Monday, March 29, 2004

Best Quote I Heard All Day
When we lost I couldn't sleep at night. When we win I can't sleep at night. But when you win, you wake up feeling better.--Joe Torre

Tomorrow, 5 a.m. EST. Opening day for the Yankees against the Devil Rays in Toyko. Another glorious baseball season has begun. And it’s spring.

I feel better already. And I bought the Stones’ 40 Licks CD this weekend. Mick and Keith at 60 or 20 make fine music together. The Glimmer Twins are ageless.

Gimme Shetland
Melanie, a Tontant Weader, wrote to me the other day about substituting yarn, since she’s planning on doing the Ran tunic but doesn’t want to use Lavold’s Silky Wool and can she do that?

Well, as I said to her, maybe yes and maybe no.

With the Ran, I chose to use the Silky Wool for several reasons: The drape, the color, the texture. If the garment’s design integrity is contingent upon using the designer’s original yarn and IF I want to reproduce the garment precisely, then I will not substitute.

Substituting yarn is a tricky bit of business, and gauge is the least of it. It’s a given that you’ll have to achieve the same gauge as the designer, no matter what yarn you choose.

If something is done in a plain vanilla yarn, such as a basic worsted, then I have no qualms whatsoever about digging about in my stash for a substitute. Whatever slight differences there are between brands makes me no never mind, as my old crochet teacher, Alabama native Ada Ellis, used to say.

If the design is not done in plain vanilla, I might substitute a differently textured yarn if I feel that it would work as well if not better. This is when swatching becomes critical. I’ll know from the swatch if the yarn will fly as a substitute.

Here’s a prime example of a substitution disaster. (If I’ve told this story before, forgive me--I think it’s worth repeating and I find it amusing—now. Didn’t back then.) Back when I was young and had absolutely no money, plus two kids to feed, I saw a ribbed coat made of brownish Tahki Donegal Tweed in either Better Homes and Gardens Needlework magazine or Handmade magazine. I had to make it. The coat took about 15 or 16 skeins. I couldn’t possibly afford it. So I made the coat in Red Heart worsted, in aqua.

I cannot now adequately explain why I did that. Even in my early 20s, I had some sense, albeit limited. I certainly had little access to decent yarns nor did I have any experience with good yarn in general (although I knew a shop that sold the Donegal Tweed). And obviously my color sense went south, although I suppose in 1973 aqua had some merits, fashionwise. Needless to say, the coat was an abomination, which I realized immediately upon its finishing. (I think this was also the point where I understood that crocheting together the seams of knitted garments was a foolish and unsightly way to join pieces.) The coat did fit, more from luck than any skill on my part, I’m sure. I wish I had saved it, kind of.

My point is, substitute at your own risk. Sometimes you can make better choices than the designer. Sometimes not.

Drag ‘n’ Sag
Joe did some great reviews of FCEK and VK—I haven’t seen them but am stopping on my way home from work to check them out at the local B and N.

Worsted-weight cotton? Feh. Knitted and crocheted bikinis? Ridiculous. Unless you line ‘em, don’t bother. And don’t bother thinking you’ll be swimming in them, either. Of course, you may enjoy having your ass hang out at the beach because your cute handmade bikini bottom just grew like Topsy and is down around your ankles.

Of course, I don’t need to worry about knitted/crocheted bikinis these years. I wear Speedos and I swim laps for exercise, not that it does me much good.

Shut Up, I’m Counting
That’s the book’s title. Of course, it has to have a secondary title as all books do these days. You know, My Life In The Sparkly Spotlite: Tales from Around the Knitting Universe by the Tiny Diva.

[Aside] Did you read her breathy, excruciatingly lengthy post to Knit U about knitting in China? I’m seriously concerned that I won’t have enough yuan to purchase yarn in Shanghai on my next trip.

Back to the book. I think it would be fun to include a chapter with random questions, so if you have random questions, feel free to submit. I promise you a mention, either your real name or your nom du guerre, whichever you prefer.

When I go to the bottom of the publishing barrel, I’m happy to drag you along for the ride and give you all due credit for being the Tontant Weader that you are. Heh.

Back to the rare and handy world of adult education, which differs only slightly from adult entertainment insofar as you can get credits from the former but not from the latter.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Best Quote I Heard All Day
It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office. --H. L. Mencken

Subscribing to this thought would probably make me ineligible to publish in any knitting magazine, either.

