Friday, February 27, 2015

Designer Obsession

Ever since I had the good fortune to have lunch with Lucy Neatby, I have been a huge fan (I can never thank Fredda enough for inviting me that day!).

My Latest Obsession

Have you seen the double-knit zinnia blanket pattern that Lucy has been making?

Yes...this is knitting...not painting or graphic arts!  I've written about Lucy's work in the past, but this latest design is by far, one of my favorites.  I just purchased it on Ravelry for CAN$9.00 (or about US$7.31). 

I'm hopeful that the yarn (Kauni) does most of the work, but I love how this blanket looks.  Can't wait to try one of my own.

Current Knitting

More progress on both the Unforgettable blanket and the Noro socks.

But not enough to show in photos...progress photos next blog entry.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Spiritual Pursuits

Over the course of the first 55 years of my life, I've tried a number of different ways to access the spiritual, and while I have a long way to go, I thought I'd share some of the ways that have worked for me.

QueerJoe's Paths

Catholicism - My religion of upbringing, which has both shunned me and I have shunned back provided me with an incredible love of ritual.  I found an enormous amount of spirituality in the rites of the mass, communion, penance, the rosary, etc.  I still hate the organization, and I wouldn't lend my time or energy to such a hateful, destructive organization, but I did find a deep level of spirituality during my teen years.

Buddhist Meditation - a lot of the local teens starting hanging out with Tony, a local Buddhist, who had a great meditation room and allowed them to meditate there.  I tried it a couple of times, but my teenage mind was way too distracted to find any spirituality there.

est - The est organization was big in the 70's and a friend of mine convinced me I should do the est Training.  I took the two weekend training in 1979 and continued with seminars, and graduate workshops for about 7 or 8 years afterwards.  While it now exists in a very different format (called the Landmark Forum), my original work with est I attribute to much of the success I've had as a human.

Reiki - Back in the 80's, I had the opportunity to attend a demonstration for Reiki and ending up getting both my first and second degree in Reiki.  I participated in a Reiki Healing Network, providing treatments to people with AIDS and had some amazing experiences with energy healing.

Chiropractice, Massage, Yoga, Meditation - Over the years I've tried many different forms of bodywork,  massage, a little bit of Yoga and some meditation.  While I benefited from some of it immensely, I can't say I ever found a lot of spiritual value in these practices.

Rolfing - I was fortunate a few years ago to find an Advanced Certified Rolfing practitioner only 5 miles from my home, and I found this technique to be one of the most effective ways of dealing with an aging body.  But again, not much spirituality for me there.

Breema - My latest attempt at living soulfully has been my favorite so far.  If you have a Breema practitioner near you and you can afford to try this amazing form of therapeutic bodywork, I would highly recommend it.  For those open to the spiritual aspect of this practice, it can be even more profound.  The accessing of the spiritual through the body has finally allowed me to experience the peace and mindfulness that eluded me in meditation practices and I can't say enough about it.

Current Knitting

It's amazing how much progress can be made when I focus primarily on one project...even when that project is a blanket.

The Linen Stitch blanket for my niece in Lion Brand Unforgettable yarn is coming along very nicely. This is approximately 38 inches toward what will eventually be about 60 inches.

I don't think it's possible to stick with one sole project, so I do have a pair of socks on the needles.

These are the ones I'm photographing to use as a photo tutorial on the pattern for QueerJoe's Standard Sock Pattern, which should be up on Ravelry shortly after this pair of socks is complete.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

QueerJoe's Brush with Fame and Riches

Sometimes it's amazing to realize what I can be exposed to in my day-to-day life.

Hobnobbing With a One Percenter

It was recently announced that the largest ever donation to Princeton University was made by William Scheide, who died this past November, and left Princeton his collection of rare books and printings.

Here's Princeton's version of the event.

Turns out that I met Mr. Scheide, shortly before he died.  At my friend Charles' retirement reception in July, I blogged about meeting a blog reader there.  Also at the reception was Mr. and Mrs. Scheide and I got to meet both of them.  Charles had worked closely with the Scheide's and was one of the few people that actually had access to the vault that stored the more valuable items in the library, so I had often heard of Mr. Scheide and his amazing collection of books and manuscripts.

But for some reason, getting to read about some of the details of what was actually in the collection, made me a bit giddy to have actually met the man.

No, I'm not at all immune to being starstruck...even by an understated star like William Scheide.

Current Knitting

I started work on another pair of socks (Thaddeus seems to have liked the pair he got for his birthday!).

This is my test-knitting sock and the one I will use to show photos of various sections of the pattern.  As soon as this first sock is complete, I will finally publish the pattern for QueerJoe's Standard Toe-Up Sock.

I also added another 9 or 10 inches onto the linen stitch blanket.

This blanket definitely doesn't have the width I'd like it to have, so I will definitely be making borders that are wider on the edges than at the top and bottom.

Finn seems to find the blanket comfortable and warm during this frigid Winter.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Visited by Archangels

Most of you know I'm not overly religious, I'm not a big believer in the spiritual world or the supernatural, but I did agree to host five Archangels sent to me by my sister.

In exchange for three wishes.

