Monday, July 30, 2007

Vacation Time


Next week, Thaddeus and I will be vacationing with his family in Martha's Vineyard.



Blogging and Knitting
Typically, I do no blogging while away, and just about as much knitting.

I will usually bring along some knitting project with me, and my camera, and I sometimes post pictures of vacation when I get back...but don't expect much, if anything to be posted next week.

I will be publishing for the remainder of this week.

Current Knitting
I've done a bit more on the front of the Aran pullover.



One of the smartest things I did on this design, was completely unintentional. All of the pattern stitches are worked in multiple of 8 row stitch patterns. As a result, it's very easy to keep track of where I am on any one row.

I would highly recommend this if you decide to design an Aran from scratch.

I also got somewhat distracted from Aran knitting with an hour's worth of novelty scarf knitting.



I'm getting to the bottom of my novelty yarns, so I probably only have about 12 more scarves worth of yarn to work with...currently.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Alice writes, "Wow, if you call Arlen Spector a lapdog, I really want to hear your
name for our ex-senator, Rick Santorum. (and I am proud to say I did my part to boot his ass out of office!!)

Actually, I don't consider him a lap-dog at all, especially compared to Santorum. I was just completely annoyed to hear him say he supported the president's right to executive privelege in not letting his folks testify before congress.

Meribeth asks, "I do have a question about your sweater. What method are you going to use to seam it? I ask, because I did something similar but the underarm was too bulky."

I'm not sure yet, I was planning on using my standard method for attaching the sleeve. I liked what a prior reader wrote about using a simple stitch for the side panels, to make the underarm less bulky. I will probably take both your comments as a warning to make the arm-hole a little bigger than I might for a plain stockinette stitch sweater as well.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's Time For Conservatives To Step Up


With a president in the White House who is continuously thumbing his nose at the constitution, where is the conservative voice calling for impeachment? Where are the Kenneth Starr's?

You Know Damn Well...
...that if Bill Clinton disallowed his staff from testifying before congress, the torches and pitchforks would be waving. And yet, our very basis for being a democracy in this country is being trampled on, and I hear a few mumblings, but no action from the conservative side of the aisle. The president's lapdog from my great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter is even defending the president's rights in this!?!?

The current Attorney General has clearly lied to Congress, and the President still fully supports him. If it wasn't obvious that Gonzalez was lying after his latest testimony before congress, they now have a memo (de-classified by the White House a while back) that shows our top attorney in a bold-faced lie.

Bush won't allow Karl Rove, Harriet Miers or Josh Bolten to testify, claiming executive privelege? What kind of bullshit is that?

You folks from conservative states...you may hear your congress-folk blustering on about the bad president and the bad war, but when it comes time to put their words into action?...nothing!

How can you stand by watching your ever-loving democracy be shit on like this? I mean really, WWJD?

Current Knitting
I was able to finish the back of the Aran pullover, and start on the front.



I think this will turn out to be quite a nice sweater, and I will look forward to wearing it on cold Winter days this coming cold season (assuming we actually have one).

Current Reading
An infrequent reader sent me a link to her iPod/MP3 book that she has narrated herself. I warn you before you go there, that you shouldn't listen to the first chapter unless you want to listen to all nine. The narrative is incredibly compelling.

I would be very interested to hear what others think of this style of "writing." I absolutely adored it, and I can't say I've ever read anything like it before.

And if by chance, you listen and don't like it, you should absolutely NEVER take one of my recommendations for what to read. I found this audio book completely sublime in every possible way.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Anonymous writes, "Let us know if your hits go up over the use of the word clitoris in this post."

Actually, I haven't had one hit on the word, as far as I can tell from my stats counter. I don't think most porn-hungry men would type in that word. Most would type in pussy or if they wanted to get technical, might go so far as to type in vagina...but clitoris...not so much.

Sandy asks, "Which photo is the closest to the color of the Aran?"

The only picture so far that actually shows the color of the yarn at all accurately is the post of July 13th.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

A QueerJoe Declaration


By his royal blog decree, the "shrug" will from here on in be known as the "schlub."



