Sunday, June 29, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day

"The Wagon Queen Family Truckster. You think you hate it now, but wait till you drive it." --Clark Griswald

Curmudge on VACATION
I'll be off for a bit. Won't be posting again until July 7th. Lots of knitting, lots of swimming at Mt. Hope Pond, driving around in my little Neon, no blogging.

Shroud of Turin Knitalong

Annie did such a nifty job on this animated .gif! Thanks, sweetie!

So in preparation for some quality knitting time, I bought some blue and white Cotton N Cream for this yesterday at WalMart. Why they didn't have Kitchen Cotton is a mystery. I'll be knitting mine while on vacation this week.

Of course, I've got 18 balls of magenta Bliss Cotton and Silk that I really should swatch and work up into a short-sleeved cardi for work.

But the Shroud of Turin Warshcloth appeals. Far more than most anything, other than socks.

Katherine Hepburn
I just heard on the radio that Katherine Hepburn died. When I was 18, I saw The Lion In Winter and from thereon in I was totally amazed and inspired not only by her incredible acting but her philosophy of life.

She made me realize that being a free-spirited, independent, intelligent woman was the stuff of my life too. Along with Dorothy Parker and John Lennon, my writing inspirations, Katherine Hepburn will forever be the standard towards which I work.

"If you play by the rules, you miss all the fun." She was so right.

Have a rare and handy 4th, all of you!

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
"I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex."
--Oscar Wilde

Sitting and knitting in 90+ degree heat is simply I do it anyway.

Complexity be damned. It's time for stoopid knitting. Four pairs of socks done, one on the needles.

Stop me now.

Reading On The KnitList
After letting 380 or posts build up in my mailbox because I haven't had the time or the energy to scan any of the lists, here are the latest threads for those of you who are even less energized than I:

. . . Chirstmas. Ok, own up, how many have finished knitting
projects for Christmas??

If I weren't sweating, I'd almost be amused. And this is a post from a KLister from way back in '97. But then, I didn't think a whole lot of her or her cat back then either.

How many of us feel guilty when we are knitting? Do you think of all the
chores and home repair projects you should be doing? I know I do!!

Shucky darns, and I forgot to iron the placemats because I was busy knitting a lace refrigerator edging. And the cat fell into the toilet.

Prayerful Knitting
Huh? I pray that I don't fuck up my knitting. Sometimes. Jeez, let me get out that knitted altar cloth, light some candles, and pray to Jesus. He'll know what I should knit. Maybe a warshcloth of Him. If I get to it.

I believe this lovely abbreviation stands for Yarn That Would Not Die. We loves them abbreviations/acronyms, we shorely do. Not that many on the KList probably know the diff.

You do. I do.

Time to take a break. I'll be posting one more time this weekend and then I'll be taking a rest from blogging from 7/3 through 7/7 or so. Get your Warshcloths of Turin done while I'm away.

Believe it or not, it's not always easy writing two blog entries a week. And keeping you interested as well as me.

AND a Birthday
No, not mine. The blog's. The Knitting Curmudgeon blog will be one year old on the 12 of July. Seems hard to believe that I've been doing this a year, not counting the old website back in 97-98.

So I promise I'll think of some absolutely obnoxious celebratory crap to do in honor of the occasion. As Krys, our Polish network engineer at work says, "Eet's sheetycrap."

Yes, it will be. A "sheetycrap" celebration. I do love that word and Krys has such a charming accent.

It's a rare and handy world we live in. I'm waiting for the WMDs...there may be some in my backyard.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
"Weather forecast for tonight: dark."
--George Carlin

Will the sun ever shine again in the Northeast?

Of course. Tomorrow. Naturally.

Hoisted on Their Own Petard
Or standard, if you will. I've just taken a stroll over to the Craft Yarn Council of America's new Standards and Guidelines for Crochet & Knitting, for lack of anything better to do of a Sunday.

Jesus. There's nothing more annoying than some American council setting up quote-unquote standards for the rest of the world to follow. And these "standards" have some fatal flaws, to my mind.

Do go and read them. All standards are contained in a convenient .pdf file.

For one, I found the yarn categorization to be mindboggingly useless. What happened to laceweight yarn? Why is Aran yarn bundled along with worsted? Why so general? But of course, I find most categorization a waste of time anyways. And I guess there are some people who want to reduce the craft to a form of "Knitting by Numbers" so the vast unwashed can figure out WTF it is they're doing.

