Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

This time of year will always allow me to remember fond times in my childhood.

A Child's Time
As my breeding friends send me pictures of their adorable children wearing a lion costume, or dressed up like the little mermaid, I find myself enjoying a lovely reminiscence of my childhood at Halloween time. From the ages 5 to 10, I grew up in a small town about 20 miles West of Boston, called West Medway. It was as close to Mayberry that a New England town could come to. We had a drug store down the street with a real soda fountain, where the counter person actually made sodas. I was always a big fan of cherry Cokes. They also sold penny candy.

A little further down the road was the local barber and then slightly further, the town park. We played little league, fished, swam, did crafts, and caught bullfrogs at this lovely park. It was a pretty idyllic place.

Halloween was always fun, running from neighborhood to neighborhood, trying to fill up my trick or treat bag as quickly as possible. I am glad to have had such a carefree place in which to grow up.

Current Knitting
I finished another mitered square on Aunt Dorothy's Jacket.

This is coming along nicely. My only concerns right now are the amount of yarn I have, and if the fabric will be stiff enough for a nice jacket. It will certainly be warm and soft enough.

A Knitting Magazine Renaissance???
Folks are seemingly quite excited about the preview for the upcoming Interweave Knit magazine.

I'm not so sure. I love that Eunny's design got published. It looks spectacular, and the Shirley Paden design looks quite fine as well. It's also nice to not see more capelets and fur-ball ponchos.

I picked up an actual copy of the latest Vogue Knitting, and it's better than it has been in the recent past.

Mostly, it's better not because there are more great designs...in my opinion, this issue includes about the same number of good designs as the last couple of year's worth of magazines. It's better because like IK, they're not including as many dreadful designs.

This issue of Vogue has 36 pattern designs for US$5.99. Of the 36, I found six that I liked quite a bit, and only two dreadful designs. There is a Koigu design in this issue that has caught a lot of knitters attention, and I have to admit, I don't like it at all. I have always said that the Koigu ladies make incredible yarn, but aren't very good at putting it to good use. I personally think they should focus on their amazing talent of creating awesome yarns and let other folks design with it.

Here are the five garments I liked a lot:

1. Sandi Prosser's Mimosa Cashmere Pullover - Amazing textures and innovative design
2. Shirley Paden's Bell-Cuffed Cardigan - Not ususally my style, but even the ruffled collar looks great. All the components of the design work well together.
3. Sasha Kagan's Tapestry-like scarf - Perfectly Sasha, perfectly beautiful. I think I will actually try making this design.
4. Vladimir Teriokhin's Cabled Twin Set - He puts Lana Grossa's Cool Wool to good use in this interesting strap shoulder, cabled design with matching cardigan. Just lovely.
5. Brandon Mably's Lava Pullover - Brandon continues to come out with spectacular colorways with this stunning example of color design.
6. Mari Lynn Patrick's Short Sleeve Cardigan - Glad to see she can make nice designs as well. Mostly, I thought she used a beautiful yarn in a beautiful color and made a good sweater with it.

I'll let readers pick their own dreadful designs.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Cynthia writes, "Sick for a few days with the flu and missed the entire "queer" issue. Please post the name of the on-line community so I can be sure not to support them without knowing it."

I'd prefer not to name the group. The correspondence I had with the moderator was one of respectful disagreement, and her bigotry was one of ignorance, rather than purposeful hatred. If you ever happen upon this forum or others like it, you'll be able to figure it out yourself, I think.

On the same topic, AuntieAnn writes, "Joe, one more comment on the forum that wanted you to change your name -- I am curious whether they censored other names that might refer to sex or sexual orientation or preference in any way -- would they also censor 'StraightJoe', 'HeteroAnnie', or 'LikesBlondes'?"

I was told by the moderator that they had made someone else change their screen name because it included "wench." Although I found it kind of odd that the moderator's screen name ended with "-aholic" and that wasn't an issue too delicate for children under ten to deal with.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Knitting Confessions

Many of you know that I rarely do gauge swatches, because I've confessed that heresy before.

