Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Worst Case Scenario

I'm usually pretty lucky when it comes to things turning out better than expected. Not this time.

Major Setback
It was no wonder that the number of stitches on either side of the neck steek weren't even. It turns out that I followed the instructions for the smallest size when I created the sleeve steeks, and I'm making the middle size.

I started to fix this by ripping things out row by row and winding the lengths of yarn onto the appropriate ball of yarn. Then I realized I could just snip a stitch below the sleeve steek and unravel one row to disconnect the top from the bottom. It seems to have worked out fine.

If it turns out that I don't have enough yarn to complete the sweater, I will go back and unravel enough from this waste piece. Hopefully it won't be necessary.

Sara Cardigan Revisited
For those of you who remember (or care), I had a picture of a cardigan that I made using an Adrienne Vittadini yarn called Sara. It is by far the most comfortable, warm and great looking sweater I ever made. I used a simple top-down raglan technique, with a center steek for the front opening. The yarn is so incredible, it made the sweater great.

The one complaint I had with the sweater is that the button band and the buttonhole band don't have enough structure to them and it looks a little sloppy when it's buttoned up.

You might also recall that a while ago, when I was making the purple, hooded, zipper cardigan for my niece, I bought some gros grain ribbon for both the purple sweater and the Sara Cardigan. Well, I finally got around to starting to sew in the gros grain into the Sara Cardigan. Hopefully that will be done tomorrow, so I can wear this sweater at work.

Weekend Follies
I usually don't discuss non-knitting events on this blog unless they are somehow knit-related. I went to a show on Saturday night, and the most knit-related comment I can come up with is that it kept me from knitting a lot on Saturday night, so you know it's something I was excited about.

Thaddeus, his boss, his bosses partner and I went to see John Waters talk at the Trocadero in Philadelphia. They offered a standard audience/speaker show, but also for an extra fee, we got to do a pre-show meet and greet with Mr. Waters. For those of you unfamiliar with his work, he is a movie director of trashy movies like "Pink Flamingos" and "Female Troubles", starring a wonderfully trashy transvestite named Divine. The more mainstream of you might have seen his more recent movies, "Polyester", "Hairspray" and "Cry Baby". Here's a picture of Thaddeus and me with Mr. Waters.

The best part of the evening was the pre-show meet and greet where we actually got to interact with him as a small group (of about 50 people) and then short 2-3 minute one-on-one's with him directly. He is wonderfully sarcastic, and very funny. Overall a great time.

Monday, April 28, 2003

When Knitting Sucks

There are sometimes that knitting is just not fun. But to paraphrase a bumper sticker, even a bad day knitting is better than a good day at work.

Egregious Knitting Error
When I started the steek for the neck opening on Donegal, I didn't make sure it was centered on the front of the sweater, I just counted the number of stitches from the left sleeve steek, and assumed it was centered. I also wasn't exactly sure which size I was making, but I was pretty certain it was the middle size.

Well, I finally got around to counting stitches last night and there's bad news, and possible worse news. The neck steek is definitely not centered correctly, so I frogged back to before the neck steek. Now that I've done that, I'm not even sure that the sleeve steeks are positioned correctly. I will verify that tonight.

Regardless, I frogged back a couple of inches and may need to frog back another twelve inches if the sleeve steeks are wrong. I'll keep you updated.

Donegal Pictures
In case I have to rip it all aout, I figured I'd include a picture of the sleeve steek for posterity.

You might be able to see that I started by striping the dark/light yarns vertically. I then switched to checkerboarding the colors after I heard it was better structurally.

I also figured that I could show you the back of the sweater.

My floats are woven in on every fourth stitch as needed. I'm fortunate, in that I don't have to worry about snagging a big diamond ring or an acrylic fingernail on the floats inside this sweater.

New Buttons
I went to the local flea market yesterday and bought these buttons.

The brown ones on the left look perfect on the Chock-a-Block cardigan, so I'm planning on using them. They end up being classic looking without detracting at all from the sweater. They also fit the button holes perfectly. I couldn't have picked a better button. I had anticipated looking for simple wooden buttons, but now I don't have to.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

WIP - Work in Progress

What does "in Progress" really mean. Is there a set rule of how long it's been since the project has been worked on? Is it the intention of the knitter as to if it will ever be completed?

