Friday, September 26, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
The IQ and the life expectancy of the average American recently passed each other going in opposite directions. --George Carlin

Take a week off, get 2,321 messages from Knitting Nirvana aka the Lists, and...

La plus ca change, etc.

Monday from 9-10 won. Monday from 8-9 came in second. I'll be there at 9 next Monday. The rest of you do what you like.

An hour a week is about all I could stand of any chatroom, let alone my own.

Celebrity Scarfs
Which is what the book should be called, in recognition of the combined knitting acumen and cerebella contained therein. As a devoted skimmer of People, I noted in this week's issue a mention of said book. So I guess "scarfs" aren't out with the Hollywood knitistes.

I wish knitting would fade back into the shadows of craftdom, from whence it came. There's just too many fucking people doing it these days, and doing it badly.

Far From The Wadding Crowd
Egad, but Knit U has had some really inane posts this week. I must confess that it's been my main source of yuks during my personal week of moving hell.

What is wadding, indeed. What the fuck do you think it is?

And armscye. Someone on Knit U made the moronic observation that " seems the term has crept quietly into knitting and crochet, because 'armhole' was too clear and straightforward."

Um, no. Those people who sew as well as knit know that armscye is the correct term. And, I might add, those knitters who also sew understand knitted garment construction far better than those who do not sew.

The best (and the only) craft class I've ever taken was the old "Stretch and Sew" course, where you really learned how to deal with knit fabric. Much of what I learned I use still in my designing and my finishing.

Sweaters are garments. Or they used to be.

La Musica del Mar
A reader, Martini, sent me an e-mail asking me what my music playlist would be. Besides Benoit Bourque--just kidding, that's Kathy's gig, not mine--I think that my playlist would just go on forever.

I love to dance. So if I can dance to it, no matter who the artist, it goes on the playlist. But here's some of my favorite songs and artists, not necessarily danceable. Some make me cry. Some make me drive too fast. All of them I love. I only knit to classical music, by the way.

Dimming of the Day--Bonnie Raitt
Louie, Louie--The Kingsmen
Start Me Up--The Stones
Let It Roll--Little Feat
Pride and Joy--Stevie Ray Vaughn
What I Like About You--The Romantics
She Drives Me Crazy--Fine Young Cannibals
Magic Bus--The Who
Hold On--Sam and Dave
Sweet Home Alabama--Lynyrd Skynyrd
Sweet Jane--Lou Reed
Freefallin'--Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
Are You Gonna Go My Way--Lenny Kravitz

And you're listening to my favorite Emmylou Harris song, as promised.

That's just a drop in the bucket. And Stairway to Heaven is not my favorite song. I don't know why it's always #1 on every radio station's Top 100 of All Time lists.

In Allamuchy
I'm ensconced. Unpacking stuff. And finally got to sit down and knit tonight for a few minutes on the Forest Path Stole. I'm on Tier 10 still. But it was good to have a quiet time, amidst the chaos.

But I thrive on chaos. I like to make order from it. And keep moving on.

You can't be rare and handy if you fall asleep at the wheel, that's for sure.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
I was gambling in Havana
I took a little risk
Send lawyers, guns and money
Dad, get me out of this
--Warren Zevon, "Lawyers, Guns and Money"

Got to give WZ his tribute...and after today, dealing with my attorney, I'll be bringing the money AND the Uzi to the closings on Monday. Emmylou will be next, promise.

This is my favorite of Zevon's songs. This, and Excitable Boy. Dick, I give it 10 because you can dance to it, too.

Kat Knitting
Enough with the fucking cats on these lists. Kath put her neck out on the KList and threatened them with Benoit Bourque. It was a brilliant post and despite the one cry of outrage by some Texan woman, who apparently makes doggie sweaters and flogs them on the internet, shut them all up better, I think, than the List Moms.

I'd take that threat very seriously.

I like cats. Remember the late, great Milo? But jeez Louise, cats belong where they belong. Right up there with Benoit Bourque.

By the way, I felt it was time to publish the TCI Home Office Operations group's unofficial picture. I want it on a T-shirt. I should send it to any list whose thread is tiresome, in lieu of a post.

I gave this framed to my last boss, Mark, when he left us for AIG. He keeps it in his desk drawer and looks at it in fond remembrance.

I like to share.

Knitty's 1st Anniversary
I wish I had more time to design and write for Knitty. It just keeps getting better and this issue is truly the most professional so far. Lots of good ways to use Noro.

And the guitar strap was inspired. Shit, it's far better than knitting a scarf. Although I was impressed with the Koigu-ruffled scarf, even though I have about as much use for scarves as for warshcloths.

What really blew me away was the Mrs. Hoover baby blanket. Not the design, it's feh. But I appreciate the historical research done by Kristi Porter. That is extremely interesting.

