Saturday, January 31, 2004

Completions and New Beginning of Old Projects

Completion for me brings lessons learned and the prospect of a new project.

Rebekah III
I finished Rebekah III in decent time. I had finished all that I set out to on Friday, as I predicted. I realized the sweater was a little more cropped than I had hoped, so I decided to add on another row of double crochets on the bottom ruffle.

I also opted for a very simple ribbed neck with side decreases to funnel it in some. It doesn't add anything to an already very busy sweater. After all was said and done, I finished this one in a week.



All-in-all, I'm quite pleased with the sweater.

I didn't like the yarn at all. The cotton is heavy, and the slubs made it difficult to work with.

I also thought the colors were a little too twee for my tastes.

I hope the neighbor child likes it.

Next!!!
So I went in search of my next project.

I thought, "Now is the time to work on the Oriental Jacket."

I picked it up from my pile and there were two problems with it. I didn't have the pattern handy and there was a hole in one of the larger mitered square.

I didn't feel like investigating the problem in any more detail, and just folded it up delicately and returned it to the pile.

Then I thought, "I should finish Rebekah II." I picked up the project, and looked to see where I was in the design. The body is complete, and I just have the sleeves to finish.

I couldn't readily find my notes on the design, and if I've lost them, I will end up fudging the sleeves to fit in, and just give this to the neighbor child as well. If I find them, I will give the pattern to my local yarn store so they can sell this design as a kit.

But I didn't feel like looking for the notes.

So...I picked up the everlasting kid alpaca bedspread.



I did a few rows on it (which is quite an accomplishment).

There are 412 stitches on each row, and while the pattern is easy to remeber, it requires a little bit of concentration.

The picture above is about 7" of knitted fabric.

I had forgotten how butter soft this kid alpaca was. I think I'll work on this project for a while. By next week, I'll be bored and I'll pick up something a little more complex.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Even Ugly Sweaters Make Big Bucks

Did anyone read about General Wesley Clark's ugly argyle sweater that was auctioned off after he donated it?

eBay Never Ceases to Amaze Me
Wesley Clark was criticized for wearing this ugly argyle sweater.


He donated the sweater to Liberty House (a transitional shelter for homeless veterans in New Hampshire). Liberty House auctioned off the sweater to help raise money, and guess how much it fetched on eBay?

Over $5,400 (68 bids were made). Check it out here (if eBay still has it listed).

Current Knitting
Rebekah III continues to move along at about the same pace. I finished the first sleeve and started the second.



Tonight and tomorrow I'm hoping to sew it up, add the edge to the sleeves and come up with some collar treatment.

Readers' Comments/Questions
First off, thank you all for your undying (undyeing?) ass-kissing (for those of you who participated). I think Pubah is right, that it's just the weather, and your sincere comments raised my spirits significantly.

Marta asks about yarn weights.

The best source for all yarn information is www.wiseneedle.com. Kim Salazar has an amazing conglomeration of useful yarn information that can be reviewed there. On her site, under "New Yarn Review" she has a drop-down list that shows all of the yarn weights (in order from thinnest to thickest). She also has a glossary of yarn terms in multiple languages that can be VERY useful.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Why Would You Possibly Read This Blog?

Lately, I have been reading a few of the blogs, that for whatever reason, link to mine. There are folks out there that write MUCH better than I do. I'm feeling envious and unworthy.

A Couple Other Links
You know I always post links to other folks' blogs when I find them interesting, and I thought you might also. Lately a few of them have been REALLY good.

Marilyn always writes a great blog, so most folks that read mine have already been to hers, but I wanted to mention it nonetheless.

Then Stephanie Purl (Pearl?) started a blog, and I've always been entertained by her writing, especially about knitting (despite what some folks think).

I mentioned IcarusBoy's blog a couple of times in comments, but I've added him as a permanent link because his Chibi talk gets me hard.

Check out this wild chick. She writes like I want to.

My Unworthy Knitting Project
Well, if my writing is so inadequate, I guess my knitting is too (now I'm really fishing for compliments).

Rebekah III
I've only got a little more to go on the first sleeve, but honestly, it's not worth a picture. For those of you on dial-up, you'll be grateful that I don't have any pictures in today's blog entry.

I liked the discussion on the neckline on this garment from yesterday's comments from both Kathy and Picklejuice.

The girl for whom this garment is intended, is very feminine, and honestly, I think I could get away with making it very frilly. But I don't think I will. I think I will simply do a wide ribbed collar that will reduce the opening, but add no more busy-ness to the sweater.

The nice thing about collars is that they can always be ripped out and re-done.

Readers' Comments/Questions
IcarusBoy asks (and I paraphrase), how can I knit the Rebekah III sweater so quickly?

Honestly, I consider it to be moving along too slowly, so I'm glad it looks fast to some. I started this on Saturday, and I'm knitting it on US5 needles (I think). Since it's only a little girl's sweater, I was hoping to have it done before I left for home tomorrow.

That's not going to happen, but I will definitely finish it by Friday.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Cold Weather

As sick as I am of cold weather already, I have to admit that going from Albany to home, where the temperature was 10 degrees warmer (farenheit), even 25 degrees felt comfortable.

