Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Concert Madness

Concerts have changed a lot since I used to go, and I blame cell phones for any of the things that are worse now than they used to be.

Barenaked Ladies
First of all, I have to say the concert was great. I've always like Canadians, but these boys give their countrymen a very good name.

They sang most of my newly learned favorite songs, and they brought an energy to their songs that was very appealing and highly enjoyable. If given the opportunity, I would absolutely recommend seeing these guys.



I didn't end up getting to meet them at a pre-concert reception, which I was kind of relieved about.

Vacation Reading
I forgot to mention that I ended up reading two books while on vacation last week.



The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks was an interesting fantasy novel that harshly criticizes the constant encroachment of government and commercial industry on our privacy and civil liberties. This isn't usually the type of novel I would read, but it was enjoyable, light reading. Perfect for vacation.



Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote, was an excellent little short story, that I read after having seen the movie, Capote. I loved getting wrapped up in the lives of the two main characters. It was the first time I had read anything by Capote, and I can clearly see why his writing is considered genius. There were three shorter stories in this book that I also enjoyed reading. I've also purchased In Cold Blood and I'm looking forward to starting it in the near future.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Marilyn asks, "So what's the lace garment? Or is it a secret?"

It's going to be a rectangular wrap. Currently, I'm planning on making the center panel with three diamonds going across, over a background of a very loose lace pattern stitch. Once that part is done, I'll try to figure out an appropriate border.

Carol S. asks, "Isn't 'southwestern style' a bit of an oxymoron?"

I know she asked this as a joke, but I have seen some extremely well done interiors done in Southwestern, but it takes a true expert to do it well. I liken it to the difference between some nerd mixing stripes and plaids, and Kaffe doing the same thing.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Southwestern Style

As a decorating style, I have never been too fond of "Southwestern," but it seems my living room has taken on that flavor despite any personal preferences.

Outside Influences
When Thaddeus and I first bought our house about 15 years ago, we decided we were in no rush to furnish or decorate the place. We made a concious decision to find good furnishings that we both liked, and not hurry through the process.

One of the first pieces of furniture we bought for our living room is a beautiful thick, cherry wood couch with cushions. We had a choice of upholstery, and selected a fabric that turned out looking a bit more Southwest than I would have expected.



While I still love the couch, many of our friends or family that came to the house assumed we were going for a Southwestern look, and bought gifts that reflected that. So, despite the fact that this is the only Southwester-looking piece of furnitrue in the house, folks still seem to think we're decorating in a Southwestern style.

Current Knitting
It seemed odd to me that the scarves I knit whilst on vacation in Arizona had a distinctly Southwestern feel to them, and it was completely unplanned.

I've decided to start a new project, using the laceweight merino I bought from Skaska Designs at Rhinebeck.



I'm designing my own lace garment, so between the incredibly small gauge for this yarn and the trial and error nature of my design process, I don't expect to have this project grow incredibly fast at the beginning.

New Web Site
I got an e-mail from new blog-knitter, Matt, and thought folks might like to take a look at his web site.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Emma asks via e-mail, whether she could purchase the Koigu Cross Stitch Scarf pattern directly from me, instead of getting it from The Knitting Vault.

Emma, I tried to respond via e-mail, but your e-mail address errored out on me, so I'll answer your question here for everyone to see. You can purchase the pattern directly from me for the same price as The Knitting Vault, but there are two hitches. First, I don't send a pattern with a picture, like you'll get on the Knitting Vault, and second, you'll have to use PayPal to buy it from me, whereas, TKV takes charge cards. I also have an agreement with TKV to not sell the pattern for any less than I charge on their site.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Arizona Dissappointments

Back from a week-long trip to the Grand Canyon State (although, we didn't go to the Grand Canyon) and I have mixed emotions about Arizona now that I've seen some of it.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
First of all, we stayed in a lovely Westin resort in Scottsdale. The Phoenix/Scottsdale area is beautiful and our weather was perfect. I even got to spend some time around the pool. The Phoenix area has some very nice restaurants. One Thai place in particular, Thai Lana, had excellent food that we enjoyed a lot.

However, I couldn't ever see my self living in Scottsdale. It would feel too much like being a regular character on the Golden Girls. Everything seemed so staged, that I don't think I would enjoy living there at all.

