with this.

New Yarn Source For Canadians
Crazy Lady Barb has started her own web site, called Wild Geese Fibres (see, you can tell she's not American with her spelling of fibres) with some lovely looking yarns. The prices seem surprisingly inexpensive for such lovely fibers.

I need to find out if she ships to the states.

Current Knitting Crocheting
I did some additional work on the filet crochet, and I have to admit that without the written instructions, I would have been quite unable to do the design exactly as it is shown.

Mostly, filet crochet can be thought of as a grid of single chains of crochet going across and double crochets making up the vertical lines of the grid. The filled in blocks of the grid are just two extra double crochets.

However, this pattern calls for some odd combinations of chain 5's topped with chain 3, single crochet, chain 2's. These I never could have figured out from the picture.

I also did some additional work on the test-swatch of the corner-to-corner afghan stitch.

Even though I don't have enough yarn to ever make this into a full-size afghan (unless any readers have some discontinued yarn by Novita, called Florica in the colors of the afghan), I figure I complete a square as large as I can. If I can find some complementary colored yarns I'll try doing some border that will turn this into a full-size lap blanket or something.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Catsmum asks, "What gauge hook are you using for the filet and which thread?"

The hook size was easy, but the yarn size not so much. The hook is a steel Boye hook, size 7, which I believe is 1.65 mm. The yarn is an old leftover cone of yarn with an NM value of 2/28 (which I think means 28 meters for 2 grams of yarn, or 14 meters per gram). The content is listed as 50% CC and 50% SLKF, and was spun in Scotland by T&D.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Is it Just Me...?

...or do other people find John Kars kind of sexy?

A Thing For Murderers
For long-time readers, you'll know that I have a thing for male mass murderers, and often, I will find them sexy or appealing in an odd sort of way.

Fresh Air Fund For Ted Update
Readers came through like gangbusters yesterday for our friend Ted.

We've collected a total of $215 so far, and most of the amounts have been $5, $10 or $20 contributions. Participating in bringing someone as talented as Ted to Rhinebeck has actually made the thought of Rhinebeck even more exciting. I echo what Bess said in comments yesterday.

Thanks to everyone who have donated so far, and we only have $85 more to go to meet the goal of $300 for Ted's expenses (fortunately, he's Canadian and modest in his costs, so he's taking a train...we like frugal Canadians). Please consider contributing if you can.

Current Knitting
It's dark and cloudy out again this morning, but I promised a picture of me in the Faux Rib pullover, so I had Thaddeus do the best he could with the camera.

The sweater is loose and drapey, like a sweatshirt, very soft and comfortable. The neck is also very open, which I think looks a little sloppy, but it is VERY comfortable. I attribute the drape of the sweater to the type of fiber (Blueface Leicester), and how I spun's almost as drapey as alpaca, but not quite. The first time I put it on, it felt like slipping into a warm bath. This has already become one of my favorite sweaters.

Current Crocheting
Based on my adoration of tiny needles and excruciatingly small needlework projects, I had to try my hand at filet crochet. I selected a modest project, that had specific instructions for the entire project, from one of the vintage books I found at the flea market.

And here's what I've done so far.

I actually enjoy this work very much, and I could picture all my furniture and windows draped in this lovely form of crochet lace.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Amazing Generosity

Thank you never seems enough when folks do things that are extraordinarily kind.

Two Great Things
On the first day of the Fresh Air Fund for Ted, we've already collected $70 towards his expenses of traveling to Rhinebeck and staying at a local hotel. Thank you to those who contributed. Every $5 or $10 contribution helps to bring a very talented and nice guy to one of the best fiber festivals. A non-U.S. reader noted that while she understood what the Fresh Air Fund was, many others might not. The Fresh Air Fund is a charity here in the states that brings inner-city children whose parents couldn't afford to send them to camp, out to the country for a Summer vacation so they can see what it's like to live outside an urban area. I've just stolen the name for this little fund drive.