Upcoming Vacation
Every year, we schedule a vacation for the last full week in February. The last few years, we've gone to Cancun, and this year will be no exception.

I can't wait to get away from the cold weather and the work for a little while.

For those of you who aren't tired of the ad nauseum conversation about knitting on airplanes, I do take a project on board with me, and do a little bit of knitting when I'm there.

I don't update the blog (but don't worry, I'll give more notice as the time draws closer), and I don't even check it during the time I'm away (now Kathy, behave).

Rebekah III
I didn't get much done on this project, just a little done on the first sleeve.



But I was able to take a better picture at least. I figured it would show up better on a hanger, so you could see how much space I have to fill in on the neck hole.



I haven't decided how I will do the neck finishing on this one. I'm thinking I will use the same crochet edging on the sleeves, but I don't think that will work on the neck.

Any great ideas?

Readers' Comments/Questions
Geane asks if I'm afraid of the Anit-anti-Bushies, and possibly going "missing". She also asks whether I knew that it was illegal to publicly criticize the meatpacking industry in Texas?

Well, first of all, I'm not quite as paranoid as Michael Moore, and I'm sure he or Al Franken or members of MoveOn.org would be "missing" long before I ever would.

Second, I'm not sure what you mean by meatpacking. If you mean the hung men that hang out at the piers, I'm all for making laws that protect those national treasures. If it's the hardworking Laverne and Shirley's that jam Deviled Ham into cans, it sounds like a typical Bush priority, and like all of his ideas and policies, I am against them.

Aubergine asks if the Rebekah III garment is mostly pink.

I hope the picture shows a little better the colors. If the sun would come out just for 2 minutes, I'd take a picture that accurately showed the colors. Actually the garment is bright yellow, bright fuscia (is that redundant?) and bight aqua. Think Mexican Fiesta colors.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Blog Fame

I've decided there are pluses and minuses to having blog readers think they know me from my blog.

Being Known
I get a lot of e-mails, and during events like Stitches, a lot of people came up to me, having recognized me from these blog pages.

I like that...I enjoy that there are folks who enjoy my writing, my knitting and various aspects of myself that I share with you.

The hard part for me about being known is when readers communicate with me as if they know me personally. Don't get me wrong, I'm not very complex (in fact, actually rather simple). I know I share a lot of who I am on these pages. But there's a certain level of intimacy that occurs rather frequently in e-mails from blog readers (don't worry...it hasn't happened in a while, in case you've written me recently).

I bring this up for two reasons.

The first is I got a somewhat personal e-mail from someone who referenced my blog. I was rather surprised, but then I realized it was from a long-time friend who I haven't seen in over a decade. Seeing her e-mail made me realize that some readers do send such personal e-mails, and it is somewhat off-putting.

The second made me realize I was a culprit as well. I was reading Icarus' blog (remember, the guy that I wanted to compare Chibi's with?). As I read his 100 Things list, and looked at his picture, and read about his knitting, I starting realizing how much I like him.

And as much as he shares about himself, I don't even really know him.

On To Knitting
I finished the body of Rebekah III.



The picture is pretty awful, so I'll describe it a little.

The main body is done all in stockinette stitch.

At the bottom, I did a crochet ruffle edging. The neck hole is quite large, and I will be filling it in with some interesting edging that will have enough stretch to fit over a girl's head.

Now all I have to do is the sleeves and the neck edging and I can deliver it to the neighbor's daughter. Hopefully she'll like it.

Since I needed the measurements for Rebekah, I pulled out Rebekah II and realized I have very little left on that sweater as well. I think I will finish that one next.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Sharvanne asks if the lace stocking pattern is on-line somewhere.

I forgot to include the link, so here it is.

http://www.knitting-crochet.com/messto.html

I was very serious about making these. While I might try them on, they won't be for me. I just thought they would be a fun project to make. I have some raw silk on a cone that would be perfect for them.

Geraldine asks if she can imitate the mini FiestaWare for her granddaughter Olivia.

I highly recommending stealing anything you can from this blog and/or other web sources. If you have any questions about how I did anything, feel free to ask. This pattern will never be published.

Finally, I wanted to thank Sharon for posting the web site for the incredible web site of our mighty leader. Flatulent pusbag, indeed.

http://www.liberaloasis.com/Bushmovie.swf (for those of you who didn't catch it in comments)

Friday, January 23, 2004

Successes, Wild Failures, New Project Ideas and a Messy Santorum

Today's entry shows some wildly amazing variations in knitting and political life.

Janis' Baby Gift
Janis was able to get this amazing picture of Marina in her new outfit.



I was glad that her camera shows the color combination between the two garments as not awfully garish together...just a little.

But more importantly, isn't Marina gorgeous?

Wild Failures
Lisa has an uncanny ability to find some of the most hideous web sites. I can't imagine how she does it.



Could you imagine taking the time to knit up this beauty? Click here for the pattern.

New Project Ideas
With the demise of the hemp pullover project (it's in "time-out" until it can be more reasonable and use it's gentle hands), I've decided to start a new project for the next door neighbor's daughter Rebekah.



My neighbor gave me enough yarn for two child garments, and I finished the first one a while ago, so I decided I'd start on something I could finish relatively quickly. I'm planning on doing a drop-sleeve pullover with ruffles at the bottom of the body and sleeves. We'll see how it turns out, I'm designing on the needles.

