Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Does Anyone Really Like Drinking Water?

Every once in a while, after exercising or being out on a hot day, a sip or two of water seems satisfying, but other than those times, I have to FORCE myself to drink the recommended amount of water each day.

Recommended Water Intake
The amount of water you should drink each day varies based on a lot of factors, such as how big you are, how active you are, the climate where you live, etc. But for all intents and purposes, most sources agree you should drink about 64 ounces of fluid each day...EACH DAY!

I'm lucky if I can gag down 8 ounces a day.

I do try and get my water in ways I find less distasteful. I will drink seltzer water or fresh brewed iced tea, but even supplementing my water intake with those methods, I'm shocked I'm not completely dehydrated based on the medical recommendations.

Current Crocheting
I am past the halfway point, and each row is getting faster and faster. I mentioned in the video how the color changes make it easier to progress through a project, but I mispoke...I said it made me want to get to the next stitch, but I meant get to the next color section.



Now I'm moving right along, and should have the blanket finished this weekend. I've gotten a lot of mixed reviews of people liking this blanket better and others disappointed that I ripped out a much nicer blanket.

Oh well, as long as the recipient likes it, that's all I care about.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Big Dreams

When Knitterguy Ted first came up with the idea of a men's knitting retreat, the vision was simple...bring guys together in a beautiful place where they could knit, crochet, spin, teach, etc.

Expanding Dreams
Never in our most vivid imagination did Ted or I think that this little dream would be anything exceptional, and yet, the way that these retreats have taken off has been nothing short of amazing.

As we prepare for the fourth Men's Spring Knitting Retreat in upstate New York, the men's retreats have expanded and taken off into other areas of the World including San Francisco, Michigan, Seattle, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The latest new venue for one of these incredible retreats is the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.



And I am more than thrilled to be able to take part in this newest retreat.

Frank and Brady have organized this latest retreat, slated for July of this year in Sunshine Mountain Lodge in Allenspark, CO (South of Estes Park for any of you familiar with the area.)


I can't imagine a nicer place to be with a bunch of great guys glorying in all things fiber.

I've never been to the Rocky Mountains before and I am stoked about going there for this event.

For registration information or to register for the event, Brady is taking e-mails at mrmkr2011@gmail.com. Brady will send out a PayPal invoice to secure your spot. There is a limited number of spaces (32 max!) and they've already filled about half the spots.

Current Crocheting/Knitting
As many of you witnessed via video, I did end up ripping out the crochet baby blanket, and started it anew (almost anew...a little bit of a-old was left after ripping out most of it).



Two things that I'm happy about with the latest effort...I MUCH prefer the aesthetic of this blanket better than the first attempt...at least for a baby. Second, I had made a minor, hard-to-detect error in the blanket that is now gone!

I haven't done any more work on the other baby blanket, but I will (I have two babies to make blankets for).

Readers' Comments/Questions,
Beverly from NJ writes, "Loved the video! Have you lost weight since Rhinebeck? You look great!"

Actually, I have lost a few pounds, but not many. I think I just hit one of those weights where it shows in my face a bit. Thanks for noticing!

Stashhaus writes, "Thanks for the video. Can we now have the chicken and mashed potatoes recipes? Looks de-lish!"

lol...it was quite good. I'd give you the "recipe" for both, but honestly I think frying chicken requires a certain gene or something...Thaddeus can make ANYTHING that requires frying and make it taste great. I know that for the chicken, he uses Kosher chicken or brined chicken, always thighs with bone-in. He just heats up a big skillet with a half an inch of oil in it (medium heat which heats it up pretty hot, but not smoking), puts some regular flour and some flavoring (Goya Adobo or McCormack's chicken seasoning) in a zip-loc bag, and pats the chicken with a paper towel and shakes the chicken in the flour/seasoning. He fries the flour-coated chicken (skin-side up) at a pretty high temperature for the first few minutes and then turns it down to medium-low and let's it cook for about 15 minutes, turns it and cooks it for about another 10 minutes.

Friday, March 25, 2011

First Ever QueerJoe Video Blog

Today, I've prepared a completely off-the-cuff video blog. While it's a bit more work than writing one, I thought QueerJoe followers who have never met me in person could get a better sense about who I am.



