Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Political Rant

When did it become more important for a candidate for public office to have witty reparte in a debate, than it was to have credentials, or experience or leadership abilities?

California Recall
I branch out for a little bit in this one section of today's blog to wonder publicly how the political debate process got so twisted.

It seems the media, and the American public now assess their candidates on how well they sniped at their competitors in debates.

While I'm glad I don't live in California, because I think the concept of a recall based on popularity doesn't have a place in a democracy, the problem of sarcastic barbs making a candidate more qualified is nationwide in this country.

Did it start with the Vice Presidential debate where Quayle got slammed when he tried to compare himself to JFK, or has it been going on forever in politics. Regardless of when it started, I will be happy when slugfests, like the carnival they called a debate in California are over, and candidates debate the true issues.

Passing Lane
Here's the pictures I promised yesterday of Passing Lane. I'll have a gallery of me modelling the garment later sometime, but for now, these will have to do.



Here's one the show's a closeup of the collar and the patterned rib stitch I used.



I wore it to work today, even though it was knit for someone larger than me, and it's not really a great color for me either. This sweater is VERY warm, and very comfortable. A perfect ski lodge sweater.

Rebekah Sweaters
First of all, the finished Rebekah sweater (as promised). This is the one done in cotton and Trendsetter Flora on the trim.



Now for the progress picture on Rebekah II. I've completed the bottom up to the sleeve holes, and the back and back collar. I've started knitting the front as well.



While I'm moving along very quickly on this one, I don't think it will be ocmplete by the time I get to Stitches. But I'll still be able to give a good idea to the editor of what it will look like.

Reader Comments and Questions
Debi asks, "Are you a continental knitter or an English knitter?"

It's actually not a silly question at all, and I'm not really either. When I first taught myself to knit, I had seen most American knitters throw the yarn, but I taught myself by reading an English knitting pattern book.

I ended up with a combination of both styles. I hold the yarn in my left hand, as an English-style knitter would, but I throw the yarn, as a continental-style knitter would. In other words, I don't hold it up and pick it with the right needle, I wrap it.

It's not a unique style, as I've met others that knit that way. And like Debi, I think there is no wrong way to knit as long as it gets the job done. Also like Debi, my knitting is very even.

Peter asks why I keep a box of tissues in my knitting tool box next to my TV chair.

Actually, tissues are clearly just a fantasy that Peter conjured up in his own dirty little mind. Perhaps because he keeps a box handy by his bedside himself?...hmmm?

The box I assume he mistook for tissues is actually the box that the Weavette is in, that I discussed in prior blog entries.

Keep those lecherous questions coming :)

Monday, September 29, 2003

Busy Boy

No, I haven't died, faked my own death or gone to Ireland unexpectedly. I'm still alive, but busy.

Getting Ready for Stitches Weekend
This whole past weekend was all about getting ready for next weekend.

In addition to Stitches on Thursday and Friday (I won't be there Saturday), I have a memorial art show on Friday night. I'm hosting a brunch for 25 people on Saturday morning/afternoon. I have a birthday party for my mom's husband (who turns 80) on Saturday night. And finally, I have a dog show on Sunday afternoon, where my best friend's Springer Spaniel will compete for the first time as a champion.

Flea Market Gift from Thaddeus
Since it's my only picture today, I'll talk about this great gift idea Thaddeus came up with for me at the Flea market.

He got tired of seeing all my knitting tools and paraphernalia hanging everywhere in the house, so he bought this cool old tool chest.



It has compartments for stitch holders, scissors, circular needles, measuring tapes, etc. And it has holes (originally for screw drivers, I think) that I can use to hold my non-circular needles (I rarely use the word str@ight).

Isn't Thaddeus the best!?!?!?

Passing Lane
There's good news, and bad news.

I worked like a maniac, and got Passing Lane completed, sewn up and ends woven in. Yay!

The bad news...I didn't get a chance to take any pictures. Yet. I'll try to post some tomorrow.

I love the way it came out, and I think the editor from Unicorn will too. Cross your fingers for me.

Rebekah II
In addition to finishing Passing Lane, I also finished sewing up the original Rebekah sweater, and I got a few inches done on the body of Rebekah II. But again, I don't have a picture of either garment yet.

I'm going to be working on Rebekah this week, until I head to Atlantic City. I'm not sure I can finish it in time, but at least I can show the editor the completed version in cotton yarn, and the version in progress with his yarn.