Who Has Enough Panache?
When it comes to garments like a schlub, it takes a certain confident and attractive look to be able to carry it off. Natalie Portman could get away with wearing one...perhaps. But short of at least that stature and presence, I don't think anyone should consider making themselves one of these abbreviated garments, thinking that they will be able to get away with a funky, trendy look.

Because often the garment and the person wearing it will end up with the same moniker on this blog.

On a lighter note, Liza sent the video link above to me, and I thought you must just see it. First the primary debates are taken over by YouTube, now knitting is?

Current Knitting
I've gotten about 3 more inches of work done on the Aran pullover.


If Nico hadn't been so needy in the last day, I might have gotten a little more done. But it seemed everytime I'd sit down to work on this garment, Nico wanted to play or get brushed/pet or get fed.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding my mention of the colors of flowers, "friend" Carol writes, "P.S. clearly it is your ignorance of the color wheel and color theory that has you punting on the discussion...;)"

"Friend" Kathy follows up with, "Oh, yeah, what about Carol's inference? I seem to recall your ignorance of color theory is quite remarked-upon.
By "experts", even."

First of all, some parts of the World use the spelling, "colour". I will use the standard American spelling...I just didnt want folks thinking I was as U.S.-centric as my two questionning friends. Second, I'm not sure, but if my understanding is correct...on a standard color wheel:



If two hues are opposite each other on a color chart, they are considered to be complementary colors.



When used together in a design they intensify both colors and make the warmer color(s) brighter. This can be a great way to combine unlikely colors in ways that are palatable from an aesthetic perspective. This method of combining colors can be risky when applied to men’s knitwear design, as it can make for a very loud combination of colors. A couple ways of muting the effects of this high-contrast method of color design is to use more smoky shades of the complementary colors. Deep antique golds with rich, dusty plum colors work much better on an overall garment design than bright yellows and bright purples (unless your goal is to have a loud, bold design. The honeysuckle and the clematis (pronounced with the exact same emphasis as the correct pronunciation of clitoris), on the dark green background, make a perfect set of complementary colors.

Moorecat asks about the Aran side panels I will be knitting, "Will you join the straps as you go, Joe?"

I will knit them separately, and then sew them on. Not because I don't like wool in my lap, but because it will just be easier overall for me that way.

A Nice Light Topic


Thaddeus suggested that I take pictures of the flowers in the back of our house. He figured I could discuss how they fit in with color wheel theory or something.

I'll Just Show Flowers



We have a bank of some kind of evergreen that "separates" our house from the houses behind it. Twined throughout these evergreens, Thaddeus has three vines growing. The lovely orange honeysuckle, on which we sometimes see hummingbirds feeding. And then two different colors of clematis...the one not shown is a lighter violet which goes well with both the deeper purple and the orange of the honeysuckle.

Current Knitting
I got another chunk of work done on the Aran pullover this past weekend.



This equates to about 20 inches. I'm kind of annoyed with this project. I didn't really want to design a sweater from scratch, so I used the basic proportions and stitch counts from one of the sweaters in the The Harmony Guide to Aran and Fair Isle Knitting as my...well, guide.

I started with the largest man's sweater in the guide, which makes a 25.25 inch width back, and then added another 1.5 inches worth of stitches to give the sweater more ease. Even with the extra stitches, it appears that the back will block out to about 24 inches, which will be about 4 inches less wide around than I had hoped.

I've decided that I am going to add a design element to this sweater. Instead of shaping for the armholes, I'm going to knit the back and front as if I was doing a drop-shoulder...or no shaping. Then, I'm going to knit two additional panels of 2 inches each, that will only be the length of the body up to the armhole opening.

This will both give me some set in sleeve shaping, as well as correct the missing four inches of girth that I had hoped for. Something like this.



Current Reading
As part of my "Summer Off Reading Series," I just finished a most wonderfully written book, called The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, by Carson McCullers.



This is an older book, originally published in 1940, and then gained renewed acclaim when Oprah put it on her list (which usually isn't a good thing, as far as I'm concerned). In this case, the book is an exquisitely written story, written from multiple characters' perspectives. If you love good character definition, I have read none better.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Political Incorrectness


Gay woman or lesbian? Asian or Oriental? Black or African-American. Disabled person or person with a disability? They're only words, what does it matter?