This entry will perforce be short, due to stupid stuff I have to do so that the powers-that-be put money in my checking account twice a month.

The Incredible Lightness of Writing
Thank you for all your support for my book project. I have gotten some wonderful offers and suggestions from my Tontant Weaders, all of which I will consider. The book is now outlined and I will start filling in the gaps once my freelance editing job is done at the end of the week. I’ll keep everyone posted and probably pester you for more suggestions.

Every criticism, every thought you may have, I value. No one can work in a vacuum, least of all me.

A Not-Final Word on Fit, Form, and Function
Just happened to see an ad in the New York Times Sunday magazine the other week for a Land’s End fully fashioned cotton sweater, in which the sweater was triumphantly heralded as having each piece knit separately for a custom fit.

What a fucking concept, eh?

May Trip to Del Ray Beach
So I’ll be off to Florida the beginning of May for a Campus Management conference in Del Ray Beach.

I absolutely know that I must post to the Knit List immediately asking if I can take my knitting on the plane and what yarn shops are there in Del Ray.

Any other stupid questions I need ask the lists about my trip? Do you think I can wedge copyright in there somewhere?

The Chubbettes Rise Again
I do love to teach knitting but only on my own terms. That is to say, I don’t affiliate myself with any shop but if someone asks me to teach them, I do so gladly. Two years ago, I taught six people at work how to knit. Only one of them is still employed at TCI, my friend Mary. Now two other women have approached me and I’ll start them off at our Wednesday Stitch and Bitch next week.

I keep a box of scrap worsted weight under my credenza in my office for just these occasions.

Confessions of a Knitting Heretic
Check out Annie Modesitt’s new book (and the T-shirts that go with it), Annie teaches combined knitting, which I find endlessly interesting although I don’t do it myself—yet. I’ve bought a copy and a T-shirt (no, Annie, I absolutely will not take a free copy, thanks anyway) and I can’t wait to read the book. Go read the Table of Contents on her blog and see if you don't get jonesed up.

I love shamelessly promoting my friends. And although I don’t see Annie often (much to my chagrin), she’s someone with whom you can spend hours. We’ve spent a few hours sitting in Barnes and Noble on Rte. 10 in Parsippany, knitting and running our mouths. Annie always has some interesting project going.

I have lots of rare and handy friends, all of whom are talented, in my opinion. Annie is certainly one. So go buy Annie’s book already. There’s few knitting books I will buy sight unseen. Hers is one of them.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Best Quote I Heard All Day
I know I was writing stories when I was five. I don’t know what I did before that. Just loafed, I suppose.—P.G. Wodehouse

Too much loafing and not enough writing makes Jill (or Jack) a throbbing bore.

I do know that my favorite song lately is What Would Brian Boitano Do? I wish I had written that.

Ruminations on Publishing, Knitting and Otherwise
In the course of a day, my sometimes forgetful and enfeebled mind is so grossly put upon with shit technical that I barely have time to ponder what it is I want to do with myself, other than make a living. Commuting 28 miles each way to work or, should I say, crawling 28 miles, gives me plenty of opportunity to come up with bright ideas, usually bright knitting ideas.

Unlike some Knit List idiots, I do not knit while sitting in traffic.

Yesterday’s commute helped me solidify what it is I want to do in the near future. Knitting and writing are the two things that I love to do. I do both well. Combining them in a blog is wonderful but makes me no money whatsoever, a complaint that I’ve voiced here on occasion.

Everyone says: Sell your designs, we’d buy them. And I’m sure you would. However, I can write faster than I can design, knit, and publish my designs.

And so it came to me, my writing epiphany, in the car at 7:45 a.m. yesterday. Write a fucking book about knitting. But not just a book for beginners. A book based on all the knitting crap and knowledge I have floating around in my head, most of which is not of my own creation but a repository of all the tricks, processes and procedures, and general modi operandi that have made my knitting successful.

A Best Practices for Knitters, as it were. That is, after all, what I do for a living. I research and write process and procedure, put it all together in a nice little manual, and everyone in the company uses what I write to do their jobs.

There’s so much information out there for knitters that I think people are overwhelmed and need guidance as to what’s worth using and what isn’t. What’s good to do and when. What’s not good to do and when. My article on gauge in the Spring 2003 Knitty, which contains absolutely nothing earthshaking or unknown, is sort of where I’m going with this. Or my Blocking for Blockheads.

Simple shit worth knowing is the key to good knitting. You don’t need to master 23 different ways of casting on.

