Monday, July 25, 2016

Please Stand Up to Bigotry and Hatred

Recently, I posted a questionnaire to a Facebook High School Reunion group, answering questions about my experience in High School.  One of the questions asked was if I was a a cheerleader, and my reply was, "No, that would be gay."

One Person Can Make a Difference

I got a lot of likes and comments to my post, but only one person wrote that they found my answer to the cheerleader question offensive.

While it wasn't meant to be offensive...it was meant to be self-deprecatingly funny...she was right.  My comment was offensive and I apologized and praised her for standing up to bigotry.  I also explained my rationale for the response.

I couldn't have been more glad that she was courageous enough to challenge my hateful sounding comment.

It reminded me of a story my sister told me about my mom shortly after my family found out I was gay.  My mom wasn't thrilled with having a gay son when she first found out, but after hearing this story, I knew she had worked her way through it for herself.  My mom and sister were with some neighbors and one of the neighbors told a gay joke.  My sister couldn't remember the joke, but she said the joke wasn't hateful and didn't in any way put gays in a bad light.  My mother turned to the friend/neighbor who told the joke and said, "Excuse me, my son is gay and I find that offensive."

I couldn't have been more proud of my mom and her newfound pride in me.

Suffice it to say, most people don't tell gay jokes in front of me...or racist, sexist, transphobic, or ethnic jokes either.  But I will make sure I don't let any hateful statements go unchallenged.

Current Crochet/Knitting

I did end up finishing the last of the three Interlocking Crochet Scarves this past weekend, including weaving in the ends.



I do still have to weave in the ends for the other two scarves, but it's getting easier.


Going back to work on the first two scarves will be a pleasure...I love the colorways even more today.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Dreaming of the Yarn Business Again

Like many knitters and spinners, every once in a while I dream about what it would be like to own a yarn store or a spinning mill.

Dreams Will Stay Just Dreams

I've known a lot of yarn store owners in my time as a knitter and in more recent years, I've met a few people that own spinning mills.

One conversation with any of them will dissuade me from the notion that it would be idyllic to own a fiber-related business.

Or a sheep farm, goat farm, alpaca farm, rabbit hutch.

All of them are a lot of work and for very little financial return.

I know yarn store owners that have made a living from doing what they love, but more often, they either learn to dislike the past-time of knitting because it becomes work, or they reconcile themselves to the fact that a yarn store is more of a hobby business than a serious money-making venture.

My blog doesn't have much sway anymore, but for the dozen or so readers, I'd like to suggest you consider supporting the following two businesses...because we all know what hard work it is:

  • Provincetown Pürl - Ryan, a first-timer to the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat this past year has just opened up a yarn store in the this gay mecca and beach resort at the tip of the Massachusetts arm.  Like his store on Facebook, and visit his store if you're there (or encourage your friends to do so.
  • Pioneer Fiber Mill - I don't know much about Steve, but he has been actively pursuing interest in his fiber mill, and I've heard about this venture from at least three of my friends.  Steve event went so far as to send me three samples of his work to play with.

The Granny Smith Green marled yarn is spectacular but the rich depth of colors in the naturals are also amazing.  Here's a closer look at the fiber and the content.


Please consider checking Steve's web page and using him for fiber processing or purchasing some of his Pioneer's fiber.

Current Crochet

Almost complete with the last of three Interlocking Crochet Scarves.


I've only got about 5 more "stripes" to add to this last scarf.  There are also quite a few ends to weave in.  I'm still loving this pattern.

Monday, July 18, 2016

When I Forget

Frequently, I forget and need to be reminded that my satisfaction comes from within.

I Feel Amazing

Over the last few weeks, I've often been feeling sad, hopeless, angry and vengeful.

When I have these feelings, I am more apt to start flame wars on social media with the morons I blame for my sadhoplessangryvengefullness or write snarky posts on the blog or on Facebook or Twitter to convince everyone that they're idiots and need to change. I also start to demonize and gossip about others.

Shockingly, those activities never seem to help ease my ill feelings.

During times when I'm more sane, I see this frustration as a welcomed opportunity to focus on doing what makes me a better person.  During my less sane times, I am often reliant on someone or something to remind me that I need to focus on character-building activities.

This weekend happened to be a more sane time and I was able to see all the sad and hateful news as a welcome reminder to do what's good for my self-esteem and hopefully the rest of the World's as well.

I've opted to be encouraging of myself and others.  I've decided to look for opportunities to be charitable and loving.  I'm focusing on being connected and present with people.  I even worked diligently on finishing one of the scarves that I have loved working on.

