Friday, July 29, 2005

Color Naming

The new color of merino that I'm spinning, I've decided to call "Nose Crust".


Blog Braintrust
I was glad to read the derivation of "drab" from suddenlysteven, and it is clearly accurate. I just think the name wouldn't inspire many folks to buy it, like "Meadow Sage" might (thanks AmyS).

I do have to say that I've been nothing but pleased with all of my orders from Paradise Fiber. The products are excellent, their web site is easy and their service has been ideal. Now, if they could only afford a color-naming consultant.

Current Knitting
I've made some additional progress, albeit just a little, on the current design.

Unfortunately, I'm without camera, so even if I decided to make it non-secret, I couldn't post a picture.

The garment is being made in pieces, and I've completed about 2/3rds of one side of the front. Suffice it to say, the design is moving along slowly.

Radio Show
A few folks wrote and mentioned that they heard the radio show last night.

The show turned out to be quite excellent, and represented knitting in a very positive and interesting light. The guests on the show were excellent, and even if I hadn't been one of the guests, I would have enjoyed listening.

A couple of the callers and guests started discussing their beliefs that you can imbue your knitting with emotions and thoughts, which I disagree with completely. Unfortunately, the host, Christopher Liden (sp?) asked me what I thought about it. I told him, in essence, that I thought it was a lovely whimsical idea, but not likely in my mind.

There was also a very interesting caller, Frances, who berated the knitting publishers for their "dumbing down" of knitting to accommodate the trendy knitters. I enjoyed hearing others dispute this.

All in all, I was quite pleased with the show and how I represented the knit blogging world.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Annie D. asks, "Some time ago you linked us to a site for patterns where you had a scarfpattern for sale. Of course, I lost the link. Can you help me?"

Yes, the scarf is the Koigu Cross Stitch scarf, and it's available on the Knitting Vault. It has been by far my biggest selling design.

Alex P. sent in a strongly worded e-mail telling me why she didn't like my blog. I sent her the following response, and thought my comments to her might be useful to others:

Hi Alex,

In all honesty, I wanted to thank you for your e-mail. It provided me with a
lot of feedback.

I'm aware that the Newcomer Rules often anger folks (as they seem to have
angered you), but that is part of their purpose. I also know that there are
some vital, creative knitters that won't come to my site because I'm not very
nice. But, overall, I'm very satisfied with the forum that reads my blog, and
I'm willing to miss out on the participation of those that can't abide my
arrogant blog. The readers that do come back regularly, are amazingly creative,
intelligent and funny people (for the most part).

If you could find one on-line community that is interesting and creative and
expressive and enjoyable, I'd be more than happy to consider modeling my blog
after them.

One last thing, and I hope you'll take this as useful feedback. If you re-read
your e-mail again, you'll note that is has a lot of errors (grammatical,
typographical and syntax). It makes it a lot more difficult to take your
comments seriously when you have difficulty writing a coherent e-mail. Based on
your comments, I think you've made a good decision in not participating on my
web blog.

Thanks again for taking the time to write.

Joe

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Knit Radio

Radio Open Source in Massachusetts will be exploring knitting on the airwaves this Thursday as this week's toping on a show called Passion Thursday.

Hear QueerJoe
...maybe...I've been asked to participate as a minor guest on this one hour show. The majority of the time will be spent talking with the owners of "Flying Fingers" yarn store and the famous Yarn Bus. The host of the show has asked me to be available to comment on the knitting blog world, so I'm excited at even the possibility of being on the air.

If anyone would like to listen, the show will be on Thursday, 28-July, 2005 from 7:00 p.m. EST till 8:00 p.m. EST.

Streaming on the internet can be found here.

Current Knitting
First of all, this is actually a combined crochet and knitting project, and I haven't even begun the knitting portion. It's been all crochet so far, and progress has been somewhat slow. Usually designing and shaping using crochet is easier than knitting, but not for this project. Where's Kathy, the crochet Goddess when you need her?

