Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Straight Eye For the Queer Guy

Can you imagine what knitwear design would look like if straight guys really did design?

I Care About Style...Why?
Most straight men, in gross, general terms, pay very little attention to asthetics in their day-to-day lives.

As such, straight-inspired knitwear designs would probably end up having mostly the following three characteristics:

1. Easy to make
2. Comfortable to wear
3. Use some cool technique that's easy to do, but gets a big bang (e.g. "Magic Scarf")


Here is my vision of straight men designing.

Easy To Make



Comfortable To Wear



Some Cool Technique



Knitting
I'm continuing to knit on both the zippered cardigan, and on Thaddeus' red merino pullover.

I ran out of yarn before finishing the back of the zippered cardigan, so I'll have to wait until I get home to finish that piece.

Until then, progress moves along quickly on the red pullover. Pictures in next blog entry.

Readers' Comments/Questions
James wants to see QueerJoe wearing a mauve 'mingo feather boa.

First of all, the onlly boa I own is rainbow colored (or coloured, since I'm replying to James), and it's not likely you'll ever get me in a picture of that. Second of all, we can all thank Mouse for her crafty picture that details the poetic QueerJoe.

KC asks two questions:

1. Why did I remove Wendy's blog link from my list of daily reads?

A. As mentioned in the comment from me, I just couldn't keep up with all my blog reading, so I actually took off Antonio's and Wendy's. Both of them have well established blogs, and certainly don't NEED my links, and honestly, I hadn't read either of theirs for a while.

I know that most of the folks that read my blog, also read Wendy's, but I consider those links my personal shortcuts, so I'm sorry if some folks miss the missing links.

2. Any tips on getting the Lana Grossa Legerro at a discount?

A. I might have had some pull when Simply Knit was still open, as they were one of the main designers for the Lana Grossa line of yarn when it first came to the states, but now I don't have any ideas for you, other than standard Google searches for sites where they might have it on sale.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Hetero Leanings

Someone sent this to me with the subject "If Men Could Knit". I would change it to "If Straight Men Designed Knitwear", but be careful, this picture isn't pornographic, but you don't want your boss seeing it on your computer:

If Straight Men Designed Knitwear

Honored in Literature
Susan sent me this after finding it doing a search of QueerJoe.

http://www.fictionpress.com/read.php?storyid=1365686

Obviously, neither me,nor my blog was responsible for inspiring this, but I liked that it used my web persona as the subject of the poem.

Knitting
I finished up the second hank of Morehouse Merino, and I already have about 11 inches done on this sucker. It's moving along very smoothly and quickly.



I considered ignoring Kathy even further, but I just can't be so cruel. Besides which, she'd beat me bloody next time she saw me, and then ask me what color red my blood was.

The hanks I bought have no tag at all, so I went to the Morehouse site and the color is probably henna, but it could be cranberry. It's between the two of them, but closer to henna. Carol S. also asked what weight is the yarn and is it the double-twisted. It's definitely not the double twisted, and it's their two-ply sport weight.

I also picked the zipper cardigan up again and did some work on the back.



I've only got a few more inches to do on the back, and then I have to go back and rework the front-left of the sweater. Of course, I also have the front-right and the sleeves to finish.

Gage eyes the ball of yarn hungrily, despite how deadly he knows yarn can be to his digestive system.



Readers' Comments/Questions
Marilyn asks "what else have I disagreed with her about?" (other than intarsia vs. floats on the colored diamonds).

For some reason, I thought I had been disagreeing about a lot of things with her lately, but the only one I could find in recent archives was about how we feel about consulting. I like it, she thinks it sucks (she is just blatantly wrong on this one).

Peter asks what are my "str8 boi genes"?

Unfortunately, this is another list:

1. I can't dance to save my life
2. I have no rhythm whatsoever (part of the dancing problem)
3. I can't arrange flowers very well
4. I hate gardening (sorry Peter, that's probably my worst sin in your eyes)
5. I've never colored my hair, had plastic surgery, been tatooed or pierced (on purpose)
6. I'm not very talented with interior design


Other than that, I'm a card-carrying QueerBoi. Oh, and Peter...Knit-Alongs are a a Str8boi offense with a mandatory sentence of Gaycard revocation.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Leadership

I've always considered myself a better follower than a leader. I can lead, but I much prefer to work with than oversee.

