Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Selfish, Power-Hungry and Greedy World

I think if we could eliminated the above noted characteristics, the World would be just about perfect.

When Did "Christian" Start to Mean Self-Serving?
I always bristle when someone states they wish things were like they were back in the fifties.  Usually it's the most rabid conservative so-called Christians who want back the power of being a majority.

The fifties had some terrible things happening in them...the threat of nuclear holocaust one the biggest fears of people of that age, race and integration issues, homosexuality was still a mental illness and the start of unrest in Vietnam that eventually brought the U.S. into an awful war.  But they also had a friendly, community-oriented feel (in general) that seemed to care about how others in their community were faring.

Today, the fierce competitiveness (for just about everything), the rabidly ambitious people trying to better only themselves and the amazing amount of large-scale corporate greed has led to a complete breakdown in any sense of community.  In fact, any organized ways suggested to help bring back a sense of community are often labeled socialism.

I personally think that this overall sense of greed and selfishness has become the most important issue affecting our lives today.

It certainly was the reason that Wall Street almost collapsed and the big banks had to be bailed out.  Even the war in Iraq I'm convinced was largely started to make sure companies like Haliburton could make their quarterly numbers.

There are obviously many exceptions to this greed and selfishness.  Panera Breads is a good example of this with their recent Panera Community Cafes.  But what we need is more than just glimmers of hope...we need a wave of people deciding that the well-being of their community is almost as important as their own well-being.

Current Knitting
I finally finished the Koigu Linen Stitch scarf...almost.

I decided to do a sewn bind off, so the edging would be elastic and have the most possible chance of a nice soft ruffle.  Since the sewn bind-off requires quite a long stretch of yarn for so many stitches, I pulled off about 3 miles of yarn, and began binding off the 500 or so stitches.  I got up to here before I ran out of yarn:

Fortunately, with a little gentle blocking the "gentle ruffle" will come out quite nice.

I'm also considering just "hemming" the ends and binding in the yarn ends when I sew it up.  I honestly don't think the scarf lends itself to fringe.

Thoughts? Ideas?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cancun Slideshow 
Okay...it's not really a slide show, but for some, it might be as boring as one.

Some Mexican Photos 
No knitting content today...just photos from my recent vacation.

Did  you know pelicans fly in formation?
Hotel beach and pool area (bottom left is our preferred beach spot)
The JW's sister hotel the Casa Magna separated by the JW pool
Balcony art
Hotel beach
More balcony art
Postcard Perfect
I could read out here for hours...in fact, I did
If you look closely, you'll see the chair with my ass indentation

Balcony View
Lobby Photo
Lobby Photo
More Lobby
Sunrise from hotel room balcony (I'm and early riser)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

That Old Chestnut!

How many knitting forums have you been on where the question of whether you're allowed to fly with knitting needles comes up incessantly?

How Did You Respond?
Lately, I just ignore then entire thread whenever it comes up.  I used to reply that I fly more frequently than most people (other than flight attendants and pilots), and I fly both inside and outside the United States.  I have never had an issue with bringing knitting needles on board a plane.

Until this past week.

Flying home from Cancun, the Cancun Airport security took three Addi Turbos in my knitting bag, including the one in my current project with 545 stitches on it.  I hated losing the needles, and I hated not being able to knit on the flight home and I really hated the thought of getting 545 stitches back on a needle.

Last night I spent about an hour getting the Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf project back on the needles, but when I did, I found I like the current Addi Turbo better, because the cable is longer, and I can show off the project better!

I still wish I hadn't lost three needles and I still wish I could have knit on the plane.

Please don't start a string of comments about bringing needles on airplanes...I can find that anywhere.  I don't care to hear about taking a self-addressed/stamped envelope with me, or putting in a safety net (that's my name for threading a line through my knitting every so often so at most I'll lose a few rows of knitting), or using only wood or plastic when you fly.  I think the topic has been thoroughly exhausted in other forums.

Current Knitting/Spinning
Despite the setback on the Koigu scarf, I was able to make some progress (both on the flight to Mexico and a little bit since I returned...I hardly knit one row whilst on vacation).