Old Projects
Based on the bag that I carry this project in (when I say "carry", I mean let sit in my stash area of my house), you'll realize how old it is. Well, you will if you remember the name of the Tomato Factory.

Every once in a while, I pull out this old gem and start to work on it again.

Well, it must be that time of year again, because my efforts on Donegal have been renewed and I'm working on it now as my primary project. I just started the neck steek, so I'm pretty far along on this great sweater. Just a little bit more to go on the body and then just the sleeves remain.

Suffice it to say, that I'm no Wendy when it comes to doing Fair Isles. Most importantly, I won't have it done by the end of next week (like she would have). Second, I'm no where near as organized. My pattern includes a crumpled photocopy of the pattern (legally obtained from two of my own books) and no enlarged graphs, highlighters, magnetic boards or stitch markers.

One great thing about this WIP, is that I've never gotten tired of the colors or the pattern. Each and every time I've restarted this project, I continue to enjoy working on it. I think that this sweater is by far the nicest men's Fair Isle pattern that Alice ever came up with.

Some other questions have been asked.

Why didn't I match up the sleeves to the body of the sweater.

A couple of reasons. Mainly because it would have been a pain in the neck to figure out, since I designed the sleeve from the cuff up. But also, because the blocks aren't square. They are wider than they are tall. And since the top of the blocks on the top of the sleeve would have been wider than the height of the blocks on the body, it wouldn't have matched anyway.

What ever happened to the crocheted scarf that was "spooning"?

I have been assured by a few crocheters (including Kathy, the designer of the scarf) that the next row without increases will make this problem go away. I only work on this scarf when I'm bored with my primary projects, or when I need something very mindless or portable to work on, so I haven't gotten to that point yet on the scarf.

And Ginny, I am stumped. I didn't find your questions on hemp anywhere. Point me to them, or ask them again and I'd be glad to answer (and I DIDN'T delete any comments).

Chock-a-Block Sweater
The sweater is finished, or at least the knitting and sewing up part.

I still need to find some good buttons and sew them on. I don't want anything special, just buttons that don't ruin the look of the sweater.

A couple of lessons-learned during the completion of this sweater:

1. I like cardigans a little longer than I thought. I designed this one to be 26" long and I would have preferred 27".

2. My row gauge was off a little (which compounded the length problem). I needed to block the sweater while I stretched it a little to get the 26" design I expected. I will correct the design to include four more rows in each block. I will need to adjust a couple of other items as well to compensate (e.g., the button band length).

3. I will always try to design multi-color garments with an overall design strategy before I begin knitting them. I never would have continued knitting this sweater if I relied on my impressions after the first three rows of blocks.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Blogger Controversy

I'm convinced that there are some people that are just "walking upsets" waiting to happen.

Blogger Contributions
After my blog rules caused such a controversy, it's nice to see that even the better bloggers like Wendy aren't immune to people misconstruing their intentions and getting their nose out of joint. Check out her blog (if you don't already) to see how a joke request for reader contributions for a gold bracelet have become a "knit blog controversy".

I always laugh when I see these things grow into craziness. Thaddeus looks at me and say..."This is knitting, right?"

Chock-a-Block Progress
Well, I did finish the collar, and now I just have to finish the last seam and weave in few ends.

There are some things I need to describe about the finished sweater, but I'll wait until it's done to relate those items of interest.

Craft Store Purchases
Project team members that I just started working with wanted to go to Target last night before going out to dinner so I tagged along. Afterall, I like Target well enough. But I got very excited when I realized there was a JoAnn's Fabric right next door to the Target. I headed to JoAnn's while they shopped in Target.

Here's what I got.

It's hard to see everything, so I'll itemize. I bought four balls of black Woolease. I've never knit with Woolease, but they had it in black, and I figured I couldn't go wrong with that. I also bought three magazines. Family Circle Easy Knitting, Ultimate Knitting and Beading magazines. Finally, they had little bags of leftover ribbons, so I bought three bags of miscellaneous ribbons. Mostly I'll use them as wrapping material, but I also might use them for adorning beaded pendant bags.

Someone asked if I considered doing the Chock-a-Block in one color. I'd have to say that it would have been interesting to knit, but I wouldn't have enjoyed the experience anywhere near as well. I also would probably have put some purl border between each block to have a clear delineation.

