Friday, August 29, 2003

Blog Contest

It's been a little while since my last blog contest, so I figured it's time for a new one.

Guest Blog Writer Contest
The winner of the Guest Blog Writer Contest will be the person who submits the most successful guest blog entry which will be based on the following criteria:

1. Entry has a topic of wide interest to the type of knitter that reads my blog.
2. Entry is written with care and thoughtfulness
3. Major topic of the blog entry is fiber related

I have asked Marilyn, the Knitting Curmudgeon if she would agree not to participate in the contest, so that she can be my impartial judge of all the entries. She will be provided with all submitted blog entries, but won't be told who submitted the entry.

Blog entries must be submitted by Monday, September 15th to be considered. Entries should be submitted to, and if that address doesn't work, use Entries can include multiple topics, and can also include pictures. The same person can also submit multiple entries to the contest.

The winner of the Guest Blog Writer Contest will have his or her blog entry published on on Friday, September 19th and will also win 12 balls of Jaeger, Extra Fine Merino in DK weight. The color is a very nice antique gold, tweedy color.

The merino is soft and lovely, and there's enough yardage (1644 yards) to make a man's large sweater.

Knitting Progress
As you can see, I made enough progress to get up to the beginning of the sleeve shaping. Knitting will progress on the back a lot more quickly now.

If anyone has access to a Jamieson yarn color card, or can view Jamieson yarns in their local yarn store, you have just got to check out this color in person. I'll be at Stitches East this year, with all of the sweaters I've made recently, so you can check it out there if you plan on attending.

Reader Comments/Questions
Micheal (Aubergine) asks what's the background behind why I'm calling my current desing the Passing Lane Pullover.

Honestly, I saw Nathan Lane on t.v., and he was wearing a sweater that gave me the idea for this sweater. I just thought Passing Lane would be an interesting name and still include a remnant of the original inspiration for the sweater.

Sorry it's not more interesting, but I'd be happy to change it to a more interesting story if someone could think of one.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Queer - Defined

For one of the first times in my brief blogging history, I am kind of sorry I brought up the topic of readers' definition of "Queer".

Readers' Definitions
Mostly I'm sorry that I brought it up for a very selfish reason. Because my definition of why I call myself queer is so mundane and boring compared to the extraordinary definitions from y'all.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly don't disagree with your definitions. In fact I thought they were spot on accurate with how I feel about myself and my identification as a human.

And the way you expressed it was so beautiful it was poetic. I loved how Lisa describes the idea of being Queer by pointing at all sides of it so that a vibrant silhouette of it appears in the reading of her description.

I adore how well Sean describes the courage innate in queerdom. It reminds me again of the book/movie "Naked Civil Servant", which I could read/watch dozens of times.

Michael's (Aubergine's) concept of using it as a label to avoid labels was intriguing for me. I also label myself in many of the typically gay ways...preppy, top, boy-next-door...and definitely not Str8 Acting. But Queer, as Michael defines it, is more of a context that encompasses all of those labels.

Marilyn's definition is probably one of the closest ones to my original thoughts on the issue. I found her idea of politicism overriding the person fascinating, especially when the word Queer and all that it encompasses clearly has a political impact, but it doesn't come across as a political label. Although, eventually, I'm sure it will.

Finally, Antonio's version of Queer describes to me the freedom of living outside the rules of standard society. I don't take advantage of that freedom as much as Antonio, but just knowing I can is extremely liberating and important to me.

QueerJoe's Concept of Queer
First off, I love taking what has been an insult for most of my faggy little childhood, and turning that into a term of pride in who I am. It's my way of taking any hateful power from that word and instead embracing it with a love for every aspect of who I am. Redefining that word is similar to how the early GLBT community took the pink triangle, the Nazi symbol of hate for the gay men in concentration camps, and displayed that as a symbol of gay pride.

Second, it's my way of saying that I'm different, just like everbody else. The Queer label allows a certain amount of authority when commenting on style (or lack of style). It's what Lisa, Michael and Antonio described much better than I ever could.

Despite my initial selfish regret over initiating this topic, I'm ever so glad that I asked for others' thoughts on this. It has suprisingly been extremely eye-opening for me. Thank you all.

Knitting Progress
Nothing to get overly excited about. I did another inch and a half on the back of Passing Lane. I'm sure you know by now that most of my big progress gets made over the weekends, and with a four day weekend for me this week, I should get a LOT done.

You'll note that I got a little carried away when I packed for these four days in Albany. In addition to the first cake of yarn that I had almost finished, I packed four additional cakes of yarn. Obviously I could have gotten away with packing just one additional cake, but who knew?

Reader Makeovers
My, my, you people have been extremely busy with the makeover site.