For those who would like to contribute any amount, it is greatly appreciated.

The second thing, and this is totally unconnected with the fund, I got this in the mail yesterday from Canada.

It's a wrist distaff that Ted made using his own handspun cotton. Since I started spinning the tussah/cashmere roving on a drop-spindle, the roving kept falling into the twisting single and getting all messed up. Honestly, I never knew how to use a wrist distaff, so I googled and a couple folks had pictures.

Here's mine.

Current Knitting
I finished all weaving and blocking of the baby blanket and it's ready to be sent off.

You'll note I added a little pair of booties in white yarn, using the pink yarn as a cord accent. It's hard to tell from the pictures, but the pattern stitch on the leg of the booties is the same as the blanket.

How cute.

I also finished weaving in all ends and sewing up the Faux Rib pullover. Unfortunately, it's a little too dark out today to take a picture of me wearing it, so I'll hold off posting that till next time.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Deborah C. asks, " Joe, can blogless wonders like me contribute too? I'm planning on attending Rhinebeck and I would love to put a live face to the names I read."

Yes, PayPal allows anyone with a credit card to contribute, and they're making it easier and easier to do. We meet a lot of readers at Rhinebeck, and we usually post a specific time and location for lunch, so that folks can stop by and say hi and not risk missing anyone.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Rhinebeck Approaches

My favorite fiber event of the year, and the time when most of the Wolverinas have their annual reunion.

Fresh Air Fund
To share this event, last year, I hosted the first annual Fresh Air Fund for Franklin, so that we could get him to come out to Rhinebeck.

It was a smashing success. For those that remember, Franklin finished his incredible Latin-inscribed sweater in time for the event, he got his first taste of spinning, and he indelibly made his mark as one of the more interesting knit-bloggers on the web today.

This year, Franklin has made it clear that he'll be coming to Rhinebeck, and won't need any financial assistance, so we've decided that Knitterguy Ted might like to join the event. So, please help us bring Ted to Rhinebeck with the Rhinebeck Fresh Air Fund for Ted this year.

We have a very modest goal of $300, which will include travel and lodging for Ted to get to Rhinebeck, and stay with Franklin and Lars at a B&B in upstate New York.

Current Knitting
I finished weaving in all the ends of the pink baby blanket, but I haven't had the chance to wash and block it yet.

You'll note the garter stitch edging distorts the shape of the blanket a little. I'm pretty sure the blocking will be able to fix that.

I also finished knitting a fold-over, hemmed collar for the Faux Rib pullover.

You'll note I used a 1X3 rib on the outside of the collar to match the overall pattern of the sweater, and just plain stockinette on the inside to make it smooth on my neck and easy to sew down.

Now all I have to do is attach the sleeves and sew up the side seams. This sweater will be perfect for a cool autumn.

Meeting Readers
It usually happens at fiber festivals, like Rhinebeck, but sometimes I meet blog readers in various other places. Like my favorite restaurant in the town across the river from where I live.

As she mentioned in comments, Ann, from the Jersey Shore and her husband were sitting at the table right next to us, as she was on her way to check out Twist, my new favorite yarn store. It was a pleasure meeting another obsessed fiber addict, as Ann also knits, spins and quilts. We discussed it all, much to the dismay of her husband, and my partner.

I only wished I had had my camera with me.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

AIDS Fatigue - A QueerJoe Perspective

I understand that many gay man didn't go through losing more than half their friends through AIDS in the 1980's. I can comprehend that a lot of the gay youth never had to deal with incoherent calls from friends as they just found out about a positive "AIDS test." I can sympathize with the fact that some folks never have the history of dealing with a health crisis that our president wasn't even willing to mention, never mind do something about.

Reasons To Avoid AIDS
All the factors that make AIDS a non-concern can be a compelling argument why you shouldn't worry about contracting HIV. I mean, we even have a cocktail drug combination treatment for it. Who wouldn't want to take a cocktail? And they've even gotten into a one-a-day pill. It's practically like a daily martini.