Paying It Forward

Perhaps this is old news to many of you, but this past Saturday night, I invited Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel and Metatron into my home and they'll be here until Thursday night.  I have made three for the Earth, one for my family, and one for me, and supposedly, nothing is outside of their ability to have happen.

I have to admit, the "buzz" about the house or the general energy has been different since Saturday night...we'll see if my wishes are granted.

If anyone would like to host the five Archangels starting Tuesday night, February 17th for five nights...I'd be happy to refer them to you.  There is a little bit of preparation and I'll need to give them your the address where they should arrive (it requires you to welcome them at 10:30 PM local time at your front door).
Just send me an e-mail to let me know you're interested, and I'll send you the information about what you need to do (it's not that much).

 Current Knitting

Happy to say I have finished Thaddeus' birthday gift of a pair of hand-knit socks.

Thrilled to have made it with 3 days to spare...and all the ends are even woven in!  He gets them on Saturday, along with a couple of the green tea KitKats from Japan.

I also got some work done on the blanket for my niece.

This is two hanks of the Unforgettable yarn so far and it measures about 44"x19" so far.  I will end up doing some edge rows on the long side of the blanket to make it a little wider.  But the colors have been wonderful to work with.

Readers' Comments/Questions

Hannah Jeanne writes, "Oh my god, that blanket is amazing!!! Details? Please?"

Lion Brand Unforgettable yarn in two colorways, 200 sts on US10 needles, Linen Stitch in each colorway for fours rows, alternating.  Simple as can be.

Katy writes, "Would really like to hear your final opinion of Unforgettable. I've had nothing but trouble with it. It just falls apart in my hands. The only success I've had is to double it up. Love the colors, though!"

I kept thinking the yarn was going to go up into a puff of loose fiber, but it hasn't .  I still fear this blanket will pill like crazy though.  I'll keep y'all updated.

Monday, February 09, 2015

It's Not Easy Being Green

The Muppets and Kermit the Frog had a lot of great lessons, especially when it came to helping children understand differences and diversity

Loving Differences

Every once in a while, I get to witness someone embracing what sets them apart...their queerness, if you will and it's inspiring.

A friend of mine just returned from Japan and she brought back two things that the Japanese have taken to a delightful extreme.

Green Tea KitKats (which are sweet and delicious!) and Green Tea Latte mix (which is surprisingly tasty).   I love when someone can take something somewhat odd to begin with and take it to extremes.  I don't always have to love the result, but I love that they can enthusiastically embrace the uniqueness.  Plus, the latte was delicious - plenty of matcha (green tea) flavor and the KitKats didn't have a lot of matcha flavor, but they were sweeter than standard and they were green!

Finn wanted to know all about both of them.


Current Knitting
Still racing to finish my current pair of socks for Thaddeus' birthday this coming Saturday.

I'm pleased with the progress so far and I should get them finished, blocked and wrapped in time.

I also wrote up the first draft of the pattern for these socks (what a pain for something I just do off the top of my head).  I plan on test-knitting them and taking lots of tutorial-like photos of the socks while I make them to include in the pattern.

Not sure how I'll publish the pattern or whether I'll charge for it...I hate publishing free seems the most questions and complaints come from the free patterns, but I have time to decide on this anyway.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Damn Cold

And, while I do mean the weather, I also mean my health...I caught a cold and I'm on my third day of misery.

Hate Being Sick

I'm not often sick, but when I am I suffer.

And to continue on my whining, why is it that when you need sleep the most, a cold seems to make it much more difficult?

Fortunately, most of my colds last for 3 days and then go away...that will mean this should be the last day of this monstrosity.

What makes it even worse is that now that I work from home, taking a sick day is next to impossible...I mean if you're going to be miserable anyway, you might as well be working seems to be the working philosophy.

Current Knitting

Despite my current snot-fest, I have been getting some knitting done.

With Thaddeus' birthday coming up later this month, I thought I'd finally make a pair of socks.

His birthday is Valentine's Day, so the pink is intentional.  I've also added a patch of ribbing on the top of the foot so that the socks will stay snug on his narrow foot.  10 days left to finish these, so I better get cracking.

My niece, also let me know that the blanket that I knit for her was stolen by a roommate of hers, so she needs another one.  Since it has to be machine washable, I needed to buy some acrylic yarns, so I went with two colorways of Lion Brand Unforgettable yarn.

I'm doing just a simple linen stitch blanket in alternating stripes of the two colorways, and it's coming out nicely.

The linen stitch does a great job of blending variegated colorways, and this yarn isn't awful to work with.

Readers's Comments/Questions

GypsyGirl writes, "I have some of the Hot Socks yarn. I bought it with the intention of learning to knit socks and then using the Hot Socks for my daughter. Fail. DPNs and I do not get along. Anyway, I was going to ask what you thought of the Hot Socks, how it felt to you. When I received it I loved the colors but it felt, to me, like how dollar store socks feel. You know, the kind that make your feet feel all sweaty. Perhaps it washes up nicer?"

This is my first experience with Hot Socks and while I love the neon colors, I'm not at all impressed with the quality of wool.  It's coarse and splits easily.  Fortunately, I only plan on using this yarn for toes and heels, and I'll let you know how it washes up when I try that.