So good to say something good about a knitting magazine. Knitty is going places. Let's hope that Amy never loses her editorial focus, with the yarn companies courting her.

We've seen that happen before elsewhere, haven't we?

Be Gay...Be Very Gay
QueerJoe's contest is over. I selected the winner and I believe Joe will publish it tomorrow. All very strong entries, all very good. I enjoyed playing editor again.

So? I need your "input." Your "feedback."

I need your opinion as to time is designated for the Chat-o-Rama. Tell you what. I'll do another poll. I'll pick a bunch of days and times and you may vote. The poll will run for a week.

I want to include our overseas friends, specifically my Ozmates. And anyone else not of this time zone. But I need it to be in the evening, Eastern Standard Time.

And I am the Napoleonora of this blog. Everyone in unison: Bite me.

Thank you, I will.

Shufflin' Off
This will be the last entry in the house. Monday I'm in Allamuchy. I can't wait. I will not post until Tuesday next, at the earliest.

As Jen Tocker says, the computer will be the first thing set up. She's right. But I've got my FPS and the Queen Anne's Lace at my side, ready for stress relief.

I learned to be truly handy by hanging up the carbon monoxide monitor. It's a half-assed job but it passed the fire inspector's eagle eye.

Maybe I'm just rare.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Music is the only language in which you cannot say a mean or sarcastic thing. --John Erskine

Do you hear Bonnie Raitt? I modified my code so that all browsers can pick up the sound clips I play. Let me know if you can't hear it. Of course, make sure you have speakers and that the sound is on. I don't need to say that.

Don't like Bonnie? Don't like music? Just wait...I found a shitload of favorites last night: Emmy Lou Harris, Dixie Chicks, Patsy Cline, just for starters. And I like lots of different kinds of music.

This song is one of my favorites. Live with it. I think it's sexy as hell.

Poll Results
Well, that was an interesting experiment in human nature. Who among us can resist answering a poll? Or taking a stupid online personality test?

So here are the final results.

118 votes total
1. Yeah, why the fuck not? 40% 47 votes
2. No. What, are you nuts? 16% 19 votes
3. You talkin' to me? 13% 15 votes
4. Only if KnitDweebs are banned. 19% 22 votes
5. Only if you promise to remove the poll and its annoying popups 13% 15 votes

Since I manage all the electronic surveys at TCI, this smacks a little too much of work.

However, if you go to Talking Heads in the nav menu up top, you'll find the room. Read the rules. Don't ask me anything in the Comments. I presume you all read to a 9th grade level. I will take suggestions for a set time. Let's remember that we don't all live on the US East Coast, OK?

I may live to regret this.

Another Simple, Stupid Acronym
Make of that what you will.

Do I have nothing better to do at 7 a.m. on a Sunday than read the Knit U list?

Pure D habit, and I needed to clean out my mail folders.

Here's a new one, for those who are knitting acronym collectors. If I didn't think the X-Men would sue me for stealing their proprietary material that they steal from their list members, I'd print the whole post verbatim. It's a gem.

Which stands for "Stash Accrual Beyond Life Expectancy."

I expect this to take off. Look for it in the next issue of Knitter's. And on a LIKLY. That's a Local Idiotic Knit List near You.

I'm leaving my stash to Loopy, Joe, and Kathy. That's all there is to it. They'll just have to fight over it. But Loop can have all my Campion. Unless Michael wishes to learn how to knit. Which I doubt. He'd have to teach me how to play steel guitar. Which I doubt.

Time's getting short, campers. I have a mere 8 days to moving, which is why I'm writing this so fucking early in the morning. I will try to post one more time on Thursday but after that, it's anyone's guess. There will probably be close to a week's gap thereafter.

Just so you know.

La Contesta del Jose
This is the last day you can enter QueerJoe's Blogathon writing contest, so enter early and often. I expect it will be tough for me to select the winner but I will give all entries my gimlet editorial eye and I'm looking forward to it.

Plenty of rare and handy writers floating around the ether.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
While we have the gift of life, it seems to me that the only tragedy is to allow part of us to die - whether it is our spirit, our creativity, or our glorious uniqueness.
--Gilda Radner

I should be busy polishing up my presentation for tomorrow's National Operations meeting in NYC. I will. It's important. But not as important as some other things.

Loss is a powerful thing. It can permeate your life forever. Losing your job, losing your health, losing a loved one.

I was going to avoid thinking about the 2nd anniversary of 9/11. The loss of so many and the loss to so many only reminds me of my own personal losses during the past two years: a job that was lost directly because of 9/11; a husband lost 3 months later to a violent disease that neither of us could battle; the loss of a man who made me believe I could love again and then vanished from my life without a trace; and finally, the loss of my house, the house that I was going to stay in for the rest of my life with Jim.

I think that 9/11 has made us all more fearful of loss and less confident in life. I know that I fight those feelings every day because life cannot be ruled by loss.