And the young gay community is bombarded from two sides. On the one side, we have the messages of folks like the Catholic Church that say that it's a damnable sin to be gay, or from state and federal government saying we're not worthy of marriage, and on the other side, we have a gay media that says hot looks, hot lovers, hot fashions and money are the most important thing in our lives.

Of course there's self-loathing and low self-esteem.

Well, I've decided to put together my list of reasons to avoid HIV/AIDS that perhaps will resonate with some of the folks who think it's alright to have unprotected sex.

1. You can't always tell if someone is infected with HIV. Sometimes they don't even know themselves. I don't care how young and hot and healthy they look, or how many lovers they've had. They still could have HIV coursing through their blood.

2. Can you imgagine having HIV? How do you tell prospective sex partners? Do you think it might make sex a little less exciting?

3. The drug treatment has some potentially REALLY BAD side effects on your system. In addition to the standard fatigue, diarrhea and nausea that are listed on almost every drug on the planet anymore, there is also sludge from your liver and kidneys and sudden heart failure which don't sound overly appealing to me.

4. One other side effect, is the drug therapies can cause significant body changes. Picture your body losing all fat from your face, legs, ass and chest, but moving it to your stomach and upper back. Click here if you need to see pictures other than in your mind's eye.

5. Pride in who you are and your life might be a more difficult choice, but it's worth folks like me and of course, to yourself.

Off My Soapbox And Onto Knitting
I picked up a bazillion stitches and did a border on three sides of the blanket, and I didn't like it at all. I've decided that I will just use the garter stitch edging as the border. It's much nicer looking.

Picture of the finished blanket with all ends sewn in and fully blocked will hopefully be in my next post.

Other Fiber-Related Activity
I spun like a dervish, and got another two full bobbins of singles done with the never-ending Romney-like roving.

And even after spinning up what will probably be close to 10 ounces of singles, I still have at least two more bobbins full left.

Then there's still the decision on what to do with the resulting yarn.

More Flea Market Finds
I found even more vintage knitting booklets at the flea market

And while I know it might make Kim Salazar even more envious, five of them were from a Mary E. Fitch Filet Crochet series starting back around 1915.

The booklets are in amazing shape for their age (similar to their current owner). The most enjoyable part of the find was from this Series No. 2 Filet Crochet booklet. I loved the front panel.

I went to look at the pattern for the one day I decide to do something amazing, and here is what I find (you might have to click on the image to enlarge it).

I would imagine it wouldn't be any easier to do with a pattern, but I was just amazed that Ms. Fitch would allow the piece to be displayed on the front, and then not include instructions.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Weekend Entertainment

Nothing better than a weekend filled with sun, food, knitting, movies and reading. But before I get to that, you just MUST check out Tricky Tricot's blog article on AIDS Fatigue...sorry, it's required reading before you continue. This will be on the final.

Current Reading
My supplier of well-written books has gone AWOL, and I had to settle for reading an old piece of trash a friend of mine gave me, thinking I might like it. I read Amateur City by Katherine V. Forrest.

I know I risk alienating the lesbian-mystery fans out there, but I can't say I loved Katherine V. Forrest's writing. I actually enjoyed the storyline, and the book is exactly what it's supposed to be...just not really my taste in reading. Perfect light reading for a sun-filled Summer day.

Current Viewing
I've seen two recent movies lately, and I highly recommend both.

Clerks II is one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time. If you hated the original Clerks, you'll probably hate this one too. The same lame actor, Brian O'Halloran plays the main character, Dante, and his acting hasn't improved even a speck. Still yet, there were some scenes in the movie that made it all worth while. I am also totally in love with the unlikely love-interest in the movie, Rosaria Dawson. She is a stunningly gorgeous, brilliant actress.

The other movie that I saw, and that I'm also highly recommending, is Little Miss Sunshine. You can't really go wrong with a movie that has Toni Collette and Alan Arkin in the cast, and the child actress cast in the main part is nothing short of perfect. I'm not usually a big fan of happy-little-movies, and I was expecting this to be one of those. It was, in part, but had a pretty cynical twist to it as well.