I might also start this lovely item, just for fun. Someone on my favorite knitting list sent the list this link.

http://www.knitting-crochet.com/messtopic.jpg

Making a santorum
A while ago, Dan Savage, a writer for the Village Voice decided to use the name of the homophobic senator from my home state of Pennsylvania, Santorum, as the name of something sex-related, that Rick Santorum would absolutely detest.

My friend Kathy reminded me today that it was decided that the wet mess left on the bed after sex will now be known as a santorum. As in, "Steve slept on the santorum to avoid having his delicate new lover, Tom get his new silk boxers wet."

Rick Santorum is another political bigot that clearly needs to be replaced when he's up for election in 2006 (I think).

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Restarting

Given that I like knitting so much, why is it that ripping out work always seems so daunting and frustrating? You'd think I'd be excited at the prospect or re-knitting something.

Hemp Pullover



Yes, I finally broke through my denial, and realized there is no way I will have enough yarn to finish this sweater at the pace I'm going through it.

I also took the time to measure what I had knitted up till now and my gauge is way off. Which is a shame because I really like the looseness of the fabric I'm making. Even if I decided to make the smallest size, the resulting sizing would be too big I think I may have to redesign this whole damn thing.

Revised Current Knitting
I honestly can't envision restarting the Hemp Pullover project right now.

I think I need to either:

1. Pick up the Koigu Oriental Jacket and complete that, or
2. Start a new lace project, or
3. Try designing my own Fair Isle sweater like Marilyn is doing.

Since I need to start working on something immediately, I will probably pick up the Oriental Jacket and work on that. At least for now.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Kake asks, "Do you have a list of references for the claims on the Bush resume? Or know who put it together in the first place?"

I don't have either. I did hear many of the "accomplishments" reported in the general medai during the 2000 presidential election, or at other times, but I don't think anyone questions that each one is true.

One place that has many of the Bush facts discussed as a media source themselves is MoveOn.org.

Ann asks if I'd like to size up the FiestaWare into kid sizes.

I wouldn't, but I have to say, resizing it from adult to baby was very easy. I just did a gauge swatch in the new yarn, and calculated how many blocks I wanted to do for the back of the garment. The neck shaping was very easy, and once I new the measurements for cuff and armhole shaping, the overall sizing was really quite easy.

Ane asks a few questions:

1. What size are the leggings.
A. They are about 20" from waist to toe.

2. How long did each piece take to make?
A. The sweater took a total of about 30 hours of knitting and the leggings about the same...maybe a little less.

3. Do I knit German style or American?
A. I don't knit in either of those styles. By German, I assume you mean someone that holds the yarn in their left hand and picks the yarn with the needle in their right hand. By American, I assume you mean someone that holds the yarn in their right hand and "throws" the yarn over the needle for each stitch.

I hold the yarn in my left hand and I "throw" it around the needle in my right hand. Polish knitting maybe?

Finally Kathy asks, "Wouldn't my li'l Boy look adorable in those tights?"

Kathy, your l'il boy would look adorable in ANY tights. I will need to fit him for his custom pair of tights .

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Finally

Knitting the Janis baby gift for her little Marina was one of the most enjoyable design projects I've done in a while. The inability to share it on my blog was the least pleasnt part about it.

Janis Baby Gift
First of all, Marilyn gave me the great idea to make a baby version of FiestaWare for Janis' baby. I loved the idea, but I wasn't sure I'd be able to find a baby-weight, superwash merino with a large enough range of colors that I could use for that project (requires at least 17 colors).

Fortunately, GGH has Merino Soft in baby weight and in awesome colors. And it's superwash.

I immediately purchased 11 colors that I thought were perfect, and asked my local yarn store to order 7 more colors.

I actually did a gauge swatch for this sweater and calculated how big I wanted to make the finished sweater (actually how many squares across I wanted it).

Here's the result.



The sweater came out absolutely perfect. I loved the size, I loved the colors and I loved the yarn. I even left the right shoulder and neck open and added a small button band and buttons so a baby head could fit through easily.

Even the buttons I had in my stash worked perfectly.

After buying all that yarn, it seemed like a waste to leave the remaining yarn to rot in my stash, so I decided I also needed to do leggings.

I looked everywhere for a baby leggings pattern. For some reason I thought Dale had a lot of them, but I couldn't find a single one.

I had finally decided I would just design my own, when I found a pattern in my trusty old Patons book (the same one that I made underwear from as one of my first projects).

Then I selected most of the brighter colors that I used in the sweater and went to work on the leggings. I have to say, the leggings took almost as much knitting time as the sweater. I also didn't weave in ends as I went along, because it was distorting the stitches, so I had LOTS of ends to weave in after I had finished the knitting and sewing up.

Anyway, here's the result.



I had originally anticipated making this sweater/leggings combination as a matching set, so that both could be worn together.

When I put them together after they were done, I thought the baby and mother might get nauseous from the combination of patterns and colors. I figured Janis could just use them as separates. What do you think?



I'm glad to say that Janis was thrilled with the gift ("astonishing" was the word she used). It's so satisfying to knit for grateful recipients.

