Friday, March 28, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
I'm not sure I want popular opinion on my side --
I've noticed those with the most opinions often have the fewest facts.
--Bethania McKenstry

Knitting Fun-for-mentals
In thinking about stupid articles on knitting as a general topic, my instant reaction is: Why even consider reading them?

It must Roberts's Law of Regressive Incomprehension at work: "If There's the Word 'Knitting' in the Article, I'll Read It."

(And let's not forget its corollary--"If There's the Word 'Knitting' on the Package/Book Jacket/Shrink Wrap, I'll Buy It.")

Writ UnStyle
It's funny but I'm beginning to be able to differentiate between (among?) the writings of a Socknitter, a KList, and a Knit U KnitDweeb. Of course, the generalized bleatings all pretty much remain the same. However, there are very distinctive, um, substylings that are starting to float their way to the top of the ooze. Or perhaps I mean subspecies. No matter.

So I thought I'd do some examples.

To whit:

Knit List
From: ILuvJesusnYarn
Message: Can u Help me? Knitting n the Brain

I need some help...I am working on a project that I have to cast on
after woring in st st for 2 '' how do i do that?
sorry to be a bother but I don't remember how to do everything...
If anyone does dig up information on how knitting affects the brain,
would you please share it with us all? Be nice to have a big
latin-sounding word for being "in the zone" when I knit and feel myself
relax all over.

If a brain researcher needs volunteers to study while knitting, sign me
up, OK?

Yrs in grace, knitting, and sanctimony, RoseBeth

Knit U
From: MarabellaMaribou
Message: Thank You Lily!!!! And the NEW! Knitter's!!!!
Oh my Tiny Highness! I grovel at your tiny perfect feet! I must thank you publicly for your oh-so-flattering boa chastity belt design! It's a miracle of modern knitting engineering! And so incredibly chic! My friends are all agog because you dubbed me HYUK-In-Waiting at last year's Stitches. You are certainly the Tiniest, most Perfectest, most Adored designer of them all! I bow to your superior Tininess.

And David!!! Are you listening? This past issue of Knitter's was mouthwateringly fabulous! Please, please, please tell me exactly how you do that double-roll underarm cast-on...I do so want to learn from you!

Tiny Dancer, Marabella

David adds--
I could write reams and volumes on the double-roll underarm cast-on. While I was strolling down the snow-drifted streets with the sun glinting off our South Dakotan icy streams, on my way to seek out our local Starbuck's (and perchance a steaming cup of Almond Nougat half-decaf Cappucino--ooh yum!), I theorized that perhaps the double-roll underarm cast-on could be compared to a knitter's tango, in which the knitter, dancing through one strand of yarn, is able to lift and separate the strands below, thus adding stitches to the valleys we call the underarms. But I digress. Look for my article in the next issue. Hope this helps!

From: SweetSoxie
Message: Magic loop cure, need regia
i dint tell anyone this but i can tell you--the magicloop cured my bad circulation. really did. just wrapt that circular needle arund my ankle an a figure8 an pulled it back n forth and it worked! my feets feel great!
Can someone give me a source for regia? thanks. my google doesn't work. i don't know why. where can i buy a new one? thanks.

Sweetsoxie in sweet south US, bless you all n god bless, blessings everywhere

OK, now. Which post is the real, verbatim writing...and which are mine? Let's see how sharp you all are.

And handy blessings to you all for a fine weekend! And Achim's not home this weekend. Phone call from Perth last night, letting me know the scoop..."it could be so that I am home 5, 6, 7 of April or it could be that it is another week more." Shit.
So unrare.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Cynics regarded everybody as equally corrupt... Idealists regarded everybody as equally corrupt, except themselves.--Robert Anton Wilson

The KnitDweebish denizens of the Knit List, Knit U, Socknitters, et al are idealists, beyond a doubt...

Boy, the Knit List (now carefully "moderated" for your reading pleasure) sure has its collective warshcloths in a twist over an article published in The Charlotte Observer.

Oh my, my. Let me dash off a self-righteous letter to the author immediately, telling her how damned ignorant she is about the fabulous world of knitting and crochet and how I'm a real woman not hiding behind my needlework but dedicated to kuchen, kinder, und kirchen, knitting away for charity and giving of myself to the world through my endless donations of useless articles to family, friends, and whatever charity I can find, to further increase my sense of self-worth.