First up, we have not one, but two different looks from our friend Antonio. Gotta say, I love them both, but as Kathy will probably say (if she's back from bringing spawn of satan to school), all the cute guys must be gay.

Then we got not one, not two, but three versions of makeovers for the lovely Dani of PurlGirl blog fame. For those regular readers of her blog, you'll have already seen the many facets of this wonderful woman, but I present them here nonetheless.

Finally, last, but definitely not least is the lovely, Las Vegas Showgirl Sammi (clearly she didn't need much makeover).

You folks really seemed to enjoy this drag thing a little too much I think. But as the Queer in me would say, "Anything worth doing, is worth overdoing."

Wednesday, August 27, 2003


What does it mean to be queer?

I consistently expose myself to other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered folks and often forget that there's a large population of people that don't understand some issues of the GLBT community.

I was with a table of relatively sophisticated, urban co-workers a while ago who had no idea what Stonewall was, or that it used to be illegal for gays or lesbians to congregate as recently as the '60's (some folks would say it was illegal up until this year when the recent Supreme Court decision on sodomy laws was handed down).

Anyway, I just wondered if most of my readers understand why I use the term Queer when I define myself. I'd be interested to hear why you think I use that term. My next blog entry will give my rationale, but I thought it would be interesting to hear what others thought first.

Conflicting Priorities
As with many of you, I have a boatload of interests that keep me very busy. Often times those interests are in conflict based on the limited amount of time I have, and the balancing act seems to get more and more difficult.

Last night for instance, I had scheduled a massage in my hotel room. It kept me occupied until around 8:30. Afterwards I watched television and knit.

At around 9:30, I had to decide whether I should go to bed so I could get up early enough to work out (5:00), or stay up and knit more.

Normally, I would have gone to bed, but with the massage, I wouldn't have been able to report enough progress on the Passing Lane Pullover to make a decent blog entry, so I opted to stay up and knit a few more inches. Plus, I'm looking pretty damn good (if I do say so myself), and I felt I could forego one workout.

Knitting Progress
In addition to the knitting before bed, I also got a few rows in this morning. Overall I've done between 9 and 10 inches, and it's knitting up more quickly than I expected.

I anticipate that I'll be able to finish the back by this Friday or Saturday, and get some progress done on the front. I'm figuring it will go faster once I get to the arm hole shaping.

I'm also liking this design more and more as I knit it.

Reader Makeovers
More makeovers have come in since yesterday's blog post.

First of all we have my knitting pal, Lisa and her attempst at trailer trash chic. I'm so jealous that she took it so far over the top, and I settled for a comparatively sedate hairstyle.

Then we have Marie with this stellar entry. As she says, she's off to show this picture to her beautician.

I'm so glad the internet has such interesting places where you can do such fun things. Thank you both for your makeover contributions.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Knitting Lists

For regular readers, today's compliments to some of the knitting lists will come as a big surprise.

Good Things About Knitting Lists
I usually don't have very nice things to say about knitting lists, and lately, I have gone "No-Mail" status on most of my lists.

However, last week, I was pleasantly reminded of some of the wonderful folks on some of those lists, and how nice they can be.

On one of my infrequent posts to the Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered Knitting List, I mentioned that I would need to look through my old Paton's book for a pattern for baby leggings. In return, I got multiple offers from listers who had either already looked through their book/magazine stash, or who offered to to help me find a suitable pattern.

And I have to admit, I have never been disappointed by lack of answers when I have posted to any of the lists with a thoughtful request for information or assistance.

Oh Gawd...Another hot looking Murderer!!!
Wouldn't you know, now I'm attracted to a homophobic, life-sentenced murderers...but how could you blame me:

Joseph Druce was the guy that killed John Geoghen, the pedophile priest. Those Jim Morrison looks are very hot...could you imagine this guy's punishment being a night tied up in the back room of some big city leather bar? Pure Karmic justice.

Knitting Progress
I got another couple of inches done on the back of the Passing Lane pullover. It's moving along very nicely and I'm happy with the pattern stitch.

Here's a close-up of the two pattern stitches. The waist ribbing is a 3X3 rib with a ridged inner rib. The main pattern stitch is a basic 1X1 rib, except the Knit stitch column is slipped in the back to give it a more open stitch look.

I'm also thinking that I will do fitted sleeves for this sweater. I look better in raglan sleeves, but the colors I'll be using for this sweater aren't exactly flattering for me, so I'll probably go with the easier fitted sleeve.

Reader Makeovers
This is by far the best one yet. The Knitting Princess has been crowned.

I'm so glad Marilyn took the time to send this one...thanks!

Monday, August 25, 2003

Another Completion

Focusing on one project is good for my completion satisfaction...amazing how quickly I can get things done.