On Tuesday, we took an overnight trip down to Bisbee, Arizona, which is about 2 hours Southeast of Tuscon (which is about 2 hours Southeast of Scottsdale). This was the place we had been investigating via the web for about a year, and neither Thaddeus, nor I was very impressed. It is a lovely town, but the housing is run down and looking dilapidated. I don't think they've ever condemned a building in that town, although we saw a few that should have been. And while I'm sure we could have found a house that would have met our asthetic tastes and our needs, I didn't find that there was anything to do in Bisbee at night, other than go to bars or socialize with friends. There were a couple of good restaurants, but no movie theaters or other entertainment.

Thaddeus did end up buying a hat while we were in Bisbee. There is an exceptional hat store in town, where he found the exact hat he's been looking for.



This isn't the hat he bought. His was a deep gray, rabbit fur, felt hat, that he had customized with a simple black band of leather. It fits him to a "T". The man in the picture was the one who sold us the hat. He, like most of the folks from Arizona I met, was extremely pleasant.

Finally, we went up to Sedona. For those who have been, I don't have to tell you that it's truly beautiful. I didn't take any pictures, because my camera battery died, but feel free to do an image search on Google for Sedona. Other folks have taken much better pictures than I could have anyway.

Current Knitting
I finished a total of three scarves during my travels, all of them using the Brooks Farm yarns and the Koigu Cross Stitch pattern (slightly revised to get the length and width I wanted in the scarves). The first scarf, which was pictured in the last entry, was way too short, so I also made it somewhat narrow and figure it would make a beautiful scarf for a little girl.

Then I made these two scarves.



Here's a closeup of the unblocked fabric.



I love how these scarves turned out, and the Brooks Farm wool/silk yarn was both the perfect fiber and amazing colors.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Completion

This weekend was all about trying to finish outstanding projects.

Bad At Multi-Tasking
What can I say, I'm a 16 bit kinda guy in a 32 bit world.

When I try to get a lot done, I seem to get less done overall.

Current Knitting
I was able to finish the sleeve and the collar on the wool/hemp sweater.



I still need to weave in ends and block this sweater before giving it away. I'll do that when I'm back from vacation.

I also finished knitting the edging for the Vineyard Throw, and I even sewed on one side of it.



Now I just need to sew on the other edging (already finished knitting) and weave in all the ends. This will be a wonderful afghan to come home to after keeping warm in Arizona.

New Project
I needed a new project to start that wasn't overly complex or bulky to take with me on vacation. I decided to take the four hanks of Brooks Farms wool and silk yarn and make some cross-stitch scarves.

I already started my first one so I could make sure I had enough yarn to keep me going in Arizona.



The picture sucks, but the fabric this stitch is creating is perfect for this yarn and colorway.

See You When I Get Back From Vaction
I'll respond to any comments/e-mails when I get back.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Amazon Advertising

Since my internet cookies show that I have a predilection toward fiber crafts, I received an advertisement from Amazon yesterday for this book.



Assigning Mystical Qualities
Knitting has deeply affected my life. During a time of confusion and indecision in my life, I found a hobby that has been satisfying in ways that defy description. But honestly, it could have just as easily been collecting matchbooks, or flying model airplanes that provided a needed outlet for me.

What I'm saying, is that I don't assign mystical qualities to knitting, just because it was the hobby I happened upon at an important decision time in my life.

However, I know there are folks that do like this kind of relationship, and I didn't want to exclude promotion of such a book on my web log, in case I haven't chased away all of the folks that might harbor such thoughts about knitting.

Check out what the publisher has to say about the book here.

One final word about this from me. I enjoyed reading the list of some of the other books recommended by Barnes & Noble or Amazon for someone ordering this book:

The Knitting Way: A Guide to Spiritual Self Discovery by Linda T. Skolnik
Knitting Heaven and Earth : Healing the Heart with Craft by Susan Gordon Lydon
PuppyKnits: 12 QuickKnit Fashions for Your Best Friend Jil Eaton

Current Knitting
Made some additional slow progress on the wool/hemp sweater. Tonight should allow me a little more time to get the sleeve finished and move on to the collar.

Not sure yet what kind of collar I will do on this. It's a wide opening, so I'll have to fill it up with something. Just not sure what yet.