Another person asked when I'm sewing in sleeves (crocheting in sleeves to be accurate) how I handle the bulky place where the sleeve and side come together. I don't do anything special. I crochet in the sleeves and then sew up the side and sleeve seams. When I get to the armpit cross-seam, I just sew it up. It's never really caused me any difficulty.

Other than the question about whether the Camels came with the red Rayon yarn, are there any questions I didn't answer?

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Blog Owner Error

Some days, I should not be allowed to use a safety razor. The day I posted the last blog entry was one of those days.

Overwritten Blog Entry
Your moron blog writer meant to copy a blog entry from 4/21/2003, but accidentally overrode that days entry with the one you see below today's. I have some of the text saved, but honestly, I don't think it's worth trying to recreate it, so here's a brief summary:

Red Rayon Yarn - Showed picture of eBay purchase of spool of red rayon yarn.
Easter Greetings and Eggs - Wished everyone a happy belated Easter and discussed Pysanky (Ukranian Easter eggs) with pictures and links.
Chock-a-Block Status - This will only be overridden by the status of this neverending sweater below.
Sleeve Seam Tutorial - Provide the link to the Sleeve Tutorial (cleverly concealed as a link in the last two words).

Chock-a-Block Status
I did a combined total of four more rows on the neck edging of the sweater. I'm hoping to finish the neck this evening and sew up the remaining side seam. We'll see how much my new schedule interferes with this plan.

Hopefully the weekend will give me a few more minutes to update this blog and perhaps answer some of the other questions being asked and maybe even start a new picture tutorial.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Back to Work

I'm starting to think the universe is trying to conspire to keep me away from knitting and blogging.

New Work Assignment
I just got assigned to my next project and started this morning. Instead of lovely Inner Harbor, Baltimore, I get to work in Schenectady, NY. I'm not sure how long this project will last, but it is definitely supposed to be for at least six weeks.

The difficult part, is that I'm in one big project room, so it's hard to take the time to update my blog with pictures of lovely knitted items, with 7 other project team members looking over my shoulder. Oh well, I'll just have to do my best. Today's entry will not include pictures.

I was asked if I have trouble designing in colors that aren't flattering for me.

The truth is, I used to, but I don't anymore. At first, I would never have designed a sweater for me with green or orange in it. I only did designs in colors that specifically excluded yellow. I've come to realize how rich some of those other colors can be, and how much fun it is to design using them, even if I can't wear them. The all-over-patterned pullover that I designed is a perfect example. I did that sweater in both burnt umber (charred orange) and bracken (antique gold) which are colors that I can't really wear. But they are both so rich and show the pattern so well, I enjoyed the process immensely.

Someone also asked if I would keep the tutorial on sleeve seams on the blog.

Eventually I will include a links area to that tutorial and others that I plan on putting up in the future. I hope to have a whole slew of "how-to" pictorials. But don't expect too many, too soon.

Another question was about "penis owners" getting Easter outfits.

Yes, I used to get a hand-me-down suit from my older brothers every year (not new...we were way too poor) My sisters would get new dresses which usually had a hat as well. I have some great photos of my family at Easter. I'll try to get one scanned so you can see how smart we all looked.

Regarding when I started Pysanky versus when I started knitting, I definitely started Pysanky first. It was probably the first time I ever exhibited any talent for use of color. But I have to say, making Ukrainian Easter eggs in the Pysanky method is really easy to make something that looks quite amazing. I take little or no credit for creative skill at that point in my life.

Chock-a-Block Sweater
I finished the button band and the button hole band and sewed both of them in. I also sewed up one side seam of the sweater. Since I will most likely finish this sweater before Friday, and I won't be going home until Friday night, I also brought along the hemp pullover from Lanaknits. I'm looking forward to working on that one again.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Knitting Design

Knitwear design for me is like when my thoughts come way to fast for me to actually say them, except knitting is even slower than speaking.

Based on comments about how I decide on what colors I feel go well together and when they don't, I've come up with these little graphics.

The first one shows colors of about the same intensity of color. The combination works well even though there are greens, blues, golds, purples and reds.

When I add in a sprinkling of lighter gold, and balance the lighter color throughout the composition, it still holds together pretty well, and makes the gold color kind of pop out as an accent.

However, when I try adding a much brighter yellow, or a bright aqua color, you see that they just don't go so well.

The Chock-a-Block sweater has a few more squares where I can balance two "popper" colors, and still get the composition to hold together, but just barely.