Or tell me I'm full of shit. I'll listen to whomever wishes to voice their opinion.

Blog Renovation
The blog is about to be generated by Movable Type. I’ve got it up on my server space and now that the database has been created, I have to go back in and modify some of the Perl (that bit is for the benefit of programmers who know what the fuck I’m talking about) and hopefully be able to redesign the blog, with its new domain of

I found that I did not like Type Pad, and Blogger really doesn’t give me what I want anymore. So it’s time to let the blog grow up.

Once the new site goes live, there will be a link here redirecting you to the new site. This all depends entirely on my learning curve with Movable Type. But it’s a change that needs to happen. I can’t get my graphics up on this site, some of my pages are lost forever, so I need to shitcan this site fairly soon.

I’m thinking that there’ll be a major color change, for sure.

When Knitting Gets Boring
Oh Jaysus, as Kathy would say. I’m chugging up the front of the Lavold Ran tunic and am I fucking bored? Oh yeah. Once the knotwork is done at the bottom, it’s really just 4-stitch cables with 8 reverse st st in between. Of course, there’s a knotwork motif that’s centered on the chest but that’s a mere blip.

This will be a beautiful sweater if I don’t die of knitting ennui, as I call it. Since I rarely violate my 3 projects-at-one-time rule-except-socks, I’m putting max time into the Ran so I can finish it and be done with it.

Funny how we get sick of our projects at times. Like a lover whose charm has worn thin, eh?

It Ain’t the Meat, It’s the Motion
Sarah asked a really good rhetorical question in the Comments from the last entry: “Why on earth doesn't the knitting world use a figure suitability guide like the sewing world on patterns? (Like Vogue's "Figure Flattery Key)"

I think there are several reasons why. For one, sewing as a media-supported homecraft has been around much longer and many more people do it, even today. That’s probably because it’s been taught in American schools for eons, which knitting has not been (Waldorf schools and other smaller private school systems being the exceptions). Since I no longer have school-age children, I don’t know if sewing is still taught as part of home economics or whether home economics still exists. I certainly remember my 7th grade abortion of a Home Ec sewing project—a blouse that didn’t fit.

Knitters don’t really have a huge variety of figure-flattering shapes from which to choose, if you think about it. So it’s much more difficult to knit something that hides figure flaws. In sewing, you have an enormous amount of latitude in the shaping and construction of the garment, depending upon the fabric that you use. That gives the sewer a wide selection of garment shapes and types to choose from.

Fitting is much more of an issue with sewing than it is with knitting because generally, sewing fabric is much less forgiving than knitted fabric. Knitters use only a few basic fabrics—jersey (stockinette) and garter stitch, with variations on those themes that may make the fabric firmer or looser. The common denominator with knitted fabric is always the stretch/cling factor. Unless you sew knits, that’s not an issue that affects a sewer’s garment construction or selection. One sewing pattern will frequently support a number of different types of material. However, handknits tend to be much heavier and thicker than most fabrics purchased by sewers, with the possible exception of coating and suiting fabric.

So knitting is really much more limited to the type of garment shapes it can accommodate than sewing is, I think. You most certainly can knit skirts, coats, and dresses if you know what you’re doing. But these garments are almost always more successfully sewn than knit.

Seamstresses are much more likely to look at their figure flaws and learn how to best choose the most flattering shape. Knitters don’t always have that awareness, I’ve found. The woman who buys the most carefully tailored and flattering suit for the office will wear the most god-awful chenille intarsia drop-shoulder potato sack to Stitches.

It’s time that knitters started looking at fit of their garments and maybe looking in the mirror as well.

Wouldn’t THAT be rare and handy?

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Rage is the only quality which has kept me, or anybody I have ever studied, writing columns for newspapers.--Jimmy Breslin

I can relate to that.

There's a lot to be outraged about these days. In knitting and in other things.

Why Blog?
Why, indeed? I love reading QueerJoe's blog. I read it as regularly as I can. Joe is one of the few blogwriters I enjoy consistently. And in his entry for Tuesday, he gave some very salient advice to would-be bloggers. I agreed with it all.

I never intended my blog to be a knitting journal, an endless drone of what projects I've got in the basket, how my cat plays with my yarn, and what my children said at dinner. My intent, from the beginning, was to comment on the knitting world. If someone read it, great. If nobody read it, I'd still write it. After floating on the periphery of the knitting magazine world for many years, I had a quasi-insider's view of what really goes on. And it ain't pretty. And it ain't honest. I truly enjoy bursting the hypocritical cesspool bubble that people like the X-men and the Tiny Diva inhabit.