Words Used As Hate
I hate being accused of political incorrectness...especially by someone I respect or whose opinion I value. Years and years ago, I was visiting a good friend in San Francisco, and attempted to insult him by telling him he drove like a lesbian. He took me to task for the insult...not to him, but to lesbians, and I was quite offended, until I realized he was right. I have since been more careful about how I throw around my words.

Years later, but also quite a while ago, when I was working in Human Resources, a co-worker, Michelle (the supervisor of Employee Relations) had a friend (also an employee) she was pretty certain was gay (he was, but had never come out to Michelle).

Michelle asked me if I thought her friend might be offended by her use of the word "gay" to signify dorky or awkward, e.g., "He was wearing a sweater that was so gay."

I knew Michelle didn't mean any harm toward the gay community. I knew that she consdidered the word "gay" to have multiple meanings, including "dorky."

Since my friend was Jewish, I made a comparison of her use of the word gay to a gentile's use of the word "jew" to mean cheap, such as "He didn't want to pay the asking price and ended up jewing him down to a ten percent discount."

Michelle argued that the use of the word jew was clearly derogatory in that sense, and I pointed out that her use of the word gay was as well. She decided that associating gay to dorky was in fact similar to the association of jew to cheap, and that she wouldn't use gay in that way again.

Like I said, I knew Michelle well, and knew she wasn't trying to be intentially hateful in her words, but by perpetuating the use of the word "gay" in a negative way, she was doing exactly that.

Current Knitting
I spent the entire last few days working on scarves, scarves and more scarves. Actually, I only finished five scarves, but I was quite please to have finished that many. Here they are.



This one is a very light and soft and warm microfiber scarf...if I could wear traffic-cone-orange, I would keep this one for myself. It would be a perfect hunting accessory if I ever did that.





This one, on the other hand, is a bulky, thick and warm scarf with confetti-like speckles in it.




This is just a crappy, very loosely knit eyelash scarf. Purple seems to sell well, so I thought this would work out well.




This was the surprise scarf of the batch. It's made with a cheap acrylic ratty looking yarn, and I love how the scarf came out. I will be making a few more of these, especially since I got the yarn on clearance, and I'll be able to sell them for an inexpensive price.



Finally, I finished one more Boteh-like scarf. I still haven't gotten tired of this pattern. Like a commenter mentioned a while ago, it is addictive.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding social healthcare, JoVE writes, "Another blogger I read made a comment recently that despite the problems with your current health care system, he wouldn't want the government involved as long as it was so corrupt and ruled by self interest and the interests of big business."

I couldn't disagree more. The current system is already run by big business, not just corrupted by them. Government oversight of healthcare would at least be one step away from profit-making whores overseeing my healthcare.

About the Aran sweater I'm working on, Marilyn writes, "Isn't it funny how you keep the stitch markers in place, even once you know the pattern completely? I see you still have yours in place, even though I know you know exactly where each pattern begins and ends."

Actually, the markers let me knit without thinking. Without them, I would have to count some of my stitches. Maybe her analogy to traffic cones is accurate.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I'd Like To Believe...


...that if I was elected to public office, my actions would always reflect the beliefs I expressed when getting elected.

I Am What I Do
Anyone that has ever faced the possibility of losing a job that they liked will probably express a similar feeling to what I've felt in the past. Here's what I mean.

When I like a job, I put a lot of myself into it. After doing that for a while, I often start confusing who I am, with what I do. Or minimally, I start to gain much of my self-esteem from the approval I get from my work.

When faced with losing such a job (which I have faced in the past), it turns into more of a crisis of self-identification and trying to redefine who I am. Add to that the potential financial crisis that my occur, and the fear of the unknown, and all the other factors around potential (or actual) job loss, and this kind of event in one's life can be significantly traumatic.

All that being said, I would hope that when public officials got into office, they would be able to divorce themselves of the identification of themselves as "an important government figure," to do their jobs with a high level of integrity and commitment to their constituents...without worrying about keeping their job, or the power and money that might go with it.

I know it's a lot to ask, but I can't see how our government will ever succeed in the long run, when self-interest is more important than the public interest.

I take the example of the recent resignation of the Secretary of Veteran Affairs, R. James Nicholson.