Even Worse
When I do gauge swatches, they are rarely reliable in predicting the final size of a garment.

Take the Aunt Dorothy Jacket. The original pattern I'm using (Nadine Shapiro's Patchwork Jacket), is done in bulky yarn on US10's. I needed to convert that to Sport/DK weight yarn on US5's. Since I'm doing mitered squares in garter stitch, I didn't have to worry about row gauge, so I guessed approximately how many stitches I would need to get the appropriate sized sqaure (I was looking for an 8 inch square).

Lo and behold, my first guess was accurate, and I knit along in my happy delirium.

After doing the first row of three squares, and then making progress on the second row of squares, I finally decide to measure the width of the garment. It's over 26 inches wide. A full two inches wider than I had planned.

How does that happen? I measured my first square, and I didn't notice any gauge change in my latter squares?

Current Knitting
Suffice it to say, I had to rip out all the work I did on Aunt Dorothy's Jacket, and start again. I made good progress despite the "gauge setback."

This is now a little under 24 inches, but I'm figuring that the garter stitch will loosen up some, even with light blocking.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the Aunt Dorothy Jacket, Elizabeth asks, "I think I can do the math for the knitting for DK/light worsted, but how did you calculate how much yarn you needed?"

First of all, I have to admit I lied when asked how much I spent for the yarn for this jacket. I wrote the other day that I bought 4 hanks of 500 yards, when in fact I only bought 3, for a total of 1,500 yards. As far as calculating yardage, I just assumed that 1,500 yards would be sufficient for a woman's jacket...even in garter stitch. I could be wrong, and I'd be glad to confirm or deny once I have the back finished (if the back takes more than one hank, I know I won't have enough).

Also, thanks Barb for the estimating link to Lucia's site that you provided in comments.

Kit mentioned that there might be a difficulty in accessing a site with the word "queer" if a child's computer is subject to filtering software.

To me, that is irrelevant for a number of reasons. First, filtering software should be a tool used by adults to help their children stay out of adult areas on the internet, not as a babysitter that has full authority over what the child sees or doesn't see. Second, as Kathy pointed out, the moderator did not make me change my name for this reason, she made me change it because she thought children should be protected from this word. And finally, I find it offensive that the word "queer" is included in the list of adult words to be filtered out anyway. To moderate a list based on ignorant, poorly designed software is kinda dopey.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rhinebeck...The Final Chapter

Just a few more recollections of my time with friends.

From Gate to Barn to Food
The drive up to Rhinebeck was quite beautiful. The trees weren't in peak color. The trees had probably peaked a few days prior, but they were still lovely.

Here are a couple of pictures near the main entrance to the festival.

Then the masses outside the vendor barns.

And more masses (this one is the QueerJoe version of "Where's Waldo", except it's "Where's The Curmudgeon"...can you spot her?)

And, of course, the lines waiting for food...a person could starve to death before getting their fried foods.

Finally, Thaddeus asked me to take his picture under one of the more beautifully colored trees in the fairgrounds, so I'll share that with you.

Current Knitting
Here's the current state of Aunt Dorothy's mitered jacket. I have to admit, I agree with Marilyn that mitered squares have been done, and in the knitting world, they could be pretty boring. But, it does work well with this yarn, and Aunt Dorothy doesn't know that the technique is tired and old.

I'm hopeful to finish the back this weekend, and despite the unimaginative technique for the garment, the softness and warmth of the fabric, and the mixture of mohair/wool/silk is downright dreamy.

Reader's Comments/Questions
kathy (small "k") asks, "How much did Aunt Dorothy's yarn cost??????????"

I don't know if their web price is the same as their Rhinebeck price, but I bought four hanks, and their web price of $34 each. I'll let you do the math. Just think, I still have to buy two nice buttons for the jacket.

Regarding having my screen name changed to accommodate small children in a fiber-forum, Ceallach asks, "Honestly, can't they come up with a better fake reason to reject you when they can't admit to their own homophobia?