I'm Totally Honored
I took one of those on-line surveys (which I totally love doing) on "What Leader Am I?", and I was thrilled that it came back with one of my most respected leaders:



I think that I lead in many of the same ways. How cool is that?

Knitting
This week in Albany, I've only worked on the red, Morehouse merino sweater for Thaddeus. I decided that the zippered cardigan needed to sit in time out for a week.



Despite the fact that it doesn't look like I've done very much, I've actually finished about seven inches in total. The weekend will see me knitting on both projects.

I still need to get back to the red baby blanket at one point as well (she's due in late October).

More Google Searches
Do people have WAY too much time on their hands or is it just me?

When I type in a Google search for "soiled underwear for sale" (just as an example), do I get distracted by a gay knitter's blog site and go there instead?

Not likely.

I've been seeing a lot of search engine hits to my sites lately. Mostly, I think someone has posted a Google link to their site for something like "www.queerjoe.com underwear front" that brings them to the picture of me modeling my knitted underwear.

Some of the search links are reasonable:

- Danish knitting
- Starmore Donegal
- And the ever popular "Knitting Blog"
- Easy crochet pattern scarf

Then I get some that make me kinda go "huh?"

- Crochet blog
- Crochet pattern leggings
- knitting children pattern free boy thick chunky cardigan
(is the boy chunky or the yarn?)
- sirdar denim chunky yarn review

And then I get some that I think, WTF?

- picture of a talking underwear
- funky chicken pillow knit pattern
- underwear Joe

All-in-all, it often amazes me that folks make it to my blog. I just hope they enjoy it.

Readers' Comments/Questions
This disagreeing with Marilyn is becoming too regular...she and I usually agree on most things.

Marilyn and Amy both say that I should use intarsia for the colored diamond section of the zippered cardigan.

First of all, I used intarsia for the colored diamonds. But for the blue on either side, and the background gray, I just carried floats behind the diamond. I just can't justify having separate bobbins of gray yarn, blue yarn and colored diamond yarn, especially when the bottom and top of the diamonds are so few stitches.

It seems much easier to have bobbins for only the diamond color, and carry the blue and the gray across as floats. I'll just make sure I make sure the floats will allow the color diamonds to lay flat without puckering when I do it the next time.

Ellen wants to know how to get onto KnitFlame.

I'm not going to tell. I know Samina replied in comments that it's a Yahoo Group, and if you have the technical ability to subscribe to a Yahoo Group, then feel free to find it and join. If you don't, you probably don't belong on the list.

I mostly do it this way to make sure readers understand that the KnitFlame list definitely doesn't suffer fools gladly (or at least what they consider fools).

Selma offers a fieldtrip to folks going to Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool.

Won't it be kind of empty or dead or even closed during the Rhinebeck festival? Don't get me wrong, I will make it a point to go to Rhinebeck if a fieldtrip is planned, but I just didn't want to set my expectations too high.

Kathy asks what color Thaddeus' Morehouse merino sweater is.

It's a murky claret color. Thaddeus calls it red, but I think he should have his gay card revoked for not being more accurate with colors.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Itchy Fingers

No!...not allergies! Would I bore you with a recounting of all of my physical ailments? What does this look like, the KnitLost?

New Project
I got bored with the few projects I have on the needles, so, with Thaddeus' urging, I started a new sweater.

He asked innocently, "what ever happened to that red yarn I picked out at the sheep festival?"

I translated, "Joe, go find that wonderful Moorehouse Merino that you cleverly convinced me I wanted, and start a sweater immediately."

I'm fluent in Thaddeusese, so you can trust my translation.



The sweater will be a boring one to knit, design-wise, but I could NEVER get enough of this amazing yarn. If you've never worked with it, you should try it sometime...ask Kathy.