Birthday Gift Mugs
I mentioned that I got two of the greates mugs for my birthday from my friend Charles, and someone asked for a picture. Well here they are.

This morning, I even made myself a cappucino in one of them, and it made it taste even better than usual.

Funky Knitting
Here's a link to a very cool and funky knit design. I thought folks might want to see it.

Funky Knit Design

And in that same vein, for those of you familiar with Antonio's great blog, KnitKnut, you just HAVE to check out his new format. The boutique is the best part of it. I already ordered a canvas bag with his logo on it and I may have to go back and order the Stitchin' Bitches shirt (I look good in raglan sleeves). Check it out.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Knitting Questions

A few questions have been asked either in comments or via e-mails recently. Some have also requested that I provide technical details of various techniques. Today I will try to provide detailed answers.

Weaving in Ends
I mentioned that I always weave in ends as I go along. Since I'm working with many knit/purl combinations, weaving in can happen in one of four ways for me:

1. While knitting with the public side of the fabric facing me - Keeping the end(s) to be woven in, and the working yarn to the non-public side of the fabric, I pull the yarn end between the fabric and the working yarn before wrapping the needle and completing the knit stitch. I weave the end under each stitch until the end is too small to work with.

2. While knitting with the non-public side of the fabric facing me - Keeping the end(s) to be woven in to non-public side of the fabric, I bring the working yarn to the non-public side as well, put the yarn end between the working yarn and the fabric, and then move the working yarn back to the public side of the fabric, and complete the knit stitch.

3. While purling from with the non-public side of the fabric facing me - Keeping the end(s) to be woven in, and the working yarn to the non-public side of the fabric, I pull the yarn end between the fabric and the working yarn before wrapping the needle and completing the purl stitch.

4. While purling with the public side of the fabric facing me - Keeping the end(s) to be woven in to non-public side of the fabric, I bring the working yarn to the non-public side as well, put the yarn end between the working yarn and the fabric, and then move the working yarn back to the public side of the fabric, and complete the purl stitch.

Each of these weaving techniques secures the loose end of yarn underneath, and to the non-public side of the fabric for a number of stitches. The number of stitches is based on the length of the tail. The length of the tail is based on how "sticky" the yarn is.

I also never weave in cotton or silk. The woven ends seem to distort my stitches and it makes it too obvious. That's another reason I hate knitting with cotton.

One of these days I'll post pictorial instructions for those who might be interested.

Searching Blog Archives
Most of the topics discussed in my blog eventually make their way to the various search engine databases. If you do a Google search for something on my blog, you should include "QueerJoe" (one word) in the search terms to help narrow it down to my blog, or someone else discussing my blog.

I've also included a blog search feature on my blog to help out in future contests.

Selecting Pattern Stitches
I decided I wanted three different types of pattern stitches:
1. Emblem-like patterns in the middle of the block (like the bottom, center red pattern)
2. All-over Knit/Purl stitch patterns (like the center teal block)
3. Lattice or ribbing patterns (like the lavender and orange blocks towards the top.

I chose or made up various patterns, and then just randomly assigned them trying to avoid having the same color/pattern combination.

Selecting Colors
Someone asked me what I was thinking trying to combine navy, olive, orange and lavender in the same garment (they actually asked much more nicely than that, but I took blog-owner liberties).

I first started by picking five colors of the Jamieson DK that all had equal tonal weight to them, brown navy, olive, red, and orange (yes, the orange is really about the same vibrancy as the others despite how it appears in pictures). Someone once told me that you can pick any color combinations you want as long as they're all the same vibrancy or tonal weight and the colors will work well together.

I then picked two "kicker" colors, the lavender and teal.

I selected the most neutral color as the ribbing, the brown. I then used mostly the deeper colors in the sweater and then balanced the two lighter colors throughout the sweater. I figured this would give it an overall balanced composition.

Interestingly, I didn't really like the colors together until the entire back was completed, and then I liked the overall effect. So it seems to have worked out as I intended.

Blog Rules Fallout
One unexpected benefit of posting blog comment rules, is that I got to hear from some new and very creative knit bloggers. Another blog I will be adding to my ever-lengthening list of daily reads will be Amber's Knitting and Textile Blog. Sleak, interesting and a good, easy read.