Actually, I think they truly believe it's not homophobic or bigoted. When it comes to "protecting our children" some groups of folks thinks that justifies anything and everything. I obviously don't agree.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Calling a Spade A Spade

I recently tried to subscribe to an on-line community. I was told that I would have to change my online username from QueerJoe to Joe, but I was assured it wasn't for reasons of bigotry or homophobia, it was because children under 10 would be exposed to my screen name.

It's Still Bigotry and Hatred
I tried to explain (I don't think very successfully) to the moderator of the group, that "protecting children" from the word "queer" is just another way of saying there is something wrong with it, and that is hateful in a very insidious way.

Just like the Catholic church and the Boys Scouts of America excluding the GLBT community with subtle or not-so-subtle insults, it is a constant message to everyone that hears those messages, or realizes they're being excluded from those messages, that being queer is very wrong.

In the case of this discriminatory action by the on-line community, can you imagine the 8 year old that's never had exposure to any "queer" stuff, having feelings of same-sex attraction at the age of 13, and only knowing they should avoid, bury or lie about those feelings?

It's hurtful and hateful in some of the most damaging ways.

I obviously opted not to remain a member of this group.

Current Knitting
There are now almost four squares completed on the Aunt Dorothy jacket (each square is approximately 8" x 8"). It will take nine to complete the back.

What I Bought At Rhinebeck
For those of you who are interested (I know this is boring),here's what my money went toward. Or in some cases, I was given as a gift.

First I arrived to greet the group of folks I posted pictures of yesterday. Lars, had bought me a gift at Schoolhouse Products, and schlepped it all over NYC and then to Rhinebeck.

This is about two pounds of raw silk, and it's quite cool. I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but it was very much appreciated.

Then Selma gave me another gift of some roving she had that she had gotten in various ways.

She has decided not to take up spinning, and she knew I could put this to good use. She is right, and I was very touched she thought of me.

My first destination after friends, was Brooks Farm. I love their yarn and their colors. I purchased the yarn for Aunt Dorothy's sweater.

This is a yarn called Harmony with is Mohair, Wool and Silk blend. I bought it for the color and the luster of the yarn. I also picked up a yarn called Duet, which I have no idea what's in it, because I loved the color.

Then I headed directly over to Skaska, where Stephanie and Juno made me buy the white laceweight thread, because it was so soft (silk and cashmere???...I forget). I also picked up the taupe laceweight, and the Gossamer Webs book on my own.

Directly across from Skaska there was a booth that had some raw Corriedale fleeces.

This is a hefty bag with six pounds of Corriedale fleece. It was dark brown with small gold highlights on the tips. I say "was" because I dropped this big bag off at Fingerlakes Woolen Mills' booth, so they could take it back to their mill and make it into nice roving for me to spin. The thought of scouring this wool and carding all this by hand was way more than I was willing to do. I love the Fingerlakes offers this great no-shipping option for dropping off fleece for processing.

Finally, Thaddeus participated in the shopping frenzy by purchasing a wheel of this.

The full round of cheese looked like this.

It smelled like Limburger, but tasted amazing.

I will have one more Rhinebeck related post with a couple of pictures of colored leaves. Then you won't have to read any more rants about it till next year (maybe).

Gay Marriage
Thanks to Lucia for late-breaking news on gay marriage ruling in New Jersey.

Finally some good news on this front.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Rhinbeck Again

Marilyn gave an excellent description of Rhinebeck, and her pictures are way better than mine.

Apologies For Ugly Pictures
The folks I hung out with at Rhinebeck, in addition to be a lot of fun, are very attractive folks. You'd never know it from my photography, and I apologize for that in advance.

Here for your appreciation are a few candids I took of friends.

I finally got to meet Lars and Ted, and they are both as wonderful as described. Very nice guys. I'm thrilled that Lars was able to find a second career at such a young age that he's looking forward to, and that Ted was able to make it down to the festival based on readers' generosity.

