Monday, July 31, 2006

Another Hateful Prick


See the kind of values that strict Catholicism will bring you? Now Mel Gibson shows his true colors.


Knew It All Along
Years ago, there were comments about what a hateful, homophobic prick he was. He made insulting comments about the gay community and then denied them. He made movies that clearly showed disdain for effeminate men.

Thaddeus and I haven't seen a Mel Gibson movie in decades, specifically because of all the rumored hatred. And when he came out with that horrible anti-Semitic, Jesus movie, dubbed by a critic as "The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre" because of all the blood and gore, I knew the guy was a zealot and a nutjob.

Despite his hungover apology, his alcohol-induced tirade shows without a question that he hates Jews. I'm only surprised he didn't accuse the office of being a fag.

I'll be interested to see how "his camp" tries to spin this one, especially with his next movie due out at the end of the year.

Time With Blog Friends
Nothing better for a queerboy than Sunday brunch with friends.



I had the chance to spend some time with Kathy and Selma (pictured), and also Claudia and Liza (quilt gurus) and Liza's husband, Drew. The food was perfect, and the company was better. If you look very closely at the picture, Liza is circled in red in the background.

Current Knitting
I did some additional work on the pink baby blanket, and it's coming along nicely.



I also sewed up one shoulder seam on the Faux Rib pullover and started knitting the collar. Finally, I did some minor crochet work on the diagonal lap blanket.

I didn't feel like sticking with any one project, so I just flitted back and forth between all of my current projects.

Readers' Comments/Questions
k notes, "I have been assuming for a while that your blog is mainly written for a particular group, and the rest of us are just eavesdropping."

In part, this is true. I write specifically looking for a readership that is smart, creative and opinionated. It turns out that you have to be somewhat thick-skinned to participate as well, which wasn't intentional. I think the Newcomer Rules state pretty clearly how I expect visitors/readers to participate.

Regarding the baby blanket, kathy (with a small "k") asks, "I like this pattern for baby blankets very much but I don't see a reference to that pattern."

It's an old Lacey's pattern that I got from one of my vintage, flea market pattern purchases. It's quite a simple pattern stitch...very similar to basketweave with a yarnover in the middle of one of the squares.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Pundit or Whore?




Bill Clinton Is A Latent Homosexual
When everyone was saying how awful it was that President Clinton got a knob washing in the Oval Office, my thought was always, "Shit!, he's the President of the United States, I'd blow him if he was into it!"

But now it seems that the media whore, plagiarist has made another audacious claim to sell her piece-of-shit book. Yes, that he's gay.

Makes me only want to re-elect him more.

Check out this site for a funny "audacious" commentary about the bony skin-bag (but it's not appropriate for children or at work).

Altough my favorite commentary about her, is that she was invited to a "news" show to provide punditry on the Israeli/Lebanon war, and it was clear she was only there to sell books. The commentator asked the first question, and the oh-so-bright Coulter responded with, "I haven't been reading the news for the last week."

I just wish the news shows would stop putting her on as a political expert. She's a media whore, who is willing to say anything to sell her crap.

Current Knitting
I've continued work on the pink baby blanket, and that's pretty much all I've worked on when I've had the chance to knit.



I've finished five pattern repeats, which is about 7 inches of blanket. Still about 28 more inches to go.

This Year's Bug
Remember last year around this time last year, I saw some heinous bug on my front screen?



That was a male Dobson fly. This year's specialty bug is the Imperial Moth.



Readers' Comments/Questions
Donna asks, "I know you've probably mentioned it before, but I'm wondering what you're planning on doing with the seemingly never ending Romney? Are you doing a big project? Trying your hand at dyeing?"

I'm not sure yet. I'm definitely not going to dye this myself. Way too messy and involved. I've got some ideas running around in my head, but nothing definite yet.