Spare us all.

What threatens these poor souls on the Knit List about some woman voicing blasphemy against the sacred art of knitting is beyond me. I mean, The Charlotte Observer and one writer is hardly about to make me put down my knitting and take up electronic pen to wither her with indignant (and no doubt sappily written) prose about the sanctity of my handwork and its true meaning in my life.

Clearly these people have little better to do with their time.

But then, I may be handy but I sure as shit ain't domestic.

Quick Note on Elly
She's cancer-free. Just got the word today. No chemo. No radiation. Nothing. Clean as the proverbial whistle.

Now she's got to look for phony boobs. And was quite disgusted to find out they cost $65 a pair.

As Elly always says when we go to craft shows: "What people will charge for crap. I could make that myself."

Knitted prosthetics, anyone? I double-dog dare ya. But perhaps I should ask The Knitting Diva if this is a project for her next "book."

Note to Bob
You know, since I know you read my blog, write a comment, you chickenshit. No rule that you have to knit.

Bob's handy and rare...but often incognito.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.--Dr. Seuss

I do not like them, Sam-I-am, I do not like green eggs and ham...

Knitz at Simply Knit
There's no doubt in my mind that I benefit more than anyone from writing a blog. First of all, I get to spew my personal opinions all over cyberspace. (Or should the word be "spray"? Never mind.)

Second, from time to time, I actually get to meet some of my fellow knitbloggers. Today I drove down to Lambertville, NJ, some 50-ish miles from Budd Lake, to meet Joe Wilcox and Kathy Merrick at Simply Knit. I hope you all read Joe's blog, QueerJoe. If you don't, you should. Joe writes as coherent and funny a knitblog as ever I've read and I've read a few. Kathy doesn't blog, she just plays one on TV and posts comments to our blogs. Oh, and is a brilliant mathematician.

Suffice it to say that Joe and Kathy were everything I'd expected and then some. Joe brought his latest design, a nifty color-block sampler pullover (very nice--I'd make it and not be bored). I brought the down-to-the-last-sleeve Achim's gansey. And I got a tour of this wonderful shop owned by designer Carol Lapin (it was closed but Joe knows low people in high places). Great yarn, great buttons, great ambience.

Carol is definitely one of my favorite designers. Joe could be if he gets his stuff published. I think he's very talented.

We'll do it again. I need to buy a lot of stuff once I've moved. Yarn stuff. You know. And this is the place to exercise my right to purchase.

Knitty Beckons
So now the deadline for submitting a sketch to Knitty is April 1. And I bought some blue and purple Nomotta Catania cotton with a side ball in the pocket of Gedifra Icaro with the idea that I'd do some kind of Surfer's Nightmare socks or something. The Icaro is this novelty stuff with little sponge-like wads of white, aqua, and purple threaded throughout. Weird but could make an interesting cuff. Or something.

I just can't get a clear design in my head. Something wavy. Something funky.

But I hate knitting with cotton. Especially for socks. No matter how tightly they're knit, they grows like Topsy.

And I don't have the time to design and knit much more than socks right now, given my work schedule. Shit.

Another thing--Amy wants me to write a regular column. Neither of us have a clue as to WHAT I should write. Obviously, my blog writing is my blog writing and doesn't belong in Knitty. Anyone got any suggestions? I'm open.

But I'm not awarding prizes for the best suggestions.

Prize are rare but handy things. You won't find 'em here.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
10) I can see your point, but I still think you're full of shit.
--From 50 Things You Wish You Could Say at the Office

My general frame of mind at work these days...

The New Knitter's
Thank God this is the last issue of my subscription. From now on, I'll have to flip through it at B&N or Borders because I'm sure not going to plunk down good money for it until Rick Mondragon gets demoted to janitor.

Not even going to dignify it with a review except to say that if I have to hunt all over the page to find the name of the yarn used, Knitter's is even more screwed up that even I would have thought.

Feh. Double feh. I'm sticking with books from now on. I just bought Cheryle Oberle's Folk Vests, which is great. Who needs magazines? But I feel sorry for beginners--they won't learn a damned thing from the magazines except to knit forever in shapeless garter stitch. Too bad.

