Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Some rainy winter Sundays when there's a little boredom, you should always carry a gun. Not to shoot yourself, but to know exactly that you're always making a choice.--Lina Wertmuller

When will this neverending winter cease? I can almost understand why people move to Florida. Almost.

Well, once again I've spent the past week being sick, having to drag myself around in the snow, and in general suffering from winter depression. I do believe that winter sorely depresses me. Don't feel much like knitting, writing, working, nothing.

Never mind that. In the meanwhile, I've at least solved the web host problem. I'm probably going to redesign the blog if I can get my lazy ass in gear and just do it. But on February 1, this blog will officially run from

Just so you know.

Lavold Stuff
Despite my whining about being sick, I did manage to finish the back of the Ran tunic from the latest Elsebeth Lavold book.

Her designs are great. Her directions are strictly from hunger. I feel for inexperienced knitters who are working from her not-so-pithy instructions.

Here's the deal with the Ran tunic. Besides the mistake on the chart, which we shall forgive her because we know that shit happens, the shoulder shaping directions were just awful. She short-rows the shoulders...that's fine. But never tells the reader what to do with the stitches once the shortrowing is done.

That's not fine.

Does one work back across the shortrows, does one then bind them off, does one put them on stitch holders? She simply tells you to put the remaining 52 stitches on a holder for the neck but never says a word about what to do with the shoulder stitches. I opted to put them on holders for a 3-needle bind-off.

And when I began the sleeve, I realized that she does not give you the correct stitch count IF you want to center the cabled design. Not hard for an experienced knitter to figure out, but what about the rest of the great unwashed, eh? I didn't look at the other sizes, but I'm guessing that if you cast on the number of stitches she tells you, the design will not be centered and you'll be left with a weird number of stitches at the end of the row.

Caveat knitter, that's all I'm saying.

There were other little omissions in the Ran directions. You most absolutely need to add selvedge stitches. I believe it's the designer's (or editor's) responsibility to TELL people they need to do that and to incorporate said selvedge stitches into the directions. Yes, you do need to hold people's hands when writing directions. Especially in this country, where everyone seems to have to be spoon-fed.

That's my rant about Lavold. The interesting thing about her designs is that they're basically a one-trick pony deal. I love the cabling and it's certainly challenging, but we're still talking 4-stitch cabling nonetheless.

Stethoscope Covers
Kathy sent along this thriller from Knit U. Glad she did because I haven't read any of the lists this week and God knows I wouldn't want to miss a gem like this. Now they're talking about knitting stethoscope covers.

I envision myself in a hospital bed feeling like shit, when smiling Miss Nancy Nurse Knitter comes bouncing into my room, perky and doing her Nursey Happy Dance, and swinging a fucking stethoscope with a knitted pink Dazzleaire cover.

Now, that'd have to kill me. Death by Dazzleaire.

A fitting end to the KC, don't you think?

Stay warm, stay dry, stay rare and handy. I'm going to go upstairs and knit. It's the only thing to do when there's 10 inches of snow.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

The latest on my web hosting situation: I've decided to use Holy shit, they are so much cheaper than Earthlink. Many thanks to those of you who gave me suggested hosts. It was a great help.

The good news is that my new URL will be For the time being, the blog will stay here, at, so don't be typing in that URL until I say so, OK?

With every crappy situation comes new opportunities. Registering means that I really own the name now. And this will give me a chance to redesign the blog without disrupting it, something that I've been wanting to do for some time now.

I'd do a happy dance but I might choke on my own vomit.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Christ. If you haven't been able to access the blog, it's because my swell web host, Earthlink, claims that I owe them money. Um, no. Considering that they take it from my account every month, I don't think so. So I've switch the blog back over to for the time being, until I can either square things away with Earthlink or tell them to go fuck themselves. So here's hoping that you all find me.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.—Mark Twain

A good “fuck it” is better than Maalox.

Blog Buggery and Other Fun Profanities
If it weren’t for Loopy’s e-mails and Joe’s recent blog entry, I never would have known that the Knit List was whining about profanity on blogs and the term “Stitch ‘n’ Bitch.”

What true fuckwits. And I use that word with emphasis aforethought.

Blogs are like TV. If you don’t like what you read, go elsewhere. Joe thought that perhaps he might need to place a disclaimer on his blog. I won’t do that, ever. My writing is what it is. No apologies. If your kids are reading it, then you clearly aren’t managing their online time. And that’s not my problem. If you find my writing offensive, that’s not my problem either.

Enough said.