The sweater will be a very simple crew-neck pullover with set-in sleeves. I'm designing on the needles, so now that I'm past the ribbing, it should move along pretty quickly.

Other Knitting
I did end up ripping out the upper section of the left-front of the zippered cardigan.

When I cut the floats behind the colored diamonds, it loosened up significantly, but I couldn't properly anchor the floats.

I would have enjoyed the exercise of just re-knitting the colored diamonds (as suggested by Marilyn and others), but that wasn't the problem area. It was the floats of other colors behind it.

So, when I finish the back of the sweater, I will go back and re-knit the intarsia/Fair Isle section, but I will be more careful to make sure there's enough float on the unused colors.

Knit Flame Excitement
For those of you on the KnitFlame list, someone threw a new cat toy to regular flamers.

Someone complained about a LYSO not allowing her "bagged dog" into the yarn store, despite allowing other dogs. When folks flamed her, she got all pissy and things proceeded to get very ugly.

Someone found the dog owner's personal web site which included her acting/modeling photo, and things got very nasty and ugly.

She has since apologized for her inappropriate reaction, and things have calmed down considerably.

Reminded me of how I first introduced myself to that list...what fond memories.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Mistakes

Most of my knitting mistakes are made in the privacy of my own knitting world.

Public Mistakes
Whether it's the zipper issue or various other knitting mistakes I've made and shared on the pages of this blog, I feel it's important to (sometimes) publicly show my errors, if for no other reason, to help others avoid similar situations.



I've said this before, but I thought it was worth repeating.

I enjoy knitting. Even if that means re-knitting something I had to rip out. A mistake to me in my knitting is just a valid excuse to rip out and repeat the pleasure of the original knitting.

Knitting
That being said, I've decided that I don't really like how tight and bunched I made the intarsia/Fair Isle section of the front of the sweater.



I'm going to try and cut the longer floats behind the diamonds, and then block out the colored sections. If that doesn't work, I'm going to rip out and re-do that section of the front.

The back is coming along.



I've completed about 11 inches so far. I'm hopeful to make it up to the sleeve scythe shaping soon.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Thanks everyone for ideas and tips on sewing a zipper into a sweater. Although, the first time I did it with seeming ease (QueerJoe's impermeable aura of perfection, indeed...that's why I enjoy reading Kim's blog...she currently has an excellent analysis of twisted stitches...but I digress), this time I'm feeling a bit more intimidated.

Hopefully we'll all know how it turns out

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Today's Rant

Women may actually be able to multi-task better than men, but they still suck at driving and talking on a cell phone.

Hang Up and Drive
Or at least use a headset.

I have never seen a situation where someone's driving doesn't deteriorate significantly when they're talking on a cell phone. Despite what they may think.



My biggest pet peeve are folks that don't seem to understand what the left-most lane means when driving on a highway. It's known as the "fast lane" or the "passing lane". When you're not doing either of those, you should get the fuck out of that lane.

Cell phone drivers are reknowned for cruising in that lane and being oblivious to those around them.

Knitting
Ashamedly, I went back to JoAnn's last night and picked up a SEPARATING zipper.



Unfortunately, they didn't have a 22" in separating zipper in ecru, so I had to go with a cream colored one instead. It's a little lighter in color than I would have liked, but I'm okay with it.

Magazine Review
While at JoAnn's last night, I also picked up three knitting magazines.



Here are my comments on each (for those caring):

Vogue Knitting
Price US$5.99
# Pattern Designs 38

Overall, there are a lot of designs. The yarn companies have submitted a number of the designs in this issue. Worth buying???...I suggest browsing through it before deciding.

Good Designs:
- Two Karabella design studio designs that were classic and well done.
- Rhapsody in Blue by Classic Elite studios. Cashmere and comfortable looking.
- Cool Kimono by Vladimir Teriokhin was pretty decent looking.
- Comfy Coat Cardigan by Katherine Hunt was kinda nice with interesting Autumn colors.
- Crochet Medallion Pullover by Sandi Prosser was very nice, and I loved her colors.