The state of affairs for our veterans is deplorable. We treat them worse than the detainees at Guantanamo Bay in some cases. I ask, why didn't this appointed Secretary stand up and say something about it? Why didn't he keep making a pest of himself until the right thing was done about it, or he was fired?

I can only believe that as he leaves the department of Veteran Affairs in a complete shambles, he can't have any shred of accomplishment or pride in having done nothing while the area for which he was responsible got worse and worse. Wouldn't it have been better if he had at least tried?

I'm going to start to ask my elected officials to do just that. With my leisure time, I have the ability to write personal letters to my senators, congressmen and local officials to stand up and do what we elected them to do. I can only hope others will start to do the same, and our officials will start to do their jobs...regardless of the consequences.

Current Knitting
I've done another few inches on the Aran sweater.



I thought you'd want to see it anyway. Mostly, I've been working on craft-show related items. In addition to starting four more scarves (which I'll show pictures of when they're done), I also made some crochet bowls, which I will felt, so that I can have some additional fiber-goods on my craft table to sell, other than just scarves.



The bowl in the front is already felted, to show you about what they'll look like when finished. These "bowls" aren't overly useful, but they use up leftover felt-able yarns, and folks seem to find them interesting. With an inexpensive price tag, I think I can get some sales that I might not be able to if I only have scarves.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Congratulations Blog Contest Winners!!


Results of this contest were very mixed in my mind. On the one hand, very few blog readers participated, but on the other, I feel as though a very important organization and issue of inner-city education was brought to light.

The Winners
There were a total of five folks that contributed to Year Up, for a total of $150. Thank you very much to all who participated, and put money toward this wonderful cause. The winners are:

First Place: Marilyn R. (our favorite knitting curmudgeon)
Second Place: Cathy K.
Third Place: JT of "JT Casey Designs"

I know it might sound odd that my friend Marilyn won, but I used a random number generater in MS Excel to pick the winners, so there would be no partiality on my part. I will be contacting the winners in order to ask them which gift they would prefer, but I will also be sending gifts to the other two contributors, because I feel all of the folks are winners.

Thank you again to all who participate in helping improve education for our impoverished and/or inner-city youth.

Current Knitting
Worked more the Aran pullover this weekend, and got quite a bit done.



This is about 11 inches, and now that I don't have to consult the instructions each row, it should move along a little faster.

I did make a small mistake, but it's hardly noticeable, and I can replicate it on the next repeat so it looks like I did it on purpose. I just have to remember to make sure I do the same thing on the front of the sweater.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Blog contest winner Marilyn asks, "Do you have Janet Szabo's book on designing Arans?"

No, I am using various pieces from the Harmony Guide for Aran Knitting. It seems quite sufficient for my needs. I'll have to check out Janet's book next time I see it, to see if I could find a reason why I needed to own it...that shouldn't be too hard I'm sure.

Regarding my test retirement, Tabitha asks, "Do you have any specific things you know you'll do?"

Other than knit, blog, read and our planned vacation to the Vinyud, I will also be starting to exercise again. Mostly fast/long walking to start, and then jogging once I get down below a weight where my joints don't hurt when I run.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Gearing Up For Retirement


I've worked in consulting for over 10 years now, and with retirement looming within 5 or 6 years, I've decided to start taking time off from work when I'm between projects.

Test Retirement
Having just finished working on a project, I'll be taking off the next three months. Fortunately, I have a lot of accrued vacation that I can use, and also fortunately, my company will allow me to take this time, unless some critically important project comes up for which they need me.

I'm hoping this will give me a sense about what it will be like when I won't have to work anymore.

It will be different in a couple of ways. First, what I call retirement, really means not having to work any more financially. Despite lack of financial need to work, I will probably do some work nonetheless. Not consulting...perhaps a small web business, or working at a local yarn store, or working part-time for Liza at her fabric business (if she'd have me). During these three months, I won't be working.

Also, when I retire, there will no longer be a need for me to keep in touch with my bosses and my work network (except possibly socially). During this time off, I will still have to keep in touch with some folks, in case I'm needed. I have also said that I will continue to do a couple administrative items while I'm off, such as performance reviews and time/expense account approvals.

But other than that, I will be relaxing, knitting, blogging, reading and Thaddeus and I have a vacation scheduled in Martha's Vineyard in August.