Current Knitting
I finished the main blanket, as I expected.

Now I'm debating on whether to do a border. I'm thinking a simple border using the same pattern stitch as the blanket itself, in reverse. That way, I can more easily weave in my numerous ends. I guess I can always try it, and rip it out if I don't like it. But my deadline for this one is coming up soon.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Concerning my cynisism of the recent terrorist plot foiled by U.K. intelligence (especially M-H's comment), I want to clarify. I truly believe the plot was real, and concerning the arrest of the Florida "terrorists", I truly believe the plot was contrived and blown out of proportion by the U.S. government. My real point is that it's difficult to believe anyting anymore because of all the lies until folks like the media and bloggers flesh out the real truth.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Crying Wolf

It appears that the British Intelligence has really foiled a terrorist plot. I hope they're not just better liars than the U.S. Intelligence.

Florida Terrorists
I have to admit that when I first heard of the terrorist plot to concoct bombs using liquids, and bring down multiple planes going from London to the United States, I was quite skeptical. I mean, the so-called terrorists that were going to bring down the Sears Tower in Chicago was such a ridiculous concept, that I just assumed this was another way of making sure the World knew how safe the U.S. and British intelligence agencies were keeping us.

My sister and her husband flew to London last Thursday, just as all this stuff was happening, and Liza just left very early this morning, so I did take the whole issue a lot more seriously. But even if I had a relative working in the Sears Tower, I don't think I would have taken the first plot seriously at all.

My point is, Mr. Bush and his cronies, both domestic and abroad, ought to be careful how many times they cry wolf as a way to sway public opinion in their favor. Like the U.K. plot, the next plot, I might not believe right away either.

Current Knitting
I'm on the 10th ball of yarn, and I will pretty much finish the blanket as designed sometime today.

I did end up buying a new ball of yarn at Twist this past weekend, and I'm thinking about using it to create a more interesting border than the garter stitch border in the pattern. I'm just not sure exactly what I want to do yet.

Twist Knitting and Spinning
This past Saturday, I went to Twist, and was disappointed to find that Deb (the owner) was on vacation. But my disappointment was short-lived. Two incredibly enjoyable and capable folks were there to take over the store while Deb was out. Sissy, a woman I had met before, who is a neighbor of quilt friend Liza, and former part-owner of a yarn store herself. And Steve, a lovely gay man who both knits and spins, and is funny as hell (although he's not so talented on a cash register). It never ceases to amaze me that there are talented folks like Steve who live near here who I've never met.

Then a small, regular knitting crew came in to chat and knit and shop. It was much fun.

I ended up buying one extra ball of the pink Baby Cashmereno, a ball of the same thing in white (I'm thinking about doing a matching pair of booties to go with the blanket) and a ball of Noro Kureyon to complement the yarn I spun from James' fiber from New Zealand.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Tricky Tricot says, "I think if you happen to be queer, you can use the word queer however you want."

I agree that both his examples would be acceptably non-insulting, I don't agree in all cases. Gay men can hurl words like fag and queer just as nastily as any straight person, and an example like, "I just dated a guy named Cyril last night, what a queer." would be just as offensive to me as Cable Guy's deer head saying it.

JoVE asks, "As for the merino hemp, I was wondering whether the feel of the yarn would change over time."

Yes, I'm sure, like most hemp, the yarn would soften, and when I scoured the small hank of yarn and lightly weighted it to set the twist, it did get softer and bloom. That wasn't my concern. The resulting yarn was fine, I just didn't enjoy the spinning of it so much.

Angie notes, "It seems weird that you have to use your sexuality in your blog's title."