I'll post pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Blog Contest Entries

As the final chapter in another QueerJoe blog contest, I present all of the entries. Which would you have selected?

Guest Blog Entries
I was going to try and combine all of the entries into one HTML or PDF page, but it proved too difficult for my technical skills and/or patience. Instead I present links to each blog entry.

Enjoy the reading.

Antonio 1
Antonio 2
Antonio 3
Antonio 4
Barb 1
Barb 2
Catherine
Jet
Joanne
Johanne
Michael (Aubergine)
Sean (Sean080808)

Passing Lane
I finished a few more inches on the final sleeve for Passing Lane, and it's moving along at a good clip now.



I am more and more optimistic each day that I'll be able to present the Rebekah II sweater to the Unicorn editor at Stitches.

I also have to get a picture of Rebekah wearing her cotton version of the sweater when I get it finished. Those of you who know me, know I'm not overly fond of children. I make the exception for some children, and Rebekah is certainly one of those for whom I make an exception.

She is an absolutely beautiful child with a matching personality.

Wrist Hurt?
There are a lot of folks that know Annie Modesitt from her blog, Modeknit. She's quite an amazing designer, but she's also given a great gift to those of us who suffer wrist pain when we knit by documenting what she calls combined knitting.

http://www.modeknit.com/combined.html

It's basically a method of creating the same Knit and Purl stitches as standard knitting, but done without as much wrist turning.

When I first taught myself to knit, I taught myself incorrectly how to purl (by wrapping in the wrong direction), and ended up with twisted stiches. I knit that way for the first year.

Now Annie shows how I could use that to my best advantage. Thanks Annie for documenting a great idea and sharing it with web knitters.

Reader Comments and Questions
I just wanted to thank you all for your nice comments on both the picture and our relationship.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Multiple Projects - Again

It's nice being back to working on multiple projects.

Rebekah Sweater
I have finished all of the pieces of the Rebekah sweater, and now just need to sew on the sleeve, sew up the collar/neck, weave in ends, and wash and press the finished sweater.

I had the opportunity to have the recipient try the sweater on this past weekend.

I was chatting with her mom outside, and showing her the sweater. She was quite pleased with the result. Her daughter, Rebekah, came over and started talking to us, and then noticed the sweater. She kept eyeing it, and finally said, "that's a very pretty color".

I asked her if she liked the sweater, and she said she did, very much. I asked her if she'd like to try it on and she was thrilled to (even with a missing sleeve). She could have cared less that I made it for her.

The sweater fit perfectly, looked great, and I got my neck opening measurements.

As mentioned in the last entry, I have a second Rebekah sweater on the needles. If I can finish Passing Lane quickly enough, I'll work on Rebekah II to try to get it done for Stitches as well.

Passing Lane
Despite having worked on the two other Rebekah sweaters, I was still able to finish the first sleeve and I have also made some progress on the second sleeve.



Working like a dog, I should get this sleeve done by Friday or Saturday, and get in some knitting time on Rebekah II over the weekend.

I'm looking forward to having five sweaters to show the editor at Unicorn now.

Partnership
Thaddeus and I were at a party a while back. It was a housewarming party of a friend and former neighbor who moved about 30 minutes away into a new house.

He took the following picture, and it's one of the only pictures where both Thaddeus and I like the way we look in the picture.



October will mark our 20th anniversary, and despite the fact that it's a picture of a photograph, I thought you might want to see it.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Blog Winner

For those of you who didn't recognize her writing, the winner of the guest blog entry contest was my friend Kathy.

Guest Blog Entry
One of the things I liked best about Kathy's blog entry is that she had the balls to insult blogging directly. Clearly her entry wasn't submitted to pander to me or the judge.

I'm sure she meant it as insulting, but I actually like what Haley said in comments. I am personally amazed that people come to read the day-to-day journal of my knitting. Honestly, who the fuck cares. I'm sure that's why Haley doesn't list a web page on her comment, because she realizes that blogs are inherently boring and self-centric.

And that's exactly what Kathy documents so well in her clever satire.

Thanks Kathy for one of the most thoughtful entries. It certainly made me laugh, and afterall, this blog is all about me. I'm glad that you never cease to generate a lot of controversy.

I will post all of the entries except for those that the authors requested that I not post them unless they won, sometime this upcoming week so you can judge for yourself.

Knitting Progress
Two sleeves done!!!

Well, not two sleeves on the Passing Lane, but on the child's pullover. I finished both sleeves and the bottom edging for the sweater for Rebekah.



