Friday, December 29, 2006

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Social Worker: You vacuous, toffee-nosed, malodorous pervert!
Man: What? I came here for an argument!
Social Worker: Oh, sorry, this is "Abuse".
--Monty Python

Hot abuse, right here. Don't get the wrong idea. I haven't gone all that soft on ya.

Crankiness rulez, yo.

Lots of stuff to write about before the year is up. Happy New Year, by the way. This is the last entry before I start screwing up the date when writing checks.

2007, 2007, 2007, 2007, 2007, 2007, 2007, 2007.

Got it.

The beginning of my fifth year writing this rag. And they said it would never last.

The Oh-Shit-I-Fucked-Up-Again Cardigan
Yeah, I'll be writing about this one for publication, that's for sure.

The Arwen cardi. Started and ripped out three times on Christmas Eve because yours truly thinks she's so fucking smart, she doesn't half pay attention when she should. And starts a major project at 9 p.m. at night after running around like a psychotic chicken for those last-minute gifts.

However, I did get it right. And am well on my way. This cardigan is not for beginners so if you think you've got the cojones, go for it. Otherwise, don't whine when you screw it up.

For those of you familiar with the pattern, it's a Kate Gilbert from the latest Interweave Knits. Truly filled with excellent design conventions--a reversible cable, shortrow shaping on the sleeves, scary Kitchener stitching together of the cuffs, which are knit along with the sleeve. Here's two detail shots of the cable, which is great fun to work and easily memorized (after you've ripped it out several times):

The yarn is KnitPicks' Wool of the Andes, color is Black Cherry. I decided not to use the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran because all of her cashmerinos pill and I wanted a yarn that would stand up to heavy wear. WOTA is a yarn I've used several times and like very much; however, as with all the KnitPicks yarns, the colors can be less than enchanting. But there are a couple I like and this was one of them.

I have not knitted any garment for myself in two years. Shawls, socks, a few scarves, but nothing that has had to been assembled, per se. So now I've finished the Fair Isle vest and this is moving along quickly.

After this, I'll be starting the Wedding Ring shawl for real. Hear that, Loop, Ted and Franklin? I've at least swatched, so forewarned is forearmed.

There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters
You all know I love music. Well, I love Rosemary Clooney too. "Come On-a My House," my favorite. And big band music. And all those fifties schlocky singers like Como, Sinatra, Bennett. When my sissy and I get together, we usually sing "Sisters" from White Christmas. She's Vera-Ellen, I'm Rosemary, for sure. And probably a dork, so bite me.

So what did the Queen of Chaos give me for Christmas to gross me out? This.

Some old lady at her father-in-law's assisted living joint gouged him $34 for this set. Clearly Lion Brand faux chenille. In delicious camo-esque colors. Poor Karen. Every tacky gift she gives me to try to piss me off makes me laugh.

If you're looking for me at work, I'm gonna quit and crochet hat-and-scarf sets and sell them to unsuspecting senile old guys for big bucks. And then retire on the proceeds.

We did have a nice Christmas, nonetheless. Karen offered up her own burnt finger to the general blog community photo collection of nasty supperating wounds. She thought you'd enjoy it.

Not quite pus-y enough to rival other blog pictures I've seen.

Otherwise, the usual Roberts-Meyer-Snider Christmas extravaganza, with me doing the cooking as usual.

Ma ready to stick her dollah-three-eighty into the mix

Liz and nephew Alex affecting adolescent holiday ennui

Brother Rich and Jenn's boyfriend Norm discussing the movie mystique of Roger Corman

The Family Snider: Mike, Corinne and the Punk Princess

The Sisty Uglers, Jenn and Corinne

Mar and Carol's Most Excellent NYC Adventure
So yesterday, with a week's worth of free time on my hands, I traipsed into the city to meet with Carol and do some yarn shop trolling. We had decided that there were two shops we wanted to visit that neither of us had seen before: Seaport Yarns and Purl. I wasn't going to buy anything. I have enough fiber to last me and confuse me.

All I can say is, Seaport Yarns was a totally Fellini-esque experience. I ended up asking the owner what she didn't sell. Katia. Oh well. The place is a chaotic jumble of stuff. But incredible stuff.

A long, narrow hallway filled with yarn. Six or seven rooms that sprouted from the hallway, filled with yarn, books, tools. You name it, Seaport Yarns has it. Of course, I would highly suggest that you take at least a tab of acid prior to entering this place because it's really the Merry Pranksters Go Knitting.