Knitting Meet-up
Finally went to our local Knitting Meet-up at Borders in Livingston, NJ. And thoroughly enjoyed myself. Almost everyone there was young enough to be my daughter but what a great group! Definitely not your typical HYUKs, for sure. Dr. Debbie, a pediatrician at one of our local hospitals, is closer to my age and has been knitting on and off for a while. The other ladies ranged from raw beginner to intermediate.

Everyone seemed to agree that the magazines were off the mark. And this, mind you, directly from the market the magazines are trying to target. Hmmm...maybe the editors of said magazines need to get out of the office and start talking to these new knitters. They might learn something.

But as Elly said to me today, it's great to see younger people taking up knitting. I concur.

Anyone read the complaints about the "new" Addis with the less flexible cables on the Socknitters list? I hadn't noticed...but then, my collection of Addis is fairly aged. I must have at least 20-25 circs and close to that in bamboo double-points.

When I contemplate my dollar investment in needles alone, it's scary.

7 Days to Go
Achim is due back on the 28th. The gansey's first sleeve is halfway done. The entire body, including neckline, is finished. Ends woven in, even. Can I get this finished before he gets to Philadelphia International Airport next Friday?

We'll see...I'm pretty handy but working an exhausting full-time job and then trying to knit an entire self-designed gansey in less than 5 weeks is way past rare.

I challenge the Chin-less to knit faster. Heh.

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask?
Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?--Scott Adams

No question is, well...

Thanks to everyone for their wonderful support and messages. Elly did fantastically well yesterday. We'll know the score when the pathology on her lymph nodes comes back, hopefully Monday. In the meanwhile, she's up, sitting in her hospital chair, and knitting, of course.

And making snotty comments about her roommate, who is a "pip," to quote El. Apparently this woman launched into a detailed discussion of her gall bladder surgery (which was done laproscopically--I've had it and it's no big deal). Elly was totally unimpressed.

By the way, how is it that my mother doesn't have a need for any pain medication? Will someone explain this to me? Incredible...

The New Harikari
Knitting is The New Yoga? Oh puleeze. What next? My only comment to this is BULLSHIT.

Sorry, didn't mean to shout. Well, maybe I did.

This is so totally asinine that I am now completely convinced that some people in this country have Jell-O brains.

Let's just turn knitting into another New Age activity, why don't we? Next will come aromatherapy yarn, wherein we all chant Om while we knit with eucalyptus-scented silk. I foresee classes springing up with meditants holding needles and yarn and passing the knitting from one to another in a knitting mandala while the Maharishi Yoyo spins a yarnwinder. Hairy Krishna.

Classic Knitting Yoga Position #1: Lost Cable Needle in Sofa

Classic Knitting Yoga Position #2: Yarn Rolled Under Sofa

Classic Knitting Yoga Position #3: Skein On Top of 10-Foot Shelf

Actually, I love yoga and use yoga stretches for my lousy back. But meditation as a hip thing to do didn't impress me in 1967 and it still doesn't. You wanna meditate, meditate. You wanna knit, knit.

Knitting as "yoga" presumes that the knitter spends more time meditating and less time paying attention to the knitting. If you want craft-as-meditation-tool, try spinning.

Meditation is handy...knitting is NOT yoga.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it."
--Mark Twain

I'm not sure that with 45 years of hindsight, Elly would agree with him...about the enjoyment.

Ma Goes to the Hospital, Confounds And Irritates the Medical Experts
So Elly does have malignancies in both breasts and is headed for a double mastectomy on Friday. The good news: They'll get it all, no chemo, no radiation. Elly, who will be 80 in August, is perhaps the most remarkable woman I've ever met. She was off in the car today, buying TV dinners, juice and milk, getting her pre-op work done, picking up last minute stuff--in short, ran around like a 25 year old all day.

And is bringing her knitting with her "just in case." She's just started a sweater, so she figures it will be light and easy to work on.

I'll be with her on Friday, as will my brother Rich. She's a very rare mother...I'm going to gift her with "Folk Vests" when she gets home if she behaves for the doctor. Every curmudgeonly bone in my body, and the ability to knit, I owe to her. And so much more.

Put a Sock In It
And stop with the posts about "will this yarn wear OK for socks?" Jeez. If it doesn't wear, you can knit another fucking pair. Nothing lasts forever. Except perhaps my Perry Ellis bolero jacket made in Manos that came from an early '80s Vague.