Regarding my example of how not to correspond with a blogger, Janet offers, "In other words Joe (especially but not exclusively) why is it appropriate to respond to someone with such venom? I suggest you consider taking a (figurative) step back; refrain from 'bitchiness' (either overt or covert) in your response and put this rather harmless request into a mental bin marked "not worth becoming nasty about?"

One other thing I find offensive, is folks that try to tell me how to write my blog (or even worse, how to feel or think). If you want to read less bitchy knitting blogs, there are plenty of them out there and many of them are way better than mine. Perhaps I should have put your comment in the same "mental bin" as I should have put Sharon's, but that's not how I react.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Inconsiderate Web Searchers



I know a lot of other bloggers get this kind of thing, but I thought I should be clear on exactly how NOT to communicate with someone who writes a blog.

Blog Requests
I get a lot of requests for patterns from random e-mailers, thinking that since I knit a lot, I might know where to point them. Even if I don't know, I will often do a brief search to see if I can help. Sometimes I can and sometimes I can't.

I had this volley of e-mails in the last few days:

From Sharon (who I don't even know if she reads my blog)


Hi, I have been looking for a pattern to knit the fuzzy dice for my brother. He restored his truck and wants the dice. Do you know where I can get the pattern. I also want the pattern where you knit the numbers right in the dice. I don't want to pit pom pom's on them.

Can you help me. I have looked all over the internet and everwhere else.

Thank you,
Sharon


Not such a bad request, although dice don't have numbers, they have "pips" or dots. Kim Salazar mentioned a free pattern for these dice by Berocco a while ago, so I tried to find it, but it's no longer available.

I reply


The only free pattern I knew about is gone now.

Good luck in your search.

Joe


Sharon persists
Hi Joe, I would pay for the pattern. I just need to
find one.

Sharon


In my first search, I briefly remembered seeing a book with a pattern for these in it, so I do another search and find Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'n Bitch Nation seems to have a pattern.

I reply
"Stitch 'n Bitch Nation" by Debbie Stoller has a pattern (from what I understand). I'm not sure if it's knit or crochet or what you're looking for, and I've never knit fuzzy dice myself, so I don't have any patterns myself.

QJ


All-in-all, it's not so annoying. I figured she could have just as easily found this resource, but maybe not, and I'm glad to help....

...until...

From Sharon again
Thank you Joe. Where can I get the book?


I'll let readers suggest possible responses. I'm not planning on responding, as she's now either just being lazy, or purposefully being an asshole. But I've thought of a few choice fantasy responses. I thought you all might enjoy the same opportunity.

Current Knitting
I've done a little more work on the new baby blanket, and I keep looking at the Faux Rib pullover to see if I'm inspired to start sewing it up.

I'm not.

Current Spinning
I plied up the two bobbins full of singles on the white Romney-like yarn, and now I have a total of eight big hanks of thick, lofty yarn.



I actually thought I was making a dent in the big bag 'o yarn, so I spun up another bobbin-full of singles.



I've also been making MUCH slower progress on the Chasing Rainbows Tussah/Cashmere spinning. It takes me a lot longer to work on a drop-spindle and to spin much more finely than the Romney.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding my characterization of someone with a harelip, Lesley asks, "Perhaps I have miscontrued your comments - did you intend them to be tongue-in-cheek?"

Kind of. I actually knew a student who was both mentally slow and had a harelip in the third grade. I'm aware that not all folks with harelips are "morons" like our president. You forgot to mention one of my favorite actors with a harelip, Joaquin Phoenix (although he says it's not a harelip, but a birthmark).

Susan asks, "I'd be interested in knowing specifically why you think his open mic comments were 'ridiculous' and 'completely inappropriate.'"

He spoke with world leaders as if they were fraternity members. I think he shows pathetically little respect and garners the same for his too-informal speaking.

Monday, July 24, 2006

My Mother Was Right...Again



She always told me that anyone could be president, even me.