Actually, I've had an online persona of "QueerJoe" for almost two decades now, and I wanted to continue it as part of my blog, not to shout out to the World my sexual orientation (although, it accomplishes that too). It started out as an 'in-your-face Fuck You' to all the homo-haters I'd run into in online environments, and then it became a badge of pride for me. Like Angie mentioned, straight is usually the default when it comes to sexual orientation, but I don't feel compelled to broadcast my orientation, but I like that it does that anyway.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What Is The Proper Use of the Word "Queer"?

I know some folks find the word "queer" objectionable in any form. I, obviously do not. I believe calling myself queer can make the word a label of pride, rather than hate.

Two things happened recently which made me ask myself this question.

Right and Wrong Way
First, Liza mentioned that her daughter didn't think you should ever use the word queer. Then, Thaddeus said that he was watching the recently released on DVD "Cable Guy", movie. In the movie, he was having a fantasy about debating on whether to go fishing with Kid Rock or do something else with a woman, the deer head on his mantle asked him whether he was queer when he was leaning more toward going fishing.

I think it all comes down to this. If you're using the term in a derogatory or hateful or separating way, then you shouldn't be using it. If you're using it as a way of non-insulting description of a population, or to describe yourself, it's probably an appropriate use of the word.

Many words can be either positive or derogatory based on the intent of the person using it.

Seems OkaySeems Wrong
I promote the queer agenda. That is totally queer.
He represented himself as a proud queer How queer can he be?
Her singing is representative of queer music today Her music shows that she is clearly queer

Fortunately, Thaddeus turned off the DVD as soon as the deer head started spouting derogatory remarks.

Current Knitting
I've made the standard amount of progress on the baby blanket by finishing up another ball of yarn and started on the next one.

I'm pretty certain I will buy at least one more ball of this yarn at Twist on Saturday. I'm planning a trip there sometime Saturday morning, I think.

Mini Spinning
Since I had emptied a couple of bobbins on the Robin wheel, I decided to try and spin up a little bit of the merino/hemp that Deb from Twist gave me for free that last time I was there. I got through enough to ply up a little bit of double-ply,and made this little hank o' yarn.

Before I start getting any of those messages that say "how fast I spin", or "why aren't are working more on the baby blanket, rather than spinning", or "finish the Romney ferchrissakes", I guess I should show the hank with something in the picture to give it a little perspective.

Yes, I only spun up a few yards of the merino/hemp. I decided I didn't like the combination of fibers as much as I had hoped I would. Mostly, I found the hemp coarse and not a very good mix with the merino. The yarn came out okay, but I didn't enjoy the spinning experience very much.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

New Blog Awards Contest

Lucia, the Knitting Fiend, provided an amazing amount of help during the 2006 Knibbies when I was fumbling my way through it.

Nominate Early, Nominate Often
She's got a site up taking nominations for blog awards in various categories. Go check it out and nominate a blog or two.

My personal experience in putting together a blog awards was surprise at finding so many good knitting blogs that I had never heard of before. I can't imagine Lucia will be quite as surprised.

Current Knitting
I'm moving right along with the baby blanket knitting.

Finished the seventh ball and started the eighth. Projects always seem to go a lot faster when I work on mostly only one.

Other Fiber-Related Activity
Mostly one, except for spinning. I've been working more on trying to finish the spinning of the big bag 'o Romney-like fiber. I finished spinning two more big bobbins of singles.

And then I plied two big bobbins of double-ply. Here are my latest two hanks of yarn, weighing in at a whopping 10.5 ounces.

The bag has about two more hanks of fiber, maybe three left in it (I hope).

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the bat attack, Ann says, "My lingering question is this: How did it get in?"

Thaddeus and I are pretty certain there are no ways for bats to enter the house except through the doorways. Our theory is that the bat entered our garage at one point, and when we had a recent repair done to our oven vent, which vents out to the garage, the bat entered unnoticed through the garage-to-house doorway while we left the door open for a while.

Also regarding the bat, Kathy asks, "Joe, how in the hell did you end up with pediatricians, epidemiologists and other health professionals reading your blog???? It seems like a very clinical crowd!"