Blogs and the Sunday New York Times
I would imagine that some of you read My So-Called Blog by Emily Nussbaum in the Sunday NYT last week about teen bloggers. I found it interesting, so when Ms. Nussbaum showed up on one of the national morning news programs to discuss the article, I watched. Much to my chagrin, she gave viewers the impression that blogging is a kid thing to do, with a lot of assistance from the interviewer, whose questions focused on teen-age blogs and the angst contained therein. Parents, do you know what your kid writes online?

As you know, if you read this blog and others, there is a large number of adult bloggers who write on a wide ranges of topics other than their lives: sports and politics, movies and literature, hobbies and travel. There’s a lot of good reading out there. And a lot of bad writing too.

I’ll be interested to see if this Teen-As-Blogger media theme becomes the public’s perception of blogging. I hope not. For most bloggers, writing a blog is exactly what Nussbaum describes. A not-so-private online diary that works better than therapy. But many blogs are written with a more journalistic edge, and those are the blogs that deserve the media attention.

If This is January, It Must be Catalog Time
I’m impatiently waiting for the 2004 Patternworks catalog. I have no idea why. There is nothing that needs to be purchased for the Roberts Stash-o-Rama. I did get the Knit Picks catalog and thumbed through it. This time, they’re pushing Fair Isle. Knit Picks seems to theme their catalogs. Last time it was lace, I believe. I don’t think that offering 12 or so shades of Jamieson Spindrift establishes them as the mail order emporium of record for Fair Isle. But their policy of free shipping over $30 is endearing. There were some nifty double-pointed needle protectors that I thought worth the six bucks. Couldn’t find them online, only in the hard-copy catalog.

Shetland Lace
I’ve been wanting Sharon Miller’s book, Heirloom Knitting, for a long time. It was nowhere to be found at Stitches, apparently because the first printing was sold out (the next printing is due out soon). It’s a pricy book, around $40, but it looks to be a definitive treatise on Shetland lace knitting. Consider that the XRX book, A Gathering of Lace, with its mistakes, is $35, I think Heirloom Knitting will be worth every penny. (Why is it that XRX buries its book Errata under “Book Help” on their increasingly befuddled web site? Rhetorical question, of course.)
Sharon’s web site is worth a visit—she has a free pattern available for download and a lot of good information. Of particular note is her “Beginner’s Guide to Charted Lace Knitting. The photo gallery of Shetland lace projects is amazing.

Speaking of XRX books and the Knitting Eunuchverse web site, if you have a burning desire to be the next Sally Melville, XRX wants you. Yep, they’re looking for writers on their web site. Of course, I found the link once, probably never to be found again. As is my wont, I will never publish a link to anything XRX does, so if you want to find fame and fortune as a published knitting writer, you’re on your own here. The thought of working with Alexis as photographer is enough to chill the blood of any intelligent human being.

Random thought: Has anyone noticed that Meg Swanson does nothing with XRX any more? No designs in Knitters, no books, no appearances at Stitches? I suspect that AGL was the last project she did with them...a wise move, I’m sure.

What I Knit
Lately, it seems as if I have to rearrange my schedule to find five minutes for knitting. However, I have made some small progress on the Lavold Ran tunic. More on this and a picture too in my next entry. The Ran back is 2/3 completed. The Queen Anne's Lace and the Forest Path Stole get momentary glances and not much more right now.

I'm also working on a quick hat in Cashmerino for John, since the London beanie I knit for him was not precisely what he wanted. Hey, I told him up front that it was tight-fitting, and he even tried it on halfway through and said it was fine. Then when it was done, it wasn’t fine. I knew the fucking thing wasn’t going to be fine. This time, I call the knitting shots. WTF does he know?

It’s about 10 degrees or so in these parts. Maybe a little more, probably a little less. I got to enjoy a few days off from work so that I could experience the flu along with many of my friends and co-workers. Shall I admit that I am a Judge Judy addict?

A week in Aruba would be rare and handy.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Best Quote I Heard All Day
I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork. --Peter De Vries

A paperless environment will never be a reality. People need to wrap their hands around their reading material. And mounds of paper on one’s desk is an instant, albeit often bogus, raison d’etre.

I pile, therefore I produce.

Yeah, sure.

Saratoga Saga or Whatever
The time spent in Saratoga Springs over New Year’s with John’s friends Mitch and Emily Markowitz was just great. Emily is an excellent knitter, and it was nice to sit with her in the living room and knit, while Mitch and John played their guitars in the basement and the Markowitz boys, Owen and Zach, took naps.