It looks like it's going to end up being about 6 feet long when it's finished...not including any fringe (which is probably the only way I can think to finish off the ends without sewing a hem (there are lots of ends that would look stupid woven in).

As stupid as this is, when the scarf was off the needles, I didn't even consider checking if it was ruffling as I'd hoped.  I was just concerned about getting the stitches back on the needle.  Perhaps it's just wishful thinking, but I swear I see a soft ruffle starting up.

I also got the plying set up for the Optim Merino wool I'm spinning.

The resulting yarn is incredibly soft and lustrous.  So far, it's probably the nicest yarn I've ever spun...at least from a tactile perspective.

LATE UPDATE!!! - Carol Sulcoski has a new book coming out in October!  Order early...hers sell out fast:

Sock Yarn Studio: Hats, Garments, and Other Projects Designed for Sock Yarn

Monday, February 06, 2012

Vacation Time

Just a few short days of work, and then Thaddeus and I head to beaches, beautiful hotel, warm weather and good restaurants.

Cancun by Friday
Yes, Friday, we fly down to Cancun for the week.

While we haven't been down there for a number of years, we used to go down each year for a while.

It's nice for us to be familiar with the place we're staying...hotel facilities, restaurants, nice sections of the beach, how to get around, etc., so a Cancun vacation should be serene and relaxing.  I can't wait.

Since we'll be down there for Thaddeus' birthday, we'll have to see about having a special dinner that night.

And don't worry, we have a cat-sitter for Nico...she's a veterinary tech...so she's very well qualified to watch our prized kitty.

Current Knitting/Crocheting
Having finished the Rocky Mountain Skeindalous socks, I have focused a bit of attention on two different things.

I've done some work on the length-wise Koigu/Linen Stitch scarf project.

I did end up gradually increasing the needle size, and I'm thinking it's giving me a nice soft ruffle, but it could be my imagination, since it's hard to see what it will look like off the needles.

Either way, I couldn't be happier with the colors, texture and drape of the fabric.

I've also been experimenting with a new crochet technique (for me) to try and create medallions that a jewelery-making friend of mine might care to use.  I made two prototypes, one in blue and one in silver lurex, that I liked well enough, but I'm not sure she'll be able to do anything with them.

Starting the inside part of the spiral is fiddly and tricky, but the outer spirals get easier and easier.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Share The Love

There's not many opportunities I have to experience intimacy with a group of guys that isn't intensely sexualized.  The annual Men's Spring Knitting Retreat is one of those rare chances.

Registration and Scholarships
We recently opened registration for the 2012 Men's Spring Knitting Retreat and we already have over 30 guys who have registered.  If any guys are considering attending, we will be taking registrations until the end of April or until we reach 45 registrations.  Registrations are being take on the official registration web site, so tell all your friends.

We have also opened up nominations for full scholarships to the retreat, so if you know someone that would like to attend (or would like to attend yourself) and can make the dates of the retreat, feel free to nominate him (or yourself).  The scholarship will pay for the full cost of the retreat (except for personal purchases of yarn on the road trip) and up to a $400 travel stipend if necessary.

Find all the details and nominate someone here.

Finally, if anyone would like to donate to the scholarship fund, you can do that here.

Current Knitting/Spinning
As I mentioned in the last blog post, I finished the Rocky Mountain socks from yarn we got from the amazing Skeindalous.  Here are the promised photos.

For all my toe-up socks, I will use my version of the Andersson heel.  I've modified the increases and customized the numbers to my size sock, and I love it.  It requires no picking up of stitches and it fits a human heel better than short-row heels.

Beautiful, no?

I also mentioned I finished the Optim Merino singles...here is the promised photo.

Hopefully this weekend, I'll begin plying this yarn and then I can decide on what to do with it...dye it...knit it...crochet it...not sure yet.

Kitty Yarn Porn
It's been a while since I posted a photo of Nico, and I captured this photo just today and thought it was perfect.

My other beautiful boy.