Bad Designs:
- The Bead Goes On Poncho by Tahki studios. A stupid looking bulky poncho schmatta.
- Lacy Pink Cape by Pierre Carrilero was the ugliest design in the magazine.
- Furry Wrap by Vladimire Teriokhin was stupid looking.
- Sumptuous Wrap by Sandi Prosser looked like a fringed bath mat.
- Angora Off-The-Shoulder by Suzan Lee was bulky and bad.
- Angora Teddy-like top by Wilma Peer looked silly
- Wrap Cardigan by Fayla Reiss uses glittery yarn and looks really stupid.
- Faux Fur Jacket by Veronica Manno was very bad

Knit 'n Style
Price US$5.99
# Pattern Designs 30

Overall it's not awful, but again, browsing before buying would be necessary.

Good Designs:
- Long Tunic by Plymouth Yarn studios was decent looking.
- Diagonal Jacket by Valentina Devine was a good design in a bad color.
- Lotus Tapestry Jacket by Diane Zangl was good.
- Cable Neck Pullover by Tahki studios was classically nice looking.
- Diamonds Are A Guy's Best Friend was also a classically nice looking design for a man.

Bad Designs:
- Fringe Pullover by Nicky Epstein looked like a worm-infested sweater
- Watercolors Scarf Jacket by Lion Brand studios was the stupidest scarf/jacket combination thing.
- Racing Stripes & Checks by Barbara Venishnick was a stupid combination of color patterning
- Jeanie's Coat by Jeanie Wechsler some folks might like, but I thought was a bad use of knitting.
- Two Color Cable Pullover by Helene Rush was the most awful garter stitch piece of shit in the magazine.
- Sleeveless Sweater & Topper by Marilyn Turner was pretty dopey looking.

Cast-On
Price US$5.95
# Pattern Designs 14

Overall, I only hope that guild members get this rag for free. I definitely wouldn't recommend buying it.

Good Designs:
- Fashion at Five is a cute young girls outfit with a color scheme seemingly stolen from MonkeyKnits
- South of the Border Vest by Charlotte Weber was decent looking.

Bad Design:
- Alpaca Vest by Katharine Seaman was bulky and had shoulder wings...ugh!

Readers' Comments/Questions
Kim Salazar asks if I have any advice on sewing a zipper into a sweater using a sewing machine.

Not a lot of advice...only what I got from my sister with sewing talent. I temporarily baste togther the two pieces of knitted material that the zipper will bring together when completed.

I pin the zipper in place with as many pins as I can use.

I should use a zipper foot, but I don't have one, so I just take great care that the foot doesn't get snagged in either the zipper or the knitted stitches.

Finally, my sister tells me that in her experience, hand sewing a zipper gives it less strength. But she definitely has a machine bias (excuse the pun).

Monday, August 16, 2004

Idiocy

I can be very bull-headed when I think I'm right, and oftentimes I'm not. This past weekend was a huge conglomeration of examples of this fact.

Andean Plying
Thanks to Barb's comment about plying leftover singles, I was able to go look up an excellent source of information on this and find that it was the perfect solution to getting the most out of my roving.

ICanSpin.Com Andean Plying by Amelia Carlson

I have seen a few articles on the technique, but just assumed it was for the folks who didn't have a spinning wheel, spun on spindles, and needed to ply their singles.

I didn't think it applied to me at all, so I never read anything about it.

Now I know better, thank you.

Knitting
It took me 7 attempts...yes, 7, to finally get the back of the Handspun Zippered Cardigan started.

I had math errors, or cast on the wrong number of stitches, or miscounted when working the first set-up row. I anticipated it was going to be somewhate painful to get this one figured out, but 7 attempts was ridiculous.



You'll notice that I've decided not to do the indigo cables up the back. I realized that I wouldn't have enough of the indigo Shetland 2000 to replicate the color design on the back, so I've opted to just put in simple cables of the background color.

That way, I can't be accused of making a true coffin sweater.

Zippers
The last fiber-related, moronic thing I did, was to buy a non-separating zipper.

I know many folks mentioned that before I bought the zipper, and I blame myself completely.