I didn't sew on the second sleeve yet, because I want to have Rebekah try on the sweater before finishing it, so fitting it to her will be easier.

I did make quite a bit of progress on the Passing Lane sleeve (still on the first one), and I've only got a couple of inches before I shape the sleeve cap.



New Design
Thanks to the work I did on the Rebekah sweater, I've decided that I'm going to reknit it in Lana Grossa yarn so I can hopefully sell the design to Unicorn Books (who distributes both the Jamieson and Lana Grossa lines of yarn).

Instead of Provence Cotton and Trendsetter Flora, I'm using Merino Big and Pep. I started the bottom band, and it's coming out very well so far. I'll get a picture next week sometime when I've made some significant progress.

Another New Book
Jamieson is about to come out with another book in the Simply Knit series. While I've seen the full galleys for the new book, and Simply Knit yarn store is taking advanced orders on the book, I have been sworn to secrecy on my blog, and I can't yet show pictures of the great designs.

As soon as the book is in stores (around mid-October), I will give a full review.

Friday, September 19, 2003

MY MOST INTIMATE THOUGHTS KNITTING JOURNAL

DATE: 19 September, 2003
SUBJECT: Knitting. Well, MY Knitting. Well, ME and my Knitting.
Well, ME.
MOOD: Delicate, but Informative
BODY TEMPERATURE: 98.6; 98.6; 98.8(!), 98.6
OUT MY WINDOW: So much activity from the "real" world.
People doing things, speaking to each other
in real time. Where do they find the energy?
STATS COUNT: 39. This has to be a mistake. I am certain I get
hundreds of hits a day on this blog ALONE.

I know there should be a photo of me on this blog, but I've been so nauseous all day, I can't think of searching out the camera Mummy bought me for my 37th birthday.

Just picture Nicky or Paris Hilton (which one is the blonder, more delicate?) with her head in the toilet, and that's what I look like. I've been awake and at my research for my book, "Feminist Knitting in the 14th Century", since 4:42 A.M. I don't like to sleep later, as it leaves me feeling less, well, delicate.

I cribbed much of my real writing from "A Distant Mirror", but most of the bestseller-buying "normal" readers who patronize such pedestrian emporiums (should be "emporii", but would less sophisticated readers know?) most likely haven't heard of Barbara Tuchman.

Anyway, the knitting part is my own original thinking.

Today's good news is, I received my first knitting book, "Heirloom Knitting". I am certain that I will put it to good use, as everyone says it's a book for true knitters. And it was costly.

Well, Mummy certainly thought so as she wrote the check.

Her comments were almost chagrined.

I know I'll like "lace" knitting. Perhaps my heroine, Cunegonde, could be a "lace" knitter. I've paged through the book, and wonder, how does one deal with the holes?

I've knitted a few scarves, and what I like to call "fainting cloths", but my knit stitches (so many!) were all, well, the same.

Even.

I actually own another knitting book, but it's not really worth the title. It's Jan Messent's "Knitting Historical Figures".
I expected it to aid in my enormous research, but really, so many egregious errors!

How could she not know that a medieval woman of merely countess status would never wear her wimple HALF-COVERING her ears?

I wrote a very fine article about this very subject and submitted it tothe "major" knitting publications, but it was rejected at all. Well, they are so "mainstream".

I should knit my promised 14 stitches for the day, but it cuts into my list-making time so insidiously.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Storm Warnings

Red in the morning, sailors take warning.

Driving Through Isabel
I leave Albany this afternoon for home as Isabel inches its way North. Here's the sunrise I woke up to this morning.



This picture doesn't even do justice to the angry red sunrise I saw out my hotel window this morning.

Blog Contest
Just as a reminder, tomorrow's blog will be the contest winner's blog entry. I will just be posting it as I received it, so don't be surprised if you think to yourself..."Hey, this doesn't seem like QueerJoe."

Obviously, the winner will know who he/she is, but the rest of you will have to wait until the weekend to find out (unless he/she reveals himself/herself in comments).

Knitting Progress
Well, it's one of those "one step forward, three steps back" kind of messages today.

Two nights ago, I had made what I considered a minor mistake in the sleeve of Passing Lane. Every time I'd pick up the sleeve to do more on it, I'd consider whether I needed to fix it.

I rationalized that it would be on a seam, it would be under the arm, the dark color yarn doesn't show the mistake, etc., etc.

Last night I finally realized I needed to fix it. I have a general rule that if I question whether I should fix a mistake three times or more, I need to fix it.