Other Weekend Fiber Activities
I did get in a few hours of spinning this past weekend. If I had focused all of my spinning attention on the last color of merino, I would be close to finished with it (or perhaps, I might have actually finished it).



But, I couldn't resist allocating some of my spinning time to the Robin wheel and the unknown tan fiber I'm spinning on that.



It was worth splitting my time. I'm loving spinning both fibers.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Cynthia asks, "Any idea of a good resource/reference for learning to fix knits?"

Since you specifically reference moth holes, I'm assuming you're looking for instructions on darning. Here is the best tutorial I've found on this.

Coming Out

Cheryl asks an excellent question, "How could you not be "out" if your blog is called "Queer" Joe...?"

In Your Face
I would rephrase her question a bit. I would have asked, "How can you say you've never really come out if your blog is called "Queer" Joe...?"

I never said I wasn't out. I am about as out as a gay boy can be. But my thought was that I never make formal declarations of my sexual orientation.

But when I read Cheryl's question, I realized I do, in fact, make such a declaration with the name of my site. Sorry for the lie.

Current Knitting
I have done very little, albeit some, work on the sleeve of the wool/hemp sweater.



Believe it or not, I have very little left to do on this garment, and the sleeve goes faster and faster as I have fewer and fewer stitches. I've actually completed another couple of inches on the sleeve since this picture was taken. I'm hopeful to have finished the sleeve by tomorrow night and to have started on the collar.

Work Deluge
I'm usually quite efficient at combining work and social life with my knitting and blogging, but for the last week or so, I've been struggling to keep up with it all. This is my way of apologizing in advance in case my posts are sparce between now and vacation.

While on vacation, I don't anticipate posting at all.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Upcoming Vacation

Yes, Thaddeus and I will be taking a trip to Arizona next week, for the week of Thanksgiving.

Arizona Dreaming
We're heading to the Southwest for a couple of different reasons. First, his sister and her family invited us down to Phoenix for the week, and we thought it would be an interesting way to spend the Thanksgiving holiday week. Second, Thaddeus and I have been considering retirement locations, and one of the possible places is Arizona.

While we're down there, we plan on going to Sedona and also down to a little town called Bisbee.

I'm hopeful that I enjoy the area.

Current Knitting
I ended up finishing four more scarves for the craft show, for a grand total of 16 scarves (actually 1 shawl and 15 scarves).



Here's a close-up of the fabrics for these lovely scarves.



I will work this week on the wool/hemp sweater and hopefully, finally finish this sweater by the weekend before we head off for vacation.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the Barenaked Ladies, JoVE asks, "(D)id you get that there is at least one gay guy in BNL?"

I haven't gotten that impression, but we can always hope.

Mindy asks, "Joe, am I remembering correctly, are you spinning the merino for socks? If so, how many plies will you use and how tightly are you spinning it?"

Yes, the merino is for socks, and I'm overspinning it some, so that I can ply it tightly (hopefully, it will help with the wear on the socks). I'm planning on double-plying it for sock-weight yarn.

Marilyn asks, "(D)o you think all bipolars should "come out" as well as gays?"

I think folks should live their lives as if they were proud of who they are (unless they're left-handed, and then they should just suffer in silence). Believe it or not, I have never "come out" in my life. I do talk about Thaddeus openly when it comes up as appropriate, and similarly, if I were bipolar, and the situation arose where discussing it was relevant, I'd do that too. Now, I think a more interesting question would be, if you consider pedophilia a disease, and you were recovering from that, would you be "out" about it?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Gifts From Friends

It is very exciting getting an unexpected gift.

Barenaked Ladies
A woman I work with in Albany has become somewhat of a regular at one of the semi-local Native American Reservation casinos. Due to her high-roller status, she has been assigned a Casino Manager who gets her all kinds of nice gifties. Since my friend is Canadian, and she loves Phil Esposito and the musical group, Barenaked Ladies, and the Barenaked Ladies are scheduled to perform at the casino(and Phil Esposito is not), she decided to have her Casino Manager get her free tickets and free hotel rooms for both she and I. The performance is on November 29th. I'm looking forward to it a lot.