I'll keep you updated on this project until I pick another non-secret design to begin.

Weekend Fiber Activity
I did get some spinning done this past weekend. In addition to finishing up the blue merino, I also began the second-to-last color in my merino spinning.




The folks at Paradise Fiber call this color "Khaki Drab". I shit you not. Clearly the person that comes up with these color names is not a gay man.

I'd be interested to hear suggestions from readers on what this color should be called

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

WAY Too Excited

Has some fiber-related article made you giddy with excitement?

Fiber Geek
I know this is no surprise to readers here, but I am such a fiber geek.

Last night I bought a rotary cutter as part of the equipment I'm gathering to make my quilt. I can't tell you how excited and obsessed with this object I have been for the last 14 hours.



It just reminded me that I'm not like most Earthlings, because not only could I get manic about a cutting tool, but I don't even have a problem with that.

Knitting Project
Now that the Wool/Hemp Pullover is all but done, I had a lot of difficulty deciding on what I should bring to work this week.

I settled on the "secret project", but I also realized I get very little knitting done during the week, so it's kind of irrelevant anyway.

More so, I'm starting to question whether I could actually write up the pattern for this current sweater, and whether I really care to keep this one a secret.

I'll think about it a little more before deciding.

Other Fiber Excitement
This past weekend, I found the following at the local flea market.



The Vogue Knitting from 1951 is quite cool. It's got a lot of very fifties garments, includinig a number of dresses. Many of the garments are fitted way too small for modern tastes, but it's a treasure trove of ideas. The Jack Frost crochet purse booklet has some amazing designs in it. I may even try my hand at some as gifts for friends. The "Furida Angora" booklet isn't great, but I figured $6 for all three was worth it.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Self Googling

Every once in a while, I'll Google my name or my web site, just to see what comes up.

More and More Common
It appears that many folks are doing that lately, and most specifically some of the designers whose patterns I've critiqued.

Lately, I've received a number of e-mails from designers who are interested to know more specifics about why or how I critiqued their designs in the magazines (no, Mari Lynn is NOT one of them).

I'm glad when they do. For the brief blurb I include for each design, it takes quite a bit of time to write those reviews, but it still isn't very useful feedback for the designer. When they write to ask more about what I liked or didn't like, it gives me the opportunity to provide somewhat more detailed feedback.

The nicest part is how open to feedback the designers have been.

Current Knitting
The knitting of the Wool/Hemp Pullover is complete. YAY!!!



I still have to weave in some yarn ends and sew up the collar (and re-do it if I still don't like it). Overall, I'm very happy with how this turned out.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Kerri asks (concerning the Wool/Hemp yarn), "Is it the worsted or sport weight, and what shade number?"

The Wool/Hemp yarn from Dzined is the Sport Weight in shade number WH1292. I don't see this shade number

Cheryl asks, "Is the wool/hemp pullover for you? Does the wool/hemp yarn hurt your hands when you knit?"

Most of my sweaters fit both Thaddeus and me, so this is another of "our" sweaters. The wool/hemp doesn't hurt to knit with, it's a little more stretchy than cotton/hemp.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Color Overload

Sometimes I dream of living in a Kaffe-like world, but I don't know if I could handle it.

Fabric Heaven
As Liza teased in comments, she let me come to her house to go fabric shopping yesterday, and it was overwhelming and fun.

A number of months ago, we had a knit-together at her house and saw some amazing quilts, and it got me thinking that I'd like to retry my hand at quilting.

I browsed through Glorious Patchwork (Kaffe and Liza's first quilt book) and decided I'd like to do something like the Zinnia 2X2 quilt, if you have the book.

I went to Liza's web site and did mini-captures of 14 of her fabrics, mostly as a random exercise in joining colors. Here's what I came up with.



While I recognize, there is little concern with composition and overall color design, I really loved how much of the work is done by the fabrics.