Monday, April 14, 2003

Blog Rules

I am most glad to see the intelligent opinions about the last blog post.  I appreciate that not everyone likes the rules, or my comments.  One clarification I would like to make thanks to Ginny and Kirsten's comments.  My opening statement in the last post:

"Blogging, or Knit Blogging in particular, is getting WAY too popular"

was not meant to stifle new blogs, or insult them in any way.  I was more talking about the popularity of blog readership and forums being built up around the comments and tagboard softwares.  As I noted in my comments, there are many new and vibrant knitting blogs being started daily, and I try to check out as many as I can.

Back to Knitting
Now that I've done my best to set expectations for the folks engaged in this forum, I can feel free to talk about the main subject at hand...knitting.

Thanks to Kathy's urgings, I did some more work on the Double Ruffle Scarf, but I'm having a problem with it and I don't know if its because

1. I'm using different yarn (Kathy uses Koigu and I'm using the Joslyn's yarn)
2. I made a mistake in how I'm crocheting
3. Its' not really a alwasy looks this way at this stage of the scarf

The scarf is very simple. It starts with a few hundred chain stitches and then a double crochet into each chain up one side of the chain, and another double crochet into each chain down the other side of the chain. Then the next round has me doing 3 double crochets into each double crochet on the first round (again, up one side and then down the other side). The tripling of stitches causes the ruffle on each side. Finally, the pattern calls for two more rounds of double crochets into each double crochet on the previous round.

I'm currently on the round where I'm doing 3 double crochets into each double crochet on the previous round. I finished one side of the scarf, and I'm about 1/5th down the other side.

If you're following so far, here's my problem. The two sides of the scarf are folding together at the  middle instead of splaying outward like I thought they would, and the ruffle from each side is "spooning" into the ruffle on the other side. The following picture kind of shows it, but the color of the yarn and the design of the scarf make for a very difficult picture-taking task.

I'm hoping that when I start the 3rd round this problem will go away, or a little blocking will stop the scarf from folding in half. Otherwise, this whole freaking thing will be frogged and I'll start again with Koigu as I probably should have from the beginning.

Knitting Designs
In addition to the Chock-a-Block sweater that I should finish shortly, there is the Mini-Chock-a-Block sweater that we're choosing colors for. I've also got another similiar idea in my mind using diamonds instead of squares, but I'm not sure if these sweaters will all turn out too similarly. I'm also thinking about doing a man's hooded sweatshirt-like design, but that's only in my head. Finally, I've got Marianne Isager on the brain, and I want to do some extraordinary man's sweater with her designs as inspiration.

With a couple of other guys who are working on various types of designs, a men-on-men sweater design book might actually be feasible. We shall see.

Knitting Progress
In addition to the work on the scarf, I've done a little work on the second sleeve. As boring as it is (since it looks just like the other sleeve) I include a picture.

Friday, April 11, 2003


Blogging, or Knit Blogging in particular, is getting WAY too popular.

It amazed me at the beginning of my blog experience, that there were over 300 people that would want to read about the boring life of a 43 (now 44) year old gay man and his knitting.

It was gratifying that so many folks enjoyed my writing and my knitting design, and the progress on projects. Even more gratifying than those things, was the highly interesting comments that readers would leave that would help me form my opinions on various topics of interest to me.

You'll notice that I've put the last two paragraphs in past tense, but I don't mean to say that most of the conversation isn't still very vital.

Many of the folks that read this blog are sophisticated, talented, interesting, smart and opinionated, and their comments reflect that. As blogging becomes more and more popular, I'm getting concerned that the average KnitLost member will be using the blog forum (not just mine, but many of my daily reads as well) as another channel to add mundane drivel to the vast world of the internet knitting community.

For those of you who were members of the KnitList when it deserved that name, it was a great venue to discuss knitting and everything about it. It attracted mostly vibrant, adventurous knitters who truly added to the avocation of knitting. It is now irreversibly overrun with some of the most boring knitters on the planet, who not only don't forward the growth of knitting, but portray it as a stagnant, self-centered and fear-based activity.

My theory on the demise of the KnitList is a very elitist one. I think the average knitter is boring and provides no challenge to the pioneers of the craft. The KnitList was started by pioneers, and then as the KnitList gained more and more members, it grew to be directed by the average knitters. My rantings here about the KnitLost, and the KnitDweebs on it show my resentment at losing such a valuable forum.

