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.

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