I ended up ripping out about 4 inches of knitting, and then knitted about 2 inches to try to bring it back as quickly as possible.



If you look at the picture from yesterday carefully, you can see the mistake. I've circled it to help you out.



Beauty
Finally, I was reading Wendy's blog today, and she's ordered the yarn to another gorgeous Fair Isle pattern (the Amphora sweater), and it reminded me of the colors in a moth I found on my back deck at home.



The deep blues and subtle grays just reminded me of her sweater purchase.

New Blog Button
I've been reading Sean808080's blog for a while now, and really enjoy it.

I finally got a chance to create a button, and add him to my site. You'll see the new button on the blog buttons down on the left side.

If you haven't checked out his site (especially his 101 things about him list), you might want to, when you get a chance.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Thank You Thank You

I am more than grateful for reader generosity in two ways.

Blog Contest
First of all, your generosity with your writing talents was great. I have read through each entry, and they are impressive. I'll post the winning entry this Friday, and the winner's name over the weekend.

That way, you can read the winning blog entry just like Marilyn did. With impartiality to any of the personalities of the blog readers.

Next week, I'll post all of the entries (except for those that would prefer to use their entries in their own blogs and have asked me not to publish unless they won).

NJ Ride for AIDS
The other way that readers have been very generous is from their purses/pockets.

On behalf of Karen (who's doing all the work), and myself, I thank you with as much gratitude as I can in a blog entry. You astound me with your charitability.

If you'd still like to donate to this great cause, send your contact information to me and I'll pass it on to Karen. Or if you'd prefer to donate via pay-pal, I'd be glad to pass your contributions on to Karen if you don't care about having a receipt for your tax-deductible contribution. Just click on the button below and select the amount you'd like to contribute.











You folks are the best.

Knitting Progress
These are the days where I feel that posting a progress picture seems useless.

I did get a couple of inches more done on the sleeve, but is that worthy of a picture? I could even just distort yesterday's picture. And what should I do on the second sleeve? Can I just repost the pictures from the first sleeve that most closely correspond with my progress?



At least his picture shows the pattern stitch a little better than some of my previous pictures.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

A Desperate Plea

A newfound friend on my Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Transgendered Knitting List is doing an AIDS ride in NJ, and is requesting donations.

Please Give
It's not normally like me to ask for donations for anything, but I'd like to ignore that rule for today's blog entry and ask for your help.

The New Jersey Ride for AIDS is having a benefit the same weekend as Stitches East this year.



Since I couldn't participate in the actual ride (for obvious reasons), I would like to support this excellent organization, and my newfound friend, Karen, has given me the opportunity.

Karen will be bicycling 250 miles over the course of three days and needs to raise $1,500. The benefit is looking to raise $150,000 in total. She's looking for any contribution folks could make whether it be $5 or $500.

Since 100% of contributions go to AIDS charities, I find this benefit to be very worthy. The funds also go to organizations such as South Jersey AIDS Alliance, NJ Women and AIDS Network, and The Center in Asbury Park (there web site has a full list of benefactors).

If you can, please pledge any amount of money by contacting me at josephwilcox@bearingpoint.net with your Name and address and the amount you can pledge, and I'll ask Karen to send you the information on how to submit your contribution.

If you'd prefer to donate via pay-pal, I'd be glad to pass your contributions on to Karen if you don't care about having a receipt for your tax-deductible contribution. Just click on the button below and select the amount you'd like to contribute.











Thank you for taking the time to read this, and now onto knitting.

Blog Contest
I received a total of 17 entries to the guest blog contest.

Thank you one and all for taking the time and energy to write such thoughtful and interesting blog posts. I will be forwarding all entries to Marilyn today and the winner will be announced this coming Friday.

Good luck to one and all.

Knitting Progress
You can see for yourself, that I've done another few inches on the sleeve for Passing Lane.



I'm hopeful to finish this first sleeve by tomorrow and getting the rest of the sweater done by the end of this coming weekend. If worse comes to worse, I'll have to schlep this entire sweater up to Albany next week to finish up any outstanding parts to have it ready for Stitches.

Reader Comments/Questions
I forgot to respond to this last week when Deb/Yentala (www.yentala.typepad.com) said (and I quote), "Bubbeleh, ve vant de pattern for de SHVENTZELE VARMER!!"

I don't speak Yiddish fluently, but I'm assuming she's asking for the pattern for the Willie Warmer that I did a while back.