Whenever folks mentioned separating zippers, I thought to myself, "All zippers separate...what the fuck are they talking about?"

When Marcia put asterisks around the word *separating* in her comments, I figured the least I could do was do a Google.

Boy do I feel stupid.

You'd think I'd never put a zipper in a sweater before. For those long-time readers, you'll recall I very successfully put a zipper in the Purple hooded cardigan I made for my niece.

And for one of the first times ever, I disagree with the knit-master, Kim Salazar. Even with VERY limited skills on a sewing machine, I highly recommend using the machine to sew in the zipper.

Spinning
I finally finished spinning the last hank of Silver/Gray New Zealand wool this past weekend.



And what a big skein it is. I ended up making a 5.9 oz. hank of yarn with slightly over 500 yards. This would make the grist about 1370 yards per pound. I didn't measure the wraps per inch on this one, but it seems on average, slightly thinner than my earlier attempts. Hopefully, I won't need to use this skein for my current project.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Marilyn asks what I think of the NJ governor resigning due to homosexuality.

A few things. I didn't think McGreevey was a very good governor for my neighboring state, despite is Democratic leanings. His newly announce homosexuality doesn't change that opinion.

I also happen to know that he's not resigning because he's gay, or because he's a married man having an affair with another man, or because he was about to be extorted for millions if he didn't resign.

He's resigning because he put a good looking Israeli guy that he was boffing, into a position for which he wasn't the least bit qualified. In fact he was so unqualified, they couldn't even get him security clearance that was necessary for the position. So then, the Governor asks his largest campaign contributor to give this boy-toy a job. When NJ decided to investigate this contributor, he fired the boy-toy.

And then to thank the honorable governor for all he did for him, worthless boy-toy threatens to out the Governor.

What amazingly stupid things mens' dicks lead them to do.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Kudos To Sewers

Give me two knitting needles, and I can do amazing things. Give me a sewing machine, and I can make a mess.

Zippers
Who knew how many different and varied kinds of zippers there were in the world?

I based my choice of zippers on weight of the zipper (seems sturdy enough, but not so heavy that it will weigh down the knitted fabric). I also based it on the selection of lenghts and colors.

I ended up buying a 22" zipper that can be cut shorter (but I won't need to).



The length of the sweater will end up being a little over 25 inches in length, so I plan on shaping the neck to a depth of 3" or so.

At least the color is exactly what I was looking for. I picked ecru, which is as light as the lightest color in the yarn.



Knitting
As you can see, I was able to almost finish the left front of the zippered cardigan. I'm hopeful to finish the front/left tonight and start work on the back.

Calculating the number of stitches and placement of the blue bands on the back will be somewhat painful. Fortunately, the right/front side will be much easier because I will base it on the reverse of the left/front section that I just completed.

Best "Dear John" Letter
A friend sent me this, so I thought I'd pass it on to y'all:

A marine stationed in Afghanistan recently received a "Dear John" letter from his girlfriend back home.

It read as follows:

Dear Ricky, I can no longer continue our relationship. The distance between us is just too great. I must admit that I have cheated on you twice, since you've been gone, and it's not fair to either of us. I'm sorry.

Please return the picture of me that I sent to you.

Love,
Becky


The Marine, with hurt feelings, asked his fellow Marines for any snapshots they could spare of their girlfriends, sisters, ex-girlfriends, aunts, cousins etc. In addition to the picture of Becky, Ricky included all the other pictures of the pretty gals he had collected from his buddies.

There were 57 photos in that envelope....along with this note:

Dear Becky,
I'm so sorry, but I can't quite remember who the fuck you are. Please take your picture from the pile, and send the rest back to me.

Take Care,
Ricky


Readers' Comments/Questions
Marilyn and I are in total agreement about Koigu. In general, Koigu's designs are a pathetic use of their amazing yarns (Oriental Jacket is one of the few exceptions).

I designed a few scarves and sweaters using Koigu. Threadbear Fiberarts has the rights to the scarf designs at the moment, and they will be glad to forward a free copy of either pattern with the purchase of 2 or 3 skeins of Koigu.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Back To Work

The first day back at work after two weeks off is brutal.