Liza recognized immediately that the simple "Snowball" design in quilting would be a perfect way of putting together these wonderful fabrics. Here's an example of a quilt using the Snowball%20design.

Now, if you can picture that design with these colors (the outer solids will make up the diamond shapes in between the "snowballs").



Now I just have to buy a sewing machine and some basic quilting equipment. I can't wait to start.

Kaffe and Liza's New Book
I'll only say one thing until the book is published, but having the good fortune of seeing the preview copy of this book, you should pre-order your copy now. It is truly amazing.

Current Knitting
Continued making some progress on the Wool/Hemp pullover and now there's only a little left on the last sleeve.



With the excitement of the fabric, and the way my new secret design is coming along, I will be thrilled when the Wool/hemp pullover is completed.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Amy P. says, "I'm assuming that you know "Orchid" is ancient Greek for "boy's scrotum". (seriously)"

Actually, I had no idea, but it shows how those Greeks really loved their boys.

Lori asks, "Do you really feel that the public transport in SF is very good?"

I've only been out there visiting and I love the BART system. It seemed to take me to a lot of places I needed to go. It's not like New York or D.C., but I thought it was good, yes.

Thanks Nana Peter for identifying the orchid. Now that I know orchid is ancient Greek for "boy's scrotum" and it's real name is Phalaenopsis, I can feel comfortable continuing to call him Phil.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Self-Esteem

Is your self-esteem strong enough to be able to appreciate someone who speaks badly of you?

Blog Nastiness
Kathy mentioned in comments that someone was dragging my name through the mud in her blog, and after finally locating the blog, I have to say I like the attitude and some of the writing of the blog writer.

I felt somewhat conflicted by this. I felt I should have despised her, but I honestly didn't. It was quite interesting to read her comments about me, some of which were true and others just silly. Kathy mentioned that she called me a bigot, which is just plainly not true. I'm not really even a fiber-snob, and I have no issue with folks that knit with acrylics or less expensive yarns. She is correct with some of her other assertions.

But all-in-all, I was glad she writes. She is quite opinionated, and you know I value that character trait.

What I found most amusing, was her commenters. Most fell into one of two categories. Either they read my blog ("just for the knitting content" - yeah right, and I subscribe to ManHole just for the articles) and agreed with her, or they hadn't read my blog and agreed with her opinion of me.

I have to say I was grateful for the interesting, creative folks that comment on my blog after reading hers.

More Beauty in Nastiness
About a month ago, Thaddeus and I ran into an acquaintance at the flea market who was selling orchids. She found an abandoned greenhouse that was about to be demolished with dozens of orchids left inside. Since none of the orchids were in bloom, she decided to set up an orchid rescue table to find good homes for them.

We paid $5 and took ours home and it turned into this.




We're surprised and happy with the result.

Weekend Fiber Activity - Revisited
I forgot to mention in my last post that there was something else that kept me from working on the Wool/Hemp pullover. Thaddeus had asked me to knit him a tube that he could use to cover the power cord for our telephone downstairs. He said the cat had been chewing it lately and he needed something to protect it.

Since Thaddeus rarely asks me to knit for him, I dropped everything and started this.



I was going to do i-cord, but it wasn't a wide enough tube. After finishing about 3 feet of this tube, he suggested I use the Barbie Knitting Machine. I ended up creating 5 feet of tubing (quite a bit thicker than the handknitted version) in about 10 minutes.

I think it's working as he had hoped.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the book, "We Are All The Same", Cheryl asks, "Was the book any good??"

Overall, I would say the book is worth reading, if for no other reason, the circumstances are extraordinary and the hero and heroine are inspirational. I wasn't overly impressed with the writing, finding it somewhat dry and inconsistent, but I wouldn't let that keep you from experiencing this story.

Cynthia asks, "Have you reviewed the new Interweave?

I haven't and I don't think I will. I have the magazine, and we reviewed it at the latest get-together. It just didn't seem worth my time to detail out each design. Although there were some designs I liked and some designs I hated. Quel Surprise.