Current Knitting
I got some additional work done on the sleeve last night. I'm growing more and more convinced that I will be woefully short of yarn for this sweater, but I'm still in denial until I completely run out.

I should have a picture of ths finished sleeve by my next blog entry.

Kake asks "What's the advantage of doing the hemp pullover sleeves sideways?"

First of all, the entire pullover is being done sideways, so knitting the sleeves sideways is just a consistency thing. The pullover is done entirely in garter stitch which would stretch much longer if it was knit in the normal fashion. The weight of the hemp and the stretchiness of garter stitch would make it a VERY long sweater.

Brief Political Rant
Thanks everyone for your comments on George W.'s resume.

I had heard most of the content of the resume over the years, but seeing it all in one place was infuriating. Especially in light of the political masterpiece he delivered last night at the state of the union. Very typically filled with lies about the economy, obfuscations about the "war on terrorism", and hateful "defense" of the institution of marriage, that wasn't exactly a pillar of morality before gays and lesbians started getting the right to do it.

Please feel free to e-mail folks the link to his resume, or copy the PDF file for your own use. The direct link is:

http://www.queerjoe.blogspot.com/George%20W%20Bush%20Resume.PDF

The more people that know, the better off we will be in November.

Readers' Comments/Questions
April asks "Who are you taking notice of in the running so far?"

First of all, I will vote for whomever is nominated as the Democratic candidate. Any of them would be better than the incumbent. My dilemna is this. The folks I like most, don't seem likely to beat Bush. I realy liked Carol Moseley Braun, and what she had to say. Sadly, I don't think this country is anywhere near electing an African American woman for president.

I really like Dennis Kucinich, but he doesn't seem to have what the majority of Americans view as a "presidential presence".

Overall, I will probably vote for Edwards in the primaries, but I have to read up a little more on his record before I decide. He seems to be the most likely candidate to oust Bush, and that is my highest priority in voting.

Ann asks, "you think VK is worth the $'s?"

No, I don't. I would have rather found a book I liked and put it toward that instead.

Ray asks, "What are the flatbed machines that I own?"

I own a fine gauge White machine with Japanese instructions, and a bulky gauge Studio 155 with a second bed attachment for knit/purl stitches (I forget what it's called). I have used both machines, but only for practice. I've never actually made any garment on them.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

One More Day

Sorry, but my current client didn't have a FedEx pickup yesterday, so Janis' baby gift went out today. Pictures tomorrow, I promise.

Knitting Magazines
I had to go to Borders last night for some greeting cards (one of my favorite places). I got the cards I needed, but I also looked through the magazines and picked up three knitting magazines.



Knitters, Vogue Knitting (VK), and Family Circle Easy Knitting (FCEK).

Of the three, VK is the only one I'm glad I own. It has a couple of interesting designs that I would consider making, or at least taking some design ideas from.

Knitters had very little that interested me. Believe it or not, Lily Chin had one of the finer garments with her Safari Tweed garment. I know I risk being banned by Marilyn (at both her old and new sites), but it is a fine use of tweed yarn, a good shape/design, and a good color choice. I also think Knitters has some good articles in this issue.

Vogue Knitting had a couple of designs I liked. There is a a square collar/neck treatment on one garment I liked a lot, a poncho that I thought was interesting (if you like ponchos), and there's a small article by Meg Swansen on Fussy Knitters that I found funny and succinct. There are also some garish, and some boring designs and number of wasted pages on yoga back stretches for repetetive stress conditions. I didn't care to read what they have to do with each other.

FCEK was just plain awful. Ugly designs in bad colors and I've seen them a dozen times before. I could throw out this issue and never miss any of it.

Current Knitting
I was wrong about the status of the Hemp Pullover. I had only done about 1/3rd of the first sleeve.

Last night I worked on it, and got past the halfway point. Overall, I anticipate finishing this project by next weekend (if I have enough yarn).

Brief Political Rant
For any of you enamored with our illustrious president, someone forwarded the following "resume", and I have to admit it raised my blood pressure significantly.

Click Here

Readers' Comments/Questions
Enjay asks how I am attaching the sleeve on the hemp sweater.

I'm not yet. I took the picture with the two pieces of the garment next to each other, but they're not attached yet. You are right, in that the sleeve is being knit back and forth, from cuff-to-shoulder, but I will just crochet them together like most sleeves when I'm done knitting.

Karen asks about the cum rag pattern, "what's the purpose of the glue, other than for peronsalization purposes?"

I'm assuming you're serious in your question, so I will answer it seriously (if you were being sarcastic, I'm sorry I couldn't tell).

The glue is supposed to look like cum already on the rag. It's got that milky look, and it allows for personalization at the same time. Most guys I know wouldn't actually use this rag for its stated purpose.

Ane asks if I use a knitting machine to increase the speed with which I complete projects.

I own three knitting machines (two flat beds and one circular sock knitting machine), but I don't use any of them (yet). All of the projects you see are completely hand knit. And as for bionic arms, I can only say, I wish. Actually, my knitting isn't very fast, I am just very persistent with projects.

Monday, January 19, 2004

I'm DONE

Okay, okay...a cake is done, a person is finished. I'm finished with the Janis baby gift.

Janis Baby Knitting
I spent the entire weekend completing the knitting, sewing up and weaving in ends. But I finished last night, and I'm very happy with the result.