I offer today's blog post as a reminder to you to work on those things that uplift your spirit if you're not already there.

Current Crochet

Two scarves down and one to finish!





I worked diligently on finishing the latest scarf, which I'm calling Rose's Garden.  The pinks and greens reminded me of a beautiful garden of roses with other flowers sprinkled all around.

See?!?...I've been working on things that are satisfying and nurturing!

The scarf is about 65" long and 6" wide (although the loose drape of the fabric could easily stretch out both longer and wider).  I also have ends to weave in, but fortunately, I find that nurturing as well!

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Wonders of Sock-Ease

You all know how much I love Koigu, and Black Bunny Fibers and Madeline Tosh.  But there are a lot of good reasons to go with yarns like Lion Brand Sock-Ease.


Thaddeus' Sister

Thaddeus has only one sister, and she's quite an amazing woman.


She has a number of amazing talents, but one of them is being able to find a cheap garment or accessory at a TJ Max store or at a thrift store and match it up with something more expensive, to make her entire ensemble look like a million bucks.

That's kind of how I see matching Sock-Ease with my knitting designs.

Here are some of the benefits I see to using yarns like Sock-Ease:
  • Ease of availability - yarn stores, crafts stores and on-line vendors abound for this yarn
  • Consistency of color/dyeing - I hardly ever have to worry about dyelot differences
  • As Leslie mentioned in comments, washing items made with Sock-Ease is not at all fussy
  • When I make garments for babies or nieces (or baby nieces), they have to be machine washable
  • Garments (especially socks) are more durable (and I'm hard on socks)
  • Sock-Ease is the most inexpensive option for sock  yarn I've ever seen
  • When used for scarves, hats or socks that I will sell, the cost allows me to sell them cheaper
  • Lion Brand Yarns is a family-owned business and has been serving the fiber-crafting community for almost 140 years!
And after all these reasons...if you're still a yarn snob, you can still check out the "LB Collection" of yarns, which is only available in the NY Lion Brand store or on their web site.

I'd be interested to hear about what others find as good uses for less-expensive yarns.


Blog Contest Results

If you haven't seen the video of me on Facebook selecting the winners of the two Blog Contest prizes, you can see it here:


The winners were Daniel and Barry (in that order) and prizes have already been put in the mail to them.

Thank you all for participating and especially the comments from lurkers who just wanted to assure me they were still here.

Current Crochet

Here's the current state of the three Interlocking Crochet Scarves I have on the hook.





Sometimes I hear knitters say that they don't want to waste their time on making something with cheap yarn, but when the result looks as good as this, I say why pay more than you need to?
Save

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Big Reveal

The blog contest to guess what yarn I used for my interlocking crochet scarves was very revealing to me, so now it's time to reveal to you!

Twists and Turns and Deception

So, I have a confession to make...I re-wound the yarn in hanks to disguise the source.

One other confession...I'm no where close to being a yarn snob.

One last confession before the reveal...when I can find an inexpensive alternative to anything, I will always try it to see if it's as good (or better) than the more expensive alternatives.

All that being said, you can either go to this URL:

The mystery yarn - REVEALED!

Shocking, no?

Current Crochet

I have finished crocheting the bright scarf, but still working on the subtle scarf.  Also started a third, brighter scarf.



If you like this scarf pattern (or any other pattern that mixes multi-colored yarn well), you should definitely go get some self-patterning colors of Sock-Ease...I'll be discussing all the reasons I like this in an upcoming blog entry.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Blog Contest Update

It never ceases to amaze me how many regular blog readers I have who lurk quietly...until there's a prize to be won.

Exhibitionism

Even without an audience, I would probably still keep this blog going.  I like being able to document my thoughts and fiber-projects.

It's my way of journaling...kind of.

But having an audience makes it all that much better.  Thank you for all the comments along with your contest entries.

So far, I've received 74 entries to the contest, which blows my mind.

Surprisingly, no one has yet correctly guessed the yarn I'm using, which definitely says something about how I'm perceived by blog readers.  But you don't have to guess correctly to enter the contest...just guess what yarn I'm using for the scarves by sending an e-mail to queerjoe@comcast.net and you'll be entered.

I think I'll do a Facebook Live shoot of choosing the two winners on Wednesday at 11:00 am EST for anyone that would care to audit the winner selection process.

Current Crochet

I was honestly hoping to finish the two Interlocking Crochet scarves before the content finished, but I'm not quite sure I'll be able to.