Any Moron
Yes, if the current moron can be elected as president, I'm convinced that even that guy I knew in third grade with the hairlip, who took a little longer to form his words than most kids, could even become president of the United States.

After his ridiculous and completely inappropriate "active microphone" comments, and his shoulder massage for the German Chancellor at the G8 Summit, I can't imagine anyone does't realize that this man is a complete incompetent at World leadership. I'd be interested to read conservative blogs that could defend this kind of idiocy as anything other than incompetence.

Current Knitting
I finally finished the second sleeve of the Faux Rib pullover this past weekend.



Now, all I have to do is piece it together and knit a collar that will fill a rather large void and still look good when Thaddeus or I wear the finished garment.

New Project
After looking at the color brown for what seems like EONS, I couldn't even consider finishing the Faux Rib pullover this past weekend. So I started a new project.



This is a good start on the baby blanket for a coworker, who is scheduled to deliver her first child (a girl, presumeably), this September. I love the pattern stitch, and it seems to fly even though it's on US3 needles and each row is 215 stitches.

I like the pattern stitch so much, I don't even mind the color so much.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the white Romney, I'm spinning, Ted comments, "I'm just blown away by how you get so much spun so quickly."

As Marilyn correctly points out, I'm spinning this fiber much more thickly than Ted's current spinning project, and I'm not at all concerned about the consistency of the grist in this spinning project. It makes it a lot more fun to spin without worrying how the finished product will come out, and I can spin as fast as I can let the fiber fly onto the bobbin.

Concerning my spindling project, John from Portland says, "Joe, that's beautiful Tussah/Cashmere roving! Is it Chasing Rainbows by Nancy Finn? I've been spindling one of her colorways called Grand Canyon on three Bosworth minis, and then plying. I've got half a scarf knit up, and I can't get over how soft and glowy it is. What are you going to make with yours?

Yes, you and I are spinning the same roving...even the same colorway. I am currently planning on using the end product to make a scarf as well, since I don't have enough to make much more than that out of it. I'm glad to know it

Friday, July 21, 2006

Electronic Reliance



It's amazing how reliant I am on all things electric.

Cable Outage
I get my television reception and internet access through my local cable company...thank goodness I don't get my phone service from them.

Recent storms knocked out electricity in some areas around where I live for over a day. As part of that, my cable provider also seemed to be having difficulties, and I was without internet access or cable television for over a day as well.

The television I was glad to do without. I have full access to any and all DVD's and videos through Thaddeus if I care to keep myself occupied with the television set.

The internet is another thing. Inconveniences like not being able to post a blog or read friends' blogs were minor annoyances. But not being able to work remotely with my client's computer network really sucked. I was getting quite frustrated, until Thaddeus suggested that I use dial-up...it hadn't even occurred to me. Although it was at some times painfully slow, and I couldn't attend a phone conference and be dialed in, it got the job done.

Amazing how spoiled I can get in a matter of years. I remember when I first used dial-up, I was connecting at 2,400 BAUD, if I could connect at all.

Current Knitting
The paint continues to dry as I've reached about 15 inches on the sleeve, and I've completed the increases. One more inch without shaping, and then two more inches of sleeve cap shaping. Almost done...really.

Other Fiber-Related Work
I've done a bit more work on the five or so pounds of white mystery fiber that I got for my birthday. In additional to plying up yet another hank of yarn, I've also got two more full bobbins of spun singles ready to be plied.



It made me laugh when Marilyn was over last week. When she first saw this yarn on my blog, she thought it might be good to use to design an Aran sweater. When she saw it in person, she was a bit less enthusiastic about it, although she still thought it was perfectly fine, ordinary wool yarn.

Here's how much I still have yet to spin.



Current Reading
I just finished one of my favorite summer books so far, The Odd Sea by Frederick Reiken.