My biggest concern is that as knit blogs become more and more popular, the forums that the comment and tagboard softwares provide will become more and more average, and will eventually be as dull as the KnitLost.

Here's what I propose doing to keep that from happening and to maintain the prestige of the folks that have been reading my blog and the other well-written knitting blogs.

Blog Commenting Rules
It may not be evident, but I take great care in the quality of writing on my blog, and the selection of topics that I write about. The one difference between groups like the KnitLost and my blog, is that I can control my blog. Afterall, I am a major control queen.

I'm not sure if readers are aware, but my comments are hosted by (when it's working). In addition to hosting yours and my comments, which are attached to the individual blog entries, Haloscan software allows me to also edit and delete comments. It also allows me to ban e-mail addresses from commenting.

Here's what I plan on doing. I read all comments that readers leave, and I will continue to do that. I will evaluate each comment to make sure it meets at least one of the following criteria (or others as they occur to me):

1. It adds value in any of the following ways:
a. It reflects a specific opinion
b. It provides insight
c. It shares something of interest to readers
d. It includes a tip about the topic at hand
e. It expands the dialogue of knitting
2. It has relevancy to the current, or a recent blog topic
3. It reflects thoughtfulness on the writer's part
4. It asks a question that:
a. isn't answered somewhere else in the blog
b. isn't easily answered by a simple Google search
5. It includes suggestions on current or future designs
6. It critiques my or others opinions (I have no problem with flames, screaming matches, swearing, or

mud fights)

The comments will also be screened to make sure they avoid any of the following content:

1. "Me too" comments...if you are in violent agreement with someone else, just leave a comment like "Ditto Marilyn", but don't feel obliged to rewrite the same comment as someone else, in different words.
2. Beginner knitting questions. If you need beginner tips, send me an e-mail and spare the other readers.
3. Selfish, self-aggrandizing, self-promoting comments.
4. Hollow praise of projects or designs unless it provides thoughtful insight on why it's being praised
Good example: The lines of the garment go perfectly with the color design
Bad example: I LOVE the new sweater
5. Hateful comments that are irrelevant to the current or recent topic.
Good example: Only a flaming faggot would wear that color combination
Bad example: All faggots deserve to DIE

Once I've evaluated the comment, I will either:

1. Make no changes.
2. Add something to spice it up that will appear to readers as if you wrote it (e.g. "Did I mention my husband was uncut?")
3. Delete the entry

Back Pedaling
First and foremost, I want this place to be a place where folks can feel comfortable expressing their opinions about knitting and all things related to it. Please don't take these new rules as a reason to censor yourself or stifle your opinion. One of the most valuable components of this blog is the interaction of readers. Frightening would-be commenters is clearly not the intent of the new criteria.

I've gone back and reviewed a lot of my most recent comments to my blog, and I doubt I would have changed any of them, even with the rules I just stated above. Just for fun, I might have included something spicy, but only because I enjoy doing that.

Second, I don't want you to read these rules as a repeat of what happened on KnitU. Their censors weed out anyone with disagreeing opinions and leave the e-mails with the most boring, self-adulating crap you could imagine. The new rules are just an encouraging reminder that I want folks to enjoy reading my blog, and interacting in the commenting forum.

Finally, if you can't stand the thought that your comment may appear to include something racy that you wrote (e.g. "I also have an incredible talent of swallowing a banana whole."), and you want to leave a comment, but you're not sure it will pass the review, just add "No Edit Please" at the end, and I promise not to make changes to it.

Knitting Progress
I got through with the ribbing on the second sleeve, and I'm on the second row of color blocks. It was too cloudy to take a decent picture today, so I leave you with two completely non-knitting related pictures that I thought you might enjoy.

The first one is the view from my hotel room this week and next. It shows the Inner Harbor of Baltimore.

The second picture is something I found on the web, and had me giggling like a little girl.

Hope you enjoy.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Jewish Women

Why is it that so many women in the knitting community are Jewish?

Having worked briefly in a yarn store, I noticed that about half of the store's clientele seemed to be Jewish women. It was a store in the Northeast, so I considered that to be a factor, but about half of their sales were done via mail-order, and many of their non-Northeast customers also seemed to be Jewish women.

Then I joined the knitlist and it seems that a proportionately higher percentage of women on the list are Jewish.