And the skill levels. Sorry, I'm a nonbeliever in skill levels, having once seen a beginner work a Fair Isle cardigan as her first garment. People believe in skill levels if you tell them where they belong. And then perhaps advance timidly into the next category. Maybe.

What kills me is the differentiation between "Beginner" and "Easy." (Somehow, I thought a skill level of Easy could only be applied to Nikki, the Girl Who Put Out in 8th Grade.) Here you are:

Beginner = Projects for first-time knitters using basic knit and purl stitches. Minimal shaping.

Easy = Projects using basic stitches, repetitive stitch patterns, simple color changes, and simple shaping and finishing.

I see. And poor Intermediate knitters are only allowed basic and simple shit.

This rating system has exactly the same value as The Knitting Guild of America's Master Knitter dealie--nothing.

I don't need no steenkin' designations.

Neither does anyone else. Just do it, you know?

Dobby/Doby Socks
Will someone please tell me WTF these are? Some crap from Harry Potter? The Socknitters list is a-twitter with posts about these.

I only read the first book, so I must plead ignorance. I mean, I liked the book but really. Must there be such a hue and cry about HP? And knitting in the book? Give it a rest. And is the HP scarf about the same thing as the hideous Dr. Who scarf?

I guess Dr. Who is now passe. Oh well...

Warshcloth of Turin
I must thank my dear friend Annie Modesitt for her inspired illusion knitting chart for this warshcloth. This is just too fucking cool for words! And only Annie could do it.

So, let's have a knit-along, shall we? I'll knit one up and when I'm done, I'll post a picture of it. If you feel so inclined, send me your JPEGS. You'll find my e-mail address up in the menu. Just keep the JPEGs to a reasonable size--say, no bigger than 300K. That should do it. I might even award a prize to the best warshcloth.

I might. I'm not promising. I'll see what's good in the stash that I feel like giving away. Probably sock yarn. But don't hold me to it.

Off to redefine rare and handy. Time to get unbored.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
"Love is an exploding cigar we willingly smoke." --Lynda Barry

Kaboom. But my dear friend of 20+ years, Willy, called me last night and consoled me for an hour.

Willy + me = long, long story. Suffice it to say that if either of us had any sense, we'd be together.

But why ruin a wonderful friendship?

Putting My Nose Up Joe's Butt
I am blessed to have a number of really good male friends--QueerJoe, Willy, Pat, among many. Some months ago, Joe was been accused of, um, brown-nosing me. I dunno why that person thought Joe was sucking up to me--it's not like I have so much fucking clout anywhere that anyone would want to kiss my ass for personal gain.

I just happen to think he's a great guy AND a damned good knitter. And since I don't suffer fools gladly, no fool either.

Joe has this great picture of him on his blog as a 17-year-old geek poseur. So here's my graduation picture, not to be outdone or undone by Joseph. Circa 1968. Cool mod haircut and poorboy ribbed sweater.

Shortly thereafter, I abandoned all hope of becoming Jean Shrimpton and instead turned into my version of Janis Joplin.

Note the stunning set of faux pearls...

Lists of Semi-Note
Is that a half-quaver I hear? Never mind.

In my ongoing look-see of the lists, I've found a couple that are almost worth reading on occasion--Laceknitters and Fairisleknitting. Both of them have their share of chat and nonsense.

I mean, anyone who signs their posts "Love and Lace" needs to be avoided at all costs.

However. If you are new at either technique, you can find help on both. Knowledgeable knitters of lace and Fair Isle are there to give out solid advice to those souls who are foundering in either technique.

I happen to know one laceknitter on the list, Pat Stevens, who is an expert at what she does. She's very generous with her info and has been very helpful to me in the past. Haven't been in touch with her for some years, so it was nice to see her name again. (Pat's another old UMN KLister who's resurfaced lately.) There's a wee bit too much "Look at my PictureTrail" for me on this list, however. But still, if you're new at laceknitting, this is a good resource.

Fairisleknitting, on the other hand, has very little chat and some good info, usually. Not a lot of traffic but what there is, is good.

The Aranknitting list, run by Janet Szabo, is another good specialty list. I used to subscribe but dropped it because I became more interested in Fair Isle knitting. This is also a Yahoogroups list.