I was browsing other magazines the other night in a Barnes and Nobles and scanned through "Knitting" magazine and the new "InKnitters". "Knitting" magazine is a British publication and had quite a few classic designs and some quirky stuff that was interesting, especially one cropped, color, cotton design by Sasha Kagan. InKnitters had nothing at all of interest. I passed on both magazines.

Purlpower posits, "I gather your public transport system (in the U.S.) is fairly crap, am I right?"

Except in some of the larger, concentrated cities, like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, etc., the public transport system sucks. And even in areas where it's available, such as up her in the Albany, NY area, there is often a stigma attached to it, that indicates poverty if you use it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Sport Utitily Vehicles

Overall, I'm a fan of these gas-guzzling behemoths, especially on snowy roads.

Belated Apology
In fact, I owned one myself for a number of years.

Little did I realize how difficult they make it for the driver of the smaller car. And when did a 4-door Honda Accord become one of the smallest cars on the road?

Trying to see past an SUV in front of me is challenging, but the hardest part is backing out of a parking spot when I'm flanked with two SUV's (which is very common lately). I feel like I'm backing out of a tunnel, and by the time I can see if any traffic is coming, half my car is out in traffic.

So, for the times that my SUV blocked your view, I apologize. I just didn't know.

Weekend Fiber Activity
Overall, I felt like this was a weekend where I did a lot of different things, but got very little done. Yesterday, I noted the sweater progress (which was minimal).

Even though I spent a lot of time spinning this past weekend, I still wasn't quite able to finish spinning the blue merino.



You'll not that I have very little left to do, but I just couldn't stay up any later on Sunday to get that last bit done.

Weekend Non-Fiber Activity
Much of my weekend was spent reading this:



A friend/co-worker lent me this book, and gave it rave reviews. It's the story of a brave South African boy with AIDS who did an enormous amount to help make the government and people of Africa aware of the crisis. It's written by an ABC journalist, and it reads like that, but the boy and his foster-mother are truly inspiring characters.

I hate borrowing books, for fear I will forget to return them, so I finished this book in one weekend so I could return it right away.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Franklin asks, "with a widely-spaced rib like that, will it still be somewhat form-fitting or does that only happen with closer ribs like k2 p2?"

A couple things affect the amount that ribbing constricts. The kind of ribbing and the fiber content. Both factors come into play in this sweater. First of all, it's a 6X2 ribbing, but the 2 isn't all purls on the right-side. It's a broken rib, which doesn't pull in as much. Second of all, the fiber is wool and hemp, and the hemp is less springy, and drapes very similarly to silk or alpaca. None of which constricts much, even with a 2X2 rib.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Partisanship

During times like these, it's a lot easier to tell who really believes in the "morals" of conservatives, and who just believe when it's convenient.

Where's the Outrage
When Bill Clinton parsed words, ("It depends on what the meaning of "is" is), the conservatives went bananas.

First of all, I do appreciate that there are thinking conservatives that read this web site who are equally as enraged by Karl Rove's weaseling.

But for those that aren't, I ask why not? Do they not see that Mr. Rove clearly destroyed a CIA operative's career to get back at her husband? And now that there seems to be less and less room for spinning the facts, he's getting even more slimy. And then the president and his mouthpiece (Scott McLellan) both support him and seemingly lie for him.

Even I was annoyed with Bill Clinton's picayune parsing of words.

Current Knitting
Things didn't go quite as well as I expected with the Wool/Hemp Pullover. I did get some work done on the sleeve, but not anywhere near as much as I expected.



I will continue to work on this during the week, but given the time I have for knitting lately during the week, I don't anticipated a lot of success.

I did get some additional work done on the new design, and I'm liking it a lot. If the initial stages of the garment are any indication, this sweater will be excellent.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Susan asks (via e-mail), "What's your opinion of Knitpicks' yarn? I get their snail mail catalog and have CONSIDERED ordering but haven't yet. I mean, if I don't like the yarn, I'm
stuck! Would you recommend their products?"