This little package will be winging its way to New Jersey, and hopefully will be keeping little (ever growing) Marina warm when it arrives.

As soon as I've heard confirmation of its arrival, I will post a couple of pictures. It's the least I can do after torturing you all with my knitting travails over the last month.

Next Project
I ended up bringing the side-to-side hemp pullover from Lanaknits.



Just so you know, I've finished the back, and almost one of the sleeves. I still have to finish the first sleeve, and then do the front and the second sleeve.

I'm hopeful that this one will move along quickly once I remember where I was in the pattern.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Liz asks a dumb question (I love dumb questions, I ask them all the time). She wants to know how do I know what are the web searches the bring searchers to my site.

This really isn't a dumb question (and yes, there ARE dumb questions). My counter software, provide free by GoStats provides me with a lot of interesting statistics. In addition to obviously showing the number of hits to my site, it tells me how many each day, how many return visitors, how many from each country, and most popular web search terms used.

In addition, at any point in the day, I can look to see a detail of the most recent 20 hits to my site. This section shows the IP address of the reader, how many times they've visited, which page they requested, and the referring site. In the referring site section, it will list specific Google, or Yahoo or MSN searches that brought the reader to my site.

Speaking of which, I forgot to mention one of the most insulting search strings the gets a reader to my site:

free knitted washcloth pattern

The funny part about that search, is that it used to bring Googlers to the Cum Rag Pattern that I posted on December 19, 2002. Hopefully that will give washcloth knitters a good sense about what my site is about.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Other Less-Than-Wierd Searches

After the other day's post, I thought I could at least give a fair and balanced view of web searches by discussing some of the more normal searches that reach my site.

Non-Strange Web Searches
One of the things I realized when looking at my web searches, is that there are a lot of knitters looking for knitting tips, techniques and free or for-purchase patterns.

I wish sometimes I could identify who these searchers are so I could point them in the right direction, because I know that I don't have all the information they need on my web site.

Here are some examples:

- fair isle hat beanie free pattern
- double point needle patterns converted to circular needles
- knitting intarsia in the round
- washing woolen garments
- converting a crochet pattern to knitting
- how to pick up a dropped knit stitch
- beaded knitting
- non-curling stockinette stitch

One final thing I find interesting about search engine searches that end up hitting my site. After the two most popular searches (QueerJoe and Knitting Blog), "how to knit" or some variation is probably the third most popular search string that brings searchers to my site.

Janis' Baby Gift
I've made significant progress on this project, and I will hopefully be working on something different starting tomorrow. Hopefully also by Tuesday I'll be able to post photos of the gifts

Next Project
I've decided I will work on two projects next. This focusing on one project has been productive for me, but not overly satisfying.

I much prefer to have two projects going.

I think I'll do the hemp pullover and the vacation sock. Both of them are relatively easy and mindless projects, but I like both projects as well, so it should work out fine.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Weird Web Searches

It kind of freaks me out, and kind of makes me happy at the same time when a VERY ODD search string ends in someone checking out my site.

Stranger Web Searches
It's bad enough when someone types in "alpaca bedding" and then clicks on my site.

I know they're looking for some commercial bedspread made out of alpaca, and are intrigued by my site name. Or they're gay themselves, or "curious" and want to know what this QueerJoe thing is all about.

But here are some real odd search strings that have landed folks on my blog:

- worn gay auction underwear
- cum rags
- old gay men
- sheep fucking
- catholic knitters
- knitted penis
- queer socks
- free knitted washcloth pattern

Is Attention Deficit Disorder getting more and more prevalent, such that folks using search engines forget what they were originally searching for and go to a knitting blog by accident?

Janis' Baby Gift
This is very odd.

It seemed I didn't focus a lot of attention on the first part of Janis' baby gift, and it was done in no time. The second part, I find myself working on incessantly, and getting nowhere...well, not nowhere, but nowhere near as far as I thought I would.

But, the second part is coming out very well, and will look incredible with the first part. I don't remember when I've been quite so excited about a project.

Work Woes
Work this week has been hectic, and although I've had plenty of time to knit, I haven't had a lot of time to blog. Today's entry is going to be cut a little shorter than usual.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Freakin' Cold

For those of you who have read my 100 Things About Me list, you might recall I HATE the cold.

Cold Weather Wear
In Albany, I woke up to a ground temperature of -11 degrees Fahrenheit and it went down to -12 degrees by the time I left for work. That was without wind chill factor which reduced the temperature to as low as -40 degrees.

One other fact I'll share about myself is that I look very stupid in hats (that's stupid, not stoopid). You will rarely see me wearing a hat, and virtually NEVER catch a picture of me in one.

With today's record temperatures, I thought I'd include a rare photo of me wearing a hat, so y'all can see exactly why I don't model any of the hats I make.



And it's not that this hat doesn't look very cool on some people...just not me. (you'll also note, I'm wearing my striped pullover done in five different colors of Cascade 220.

Janis' Baby Gift
Even though I do most of my baby knitted gifts on very small needles, they still seem to fly off my needles because of how small the garments are.

The second part of Janis' baby gift is on US1 needles. God, I love small needles. While I still can't show a picture of either part of the gift, I am moving along very quickly on the second part, and I hope to have it finished by this week.