Zachary Blanket
As promised, I worked only on the baby blanket and finished it late last week.

I washed it using the Oxyclean the folks suggested, and it worked like a charm. The Paton's Baby Beehive is very soft and nice, although a little plasticky to work with. Washing it gave it a nice softness.

Stupidly, I wrapped the gift, wrote out the card, and left it at home when I travelled to Albany this morning. Now I have to wait till Friday to send it out. Oh well, how fast does a baby grow anyway?

New Projects
Okay, you read correctly...projects...plural.

Three to be exact.

Addi Beaded/Knitted Necklace
My local yarn store owner/friend made the mistake of telling me that Janis (of pregnancy fame) finished her crocheted Addi beaded necklace in three hours. So I figured I better at least start mine. The beading part took me a while.

Then, I started the knitting, and it was very difficult to start. The wire is nice, but even still, knitting with a new medium that's not as flexible or stretchy as wool makes the first couple of rows a little fussy.

I only got a couple of inches done, but I hope to finish it when I get back home at the end of this week.

New QueerJoe Design
I stopped working on the necklace after I got it to the point where knitting was going a lot more smoothly. Then I cast on for the new design which I'm calling the "Passing Lane Pullover". The picture below isn't great, but I had to settle on trying to get the color accurate rather than the texture, at least for the first picture, since I based the whole idea for this sweater on the yarn color (Jamieson DK - Sunrise).

I did the waist ribbing in an easy notched rib, and then started the body of the sweater in a great slipped stitch ribbing that moves along very quickly. It gives the fabric a very lofty feel, and it will definitely be a very warm sweater.

Reader Makeovers
I love seeing the results of the makeovers. I never knew what pretty boys I had reading my blog. You think I could get away with asking all the guys to send in bathing suit pictures too? Here's the latest cute guy and his best efforts at getting adopted by Karen from Will & Grace.

I still haven't gotten Marilyn's makeover.

Reader's Comments
Sean mentioned that he'd like to see some pictures from when I'm flying.

Other than taking off, talking with air traffic control and landing, flying doesn't require an enormous amount of concentration, so I could easily take pictures from the plane while flying. However, since I'm going up with an instructor for at least the next couple of lessons, I don't think I'll be taking pictures (unless they're of him...he's cute).

Wednesday, August 20, 2003


Focus in the areas of work, relationships, knitting and most other areas of my life seems to be one of the most inconsistent components of my behavior.

Non-Knitting Hobby
Recently, I've re-focused some of my time on getting back into flying. In the almost four years that I've been flying, I've always trained in the same plane. Next week, I get to learn how to fly a bigger and more powerful plane, and I'm very excited about it.

Here's a picture of the model of plane I will be flying (it's a Piper Cherokee Archer II, in case you're someone who cares).

Some days I am laser-beam focused on everything in my life, and other days, I feel like I am having a grand mal Attention Deficit Disorder seizure.

On the ADD days, I find having multiple projects that I can bounce around between helps some. But that doesn't help me much when I'm traveling and only carrying my primary project. Those are the days I have to rely on the cyber-knitting community for my distractions.

Knitting Progress
The suggestions to rename my version of the King Charles Brocade to the Genuine Faux King Charles Brocade reminds me of the calendars my last company used to order for all their employees. They were in binders covered in luxurious, genuine Pleather (I'm assuming Plastic Leather).

With some focus and some dedicated knitting time in the hotel room, I have gotten up to the point where I can do the final three repeats of the real King Charles Brocade. Thanks to Peter (that cute biologist) and the amazing Sarah Bradberry, I have the stitch pattern instructions.

I just checked the real version, and I'm doing the same pattern stitch except eliminating rows 1 and 7.

Once I finish this one, I'll have to wash it in the OxyClean to get out the small blood stains from my cooking accident. Typically, I like to wash things that are for babys anyway since I have a cat and I live in a smoking household.

On-Line Makeovers
Only one reader, Aubergine, took me up on the offer to post makeover pictures created at the Makeover Solutions web site. Did you all know that Aubergine is a man (well, at least before the makeover)? I have to admit, I had no idea, I always just assumed Aubergine was a woman...Sorry Michael.

I'm still glad to post any makeover pictures folks would like to send me.

Reader Comments and Questions
Liz asks whether I designed the Alpaca bedspread myself or am I using a pattern.

First of all, right now it's an Alpaca dishrag, but that's neither here nor there. A knitting enabler told me about a web vendor that was selling baby-weight alpaca in natural colors for $1 per skein, and the skeins had a lot of yardage. Robin and Russ used to sell it, but I no longer see it on their web site.