The Problem
When she told me she had arranged for this performance, I realized with some panic, that I couldn't even name one BNL song. So I immediately went out and bought their "Greatest Hits" CD and began to listen. First song, The Old Apartment, never heard of it. Second song, Falling For the First Time, never heard of it. Third song, Brian Wilson, never heard of it (I know, I know...it gets worse). Fourth song, One Week (Since You Looked at Me), THANK GOD!, I knew this one. Fifth song, Be My Yoko Ono, never heard of it. Sixth song, Alternative Girlfriend, never heard of it. Seventh song, It's Only Me, never heard of it. Eighth song (and this is where it gets really bad), If I Had $1,000,000, never heard of it.

Now I'm starting to worry, especially since there's a possibility that we'll be invited to a pre-concert reception to actually MEET the guys in BNL (for those of you like me with limited knowledge, there are no "ladies" at all in this band, barenaked or otherwise).

Finally, I ended up recognizing four of their 19 greatest hits. I have since crammed for the concert, and I have memorized all the words to Brian Wilson and If I Had $1,000,000. I've studied the band members and listened incessantly to two of their CD's.

I think I could pass the immigration test for Canada now, and I'm almost ready for the concert.

I am grateful that I do like their music, elsewhise, this could have been painful.

Current Knitting
I finished another novelty scarf, similar to the terry-cloth-like green one. This one is bright orange with two thick green stripes in the middle. I'm also halfway through a fuzzy black scarf.

Pictures will have to wait until the end of the week.

Other Fiber Activity
I did get some spinning in this past weekend. I focused mainly on the Blue Spruce merino, although I didn't get incredbily far toward finishing it.



You'll note I still have quite a bit to go to finish this last color of merino.

I also did a little bit of spinning on the Robin Wheel, and the unidentified tan wool.



I'll focus more on that when I'm finished with the merino.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Geraldine asks, "What colour is that hemp/wool sweater? It looks different in every picture, or is it just my monitor?"

The color (or colour, if you use the other Queen's English) is just a natural off-white. The reason it changes so often is because I sometimes like to take the picture without a flash so I can get the pattern stitch to show up. This will often make it look very yellow.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Big Lips

What is it with these disgusting, unnatural looking lips that some folks think make them look sexy?



Plastic Surgery
As a gay man, who's major concern in life is looking good, I have no problem with folks that have work done to hide wrinkles, or remove body blemishes. I plan on doing it some day. But how can folks like Lisa (above) or Joan Rivers think that their freakish looks, caused by plastic surgery, are anything less than hideous?

I'm in favor of having an approval board that will evaluate whether a person can have a cosmetic surgical procedure done before they're allowed to get it. I'd be glad to volunteer my time on such a board.

Current Knitting
In my last post, I forgot to mention that I had completed some more of the sleeve on the wool/hemp sweater.



With all the work I've been doing on crappy scarves, it's no surprise that I forgot to mention the work on the sweater. I'll be able to pick this back up over the upcoming weekend. Hopefully, I'll be able to finish it soon, so I can mark this off my list.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding my review of Cast-On Magazine, Tapetum mentions, "I found three designs that were not completely awful." and then ponders, "Though I am curious if your two are part of my three."

One of mine was a child's cable/Aran sweater that I thought was too ordinary to mention and the other was a simple women's garment with a yarn that had gold sparkles in it (if I remember correctly). Neither of them remarkable in any way.

Marilyn offers, "If you want to read interesting history books, read Stephen Ambrose."

Honestly, I've never been a big fan of reading history, but it's good to know that if I have an urge, that a like-minded reader has given me an option. Thanks.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Moving Deadline

My craft show friend let me know on Sunday morning that she needed my completed scarves that day at 4:00 pm.

Completed Scarves
Thinking that I had until this coming Saturday, I had hoped to close to 20 scarves for the show. I ended up handing over only 12.

Here are the last two I completed.



You'll note I wasn't quite finished with the scarf on the right, but I had tags on both of them nonetheless.

When I delivered the 12 completed scarves, she did say she could take any additional scarves up until Friday, so I'll be working on one or two more before then.

Non-Knitting Time Drain
I have been keeping true to my decision to dedicate time to reading. I just finished:



This is my first McCullough book, and while he is definitely talented with this genre of writing, it will probably be my last. Don't get me wrong, I learned a lot about our country's history, and found some of the knowledge surprising. But it didn't feel leisurely and fun to read. I also found his style of writing to be somewhat repetetive and choppy.