The book has a writing style that I just love, that reminded me of the writing in Life of Pi by Yann Martel. It's simple writing, but done with exquisite style. Each time I'd pick up the book, I'd find myself transported to the lush, verdant hill area of Western Massachusetts. The life of discovery that the author goes through is almost magical, and a wonderful read.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding my mushroom foraging, Julie asks, "i'm curious about the black ones - i haven't tried those - what are they like?"

I dont' remember having tried them either. They are actually a milder tasting version of the Chantarelle mushroom, with a more woodsy flavor. Tricky Tricot is right when he says to use them by themselves in an omelette. They add significantly to the flavor without being overpowering.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sharing Obsessions



Every once in a while, Thaddeus will join me at a fiber festival, or attend a lunch with some of my knitting buddies. I thought it was only fair that I should participate in his obsession every once in a while.

A Productive Walk In The Woods
The other day, we went in search of the wild Chantarelle mushroom, which is currently growing in the wilds of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

It turned out to be extremely successful. Both Thaddeus and I found baskets full of the beautiful apricot-colored mushroom.



Thaddeus found a similar amount of mushrooms. To be accurate, Thaddeus found all the mushrooms, I just helped pick them and schlep them through the forest.

But one thing I did do that was useful, was to stumble upon another prized mushroom during our foray, the elusive Black Trumpet mushroom.



You can see that we found quite a few.



Overall, it was a great day of walking in nature and while I don't like mushrooms to eat very much, it was fun participating in Thaddeus' excitement about it all.

Current Knitting
I've made very litte progress on the Faux rib sleeve. I was hoping that working from home would leave me a little more time to knit. That hasn't been the case so far. I'm hopeful that I will find a rhythm to it all.

To make up for it, I'll post a picture of Gage.



Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the new spindle I bought to spin the Tussah/Cashmere, Racheld asks, "What's the weight of the spindle you're using?"

I'm really not sure of the weight. I specifically asked Deborah at "Twist" what weight I should get for the Tussah/Cashmere, and she showed me a few. I just picked the nicest looking of my options.

Regarding keeping a yarn stash, Judi asks, "Do you have any suggestions on how to store it in an organized fashion?"

Not really. I bought some hanging canvas shelving and store my yarn in the guest bedroom closet. Not very organized at all, but I find it helps to be a bit messy in artistic endeavors.

Finally, regarding blog books, Stephanie notes, "Writers are so far out of the loop that I hate to see one taking a hit for inferior production. Think what you will of the book, but the writer doesn't make decisions about paper or photos."

And that is why Stephanie is loved by all. She's kindhearted and charitable. That's why QueerJoe will never write a blog-book.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Blog Books



Writing books has become a popular way for some bloggers to make a little money from their blogs.

Publishing
When Stephanie first starting writing books, I could understand the interest. She writes very well, she's clever and witty and puts a lot of insight into her writing. She also has a very large and devoted readership, so it is no wonder that her books and signing tours have been so popular.

But some of the other books from knit bloggers haven't been so successful. I just received an Amazon recommendation for one of them, and clearly Amazon doesn't understand my taste in books at all. This particular book, I saw in a Barnes & Nobel, and it is printed on the cheapest paper I have ever felt in a paperback. All the pictures (and there aren't very many) are in black and white, and the little bit of writing I read was inane.

I'm hopeful some of the better blog writers end up publishing books...folks like Franklin or Marilyn. Now those would be books I would buy.

Current Knitting
I've finished about fourteen inches of the last sleeve on the Faux Rib sweater.



Isn't this like watching paint dry for some of you? Sorry.

Weekend Yarn Visit
Marilyn came down to New Hope this past weekend, and Kathy and I and Marilyn went to Twist yarn store and had a nice luch at the local Thai restaurant (with Thaddeus).

As always, it was a lot of fun, but I also bought a couple more things at Twist. Since all of her Louisa Harding yarn was on sale, I bought these balls of Mohair/Nylon yarn.



They are very soft, and I thought they'd make beautiful scarves (in case I ever do another craft fair).