It seems a trivial thing, knitting. After all, what is it but some needles and yarn? A trivial pursuit, if you will, in the scheme of life. Yet it has helped me focus time and time again, taking me away from my worries and troubles, and restoring my sense of accomplishment and optimism.

While packing up all my yarn and books and needles and knitting accoutrements the other week, I found the sweater I was working on in the hospital the day Jim died. I will never finish it, most likely. It belongs to the past and my old life. But I'll keep the pieces as a remembrance and go on to new projects.

Sometimes the pain of loss can blossom into a whole new flower.

As we used to say in the '60s, peace.


Sunday, September 07, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
You can't have everything. Where would you put it?
--Steven Wright

One month to Stitches East. U-Haul stock is bound to go up.

I love the list threads. They prompt sarcastic e-mail exchanges between me and Loopy. Frankly, the two of us were KnitFlaming long before the KF list existed. Like since 1997.

So I'll share my stoopid pick du jour. Here's one that I just sent her, from the Knit List.

I just checked the Addis I am knitting with now and it is the mm size that is stamped on them, not the US size. Do you have a metal knitchek with the different size holes on it for every size needle. Double check the size with that.

Um, yes, I do. Would you like to cyber-borrow it? And I'm afraid you'll just have to figure out the difference between a #15 and a #17 on your own.

I hope that I personally thanked each one of the people who responded to my question about using a dishcloth pattern to make a baby afghan.

Now why didn't I think of that? Take a warshcloth "pattern" and make it into an afghan? Now I've got a whole new use for my "Bite Me" chart.

Those are just two from this morning's crop.

Weird Knitting
The thread on knitting in weird places seems to have a sub-life of its own and will not die.

In 1975, when I was a psychiatric technician, I knit every night on Ward 35, the maximum security area for homicidal and suicidal women at The Essex County Hospital Center.

I think that kind of tops knitting at the local horse show.

Fiber Toys
I'm taking a cue from QueerJoe's entry on Thursday about fiber toys and related ephemera. Personally, I've not found many that are particularly useful or worth the money.

I expect we'll see a shitload of them at Stitches, as usual. I'm really tempted, as I said in the last entry's Comments, to market bogus products and see how many KnitDweebs will bite.

I'll repeat the two products mentioned in the Comments:

ShaftSoClean...just dip and your needles will sparkle like new! Works great on nickel-plated, aluminum, or Teflon-coated needles.

And for you bamboo or wood needle aficionados, try WoodenEweWashIt. Specially formulated to restore the natural patina of all cellulose-based needles. It'll make your wood stand out!

Add these:

Got CTS? Give it a rest with KnitRHelpR! Made from the finest Taiwanese plastic, KnitRHelpR is a convenient third hand, engineered to hold your needle when the pain gets too intense. All KnitRHelpRs are made from recycled mannikins. We support the environment!

Lacy Lifelines keep your lace knitting in check! These thin waxed threads, scented with a hint of mint, can be run with your knitting so that you'll never have to worry about frogging your yarn-overs again! Each package holds pre-cut Lifelines in lengths of 24", 48" and 60". Just $11.95 for a pack of 12 Lifelines.

Hardworking knitters' hands need a real hand job! Creme a Tricoter, created from a protein-based formula, will soothe those aching joints immediately. Complete satisfaction guaranteed! Warning: You may become drowsy after use.

OK, that's enough of that. (Although I did like Carol S's comment from the last entry: Knitted Condoms, ribbed for her pleasure.)

Better get my ass in gear. More packing to do. Two weeks to go and I'm knee-deep in shit. Somehow, I seem to be able to do my job at TCI, deal with moving, and write this blog.

Moving is so unrare and so fucking unhandy. I'll stop whining now. Maybe.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone:
Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.
--Dorothy Parker

I thought it was time for another DP quote, Tontant Weaders.

Beverly Hillbillies Knitting
Was it my imagination, or did I see Granny knitting in her rocker? Maybe it was Jethro. My eyes aren't so hot.

Will someone please explain to me why it is so thrilling to see someone knit on TV, knit in the movies, knitting anywhere?

One of my favorite authors is Ruth Rendell, who writes dark, psychological novels. In virtually every book, knitting is mentioned.

So what? Outside of one book, where the murder weapon of choice was a pair of circular needles, knitting does not play an integral part in her plot developments.

I guess if you don't have a life, a mere mention or cinematic sighting of knitting is enough to stir up the blood.

Knitter's Sighting
Heh. Gotcha. Maybe.

But I did see the magazine at Elly's this afternoon after work. Well. It's not hideous, despite their persistent use of bilious green in a few of the designs.

The Elsebeth Lavold vest is even better than I thought. Oddly, it's worked in Debbie Bliss Merino, rather than in one of Lavold's yarns. I'm hoping to see her new line at Stitches East, if I'm not blinded by the cataclysmic shine of all the glitzy-shit yarns I'm afraid will be prominent again this year.

