Friday, October 31, 2003

Damn it, Janet

Now get out that copy of Rocky Horror, ignore the doorbell, eat the kids' candy and knit.

It's a rare and handy holiday. And tomorrow, I'll be back to Abby Normal.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Life is full of loneliness, misery, suffering, and unhappiness - and it's all over much too quickly.
--Woody Allen, "Annie Hall"

La-di-da, la-di-da, la-di-da.

I'm in an Annie Hall frame of mind today.

Around the Lists in 80 Nanoseconds topics abound. Have we read these before? Sure, we have.

On the Knit List:
:: Cat Urine--what to do when the cat pees on your stuff. At the risk of offending cat owners, I'd say either take the cat to the vet because the damned thing has a urinary tract infection OR don't have a cat.

:: Seed v. Moss Stitches--a rose by any other name, eh? Why debate the difference? Well, because some people call Seed stitch Moss stitch, and vicey versey. However, this discussion is worth about 1 second of your time...and mine.

On the Knit U List:
:: Carpal Tunnel--yep, it's rearing its ugly head again. I rather expect that not unlike an infectious disease, it will spread elsewhere. Here's the thing about Carpal Tunnel. A lot of people have it. I have it. I have friends who have it.

There's a ton of info out there on Carpal Tunnel. So shut the fuck up about it already.

On the Socknitters List:
Nothing. Unless you count yet another discussion of the virtues of Kroy, Regia, whatever.

Teeny Tiny Stupid Knitting
It's always comforting to know that someone, somewhere, is knitting something even more bizarre than, say, curricles and tea cups. The Socknitters were gasping with shock and awe over this site, Bug Knits.

I must admit, I have terrible eyesight and perhaps subconsciously I envy this miniaturist. I love miniatures. But I'm not sure that I would be bothered with this shit. If you do dollhouses, you might want a knitted miniature sweater or something.

But I imagine you could decorate your dollhouse without it.

Word Up, Chin Up
I generally don't write too much about other people's blogs, since I do have the wee listie to the left of the page of what I read, when I have the time. But this blog I just have to promote, despite its one-trick-pony scheme. Go read Down with the Chin.

You'll be amused.

And now, it's time to face the rain and drive home to be rare and handy with John. He's partly the reason I've been lax in posting. So bite him. He'd love it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.--Unknown

Yeah, I know. Where the fuck have I been? Well. You want the New York Times version...or three sentences or less?

Here's what I've been doing:

1. Seeing John...a lot
2. Watching the Yankees
3. Working my ass off at TCI

These are in order of importance, of course.

Lavold, C'est La Guerre
OK, I know she's not French. But in response to numerous (well, a few) requests that I show what I'm currently working on, here's the back of the Lavold vest from this past issue of Knitter's.

The back was the easy part. And all the pieces will need to be blocked. I'm a bit concerned about the garter stitch border that then goes directly into reverse stockinette. Methinks that there's not sufficient garter stitch to eliminate the curling. But we'll see.

This is a better shot of the cable motif done on the armhole. The cabling is not that difficult. And the back as a whole is not that difficult.

The fronts require extremely careful counting because you must first short-row while beginning the little cable, then simultaneously decrease for the armhole, work a motif, and decrease for the V-neck. If the decs for the V were, say, every 4th row or so, it would not be a particular chore. But they are like so: [Work dec on next row, work 1 row even; work dec on next row, work 3 rows even] 8 times.

See what I mean? So combining the armhole decs, the chart rows AND these neckline decs into one rational row count is the key. The 28-row chart begins X rows above the armhole bind-off and neckline decs. The chart has to be renumbered so every action, chart or decs, can be identified by a uniform row count.

And it's why the pattern is marked "Advanced."

I wish I had done this vest in Lavold's Silky Wool. Because although the Debbie Bliss Merino is nice, it cannot compare to Lavold's stuff.

Vague Knitting Article
Some people have asked me if I was upset because my blog was not mentioned in the VK Holiday issue article.

Um, no.

Should I be?

And do you think any magazine would put their asses on the line to publicize a blog that actively criticizes them and holds them accountable for their fuck-ups and dreary fashions?

Strictly a rhetorical question, of course.

