Wednesday, April 26, 2006
First of all, thank you so much, every one of you, for your birthday wishes and your comments on my essay. They were much appreciated. Yesterday was great--my coworkers gave me flowers and a card, took me out to lunch and then later John took me to see the Yankees v. Tampa Bay (the Yanks won, of course).
I have decided to extend the Tell a Fib Contest to April 30th, so that I can have the time to finish reading through them all and then give the top 10 to the Wolvies. It's just amazing how many people have entered. I lost track several days ago but the response was great.
I will post the winner's name on May 2, along with a .pdf containing all the entries. As I said before, if you do not want your name attached to your Fib in the .pdf, please let me know.
OK, time to start work. It's been a busy week here in the land of fractured English.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
I'm not going to be caught around here for any fool celebration. To hell with birthdays!--Norman Rockwell
I generally don't care much for Knit Lit, as it's known. I don't buy those books, I find them endlessly boring and yet--one day a year or two ago, I sat down to write and a story came out. I don't know why or where it came from.
It's called April 25 and I'm publishing it for the first time. A few people have read it and I was hoping to record it for Brenda Dayne's podcast but I couldn't, for two reasons. First, I can't seem to get the recording software to run properly and second, I have a very difficult time reading it aloud. If you read it, you will understand.
This is arguably the most personal piece I have ever written and I doubt I will ever write one like it again.
Because I don't wear my heart on my sleeve, as a rule.
But when you're 56 today, you do say "fuck it."
Saturday, April 22, 2006
All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.--Oscar Wilde
I knew when I started the Tell a Fib contest that I might be the recipient of genuinely felt poetry.
At last quick count, I would say that there are more than 100 entries. Clearly, I am not going to ask the Wolvies to read through all of them. So I will screen it down to the top 10 and then let them do their work. Yes, I know. I recused myself from voting. However, I do want to keep my friends. So it's my contest and I can change the rules. Whenever.
I have decided that once the winner is determined on the 27th, I will put all of the submitted Fibs into a .pdf file and put it up on the sidebar for everyone to read. If you don't want your name attached to your entry, let me know. If I can't identify the entrant, they will be the ubiquitous Anonymous.
Thank you all for your entries and your birthday wishes, although my birthday is actually this Tuesday. And of course, I will be working all day the 25th, deciphering Slovenian English and then off to Yankee Stadium to see the Yanks hopefully blast Tampa Bay.
Look for a special birthday post on Tuesday. You might be surprised.
Of Things Fibrous
Why am I thinking "fibroid tumor"? Because my entire house is a fibroid tumor. I love my daughter for being circumspect about the amount of fiber crap in every room except her bedroom (and Liz's, I guess) and her bathroom.
To add to the mix, WEBS is having a nice sale, particularly as pertains to their weaving yarns, so I decided that I needed these three cones of 10/2 perle cotton for a TBD project.
Oddly, while the magenta and blueberry colors are true in the photograph, the seemingly spring green is actually a medium-dark olive. Go figure.
Loop advised me that if I wanted to get an idea of how they would look woven, I should twist a strand of each.
The olive shows up in this picture as true. I like the mixture.
In the meanwhile, this weekend is going to be shit weather so I'll be sleying and hopefully threading the loom, finally. For stupid towels. Jesus.
Spin-Off Review and a Squint at Interweave Crochet
What a fucking great issue. If you spin (Franklin, this is for you), you need this issue. Excellent article on Navajo plying, although I don't understand why they called it "Plying Chained Singles" unless they were afraid of hordes of spindle-wielding Indians invading their editorial offices. Everyone calls it Navajo plying, for God's sake. This article is available on their website as a .pdf, by the way.
There is also a very good article on spinning sock yarn. Interesting article about using active singles to their advantage in zig-zag knitting patterns. The whole issue was a big improvement over the past few. Loop and I were afraid Spin-Off was going off-kilter.
It's nice to be able to say something nice about a fiber magazine for a change.
But let me not disappoint. On the other hand, their Crochet special, Kathy's designs exempted, sucked the big one.