Gay men (myself included) have always had strong ties to Jewish women. I mean look at all of our idols, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, Sophie Tucker, Joan Rivers, Elizabeth Taylor, and of course, Judy Garland. And while I'm not Jewish myself, I'm convinced that I was Jewish in a prior lifetime...I mean really, what other goyim do you know who likes haroseth and gefilte fish?

Call me a Jewess-wannabe.

Possible Theories
Is it that large numbers of Jewish women immigrated here from the same places? Possibly, but there are lots of non-Jewish immigrants from the same places that don't have such a high concentration of knitters.

A recent acquaintance of mine (a Jewish woman who does not knit) said that Jewish women are more energetic, and couldn't imagine sitting without something to do? Now, that's something I can relate to, but is that really a common characteristic of most Jewish women, and not others?

Is it that the premise is not true at all, and I just notice the Jewish women more because of my natural impulses?

Knitting Progress
As I mentioned yesterday, I've finished the first sleeve. I've also just started the second (goddess, I hate ribbing).

I also got both the pattern and new hemp yarn from Lana Knits so I can finish my side-to-side hemp pullover and start a new one in navy blue. I know I've said it before, but I LOVE working with hemp. It's much more interesting to knit with than I ever would have guessed.

More Trendy Knitting
Finally, here's a link to another one of those articles that justifies tbhat knitting is a valid thing to do.

Knitting is Good...really...believe me....check out this article! (ugh!)

I'm starting to think that there is a valid reason for the Knitlist folks to need to seek out self validation. There seems to be a lot of media implying that validation of knitting is necessary. The fact that knitting is "trendy" or "the new rock and roll" makes it sound like the writer is trying to protest the boring image of knitting.

I for one don't need the writer's protest, but some folks if told the same thing enough times might start to believe it. I guess that's why advertising is so effective.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003


Being sick really sucks, but being sick on my birthday weekend was really lousy.

Birthday Weekend
I got home on Friday night from Baltimore with what I thought was the remaining symptoms of a cold on its way out. I had a nice birthday dinner with Thaddeus (he's the best), and then went on to have a congested, sinus-filled night in bed.

Saturday I felt somewhat better, and went out for a great dinner with our good friend Charles, and his good friend, David. It was a very successful night and I got wonderful birthday presents, including a wallet (that I needed desperately), a pair of the most excellent coffee mugs, and a wonderful summer shirt. The coffee mugs might sound ordinary, but they were from a jeweler in Princeton, and they were these great white ceramic mugs with a pewter ring around the base and a pewter handle. Charles has excellent taste. I also got some wonderful fruit toppings for ice cream from William Sonoma from his friend David. What a nice surprise.

Sunday, I was sick as a dog, coughing, sniffling and sneezing, when I wasn't sleeping.

Even though I was off from work on Monday and Tuesday, I got very little knitting done. I finished one sleeve on the cardigan, and completed over 1500 double crochets on the Double Ruffle Scarf. I'll hopefully have pictures tomorrow.

I'm back at work today, and I'm only left with an annoying cough. Hopefully I'll be able to finish up on this sweater and scarf project during the rest of the week.

I don't relate this story to elicit pity. It's more of an excuse as to why my blog hasn't been updated since Saturday. I leave you with a pathetic link to a picture of someone else's cat with a knit/torture device wrapped around it's neck. I don't know about this cat, but my cat would be frantic trying to get this "toy" loose.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Celebrating an Aging Queen's Birthday

The older I get, the less important birthdays seem to be.

Birthday Gifts
Every year, my mother gets me some piece of men's wear from Lord & Taylor (department store for folks who don't know). This year she brought them over personally since she's recently moved within a couple of miles of me, and she also made me a birthday cake. It was very nice to have the tradition continue.

Thaddeus surprised the hell out of me. I didn't expect a gift yesterday since he had ordered me a new pair of sandals (to replace the ones I lost in Cancun this last vacation). He gave those to me last week, so I thought that was it. But then I open this:

I've been using a Canon Digital Elph to take all of the photos on my blog. It's a great little camera, but Thaddeus hasn't been thrilled that I've been carrying it to Baltimore with me every week to take my blog pictures. So in essence, this new camera is for his convenience. The only thing that will be difficult, is that this camera has no flash, so I'll only be able to take pictures when there is pretty bright light.

Here's the first picture I've taken with the new camera.