Anyway, with all this fine gauge alapaca, I decided to start a project that would take me forever. I picked a diagonal eyelet stitch from one of the Barbara Walker treasuries, cast on around 500 stitches and just started knitting. One of these days, I'll have 12" and I'll post a picture.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Queer Eye for the Queer Guy

Having lost my exclusivity of the word "Queer" to a popular t.v. show, I will now show you my own attempts at self betterment.

On-Line Makeovers
This clever little place on the web allows you to do a makeover to yourself, or an image that you feel looks like you.

And here's the result of my incredible taste as a queer man.

I'd be happy to post any pictures of other folks' attempts at a makeover if you're game.

Knitting Progress
I got some additional knitting done last night, and I'm almost up to the part where I have to do the real King Charles Brocade. I realized I don't have the pattern stitch with me, so hopefully, I'll be able to find it on-line somewhere. Otherwise that part will have to wait till I get home on Thursday night.

It looks like I have about 3 more repeats of the faux King Charles Brocade (maybe I should call it the Prince Charles Brocade since it's a smaller version?). After that, I have three repeats of the real pattern stitch.

I'll be glad to finish this one...hopefully so will the recipients.

Sexy Murderers
First of all, I know it's not all murderers I find attractive since Charlie Manson does nothing at all for me. But I made a promise that I would be honest in this blog, and I can't take back what I said.

The question was asked which Hussein brother trips my trigger, Uday or Qusay.

I have to admit, it's Uday that I like. I've always liked that swarthy, hirsute look.

Reader Comments and Questions
The inevitable question was asked by Aubergine, about what's happening with my workbasket.

As amazing as it sounds, I've been focusing on pretty much one project at a time, and getting pretty decent results by doing that. I have done a little work on the Alpaca Bedspread, but still don't have 12", which is the minimum I must have before posting a picture.

Shortly, I'll give an update of all my outstanding projects.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Fiber Temptations

Fiber-related temptationss are something over which I have little or no willpower

New Purchases
I had to go to Simply Knit to pick up the yarn for the new baby project for Janis.

First of all, I must say, I'm extremely pleased with the yarn I now have, and I'm very hopeful for how this beauty will come out.

Second, I had to buy everything that the yarn store owners suggested. I'm so weak.

Skacel/Addi has come out with some new knitted and crocheted jewelery kits that are way cool. The knitting is done with very nice silver, fine gauge wire and great little selection of glass beads. They even include bamboo double-pointed needles for making the tube of jewelry. I'm quite impressed, despite the price tag of just under $50.

The owners also left out a bag of 10 skeins of Jamieson Spindrift (jumper weight) in a dark navy with a note asking if I wanted it for $2.50 a skein. "Is this a trick question?", I asked myself. Of course I bought it with absolutely no idea when or how I would use it.

New Temptation
With my self-imposed deadline of finishing the Zachary blanket by the end of this weekend (which you'll read later will never happen), I have been itching to cast on for the knitting necklace in the Skacel kit.

I've opened the packaging (very cool packaging), I've checked out the beads, I've unspooled and felt a little of the wire...but, I have resisted the temptation to start this fun looking project. I have been working only on the Zachary blanket, and nothing else. Maybe I'm not so weak.

Knitting Progress
I have had a busy weekend, and every spare moment, I've been working on the Zachary blanket. Boy did I underestimate how long this blanket would take me to finish. I'm really only about 75% done on this. I'll need a full week of knitting to be able to finish this blanket.

Gage watches on to make sure I stay true to my primary knitting project. That also means I can't start the new man's Jamieson sweater design, I can't start the surprise Janis baby project and I absolutely can't start the knitted necklace.

Busy Weekend
I've decided that I want to continue flying, and it's been since September of last year that I piloted a plane. So last weekend and this weekend, I scheduled some time with a new instructor. Last weekend, he assessed my skills, and signed me off to be able take up a passenger with me. This weekend, I asked him to accompany me to an airport about 45 minutes flying time away, and give me some pointers on landing at a somewhat difficult airstrip (Kutztown, PA, in case you care).

Both flights went well, but the three hours of time away from home does cut into my weekend knitting.

Reader Comments and Questions
First of all, I'm glad you had the opportunity to vent on your pet peeves.

Second, thank you everyone for the feedback on Manos yarn. I still plan on some day knitting myself a Manos throw, since everytime I go to my mom's house, I love the throw I made her more and more.

Third, a few folks have written comments that they didn't like how FiestaWear was starting out, but liked the finished product. I have to admit to being one of those folks myself...that's why when I do color design, I design the entire garment in Microsoft Excel before I cast on the first stitch.

I have no ability to envision a sweater, or combinations of color without seeing them first, so I do some basic design on the computer, and then use my understanding of vibrancy and weighting of color to pick yarns and colors that will work with the overall design.