Once I send it out, and have confirmed that she has received it, I will post pictures.

Next Project
I'm trying to decide on what I want to work on as my primary, take-to-Albany project once I finish the Janis project.

I'm thinking it will be the hemp pullover so that I can at least determine if I'm going to have enough yarn to finish it. I guess I'd like to know now if I need to revise my plans and how much I'll need to revise them.

Readers' Comments/Questions
James asks for more information on the Oriental Jacket (and Kake seconds that request).

Oriental Jacket is a very cool, very expensive, and very poorly written pattern by the folks at Koigu yarns. It's a basic Oriental shaped jacket done in mitered squares with different colors of Koigu KPPPM, and the result is never less than stunning, no matter what colors are used.

The pattern itself is $20, and the kits run about $220.

I'd include a web resource for ordering it, but there are a few, and I don't know any that are better than others. Type in:

"Oriental Jacket" Koigu

in your search engine, and it will show a number of on-line sources for both the pattern and the kits. There are some pictures, but truthfully, none of the pictures do it justice.

One last warning. The garment is done on US3 needles and is somewhat addictive. The instructions aren't overly clear about how to plan your stacked squares, so your initial attempts at this might be a little trial and error.

Monday, January 12, 2004

WOW!!!

I am shocked and awed by the amazing insight of the folks that commented on the nature of words.

Curse Words
I have to say, when Bonita started the commenting on this topic with possibly two of the most controversial words in the English language (except "sl*cks", of course), I was a little shocked.

I got over my shock quite quickly, and became awed at the amazing thoughts folks have given this issue.

Kim H. really sums up my feelings about this issue. In my mind words are just words, and only the intent behind the words can be offensive. "Hey Fag!" as a greeting from a friend is cheerful and welcoming, while overhearing a lockerroom conversation about the "big fag in the gym" can be highly offensive.

As many of you said, it's all in the context and the intent.

Ronas Hill
I was finally able to get enough light to show how unobtrusive the buttons are on Ronas Hill.



You'll see they practically blend in with the Indigo colored Shetland 2000, which is exactly what I wanted. I thought the sweater was fancy enough without having the buttons compete for the eye's attention.

Thaddeus was also nice enough to take a few pictures of me wearing Ronas Hill. Here's one with Gage to satisfy all of you cat-crazed folks.



To see three other pictures of me wearing Ronas Hill, you can click here.

You'll notice that even though I increased the armhole shaping by about 1.5 inches, it's still got a little wing thing going off the shoulder.

Other Knitting
I finished the first part of the Janis baby gift knitting. Last night, I did all of the finishing and blocking, and I'm quite happy with the result.

I anticipate doing a second part of this gift, and if I finish it this week, I hope to mail off the gift to Marina (Janis's little baby girl), and as soon as she gets it, I will post pictures.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Hate vs. Love

I haven't studied it, but it seems the blog topics of "I hate" vs. the topics of "I love" get a helluva lot more interesting comments from readers.

Hating Homespun
Just a few comments.

1. I love what Carol S. wrote about natural yarns versus acrylics (especially Lion Brand Homespun). There are some great wools out there for very reasonable prices, and well worth looking at, if price is the only thing keeping someone using acrylic yarns.

2. I'm grateful that Anne mentioned the possible confusion between home-spun yarns and Lion Brand Homespun. There is truly a HUGE difference.

3. I have no problem with anyone using acrylic yarns (I do myself every once in a while). The challenge for thoughtful knitters is to make best use of whatever materials we have at our disposal, and gain an understanding of how to maximize the potential of a yarn.

Ronas Hill
The plainest button seemed to work out the best, so I finally finished off Ronas Hill.



When I finally decide to shower and get dressed today, I'll have Thaddeus take some pictures of me wearing it so you can see it in it's full glory. Hopefully the sun will persist (despite the frigid temperatures we're having), and I'll take some natural color pictures outside.

Curse Words
The KnutList has started a thread that I find absolutely idiotic.

Some folks find the term Stitch & Bitch offensive, and others have taken it further to say that some knitting blogs are offensive because of the language they use.

I can't imagine that ANY of the folks writing such nonsense would be reading my blog, because I have no problem using the most profane language, but maybe I should put a warning at the top of my blog for those easily offended by profanity.

I'd like to take an informal poll in the comments. What word do you find the most offensive (stick to English, please).

Other Knitting
I did a very small amount of knitting on Janis' baby gift last night. Despite the cold temps here, I have not been overly aggressive in allocating knitting time.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Sean808080 Mentions that he's surprised I go to JoAnn's because of all of their acrylic.

I don't buy yarn there (except once), because I don't like it very much. I go for things like ribbons and fabric and rainbow boas and stuff like that. It just so happens that the night I went last week, there were a lot of people in the yarn section (a beginner crochet class was about to start) and I was chatting people up a little. I found the 10% coupon back there, so it saved me about $3 on my purchases.

Ane (was that supposed to be Anne?) asks "What is est? Was that vanilla ice cream?"

est was a self-improvement movement very popular here in the states during the 70's and 80's. It no longer exists, although has been replaced with a less intensive movement called the "Landmark Forum"

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Craft Store Junky

Anyone else out there that can't leave a craft or fabric store without a basketful of items?