A repeat of yesterday's picture:

Joing Lars and Ted are Fredda, of The Knitting Vault fame, and, of course, Marilyn. I had the opportunity to meet Fredda when I was up in Albany, and I was fortunate enough to have been there at the start of her great web site. Seeing Marilyn again is always a pleasure.

Here's pal Lisa with Marilyn. You all have to know that Lisa is this hot, vibrant, exciting chick, whose pictures never do her justice. I take some responsibility for making Marilyn not look as great as she does, but I have to draw the line with someone like Lisa who almost never takes a picture that represents how attractive she is.

Here's Marilyn, Carol, Selma, and Kathy. Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry. You all know how gorgeous you are, it doesn't require pictures to prove it.

Finally, I will leave you with my favorite picture from the meet-up.

I don't know what it is, because Thaddeus usually takes a lousy picture. But whenever he poses with Marilyn, they both look great.

Current Knitting
Since I was finished with The Celestine Shawl, I needed a new project. I tried starting a new crochet hat, but hated it. I tried starting a sweater from the Romney-like home-spun yarn, but I didn't feel like figuring out the numbers. I finally settled on a jacket for Thaddeus' Aunt Dorothy.

Last time we visited, she asked me why I had never knit her a sweater. You don't have to ask me twice.

You haven't seen this yarn yet, (as I purchased it at Rhinebeck and haven't detailed my purchases yet) but it's a Brooks Farm yarn in colors much richer than they show in pictures.

This is going to be a mitered-square jacket that I'm basing on a design by Nadine Shapiro from Jamieson Shetland 3, called Patchwork Jacket.

Nadine's design is done in bulky, and the Brooks Farm yarn is DK weight, so I had to modify numbers, but it was relatively easy.

Next post will show what I got while at Rhinebeck. Stay tuned for "Rhinebeck Continues."

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Survived Rhinebeck...

...just barely.

Great and Awful
Seeing knitting friends, and running into blog readers was great. Even the lurkers on this site are interesting and enjoyable to speak with.

The Festival, however, is getting so crowded, it's gotten ridiculous.

Traffic backups for four miles and booths/barns so crowded, I felt like I was struggling to shop and buy fiber.

I'll give partial updates on Rhinebeck all week.

Current Knitting
Well, I did finish the Celestine Shawl in time to bring it to Rhinebeck (except for one small unwoven end).

I'm very pleased with the result, as was Selma when she tried it on at Rhinebeck.

I'll be finishing writing up the pattern sometime this week, and will get it up on The Knitting Vault as soon as I can.

Speaking of which, I got to see Fredda (who I haven't seen since I shortly before I left Albany. I didn't get a chance to chat much, but it was still good seeing her.

From left to write, it's Lars, Ted, Fredda and of course, Marilyn.

I didn't get to chat anywhere near enough with Lars or Ted either, but I was glad to finally get to meet both of them.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Free Advertising

What makes folks put this kind of thing on their rear windshield, or side door panel?

It Goes Like This

Joe: "How much do the Eagles pay you to put that on your car?"
Him: "Nothing."
Joe: "Huh?...so you make your car look stupid, why?"
Him: "I love the Eagles."
Joe: "Ah, and so they gave you this decal to allow you to show your loyalty?"
Him: "No, I paid for it...I am a dedicated fan."

How did this product, called the Philadelphia Eagles, do such a good job of making folks advertise for them? I love Pepsi. I love it WAY more than C$k@ (I never say the "C" word). I even hope that Pepsi wins in every contest against its competition.

But would I deface my car with a Pepsi sticker.

I don't think so.

Current Knitting
Up to 22 rows on the last pattern repeat. Only 6 more to go and I'm ready for Rhinebeck.

Franklin is correct, I will be the prettiest girl at the festival.

I hope to see a lot of you at Rhinebeck...Saturday, 58 degrees and mostly sunny.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Surprise!!! It's The FBI

I'm not a big fan of surprise FBI investigations that seem to begin at incredibly inopportune times for politicians.

My Bi-Partisan Side Speaks
First it was Representative William Jefferson in Louisiana, and now Representative Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania. I would have thought a few weeks delay in the latest investigation wouldn't have hurt the FBI's chances of finding evidence at the daughter's house.