One other thing I do have to say in defense of FiestaWear. Pictures of this sweater make the colors more bright than they really are. The finished sweater is quite a bit more muted and dark than the pictures portray.

Finally, Aubergine asks whether I might have known Kafka's nephew from my time at Rutgers College in New Brunswick.

All I can say is that if I knew him, I didn't know he was Kafka's nephew, and I don't recall anyone that looks quite like Kafka. Although I have to say, I think he's kind of good looking based on the picture. Here's what the painting looks like (the last post was the photograph on which the painting was based).

But who can account for taste, when I find the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer, John Gacey, Scott Peterson and sometimes even one of the sons of Saddam Hussein somewhat attractive.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Pet Peeves

Nothing seems to generate more reader comment on a knitting blog than the mention of something annoying. Since today was a slow day for knitting topics, I figured I could always drag out this old topic.

Knit Peeves
My biggest peeve, when it comes to non-knitting topics, is when two or more people stop and have a conversation in the middle of a pedestrian thoroughfare. For example, a family gets off a plane and insists on hugging every living relative that came to meet them at the gate right in the middle of the exit to the jet-way. Or two people stop on a busy sidewalk to chat, and don't move off to the side. Or the worst...people that stop at the bottom of escalators to chat.

Nothing is more annoying than that.

From a knitting perspective my peeves have changed.

It used to be when a knitting pattern would say "Complete left side as for the right side, reversing all shapings", especially when the shaping couldn't really be done in the same way, and I had to figure it out myself.

That doesn't bother me anymore, especially since I've used it in some of my own patterns.

I guess my biggest knitting irritation these days is knots in the yarn. It's bad enough when every ball or skein of yarn has at least one knot in it. It makes it even worse when there are more. But the worst is when there are knots in a self-patterning yarn, and it totally screws up the whole pattern. That goes for variegated yarns with long lengths of color (like Noro Kureyon).

Reader Question
Aubergine asks two questions:

1. Is this a good time to write "Only a flaming faggot would look good in those colors"?

A. There is never a bad time to include comments like that. Although I might suggest something original that's equally as opinionated and interesting.

2. If I had any good pictures of the throw I made out of Manos yarn.

A. First of all, the throw is a Manos pattern called Vineyard Throw. You can check out the pamphlet picture of it (one in the bottom, left of the picture) at Knit Witts.

My best picture of it, is the one where my niece is modelling it. You can see I used MUCH more interesting colors in mine.

Manos Vineyard Throw

One caution I will also give is that a trusted source told me that Manos pills very easily, so this wouldn't be the kind of throw you'd make for a family who wouldn't be a little delicate with it.

Knitting Progress
I got some additional pattern repeats done on the Zachary blanket. I'll post a picture when there's something different to show.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Blah Blah Blog

Now even the Democratic candidates for President are blogging...oh gawd, we're doomed.

Political Blogs
I just read an excellent commentary in the local Albany Times Union by Maureen Dowd (a NY Times syndicated writer) where she describes how blogs are so mainstream that the candidates for the democratic presidential primary are feeling the need to have one (they're all following in the footsteps of Howard Dean's success).

My favorite part of the article is when she describes John Kerry's version of a blog:

"John Kerry has given more grist to critics who label him aloof and insincere by assigning staff members to write his cheesy blog. (It's like trying to prove you're a sportsman by making an aide go fishing for you.)"

If you get a chance, check out the article.

One of my biggest concerns in the Knit Blogging world is when the "it's hip to blog" mentality convinces folks who shouldn't really be writing blogs to start one.

Knitting Progress
I can't tell you how free it feels to be done with FiestaWear.

As mentioned, I am focusing primarily on the Zachary blanket, and I think I'm about a little less than half way done with it. I'm not completely sure I'll be able to finish it by this weekend, but definitely by next weekend.

I'm thinking that I'll just keep knitting until I feel it's almost the size it should be, and then I'll do three rows of real King Charles Brocade so it matches the start of the blanket.

New Knitting Project
If I get completely bored with knitting the Zachary blanket (which is likely), I don't know that I'll be able to stop myself from casting on for the first part of the surpirse baby gift for Janis.

I just got word from Simply Knit that the yarn I ordered came in, so there is little stopping me from casting on for this fun and hopefully gorgeous project.

As I progress on the project, I'd be happy to send out pictures of what I'm working on to individuals who request it via e-mail. Just as long as you promise not to divulge any information to the intended recipient.

Reader Question
I had one reader who asked a non-knitting-related question about one of the FiestaWear pictures in the gallery.

Q. Kevin asks about the picture of the man in the painting in the background of one of the pictures.

A. That painting is a portrait of Kafka done by a local artist named Paul Matthews. It's done based on a pretty well-known photograph of Franz Kafka.