And in many ways, writing the blog began as grief therapy. My late husband Jimmy was always supportive of my writing. Starting the blog 6 months after his death made me jump-start the rest of my life. So there's that.

As Prisoner #0022332479A always says, it's a good thing.

If the Foo Shits
I've always loved that joke. But joke aside, we've been having a pretty good discussion in the Comments about fit, altering, and so on. So I was amused to read the blocking thread on Knit U, wherein someone says that blocking hides a multitude of sins.

Um, no. It doesn't. That's not the purpose of blocking. Blocking will not make a too-small garment fit. Especially if it was knit in acrylic or a blend. But I would expect that any number of KnitDweebs regularly block their Red Heart Adult Surprise Jackets.

Even worse, a KnitU denizen's solution to the blocking problem (a non-problem if ever I heard of one) is to take the garment to the dry cleaners and have them block it for you. Now that's fucking brilliant. Let them steam-press the bejesus out of a cabled sweater and then wonder why it looks like shit.

I don't mind taking my suede skirt and jacket to the cleaners. And my Jones of New York "interview" suits. Otherwise, handwashing is the name of the game. And blocking wires and a cold-water mist do the trick for me for most everything except Fair Isles. Then it's off to the wooly board.

Right-handed v. left-handed knitting is rearing its stupid head again. It's almost spring, so could we be in store for a plethora of posts about knitting on planes?

You bet. And Peeps. And copyright. And all the other snoringly stale topics that are the fabric of the lists.

Knitting Directions, Programming Code, Ig-pay Atin-lay, German
As far as I'm concerned, I write the first very well and speak the last two badly. And after 3 days of intensive training at work in SQL (that's Structured Query Language, for you non-tech people, and it's used to get crap from databases) and a soupcon of XML, I'm realizing that writing programming code and writing knitting directions really use the same side of the brain. Which is to say, the side that controls learning a new language and being OCD-precise.

Knitting directions are programming code; there's no doubt about that. And database designers certainly use data flow charts to map out their designs, as knitters use charts for theirs. So I'm beginning to understand why I would make a good programmer, even at almost 54. I love writing directions. I got my rocks off totally learning the little bit of SQL that I was taught.

I used to think that good knitters were really also good engineers. I still do. And there's a creativity in writing programming code, an elegance, as it were, that I find in writing good solid knitting directions.

However, I won't be writing the code for online shopping carts in the near future.

That would be way too rare and handy. And dangerous.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.--Oscar Wilde

Knitted sweatpants.

In Lion Brand Homespun. There you are. A true fashion lowpoint.

Perfect for exercising to "Sweating with the Oldies."

The Good, the Bad, and the Unalterable
Sunday morning and it's almost spring. Almost. At least in this hemisphere, with a nod to my friends from Oz. Time to talk about change or inability to do so.

Carol asked me to expand on what makes for an unalterable garment, and so I shall.

Here's Theory #1: Anything can be altered.

Here's the corollary to Theory #1: If you believe that Theory #1 is true, you will produce a piece of shit probably 50% of the time, with a +/- factor of 5. If you don't mind an out-of-kilter design motif in your sweater, you may stop reading here.

Here's my theory: The larger the motif--be it Fair Isle, lace, intarsia, raised stitch, what-have-you--the more difficult it will be to alter the garment IF you wish to retain the integrity of the original design. This is true particularly when applied to length, not width.

[Now come the boring bits, she says sotto voce] Let me use the Scottish Designer Whose Name May Never Be Mentioned In Public For Fear of Litigation as a good example of a designer of unalterable garments, since I am presently working her Queen Anne's Lace. If you have the book, turn to the chart. If not, humor me and read on.

The main motif for QAL, which is symmetrical, is a whopping 44 stitches wide. With a gauge of 7 sts = 1”, this means that each motif is about 6” wide. Not a lot of room in which to decrease or increase the size, unless you are willing to cut the motif in half. In fact, the motif is a diamond placed within a square, not unlike a quilt square. However, no matter how you slice and dice the motif, you will ruin the symmetry of the design if you narrow or enlarge the garment by less than the full 44 stitches.

This matters only for the body. Once you get to the armholes, decreasing the motif by small amounts for shaping purposes works. Why? Because the eye of the beholder is not looking at your armholes. The eye is looking at the center of the garment.