Well, here's the pattern that I made it from, and the modifications I made to the pattern.

Click Here

Also, it's nice to have my readers looking out for my sex life. Lisa passed along this web site, figuring I might find this man hot like the other murderers discussed earlier.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/dmilam1.html

I don't know...maybe it's because he's not convicted yet, or he's not a mass murderer...but he just doesn't trip my trigger.

Monday, September 15, 2003

A Hijacked Blog

Overall, I've very open to suggestions and questions on this blog. I figure if a question in the blog comments sends QueerJoe.com in a different direction, then that's the direction it was supposed to be going to begin with.

Favorite Designers
Instead of just letting comments be hijacked, I figured I'd turn the entire blog over to the discussion that Lisa started in blog comments.

She says she's read about designers that we don't like, but which ones do we like.

Before answering the question, I first have to say that I have discussed designers that I like a lot in past blog entries. I just didn't want readers to think that I only whine about bad ones.

That being said, I think by far my favorite designer of all time would have to be Kaffe Fassett. I'm more a color fanatic than a texture fanatic, and he does color better than anyone, in my esteemed opinion. I also like Debbie Bliss and Jo Sharp a lot too.

Although not highly published, Carol Lapin is the most interesting designer. Her designs are funky and sophisticated and I love her colorway.

Just like I consider Brandon Mably to be a mini-Kaffe, I have tried to be a mini-Carol when it comes to color sense.

Oh, and weighing in on the Maie discussion, I have to agree with Marilyn on that one. I LOVE how that woman spins and dyes, but I think her designs are awful (except for the ideas she's stolen from others, including me). I totally agree that Kathy's use of Koigu is MUCH more interesting.

Blog Contest
I've gotten some additional entries over the weekend and Marilyn's job is going to be even tougher now. I've decided to publish all of the blog entries that I received sometime next week. If any of you who have submitted entries who don't win the contest, would prefer not to have your entry published, please let me know, and I'll exclude yours.

Today is the LAST day that I'll accept entries, so make sure you get yours in today if you want to participate.

Knitting Progress
Marilyn asks if I still plan on making my deadline for completing Passing Lane in time for Stitches.

Can you believe her nerve?

In fact, I'm so confident that I'll make that deadline, that I decided to start on a different sweater this past weekend, and spent most of my knitting time on that (see below).

I ended up doing about 2 inches on the first sleeve, and I hope to finish that sleeve by Friday of this week, leaving me a whole week to finish the other sleeve, the collar and sewing it up.

Cake!

New Rebekah Sweater
A while ago, I mentioned that a neighbor/friend of mine asked me to make her husband a sweater out of her handspun. My friend spins, but doesn't knit, so I was glad to make a simple raglan sweater for her husband.

Despite her coarse handspun, he loves the sweater.

A few months ago, the same neighbor/friend had purchased some yarn at the expensive yarn store in New Orleans, and wanted to know if I'd barter organic vegetables for a couple of sweaters for her daughter, Rebekah.

I didn't know how to say no, so I asked her for measurements.

I just got them last week, so I decided to start the first sweater. I decided to combine the bright pink Provence cotton yarn with the Trendsetter Flora (like Charm if you're familiar), to do a stripe towards the bottom. Then I used a simple slip/transfer stitch for the body of the sweater.



For the collar, I did a notched front and stranded the Flora along with it again.

I plan on picking up stitches at the bottom, and doing a tulip edging and then doing simple sleeves with more Flora at the cuff.

I ended up getting the body of the sweater completed.

Now I just have the bottom edging and the sleeves to go. And of course, the second sweater

Those will wait till after Stitches.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Knitting Appreciation

Nothing makes me more satisfied about my knitting than to have someone truly appreciate a finished object.

Zachary Blanket Feedback
I finally got some feedback on the baby blanket I made for Zachary and sent out last week. I was honestly starting to worry that it hadn't gotten to him, since his parents are very responsible and I know they would have at least acknowledged receipt.

Well yesterday, they did more than that. They sent a very nice note stating that the blanket was the "nicest and most generous gift that Zach had received based on the time and thought that went into it."

Zachary's father also mentioned that his son really liked the blanket a lot and they sent the following picture.



I have to admit, the little beauty makes the blanket look good.

Blog Contest
Entries continue to dribble in, but the quality is excellent. Thank you all for playing, and just remember there are only a couple of more days to enter the contest. What more could you want besides fame and nice yarn for your efforts?