Current Knitting
For those who didn't believe me, I really have been working on an Aran pullover. Here's the proof.



You'll note I haven't made a boatload of progress this week (or maybe you won't, since you've never seen a picture of it before). The final weeks of a work project often keep me quite busy, even in in the evenings, so being disabled by having to use a coffee stirrer for a cable needle, and having a lot of last minute cleanup to do, I didn't have a whole lot of knitting time.

But I was also able to finish another one of these.



I have a feeling these will be big sellers, so I will be making another one at one point before any craft show comes up.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Donna writes, "Although my favorite "cable" needle is a short dpn, when I need a substitute, I use a crochet hook"

I also use a five inch DPN for my cable needle. I have a bazillion of them in many different sizes, but I just didn't have one with me...nor did I have a crochet hook.

Kathy writes, "Honey baby sweetiepie, get over yourself and just knit the cables.
You don't need a cable needle. It's nothing more than repositioning the stitches that get twisted." (I left out the "grow up" part at the end)

I can cable without a needle, I just go quite a bit faster with one. Kathy certainly knows that I understand the composition of a cable transfer. If you've ever made cables on a knitting machine, it makes it even more obvious (I think). So, even with a coffee stirrer as a poor substitute, I was still able to cable faster than not using anything...especially on the 4 over 3 cables.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Reader Appreciation Day


Sometimes I forget that some readers of this blog find me and my writing to be not to their liking, so I wanted to send out a special thanks to all the folks that either enthusiastically embrace my ideas, or minimally put up with them and read my blog anyway.

Myopia
Marilyn sent me an article from the New York Times about some homophobic ass-hat that Bush wants as the next Surgeon General.

I replied to her e-mail, stating that one of the few charactericstics of our president that I share, is that I don't read newspapers (or rarely, other than our local community newspaper).

Then I tried to think of other areas where I was similar to this man I despise, and a myopic, self-centered viewpoint was the other less-than-positive characteristic I could come up with.

Every once in a while, I like to try and look outside my absolutely-certain-points-of-view, and try to see things from a different perspective. I would only hope the man in the White House at the moment would do it at least as seldomly as I do.

So, in gratitude for an incredibly refined, knowledgeable and opinionated readership, I give you a picture of my two favorite guys in the World.



Current Knitting
I've done some additional knitting on the new Aran pullover design. Most of the pattern stitches are in 8-row repeats, except for one, which is 32. I have just finished the first of the 32 repeats, and started the second.

I also have a little more information, and an old picture of the yarn that I'm using.



I bought the yarn in Schenectady, NY in March of 2004. It's KFI Gaelic Aran yarn, in a color they call sage, although I've heard tell that the yarn has been discontinued.

I got to Delaware this week without three things that have made life a little more difficult.

You know I forgot my camera cable, so I can only publish photos I had already downloaded before I left home, or pictures I steal off the web.

I also realized Monday evening that I forgot my cable needle. I think knitters substitute a lot of odd things for various knitting tools, and necessity truly does become the mother of invention. I also believe that cable needles are the most frequently substituted knitting tool. I'm currently using a coffee stirrer for my cable transfers.

Finally, I realized Tuesday morning, that I had no razor blades...not even an old one in the razor. I had to pick up one of those Bic disposables so I didn't look like a homeless person.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Fredda asks, "Have you decided to make a pullover instead of the vest? I must have missed something, but I love Aran pullovers."

Yes, the MenWhoKnit list was talking about an Aran vest KAL, and I was considering it, but honestly, I look stupid in vests, and I have enough yarn for a full pullover.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Mystery Solved


Well...I guess that means there was a mystery, and you may have never thought there was.

Hollow or Solid
My first knitting experience happened on a pair of green aluminum knitting needles.

I don't remember the brand, I don't know what size or length they were...they were just ugly dark green, lightweight and aluminum.

I'm sure many of you started knitting on the same kind of straight needles.

Did you assume those needles were made of solid aluminum, or a tube of aluminum?

I don't know why, but I always assumed that the needles were hollow tubes. I had seen a picture of an Addi Turbo that supposedly exploded or something, and that needle was hollow, so I guess I just assumed all of them were. So, the other day, Thaddeus was being all sorts of handy around the house, and needed a tube about the size of these knitting needles:



I told him I had dozens of needles like it, and he was more than welcome to hacksaw this pair into a tube.