I suppose somewhere there's a Mosaic knitting list, a Slip Stitch knitting list, and God only knows what else.

Men Who Knit
OK, so I'm lurking on this list. I have to admit, I like these guys. There's none of that boring silliness on the women-dominant lists, just down-to-earth discussion of projects, advice freely given, and a general aura of comfort. I enjoy reading it and ::gasp:: someday, I might even post. Well, maybe.

Time to go look at the new Jeep daughter Jenn just bought. And to get a little knitting done. I'm on my fourth and probably final (for the nonce) pair of Opal socks. I think I may be ready to go back to the Forest Path stole.

And no, Achim never did get the gansey. I have it. I'm keeping it. I'd like to rework it in Jamieson and submit it for the next Jamieson book. That way, lots of people can have as much fun making it as I did.

I'll be looking quite rare in that gansey, let me tell you.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
"Where is there dignity unless there is honesty?"--Cicero

It would appear that Achim and I no longer have a relationship. No, I will not discuss why. That's not what the blog is for. I'm fine, though. Really. As EZ said, "Knit on with confidence, through all crises."

And so I do and continue to rely on my resilience, my friends, and my creativity.

The Others
Forgive my not posting recently. Work is getting in the way of important stuff. Yesterday was spent at a meeting in Jersey City, birthplace of Martha Stewart. Need I say more?

So in my quest to bring you the best in knitting reportage ::snort::, I've been viewing some of the other, smaller lists in an attempt to look at the Beeg Peektchah. All I did was a search on YahooGroups for "knitting." (In case you're interested, there are 613 knitting lists, about 25% dedicated to goths, bands who play The Knitting Factory, etc. I'm looking for the person who belongs to all of them.)

Now that I'm about Opal'd out, having almost finished my third pair, I was totally astounded to find not one but two lists completely devoted to Opal sock yarn. Ye gods. So you know I had to check out one, OpalChatters. The name alone would be worth the price of admission. Maybe. So far, the most exciting thread I've seen is who bothers to match the patterning and who doesn't.

Suffice it to say that there's little to say. These one-trick pony lists must survive on the singleminded, narrow focus of those knitters who approach knitting as if it were a record that skips (little reference there for those of us who are over 40 and remember records). A few months ago, when I spent about 2 hours figuring out the Magic Loop business, I checked out that list too. Thank heavens there's only one of them...

Here's a few other one-trick lists, spelled as they appear in YahooGroups:

DishClothsRUsPlus, sonshine dishcloth knitters (for the born-again retarded spelers among you), Love2Knit Dishcloths, HPKnit (three guesses), wool soaker group (all you ever needed to know about knitted diapers), NorwegianHappyKnitting (I shudder at the thought), SlouchSocks, regiasocknitters.

Don't say I didn't warn you. Amazingly, there is no list dedicated to Kool-Aid dyeing. Unless I need to do a search for that specifically.

And of course, I forgot to include my absolute favorite, Hazels knitting: "I look into knitting and answer your knitting problems, whatever they maybe! For all you knittoholics out there!"

You go, girl.

Next post, I'll report on some lists that actually have some use.

Handy down to the bitter end, and still fucking rare. "What the fuck is wrong with German people," indeed.

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
"I never lecture, not because I am shy or a bad speaker, but simply because I detest the sort of people who go to lectures and don't want to meet them."
--H. L. Mencken

To paraphrase:
I never go to knitting classes simply because I detest the sort of people who go to those classes and don't want to meet them.

Luck of the Draw at AC
Thus it was, on yet another hideous, rainy Saturday, that I found myself perusing the Stitches East pamphlet with all the fabu class listings.

I won't be attending any of them. Not that they're totally uninteresting. I wouldn't mind taking one of Lucy Neatby's classes. But I have enough trouble sitting still for 3 to 6 hours in a class, let alone share that time with a passel of happy-dancing KnitDweebs. I should pay for this?

Will I miss some fantastic tip or creative concept? Possibly.

But I've done pretty well for myself throughout the years when I didn't have the books, the videos, the mailing lists, the websites, the trunk shows, the classes. I'm an independent learner. I'd rather sit in the living room with some music on the radio, cup of coffee, needles and yarn in hand, and teach myself something new and make my own mistakes.

I'll see you at the Market.

Knitter's Non-Review
Boring and banal. That's this issue. So what's the point of reviewing a publication that's ceased to have any redeeming value?