It never ceases to amaze me that whenever I have a legal issue come up, a lawyer-lurker pops up, or if I have a strange bug on my screen, an accomplished entomologist will emerge. I have no doubt that if I ever found some ancient Aramaic transcript in my attic, that an archeological theologist would announce themselves, and translate/identify the document. How that happened, I have no idea, but I'm always amazed nonetheless.

All that being said, I do appreciate the concerns for our health. Given how nervous/sleepless I was the night the bat was in the house, I'm certain that neither Thaddeus nor I was bitten. We were most concerned about Gage, so I checked him as carefully as I could, and then made sure his last appointment with the vetinarian back in May included his rabies vaccine.

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Horror-Filled Weekend

By the end of the weekend, I wouldn't have been surprised if Rod Serling had entered my house and started talking to a television audience.

Reality Mimics Fiction
Saturday night, Thaddeus and I went to seen a new movie, Descent. I'm not sure if getting older has given me less of a stomach for horror movies, or if this movie just had a combination of factors that totally creeped me out.

First of all, it's all women...gasp! Second, it entails cave exploration and climbing and crawling through very small spaces...gasp again! Finally, the horror part of the movie, was pretty gruesome. Suffice it to say, I didn't enjoy the movie. In addition to making me feel tense for two hours, there are some plot discrepancies that are just plain stupid.

Then, if that wasn't bad enough, I'm sound asleep on Saturday night, and I get woken up by what sounds like the rustling of paper. I figure Gage is trying to get our attention, so I try to ignore it, until I hear some buzzing/flapping noise in the blades of the ceiling fan above the bed. I'm thinking it's a moth that Gage was chasing, or at worst, one of those big ugly black bugs I saw on our front door again. This keeps me awake for about five more minutes, until I see what looked like a large moth fly out of the bedroom. I go back to sleep.

Fast forward, Sunday afternoon, and I'm in the living room knitting, and Thaddeus is cooking in the kitchen. I look up to see a full size bat dive-bombing me and circling around the living room. Yes, a fucking BAT! I grabbed a cushion from the couch, and tried to cover myself, and made a noise loud enough to get Thaddeus to come running. Fortunately, he's much more calm about vermin, and he was able to get it out of the house.

I was spooked for the rest of day...ugh!

Did That Stop Me From Knitting?

I made additional progress on the pink baby blanket.

I'm halfway through the seventh of ten balls of yarn on this one. I'm considering getting another ball of yarn if I don't have enough to give the blanket a proportion of length to width that I'm satisfied with.

Readers' Comments/Questions
k requests, "Do me a favor? Don't ever run a contest. (I suspect I'm safe on this one.) Or a meme. Please."

Actually, I have run contests, and I enjoy them sometimes. My favorite was a QSAT test, to test readers' knowledge of QJ trivia. Some readers actually contacted my sisters to ask them answers. I've never been sent a meme, nor would I ever respond if I did.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Tough Lady

I've always liked Hilary Clinton, but never moreso than watching her take Rumsfield to task, and calling for his resignation.

Arrogant Prick
Can you imagine him saying that he can't recall a time during this entire Iraq debacle when he felt he was being overly optimistic?

Nevermind the carefully worded way he puts it, that's bad enough. But the utter gall of this dick to basically claim he's made no bad decisions in this entire war is just ludicrous. How about taking a look at troop levels, which have never been large enough to maintain security in Iraq. How about looking at Hummers with no armor? How about seeing all the men an women going to war without proper protective equipment?

Sounds to me like at least one of these situations might have been caused by the head of this war being overly optimistic, no?

Current Knitting
I'm continuing on with the baby blanket, and making good progress.

For those interested in the pattern, here's a closeup of the fabric which might be able to help you figure out this 12 row pattern repeat.