Working Hard
Not only do I have to catch up on all of the e-mails that came in while I was out, but I also have to get back up to speed on all of the work I'm responsible for here.

Add that to the fact that travel days are always difficult, and you have one very tired and grumpy camper in Albany, NY.

Knitting
I've finally made it up to the colored diamonds section on the Zipper Cardigan. With all of the stranded colorwork I've done, I'm annoyed with myself that the colored sections are so bunched up, but I'm confident that blocking with ease it out a bit.



I'm hopeful to get the front left section done, and start on the back sometime this week. The back will take some additional calculations to make sure the colored diamonds are centered correctly.

Flea Market Find
Every once in a while I find something fiber related at our local flea market that I consider to be a good deal. Here's what I found this past Sunday.



They are a set of Bernat crochet hooks. I don't do that much crocheting, but the times that I do it, it will be nice to have a full range of hook sizes to choose from in a nice, neat package.

At US$5, I couldn't resist.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Marilyn asks what's happeniing with the spinning. Have I gotten any more done?

I did do small amounts of spinning over the last few days at home, but mostly I focused on the knitting.

I'm trying to maximize how much final yarn I get out of this New Zealand roving, so I'm trying to balance the amount on each spool before I ply it, so I don't have a lot of left over singles that would only be good enough to felt.

As for Koigu, I tend to agree with Kathy, that you could never have enough. Kathy sure comes close.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

BEWARE!!! Political Rant Ahead

What will it take to wake up the morons to the fact that the current White House administration are a bunch of crooks, the likes of which haven't been in office since the Nixon years?

The Villains



With lies about going to war.
With more ties to Saudi than most Saudi nationals.
With major corporate theft at Haliburton while our esteemed Vice President was at the helm.
With fear of terror being used as a tool against the people of our nation.
With the privatization of huge sections of our armed forces to the pricetag of over $100 BILLION
(much going to Haliburton through no-contest bids)
With the pillaging of our natural resources through repeals of already lame safeguards.
With torture approved at the highest levels as bad as the dictator that was deposed.
With the elimination of basic civil rights with the enactment of the "Patriot" act.
With vengeful actions against true patriots, like exposing an undercover CIA operative.
(whose husband had the gall to tell the truth about uranium from Niger)

What more will it take for people to realize that we are turning into a religious-based dictator, and GWB is no better than most of the Ayatollah's dictating policy based on religious fervor?

Most of the folks that read my blog already know all of this. I'm making it my business to wake up a few of the unenlightened. Wanna join me? Go wake someone up.

Okay, I'm done. Back to the regularly scheduled knitting blog.

Knitting
I've made some good progress on the Zipper Cardigan. I'm about halfway up the left front side of the sweater, and it's moving along very quickly.



This coming week (when I'm back at work in Albany), I need to check out zippers in JoAnn's fabrics to find one that will be the right color and length for my finished sweater.

That way, if I have to modify the length, to accommodate the zipper, I can plan that into the design.

The handspun wool is creating a very nice lightweight, yet very warm fabric. I'm very pleased with both the color and texture, and it seems perfectly suited to the garment.

Old Project
I never did do any additional work on the mitered square baby blanket, and I think my sister-in-law is due to deliver this month sometime (I have to call this weekend to find out for certain).

So, I ended up doing a crochet edging on the blanket.



I ended up doing a row of single crochet in red and yellow and a row of double crochet in green and orange. Overall, I'm very pleased with the result.

I just hope it holds up with use and in the washer and dryer (its first run through the machines required a little mending...hopefully that's all it will take).

Ongoing Project
I also got some novelty scarf knitting done. I'm enjoying some of the novelty scarf yarns I picked up at outrageous prices, and others I'm not enjoying as well.



These two I enjoyed knitting a lot.

Blog Reader Gift
Mary was kind enough to send me the following reminder of a store no longer in existence.



It's an old newsletter from the Tomato Factory in 1991. Mary thought the fat guy in the pictures looked like me. If she saw me now, after two weeks of eating anything I felt like, she'd be pretty accurate.