It doesn't look like much, but this is the start of an AMAZING scarf design by Kathy that she designed using Koigu (she is truly the Koigu queen), but I'm doing in the Joslyn's yarn instead. It's also done in all double crochet. The last two rounds of the Koigu version of the scarf includes over 1,000 double crochets in each round. Since the Joslyn's yarns are finer, mine will have over 1,600 double crochets per round...ugh! Kathy is also the crochet queen...she does amazing designs with crochet.

Knitting Progress
I've got a lot more done on the first sleeve of the Chock-a-Block cardigan. Since I'm home through Tuesday, I should be able to finish this design by then.

Friday, April 04, 2003

Birthday Knitting

Today, right around now, I turn 44. I took a picture of myself to commemorate the occasion.

I'm so grateful for good genes. I still look damn good for 44, don't I?

Actual Knitting
I've made great headway on the Chock-a-Block Cardigan. I finished both front sections and 3-needle bound them to the back section. I even finished the ribbing for the first sleeve. Like my blogpal Wendy, I also HATE ribbing. I'm considering doing a complete sweater in some interesting looking rib, just to test my endurance. But I digress. Here's what it looks like all nicely sewn up, and blocked.

Unfortunately, it wasn't sunny enough to get cross-hatch lighting to show the various textured pattern stitches. But the colors look more realistic than least on my laptop monitor.

Weird Knitting II
This isn't anywhere near as odd as the Elvis impersonator (I agree with the Knitting Curmudgeon, I consider Elvis impersonators very scary), but I thought it was interesting nonetheless. It comes from the pages of Avital, a knitter in Israel who is well known on a lot of the knitting lists.

Weird Knitting - Enjoy

I can't imagine doing an intarsia sweater with the periodic table as the design...especially in Woolease. But who am I to judge, I did the cover sweater from Jo Sharp's book West Cape Howe Collection. There are some rows in that sweater (called Paradox) that require over 70 different color butterflies hanging at once...ugh!

I met Jo Sharp once at Stitches and I asked her if she was out of her mind. Not only did she do an incredibly complex intarsia band at the bottom of the Paradox sweater, but she knit it again to make a matching hat. Jo gave me the inside scoop. She said that after making the bottom band of the sweater, one of the knitters that knit sweaters for her books, decided she couldn't bring herself to finish the sweater. Jo couldn't imagine wasting all the woman's good efforts, so she turned it into a hat design instead. I no longer think she is out of her mind.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Oh My Goddess

For those of you who read this blog because of the well-thought-out writing style, you may want to skip today's entry.

My work schedule has been very hectic lately (I feel like Wendy). I'm sorry that my blog has suffered. Gratefully, my knitting hasn't suffered very much.

Knitting Progress
The colorblock cardigan is moving along quickly. I've finished the back, the left front and 1/3rd of the right front. At the same time I've been updating the pattern so it will be done shortly after the sweater is. Here's a bad picture of the three pieces and how they will look when they get put together.

I also thought you might want to see the back of my work.

Unlike prima donnas like Kaffe, I weave in my ends as I go along. I actually consider end weaving as part of my knitting experience, just like you might consider cabling or casting on to be part of knitting. Weaving in is just a different "stitch" so to speak, and when I think of it that way, it's all part of the pleasant experience of knitting. If I were to leave it for after the sweater was finished, it would truly be a chore for me.

Knitwear Design
A lot of folks are pushing me towards getting more of my designs published. The most interesting ideas I've been reading center around knitwear designs done by men, for men. As I mentioned before, I'm working with Matt of TheadBear and I've also been contacted by another guy who might be interested in collaborative designs.

If I can pull together a total of at least 10 decent designs in a relatively short period of time, I'll approach the editor at Unicorn Books about publishing them. The worst case scenario would be that he only liked a couple of them and would include them in another Jamieson book. Best case would be a book of men's knitwear designed by men.

Knitting Article
One last word from me on the infamous article. As always, I am extremely grateful for all your comments. Having folks agree with my ideas and give their personal slant, as well as hearing those that disagree all help shape my opinions. One of my least favorite traits in someone else, is closemindedness, and so I always try to consider others' opinions and ideas.

Weird Knitting
Finally I'd like to leave you with a link I found amusing and somewhat related to knitting. I'd like to ask the resident NJ Knitting Curmudgeon to answer for this.

Weird Knitting - Enjoy