I also picked up some gorgeous Tussa/Cashmere roving that I thought might be too fine to spin on my Louet or Robin wheels, so I bought a decent spindle to spin it on.



I've spun up a couple of ounces, and it is going to make an incredible yarn when it's done. The spindle is from Cascade Spindles, and it works very nicely for this fiber.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Jenn asks, "I really want to learn to knit and I was wondering if you thought that it was possible to learn from a book or do you have to take a class of some sort? Do you have any suggestions for books for first-timers? What sort of supplies should I purchase? "

Knitting is extremely easy to do, and I originally learned by reading a book, so, yes, I do think it's possible. I don't think classes are at all necessary, especially with all the internet resources on how to knit. As for supplies, I would purchase a size US5 Addi Turbo needle, and some DK weight yarn (on the label, it will say what needle size is recommended...it should be US5), and my favorite newbie book for knitters, Maran Illustrated Knitting and Crocheting. Or I would just look up "how to knit" on Google and see if I could pick it up that way.

Regarding Liza's site for quilting fabrics, Cynthia requests, "If you have time, could you comment on how well the actual colors are reflected on-line."

This kind of thing varies significantly by monitor. Both my lap top and my desktop monitors show her fabrics quite accurately, but yours could be less true than mine.

Regarding all the kerfluffle around Kaffe's teaching style and Anne Marie's comments, I can only say this. I have taken classes with both Kaffe and Brandon, and enjoy being around both of them. I also respect that some folks have different expectations from workshops. Like with most things in life, I say take what you like and leave the rest.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Beauty of Kaffe



Two events had me in complete bewilderment as to how Kaffe can sustain such a long-running creation of beautiful things.

Fabric Browsing
I had the incredible opportunity to meander through stacks and stacks of fabrics yesterday at Liza's. I wanted to find some backing for the pillow shams I'm making to replace the hideous white pillows shown in the picture.

Years ago, when I first started knitting with colors, I started almost immediately with a Kaffe waistcoat. I didn't realize how difficult intarsia was supposed to be, so it turned out to be rather easy. Like Ted mentioned in comments about perserverance, even lace knitting isn't difficult, it just requires the committment to finishing it.

Similarly, when I stepped into the world of quilting, I started right with Kaffe fabrics. The best part about that was, it wasn't any more difficult using Kaffe fabrics on a simple quilt (and the Snowball design is very easy), and the results were equally as stunning.

Anyone interested in starting to quilt, or getting back into it, should definitely check out some of the designs on Liza's web site. Most of them are quite simple and yet they turn out incredibly well.

Book Store Find
The other Kaffe event occurred during a walk through a used book store in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. I found this book for US$2.



Most of the designs are dreadful, but the reason I had to buy it was for this picture of Kaffe in the bio section at the beginning of the book.



Stunning man.

Current Knitting
I made quite a bit of progress on the second sleeve. I'm up to about eight inches and 103 stitches across.

I'll post a progress picture in the next post.

Second Class Citizens
In light of the New York State Supreme Court decision, and reactions from folks like Lars, I decided to post this cartoon that Ted sent me.



Knew Knitting Knick Knacks
Reader Jodi sent me the link to this new idea she's marketing, and I thought it might be useful for other readers to know about this.

Check out her new knit-organizing kit. I especially love the knitminder idea for labels.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Helena asks, "What did you think of The DaVinci Code? Did you read the book before seeing the movie?"

I haven't read the book, but I enjoyed the movie. Like most Ron Howard movies, it was a little too neat of a package, but it was my favorite of his movies so far. I also am not a big fan of Tom Hanks as an actor, and I thought he did a good job in the movie.

Also on a movie theme, Michelene asks, "Joe, did you see Pirates of the Carribean yet?"