I mean, I don't plan on being buried in my socks. If they last a year, I'm happy. And I make more.

List Projects I Don't Give a Shit About
The Einstein coat
Fuzzy Feet (although I understand the appeal)
Felted clogs
Warshcloths of any kind
The Wee Fair Isle
Knitted pillows
Argyle socks (because I've never met a pair on man, woman or beast that I liked)

I do want the directions to QueerJoe's willy warmer.

Now that's a rare and (dare I say it?) handy item.

Link du Francais
Carol Sulcoski sent me a link to a French knitter's site that is truly awe-inspiring. She's incredibly prolific AND good. Lots of Fair Isle (AS), Norwegian (Dale), Arans...although she didn't quite get the history of Arans right. Traipse around. It's incredible.

2 Weeks, 2 Much Waiting
Achim will be home in little more than two weeks and I'm cranking away on the gansey. Finished the back yoke, half done on the front yoke. And he keeps asking me, "What is it?"

Do you think it would be too too tacky to have only one sleeve done? Can I get this finished in time and work a full-time job and take care of Elly? Yeah, sure. We'll see.

Right now, I'm living for the 28th. "Love stinks, yeah, yeah." It stinks when your lover gets to go to the opening Formula 1 race in Melbourne without you. It stinks when there's a war about to happen and you worry about him on a plane coming home. It stinks when you talk to him cellphone a cellphone over thousands of miles and neither of you can hear much. It stinks when his security key for his laptop doesn't work and he can't do e-mail.

But it's ever so rare when you pick him up at Philadelphia International Airport.
Oh yeah.

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
"By whom?"
--Dorothy Parker, when told she was outspoken

As I said in 100 Things About Me, I love Dorothy Parker but I'm not nearly as depressed...

28 Lbs. of Cat on a 5-Lb. Bag
I've been thinking about how terribly people anthropomorphize their pets. (Look it up, will ya? It's not THAT big a word.)

Like when they knit their dogs little doggie sweaters and matching tams. Please.

Now my cat Milo is a cat. He looks like a cat, he acts like a cat, and I treat him like a damn cat. Which is to say, I respect his independence and he respects mine. And I feed him.

Sometimes Milo impinges upon my space. Most frequently, he sits on my knitting bag (see photo). Fortunately, I had removed the gansey first.

On occasion, as cats will do, he swipes a ball of yarn and trots around the house with it. Sometimes it remains intact.

Sometimes not.

I've decided that perhaps for my next Knitty article, I will use Milo as the model for a design project. I can see him in a knitted bomber jacket, with perhaps some chains. And shades.

I will design knitwear for Milo not because I believe he has any human qualities. I simply wish to annoy him.

PETA members, bite me. Milo and I do well together. He's quite rare, for 28 pounds of feline flab.

Da Gansey
This is not a great picture of it because I had to PhotoShop the shit out of the picture to get the stitch patterns to show up. The actual color is more of a blue-purple. Achim had better fucking like it. And it better fucking fit. I had only his shirt collar size as reference, so here's hoping.

All the stitch patterns come from Gladys Thompson's book. I hope the hearts aren't too much but he'll like that I researched the sweater before I designed it and that it's more or less authentic. He loves Celtic stuff. Go figure.

If you're really on top of your gansey knowledge, you'll know that all the stitch patterns supposedly mean something. I believe that Richard Rutt debunked the old myth that fishermen's corpses were identified by the patterns on their sweaters, when they washed up on shore.

I always thought that sounded a bit Disney-ish.

Another Nanosecond of Fame
Jeez, I so seldom put up pictures on the blog and today there's three of them. Well, illustration ain't my strong suit and my digital camera stinks. But here I am at Duffy Elementary School's Colonial Night on March 4, being interviewed by a Daily Record reporter. I did my spinning dog 'n' pony show again (is there nothing I won't do for Liz?) and it was much fun. The adults seemed even more amazed than the kids. I had to put my jacket under the wheel because it kept walking on the linoleum. And the chair was awful.

Nonetheless, I managed to get more spinning done that night than I have in a couple of months. Ah me.

It's a rare and handy world I live in. For sure.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
"If you are a dog and your owner suggests that you wear a sweater, suggest that he wear a tail."--Fran Lebowitz

Another knitting project I never understood...but then, I own a cat.