Jefferson is a Democrat and Weldon a Republican, but both investigations coming during the heat of election season smacks of partiality on the part of someone determining the timing of these major news events.

Don't get me wrong, from all perspectives, it appears both these guys were caught redhanded treating lobbyists more favorably than they should have legally, but you can't help but think the timing might have been deliberate.

Another Hot Mass Murderer?
Okay, now tell me this guy isn't attractive as hell.

Even in a yellow prison shirt, this guy looks fine.

Current Knitting
I'm up to row 11 of 28 on the last pattern repeat. I've got a business dinner tonight, so I probably won't have a lot of time to knit, but I'm still confident the Celestine Shawl will be completed and blocked before I leave for Rhinebeck.

Current Reading
I just finished reading my most recent book, and before I discuss my thoughts about it, I just have to say that I have no idea where this book came from, or how it got in my house. I'm running out of any planned reading, and just looking for anything I haven't read yet.

Drown by Junot Diaz is a compilation of ten seemingly autobiographical stories of the author's life and family either living in the Dominican Republic, or after his immigration to the states. Overall, I think the author writes exceedingly well, but I often got the impression he was specifically writing to a non-Latino audience. I felt like I was reading the tourist's viewpoint of a barrio-latino biography. One of the stories of the narrator as a drug dealer in New Jersey seemed a little more gritty and real to me, and I found myself wishing for all the stories to have that tone, or none of them.

All that being said, I have to say, I found reading this book very engrossing, and I was glad to have read it. It was a perfect example of how I feel my life is expanded through reading in ways that it would never be in any other way.

While you check out Amazon to look at Drown, you might want to look to see that Amazon is now selling groceries. As odd as this is, I have to admit I'm very excited, as they carry the coffee we use in our espresso machine, which otherwise, we can only find at less-than-local groceries. It's also cheaper.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Kristin writes, "Argh. Joe, plz know that the evangelicals do not represent ALL xtians."

I do know this. In fact, for a number of years, our next door neighbors were evangelical Christians, and we got along famously. They were some of the nicest neighbors we've had. Hate is hate, whether you're a self-identified Christian, Muslim or Jew...and all hate should be repugnant.

Regarding the Black Bunny sock roving blend, Marilyn writes, "I'm spinning the same BBF blend and I find that it takes a lot of careful predrafting. This is most likely because of the mohair, which gets clumpy. But I love Carol's colors."

I'm kind of glad Carol sent this out as a test fiber to just Marilyn and I. I don't know that some of her beginner-spinning customers would enjoy working with this fiber. I didn't do any pre-drafting, and my resulting singles aren't overly even. I'm still interested to see what this sock yarn will look like after I ply it and knit it up.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

So Much For The Forgiveness Of Christ

"Conservative Christians are accusing the museum of displaying pornography, according to Reuters. One evangelical pastor even said museum directors should burn in hell."

Birds Do It, Bees Do It...
...even bi-sexual Bonobono Chimpanzees do it.

A natural history museum in Norway has an exhibit on same-sex pairings in the animal world. Check it out here.

It's a well-known fact that homosexuality and bisexuality have both been present in the animal world. Nothing pisses off hateful, conservative Christians more than finding out that homosexuality is natural.

Current Knitting
The Celestine Shawl is down to the last stitch repeat on the edge, and then I'll only have to block it.

Assuming nothing hectic happens during work this week, I should be able to have this all finished and ready for Rhinebeck.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the sock-blend roving that Carol sent from Black Bunny Fiber, Sherry W. asks, "What *is* that blend of fiber from Carol?"

It's superwash wool, mohair and nylon.

Regarding my recent addition of Google Ads to my site, Barb B. asks, "So, if I click on the ads, you make more money? That's what I've started doing. Thanks for the tip too Joe, I am now looking at using the other side of thing as well, paying to have my site pop up."

Yes, just by clicking on the links, and supporting my sponsors, it supports this site. I have to admit, some of the ads have been appealing enough for me to click on them anyway, so the "smart-ad" concept must work pretty well.