Unfortunately, there seems to be an article on Lavold written by the X-Man himself, Alexis. And here I thought he'd given up the pen for the lens. Didn't have time to read it. But then, who does have time to wade through anything he writes?

Those Smart-Heel socks the SK gang keeps raving about? I can't find a better synonym than hideous to describe them. [Ed. Note: See my correction re: title in Comments. Better yet, see the Knit U correction to yet another mistake in their directions--they're wrong...again.]

Sorry, but that heel looks like it would only fit SpongeBob. Or possibly Squidward. Smart it ain't if it don't fit. But I'll read the directions anyway and see just how fucking smart it is.

Stitches East Warshcloth
OK, so I decided I would knit myself a little pink warshcloth and pin it to one of my ample bazooms for Stitches, just in case there's a KnitDweeb lurking near The Mannings booth with an Uzi, waiting to take me down.

So rather than continue to struggle with my Excel pivot chart and a V-Lookup that wouldn't look up this afternoon at work, I decided that it was time to chart out the petite warshcloth.

I figure, worked at 7 spi in sock yarn, this would make about a 4" wide (with edging) warshcloth suitable for pinning. Perhaps if I knit two of them, I can wear them as pasties and out Chin the Tiny Diva for pure trashy nonstyle.

Of course, I'll knit enough rows to make it 4" high and include garter edging on all sides. Don't know how this will work in actual knitting, since the graph is itself not proportional. I'll let you know. Aw shit, I just realized this will needs be done as intarsia. Fuck me.

And yes, the #25 column is missing its pink color. I really do not like Stitch Motif Maker. Doesn't do a fill. I'm going back to Stitch Painter, a much more "robust" app. (That's another word I hate, "robust." They use it all over TCI, why I do not know.)

QueerJoe's Blog-o-rama
Now listen up. I guess I have to say this again, since I want to make sure you heard me the first time.

QueerJoe is running this fucking contest wherein you write a guest blog and I get to judge the entries anonymously. And he's actually giving away enough yarn for a sweater if you win.

Which is more than you'll ever get from me. I don't do prizes. But he does, and he's already receiving entries from far and wide. Well, three. But one's from Australia, I understand.

So write something for him. Fame is yours, plus some yarn. All you have to do is get past me. Heh heh.

And now, since the phone is ringing, I must leave you to your rare and handy selves. Try to play nice in the Comments, OK? Not you, Michael. You can play as nasty as you like.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.
--H. L. Mencken

And you thought that The Knitting Guild of America was the only not-for-profit organization that could attract KnitDweebs like flies on shit?

Nah. Now they're discussing The Red Hat Society .

It's the cute poem, the daring purple-and-red combo, and, of course, paying $35 to a group that offers nothing in return. And of course, the opportunity to wear Queen Mum hats.

Why do some women wear hats that they shouldn't? The corollary to that is: Why do some women wear sweaters that they shouldn't? It's all of a piece, I suppose.

And The Winner IS...
Lisa McNulty, for her submission, Divine Interventions. Please click on September's Bizarro link. And if you're a priss, a prude, or a Jesus shouter, just leave, OK?

Second Place goes to Regina, for her unforgettable link to the best menswear page I've seen in an age. Of course, it's German. Of course.

Third Place goes to Cheryl, for Klein Bottles, a link that contains actual knitting content. Check out the matching hats.

All the submissions were excellent. And yes, I did look at all of them. In fact, they were so good I had a real problem deciding the winner.

So I picked three and asked my excellent partner-in-crime, Michael, to pick the winner. Lisa's was the one I was leaning toward--and that's the one he picked.

I think I will put all of the links on a page and let you all look at them. But that's for the next time. Too lazy to do it today.

Tiny Diva on BBC Radio
Did you miss it? I mean, how could you? She only posted about it twice to Knit U. Hey, she was going to discuss her Guiness Book record! Again.

Well, when I bothered to remember last night, while doing my online studying for financial aid adminstrator (yet another fun work thing to do in my spare time), the link was dead.

But I managed to find it in the archives. Unfortunately, I also found a far more interesting interview with The Rolling Stones so I listened to that for an hour.

Keith Richards is far more uplifting an interview than Chin. I know it's only rock 'n' roll, but I like it.

Guest Editorship
QueerJoe, another partner-in-crime and the man least likely to become my next husband, has asked me to judge his "Guest Blog Writer" contest.

Now, I know you all read his blog, at least I hope you do. So get out there and write your little hearts out. He's sending me the entries without names, so I won't know who wrote what.

However, if there is an excessive use of French in any of them, I will know whose it is.

Be fruitful, be rare, be handy, and it's fucking raining here in NJ, so be sitting on your asses knitting.