Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Okay...What Would You Do?

Last half-day at work before a four day holiday weekend, virtually none of my co-workers are in the office and I've completed all critical tasks and gotten ahead on future tasks.

Should I Blog?
I have virtually no knitting content or progress to boast about, and I typically do my blogging outside of working hours. I can't knit at work, but blogging activity could be perceived by casual passers-by as productive work.

Such a quandry, and you KNOW how I hate being bored.

I even tried catching up the typically reliable time-suck, Ravelry Forums, but there was hardly any activity out there either.

Sheesh...what's a slacker supposed to do?

Current Knitting
I do have a pathetic progress report on my current sock project.

So far, no knots in this ball of Kureyon Sock, but I know I shouldn't get my hopes up for the second sock will surely not be as knot-free.

I have also done a few rows since the last blog on the stranded knitting sweater, but a progress picture would just look like the last one.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the stranded sweater, Barb B. asks, "Are you doing buttons kind of like a "henley" style?"

Yes, that's exactly what I was trying to describe...thank you.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Can't Shake It

If you came here to get cheered up, I'm afraid you've made it to the wrong blog.

Winter-Time Blues
I've never been a big fan of Winter and cold and snow, but this year I seem to be dreading it worse than most...and it's still only Fall!

Add to that, a bunch of personal crap, and I am definitely not enjoying this season so far at all. It would be nice to just go to sleep until March...even knowing that I'd have to deal with the worst case of dry-mouth ever.

At least I am enjoying my knitting, and I'm hopeful that my current sweater project will help keep me warmer this Winter.

Current Knitting
As I'd hoped, I made it up to the sleeve shaping and started a steek there.

Shortly, I'll be getting to the place where I'll have to start the pattern design around the button/collar opening. This will require a bit of planning and paying attention...I want to make sure I don't have button/collar patterns on both the front and the back.

I also started a new knitting project that has to remain a secret, but it shouldn't affect my ability to make progress on existing projects.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Thanks everyone for their good wishes and congratulations on the anniversary.

Sean writes, "I would love to see a picture of you two from back then."

I posted this picture a while back, and it's not quite 25 years old and it's a picture of a picture...but it gives you a good idea of what we looked like back then.

ChickInParis asks, "How was Morimoto's?"

It was ridiculously expensive, but exquisitely good. We both did tasting menus, and one of my courses was the most amazing halibut I've ever far.

Barb B. of Wild Geese Fibres asks, "Now, ummm, don't know if I should ask but, on the second set of motifs from the bottom, #3 from the it different by plan? Are there more like it I can't see? Shutting up now."

Hopefully you'll notice that there is a bit of randomness in the pattern design. Even if there wasn't, I would have claimed there was.

Seanna Lee asks, "When you mean the first vertical part of your ankle are you referring to the front of the foot where the instep slopes up to the shin or are you referring to the front of the ankle bone itself?"

I meant the beginning of the instep slope up to the shin. But like you said, it's not a very exact science...socks are very forgiving.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Another Anniversary

The ever-wonderful Thaddeus and I celebrated our 25th anniversary this past weekend.

Quarter Century Club
Yes, it's amazing even to me that it's really been 25 years. We celebrated by going to an exceptional restaurant in center-city Philadelphia, Morimoto's. Despite torrential downpours on our drive to the restaurant, it was a wonderful way to mark this joyful milestone.

I say it often, but we've been very lucky.

Current Knitting
Taking progress pictures of my current sweater has gotten to the point where it's starting to feel like watching paint dry, but I still post them and make you read about it...sorry!

I really have gotten more done on the just doesn't really look like it.

So, I'll spice things up a bit by showing you the INSIDE of the sweater...yes...don't hyperventilate...I know this is exciting shit.

I have completed about 12 or 13 inches on the body of the sweater, and I'll soon be starting the steek stitches for the arm holes.

Readers' Comments/Questions
JellyDonut asks, "Joe, are your socks always done toe to top? I've only done it the other way. How do you decide when to start the heel?"