Tricky Tricot also asks about the sock-blend yarn, "Really love those colors - they look great on your wheel. How will you ply the singles?"

I'm thinking I will simply double-ply this. The fiber is difficult to spin very thin, and I like sock yarn as thin as possible.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Ads and Pop-Ups and Spam...

...oh my!

Most regular readers will note that Google Ads have started appearing on my blog. About a month ago, I decided that I would see if there was any way I could make a little extra money so that the blog would pay for itself. Since Google owns Blogger.com (where I host this blog), and they have a "smart ad" concept that attempts to match the ad to the content of the web site, I thought I'd give it a try.

Based on the average daily amount of income these ads have generated so far, I will end up earning about the same amount as my blog costs me on a yearly basis (definitely NOT including my time).

So feel free to help support the blog by checking out the ads that sponsor this site every once in a while. If you're interested in adding advertisement to your own site, I highly recommend checking out Google's program.

Current Knitting
I've completed a full repeat (28 rows) of the edge lace pattern and it's looking fine. In fact, it's looking as fine as the other edge of the shawl, and I don't have a picture of the latest update. I'll post one in my next entry.

Other Fiber-Related Activity
I couldn't resist starting with the test-sock-roving that Carol sent me as a possible new product from Black Bunny Fibers.

The combination of fibers takes the dye incredibly well. Unlike the Flame colored roving I spun up a while ago from Black Bunny Fibers, this yarn is getting darker as I spin rather than lighter. Very nice.

I've also noticed that Carol's stuff goes off her site almost as fast as she puts it on. I may have to request a custom job from her next time I need something.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Thanks Mel, the vote-smart.org site is a wealth of information. After I get as much information as I can for this year's vote, I will definitely make a contribution to help support the site.

Emma in France writes,
"In the UK (which is where I'm from) there is something called 'sectioning' which is the forced detention of a person due to severe mental health problems. AFAIK it requires two doctors to sign it off.

Don't you have something similar in the US that could be used against Phelps? Picketing funerals has got to be a valid demonstration of a severe mental health problem.

Joe, does it help to know that some of us Europeans had heard of him before your post today?"

I think a person in this country can be committed to a mental institution if they're a danger to themselves or others (or at least that's what I've gleaned from movies and television shows) and I also think it takes a couple of doctors' signatures. Not sure a doctor would be willing to be sued for committing Phelps, especially since I think I heard his sisters (who protest with him regularly) are both lawyers. It does help to know that some other folks than GLBT folks here in the states know about this idiot, but until the middle of this country sees him and his very small group in action, they won't do anything to prevent him from spreading his hate.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Again, I Blame The Media

When I cast my ballot this November, I can honestly say I don't know much about some of the candidates who I'm voting for.

There Was a Time...
...when the news media would print or broadcast more information about candidates. Non-partisan groups would put out surveys detailing what a candidate stood for. You could walk into a voting booth, confident that you knew at least what the candidate said they would do, if elected.

Today, the news is mostly about anything fearful or intriguing that will generate advertising revenue.

I watched a couple of debates on CSPAN or CSPAN2 or something this past weekend. Rendell and Swann, and I'm satisfied my vote will be going to the right candidate in that election. I've also read some local information on my candidates running for the House of Representatives. But as I select Democrats for all other elections, I don't necessarily know that I agree with their goals if elected to office.

In this age of information, it has become a lot more difficult and time-consuming to find non-partisan descriptions of a candidates views, or even who's going to be on the ballot. It seems no wonder that the electorate has become some much more partisan and nasty.

Current Knitting
Progressing steadily on the Celestine Shawl. Not enough to show a picture, but happy with the progress nonetheless, especially since I'm re-acclimating myself to traveling again. Finding my way around in a new area of the country is always difficult for someone with no sense of directions (like me). I need to add this to my wishlist.

I do not look forward to documenting this last stitch pattern as part of the design I will eventually write up for this garment.