I think the pattern calls for 17 rows of interlocking strips and I'm on the 16th for the colorful scarf and on the 10th strip for the subtle scarf.

Friday, July 08, 2016

BLOG CONTEST!

It's been years since I hosted a blog contest, so I figured it's about time.

Guess The Yarn - Win a Prize!

Actually, you don't even have to guess the yarn correctly...just submit a guess and you'll be entered to win one of two Interlocking Crochet Scarf kits:

Prize One - Enough yarn to make Bright Scarf, set of crochet hooks and case and free pattern for scarf.
Prize Two - Enough Yarn to make the Subtle Scarf, set of crochet hooks and case and free pattern for scarf.

Outside of crochet case - Genuine Pleather in purple








To enter, just send an e-mail to me - queerjoe@comcast.net and guess who sells the yarn shown in the photos above and also note which of the two prizes you'd prefer if you win (if you're the second winner chosen, you'll receive whichever kit is left).  One guess per e-mail address and all guesses must be received by this coming Tuesday, July 12, 2016 at midnight, EST.  I'll announce the winners on Wednesday, July 13th and tell you where you can get the yarn if you haven't already figured it out and/or won one of the prizes!

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

The Joys of Pattern-Dyed Yarns

I have started to develop a color sense that I really love, but I'm not averse to leveraging the talents of others when it comes to mixing colors and colorways.

Cacaphony of Colors

It's always awesome to find someone who can combine solids in an appealing way.  It's even more impressive when you find someone who can dye yarn in multi-colors, like Koigu or Carol at Black Bunny Fibers.

But when you stumble upon two (or more) multi-color colorways, that when combined are amazing, that's like adding a new dimension to the whole color mixing process!

For a few years, I've been looking for ways of combining multi-colored yarns that accomplishes three things
  1. Doesn't mix the colors so much that they become muddy
  2. Doesn't pool or have striking contrasts along the pattern stitch
  3. Look fantastic when combined
Scarf designs like Cross Stitch Scarf and Interlocking Crochet Scarf have both been great ways of using these beautiful handpaints and self-patterning yarns.

A recent surprising discovery of yarn has got me excited about mixing colors again.

Current Crochet

I just got some yarn delivered recently and had to immediately try mixing colorways.  I decided to use the Interlocking Crochet Scarf pattern to see how it worked.  I started with a very muted color combination.


I love the silvers, charcoals and dark taupes and the highlights of yellow and orange.   But when I started the second scarf I absolutely fell in love with how well the colors mixed.


Possibly too bright for some people, but I am totally in love with the acidy yellows and greens mixing with the reach blues and teals and the highlights of orange and purple.  I don't think I'd ever wear this one, but I would be thrilled to see it "in the wild" on someone else.

Which would you wear (if either of them)...which do you prefer, even if you wouldn't wear it?

Friday, July 01, 2016

The Pope Thinks The Church Should Apologize

Having been a good and faithful Catholic up until my early twenties, I know that penance doesn't really count if you have no intention of changing.

What Will He DO?!?!?

I know a lot of people are enamored with this Pope, but I think he's all talk and absolutely no action, and more so, that he's full of shit and has no intention of actually making any changes.  Or at least no action except continuing the bigotry and hatred toward the LGBT community that the Church has always fostered.

So this latest call for the church to make an apology...
  • Will the church apologize for all of their hatred in the past?
  • Will the church actually change their hateful behavior?
  • Will they stop firing gays and lesbians who aren't in any clerical capacity (such as a choir director or a teacher in Catholic school who teaches math)?
  • Will they take responsibility for the number of Catholic LGBTQ youth who have killed themselves over the centuries because of self-loathing fostered by them?
  • Will they go even further and give Papal Forgiveness of all sins to those who killed themselves so they can go immediately to heaven (not that I believe all that dogma and bullshit, but it would be a huge sign that they are earnest in wanting to change)?
Suffice it to say, I don't think anything will come of this latest pronouncement...except a bunch more words from the church with no accompanying action.

Current Knitting

With the completion of two pretty major projects, I decided to focus on a smaller project, so I'm working on a simple scarf in a pattern stitch I saw on the Men Who Knit forum on Ravelry.


Here's a closer view of the pattern stitch and the reverse.



There's some garter stitch on each side edge, and the stitch is boring as hell to knit, but it's a good, standard scarf that looks decent on both sides.

And I needed a small project to work on until I got some yarn to work on a new project!