Yes, Thaddeus and I saw that this past Sunday night. I enjoyed it, but found the story lacking any substance whatsoever. I'm hopeful that the third movie will be a little bit more interesting from a story perspective. Johnny Depp was excellent, as always.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Fat Is The New Black



I've been going to the movies a lot in the last two weeks, and all I see are girls with stomachs hanging over low-rider jeans, and tops that accentuate their belly fat.



The Muffin Top Syndrome
Don't get me wrong, I don't subscribe to the theory that all girls should be rail thin. I think that looks worse than a belly hanging over a waistband.

But I also don't think that young women realize how awful this new "fashion" makes them look. Who could have believed a dress style could make a woman look both slutty and fat at the same time?

Given my current weight and body, I could show off a wicked muffin top, given the right jeans and tight-fitting, midriff t-shirt. But you couldn't pay me enough to show myself like that in public.

Current Knitting
With the completion of the quilt binding, I was able to get a few inches done on the second sleeve of the Faux Rib sweater.



I'm up to about four inches, and 81 stitches across (on my way to 18 inches and 153 stitches across).

Knit Friend Gifts
Carol S. has two great little kids. As one of their craft projects, they made me this incredibly thoughtful gift.



"I HEART QueerJoe"

I wore it to the movie theater last night to see The DaVinci Code and showed it off to all the girls with bellies hanging out. They were extremely jealous, I could tell.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the pictures of the quilt, Elizabeth asks, "Could you make some of the photos get bigger when you click 'em?"

Blogger only allows me to post pictures of a certain size, and while you can click on any of my pictures, and they sometimes display a little bigger, I can't get much more detail or size given the Blogger limitations.

Also regarding the quilt, knit-friend Kathy notes, "I tend to hate you a bit for being so good at every skill you take but, but so what."

Actually, when you see the quilt in person, you'll realize that my quilting "skill" isn't really so good. Much of the success of this quilt is the incredible fabrics, and Liza's good idea to use the Snowball design (which is easy, and requires little or no talent at all). You can envy my crisp white pillow cases, but not my quilting ability.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Perserverance Pays Off



Well, it's not on my current knitting project, but on the long-awaited snowball quilt that I sent off for finishing a while ago.

Quilt Accomplis
Yes, you are the first to see the completed quilt, and the finisher, Teresa, did a spectacular job on it. Here are some pictures.







I loved the way she did embedded, circular spirals in each "snowball" to accentuate the roundness (even though there's not a rounded edge in the entire quilt). Her four-petaled design in each of the corner diamonds looks great as well.

Teresa sewed the binding on to the top of the quilt, but felt it would be better if I hand-appliqued the binding to the back. I got the finished quilt via UPS on Friday evening, and finished the binding last night.



Overall, I am very happy with my first attempt at quilting. Now I have to figure out my next quilt project with my quilting guru, Liza.

Current Knitting
I focused most of my attention on the binding of the quilt, so I didn't get a whole lot of knitting done yesterday. I did do a few rows on the second sleeve.

Current Reading
Since being on vacation allows me to take a little more time with my reading, I've completed reading two books in the last week.



The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon is a wonderful and emotional book that describes in simple writing the pain of adolescence. Reading his journal of recovery from a suicide attempt allowed me to see his life from both my own view of adolescence, as well as from his parents' view and even his friends' and brother's.

The Boy From The Basement by Susan Shaw is a fictional account of child abuse, and recovery in a foster home. I don't know much about child abuse, but both the abuse and the recovery in a foster home seemed contrived and a little too perfect for my tastes. I imagine the process of recovering from such awful abuse would be a helluva lot more messy, without the perfectly insightful psychologist, foster mother and foster brother the author puts the victim with. This book was clearly written for an audience that likes their stories tied up neatly with a bow.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Susceptible



I'm most apt to start a new project during the most boring part of a current project...the second sleeve>

Perserverance
I've always said the knitting doesn't take patience, it takes perserverance.