Come on, Interweave. You're making me really hate crochet when you publish garbage like that. If you're smart, you'll have Merrick do her own magazine. She's the only reason I buy it, and not because she's my friend, either. There is no doubt in my mind that she is the best crochet designer out there, bar none. Kathy understands how to combine yarn and half-double like no one else.
Every day I schlep my rather large black knitting bag on the train so that I always have my Linus blanket with me--this is how I often view my knitting.
It is true. I am an inveterate buyer of yarn carriers and containers. I can no more resist an attractive bag than I can beautiful yarn. As a result, I have way too many bags. At this point, I've become an expert in what makes a good yarn carrier/container and what doesn't.
And it came to me that since knitters will buy anything that has "Knitting" or "Yarn" on them, it would be an easy buck to come up with a totebag idea that could be marketed in CafePress or perhaps even, dare I say, in Patternworks' catalog.
Yes. You'll buy this.
The Yarnster is the ultimate in knitting storage, with convenient wheels when you're the Knitter-On-The-Go! Its sturdily built body, painted in a hip WM Forest Green, features a detachable pull-cord for those days when you need to take it all with you.
Husbands and significant others, this is the premier gift for that fiber-wracked person in your life. Something that says, "Your hobby is special to me."
Have a good weekend, all. I'm off to see if my rare and handy loom is still on speaking terms with me.
Friday, April 14, 2006
Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.--Albert Einstein
I flunked algebra in 10th grade.
My parents, who were both more concerned about my grades in English, Latin and French, really weren't terribly pissed but they hired a tutor for me anyway. And sent me to summer school to ameliorate that "E" grade (no Fs, don't know why).
I didn't get algebra until I began knitting. In fact, I didn't get math at all until I realized that knitting is very much about the math.
Then, miraculously (and at about the same time that I became enamored of computers), I realized that I was actually more mathematically inclined than my parents ever would have believed. My late husband, a mechanical engineer, technical writer and math geek, always told me that I could apply my intelligence to math in the same way as I did to writing. He was right.
Here's some fun with math. Don't let your eyes glaze over.
The Fibonacci Fibs
So I'm reading the NY Times today and there is this fascinating article about a blogger named Gregory K. Pincus who challenged his readers to write a Fibonacci poem.
To quote the Times:
[The Fibonacci sequence] is also a staple of middle-school math classes. Though relatively rare in poetry, it shows up in the musical compositions of the early 20th-century composer Bartok and the progressive metal band Tool, the spiraling shape of the Nautilus shell and in knitting patterns.
You know, of course, that the Fibonacci sequence goes like this: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, ad infinitum. Each number is the sum of the two before it.
Therefore, the first line of a poem would have to be silence, of necessity. Pincus's Fibs are six lines, not counting the silence. Each line must contain the same number of syllables as the Fibonacci sequence.
This is far past stupid haiku. It takes a bit of thinking to create a Fib. And being a writer who occasionally dabbles in poetry, I figured I'd give it a shot.
Fib to a KnitDweeb
if Lion Brand Fun Fur
will make a nice pair of undies.
Now, here's my challenge to you. Send me your Fibs about knitting and I will award the winner two skeins of Koigu. I'll let the Wolverinas judge. They did so well with the Christmas Crap-along.
Send your entries to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put "Fibs" in the subject. If you don't do that, you'll be disqualified. Contest ends on April 25 because that's my birthday and I will need a good laugh upon turning 56. Note: Contest rules are now posted. Click on button in the sidebar.
Some Fiber Shit
Not much, although I did get the sample of Emerald City plyed. I'm quite liking it so far and I think it does not need to be Navajo-plyed either.
I haven't done a wpi on it yet but I would imagine it is around 18-20 wpi, plyed. That's what I usually spin. Once this is skeined and washed, I'll knit a small swatch in stockinette and perhaps one in a linen stitch too. I think this might look very nice in a small slip-stitch pattern.
The Family Snider
Because I love them all. And because Corinne and Liz are finally happy.