Thanks Mary. I never saw these types of newsletters when I worked there, and even though I was knitting in 1991, I wasn't a customer of the Tomato Factory back then.

Readers' Comments/Questions
A couple of notes. On the comments about pancakes, I totally disagree with Kris about using a cast iron pan. I can make them in cast iron, but I find it more challenging.

For me, cooking pancakes successfully comes from adjusting the amount of oil/fat in the pancake batter and making sure the surface of the pan is hot enough, but not too hot.

As for Kathy's request for further information on the Isager-inspired design, I'll have more information in the next one, but I'm trying to do the zippered cardigan in Inka (Marianne's OOP book of designs) with the colored diamonds. Obviously I'm using different colors.

I'll try to post a picture of the original design when I get up to the colored diamonds part on mine.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

What QueerJoe Does Badly

Kathy asks, and Marilyn seconds the question, "What do you do badly?"

The Bad List
Suffice it to say, I make awesome pancakes (from scratch)...doughy indeed.

But here are some of the MANY things I don't do well:

1. Baseball - I can hit okay, but send a pop fly my way and it will be missed every time.
2. Cursive Writing - I print (or type) everything except my signature.
3. Housework - Thank gawd for Thaddeus, otherwise this place would be a mess.
4. Painting - I have no patience for painting walls, and it shows.
5. Machine Knitting - I can do it, but I'm not very good at it.
6. Computer Hardware - Don't ask me anything about what's inside this box.
7. Handyman Work - Electricity, plumbing, carpentry...just awful.
8. Frying Food - There is a knack for frying that I just don't have.
9. Music - I have absolutely no aptitude or ear for music.
10. Butterfly Stroke - I can do any other swim stroke, but not this one.


I could probably create an entirely new "100 Things I Do Badly List" if I put more time into it. I'm also sure Thaddeus could add a boatload of items to this list...he better not.

Crocheting
I finished the crochet hat out of the Ramie, and it came out very well. I won't wear it, but I actually like the way it looks on me. Thaddeus (along with the rest of the world) would disagree that it looks good on me.



Suffice it to say, I'll put this one up for sale at the next craft show. Hopefully the mom of some skateboard boy will recognize that it's cool.

Knitting
I started the new design inspired by (stolen from) Marianne Isager. This is the beginning of the left front side of the cardigan.



It took a long time to calculate the stitches on this design, that's why I'm only just past the ribbing so far.

I am using my most recent New Zealand wool handspun as the main color on this sweater.

Spinning
The folks that thought 15 WPI's on the New Zealand handspun wasn't heavy enough to use as DK are absolutely correct.

I knit up a swatch using a US5. It created a very loose fabric, and with the inconsistencies of my spinning, the looseness wasn't good.

The yarn is closest in weight to the Shetland 2000 that I used for the Ronas Hill Fair Isle vest by Ron Schweitzer. It's slightly heavier than jumper weight Shetland by Jamieson or Jamieson & Smith, but not heavy enough to use as a DK weight.

For the new sweater design, I'm planning on using a US4 for the body of the sweater, and I think it will look okay (yes, mother, I did swatch).

Yarn Store News
Two pieces of local yarn store news that I thought might be of interest.

First of all, Simply Knit will be closing very soon (probably within the next 2 to 3 weeks). They are discounting everything remaining at 60% off. I was just there today, and there are still quite a few things worth buying.

Second of all, excellent news. Nadine's shop has finally opened. Here are the particulars:

Woolplay
22 N. Haddon Ave.
Haddonfield, NJ 08033
Phone: 856-428-0110
e-mail: Woolplay@yahoo.com

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10-5:00 PM
Thurs evening til 8:00 PM

They carry Debbie Bliss, Noro, Manos, Koigu (including those always popular mini skeins!), Colinette, Karabella Aurora, Stacy Charles, Habu, Rowan, Cascade, Lobster Pot, Schaefer, Twisted Sister, and lots more.