Ronas Hill Buttons
I went to a local JoAnn's Fabric last night to look for buttons for Ronas Hill.

I first noticed that all of their Christmas and holiday items were on clearance sale for 70% off.

Since they have tons of ribbons at JoAnn's, I filled a small basket with them. I also bought some transparent Scotch tape, and since I couldn't decide which buttons I liked better, I bought enough buttons in two styles for Ronas Hill (a total of 6 cards of buttons).



The buttons were very simple, and I think will look nice on Ronas Hill, although I stupidly forgot to bring it with me this week so I could test them out.



I'll try them on when I get home.

As I was looking through the yarn section at JoAnn's, I found a few "JoAnn's Class Discount Coupons" on the floor for 10% off the entire purchase (including sale items). Since I've never taken a class there, I wasn't sure I could use it, but I decided to try.

I also got to feel Lion Brand Handspun that was discussed in comments last week. I didn't mind the feel of the yarn on the skein, but I've also never knit with it, so I have no idea how much I'd hate it.

Anyway, all told, I paid $32.69 for my entire purchase. I'll have great Christmas ribbon for at least two or three years.

No More Scarves
I finished my niece's scarf, and sent off three scarves with a thank you note for my gift from them.



I hope they like them. I don't want to do scarves again for a while.

Knitting Challenges/Innovations
When I was nearing the end of making my niece's scarf last night at around 10:00, I realized I didn't have scissors or a crochet hook to do the fringe. I improvised by cutting the yarn with my fingernail clippers, and I used the thin wire from my cell phone headset to thread the fringe yarn through the end of the scarf.

It took a little longer than with standard tools, but the end result was the same.

Other Knitting
In addition to finishing the scarf for my niece, I also finished the knitting part for my friend's prototype knitting project. I just have to do a little finishing and send that one off.

I did little or no knitting on the Janis baby gift project, but it's almost done, and I will assuredly finish that one this coming weekend.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Last Word on Scarves

The remaining craft show scarves have come in very handy this year as Christmas gifts.

Niece Scarf
I had taken one of the scarves out of my craft show stash because my niece had asked if she could get a scarf made out of the trim yarn I was using on Rebekah II.

Since I had already completed two scarfs for the show with that very yarn, I decided to send her one.

This past Thursday, I went to her house and she told me how much she liked the scarf, but now her two sisters wanted scarves too. I fortunately have one scarf done in Dune (which is what one of my nieces wanted) and I have the partly finished scarf in my UFO list that I will finish tonight for the other niece.

Since I also had the last scarf from the show finished, I figured my sister might like it, so I'm sending off my last three scarves. I don't think I could have planned it all any where near as well.



Reader Plea
Patty, one of the blog readers sent a request for a pattern for Christmas Stockings that her grandmother had initially made. Since I haven't ever seen the pattern, I thought I'd ask if any of the readers have ever seen such a pattern.

Here's a picture of her grandmother's stockings:



Leave a comment or send an e-mail to me if you know where Patty could get such a pattern, and I'd be glad to pass on the information.

URGENT UPDATE: As I was researching the web site URL for the sock yarn question (below), I found some Christmas Stocking kits on Joslyn's web site that look a lot like Patty's grandmothers. Patty, check them out, but any other tips for locating would be appreciated.

Double Ruffle Crochet Scarf
A number of folks have asked or commented on the double ruffle scarf I started and frogged a while ago.

First of all, I want to say, a Fribble is a milkshake available at Friendly's restaurants (for those unfamiliar with this chain of restaurants, it's an inexpensive diner-like restaurant chain, known mostly for it's ice cream). The best flavor is coffee when it comes to Fribbles.

Second of all, the pattern is pretty simple, and Kathy might be able to provide changes, but here's my understanding of it:

1. With Koigu and an appropriate size crochet hook, chain stitch for as long as you want the finished scarf to be.

2. Double crochet into each chain stitch to the end of the chain.

3. Double crochet into the other side of each chain stitch back to the beginning of the chain.

4. Working in rounds, work 3 double crochets into each double crochet on the initial round.

5. Work two more rounds of double crochets into each double crochet (no more increases)

The result will be a double ruffle of Koigu color. Changing the colors of Koigu on the inside or outer round will make an interesting color combination.

Finally, Amber asks what yarn I was using. I was using Joslyn's Dancing Feet sock yarn in colorway Forest Floor.



You can check out all of Joslyn's amazing yarns at www.joslynsfiberfarm.com.

Other Readers' Comments/Questions
Kathleen asks if I've ever tried making my own buttons out of Fimo clay.

I haven't personally, but my craft show organizer/friend Nora has made Fimo buttons for me. I may try that for some other garment where I want that kind of look, but the buttons for Ronas Hill will be very simple and classic. I'm sure I'll be able to find some tonight at JoAnn's or Michaels.

Lisa mentioned the Addi Knitted Necklace.

While the knitted necklace wasn't fun, and didn't look very nice, the crochet one looks very cool, and my friend Janis says it's easy and fun. I forgot to mention that when I disparaged the Addi knitted necklace kit.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Coming Cleaner

Based on how I have my unfinished knitting projects stored throughout my house, it was difficult for me to find them all. I missed two.