And a closer look revealed:



SOLID!!! Who knew?

Current Knitting
In addition to starting three more scarves, I also finally got started in earnest on my Aran pullover design.

I ripped out the initial ribbing, because it was looking too ruffled...I don't mean unsettled...I mean like a bed ruffle. I re-did the ribbing in a way that I'm much more satisfied with, and then got about 3 inches of knitting done in the pattern stitches I decided to use.

It looks lovely, but you'll have to trust me on this one, since I'm in Delaware until Thursday night this week, and the cord for transferring pictures from my camera is sitting at home.

If you'd like to try and picture it in your mind, first start with a lovely deep sage/olive green color yarn, in 100% wool Aran weight.

The ribbing is short blocks of 1x1 ribbing, interspersed with a six-stitch section of a two-stitch cable on a reverse stockinette stitch background.

The main pattern has a latticework section in the middle, an open cable on each side, and a figure-eight cabling on the outside (with other minor cabling stitches in between).

Blog Contest
Fortunately, I have three folks that have made contributions to Year Up, so at least each of the prizes will be won.

Thank you to those who were able to contribute to this wonderful charity, and thanks for the others who contribute to education in this country in other ways. If anyone has already made a contribution directly to Year Up, please let me know. If you'd care to participated in the contest in time for the July 15th deadline, click here for the prizes, rules and links to contribute.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Jean writes, "Joe -- am I the first to tell you that there's a plug for your blog in the new issue of "Knitting", the British magazine?"

Yes, the first, and only. That is always incredibly flattering to be recognized in the media, thanks for letting me know.

Concerning for-profit health insurance, Diane writes, "...most issues I see are caused by people who get HMO type coverage because it's the cheapest and then decide not to follow any of the rules because it's not convenient."

Having also worked in the insurance industry for a number of years, I would have agreed with that assessment until about three years ago. Now I'm absolutely convinced that there is a purposeful intent on the insurance companies' part to try and dissallow as many claims as possible. I don't doubt that you still deal with folks that don't understand what they sign up for, but having been on the receiving end of dozens of denied claims in the last 2-3 years, that simply required me to re-submit the exact same claim to get payment, leads me to believe it's claims policy to start out with a denial, even if it's a valid claim.

One thing that I like about what Diane writes, is the fact that patients need to be more in charge of their health care, and demand accountability from their doctors. There was a day, when an insurance company would deny a claim, or only pay a "reasonable and customary" portion of the claim, and I could feel confident confronting my doctor with it, asking why they were prescribing something unnecessary, or overpriced. Now, I feel the insurance companies have no validity in those areas, and I have to do that without their advocacy.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Unexamined Hate


How many folks hate Hilary Clinton, or Dick Cheney, or Michael Moore? How many folks have looked at specifically what it is they don't like about these folks?

Re-Examining
I used to buy into the incessant commentary about Hillary, until I started to listen to her, and make up my own mind. She's an amazingly well-spoken and intelligent politician, and I believe one of the few democrats who knows how to successfully navigate the hazards of senatorial, and presidential politics.

I never hated Michael Moore. Since I first saw Roger & Me, and then the sequel, Pets or Meat, I have found him to be a brilliant documentarian, despite some of his sloppy generalizations, and even despite his sloppy appearance.

His latest, Sicko, is his best yet. Watching this movie, I realized there is no valid reason, other than the lobbying efforts of the American Medical Association, and the prescription drug companies, that we shouldn't have a nationalized health care program in this country. I know there are some points of contention in his movie, but even taking those into consideration, it is still vastly clear that national health care is the only solution to our current state of medical care, prescription drug costs, and the medically uninsured in this country.

How many of you have recently started getting every medical claim denied on first submission, only to get it paid with a second submission? That seems to be the way Aetna (my medical insurer) is trying to save on medical claims lately.

Back when Hillary first started looking into national healthcare, the big scare tactic was, "Do you want the government deciding what medical procedures you can have or can't?", and now all I can say is I'd rather have the government making those decisions, than a company whose only goal is making a profit, at the expense of my good health.