Knitting Progress
I finished the front of Passing Lane, and sewed up the right shoulder. I prefer to knit my collars flat, rather than in the round, so I only knit up one shoulder (always the right one) and then work the collar flat. And since this will be a double layer collar, I'll find it twice as easy as sewing up both shoulders and knitting both collar layers in the round.



I also started the first sleeve and I've gotten a little bit done on that as well.



New Jamieson Book
There are a total of three designs in the new Jamieson Book that are from the designers at Simply Knit.

I like them all, although I don't think I'll make any of them. Mostly because they are women's sweaters.



I do think that I will eventually make the following two garments, because I think they are very fine.



Reader Comments/Questions
Again your many comments are funnier and more interesting than my blog.

Which brings me to the first question from Lisa, who asks, "Can one pose a question? Or is that blog commenting hijacking?"

I like this question, because it gives me an opportunity to share again on my views of the commenting forum. I consider that space open to almost any opinion or question. If there is a possibility of "hijacking" the commenting forum, it has long since been hijacked.

Geane also asks, "What happened to the picture of Donegal?"

Sorry about that, the picture in the left side-bar detailing what I'm currently working on never had a correct link to Donegal. I've fixed it now, and thanks for pointing it out.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Critical Knitter

The world is truly a mirror, and none more honest than the readers of this blog.

Critical and Intimidating
It's been happening for a while now...probably ever since I posted the dreaded "Newcomer Rules", but lately it's becoming a lot more apparent that some readers find me critical and/or intimidating.

I just say, "Cut it out, or I'll bash in your ugly face."

Just kidding.

But honestly, one reader had a dream about me where I rejected a green and gold houndstooth yarn she was creating because the colors were coming out in the wrong order, and other readers have leftg comments or sent e-mails that seemed to be worried that I'll be harsh with them in my response.

To be fair, the reader who dreamt about me said that she considered me discerning, and not at all critical, and perhaps I'm reading too much into some of the comments. But I want you to know, that I have NEVER responded in a nasty way to anyone in comments or e-mails, except where I knew them personally, and knew they could handle it (as with Marilyn or Kathy).

That doesn't mean that I'm not highly judgemental and extremely opinionated. It just means that I haven't ever been derisive or nasty with someone who asked a question or left a comment.

Blog Contest
I've gotten a few more contest entries, but overall, the playing field is still pretty open. Buttery soft merino yarn could be yours with just a little thought and imagination.

All entries received by Monday will be included in the contest.

Knitting Progress
I completed another inch or two, but not enough to include a picture. Boy, this sweater is going to be incredibly warm. Being assigned to Albany through the Winter will mean this sweater will get a lot of wear.

By the way, here's a view out of my Albany hotel window.



As you can see, I get a lot of Albany Airport traffic going by my window. I'm sure a lot of hotel guests don't like that, but I find it thrilling to see so much air traffic right at my window.

New Jamieson Book is OUT
I'm very excited...the new Jamieson 3 book is out and available.



I had seen preview copies of this book, and it's as good as the first two (if you liked them as well as I did). I was sworn to secrecy, but now that it's for sale, I can talk about it as much as I want. I'll describe it in more detail later this week.

For those who want to order it right away, Simply Knit is taking orders on their web site.

A&F Knock-Off Sweater Pattern
Thanks again to Marilyn for letting me know about freeware that lets me create PDF files from any printable medium, I can offer a link to this free pattern. The pattern has the instructions and two small pictures at the bottom that show what it looks like.

Check it out here.

Reader Comments/Questions
Sammi asks about the contest whether the guest blog entry for the contest should be written as if the writer is QueerJoe, or themsevles.

Any and all forms of blog entries can be submitted, and either of those formats is fine (or any other for that matter). I would love to see someone write as if they were me...again, it would be more of a mirror for me to see how I'm viewed.

Miranda asks whether I just take two circular needles and put a stopper on the end of one to make really long single points.

The answer is no. I just use one circular needle and knit back and forth on it. I'm assuming you've only used straight needles for flat knitting so far.

So, for instance, when I start knitting a row, I use the point from the left side of the circular needle as the working needle and knit them all off of the right point. When I'm done with the row, I just turn the work and start again.

I'm not sure if I'm answering a question you didn't ask, and your question is more complex than how I read it. Ask again if I missed your meaning.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Funny Comments

I've always thought the comments you folks leave are better than the blog itself.

Blog Contest Caliber Comments
In the last few days, I've been laughing my "tanned hide" off at the comments y'all have been leaving.