Addi Knitted Necklace
A while ago, I bought a knitted/beaded jewelry kit to make a knitted necklace. It's made by Addi.



I'm not overly pleased with knitting using wire (despite the fact that it is VERY nice wire), and I'm not liking how the necklace is looking.

I will not be finishing this project.

Crochet Double Ruffle Scarf
Thanks to Janet for pointing this one out. My friend Kathy had all of the ladies at my yarn store making a very cool crochet scarf using Koigu that required only basic crochet skills, although it required crocheting LOTS of stitches on the last couple of rounds of the scarf.

I decided to make one, but use some of the great looking sock yarn I had bought at Stitches a couple of years ago.



Based on the fact that I had to increase the number of stitches on this scarf to way more than a human could be expected, and that I think the scarf pattern would look better in Koigu, and not my nice sock yarn, I have decided not to finish this project either. Or as Kathy put it, it defeated me.

I will be ripping this one out and making socks of the yarn, as originally planned. But I do plan on making one of these scarfs using Koigu some day.

Ronas Hill Buttons
I went to the yarn store to do two things this past weekend:

1. Return two antique yarn spools that I borrowed for my craft show display.
2. Find buttons for Ronas Hill

Well both were failures.

I forgot to bring the yarn spools with me when I went, and they didn't have any buttons that were better than the original buttons I had tried from my own collection.

I will bring the vest to Albany with me this week and try to find buttons at a fabric store in Albany.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Happy New Year

I look forward to a very satisfying 2004, and wish the same for all of you.

Start-of-the-year Come Clean
For both your sake and mine, I've decided to inventory all of my outstanding projects that I have brought from 2003 into 2004.

As an overall comment, I have to admit, there aren't as many as I would have thought, and listing them here has given me hope that I can finish most, if not all of them as well as work on a number of other projects throughout the year.

Acrylic Afghan
This project has never been mentioned before, as it is one of my longest outstanding projects. It is a crochet afghan in Brunswick acrylic yarn.

I used to a local newspaper that published a weekly knit or crochet pattern that could be ordered. I liked the look of this afghan at the time, and ordered it.



My crochet skills at the time were awful, and my gauge is totally off on this project. I don't think I will ever complete it or work on it again. I will probably throw it out.

Denim Jacket
Again, I don't think I've ever mentioned this project on the blog. It's a Rowan pattern using the Rowan Denim yarn that shrinks when washed. I recall that this pattern seemed to go on forever, since you need to knit a much bigger garment than the finished product.



I also think I made some mistake in the total number of stitches somewhere, and I never worked up the excitement for figuring out and fixing my mistake. I think I will finish this one sometime this year.

Hemp Sweater
Some of you may remember this project. I bought a side-to-side, hemp sweater kit at Stitches in 2002.



I'm concerned that I don't have enough yarn to complete this sweater, but I will still probably pick this project up after I finish the Janis baby gift. I tried to order another cone of this yarn a while ago, but when they didn't have any, I ordered a cone of blue hemp instead.

Kid Alpaca Bed Spread
For the first time ever, a picture of the Kid Alpaca Bedspread/Coffin Cover. I've discussed this project a number of times, but I have never posted a picture until now. This picture of a lump of brownish yarn is the blanket so far.



I will continue to work on this project intermittently throughout the year, but I have no intention of finishing it within this decade.

Mosaic Vest
Another project I don't think I've ever mentioned publicly. I purchased the kit for Kaffe's Mosaic Vest a number of years ago. I've restarted this project twice because I wasn't fond of how I had handled some the color changes.



This was originally going to be a gift for my friend Charles, but it would be way too small to fit him or me at this point in our lives. I will eventually pick this project up and finish it, but no promises for this year.

Novelty Scarf
This was one of the scarves I started during the recent Craft Show, but never finished.



I will pick this scarf up some night when I'm bored of knitting on my current project and finish it within an hour.

Oriental Jacket 01-01-04
I have discussed and shown this project before, and it hasn't changed a speck since I last discussed it.



I'm not sure what I will do with this project. I know that I won't have enough of one color of Koigu to complete it, but I have plenty of other colors that could easily substitute for the missing color. I also could probably find the missing color at my friend Kathy's house now that I've seen her enormous stash of Koigu.

Rebekah II
The original Rebekah sweater was for my neighbor's daughter. The second one I started in Lana Grossa yarns hoping to sell the design to Unicorn Books. After there didn't seem to be much interest in the new design, I dropped it like a hot potato.



I will eventually complete this sweater, and probably give it to my neighbor for her daughter in lieu of a sweater I was supposed to make from some novelty yarn she got in New Orleans.

Vacation Sock
I started a sock while on vacation in Cancun in 2001, in a very fine cotton yarn I have on a cone. I love the color of the sock, but the fine gauge made it difficult to finish even the first sock.



I will eventually start and finish a second sock. Mostly because I really like the color. Perhaps I'll start it on my 2004 trip to Cancun in February.

Recap
This list doesn't include the following projects:

1. The secret project for Janis' baby
2. The secret project for a friend
3. Selecting and sewing on buttons to Ronas Hill
4. A little bit of charity knitting (which I don't usually discuss on my blog)

But other than that, I don't think the list is too awful.

Let's see how far I progress with each during 2004.