Mike will make a rare and handy son-in-law. He's the best.
Happy Easter, Passover, whatever. I'm cooking for my kids. And thank God, not having to eat a pile of purple and pink eggs.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
It is no secret that organized crime in America takes in over forty billion dollars a year. This is quite a profitable sum, especially when one considers that the Mafia spends very little for office supplies.--Woody Allen
I'm relegated to pictures from my cell phone for this entry. But it's an amazingly good shot, considering.
That's my view every day as I walk to and from the Hudson Light Rail on my way to the office. I never get tired of it, even though I prefer country to city. After all, it is the place of my birth.
So yesterday, as I sat on the train going home and looking at the "scenery," I was thinking about The Sopranos. WARNING: There is no knitting or fiber content in this post, so if you want to whine about that, go read elsewhere.
The Sopranos has a particular appeal to me, for reasons other than the great storyline and acting. First, I'm familiar with many of the locations where the show is shot, particularly the opening sequence, where Tony's driving from the Holland Tunnel to the turnpike, through Newark and then, for I guess art's sake, drives a circuitous route through what appears to be Belleville to his home in North Caldwell.
If you're from this part of Jersey, you know what I'm talking about. So there's that connection.
The other weird connection is my erstwhile connection to the Mafia through marriage to my husband Jimmy.
Yes, it's true. The family name was changed. From DeSimone to Roberts. It's a rather colorful story, in fact.
My father-in-law was a professional middleweight prizefighter from the early '20s to the early '30s and fought as Kid Roberts. For a time, he was Jack Dempsey's sparring partner. Born in Italy in 1904, he came to America when he was four and his family settled in Greenwich Village. The Old Man, as Jimmy always called him, started fighting when he was 13 and I believe he went pro when he was 18. He changed his name because he felt an Anglicized name would be better box office than an Italian surname. So while Jimmy and his brother Jon were Roberts, as was their half-sister Barbara, they had a shitload of Italian cousins.
The Mafia connection started early on. The Old Man had two first cousins, Tommy Eboli and his brother Patsy. Both were in the mob. Tommy, aka Tommy Ryan, was involved in boxing--not in a good way, either. He wanted to manage my father-in-law but Dad refused. Tommy went on to run the Genovese family in the late '60s. And he went down in a Brooklyn street. As for Patsy, one day he just vanished. His car was found at Newark airport. He wasn't to be found. Anywhere.
When I first my husband, I had no idea that he was part Italian. Jimmy, for some bizarre reason, was never proud of his Italian heritage and would barely admit to it. But once we got married, I had the opportunity to meet the Old Man's side of the family, who lived in Queens and out on Long Island.
They were a great bunch of people, warm, friendly and a lot of fun. And not everyone was "connected." However, one of Jimmy's cousins, Michael and possibly his cousin Vinnie (honest to God), were club members, shall we say. Or at least, suspected club members. If you asked Michael what he did, he'd say "Public relations." Yeah, right.
Michael dressed like a frigging stockbroker. And never discussed his business. Ever. It was an open secret that he was mobbed up and that Vinnie was probably in on it too, although he ran a catering business for a time.
Vinnie was more the wiseguy type that you see on the Sopranos. Kind of hyper, a bit on the explosive side. Michael was smooth and cool. Interesting mix.
I haven't seen any of these people in years. Last I heard, Vinnie had moved to California. Michael still lived in New York and I last saw him at my mother-in-law's wake back in 1992.
And nobody's found Patsy Eboli yet.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Most people are unable to write because they are unable to think, and they are unable to think because they congenitally lack the equipment to do so, just as they congenitally lack the equipment to fly over the moon.--H.L. Mencken
So that's a good excuse for a lot of people, I suppose.
There's something bogus about making your living as a writer. But I'm not sure what that is.
To me, it's like people paying me to take a pee. Something I have to do every day, over which I have no control.
I guess that's it.
O Frabjous Day!