I've never ordered from them, and the yarn I did order, still hasn't arrived yet, so I'll let you know when I do.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Pesky Worries

Now that I've spun up about 4 pounds of singles for sock yarn, I'm worried I won't be able to create the effect I want through plying.

Hedging My Bets
A number of years ago, a coworker was wearing multi-color, striped socks in a spectacular colorway (his girlfriend had bought them in Italy). Trying to replicate those socks was my original goal when I ordered all this merino roving.

Since I didn't feel comfortable using my singles for sock knitting, I intended on double-plying one color for a yard or two, and then carefully joining in the next color, and double-plying that for a yard or two, etc. That way, I'll end up (hopefully) with self-striping yarn in a colorway of my own choice.

Since I wasn't overly sure that I'd be able to do this successfully (during the plying stage, which I haven't tried yet), I thought I'd put a back-up plan in place.

So, I bought this.



This is white merino sock yarn from KnitPicks. I figure if my spinning experiment goes terribly wrong, I can always just space dye this yarn in a colorway of my choosing instead.

Current Knitting
As is quite evident in the picture, I have made a modicum of progress on the last sleeve of the Wool/Hemp pullover.



At this rate, I will finish by the end of the weekend.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Thank you all for your participation and commentary on all things scatological.

As Kathy mentions, we must refocus on things like the shitty InKnitters and the amazingly non-shitty quilting book and fabrics that Kaffe and Liza are working on.

When does the new book come out, dear Liza, dear Liza?

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Reduced to Toilet Topics

It's so sad when I have to resort to discussing toilet issues on the blog, but times are hard.

Survey Profiles
Here is the psychological profile for each answer in the survey. Please note, that there is absolutely no possibility of error in this evaluation, so if you say to yourself, "This doesn't apply to me.", you are also plagued with denial.

I use a lot and wad it - Careless and carefree, you can often be seen by others as sloppy, slovenly and dirty. You are highly creative and can see the beauty in paint splotches on an old drop cloth, but you would never have the gumption to be paid millions for such "artwork". Your psychological makeup is very Bohemian, but you have to take great care not to be confused with someone from the slums of Calcutta.

I use a lot and fold it - Known in TP circles as "the Wasteful Obsessive", your personality is one of inexplicably large dichotomies. Your fear of letting a loose end of toilet paper dip into the used water of the toilet bowl is an issue you should clearly discuss with a professional. Your ability to be decisive and steadfast in your actions can be useful in careers like Air Traffic Controller and Yarn Store Owner, but detracts from your ability to adapt to idiosyncrasies of a mate or partner, leaving most of you lonely and bitter. Fortunately, your literal interpretation of anal-retentive means that you don't have as much opportunity as others to use toilet paper.

I use a little and wad it - You are clearly one with many grand ideas with no motivation or ability to execute them. Your level of frustration with your impotence in accomplishing anything grows worse with age, often to the point of having to develop dementia as a safety mechanism. Pitiable, the mini-wadder adds very little to society except to make others feel better about themselves. This group of individuals, longs for the days of Depends and forgetfulness, and hopes desperately that reincarnation is true and will give them another chance. With their luck, it isn't true.

I use a little and fold it - Your concern and passion for all things just and right has kept you in good stead throughout your incredible life. Your attunement to nature rivals that of St. Francis of Assisi and it isn't surprising to you when animals have no fear of you and birds spontaneously alight on your shoulder. Being pure of spirit, you have boundless compassion for your fellow humans and are revered by all with whom you come in contact. When you combine your extraordinary spirituality and emotional stability with your massive intelligence, there is nothing you can't accomplish. Unbelievably, you also have the greatest humility, and are even embarrassed by this clearly accurate assessment of your character traits.


Current Knitting
I was able to finish the sleeve cap shaping (again, using short rows), and now the last sleeve will move along pretty quickly. I'm hopeful that I'll finish this sweater sometime this weekend.