I needed the time away. And being with John was the best. So now I’m rested and I’m ready.

If U Cn Rd This, U Cn Knt & Rd Kntg Ptrns
As much as I go on about KnitDweebs, those who know me well know that I have great affection and patience for beginning knitters. The aforementioned Emily has a friend, Lisa, who is just learning to knit and ran into problems while I was visiting. I was more than happy to help her, but was totally pissed off when I found out what Lisa had been unwittingly talked into making by a supposedly knowledgeable yarn shop owner.

How about making short-rowed booties as a first project, when you can just about handle knitting and purling? And don’t yet know how to bind off? Please. To make matters worse, the yarn shop owner had photocopied the bootie pattern from someone else’s book AND then closed the shop for two weeks during the holidays, leaving Lisa with no help. She was totally confused by the directions, although she did make a valiant stab at knitting the booties.

Emily and I found Lisa a nice but simple cabled pullover pattern to make. I told her to forget the fucking booties and forget that yarn shop. Fortunately, there are other shops in the area.

Sometimes I think some yarn shop owners should be licensed by the state. Or worse. If I knew the name of Lisa’s yarn shop, I’d go up there and make a citizen’s arrest.

Christmas Crapalong Runners-Up
Finally, the other contestants, as promised. I think Nanette, Treva, and Teri acquitted themselves admirably. My only disappointment was that the Tiny Diva didn’t have time to enter. I can think of any number of her designs that might have won, too. Re-creating her David Letterman jiffy piece of crap in holiday colors certainly would have won her a runner-up spot, don’t you think? Here’s Nanette’s entry.

As she wrote, “Here's my contest submission titled "Trash Bag Christmas Stocking." It was knit with two different color trash bags ripped into 1 inch wide strips using size 4 dpns. I winged it design wise but I used the snowflake chart from the tiny Christmas stockings in the books Socks, Socks, Socks. I used the knitter's handiest substance, duct tape, to spell out Noel at the top of the stocking. It is photographed on top of my trash can where it belongs. Or is that in the trash can??”

Mmmm, tasty.

Treva’s submission was equally, um, worthy of KnitDweebKnitting.

“This is a handy dandy ditty bag that can be gifted to practically
anyone. It can be used for a cell phone case, a soap scrubby thingy, and since it's cold season it's the perfect size for those little packages of tissues.”

Just the kind of project Knitter’s would love for one of their hideous gift-themed issues.

Teri’s submission was, to be honest, almost too appealing to be considered crap and therefore was eliminated from consideration immediately. Well, the yarn is crap. There’s always that.

“For the Xmas Crap-Along Contest I humbly submit:
Eine Klein(e) Nacht Cap! Settle down for a long winter’s nap in the luscious acrylicness of Red Heart Classic, mothproof, shrink-proof, colorfast, non-allergenic, worsted weight/4 ply.”

In the scheme of crap, they're all winners. Or losers.

New Year’s Resolutions
I don’t need no steenkin’ resolutions. I either do something or I don’t. I’m more interested in long-term and short-term planning, either or both of which can be done at any time.

Short-term plans include finishing the Queen Anne’s Lace and the Forest Path Stole by June or so. I’ve just started working on a Fair Isle chart, which I call Rainbow Peeries, which segues nicely into my long-term plans of publishing my designs.

It’s looking more and more likely that I will sell my designs from the blog, simply because that’s what’s expedient. The first to go up for sale will be the gansey from last year. I’m mulling over some other designs that will be quicker and simpler, probably. But the Rainbow Peerie Fair Isle will be the major design for the year, I think, depending upon the swatches and whether I like any of them or not.

Am I going to do an online newsletter or magazine? Maybe. I’m not sure I want to give up the blog at this point. I would not do both. If I do something online, I will rely on my Brain Trust (and you know who you are) to aid and abet me.

Bizarro Links for January
They will be up on the weekend—there was a tie, remember? I have to e-tramp around and see where the fuck I put those two links. Having two e-mail addresses sometimes wreaks havoc with my sense of order.

Trial of the Century
I do love a good overly hyped celebrity trial. And I’m itching to watch the Crafty Pride of Nutley, NJ, Ms. Martha Stewart, justify her stock shenanigans. I've never forgiven her for that schlocky TV episode where she conned Melanie Falick into doing her knitting dirty work. But as anyone with half a brain knows, Martha simply hires whatever expert she needs for her show. God forbid that she learns how to do it herself.

Martha, rare and handy? Not a fucking chance.