I pulled out an issue from 1995 this afternoon--articles on grafting, stitch gauge for borders by June Hiatt, circular knitting, intarsia in ribbing, the Tiny Diva's Reversible Cables (cripes, you'd think she would have played this one out but no--she's teaching it again at Stitches East). Designers like Jacqueline Jewett (whatever happened to her?), Priscilla G-R, Deborah Newton, Norah Gaughan. And this wasn't one of their better issues from that era.

That was when the magazine was worth every penny of its then $4.95 price. How these novices that Alexis is clearly pandering to will learn more than garter stitch is beyond me. Not from his magazine. He should be ashamed of himself.

But anyone who writes as he does has no shame.

Joy of Sox, Part Deux
I remember saying somewhere, maybe just to Loopy in an e-mail, that I didn't much see the point of those self-patterning sock yarns. Well, I take it back. I still say, if you want to do Fair Isle, do Fair Isle. That said, having finished my first pair of Opal socks, immediately claimed by daughter Jenn who camps a lot, I'm now on my second pair. It's the childish thrill of watching the colors change, like when Elly gave me that RH variegated to practice on when I was seven.

Opal's a bit on the lofty side. I had to go from #1s to #0s. But that's only because I knit so loosely you could cut the ribbon for the tunnel opening. Pattern says #5s, I begin swatching on #3s. I own a pair of #00s and #0000s.

I need stupid knitting projects right now. Taking oxycontin makes me goofy sometimes. There's an entire Rubbermaid bin filled with sock yarn of all flavors sitting in my closet, waiting for me to be as goofy as I wanna be.

Handy, handy. The raison d'etre for a stash.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch."
--Orson Welles

And what a lunch it was, too. QueerJoe and Kathy and me doing a Lambertville get-together.

Here's Joe wearing Achim's sweater with his best Calvin Klein boy-model pout...

Not to turn this into a "Oh boy, we had fun and you weren't there" travelogue but

you weren't. Joe would like to perpetrate the lie that I'm nicer than I seem on my blog.

I'm not. Otherwise, I wouldn't irritate you with these pictures. Bite me and read someone else's blog. There's a ration of KnitDweeb blogs springing up like patches of crabgrass. Go there.

Nonetheless, we had a great time. Joe brought his AS Donegal, on which he screwed up the armhole steek but made a remarkable save with scissors and great perserverance. Pictures do the subtlety of Starmore colorways no justice at all. This sweater is just unbelievable. Go to his blog and check it out.

Kathy wore another of her Koigu crocheted creations. She's the only person I've ever met who makes crocheted garments look great. You wouldn't buy her stuff at a church bazaar. I wish her picture had come out better but my digital camera is a piece of shit. Oh well. You can see her on Joe's blog as well.

Well, enough of this crap about people you don't know. But it was the perfect Aunty Dote to losing Milo. I needed it badly.

My Mew
So many people have either written in the Comments or sent me personal e-mails about Milo. I'm trying to get to my e-mail but I have to limit my time at the computer these days because of my neck. Thanks to you all. There's a lot of cat lovers out there, which is a good thing.

But the best memorial I got for the poor Mewburger was from my good friend at work, Pat Conway. Now, Pat's a crusty Irishman but he sometimes blows it. This video says it all and did much to raise my spirits.

Kid Knits
Liz has decided for the 40th time that she wants to restart her knitting. Sigh. Kids. It's expected. I bought her a nice pair of Brittanys in Lambertville because she has lost the bamboo straights I gave her. At least she didn't lose the orange Canadiana I bought her on our last trip to the yarn shop.

Her latest look is "Rave Punk." Note the chain she's wearing--a true fashion statement. Liz figures she'll be able to knit wristbands in orange and black in no time.

If she doesn't get past garter stitch, she's doomed to knit "blankets," as she calls them.

Grammy's Rules: Garter stitch must be automatic. Liz learns no purling until then. No losing stitches. No forgetting to knit the last stitch and then whining to Gram to fix it.

And she has to fix her mistakes. I believe in torturing all beginners by forcing them to look at their knitting and learn to fix what's wrong.

There's nothing worse than a cranky 10-year-old learning to knit. And she thinks she's going to be famous because I put her picture on my blog. Sheesh.

Next blog post: Why I won't review the new Knitter's. I'm tired now and I need some Percocet.