Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Clever Crafty Uses for iPhone

Yes, there are apps out there for various crafts, but what about using your iPhone in more clever ways?

Some Ideas

  • Use it as a measuring tool when you're without one.  My iPhone 6 is 5.5 inches long and 2 and 5/8ths" wide.
  • Use it as a pom pom maker.

  • Practice knitting without turning your work by watching what it looks like from the back of your work.
  • Use the calculator app as an impromptu row counter - When I need to keep track of my row count, like for cables or when I do two sleeves at the same time, I will sometimes just keep the calculator open and store my current row number
If you have any great ideas, leave a comment on the YouTube video or in comments here for ways you've used your iPhone or smartphone for your knitting, crochet, weaving, etc.

Current Knitting

I've finished knitting the front and back of the sweater I'm working one and have started the sleeves.


You'll note I'm knitting both sleeves at the same time (which I always find challenging...keeping rows in synch and remembering where I am).

I've also almost finished the niece blanket...and it's rather huge.


Just a few more rows to go and then I'll bind off (using a sewn bind off to give it a stretchier edge).

Friday, December 18, 2015

Holiday Cheer from New Zealand

I had the amazing good fortune to host James Herbison on a trip years ago to the U.S. and ever since, I get such a lovely surprise at this time of year.

Fairy Mushrooms - Who Knew!

James knows that Thaddeus has an interest in mushrooms, and he also knows we're both fairies, so most years, he sends a New Zealand confection called Fairy Mushrooms.


If you've never had one of these, they're very difficult to describe...Kind of like a fruity gum drop covered in sweetened coconut with a soft candy stick stuck up inside it.  Suffice it to say, they're quite delicious and seemingly only available in New Zealand.

They're a treat and I ration myself to one a day...makes my holiday a lot cheerier.  Thanks James!

Current Knitting

I finished up the shoulder slope shaping on the back of my current sweater and completed about half of the front of the sweater.


This project is moving along quite quickly and I'm enjoying working on it.  I ended up using a short-row technique often called Japanese Short-Rows for the shoulder slanting, and it's a great looking way of doing short-rows.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Declaring War on Xmas

The arrogance of some alleged "christians" in this country make me want to wage full-scale war on their ideas of the December 25th holiday.

Santa and Holiday Trees Rule!

Yesterday, two women were waiting to be helped in a store and the clerk wished the current customer a "Merry Chrissmas".  One of the two waiting women stated loudly enough for the entire store to hear, "He speaks our language."  (said with a smug arrogance I wanted to slap off her)

When the women were finally served, and got the same greeting from the clerk, they repeated  the "our language" statement.  Like they're in a special sorority with a secret password or something.

Really?!?!  Made me want to spit.

I'm sure Jesus would have been so proud of these two special women who took great glee that the correct holiday greeting was being stated to customers.

I don't know...it just seems like it's so antithetical to all that this holiday season should be about.

Current Knitting

Continued work on both my current works-in-progress and made some good progress...especially on the project that I had to rip out on Sunday.


Almost finished with the back of the new sweater and I couldn't be happier with how both projects are turning out.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Never Understood Late Fees

Paying bills, borrowing library books, renting videos...I've never understood why anyone would subject themselves to late fees when they could easily be avoided.

Am I Both Odd and Queer?

Having recently started borrowing books from the library after decades of being away from the library, the automated system has made it even more simple to avoid late fees on overdue book returns.  A couple of simple clicks on my iPhone or computer and I can just renew a book that's due back shortly.  Or, if the particular book is not allowed to be extended, I just have to go less than a mile to the library to return it.

I recall when Thaddeus used to work at the video rental place (I know, the dark ages), I was amazed to find that more people regularly paid late fees on rented videos and DVD's than the ones who didn't...and it wasn't inexpensive!

I don't understand...why?  I feel like I have Asperger's or something in my inability to comprehend why anyone would pay a late fee.

I guess I could understand having to pay a late fee when I got careless and got disorganized, but that would happen very infrequently for me.

I'd be grateful for any explanations someone could give why paying late fees on a regular basis was normal behavior.

Current Knitting

For those following me on Facebook, I had to rip back the start of a new project...the garment would have been about 4 inches too wide.