If you haven't seen Sicko yet, I highly recommend it. I can only hope it will change a lot of minds about this issue.

Current Knitting
I was able to finish two scarves, and got the ribbing done for the back of the new Aran sweater design.




This first scarf, I am very proud of. I took two yarns (a Brown Sheep yarn and a JoAnn's Fabric eyelash yarn) that were impossible to work with, and made a very nice looking scarf.



The second scarf is another one using the Louisa Harding yarn Impressions. The yarn and resulting scarf are both beautiful, soft and warm.

Once I've started in earnest on the Aran sweater, I will start posting pictures.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Cal writes, "...that frisbee must look gorgeous in flight. What does Nico make of it?"

It does look kind of cool flying with the points in or out. Nico takes an immediate interest when it's thrown, but quickly loses interest when he sees what it is up close. Typical cat.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY...





...to Scooter Libby.

No Big Surprise
Yes, our dope of a president is getting quite predictable. All appeals for keeping Libby out of jail were exhausted. He was a day or two from entering jail for his complete disregard for the democratic and judicial processes of this country. It was Tuesday, before a national holiday...the slowest day for political news

Maybe it will be old news by the time pundits start discussing it. Maybe folks will be glad he only commuted his jail sentence, but let the fines and other penalties stand. Maybe he just doesn't care, about either the judicial or congressional branches of this government, because he considers himself more like a king or a dictator than a U.S. president.

All this, while he chides Vladimir Putin about the right kind of democracy he should push for.

All I can hope is that Mr. Libby values his freedom, because it's at the expense of many other freedoms that started 231 years ago.

Current Knitting
I've done less than a half a scarf.

But I am considering designing an Aran vest for myself.

Other Crafting
I did get quite carried away by the Origami book I mentioned a few posts ago, and I made another couple of the designs in the book. This one was my favorite so far.



I included the first little box I pictured the other day, so you could get a sense of the size of the little magic star. It expands out to become a frisbee-like object too...it actually flies quite well.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Opposites Attract...Or Not


I am one of those folks that always seems to be attracted to people and things that are very different than myself.

My Opposites
Thaddeus, for example, is very laid back, and stable and thinks things through completely before acting. I am energetic, frenetic and make quick, emotional decisions.

Usually, when I see someone that I find attractive, they are able to wear greens, yellows and oranges. I look sickly if I wear any of those colors.

I have an enormous amount of respect for those folks that can think musically, since I have virtually no aptitude for music whatsoever.

There are also some similarities in others that I find attractive. I prefer folks that are quick-witted and have a similar sense of humor as mine. I like folks that can express themselves well, both verbally and in writing. I am attracted to folks that have similar values as I do.

I've also seen long-term, successful relationships where two folks are very similar. So, who knows whether opposites really attract, or whether we just tend to notice the differences more than the similarities?

Current Listening
I have recently met a woman who does music professionally (teaches, plays sings...has a total music head), who fascinates me. She sings professionally, and has the required MySpace page that lets you hear her music, so I've been listening for the last week, and thought you might like to hear her as well. I enjoyed Another Day, but you can't rely on my unsophisticated palate in music.

Check her out, and drop her a note if you like what you hear. The one thing I do know about music, is that I love a deep-timbred woman's voice...like Val's.

Current Knitting
Believe it or not, I tried starting a different project than scarves this past weekend, but nothing I started working with seemed to be working out.

I ended up doing three scarves instead...all of which I'm very happy with.



This first one is another "rendition" of Kathy's Boteh scarf. I did it in Rowan's Kid Classic yarn, in a color that Fiestaware calls atomic red or some such shit. I'd call it blood orange.

The last two scarves, I just decided to use up leftovers from all my other scarves, and came up with these bohemian delights.



The first one, is just different colors of the same kind of furry yarn, done diagonally. The second one is everything and the kitchen sink, all knitted up lengthwise, leaving each end as its own fringe.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Thanks to everyone for there comments on the contest and contributing to Year Up. I'm glad folks are interested in the idea of it, even if they're supporting more local organizations.

Also, if you didn't check out the Belief-O-Matic that Cara mentioned in her post, you might be interested. I turned out to be a Neo-Pagan, or a Liberal Quaker.