Blog Links

Lara's Podcsast - http://www.journalgazette.net/section/BLOGS26

Tosh Sock Yarn - http://madelinetosh.com/yarns-tosh-sock.html

Asherton Scarf Pattern on Ravelry - http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/asherton-reversible-scarf

Photo of Lunch -


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Out Of The Loop

Lately, when I'm not working, I seem to be sleeping, eating or flying.


No News Isn't Necessarily Good News

So, reading or watching or listening to the news has largely fallen by the wayside. While I get to miss most of the craziness about Charlie Sheen, I was also taken quite by surprise when I heard the latest news about Libya.

This is another task I can use my iPhone to help with. Anyone use any useful apps for keeping abreast of the news?

Current Crochet/Knitting

I've almost completed the main section of the crochet baby blanket.

I liked the idea of one of the commenters last week, but I'm not sure I executed it quite well enough.



There's a possibility I may still have to rip this back...I just need to put it down for a week before I decide.

I've also started a second baby blanket in much more traditional baby colors. I'll post photos when I can

Reader' Comments/Questions
Thank you for all your suggestions on book recommendation engines. I've already used LibraryThing for tracking my knitting books, but I didn't realize it had a wizard for recommending books...I will definitely check it out.

It never ceases to amaze me how many librarians knit.

Friday, March 18, 2011

How Do You Find Good Books?

I'm ever so grateful that Thaddeus picks out most of the movies we see, because I wouldn't have a clue as to where to find such amazing movies, and he has incredible taste in movies...or at least taste that I usually agree with.

But Books...Not So Much
Thaddeus doesn't read much, so I'm left to my own devices to come up with good reading material.

One source for good books has been Thaddeus' sister...she's recommended some excellent choices, like "Breakfast With Buddha"
Breakfast with Buddha

This was a great read for anyone that hasn't read it and thinks they might like the same kinds of books I do. She also recommended "Cutting For Stone"
Cutting for Stone

By far, one of my favorite books I've read recently.


I also have a good friend up in Albany who works at Barnes & Noble, and he sometimes sends a good recommendation my way.

Recently finished one of his recommendations, "Tinkers".
Tinkers

I thought this was just a brilliant book.

But I thought their must be some web site that will recommend books based on what others have similarly liked. I mean even movies has which asks you to rate a dozen or so movies that you've seen and then it recommends others that people with similar ratings to yours have also liked.

Current Knitting/Spinning
Most of you know that my work has been keeping me incredibly busy lately, but I was able to get a bit more done on the crochet baby blanket. I've decided to see how far I get with the purple yarn, and then possibly take a suggestion from one of the commenters in the last post.

I also finished spinning up the yarn from Carol's Corriedale Roving called SweetTart.





I'm quite please with how the yarn came out...I've never spun anything quite like this color-wise. Now I just have to come up with something to do with it, or send it off to Seanna Lee as a gift.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Silhouette169 writes, "Have you thought to just reverse the proportions now that you are at the halfway point (little past, but better than ripping the whole dar thing) so that the purple stripes are thinner and the other is thicker?"

Yes, I did consider that, but I didn't think I'd like the look. I think I'd prefer to do something much more random than that.

Sarah T. chastises me for chastising Medicare recipients who need Hoverounds but can't get them approved.

This is just another case of lazy reading on Sarah T.'s part...I never chastised the people who bought Hoverounds (or tried to)...I chastised the companies marketing them in such a defrauding way.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Get a Free Hoveround!!!


Well, not exactly free...and neither is that new fancy blood sugar meter to monitor your diabetes.

There is No Free Lunch
I can't stand the television advertisements that sell shit which bilks the public for millions of their Medicare dollars.

Each and every person that gets approved for a "free" Hoveround costs their children and grandchildren about $2,000 of dollars in shared Medicare premiums. If it really was free, no one would need to pay for it, including Medicare, but we all pay for them while the manufacturers get rich.

Being an intelligent healthcare consumer is critical in this day and age. During a time when the bankruptcy of Medicare is imminent, people really need to see the effect of unnecessary purchases and not be enticed by a smiling grandmother gliding through the park with her grandchildren.

Current Crocheting
I've gotten a bit more done on crochet baby blanket.


I seriously fear that I won't have enough of the purple/blue yarn to finish this blanket. I'm thinking I'll need to add a third color to the design and re-start this blanket from the beginning. I'll know for certain soon enough!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

We've Been Applified!

Yes, not AMPLIFIED...but Applified.

 





More Converts To iPhone, iMac and MacBook Pro
In a matter of months, our household has gone from an all PC environment to an almost all Apple environment.

