Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Instant gratification takes too long--Carrie Fisher

Mary Maxim's latest clearance catalog is filled lots of ZZZZZ frou-frous at discount prices.

Just so you know I keep up with things.

Christmas Gifties
God knows the Knit List denizens et al agonize over their massive Christmas knitting projects to the point of regurgitation.

I don't put myself in a position, knitting or otherwise, where I overbook my time so that it becomes a stressful experience. If I want to knit something as a gift, I do it without informing the recepient, thereby eliminating any kind of obligation.

However, I do knit Christmas gifts for certain people, usually family members and close friends. Last year, shortly after I began seeing John, he mentioned to me that one of his favorite things was his rayon chenille scarf, for which he paid a considerable price.

Yeah, I went right out and bought 4 balls of Touch Me. And it sat on the shelf for more than a year. Now I'm making him a scarf.

It's half done. Now, can you guess what stitch pattern I'm using? Here's a close-up:

It's worming slightly but that will be resolved once it's washed and dried.

The other gift du saison is the Wensleydale for my mother.

There are four skeins in the basket, one plyed bobbin to be put up, and two bobbins of singles that I'll ply on the weekend. This should be plenty for a vest.

She doesn't get the basket.

Vested Interest
I've also been working on the China vest from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Vests. It's pretty simple, until you get to the yoke, which requires a fair amount of mucking around.

It's hard to see in the picture but I've put the fronts on hold and am working the back. The border uses garter stitch quite effectively, with seed stitch sandwiched in between.

I wish the photographs could do this red justice. It's probably the nicest red I have ever seen, a deep true red, more on the blue side. And the Rauma is very nice to work with. Very rustic but knits up beautifully.

After Christmas, John and I will be going to see our friends Em and Mitch, who moved to Maine from Saratoga recently. Should be a rare and handy opportunity to stop at Halcyon Yarns in Bath.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Best Quote I Heard All Day
It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.—Herman Melville

Being yourself is the surest way of preserving your originality and creativity, I believe.

The C Chromosome
Did you inherit your ability to knit and do other such like things?

I brought this up in Joe’s blog comments but I think it’s a rather interesting concept. Certainly, I inherited my bipolar disorder, since my paternal grandmother and aunt were most definitely untreated depressives, at the very least, along with my maternal grandfather, who went for weeks at a time without speaking to anyone.

And that’s about all heredity gave me. Neither of my grandmothers could cook, let alone knit. Both were a strange mix of Victorian mores and modern feminism, since they were both careerwomen but had rather typically turn-of-the-century views on everything else.

Although there is a story my mother tells about Grandma who during WWII decided to get all patriotic and knit for the troops. Her balaclava started on five needles and somehow ended up on two. That finished her off.

My mother learned to knit from their Irish housekeeper. No one in the family other than her did anything remotely creative.

However, since manic-depressives are generally creative people, I suppose I could consider my creativity inherited.

Name That Frou-Frou
Did you ever wonder who names yarn? And what possesses the yarn companies to come up with some of these names?

I mean, why call a yarn “Calmer”?

Does this mean that working with it will make you nod off? Does it mean that the yarn behaves its ass? Calmer than what?

This stuff is 75% cotton, 25% microfiber, made by Rowan. So I can presume that I will be calmer knitting this cotton blend because it won’t sag to the floor after knitting and I will thus avoid going into a rage because I was once again stupid enough to buy cotton? Eh?

Of course, then there’s Distrato, another cotton blend that I might consider buying, since the yarn company is at least appealing to my state of mind.

It does seem to me that the frou-frou yarns have the dopiest names. Eros. Zap. Zen. Fizz. Flirt. So the rule of thumb would be less than five letters so that your customers will be able to remember the name AND include at least one “Z” and optimally one “F.” Of course, adding “FX” to the yarn name really makes it hip.