Thaddeus and I always liked Paul's work, and couldn't resist when we saw this fine portrait, despite the fact that I've never read anything by Kafka.

Monday, August 11, 2003


Nothing more satisfying than finishing something worth finishing.

FiestaWear is DONE!!
I worked like crazy to finish the sleeves, and then sew them into the body of the sweater. I used my standard technique for which I have a picture tutorial somewhere.

Then, of course there were the side seams that required seaming. Fortunately on this sweater, I could make sure the seams were even because of the color changes every 16 rows. Although, on the other hand, seaming knit/purl pattern stitches can get a little ugly.

Overall, it came out very well, and I am more than happy with how this sweater looks on me as well (although the pictures don't really show it off that well).

I had to let Gage experience the feeling of completion as well.

Click Here for additional pictures.

Primary Project
Now I can focus primarily on finishing the baby blanket for my coworkers baby boy, Zachary.

I'm enjoying my version of the King Charles Brocade, and it's a nice relief after the concentration that FiestaWear required.

My version of the original is very close, so it's no surprise they look similar in the pictures. I think I'm only making a slightly smaller diamond than the pattern calls for.

I'd like to finish this blanket by the end of the upcoming weekend.

Stitches East
As of right now, I'll be going to Stitches on Friday and Saturday.

I don't take classes there, but I do enjoy the market, and seeing knitters from across the country that I only run into once a year. I'm planning at staying in a Fairfield Inn about 8 miles from the Convention Center, even though it's only about a 2 hour drive.

I also hang out a lot at the Simply Knit booth, and help them write up sales when they get busy.

I'm already looking forward to Stitches this year.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Knitting Meet Up

What a great opportunity this turned out to be, getting to knit some very interesting and fun people.

Meet Up Group
We had a total of eight folks who showed up for the meet up today. As expected, it was great to see Marilyn and Kathy again. I can't say too many times how nice it is to be around interesting, smart, knitters with so much style.

Amber and Ben also showed up but didn't go to lunch. Amber is as interesting in person as her blog would indicate. I enjoyed talking with her during their brief visit. Ben was quiet, but very nice, and I have to say he looks better in person than the pictures on his blog. He was wearing a great hat that Amber had made. Nice couple.

Mary V. and Therese showed up as they mentioned they would in the comments. They fit right in. Lively, and talkative and highly interesting, they also knit great stuff. I was so glad they took the opportunity of the meet up to make their trek to Simply Knit.

Finally, Lisa finished off the group perfectly. As a theater producer in my favorite theater in New Jersey (McCarter Theater), she was wonderful to speak with. She also knew the two yarn stores in Princeton, so we got to chat about them too. Having another knitter who isn't fond of larger needles was something I could relate to.

I couldn't have handpicked a more wonderful group of knitters, and I was very happy to have had the opportunity to meet with them. I don't think anyone in the restaurant where we had lunch would have believed that it was a group of knitters at our table. We were by far the loudest and most animated table in the place.

Here's a picture of Kathy, Lisa, Marilyn, Mary, and Therese. I'm sorry to say I didn't get my camera out early enough to get Amber and Ben in the picture.

Kathy took this great picture of us that includes me as well. Thanks Kathy.

100,000 Hits
You'll note that I've reached the six digits for hits on my site. I'm still constantly amazed at how many hits I've had since I started my blog late last year.

As I had hoped, I got to the point on the sleeves where there are no more increases. Later today, I hope to finish and attach the sleeves and sew up the side seams.

Zachary Blanket
Thanks to Amber's historical information about how the King Charles Brocade got its name, I'm having pictures in my mind of a bloodied, baby blue blanket and two grieving parents. Thank gawd the recipients of the blanket don't read my blog.

My revised version of the pattern is just a smaller diamond than the original pattern stitch. Here's a close-up comparison of the two.

I haven't compared the two pattern stitches, but I think I'm just eliminating one or two rows of the correct pattern repeat. When I get to the point where I have to finish the blanket, I'm going to have to read the real pattern stitch so I can get it to work correctly.

FiestaWear Corrections
I mentioned that I had taken some pictures of the process for correcting the switched color mistake. Thanks to Marilyn, I have an Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) file that shows how I did it. Marilyn also made the comment that I should probably include instructions to use needles one or two sizes smaller when I inserted knitting needles above and below the mistake. I didn't do that, but I think she's probably right.

Click here for a knitting/darning tutorial with pictures.

If you had seen the HTML I was planning on publishing, you'd be thanking Marilyn for converting this to Acrobat for me. I definitely need to find a web page software soon.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Camera's Back!!!

Having gotten home last night, I now have access to my camera pictures again.