Knitblogs Over There
So my newest web-surfing challenge is to find knitblogs written in other languages. My theory is, albeit probably flawed, that there's lots of knitters overseas who are blogging. I can read German and French, so I started there. Now I'm thinking I'd like to collect some of these URLs and see how many and of what nationality I can find.

Here's two German links: Spinnfloh and ClaudiPi**2s Strickb├╝cher-Kiste. Even if you can't remember the difference between die and das from your high school German, you'll get the drift. And you can look at the pictures. The German word for "knitting" is stricken, by the way.

Strickliesl is a mailing list home page--it's probably not unlike the Knit List. Can anyone translate KnitDweebs into German? How about Strickenidiots? I'll have to ask Achim. He's pretty good with the epithets in either language.

The Germans have a Handarbeit ring (Handwork) so when I have more time, I'll take a tour. You can find the ring's link on Strickliesl.

And here's the French one I found: au fil des aiguilles. I didn't have as much luck with the French. But I will continue my search.

If anyone finds anything good, let me know. It would seem that there's a lot of sockmaking going on, in the usual stuff.

When my German gets better, I'm going to start a blog called The Teutonic Titwillow. Anyone who knows from what movie that comes and what character was named The Teutonic Titwillow gets my undying respect.

It's been a long week at work and I'm definitely feeling unrare and unhandy.

Time to work on Achim's gansey. Pictures on the blog this weekend. I'm halfway up the back.

Oh, one last thing...for all the KnitDweebs:

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Best Quote(s) I Heard All Day

"They have Easter egg hunts in Philadelphia, and if the kids don't find the eggs, they get booed."--Bob Uecker
"New Jersey needs a hero. Bon Jovi does not count."--Kurt Angle, Gold Medal Olympic Wrestler

In keeping with the comments from the last post...these were too good not to publish.

The Cheesy Steeks and Jersey Girls + 1 Guy
How we all got from discussing my Thursday post to this is beyond me. But it's one of the reasons I so enjoy doing my blog. For those readers who are now totally confused, please read the Thursday comments.

Since Achim lives in Philadelphia, could I claim membership in both groups? I haven't been to Rosie's yet but he's home on the 28th...if I pester him enough, perhaps we could swing by on the Saturday.

Annie and Me
Getting together with Annie Modesitt on Friday was just so good. Annie's working on a fantastic yoked sweater that I would most definitely make. It has all the usual Annie-nifty details. Now let's hope that some idiot editor doesn't screw it up, as has happened in the past.

If you have a chance to meet your online knitting friends, it's almost always worth it. I've met Loopy, Annie, Staceyjoy, Jen Tocker, and a few others. I'd love to meet more people. I really am a people-person, despite my crankiness.

The crankiness is still there but I think perhaps tempered by my general looniness.

Knitty's Coming...Soon, Baby!
I'm really excited about this because I have an article and a design in this issue. And I've seen the other articles and designs. You're going to like this issue, I think.

Wanna Buy a House?
You can have mine for $350K, located in beautiful Budd Lake (or Butt Lick, as it's known). Three bedrooms, LR, DR, 2.5 baths, whirlpool bath in master bedroom, built-in vacuum, deck, 2-car garage, A/C, wooded lot with wetlands in back, cathedral ceilings, etc. Yarn not included.

The next 2 months are going to be insane. I have to rummage through the stash and get rid of a lot of junk. And God knows, I have junk yarn. I'm donating it to the local nursing home. Sheesh, I hope that if I ever have to go to the old age hut, that they'll give me something decent to knit with.

Achim's Gansey
Body is finished, yoke is begun. This is turning out splendiferously. When I've finished the back, I'll put up a photo. I have to have this done by the 28th. I told him I had a surprise for him when he got home and it wasn't any shopping trip but a gift of pure love. (Like he hasn't figured it out, right?) He again does not have access to web or e-mail because his security key got zapped in the airport X-ray, so he won't be reading this.

So he calls me this morning at 6:45 and says, as he has said constantly since I told him about his surprise: "Please what it is? Please tell me. Please, please, please." Such a pest.

Who said Germans don't have a sense of humor?

We Germans are rare and handy folk...and despite our love of potty humor, pretty funny people.