In answer to your first question, no, sometimes I do cuff-down knitting on socks. There are a couple of reasons I do toe-up. First, it allows me to make the longest sock with whatever yarn I'm using...I can just stop when I'm a little less than halfway through my yarn. Second, I love using the Andersson heel, and I haven't gotten my shit together enough to revise the instuctions to make it in a cuff-down fashion. Finally, I like the look of the toe of the sock using the figure-eight cast-on. I decide on when to start the heel based on my rows-per-inch gauge and how many rows it will take me to increase for the heel gusset. If I do a short-row heel, I just keep trying on the sock and when it gets to the first vertical part of my ankle, I start the heel.

Evelyn asks, "How are you knitting a blue sock out of orange yarn??"

It's Noro magic...well actually it's purple, blue and teal and then's what it's looking like now.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Promoting Friends

Sometimes it pays to have a web site that generates a little traffic, and hopefully it will help two friends to accomplish their goals.

Two Promotions in One Blog
First shameless promotion is for knitter Kyle out in California, who was a huge proponent and participant of the West Coast Men's Fall Knitting Retreat. He's trying to pull together a book of men who knit in each state of the U.S.. Check out his web site here and volunteer your artistry and story. Click on the "Get Involved" tab to see if your state is in need of representation.

I also wanted to promote a friend who is completely non-knitting related. Pete Cerqua is a personal trainer who I've worked with extensively in the past, and he's put out a new fitness solution that you might want to check out.

It's called The 90-Second Fitness Solution: The Most Time-Efficient Workout Ever for a Healthier, Stronger, Younger You, and I've already ordered my copy.

Current Knitting
Last week wasn't a very productive week for knitting. I stalled a little on the stranded knitting pullover and decided my ADD needed a new project, and started working on another pair of Noro socks.

Here's my progress on both.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Cabezalana Mel asks, "So is that vertical panel in the center of the pullover a side panel or a faux button placket?"

Actually, the vertical panels will be on both sides of the sweater, underneath the sleeves, although the idea of a faux button band leading up to the the real buttoned neck opening is intriguing.

Ron writes, "I hate doing corrugated ribbing. How deep is yours and did you go down many needle sizes?"

I'm not a very big fan of corrugated ribbing either. I find stranding behind ribbing takes away the elasticity and even curls...which in my mind defeats the whole purpose of ribbing. Mine isn't corrugated's just all black 1x1 ribbing. I did about 2.5 inches of it and only went down one needle size. I may decide to re-do it after and go down another needle size...we'll see how ambitious I get.

Fiberqat asks, "BTW, is it intended that in the second motif row of the panel that the third block from the right be different from the others? Since we can't see the back or the chart I'm assuming it is because I can't imagine you making such a big mistake."

This is the part of the Motif I stole from Marianne Isager's Knitting Out of Africa, and I'm just following her graph exactly. You'll note from the cover of her book, that it does change on that row of motifs.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Big Thank You

I have to admit, I would have been really pissed if all the Obama fanatics that helped him win against Hillary hadn't come out to vote for him in the general election.

It's Only Fair
While it scares me a bit that the youth vote was still somewhat sparse, I want to thank all of the young'uns who did in fact vote. I also want to thank all of the true conservatives that rejected the neo-con platform of the Republicans and voted for Obama (or minimally, didn't vote for McCain). My thanks also go out to all the big Hillary supporters and the devout feminists, who despite their annoyance at missing out on having a woman for president, still voted for the best choice available. Finally, a huge thanks to the Obama fanatics that kept the energy alive from very early on in the campaign. You were the ones that actually made Obama a viable candidate even when folks like me didn't think it was possible.

For the first time in a long time I feel as though we truly have a "big-tent" mentality in leadership.

Current Knitting
Kept my nose to the grindstone (does anyone else flinch a little when they think about their nose pressed to an actual grindstone?) and got quite a bit done on the stranded knitting pullover.