And now, I'd better do some TCI writing before I get MY ass held accountable.

I get a check twice a month from TCI, just for being rare and handy. And producing, you know?

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist.--Alvin Dark, former baseball coach

Yeah, the Red Sox have a commie pitcher.

Rain postponed the game tonight, which is why I'm writing the blog. It's October, and knitting and watching baseball go hand-in-hand.

I Don't Think, Therefore I Knit...a Scarf
So after all the comments about the Gallery of Ghastlies, I gave the entire philosophy of taste some serious consideration. And the schools of knitting as I see them.

Here's what I believe: There are three main schools of knitting philosophy. The Good. The Bad. The Fugly.

Let's work backwards. The Fugly were well represented in the Gallery and at Stitches East. The Fugly School of Knitting can take a perfectly acceptable, tasteful design and make it into something that Hannibal Lecter wouldn't eat for dinner. It would seem that the Fuglies enjoy taking liberties with Kaffe Fassett's creations. And I would include certain designers who play into the Fugly School, such as the Tiny Diva.

I mean, dressed as Miss America in a knitted pink frou-frou gown, so I hear? Um, that's fugly.

The Bad. Well, I would say that Celebrity Scarves, Daryl Hannah, and every eyelash yarn on the market epitomize this school. The Bad School of Knitting members never learn how to do anything beyond constant garter stitch, using same to make long novelty scarves and garter stitch warshcloths. And aren't much interested in going past garter stitch. Except in recent months, with the publication of Melville's garter stitch extravaganza. In fact, the single most popular garment made by most members of the Bad School of Knitting is probably the Einstein Coat.

The Good. The members who subscribe to this school are generally serious about learning what they can, eschew novelty yarns, and may or may not be traditionalists, insofar as they learn all the traditional techniques and stitch patterns. Mostly, they're fearless knitters who are itching to try something new.

So what's worse? The Bad? or the Fugly? I'd have a hard time choosing.

One thing I do know. The Bad and the Fugly will never go away. There will always be people who think that garter stitch swing jackets are the height of fashion and knitting expertise. Too bad because they'll never know what they're missing.

Have I ever made a Fugly garment? You bet. In 1974, when I had no money, I made a ribbed coat from acrylic. In aqua. It was supposed to have been done in Donegal Tweed. I didn't have the money, but I wanted to make the coat.

I never wore it. It was fugly. And I knew it was going to be fugly all the while I knit it.

The lesson was well learned. Never did that again. I saved for the good stuff.

Vague Knitting Holiday Issue
Saw it online. What a dog. Enough said.

IK Winter Issue
Saw the garments at Stitches. This looks to be a good issue. I'm not sure when it's due out but based on what I saw, it would seem that IK is rising from the ashes a bit.

Well, gang, it's been a long week. Still unpacking books, although the Wall of Knitting Shit is almost done. The magazine collection alone is scary. And I don't have complete sets of everything. However, I keep finding more boxes of magazines and patterns.

It's so rare and handy to find a Vogue Knitting issue from 1968.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
I base my fashion taste on what doesn't itch.
--Gilda Radner

For the past two days, I've seen garments the likes of which would give any sane person the hives.

Lock and load, baby.

Stitches East Revue
I'm back. And here it is, in all its glory...

The AC Convention Center is a vast improvement over the Valley Forge septic tank.

Driving three hours from Allamuchy to AC was not half bad. And Elly and I continued our ritual of having coffee and bagels first while reviewing the vendors and their booth placement before we hit the show.

Elly lasted about two and a half hours on Friday. She bought what she wanted and then she wanted to leave. So I went back on Saturday to finish what I started. A buyathon. And seeing more friends.

I have another picture of Elly with her mouth full but she threatened me with a spanking if I published it.

First, we had to meet Kathy and Carol S. at the Simply Knit booth. And of course, QueerJoe, who showed off his Weavette, full of gadgety goodness, as Lisa might say.

Then Kathy and Carol S. showed up and off we went shopping. What more can I say? Here's Kathy in one of her Koigu leftover crocheted jackets.

By and large, this was an excellent show. It was great to see old friends, and meet some new ones.