Blog Ring Comments Again
It was gratifying to see Indigirl write her comment about administering a blog ring. After I posted the last blog entry, I was concerned that blog ring administrators might have taken my comments as critiques of them, and that was the last thing I wanted to do.

You'll notice that despite all my whining about blog ring behavior, I don't administer a blog ring of my own. I'm glad there are folks like Indigirl out there that do.

I'm Torn
When I read comments on my blog about folks who feel intimidated about writing comments there, it kind of makes me happy and kind of makes me sad.

Happy, in that the Newcomer's rules and others' comments make folks think before they post.

Sad, in that some very valuable and thoughtful comments might never be posted because of intimidation.

The funny thing about it all is, I don't think most folks who know me in real life would ever consider me very intimidating. Blunt maybe sometimes, but not intimidating.

Knitting Meet-up
Last chance to join in the fun. Anyone in the Bucks, PA or Hunterdon/Mercer County, NJ areas, we'd be more than happy to have you join the little group.

As I mentioned the other day, FiestaWear is moving along nicely.

I've almost finished all the increases to get the width of the finished sleeve, and then it will be just a couple more rows of color blocks, and the sleeves will be done. I'm hopeful to finish the sleeves by tonight or tomorrow morning, and then put it all together after the meet up tomorrow.

Zachary Blanket
I mentioned earlier this week that I had made some progress on the Zachary Blanket.

This is about 3/5ths done, so I still have quite a bit of work on it. Fortunately, the yarn for the new baby project hasn't come in yet, so I'll work on completing the blanket during the upcoming week.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Blog Rings

Have you gone through the blog rings lately? I try to circle through at least one of the three rings on my blog at least once a week.

Blog Ring Participation Suggestions
I just went through the MenWhoKnit Blog Ring, and I have to say, it's one of my favorites. It's relatively small, it's got some interesting bloggers on it, and it's devoted to a specific group of knitters that I'm interested in. One of the best of the new ones I found was sean808080' ohmbase blog. Just my kinda blog. I will probably be adding his link to my daily blog reads.

However, I'd like to whine about a couple of my pet peeves.

Trying to find the "Next" button on the MenWhoKnit ring is next to impossible on some blogs. If I had my druthers, I'd require anyone participating on a blog ring to do three things:

1. Include both the Blog Ring graphic and the text name of the blog ring on their blog page (that way I could at least do a text search on the web page).
2. Put both the graphic and the text toward the top of the blog.
3. Put the "Next" text in a color that doesn't blend in with the blog background.

One other thing, which is usually a requirement for participating on most blog rings, but I'd require members to update their blog at least every week. Even though most blog rings have this requirement, it's not a rule that is usually enforced. I wish blog owners would voluntarily take themselves off the ring if they're not planning on updating at least infrequently.

I saw one blog owner who mentioned in the text of the blog that the blog wouldn't be updated much anymore and could be removed from the blog ring if the blog ring administrator happened to read that blog. Why wasn't their just a request that the blog ring adminstrator just update that person's blog for them once a week instead?

If you've got the ability to add yourself to a blog ring, for gawd's sake, you've got the ability to have yourself removed.

Knitting Meet-up
It looks like we're going to have five knitters show up for the meet-up in Lambertville this Saturday (August 9th). Kathy, Amber, Marilyn, Lisa and myself. I can't wait. We will meet up at Simply Knit in Lambertville, NJ at 11:30. Chat, have a little show & tell, and then have lunch at a local restaurant.

Anyone interested, feel free to come along. After Amber's description of a crochet lesson from Kathy on her blog, I think the conversation could be quite interesting.

Knitting Progress
FiestaWear is back on track. I did almost an full row of color blocks on the sleeves last night, and I'm hopeful to get some more done tonight. If the weather had been a little brighter this week in Albany, I would have taken a picture of the progress with my pocket camera. No such luck.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Knitting Guilt

As a product of a Catholic upbringing, it never ceases to amaze me how I can feel guilty about anything.

FiestaWear Pullover
I got absolutely no knitting done last night on FiestaWear, and very little this morning. Fear not...I will flog myself, knit a hair-shirt, and wear it for a month as penance. I will also make sure I still finish this sweater by this weekend, despite my recent lack of progress.

Knitting Meet-up
Marilyn (the Knitting Curmudgeon), Kathy, Amber, and possibly Annie will be meeting this coming Saturday at Simply Knit at 11:30 and then will go to lunch locally.

Anyone interesting in attending, feel free to contact me so we can include you.

Blogger Pals
Speaking of Amber and Marilyn, they both have excellent blog entries that you should check out.

Amber has a post from a couple of days ago that describes Kathy "teaching" her to crochet. Knowing Kathy, I was howling with laughter. I'm sure Kathy wishes Amber had a comments section so she could defend herself.