Although I may have to re-do the neck, which may take me longer than the weekend.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Liza (who provided the original impetus for the TP poll) asks: "Is Joe a wadder or a folder?"

I think I'll let the readers guess.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Education

If elected, I will work tirelessly for any pro-education reforms.

Massive Agreement
I personally think that expanding education is the solution to many of our ills, including poverty, unemployment, national debt, crime, bigotry and this list could go on and on.

I have a good friend who is ultra-conservative, and I think this is the only issue on which we both agree wholeheartedly.

I pay a lot of local and real-estate taxes in my community, and most of it goes toward the local school system. With no children of my own participating in those schools, some might think I'd be bitter about paying for services I don't get to use, but it's quite the opposite. I'm thrilled that my school system is as good as it is, and not just from a philanthropic standpoint. I truly believe that better education leads to a better community. One that demonstrates value for their youth. This in turn leads to less crime, higher housing values and stronger community standards and eventually, a more qualified workforce.

Expanding education on a national standard (and not with ill-funded piece-of-shit-legislation like "No Child Left Behind"), I believe is the only solution that will start to bring us back to the nation that we should be.

Current Knitting
I have scarcely begun the second sleeve. And when I say scarcely, I mean, I haven't even finished picking up all the stitches around the arm hole opening.

Spinning
Mainly, the reason that I got so little knitting done over this past weekend, is that I focused a lot of my time on the blue merino.



If I do as much spinning in the upcoming week as I did this past weekend, I will have completed this color in record time. I'm not making any promises.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Thanks to Liza's assertion that a person's toilet paper practices say a lot about them, I've put together this little survey. After it's completed, we'll try to come up with a psychological assessment of each type person.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Rest Stop Driving

Why is it that when two people get married or partnered for life, that one of them needs to stop and pee at every rest stop, and the other has a bladder as large as a Hefty bag?

Long Drives
I've finally gotten over my annoyance, but it used to be, that when I started driving, I didn't want to stop until we had arrived at our destination. Even if that meant 8 hours of straight driving.

And Thaddeus would want to stop at every possible rest stop.

Now that I've reconciled myself to the fact that we will be stopping regularly along any trip of 2 hours or greater, I find driving to be much more relaxing.

However, when I'm driving by myself (as in my weekly trip to and from Albany), all bets are off, and I wouldn't even consider stopping.

Current Knitting
I should be shame-faced as I show the progress picture of the Wool/Hemp Pullover, but I do have an excuse (or two or three) for the lack of progress.



This picture shows that I've finished the first sleeve. But I did do a lot of swatching and testing for my new design.

New Designs
I think the new woman's sweater will be a successful design. I'm using some old cone yarn I've had around for years, so I'll have to find a suitable commercial yarn to use instead (otherwise, it won't be a very useful design).

I also tried to start a very manly project to submit next month to the MenKnit.net magazine issue, but that was a dismal failure. I may try something else, but I'm not sure I can get it done in time for the August 15th deadline.

Friday, July 08, 2005

W.O.W.

Have you ever seen the bumper sticker that just says W.O.W.? Do you know what it means?

W.I.L.T.
I hate giving free publicity to assholes, but W.O.W. stands for Whip 'em Out Wednesday, which was a radio promotion started by two of the worst DJ's on the planet, Opie and Anthony. The basic premise is that if a woman sees someone with this bumper sticker on a Wednesday, she should show the driver her tits.

Pleasant, isn't it?

A little bit about Opie and Anthony. These two Howard Stern wannabes, gained a lot of fame in the New York area, and have since moved to satellite radio. They started with a subscription/premium radio show on XM radio, that cost you an extra $2.99 a month, just to hear them. They've since been downgraded to be included in XM's basic package price.

When I was still subscribing to XM radio, they offered a free week of Opie and Anthony, so I decided to listen in. The words "fag", "faggot" and "homo" were used so many times in my first hour of listening, that I turned them off in disgust.