One of my favorites were the "stupid shit" that Marcia's fingers made her type. I also like enjoyed Barb Brown's blog entry topic of "The Correct Way to Hold Your Mouth When Knitting the I-Cords on a Prince Albert Brocade Washcloth". I think both of those comments could easily be converted into contest entries.

Blog Contest
There have been only a few contest entries submitted so far, so if you're interested in the yarn, you'll have a better chance than most of my contests (or Wendy's...she's got her September contest up, and it's relatively easy, so there will be a LOT of folks in the lottery for her prize this month).

I know the task of coming up with a guest blog entry might seem daunting, but I figured the prize is a good one, and I wasn't going to waste it on something easy.

Just remember, this coming Monday is the last day I'll accept entries.

Knitting Progress
You'll see that I got to the arm hole shaping for Passing Lane.



I didn't bring any of the possible complimentary colors for the inside collar, so I won't do that part even if I finish the front while I'm in Albany.

I'll just start on the sleeve, and do the collar when I get home on Friday.

Recognition
It's always nice to be recognized as a designer, and Theresa, of Keyboard Biologist fame, honored me in the nicest way. She made my Koigu Cross-Stitch Scarf pattern for her mom, and it came out absolutely beautifully (much better than the demo models I made for Simply Knit).

Thank you Theresa.

A&F Knock-Off Sweater Pattern
A few folks have asked for this pattern, and I've sent it out to everyone who's asked so far. At least as far as I know. If you've asked for the sweater pattern, and not received it, please let me know again, and I'll make sure you get it.

Eventually, I'm going to have a "Free Pattern" page where I can put the Willy Warmer Pattern, the London Beanie, etc., etc. I'll even include the "Bite Me" warshcloth graph that Marilyn did for her blog readers. What a hoot.

Reader Comments/Questions
Kathy asks if the Passing Lane Pullover will be ready for Stitches East.

It will definitely be ready by then. I'm hoping to finish by next week sometime. I need it for my collection of sweaters to show the editor at Unicorn when I see him at Stitches.

Deb offers to send a recipe in exchange for the A&F Knockoff pattern.

The offer is very much appreciated, although I don't think she'd want to see how badly I could bastardize her recipe.

The pattern is free, and as mentioned above, eventually it will be on a "Free Patterns" section of my site. I just have to get my HTML ass in gear.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Blogging Can Be SUCH a Chore

I don't know what it is about getting out today's blog entry, but I have had to force myself every step of the way.

Blogging
Usually blogging comes extremely easily for me. The writing is typically effortless, and I enjoy the process. This weekend has been different.

I think mostly it's because the mother of a good friend of ours died this week, and I was asked to co-facilitate the memorial service which happened yesterday. As part of that, I had to come up with some memories of Peggy to share at the service, and my writing skills went away completely.

The service turned out fine, including what I ended up saying, but it's amazing the amount of energy I had to devote to writing the memorial talk. Especially compared with how easily I can usually write blog entries and business documents and personal letters.

Throw in the fact that my blog site was down for a while yesterday, and that I haven't been able to get much knitting done, suffice it to say, this blog entry took a lot of effort.

New Fiber Toy
One of the reasons that I haven't knit a whole lot, is that I wanted to try playing with my new Weavette a little when I got home.

The little loom is quite cute, and I've made a total of three "bookmarks" using three different weights of yarn.



The one on the left is done in Koigu, jumper weight yarn. The one in the middle is done in DK weight Jamieson Shetland yarn, and the one on the right I did in worsted weight cotton. The DK weight works the best, so I will probably use that for most of my future testing.

I plan on trying a few different techniques on the Weavette, and if I like it well enough, I'll end up buying a larger square one for further experimentation.

Blog Contest
I have received some additional blog entries for the guest blog writer contest. You folks are quite amazing in your writing abilities. I know Marilyn is going to have some difficulty picking a winner.

I'm also not sure what to do with the entries that don't win the Merino yarn.

I certainly can't let them go to waste, so I will either post them altogether in one place, or perhaps intersperse them with my regular blog entries over the couse of a couple of weeks.

Knitting Progress
As mentioned earlier, I didn't get a lot of knitting done this weekend. I'm up to about 13 inches on the front section of Passing Lane, but I was hoping to be finished with the front already.



Oh well, I guess this will be a four week sweater instead of a three week sweater. But it will still be done before Stitches, which was my primary objective.