And if you really want to charge extra, make it sound Italian, which the yarn probably is anyway. Gelato is one of my favorite yarn names.

I once wrote catalog copy for Lion Brand. (Yeah, I sold out. So bite me. They paid.) I’d probably enjoy being paid to come up with exciting, hip, young, identifiers for yarn companies.

Like the incredible new eyelash, Drivvello, a fabulous concoction of 50% recycled hairbrush material, 50% rayon. Comes in four unbelievable shades: YouGotSomeSplaininToDoLucy Red, Hedly Lamarr Brown, Darryl Hannah Yellow, and Goth Black. White flakes not included.

If you’re itching to knit something in a day (and believe me, you’ll be itching), Spazz, 99% regurgitated snakeskin/1% toxoid, works to a speedy 1 stitch per inch. Just think—you’re done before your cast on is finished. Is that fast enough? We thought so, which is why we’re including a free tube pattern with every purchase of Spazz. Tubes are the next hot, hip thing to knit and just think of what you can do with them!

OK, I’ll stop now. Enough is really enough. Besides, I have this feeling that just a few Tontant Weaders might like to add their own.

Danke Schoen
To everyone who has been enormously supportive during my ongoing push-me/pull-you, especially Kathy and Carol, who bring new meaning to the word “supportive.” Just so you know, I’m back on Lithium, although the shrink has determined that I am bipolar I rather than II—a distinctive graduation, I’m sure. Nice to know that you’re even crazier than first suspected.

I promise I’ll have pictures this weekend. I’ve just been too busy to take the time but the vest is coming along nicely, as is a scarf for John (he wants one, I’ll make one).

The rare and handy Roberts Christmas tree is waiting to be bought this weekend. Oh, and don’t forget: The Christmas Crapalong deadline is the 23rd, so get your entries in soon.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Best Quote I Heard All Day
I'm not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I've always been a freak. So I've been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I'm one of those people.—John Lennon

On December 8th, it will be 24 years since Lennon’s death. John Lennon was a major influence. I started writing in earnest when I was 15 after reading In His Own Write. It was more than just the music, it was the entire philosophy of “Fuck you, I am what I am.”

If U Cn Rd Ths, U Cn B a Blgr
Reading the Knit List is frequently annoying and occasionally funny, as was the case in a recent post from a newbie blogger. Announcing her new blog to the knitting world, she managed to misspell her blog’s URL.

I found it by figuring out what the typo was, no doubt putting into the task more effort than Knit List readers will be wont to do.

Given than said blogger was hardly detail oriented, particularly when sending out a message to 5,000+ people, I wasn’t expecting much from her blog. And I was not disappointed.

I guess that the continuing eruption of KnitDweeb blogging is a direct result of the magazines publicizing knitting blogs (although not this one, you can be sure), with the result being an overload of poorly spelled blogs. We won’t discuss the quality of the writing, since these blogs are what they are—the individual’s journal of knitting, supposedly.

I have been making serious progress on the China vest, although I still haven’t gotten my digital camera back from my daughter Corinne. I’m getting it tomorrow, so I’ll have pictures up Sunday night, especially since I’m having brunch with Kathy that morning. And Kathy always wears some incredible concoction of colors, so I’ll have to take her picture. If Joe, Lisa, and Selma come along, there’ll be pictures of them as well.

And there’s the continuous spinning of the Wensleydale, which is almost finished. I think there’s about 6 ounces left to spin and ply. The rest is plied and skeined, ready for knitting. Mama wants me to design a vest pattern for the Wensleydale, so she’s getting a pretty good deal this Christmas from me.

Short post today—work rears its ugly head and I’ve been sent off to the hinterlands of Princeton for two days a week until the middle of December. Princeton is a lovely place but it’s a 2-hour drive each way, so I’ve been again time-constipated.

And no Christmas shopping or decorating done yet. For me to be on top of the holidays would truly be a rare and handy thing. But that ain’t gonna happen.