Vitriol-Free Magazine Review
My mother really always did say, that if I don't have anything nice to say, to not say anything at all. It was usually said in a shameful tone after I had just spewed some hateful commentary about someone or something.

But that isn't why I'm not showing the awful designs in the magazines. You know I don't have any difficulty being vitriolic.

I'm only including the positive reviews so readers can know if it's a magazine worth purchasing (if the reader is in agreement with my taste in knitwear design). If you want to read enjoyable ridicule, You Knit What does a much better job than I ever could in a short sentence.



That being said, I bought Cast-On's Winter issue, and I can't find even one thing to recommend. The $5.95 was a complete waste of money as far as I'm concerned. The designs are truly awful, except for two that aren't awful. The articles are useless and even the advertisements weren't appealing.

I don't think I've ever written this before in my blog, but don't waste your money on this issue.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Norah's Book

For those of you who don't know of Norah Vincent, she has been a controversial voice in the GLBT community for years and a free-lance political writer. With quotes like,

"The left had become little more than a meeting place for balkanised groups of discontents, all bent on extracting their quota of public shame and their slice of the entitlement pie,"
you can understand why she'd be viewed as controversial. You may have seen her on "Politically Incorrect" or read her articles in the national GLBT magazine the Advocate.

So Typical
Isn't it just like the women associated with Norah's new book to send praise and thanks for being mentioned, but do I hear one single word from Ned, the main character?...uh...no.

Men!

I've been fortunate enough to have met Norah, through her knitting partner, Lisa. She is incredibly sharp and funny, and has that quality that makes people just like hanging out with her. She and Lisa are also one of the most gorgeous couples on the planet in an indescribeably non-traditional way.



Lisa and Norah told a few of us about her book two Christmases ago, but she asked us not to discuss it until the publishing agreement was final. I can't believe the book will be out in January of the upcoming year. I've already pre-ordered my copy.

Current Knitting
I did finish the latest novelty yarn scarf, and then did a couple of dozen rounds on the sleeve of the wool/hemp sweater. I fell asleep last night at 8:30 and didn't get up until 5:30 this morning. With Winter coming on here in Albany, I clearly felt the appeal of hibernation.

I'll post pictures over the weekend sometime.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Magazine Overload

I don't subscribe to any magazines at the moment. I used to subscribe to the national rag for the GLBT community, but it turned into "People" magazine with a gay slant.

Explosion of Magazine Choices
When friend, Lisa, mentioned "Radar" magazine, it was no surprise I had never heard of it. Since she recommended that I pick up a copy, I struggled to figure out what genre of magazine it was. It turns out, it's some mongrel mix of politics and pop culture.

After a struggle, I located my copy of Radar Magazine at my local B&N.



You'll note the section of the cover that I expanded at the side. This is what a national magazine had to say about Lisa's partner's new book, Self-Made Man - by Norah Vincent. I've been very excited about the publication of this book, and it's expected out in January. Getting a preview of it in Radar only whet my appetite more.

Current Knitting
I didn't quite finish the novelty scarf yet, although I'll be certain to finish it tonight. At which point, I'll start working on the last sleeve of the wool/hemp sweater. This weekend will include doing a couple more scarfs as well.

Other Fiber Activity
This past weekend, in addition to novelty yarn scarves, I got a little more done on the Blue Spruce merino spinning.



If I'm very lucky, I might be able to finish off the spinning of all the pounds and pounds of merino this weekend. If I'm not so lucky, the merino spinning may carry into the following weekend. Fortunately, I've enjoyed the experience immensely.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Friend Lisa, characteristically asks, "OK, OK, it's all great and positive just to focus on the stuff that's worth mentioning, but where's the vitriol about the stuff that's craptastic?"

Here's my thinking. Reviews help folks decide if they want to buy the magazine. Telling them the projects that I think are worthwhile helps them do that. Detailing the remaining sewage only lets potential buyers know what they'll have to wade through to get to the good stuff. Since reviewing only what I consider worthy is a lot easier, I've opted for that.

Besides, "You Knit What" does a great job of making fun of the crap out there in the knit-World.