Length is the true problem in altering a garment with large-area motifs. The QAL motif is 44 rows high. Since the motif is symmetrical, I can conceivably dispense with 22 of those rows and begin at the center of the diamond, if I must shorten the length of the sweater or the sleeve length. This works to a point. The row gauge is 10 rows = 1” (at least, I think that's what it was--the book is in the office, of course). This means that in order to keep the symmetry of the design, I am limited to little more than 2 inches that I can dispense with. If the sleeve schematic is 19” long but I need to make it 17” long, I may be OK.

You can crunch the numbers by working the ribbing shorter or longer to make up for the lack of room in the motif, sometimes. If there is little or no welting at the bottom of the body or sleeves, I may be screwed. Sometimes the sweater design is such that you have no room at all to fudge. And you wonder why designers only offer a pattern in two sizes? This is why. Because their design concept will only work in a size small and a size XL, due to the size of their motif.

Some years ago at Stitches East, I saw the perfect example of an unalterable sweater, designed by a knitter from New Hampshire who is well-known in New England for her folk-art type designs. The sweater consisted of about 8 individual bands of Fair Isle, each roughly 3.5” in depth. Each band contained a different background color, and progressed from the beginning to the end of the rainbow. I don’t recall how the sleeves were handled—I think they were solid or striped. I’ve seen Philosophers Wool sweaters with similar design issues, come to think of it.

Lengthwise, it was unalterable. I didn’t like the length, too long. And I knew immediately that there was no way I could just knock off a band and maintain the design flow.

So now you know. It’s really just commonsense. The bigger they come, the harder they fall.

This also is why my Rainbow Peeries design, which I’m working on now, consists of reasonably sized motifs so the resulting sweater can be offered in a variety of sizes. When you design, it’s always nice to plan ahead. And to remember that if you wish to publish your design, you need to place your users’ needs first.

Blasphemous Activities
It’s true. I don’t just knit, although that’s mostly what I do because I love it the best. However, I also love to embroider, to spin (the mounds of merino-silk-angora in my spinning basket never seem to melt), and yes, even to quilt.

Here’s what I don’t do: needlepoint and tatting. Everything else is fair game, if I’ve a mind to it. And frankly, sometimes I get tired of knitting and need to refresh my palate, as it were. If I weren’t afraid that I’d collect fabric like I do yarn and if I had the time, I’d certainly do more quilting. I have my eye on a Civil War-era quilt design kit offered by Keepsake Quilting.

My belief is that any needlework technique you can learn will only serve to improve your knitting. It’s the mental brainworking involved, I think. Or right-brain, left-brain crap. I dunno. All I know is, with me it’s a fiber-and-dexterity thing. Perhaps I’m trying to prove my grade-school teachers wrong when they told me I was sloppy and my handwriting stunk because I was left-handed and lefthanders are the spawn of Satan. Read into that what you will. My attitude was, fuck you, I can do it.

I’m sure many of you read Piecework magazine, which is published by Interweave. If not, you should give it a try. Yes, it has knitting in it (Nancy Bush is a frequent contributor), but more important, its true value is its historical needlework information and re-creation projects. Pick up a copy—there’s interesting work done out there by needle artists. This issue has a picture of Ground Zero, a quilt made of pictures of 9/11 victims transferred to fabric. Splendiferous.

Plant a Bush or a Shrub
(With apologies to Ladybird Johnson, who’s still alive and doing well.) Anyway, my tirade against the PseudoPresident will continue unabated until Election Day. Thanks to Audrey for this link—you can go here to sign a petition against the Federal Marriage Amendment. Also, don’t forget Carol’s T-shirts.

Time to get rolling, lots to do. Today is my brother Rich’s 50th birthday. My bestest and only brother, fellow Yankee fan, and companion of my childhood. Both of my sibs are rare and handy. And younger. Heh.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died.--Steven Wright

Spent yesterday in Atlantic City with my friend AnnMarie and her husband Jim, and of course, Johnny. Hence the somewhat late posting.

All I know is, the lights and noise at the casino are guaranteed to cause total psychosis within 4 hours.

I went to the bar, had a margherita, and knit. So I'm still sane. But down $40.

Up In Arms
The discussion about set-in sleeves, drop-shoulders, etc. in last week's comments got me thinking about what myths have been perpetrated onto the new, hip, chic, beginning knitters.

The myths being that you don't have to know shit to make a neat garment and that you can knit something really cool really fast.