Current Spinning
I was also able to finally finish the first bobbin's worth of the Ashland Bay Merino, and start on the second one.

This spinning project is a perfect diversion during the times I'm in between things to do. I just sit and spin until it's time to start the next thing.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding declawing cats, Carol asks, "Hey, what's the litter box issue? I never heard of a connection before."

Our previous cat (Chaps) couldn't seem to recognize the difference between any open box and her litter box. And later in her life, she would sometimes just go where ever she was. Thanks also to Mel for both his professional comments about this and his disgust of Foley.

Regarding commenting on U.S. politics, Ted writes, "What's the point? Nobody in the USA gives a damn about what Canadians think of anything anyway.

I don't agree. I find a neighbor's opinion sometimes more insightful because of the lack of direct involvement in the issue. I might trash you for an opinion (I dont really trash anyone...I try to disagree with respect), but not because it's from a Canadian. Your comments about Phelps and the non-U.S. arrest law are both good examples of where you see injustices. I despise Phelps, but I honestly wish his group had protested the Amish funerals. Then more folks than just the GLBT community would realize what a hateful prick he is.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Power-Hungry Bastards

Since when did "I don't recall" become a valid excuse?

Nothing Like A Good Sex Scandal...
...especially, a gay sex scandal.

When President Clinton spilled spooge on the infamous blue dress, the Republicans only needed a whiff of an excuse to put pit-bull, Kenneth Starr, in charge of a full-scale investigation (actually, he was brought into investigate Whitewater, but one whiff of a sex scandal sent him in a very different direction).

And now the republicans seem to have had a sex scandal waved back and forth under their noses, but lost their sense of smell for a while? Or did they just not want to lose an important Florida seat for the Republicans.

How can any true Republican not look at this, and without hypocrisy say that the Republicans have any sense of moral values, that they care about anything except self-serving purposes, they they aren't power-hungry, immoral pricks?

Current Knitting
I finished the one edge of the Celestine Shawl, and now I've picked up the provisional edge of the other end, and I've just begun that side.

With the end in sight for this design, I need to take a look at what I want to work on next. Especially since I'm travelling during the week again, and need to plan in advance.

Roving Arrival
Carol S. of Black Bunny Fiber fame, has asked me to test-spin a sock blend fiber that she personally dyed just for me.

She calls it "Field of Popinki." Popinki is what Thaddeus' family calls a specific type of mushroom that he looks for when he's foraging for mushrooms, and the color is just beautiful. I can't wait to start spinning it.

It pays to keep checking Black Bunny Fibers. Carol sells all of her fiber almost as soon as it gets posted.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding my blog mention that we didn't get Gage declawed, James notes, "Hmm you actually have the option of having cats declawed...In New Zealand it's illegal."

I have to say, we had our last cat declawed, and now in retrospect I realize that it wasn't a great thing. We've found out since that in older age, cats who have been declawed have significant litter-box issues. Our former cat had issues that most cat-folks agree was definitely due to her lack of claws. I would never declaw again, especially when it was easy to train Gage to use scratching posts.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I'm Officially A Square

With Rhinebeck looming in the immediate future, I am all set to show up on the Rhinebeck BINGO cards.

Sign up to play if you're going to Rhinebeck and you haven't signed up already. It's easy and will be a good way of establishing community at such a large fiber event as Rhinebeck. I always look forward to hearing from readers, even the ones that find my blog offensive.

Current Knitting
I've completed two complete repeats of the edge pattern stitch, and it's looking quite fine.

The knitting of this stitch pattern still takes a lot of my attention, and I still end up having to unknit a row or two every once in a while. But I think the result is well worth it. Here's a closeup.

Other Fiber Activity
In all the craziness of my new schedule, I have been able to fit in a little spinning as well on the multi-colored merino roving.

I'm almost finished with the first of three bobbins. Just a little bit more to go on this one.

Gratuitous Cat Picture
For the Gage-lovers out there, I thought I'd show a rare picture of Gage, our cat for a change.