Starting today, Thursday, Haddonfield is having a sidewalk sale through Saturday that Woolplay will be participating in. Lots of "vintage" yarns on sale.

Nadine has also made a very nice offer to readers of this blog. Just mention QueerJoe (not too loudly, it is Southern New Jersey afterall), and you get a 10% discount. How cool is that?

Readers' Comments/Questions
Leslie asks if the recent handspun yarn is soft.

Not really. It's slightly scratchier than Shetland, especially in those places where the single was way overtwisted. Suffice it to say, I definitely wouldn't make a baby garment out of it.

Pam asks if I've taken the time to calculate the grist (grist is the yardage per pound of yarn...I had to look it up) on my newest handspun.

The reason that Pam's measurement of my grist is so consistent, is that I only measured the yardage on one skein, and then extrapolated that to the other two skeins. It's interesting, though. Based on all that I've read, my grist (calculated at about 1260 yards per pound) would equate to a DK weight yarn, and it's definitely not DK weight. Maybe I should measure the other two skeins when I get the chance.

Thanks to Kim Salazar for maintaining a web site with so much fiber information in one place, and sharing it with the rest of the planet.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Dumb Questions

Have I mentioned before that I do believe there ARE dumb questions?

Asking Dumb Questions
I think asking dumb questions is what makes me such a successful consulting person. I think the dumb question is often-times a good question. It basically says that the person asking it is missing a basic concept, and needs to know some aspect.

Now lazy questions...those piss me off. Don't ask me questions that say "I'm too lazy to look this up."

My toughest call when I get simple questions is trying to establish if the question is a dumb question or whether the questioner just hasn't done their homework. A typical example of this would be, "Where did you get the pattern for the red baby blanket?"

Clearly the questioner didn't realize I have discussed this a few times in earlier posts. Do they realize there are archives that might discuss this? Do they realize that a Google search can be done on "red baby blanket" and queerjoe.com together to search my domain?

What Have I Been Doing
With all the time I've had while on vacation, you may ask, "What has QueerJoe been doing with his lazy ass?" Although fearing a specific answer to this question, you probably wouldn't ask that.

I have been very busy. Mostly with the New Zealand roving I bought at Aunt Jean's.



This hefty skein of 100% wool weighs in at 4.9 oz, contains about 390 yards of yarn, and ends up averaging about 15 wraps per inch. I'm hoping that is about DK weight...for reasons I will explain later.

But one hefty skein certainly wouldn't explain my absence from blogging for this many days.



This second skein of yarn wasn't quite as big. It weighs in at 4.6 oz and 366 yards of wool. There is a consistency of WPI at about 15. It was surprising how much this yarn blooms when I do the final washing/twist-setting.

But even two skeins wouldn't really explain all of my time away from blogging.

Yes, there is a third skein, and it is a whopper.



This baby weighs in at 5.7 ounces for approximately 450 yards.

So in the week since I've owned my new Louet, I've spun almost a pound of yarn and over 1,200 yards. It's amazing what I can do with good equipment (and a patient lover).

What To Do With Handspun
I decided I also better get busy with doing something with all of this new yarn, so I decided to pick up the lovely ramie I spun from Antonio's generous gift.

Using a simple crochet pattern adapted from one of the hat patterns in the most recent Family Circle Easy Knitting, I've almost finished this "Very Muslim" hat.



I'm planning on putting a small stripe of blue at the bottom so I don't look like my head is bandaged. We'll see how it turns out. If I don't like it, I'll just put it up for sale at the next craft show with my scarves.

Hello??? Any KNITTING on this Knitting Blog?
I heard you asking.

Yes, in addition to all my spinning and the little bit of crochet, I've also finished these two novelty yarn scarves.



The first one is in a very nice black mohair yarn with gold flecks throughout. The second one is a cotton/microfiber yarn that looks very cool.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Thanks for everyones' comments on the finishing the wheel. I was also glad that Carol S. asked about wheels with waiting lists. Thanks June, for posting the list.

I would also add Robin Wheels to that list. At Maryland Sheep & Wool, they told me there was a three year waiting list for thier wheels. They were gorgeous wheels.