Lies, all lies. Fit is everything. And time is most certainly not of the essence. As my friend Pat always says, "If you want something in the worst way, that's probably how you'll get it."

That's why it's important to learn how to build a garment from scratch. I will admit to using computer software to do my calculations for set-in and raglan sleeves but you know what, gang? IF you plan on creating a garment that's more than just stockinette, those programs won't help you. You can't just take the sweater pattern the software spits out and then plug in any old stitch pattern. Because if you don't understand what effect the stitch pattern will have on your gauge, if you don't understand that decreasing in lace is tricky and you don't plan for it ahead of time, if you don't work out all the details first, that sweater design program ain't gonna do you a bit of good.

Calculating armscye decreases is basic arithmetic and a little geometry. There are lots of books out there that will teach you how to figure those decreases out, as well as the decreases for necklines. And sleeve caps. This is the woman who was tutored through high school algebra. Jesus, if I can learn, the KnitDweebs can learn.

Not rocket science, is it?

If anyone who is a beginner wants to learn how to do this, e-mail me and I will be happy to recommend books. Or read last week's comments.

Reading the Lists
At this point, my best effort at reading all these digests is a quick scan. Funny, on one of the better lists lately, there has been a bit of moaning about why the other lists are so boring, stupid, and "why can't there be more intelligent discussions."

My rule of thumb with mailing lists is that more than 10 people on a list immediately dooms it for stupifaction. It's the Finagle's Law of Dynamic Negatives as applied to any mailing list. If you add the 10th person, the list will go right down the tubes. And I include the above cited list as one hit by Finagle's Law. It also gets bogged down with stupid, mindless threads. I honestly feel that the discussions we have had in the Comments somehow have managed to avoid the fatal flaw of numbing repetition. I have no idea why this is.

Perhaps people are afraid that I'll toss them out on their ass if they say something stupid. So far, I have banned two people, in the time that I've been writing this blog. I don't mind sacking someone for any class of inanity. Of course, if I ran the KnitList, I'd have to toss about 4900 people in one fell swoop. And KnitU would be left with 2 or 3. Socknitters would be decimated.

Going Political
As you know, if you have read my blog for any amount of time, I do not discuss politics as a rule. However. I will make an exception now.

And that exception is the issue of gay marriage. I was completely outraged at President Bush's audacity to even suggest that the Constitution be amended to exclude gay couples from marrying. I will do all that is within my power to keep this asshole from being re-elected and I will use whatever means I have personally to make sure that he and his rabid old white male buddies in Washington don't see the light of the Lincoln Memorial again after November.

Do I believe that gays should marry? Yes, I do. I believe that any two people who have the love and the willingness to commit to each other should enjoy that right that straights have always had--to be a family unit. Civil union is fine as far as it goes but to pledge your love and commitment publicly goes further than just a civil union. The marriage ceremony, whether you are Christian, Wiccan, Moslem or Buddhist, is a spiritual joining and is the right of anyone who cares deeply about their partner.

You can agree or disagree with me. It doesn't matter. When there's discrimination, I fight back. This issue is bigger than just straight or gay. It is an issue of basic human rights as promised by our Declaration of Independence. Period. Don't let a bunch of self-serving, holier-than-thou prigs in Washington take our rights away.

Carol Sulcoski, our very own Carol S., has set up a CafePress site with a nifty T-shirt you can buy if you're against marriage discrimination. Check it out.

The Old Obligatory Knitting Crap
So I've managed to get the back, one sleeve, and 4 inches of the front done on the Lavold Ran tunic. You'd think that by the time I got to the front cabled band, I'd whiz right through it. Nah.

I had to rip out twice. This is not for the faint of heart. But the worst is over and I'm on the downhill slope speeding towards the finish. Once the Ran is done, I plan on starting my Rainbow Peerie Fair Isle pullover, hopefully get it finished before Stitches East next October, and be able to flog the pattern offa da blog. Still working on the Forest Path Stole and the AS Queen Anne's Lace on and off but I need to plan my time accordingly.

Of course, I may be unemployed this summer. And to tell you the truth, if my package is decent, I wouldn't mind looking for a job while I hang out at the lake with Elly, knitting. That's a very appealing thought. In the meanwhile, I have to get my Crystal Report designing and SQL totally under my belt so I'm eminently employable.

Sheesh, yet another career change. I'm getting tired of being professionally rare and handy. Next month I'll be 54. Hard to believe, since I am totally convinced that I'm 20 years younger.