Marilyn has a great commentary on current knitting stupidity. Acerbic and funny as always.

Finally, Wendy has a great charity knitting event going on. She's having a raffle for anyone who wants to knit catnip-stuffed mouse toys for cats.

It's a great idea, for a charity about which Wendy is highly supportive. Please support this great effort if you can spare a little knitting time.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Weekend Knitting

Weekends for me are always the time when I get the most knitting done. My job requires pretty long hours of work and then usually some group socializing at night. Add in an exercise regime, and weekdays in Albany provide little time for knitting.

FiestaWear Pullover
I am relieved that the correction of the two-color blocks has been completed successfully. I took a lot of pictures of the process for correcting this mistake, and I even remembered to bring the camera with me to Albany. Unfortunately, I didn't remember to bring the wires to connect the camera to my laptop...ugh!

I'll post a little darning tutorial to the blog when I get home at the end of this week.

I also got a little work done on the sleeves, and I'm hopeful to complete this sweater on schedule by the end of this coming weekend.

I do have my other camera with me as well, so I'll be able to post pictures this week. Just not the ones I took over the weekend.

Zachary's Baby Blanket
With a new baby project on the horizon (Janis is 5 months pregnant), I thought I better get the blanket for Zachary done and out of the way. I made some good progress this weekend on the blanket, and have a great picture of it in the camera.

Unfortunately, there it will stay until I get back home.

Pattern stitch error. After I had completed about 3 repeats of the 12-row pattern repeat, I thought I knew how to do it by heart.

I was wrong.

It turns out that this beautiful little blanket will have three repeats of the King Charles Brocade, a bunch of repeats of the Jester Joe's Brocade (similar to King Charles, but with Joe's very own mistake), and then finished off with three repeats of King Charles Brocade to give it symetry.

Honestly, the pattern difference will give it an interesting look, otherwise I would have undone the entire blanket back to the mistake.

New Baby Project
I went to Simply Knit this past weekend to meet up with two knitting pals, Leslie and Janet. They were there for the big summer sale (sorry, it's only for in-store customers, not web). I got to show them my new baby project idea, and they thought it sounded perfect.

I can't wait to start this one. I'm sure you can imagine how itchy my fingers were to do some swatching this past weekend, but I resisted. Fortunately, the new project required some yarn to be ordered, in addition to what I had already purchased last week.

Look for pictures again starting with my next blog entry.

Friday, August 01, 2003

Knitting Magazines

I always try to pick up the latest magazines, and I probably have most issues of Knitters, Vogue Knitting and Interweave Knits from the past few years.

IK and Vogue
I picked up these two magazines at Simply Knit last night, and glanced through them this morning.

First of all, both of the magazines have two advertisements each for the two new Jamieson books, although the two ads for "Simply Knit 2" are disguised as ads for Lana Grossa yarns.

Second, I much prefer Vogue this time, although I don't hate IK either.

The clear winner in my mind in both magazines is Teva Durham. She has two great color designs in vogue, and great looking coat in IK. The color combinations in her two Vogue sweaters are just plain beautiful.

I don't follow designers or editors of magazines very much, but I guess she has been designing for a while and was the editor of Vogue Knitting for a while. There's a site that sells some of her designs (none of which I was very fond of):

Teva Durham's Designs

Vogue also has a nice Brandon Mably design and a boring, but not horrible Kaffe Fassett design.

IK could have been less than stellar if not for a couple of interesting designs, mostly Annie Modesitt's Diminishing Cables design.

The Knitting Curmudgeon has a blog entry/discussion on how knit technicians often don't create good looking completed garments. Annie is clearly the exception.

FiestaWear Pullover
Knitting has been somewhat slow, but thankfully error-free after the first few gaffes. I must admit, it feels like it goes a lot faster when I do one sleeve at a time. But hopefully it's at least as fast this way.

New Baby Project
I found the perfect yarn for the new baby project and picked up some of it last night when I stopped at Simply Knit for the two magazines. I am starting to get very excited, but I am trying to resist swatching this garment until I've finished the FiestaWear Pullover.

New Books
In addition to the fortuitous find of POK this past week, I also picked up a new book at Borders (at least new for me), Designing Knitwear by Deborah Newton.

I like how she describes the designing process, and while I haven't read it all yet, I'll be interested to read about how she does color design.

My knitting friend Janis (the pregnant one) also gave me Alice Starmore's "Sweaters for Men" because she didn't really want it.

After looking through the pictures, I can fully understand why she didn't want it. Some of these designs are hideous. Mostly, it's just because of the dating of the designs, but it's amazing how someone as well known as Alice can make such ugly garments.