From left, it's Lisa, Kathy, and Donna, who recognized me from some picture of myself that I must have put up on the blog. Donna doesn't post to the Comments, but she will now, won't she? Wish I could have met more of my Tontant Weaders...but I prefer to do these shows dressed as Lili von Schtupp so that I will not be recognized.

Although Kathy is insistent that I am far more well known that I wish to be. Shit, I hope not. I'm a shy person. Really.

The Best Part
No, I'm not going to list all the things I bought. Much of the stuff I did buy was raw materials for future design projects.

But. There were a shitload of fucking ugly garments there, kids. I shit you not. If I could have found the person wearing the knitted purple dress complete with applied rick-rack, I would have. This vision was rumored to have been a guy awaiting a sex-change operation. Never saw him.

However, I bring you The Gallery of Ghastlies. A photographic tour of some of the most plug-ugly knitted things I have seen in a long time.

Is it a coincidence that many of these garments are intarsia? Is that why I don't do intarsia? No. But it's astonishing how easily people can crap up even a Kaffe Fassett design. Mary Maxim, eat your heart out.

You'll see.

So, enough of my self-indulgence with the digital camera.

It was fun. It was rare. It was handy.

I'm beat.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Most women are introspective: "Am I in love? Am I emotionally and creatively fulfilled?" Most men are outrospective: "Did my team win? How's my car?"--Rita Rudner

I must be inwardly outrospective. I've asked myself all those questions at one time or another, some of them in the past two weeks.

Yes, the Neon has trans "issues."

Go Yanks. That's all I have to say about that. It's October and it's baseball, so bite me. There's more than just Stitches going on in my life right now.

You know, for a beginner's mag, this is really the best one. I don't know why I keep buying it but it usually has one design that I would almost consider making.

Knitter's, IK, and Vague should leave the beginner shit to Easy Knitting, who does it ever so much better.

Jamieson's 3
I don't think this was as strong an issue as the first two. Nonetheless, it's far and away a better investment than any other book I've seen recently.

Frankly, I'm tired of modular garter stitch shit and there was one of them there types in J3. But two spectacular Fair Isles (not as many colors as I like but still striking), a nice lace shawl, and some cabled affairs were enough to balance out the so-so.

And two day/night pullovers worked in 3 strands of the Jamieson Spindrift that blew my mind. The 3 strands are worked ABB, BCC, etc. so that there is a subtle shading that is incredible. Add to that a nifty Guernsey-style patterning and these two sweaters justify the price of the book, in my opinion. Buy it, you'll like it.

On the Boardwalk
I have my digital camera ready for Friday because oooh baby baby it's time for Stitches Market. Fuck the classes. Anyone wanna make book on whether the XMen confiscate my camera and throw me out on my ass?

There will be a meeting of the Faithful at the Simply Knit booth on Friday at 11 a.m. QueerJoe, Kathy, Carol S. and me and whoever else shows up. Oh, and I'm bringing Elly with me. She has her list. I have mine. I promise you I will do a montage of scary photos and post on Saturday or Sunday.

New Musica
This entry's pick is The Dixie Chicks. I like them--good voices, excellent musicianship. This song, Cowboy Take Me Away, and all that I choose for the blog always reflect how I'm feeling when I write. Writing is music to me...Cowboy, take me away. Yes.

Sorry I had to take down the Emmylou Harris but seriously, even I was getting sick of hearing it.

By the way, Bette Midler has just released a Rosemary Clooney songbook CD. Come on-a My House. Great song. And Sisters, from White Christmas. My sissyboo Karen and I sing that one together on occasion. But not for public consumption.

Karen's husband Jim also contributed this month's Bizarro Link. Just so you know. He's a bon vivant raconteur and man-about-the-saltwater-tank. I just talked to him immediately after he was stung by his pet sea urchin. Our whole family is rare and handy.

New and Improved
For those of you who follow my adventures, here's the latest. Seeing a new guy. Very cute, very sexy, very smart. Very into the same things I am. No, he does not knit. Yes, he has read the blog. Yes, I've met my match, trust me. I like him lots.

As Colin Quinn says, "That's my story and I'm sticking to it." Don't ask me anything else. All will be revealed in time, O nosy ones.

I don't let any grass grow under my fucking feet.

It's my way of being rare and handy, dontcha know?