I'm hoping to show a total of four designs to the editor from Unicorn Books when I see him at Stitches. They would include:

High V-Neck Pullover
Chock-a-Block Cardigan
Fiesta Wear Pullover
Passing Lane Pullover

We'll see what he thinks of them there.

Stitches
From what I understand, Unicorn will be unveiling some new designs and a new book at Stitches this year. I have seen the new designs, and I think it's going to be another amazing knitting pattern book.

Now I have lots of great reasons to be excited about going to Stitches this year.

Reader Comments/Questions
Sean wants to know if I'd recognize 15 inches (as if). He also said he'd like the pattern for an easy first sweater.

As for recognizing 15 inches, of course I would...that's the length of Passing Lane before I get to the arm hole shaping (15 1/2", but who's counting).

For an easy first sweater, I did a knock-off of an Abercrombie and Fitch sweater that I saw and liked and wrote up the pattern if anyone would like to have it. You can check out a picture of it on the Simply Knit web site here.

If you'd like the pattern, just let me know and I'd be glad to send it out as a MS Word document.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Toys!

Gawd I love toys.

New Fiber Toy
Folks on my favorite knitlist happened to mention a toy, and some awful list member included a web link where one could be ordered.

Given my lack of any self-discipline, the next thing I knew, I was clicking on:



Damn I'm weak...but more importantly, here's what I've ordered (and received, from what Thaddeus tells me at home).



It's a small loom called a Weavette. I'm sure many of you are familiar with this product. I on the other hand am not. I can't wait to get home and start playing with this little fun toy. The name of the company is Weavettes, and the web site is just as easy:

http://www.weavettes.com/

Blog Contest Rules Clarification
Catherine from Australia asks if blog entries from down-under count.

The answer is an emphatic yes. The winner of my last blog contest had me sending a bag of bulky yarn to England as payment for her 100% score on the QSAT.

Folks are also welcome to submit more than one entry, but if you do, just make sure it comes in separate e-mails, else I may mistake it as one blog entry.

Blog Entries
As Catherine mentioned, I did receive her entry, and another one in the mail today. So far three entries. I'm very pleased with the quality of these entries. I have a strong appreciation for good writing, and I can't imagine Marilyn is going to have an easy task of picking, if these first three entries are an indication of the caliber of entries.

Knitting Progress
I continue to cruise along on this easy, no-thought pattern.



I've got about seven inches done (and yes, this man does know what 7 inches really is), and I start sleeve shaping at 15.5 inches. Again, it appears as though I should be able to finish the front this weekend, and work on the collar and start the first sleeve.

This time, I'm planning on knitting the sleeves one at a time. I've never had a problem ending up with matching sleeves, and I didn't find knitting both at the same time last time was any time savings.

Since I'll be doing the collar this weekend, I have to make the decision as to which color I use for the inner collar. I had decided on Moss, which is a bright, tweedy green, but I might go with the more conservative Ivy which is a dark olive green. Both would be good, but one is just a little more jarring than the other.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Blog Contest

Contests always turn out to be more work than I initially anticipate.

Guest Blog Writer Contest
The first entry has been submitted for the contest. I like this contest, but I also worry that not enough folks will want to go to the effort of writing an entry.

What with having their own blogs, or not feeling they could come up with something interesting, or a dozen other reasons.

I'm ever so hopeful that this doesn't turn out to be a flop of a contest.

All I can say, is that the yarn prize this time is a very nice yarn. Had I not just finished a sweater in a similar color in Jamieson DK, I would have started a garment in this yarn myself.

Knitting Progress
Happily, I was able to get a lot done, as I had hoped, on the Passing Lane pullover.



I finished the back of the garment (including writing out the pattern instructions for the portion that I've completed so far. I also got a few inches done on the front.



I think of Wendy often as I knit this garment, thinking it would bore her out of her skull, and be irritating at the same time. The entire garment is done in rib stitches, and both rib pattern stitches are two row repeats. Knowing how she likes complex charts or pattern stitches, and how much she hates ribbing, this sweater would be her version of a knitting nightmare.

I have to admit, I'm finding the non-thinking quality of this design very satisfying.

Reader Comments/Questions
I like all of your ideas for the origination of the name for the Passing Lane pullover (except for Carol's suggestion that I was sucking up to XRX by complying with one of their Knitters Magazine themes on cars). Once I came up with the name, I thought of some of your reasons, and liked how nicely it all seemed to fit together.

Hopefully the sweater will fit together as well.