Feel free to not ooh and ahh.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding my crochet cap picture, Ted asks, "What is that furry thing that the crocheted beanie is mounted on?"

Your guess was correct. It is a sisal covered post that Gage has scratched the hell out of. We didn't want to have him declawed, so we put these posts all over the house. The cap of this one shapes the hat very nicely.

Also about the crochet cap she inspired, friend Kathy says, "Nice hat, Joseph. I want to see you wear it."

Have I not told this group about my one superpower? I have the ability to make any hat look completely idiotic, just by putting it on. The most awesome hat on anyone else on the planet gets put on my hat, and automatically transforms into the dorkiest thing you've ever seen. Check out the initial picture of me in a cap above to get a small sense about what I'm talking about.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

New Client...New Location

Last friday was my last day with my former client, this past Monday, I started up with my new client.

Northeast For The Winter Again
It appears that I can't escape the Northeast during Winter anymore. I'll be in Massachusetts for the majority of my time with this new client, and the project is slated to last until April of next year (much shorter than the 3 and a half years with my prior client).

I miss my last client a lot, but after ten years in this kind of work, I get used to dealing with the sadness of saying goodbye to a client and the stress of establishing myself with a new client. My former client sent me this wonderful package on my last day.

It was a tower of goodies from Mrs. Fields, and while I've eaten a few already, here's what it looked like before nibbling.

Current Knitting
Now that I'm back travelling, I've also started back up on the Celestine Shawl (no more weaving distractions). But I haven't made a lot of progress since the last picture. I'll see what I can do towards the end of the week to keep you updated.

I did however get distracted by something else than a loom. My friend Kathy had a hat design published in Interweave Crochet that used crochet's version of Fair Isle stranding. I had to try the method, so I made myself crochet's version of the London Beanie.

I did

I enjoyed the process of covering over the color not being used.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the new bargain loom and my first attempt at weaving, Michelle asks, "How much would a loom, similar to or the same as the one you have, cost new? I think your woven fabric is beautiful, how long did it take to make?

I really have no idea what this kind of loom would cost. I can't imagine it would be quite as expensive as the ones mentioned by May. It's a relatively cheaply made item, although it allowed me to play with some of the basics of weaving. It took me about four hours in total to warp the loom and weave the small piece I showed in the picture. The chunky yarn helped make the weaving go extremely quickly.

JoVE asks if I would be "...willing to share your warping instructions (and any others the loom came with)."

I'd be glad to try and scan them and e-mail them when I get back home at the end of the week. The basic instructions in case you want to experiment, are to tie a loop of string around the center hooks on the front and back of the loom. Before tying a knot at the front, thread one side of the loop through the eye of the heddle and one through slat next to the loop. This will allow you to have an "up shed" and a "down shed" position by pushing the eye-threaded sides of the loop down or up while allowing the slat-threaded side of the loop to stay in the same position.

Regarding the weaving, Liza (of quilting fame) asks, "What fibers did you use?"

For the warp, I just used an old cone of some 2/20 wool/acrylic blend. For the weft, I used a very bulky, uneven wool yarn that I got in a yarn swap with crocheter friend Kathy. She got her yarn from Thistle Hill Farm. I had tried to make multiple projects with the yarn, and nothing looked good enough to keep working on.

Marilyn states, "Well, let me quote: 'I'm not going to weave'"

My cable network has a station that sometimes show extended tours with various historic places. There is an old weaving factory in Red Lion, PA that was featured on the show, and they showed the owner weaving on some of the most complex and interesting looms I've ever seen. While I was quite amazed, and I would someday like to take a real tour of the factory, the complexity of their weaving was so daunting, I gave the quote that Marilyn notes. But even Marilyn will admit there is a huge difference between a rigid heddle loom and an eight-shaft. The warping alone would take me as much time as it would take me to knit a sweater for Thaddeus.

I almost consider the little bit of weaving I did to be about as simple as the much-aligned Weavettes.

Finally, Mary-Helen of Witty Knitter fame send an e-mail with a link to a video interview of her, discussing knit blogs. Nice to put voice to her face.