Carol finds Nirvana at Seaport

Purl, on the other hand, was the antithesis of Seaport Yarns. Soho-chic, sterile, with beautifully arranged bins of Koigu, Lorna's Laces and other stuff. I didn't take pictures because I suspected that my camera would be confiscated. Suffice it to say that it's a small, airy yarn shop that has nice yarn. I think I far preferred Seaport, in all its looney glory. Being in Purl kinda made you want to blow your nose and fart, just to put it all into perspective.

I don't go for fancy-pretentious, I guess. Which is why I'm a Jersey girl.

Next time, it would be good to have all the Wolverinas together. Bad enough at Rhinebeck but positively frightening if let loose into NYC yarn shops. Given our behavior at Twist, Joe and I alone do plenty of damage.

With apologies to David Bowie.

I'm sort of in the process of reworking the blog layout, as you can probably tell from the sidebar. I've been doing it in dribs and drabs, putting things in slowly. Most likely now that Blogger is out of its beta stage, I will rework the template as well. There are just too many other blogs that look like this one or vicey versy. Joe did a great job on his and this one can stand some fluffing up. So look for more alterations. Still open for business though.

So while another year bites the dust, there's a lot I'll be pondering and planning for the coming year on Sunday night, while I sit and knit and watch movies. One thing I must do is finish my book, or rather, rework it. That's number one. The other thing is to write more outside of the blog, which is in the works already. Other than that, I'll go with the flow, try to keep aging gracefully and generally stay out of trouble.

And with that, have a safe and happy New Year. My thoughts and heart will be drifting to Cape Cod. But that's another rare and handy story for another time.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU FROM MEIt's been a long, sometimes difficult year. However, I am thankful for my family, my friends and my home.

The ornaments in the picture are some that I hold dear to my heart. One of my favorite nutcrackers. The Little Matchgirl that Jenn made me many years ago. The cross-stitched Father Christmas ornament I made on Liz's first Christmas. The white ball on the left is one of the few that I have remaining from Jimmy and my first Christmas together. We had no money so we bought all of our ornaments at a local hardware store.

Christmas, to me, is my family and seeing friends. It's been a lonely five years now without anyone special to share it with but like Scrooge, I keep Christmas in my heart all the year and I keep working at making my life better.

So much for being a curmudgeon. Now you know.

May all of you have a wonderful holiday! My Tontant Weaders mean much to me.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Best Quote I Heard All Day
The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.--George Carlin

I've been a practicing bad girl for a hell of a long time.

So in the spirit of being a bad girl, here's what I'd like for Christmas, among other things.

I've already sent this to friends but you know I like to share.

And here's one from Loopy, that made the rounds today. Earplugs advised.

Tree Up

Oh balls. And the kitten who swats at them. If this tree remains standing through Monday, it will be a miracle.

Not much purposeful knitting going on. Mostly doing As Designed As Built Configuration reports for the Valve Factory. It's been an end-of-the-year crunch and I honestly don't know why the fuck I'm sitting here at the end of a long day writing.

However, in two days I will have a well-earned nine-day vacation, away from ADABCRs, ATPs (Acceptance Test Procedures), Qual Test Reports (yep, QTRs, you got the acronym fever) and all the rest of the documentation that these valves take with them to the customer, who might be Boeing, Lockheed Martin, or Mitsubishi. Or some ghastly Israeli firm whose people come over to visit every so often and make themselves completely unwelcome.

I believe in pyloric valves. That's what works for me, personally.

Yo, Word Up, Gangsta Grammy
That's Liz's new name for me. We have all sorts of names for each other in our family. Just because we're word people, I suppose. Or verbose. Whatever. Here's the short list:

  • Sissyboo--either me or my sister. I am Sissyboo the Elder.
  • The Gashlycrumb Tinies--collective term for family members younger than 16
  • Mamoo--what my kids call me, sometimes (late husband Jimmy started that one)
  • Bumbawoo--my daughter Corinne (unknown etymology)
  • Grundoon the Groundhog Chile--Corinne's other name
  • Bruder--my brother Rich
  • Fennifer--my daughter Jenn
  • Bisset--Liz, how she referred to herself when she couldn't say "Elisabeth"
So Gangsta Grammy suits, yo.

All this namecalling because I drove her to Michaels and AC Moore at 7 p.m. last Sunday night so she could buy an extremely tacky red foil mini-tree on which to hang her beloved cartoon ornaments.

Anything to keep Spongebob off my tree. Although he's still hanging there. But not for long.

Four Shopping Days Left, Huh?
And I'm not done yet. But I shall be by Friday. And then commences the wrapping, which I do not nearly as well as a five-year-old.

It seems inexcusable that someone who can knit, spin, crochet, write, cook and all the other things that I do pretty well, can't wrap a damned box. I cannot wrap. And yes, my gay brothers, Franklin, Joe, Lars, Ted, I know YOU can wrap. Tastefully, neatly, and splendiforously.