Marilyn notes, "Those sweaters are OK but frankly, hardly worth the money for the mag."

I am in total agreement, I hope my review didn't indicate otherwise. If Marilyn wants to make the Asian Mystery garment, I'd gladly give her my copy of Knitting.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Knitters Fall 2005

I guess 3 out of 24 ain't bad.



Knitters Review
Yes, I bought the latest issue of Knitters and overall, I'd call it rather dreadful.

For a price of US$5.95, you get 24 designs, which includes:


- A man's scarf/bow tie design
- A woman's hat/scarf design
- An intarsia blanket
- 3 Children's sweaters
- A design for neck ties

The articles are dull and useless, unless you enjoy reading Perri Klass' writing.

Of all the designs in the magazine, I found three worth mentioning.

Asian Mystery - by Katharine Hunt



Nice use of mosaic slip stitch patterning in black and white. Good shaping and simple, yet professional finishing. A good classic garment with lots of interesting techniques.

Channels & Ribs - by Kathy Cheifetz



This is an excellent use of Manos del Uruguay yarns, and I love how she combined the solid brown with a variegated collar. This is an extremely stylish design that appears to be a joy to wear and wrap yourself in. Despite using heavy yarns, the garment comes off as sleek and long. A very successful design.

Murphy by Ronbin Melanson



A very simple design, I just liked the designers use of color. It's unusual, but still yet very appealing to the eye. While I wasn't overly thrilled with her cuff treatment, she made up for it with a zipper edging that works very well.

Current Knitting

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the craft fair I'm making my novelty scarves for, Lorre asks, "Which craft fair?"

I'm not sure...I think it's a benefit craft fair in Neshaminy Hills if that gives you any clue. I won't even be going, I'm just giving my scarves to a friend who sells her jewelry there, and she will sell them on my behalf (I think).

The Marvels of Technology

And the marvels of a tech-savvy lover.

Okay, Not So Marvelous
Thanks to Thaddeus and the help of technology, I have access to the pictures on my camera that I took this past weekend.

So...I get to show you the lovely green scarf as I described.



And the black, jewel-like scarf.



I even have a closeup of the "jewels."



Scarf Patterns
For the novelty scarves, I usually only do three different pattern stitches, and the selected pattern is based on the yarn characteristics of the scarf.

If the yarn is fuzzy and will show virtually no pattern definition, I simply knit all rows in garter stitch. It's easy and fast, and it doesn't make much difference anyway.

If the yarn will show some pattern stitch design (such as the green scarf above), I knit two rows and then purl two rows. This gives more length than garter, but it also requires a little more attention, because sometimes I can't tell whether I've just completed a purl row or a knit row on some of these yarns.

Finally, if it's a glitzy yarn, that will make an accent scarf (as opposed to a functional, warm scarf), like the black/jewel scarf, I use a simple four row repeat.

Rows 1 and 2 : Knit
Row 3: K1, YO, rep to last st, K
Row 4: K1, drop YO, rep to last st, K

This gives a very open, drapey scarf that maximizes the often low yardage of many of these novelty yarns.

Current Knitting
I'm working on another black/jewel scarf. I really like how that one turned out, so I thought I'd make about four of them for the craft show. Folks often like black and bright shiny colors, so this scarf should sell well. I'm about one quarter done with the scarf, and I'm hopeful to finish it by tomorrow sometime.

Regarding my antique circular sock machine, Marilyn asks, "Is it a Harmony sock machine that you have?"

No, it's a Gearhart. I've got two cylinders 80 and 100 needles (if I remember correctly) and the ribber attachment. When I had it all set up and working well, I created two standard ribbed socks in 45 minutes. It would take me a while to get it all set up and getting it tuned and oiled again, but when I do, I could crank out those socks. Also, I don't anticipate getting a loom anytime while I still live in my current house. I'd want a big muthafuckin' loom, and I just couldn't accommodate one now.

Alison asks, "Joe, did you know? Having taken over Scharffen Berger first (nooooo!), Hershey's bought out Joseph Schmidt in August."

No, and this is very disappointing. I'm hopeful nothing changes with Joseph Schmidt, because it has been a constant source of extremely beautiful and tasty gifts. Thanks for letting me know.