In addition to finishing about 10 inches of sweater so far, I also finally graphed out the whole sweater so that I know when to start the arm holes and the collar.

Wish me a happy blogiversary tomorrow. Hard to believe I will have been blogging about knitting and queer politics for six years now.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Since I Can't Do it Myself

Movember - Sponsor Me

James, one of the cutest guys on Ravelry is growing his mustache throughout "Movember" to raise money for prostate cancer awareness.

My Contribution
Since I can't grow a mustache myself (or better yet, the World wouldn't want me to), I figured it was easier to just support James in his efforts. The web site allowed me to dream of what I might look like with a big bushy mo'.

Trust me, I could never get a bushy mustache even if I tried for years...and even if I could, it wouldn't look anywhere near as nice as James'.

Current Knitting
Yes...I have been knitting.

So far, this is the best picture I've been able to take of the stranded pullover sweater. It shows the pattern pretty well, but it also shows the softness of the yarn. I plan on making a lot of headway on this sweater over the weekend. This is not a project I'd like to have lingering.

Recent Purchases
I was having lunch with a client last week in downtown Ann Arbor, MI. She casually mentioned there was a yarn store on the next block. I told her to eat faster. The store is Busy Hands and they have both lovely yarns and lovely designs. The owner was also a delight.

I ended up buying this.

I know...I know...I complained about the knot I found in the last ball of Noro Kureyon Sock yarn, but I just couldn't resist these two colorways. Not sure what I'll be making with these, but I had to have them.

Readers' Comments/Questions
The other day, Seanna Lee asked, "Your sweater is coming along beautifully. Have you charted out the motifs you are using, or are you mostly making it up as you go along?"

The initial framing sections were just being made up as I went along. When I looked for something I could steal for the main sections of the front and back, I quickly found the perfect pattern stitch from the front cover of Marianne Isager's Knitting Out of Africa. I actually spent a few hours modifying her graphic to fit on my sweater, but I'm loving how it's turning out.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

It's a Brand New Day

When Bill Clinton was elected, I gloated. When George W. Bush was elected, I grieved. With the election of Barack Obama I only pray that the vision that returned hope to this country can be fulfilled.

I do have renewed hope...sometimes it's just a glimmer and other times it's full-on, naive, ridiculous hope, but hope I have.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Rhinebeck Re-Visited

Not literally...just in a blogging sort of way.

Rhinebeck Purchases
It was a lean year this year for purchases at Rhinebeck, despite a number of close calls.

My first visit was to introduce myself to Chris at Briar Rose Fibers. Despite the fact that the festival hadn't even officially opened, Chris' booth was swamped with dozens of people grabbing every bit of the gorgeous fibers they could clutch. It really was kind of a feeding frenzy. I couldn't deal with it, and figured it would be best to introduce myself to Chris and then just pay shipping on my orders for her yarn at a later date.

I then went over to visit with Mel and David and made my first purchase of the day...two balls of soft-as-silk alpaca sock yarn...

Socrates in dark charcoal heather color.

I met up with Lorraine (FiberNinja), who gifted me with some soft-as-silk mohair from her very own stash.

I can't wait to card this in with some other fiber and see how it spins up.

Finally, I also bought a Shetland fleece. Nothing extraordinary, and the pictures didn't do it justice, so I'm not posting a picture of a blob of white and gray in a big plastic bag.

Current Knitting
I completed a few more rows on the stranded knitting pullover.

I got a little bored and decided to use up some of the scraps from the Manos Afghan for my niece.

I basically just randomly knotted leftover ends of the yarn and then started a double seed stitch with the resulting ball of yarn. Just goes to prove there are some yarns that go together well no matter what you do.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the stranded knitting pullover, CrankyOleBroad writes, "Cool sweater! Are you knitting it in the round on two circulars?"

Yes...mostly. Sometimes I switch to just one circular so I have one less needle-join to worry about gaps in the knitting and then I switch it to two needles when I photograph it.