And when I get to the second sleeve of a fine gauge sweater, like the Faux Rib, it takes all the perserverance I can muster to make myself finish it. Especially when I have other projects in the wings that I'm itching to get started on.

I've heard some folks knit both sleeves at the same time, and I've tried this, but it just makes the sleeve knitting even longer-feeling, in my opinion. Fortunately, my knitting isn't a necessity for me to stay warm during a cold winter, or to keep my family warm. Actually, with that kind of incentive, knitting the final sleeve might get done a little less grudgingly.

Current Knitting
Well, as I mentioned, I finished the first sleeve of the Faux Rib, and now I've just barely started the second sleeve.



I am really forcing myself to stick with this project until it's completed, but I have one other urgent fiber-related item that came Friday, that I also have to finish. I'll blog about that tomorrow.

Gay Sensibility
I know Lisa would disagree, but I think some gay boys just have a better sense of color and beauty than their straight counterparts. We had a friend over on Saturday, and Thaddeus picked up these gladiolas (gladioli?) at the local farm market.



I loved the color combination...it reminded me of one of the small floral print fabrics that I got at Liza's for my quilt.

You'll also notice there's an orchid on the left side of the picture which is just about to bloom again and below that, one of our many mushroom-related items in the house.

Friday, July 07, 2006

A Night With David, Stephen, Graham and Neil



Better known as Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Thaddeus and I got to see them last night in Camden, NJ, and it was a great concert.



Political Entertainment
It was great hearing a group put both their new songs and their old songs into political perspective.

Thaddeus mentioned after the concert last night that the last time he saw Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young was the day that Nixon resigned. They announced his resignation on stage to much cheering and then went on to play Four Dead In Ohio, their tribute to the four students killed at the Kent State protest. Hearing that song last night given the current climate, was very inspiring.

Current Knitting
I'm up to about sixteen inches on the first sleeve, and I've still got about 10 more increases to go to get it wide enough for the sleeve cap.



I've been working diligently to get this done so I can finish this sweater.

I've got two projects that I'm itching to start, the baby blanket for a coworker, and a sweater for Thaddeus' aunt. Both of them will be some color other than BROWN!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Another Axis of Evil Speaks Out



With a country as unstable as North Korea attempting to send off long-range missiles, it makes the "one percent" possibility that Iraq could have had Weapons of Mass Destruction seem kind of silly now.

Japan Must Be Concerned
With a seemingly mentally unstable leader of a neighboring country launching test missiles and the strongest allies in the world spending billions of dollars in Iraq, I can't imagine Japan is feeling too safe and secure.

What a freakin' mess the next president of the U.S. will have to clean up. Maybe Bill Clinton could come back to clean up another Bush family mess.

Current Knitting
I've finished over ten inches on the first sleeve of the Faux Rib sweater.



I only have another six inches to go, but they're also an ever-widening six inches of knitting. Currently I'm about 121 stitches across the row, working my way up to 153 stitches.

Yarn Store Purchases
Twist Knitting and Spinning, one of my local yarn stores is kind of a magical place. It's a small store about 2 miles from my house that has knitting, spinning and weaving merchandise, and while the owner Deborah's inventory is limited by space, she always has exactly what I'm looking for.

I went there initially to buy yarn for a baby blanket for a coworker. I didn't care what weight the yarn was, but it had to be pink and machine washable wool. As many of you know, I also prefer finer gauge yarns.

She had a bag of Debbie Bliss' Baby Merino in a very nice pink practically waiting for me with my name on it.



I couldn't have found a more perfect yarn for the project.

Since I was there, I asked about wooden swifts. My old plastic/metal one isn't large enough to hold hanks of yarn that I wind on my niddy noddy, so I was in the market for a larger one. Again, Deborah had exactly what I needed.



And at a very fair price.

Finally, she asked me if I'd like to try out a new roving she just got in that was a mixture of Merino and Hemp.