That would be Saturdays and Sundays, lately. I've managed to get quite a bit of spinning done, simply because I can sit at the wheel for a few minutes every day. Spinning is easy to start and stop.
The raspberry merino/tencel is finished.
When I was plying, I had forgotten that one of the bobbins had a significant amount of Starry Night singles left on it when I started the raspberry. So when I got to that point, I kept plying the raspberry with the Starry Night. It was kind of interesting, although I prefer the solid raspberry.
I have not yet measured the yardage of either skein but I suppose there would be enough to knit a scarf, if I alternated the skeins every other row. For now, the skeins get thrown into the basket. This is why I really don't like sampling. Give me enough to make something of substance.
That said, I started spinning the Emerald City.
This is where the bobbin was a week and a half ago. Here it is as of today:
What's amazing about this fiber are the colors that you don't see on the bobbin: black, olive, gold and even blue. The magenta and green predominate but those other colors blend beautifully.
I've started another bobbin because I want to ply a small sample next weekend. I'm not waiting as I did with Starry Night.
In Other News
The Melanie keeps humming along, a few rows every evening. I won't be putting up pictures of it for a while, since it's just more of the same. As I said to Loop, if I can get ten rows done a night, that's good. Corinne has finally chosen her wedding dress.
No, that is not her in the picture. She's blonde, shorter and dare I say it? Slightly plumper, although she's lost almost 25 pounds so she's looking great.
There was a moment where I thought she might chose this heavily embroidered dress and I knew the shawl would look like shit with it. However, this dress is perfect.
Well, back to work. I'm working at home today, which is why I can manage this quick entry. Weekends are so rare and handy these days.
ADDENDUM: And one more thing, one that I forgot this morning while doing this entry.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOE!
You want to talk about a good friend and the best yarn-shopping enabler ever? I think it's time for a Wolvie spring luncheon down in No Hope, my dears.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
I DONT MEAN TO SHOUT BUT HEY!
isnt knittin wonderful????? and arent knitters the best folks ever????? god loves knitters exceptin maybe he dont love mean knitters if you know what i mean and i know you do. amen!!!!
i love angles. arent they cute? im gointo knit some wings for my cat cuddles...... so she can be even cuter!!!!! heres a pic of cuddles the cat!!!!!!!
shes a lot more crosseyed than that other cat but not that much. shes so darlin!!!!!!!!!!!
i got me some of that funfur down at the walmarts yesterday. the hat didnt turn out so good but i think Ill cut it up and make me an ipod cover!!!!!!!!
i forgot i dont have an ipod but angus told me hed get me one if they got em cheap at walmart next chrismas. wen i have some time between gettin pregrnat, im goin to knit me a sweater or something. does anyonehave a pattern with angels on it?????
also do u have a pattern for big guys?? my brothers jess, baddie and jophus keep askin for me to knit them something but i cant find nothin big enough for them cause they are big men.....
but theyr really angles in diskise.
did i tell u about my wound? got it when my kid goosie you know one of thse dam quints of mine rammed a pickax into my arm wednesday last. dam thing just wont heal. been to the docs but he says nothin he can do cept put another dressing on it and i should keep crumbs away from it.
i made my dh take a pic of it sos ican share it with y'all. and mamas so much better, thank yall for your loving thoughts. im so glad that jesus answered my prayers about mamas divirticulitiz.
dang! i forgot. my knitting group the Knittin Angles is meeting next Tuesday at the church and i promised i would bring some of my famous cuttlebone fritters so i guess i better get me goin and start skinnin those fish!!!!!!!!!!!
i will finish this with a prayer and bless u all for reading this.
dear jesus please let angus get a job at the powerplant! and please let my lottry tickets win. praise him....praise our lordjesuschrist. and jesus please....send down yur blessings to these people who are readin what i wrote. and please bless knitting. thank you jesus! nobody says thank you anymore so thank you amen!
i will let that nasty woman have this back now. maybe shell be nice to yall. jesus is watchin her and she has his love shinin on her. amen.
[Ed. note: it's April 1. I'll regain control of the blog anon. Praise Jesus.]