So the next time you see a W.O.W. bumper sticker, tell the asshole driving to whip is saggy tits out first so you can get a good laugh. Or better yet get a W.I.L.T. bumper sticker and we'll come up with a good definition for the acronym.

Any clever ideas?

Current Knitting
Why the hell do sleeves take so freakin' long to knit?



I'm almost to the cuff of the first sleeve, but it's moving so slowly. Now that I've switched to the doublepointed needles, it's going more quickly, but still not as quickly as I'd hoped.

New Designs
I'm designing a new woman's sweater in my mind and in my drawings lately. I think it will be very good. If after swatching it, I find it's good enough to publish, I may not include it in this blog, so that I can submit it as an unseen design.

But don't worry, I will also work on a project (or projects) that I can show regular progress with.

Speaking Of Designs
All you knitting men out there, MenKnit.net is extending their deadline for design submissions until the middle of next month. After the pathetic number of men who submitted designs to Knitty, it would be great to have a decent showing of an on-line magazine devoted specifically to us.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Geraldine notes: "I have to admit I haven't seen the skull and crossbones garment, but hey, its the principle of the thing isn't it? Here was everyone a couple of blogs ago bemoaniong the role of society in damaging the self image of young men and driving them to drug use, and here we are doing that very thing by bagging a guy who has a go. Fair's fair."

On a related note, Becky says: "I think he should be encouraged to keep designing and not told his design is laughable."

Thank you both for your comments. I'm not sure I agree with either, but both caused me to think about my critiques. I remember the encouragement I got for my knitting early on, and it was very much appreciated. I love that the young guy created that garment, and the technical and creative effort he exhibited. What I should have made more clear was that the laughable part would be seeing me in that garment as a 46 year old guy, not that his efforts were in the least bit laughable. I was actually quite impressed by the youngster's talent.

Also, thank you everyone for helping me identify this harmless monster of a bug. He hasn't returned, and harmless or not, I'm glad about that.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Pestilence

It was bad enough to have a mouse in my hotel room, but now I have to deal with this on my very own front door:



Startled Mornings
Three mornings I've opened my front door to find this four inch bug greeting me. I have no idea what it is, but it's less than thrilling to have it hanging out on my screen door.

Other Startling Items
As many of you mentioned in comments, the "Men's" issue of Knitty is out.

First of all, I want to say that I love the idea of Knitty. The communal effort of this on-line knitting magazine is a worthy effort, and I'm glad it's there. However, I've never had very high expectations of their designs, since the compensation for designs is minimal, and as anyone who has written a knitting pattern knows, it's a pain in the ass.

That being said, I'm not very fond of how they executed this latest "Men's" issue. Especially when the nicest garment is a striped baby blanket that is non-gender-specific as far as I can tell. I agree with Tricky Tricot that it's disappointing that most of the designs are by women. I also agree mostly with Franklin's comments about the wearability of these garments. For me, the skull & crossbones cardigan with three quarter sleeves (so they doen't interfere with my DJ'ing) is laughable, and the men's Kimono is just a silly use of knitting. I do like the short-row hat, but I would use a nice yarn, and more interesting color combinations than black and white or red and white.

Finally, if anyone is interested in knitting my current pullover, just follow the directions for the Saranac, and change to a standard crew-neck. It uses the exact same pattern stitch as my current project, and I love the color she selected for the design.

Current Knitting
I told you I'd post a progress picture (or, in this case, a lack-of-progress picture) of the Wool/Hemp pullover.



I was glad to see the design in knitty using this same pattern stitch, but with a solid color. I used the pattern stitch to mix up the colors, but I also like the fabric created with the green yarn in the Knitty design. Since I wasn't planning on writing up this design, I'm glad someone else did.

Readers' Comments/Questions
RJ asked the other day, "Is the wool/hemp knitting up like wool/linen would?"