I've re-knitted all that I ripped out (and actually a little more) and I'm back on my way.  I'm thinking this will be a very simple (yet elegant) sweater, similar in style to one I knit decades ago.


Although it won't have the chest stripes, I was admiring the way I accidentally invented the collar edging for this sweater and will do the same on the new one.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

The Allure of Local FIber

One of the many joys of going to Sheep and Wool festivals is to find yarns that are from local sheep farms and wool mills.

New Book

Just got my copy of a new book out by Peace Books:


American Spun: 20 Classic Projects Exploring Homegrown Yarn, a new book out by Anna Sudo is a very personal tour of 15 U.S. yarn producers and 20 knitted projects using these domestic yarns.

Conceptually, I really love the idea of this book and the photos and aesthetics are simply beautiful.

Since it's difficult to assess yarns that I can't find at my local yarn stores, Ms. Sudo's book gives me a great sense about how various yarns will knit up, and would allow me to confidently purchase these yarns on-line.  A perfect example would be the Woolful Mercantile Shetland blend yarns she uses in her Harriman Hat project.


The soft, furry halo of this yarn would be beautiful on some projects and just wrong on some others.

Most of the patterns in this book are smaller projects, like cowls, fingerless gloves, hats, etc.  There are two sweater patterns and one is a beautiful women's design called Coeur d'Alene.


The shaping and the stitch patterning work extremely well with the Targhee yarn she uses from Lakes Yarn and Fiber.

All in all, this book will be a great reference guide for the 15 yarn companies she documents.  I personally think this book, along with yarn for one of the projects would make for a great gift for a knitter you love.

Current Knitting

I've been enjoying that last few inches of the current niece blanket I'm working on (which is unusual...by this time, I'm usually ready for a project to be finished), and I also started a new sweater project.






The new sweater, I've really only started the ribbing (as you can see) and the blanket has just a few more inches before binding off.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Sweet Profanity

A good friend saw this, and thought of me.

What's in a Word?

I've never been offended by words.

As a gay man, it's practically required that you can discern the intent of someone's words.

If someone says..."Hey fag!"...I have to quickly figure out if:

    1. The person is addressing me with an affectionate slur
    2. The person is ignorant that the word can be used offensively and requires education
    3. The person is being hateful and I need to defend myself in some way
In the same way, most swear words don't trigger an automatically negative reactions...in fact, quite the opposite...I'm rather fond of profanity, and I use it often.  Another benefit of not having children is I have never had to restrict my words.

There's an oft-cited quote - "Profanity is the last refuge of the truly ignorant." - there are others that insinuate that profanity is a lazy person's way of using language, but I couldn't disagree more.  I think limiting what words you use, restricts how expressive you can be.  And in fact, if you're too lazy to discern the intent of another's profanity, I would say you are the lazy person...not the one using the profanity.

Current Knitting

With the completion of the fine-gauge crochet cotton bag, I've been focusing on the niece blanket.



I'm very happy with the progress I've made so far.  I only have a couple more balls-worth (is that considered profane?) to do to finish the blanket.  It's beautifully soft and warm and has a great, wrapping comfort to it.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Design Dreaming

Every once in a while, when I'm obsessed with a project I'm working on, I'll envision how it should look and how I'll construct it in my dreams.

Deeply Rooted Understanding

Any time I've wanted to truly absorb a concept, dreaming or daydreaming about it has always helped me gain a broad and clear understanding.

Spinning was a good example.  I can't tell you how many hours of conscious and unconscious time I spent envisioning drafting wool, treadling, adding twist, plying.  By the time I had dreamt it so clearly, I was practically spinning wool like I had been doing it for years.

Similarly, my latest project...the crochet cotton bag...was envisioned extensively before I actually executed various parts of it...the shaping of the bottom of the bag, the sewing up of the lining, the design of the straps and the sewing in of the zipper.

By the time the bag was finished, I had actually completed and re-completed various aspects of the project dozens of times before I actually finished that part of the bag.

I can't say all this envisioning of the process made for a perfect project, but overall, I'm quite pleased with the result.

Current Knitting

Here's the finished bag.



I do have a few minor changes I need to make, and then when I get my first iPad, it will be a perfect bag to carry it around in.