The combination is a very good one. The hemp makes the merino more lofty and the merino makes the hemp more soft. A perfect complement that I can't wait to spin.

All-in-all, a very successfuly visit to my local yarn store.

Ted Fans
For those fans of the incredibly talented spinner and lace knitter (among other talents), Ted, Franklin chronicles his visit and stay in Chicago. The combination of Ted's lace knitting and Franklin's photography is stunning.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day





The Cost of War
I just heard on the news that this Iraq war has already cost the U.S. taxpayer $350 BILLION dollars (that's $350,000,000,000 for those that prefer numerics).

Wouldn't it have been easier and less deadly to a lot of people to just pay each Iraqi citizen $13,000 dollars (there are about 26 million Iraqis) and ask them to just look at democracy as a possible way of life? Or maybe to have paid 350,000 Iraqis a million dollars each to start an insurgency for Democracy? Or perhaps they could have just hired 350,000 Americans at million dollars each to run this war...well, I guess they kind of did that...except Haliburton didn't give America quite that many people.

I don't know, but it just seems that $350,000,000,000 is a helluva lot of money to "bring democracy" to a country we didn't seem to care that much about for centuries.

Couldn't we have just sent flowers?

Current Knitting
I've made some additional progress on the first sleeve of the Faux Rib, but it's nothing to write home about, nor post a picture of.

Other Fiber-Related Activity
I have been continuously spinning the white Romney-like roving that I got for my birthday from Thaddeus' sister.

Here's my lastest hank of yarn from that batch.



Only about 20 more of those to go.

Flea Market Finds
This past weekend at our local flea market allowed me to buy this packet of pattern booklets and magazines for US$5.



The black and white Lacy's pamphlet toward the left edge of the picture has a baby blanket with a beautiful looking stitch pattern. I have a baby blanket to make for a co-worker, and I think this stitch will be perfect.

More to be revealed.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the Corner to Corner test-afghan, Bess asks, "Love the afghan--what kind of stitch is that?"

This link will bring you to a PDF pattern for the stitch.

Anne Marie asks, "regarding the corner to corner afghan: since I do not crochet, what stitch design would you recommend for a knitted c2c? garter is just too damn boring...."

I don't know of any other corner to corner knit stitches, other than garter. Any readers know of any?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Back Blogging



Now that life has settled down a little, I can get back to writing. I've missed it.

Cut-And-Run Democrats
What the fuck is wrong with Democrats today. So few of them have any spine at all.

We're in a war costing this country BILLIONS of dollars with the sole purpose of bringing democracy to a country, when this country's democracy is eroding every day because of civil rights and constitutional crimes by our president.

When one of the clone-Republicans asks a Democrat if s/he wants to cut and run, the clear answer should, "No...I want to cut and run like hell."

We shouldn't be in this war, and it's only making things worse for both the Iraqis and us by being there. Cut our losses, withdraw troops and get us the hell out of there.

Current Knitting
I made a little progress on the first sleeve of the Faux Rib sweater.



I know it's not much, but things should progress a little faster now that I'm on vacation and then I'll be working from home.

Current Crocheting
I've also done some additional work on the Corner to Corner afghan.



I'm really enjoying this stitch. I'm thinking I probably should have used a slightly larger crochet hook for this particular yarn, but even as it is, the mini-afghan is pretty good.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding my getting sick last week, Cat notes, "Sorry to tell you this, Joe, but the sinus/respiratory thing lasts a good three weeks."

I can't imagine how folks could diagnose something like this based on the description of it that I gave, but fortunately, it only lasted intensely for a day. I still have small remnants of it, but it's on it's last legs.

Regarding the flooding in New Hope that made national news, Betsy says, "Hope you and Thad weather the floods and that all your local haunts are able to open again soon..."

Where I live in New Hope doesn't get affected by the floods. This flood was bad mostly because it's the third one in two years, but it wasn't quite as bad as the last one in terms of damage to businesses on Main Street.