I'm pretty sure the two yarns would knit up practically the same. There is a loose drape, and very little stretch to the wool/hemp yarn. It's also a little scratchy, which I'm hoping will soften over time after multiple wearings.

Marie asks, "Your Merino singles look really great. What have you got planned for them?"

I plan on double-plying them into sock yarn.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Holiday

For those in the U.S., happy Independence Day and I hope our Canadian neighbours (did I spell that correctly?) had a lovely Canada Day.



Patriotism
Based on the patriots that helped establish this country 229 years ago, I feel that protestation and rebellion are important aspects to freedom and democracy. I am truly grateful for having been raised in a country where I am free to express my opinions, albeit lately under the threat of the dreaded Patriot Act.

There has to be a list of the crazy misnomers this administration has come up with to mislead or lie to the public:

War on Terrorism - Attacking an old enemy the president's dad
No Child Left Behind - Education to those who can afford it
Faith-Based Initiatives - Christian-only requests for money
Clear Skies Initiative - Allowing industry friends to put more pollution in the skies
Healthy Forests - Clearance to butcher our forests

I'm sure there are dozens more. Are there folks that are actually fooled by these idiotic descriptions? Hopefully the true patriots will stand up and vote next year to replace a hateful and hurtful Congress with folks that will vote on the public's behalf.

Current Knitting
With holiday parties and getting to spend time with Thaddeus for four days, I didn't do a lot of knitting. I'll provide an update of my pathetic progress in my next blog entry.

Other Fiber Activity
From the picture above, you can probably see that I spent most of my fiber-related time on spinning this weekend. As you can see, I finished the Cherry Merino and then wound it into these.



Now I've got 10 toilet paper tubes with five different colored merino singles wound onto them. I also started the deep blue merino. It's spinning up beautifully so far.

After the blue, I only have two more colors left. Two gorgeous greens.

Other Non-Fiber Activity
The bulk of my spare time was trying to finish this.



The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is a wonderful story that taps into the shame of "original sin" that we can all relate to in some way. I was most impressed with how he weaves his story. While I don't think his writing is as good as Yann Martel's in Life of Pi, the story makes up for the lack of genius in writing. He uses a technique of warning the reader of upcoming events by writing things like, "This was the last I would hear his voice for two years.", or "...but, that wasn't to be." I could have done without these little asides to the reader. Other than that, I thought this was a wonderful read.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Best Offense

It takes quite a bit of effort for someone to make me take offense.

Taking Offense
When someone gives me feedback, I find being defensive is one of the least productive reactions, yet it seems very common. I use a three-prong approach for determining how I will react when someone comments/provides feedback/attacks/insults, etc.:


1. I try to determine the person's motive. Is it constructive, helpful, loving, or is it retaliation, bitterness or hateful.
2. How much of the feedback rings true for me?
3. Is the person someone I trust, or someone who's feedback is usually valid?

Once I've decided these three things, the reaction is almost always simple. I can adjust my behavior as I see necessary, and take responsibility for my part and ignore the remainder. I can also try and correct any mis perceptions.

But getting defensive? That only serves to give the commenter more credence, even when their comments may not be true.

Current Knitting
I mentioned I had finished the collar and started on the first sleeve on the Wool/Hemp pullover.



Since the sleeve is a fitted sleeve, and I'm knitting it from the top down (cirularly), I did the sleeve cap using short rows and now I've started the decreases at standard intervals (right now every fourth round).

Readers' Comments/Questions
First of all, I wanted to thank Barb B. for her comment about Gay 101. Giving folks a small sense about how I see growing up gay was exactly what I was hoping for.

Michelene asks, "Joe, do you think that the media and even the church have skewed the reports of priests who are sexual abusers to spin it into a "homosexual" problem?"

I do think both organizations have tried, but not very successfully to focus the anger of priest child abuse on the gay community. Mostly, I think sane folks realize that the priests and the churches that participate in, or cover up pedophilia and pederasty are the issue. Not the sexuality of the priests.