It all started with my iPhone in January.

Then, it became obvious that a 12 year old personal computer has its limitations, so we ended up buying Thaddeus his beautiful new iMac.

Honestly, I fell in love with the beauty of his new computer...the keyboard, the monitor, the mouse...it was very compelling.

Then we realized that with all our household finances and personal computing on a work laptop, I really should get a personal laptop as well. And my theory on buying a new computer is that you should really buy as good a computer as you can afford, so that it lasts as long as possible.

So, this past weekend, we went to our local Apple Specialist, and bought a new Mac Book Pro.

I think it will take me a little while to get fast with the new interface and non-Windows environment, especially since I need to switch over to my work PC during the week, but honestly, I already love my new machine, and I've even used it to create something I think is quite cool for the upcoming Men's Spring Knitting Retreat!

Current Crocheting
I've made a lot of progress on the crochet baby blanket in royal colors.


Of course, since the blanket is crocheted diagonally, the rows get successively longer as I get toward the center of the blanket.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Brady writes, "Joe... What is the pattern on the baby blanket. I love it! I want to make something with that stitch."

It's normally used as an afghan stitch, and it's called "corner to corner." I'm actually using a slightly different stitch pattern, but I couldn't find the one I printed when I did a google search. If you find one that chains 5 at the beginning of a new row, that's the one I'm using.  I'm also using sock weight yarn and I'm not sure what hook size.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Hear Me, Feel Me

For those of you who know me primarily by my writing, Lara at Math4Knitters has provided you with an entertaining way to get to hear me in a very casual and conversational way on he poscast.

Easy-Going Style
Lara has a great way of interviewing people that allows them to just talk to her as if she's a long-time friend. Now that I have an I-phone, it's nice to be able to use it in another useful and entertainig way. Especially when it has to do with knitting.

I'd highly suggest subscribing to her podcast. It's always enjoyable.

Current Knitting/Crocheting/Spinning
I have practically finished the Skacel socks I have on the needles. I wanted to maximize the yarn I had, so I will need to undo a bit of knitting on the first sock. As soon as I do, I'll post photos.

I also also started a new project...a crochet baby blanket.


I saw a version of this on a baby in Chicago airport, and loved how this afghan stitch looked on a smaller gauge, so I decided to do it in a couple of interesting colors. It's for my younger brother and sister-in-law's baby-to-be. She's an artist and appreciates interesting colorways.

Finally, I also got to use my new Lazy Kate from the sister-out-of-law.


I'm double-plying the Black Bunny Fiber Corrieadale, and the splotches of dyed roving are blending quite beautifully.

I honestly don't know how I got by without a Lazy Kate prior to this.  The number of tangles when singles spun back on themselves, and then caught the other single...ugh...this is like a dream comparatively.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Seanna Lea writes, "I'm definitely liking your spinning there. What are your plans for the yarn?"

I honestly have no idea right now. The color isn't me, and I'll probably end up with about 900 yards of spun yarn. Any ideas?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Time To Take My Vitamins

Work is consuming ridiculous amounts of my time lately, requiring me to sleep on planes instead of knitting and getting virtually no knitting done in my hotel.

No Knitting, No Blogging
Blogging doesn't take that much of my time, so I can usually find time to fit in a blog entry every once in a while even when I'm busy. But I always feel like it's not a real blog entry unless it has some knitting to show. Today's blog entry will be another minimalist knitting blog entry.

Current Knitting
I did end up doing a small single crochet border around the neck warmer, but I still have to sew on the buttons and weave in a couple of ends and block it. I should get that done this week and I'll ask the recipient to pose for a photo.

I got a little bit more done on the second Skacel yarn sock, and I will hopefully be able to stay away long enough on my flight home Thursday night to at least come close to finishing.

I also started a new project...a fingering weight baby blanket in a bright purple. I'm not sure I'm liking it very much, even though I've only finished about 15 centimeters.

Current Spinning
This past weekend I got a bit more spinning done on the Black Bunny Fibers Corriedale in the SweetTarts colorway.



I finished the first bobbin of singles and got a bit done on the second bobbin. I am VERY excited to be able to use my new Lazy Kate from Gil at Robin Wheels.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Just a quick thank you to those of you who ordered Barb Brown's new book "Knitting Knee-Highs"...it is very heartwarming when blog readers support other long-time blog readers, especially when her book is so easy to promote.