Flea Market Finds
Combing through piles of junk, I came up on a tied up stack of magazines, and noticed that there was a knit pattern on the bottom of the stack (the top magazine was a Woman's Day). I figured that there were probably a bunch of other pattern booklets in the stack. I asked the guy how much he wanted, and he said, "I haven't even looked through them, how about $5?" I said, "For $5, I'll have to look through the stack." So he let me have the stack for $3.

After throwing out all I didn't want, here's what remained.

It's basically a collection of patterns and booklets from a pretty mundane knitter who liked Bernat. The book in the top left of the picture is for Fisherman's Afghans, which I might consider using to make something with the homespun Romney. We'll see.

Then, the following visit to the flea market, I lucked upon this little stash.

These are pattern booklets from the 1930's with great vintage stuff, some of which the prior owner actually made, like a three-piece knitted suit. High fashion in vintage knitting. These I considered a true find.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the diagonal crochet blanket, Christine asks, "What stitch are you using on that blanket?"

It's called "corner to corner", and it's a lot of fun. I'm doing it with DK weight yarn and a size D hook. Both a finer gauge than the picture in the link, and a denser fabric. Here's a closeup of the stitch I'm doing.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

What Is A Blog?

Is it a self-glorifying begging for attention from readers, or is it a forum for sharing ideas and inspiring folks, or something somewhere in between?

Initially, I decided to start a web log based on a number of different factors.

1. I wanted to document my knitting.
2. I wanted to see if I could consolidate a group of interesting, creative readers.
3. Blogging software was readily available, relatively easy to use and free.
4. I had seen Marilyn's blog, and loved the tone.
5. Wendy's blog had some interesting knitting and writing that I enjoyed.

QueerJoe has turned into something else since those initial days. I certainly document my knitting, and I believe there is a readership here that is amazingly interesting, intelligent, accomplished, opinionated and creative. I've only added two main things to my original intentions, as far as I can tell. First, I have obviously set up a soapbox to spout my liberal, political, queer beliefs. Second, I have been able to market various friends' wares.

Overall, I'm very happy with how this space has turned out.

Current Reading
The reason I started questioning this, was because of a book I've just finished reading, Talk To The Hand by Lynne Truss.

I didn't enjoy this book very much. I felt like I was reading a meandering, scattered, self-aggrandizing blog, rather than a witty discussion of rudeness today. I agreed with much of what she wrote, but I found her writing difficult to wade through. The book came across as preachy with an attempt to disguise that with self-deprecating humor. Even the self-deprecation came across as a way of focusing attention on the author as opposed to the subject.

Reading this, I started to question what the difference was between her book and my blog, and thus the ruminations about what a blog is today.

Current Knitting/Crocheting/Spinning
First off, I haven't done any additional work on the Faux Rib pullover. I will get back to it, and finish it up. I just need to sit down and do it.

I did some additional work on the Pink Baby Blanket. I'll put a picture in the next blog entry.

I mentioned I had done some additional work on the corner-to-corner crochet blanket.

I'm really enjoying this blanket and the crochet process, and now I'm thinking that I'll need to get some more yarn so that I can make a full-size afghan.

I also mentioned that I've done some additional spinning of the Tussah/Cashmere roving that I bought at Twist.

I originally bought two small bags of roving, and I'm almost done with the first bag. Reader John from Portland has the same color roving, and he sent me pictures of the finished yarn and a scarf he's been making with it. It's made me want to allocate even more of my time to this heavenly stuff.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding my comments on the effect of being a strict Catholic on Mel Gibson, Terry asks, "If you are going to make a comment about Catholics as a whole, how does that make you any better than Mel Gibson?"

Most folks know that I consider myself to be a recovering Catholic, and I find the Catholic Church as an organization to be one of the largest hate-mongering organizations when it comes to gays and lesbians. That being said, I apologize for what I wrote yesterday. What I was trying to do, was to show the hypocrisy of Mr. Gibson, when he claims to be so religious, and then his true colors come out in a drunken display. I don't believe that the church made him that way, and I also don't believe that all Catholics are bigots, just because he is. Thank you Terry for pointing this out.