It's times like this when I almost wish I were a gay man.

But all wrapping aside, where it deserves to be, it's time once again for me to collapse in my rare and handy Ikea chair, glom at the news and fall asleep over the needles. Knitting, that is.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Best Quote I Heard All Day
I bought my brother some gift-wrap for Christmas. I took it to the Gift Wrap department and told them to wrap it, but in a different print so he would know when to stop unwrapping.--Steven Wright

Bowed but unbloodied, I continue in the never-ending search for gifts with one week to go.

It gets pretty scary when you leave the mall one evening after a rapid gift-hunt sortie, only to find a police helicopter with searchlight circling the parking lot and a passle of local cops and state troopies at the entrance milling about.

Ho fucking ho. Christmas in New Jersey.

Fleece Navidad
The vest is finished. Well, almost. Still stitching down the steeks. And then blocking. However, I managed to tuck in all but one end and take a picture of the penultimate garment.

It fits nicely and the shoulders, which are to me the most important fit, are perfect. No wings.

I'm still debating the button selection. I did buy these, which are Lucite containing bits of lavender. But I don't think they are quite right for this vest, nice as they are.

I'll continue the search this week. I'd prefer some nice wood buttons.

The Christmas Fug Scene
In the meanwhile, after seeing a number of fugly Christmas sweaters live and in person, I think that one of my 2007 projects may be to design a Fair Isle Christmas sweater that I can live with year-round.

My favorite Christmas colors are forest green, magenta and a dull gold, rather than the traditional primary red and green. More of a Renaissance coloring, I think. It's what you find at my house at Christmas.

This is just a graph doodle--that's the best way to mess around with Fair Isle design ideas--and the colors aren't exactly what I'm talking about. They need to be deeper and richer. Much. But for reference, it works.

Anyway, that's for next year. I generally don't care for humungous Fair Isle motifs. For one thing, they tend to limit the sizing range. If you have a motif that spans 48 stitches and you're working 8 spi, that's 4 inches right there that you've sucked up on the sweater.

There's little that annoys me more than a sweater offered in two sizes: 34" and 50". Not to mention the effect a large motif has on length, as well. Smaller motifs mean more flexibility in size.

And then there's the delightful elephantine fashion statement you make wearing one of these beauties if you're larger than a size 12.

Party On, Bob! Party On, Jean!
I spent a lovely evening last night at the Fivehouse annual Christmas party. Long, long time friends. Jeez, guys, it must be 20 years, at least. We met back when our kids were a lot smaller, that's for sure.

Jean discussing Weffriddles after several glasses of wine

The increasingly Claus-ian looking Bob the Brat

I love these two. And Bob, who was one of Jimmy's closest friends, makes amazing models of steam ships. In miniature. He sells primarily to the Mystic Seaport gallery but I know he's up for any reasonable offers. Here's his latest, a model of the Lusitania.

Those little dots on the deck? Brass deck furniture. I kid you not. Even the magnifying glass didn't help me. I had to take off my glasses and stick my nose up close and personal. He's an amazing artist.

Bob's going to help me with an upcoming project in the next few months. No, I'm not knitting a Titanic sweater, although I don't know a soul who knows more about the Titanic and the rest of the White Star fleet.

Suffice it to say that Bob does other things besides modeling. I'll be talking more about this project once it becomes a reality.

Time to get out of the dingy bathrobe and into jeans for the final assault on the Christmas tree. It's up, the lights are on, but it needs the ornaments. Corinne vacuumed needlessly last night, clearly forgetting that there will be more showers of needles as we trim the tree.

And I still need to shop. But I'm staying home today. Because where I live, half a mile from the mall, driving is most certainly not a rare and handy activity. These days.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Undermine their pompous authority, reject their moral standards, make anarchy and disorder your trademarks. Cause as much chaos and disruption as possible but don't let them take you ALIVE.--Sid Vicious

Here's my theory as to my raison d'etre. I must exist in a structure that supports chaos.

My chaotic personality, which runs the emotional gamut daily, needs structure in order to survive. This may or may not be part and parcel of being manic depressive; however, if I examine what it is that keeps me on the straight and perhaps not-so-narrow, the answer is clear.

Writing can be quite chaotic within the given framework of what must be done. As can knitting. I can freely ad lib doing those activities. Run amok while working a pattern, go wild with words, and yet focus on the solution while letting my brain go off into the stratosphere.

This is why I knit and why I blog, and why both have kept the disorder ordered and taught me to ponder the whys and wherefores of self while I knit, write, spin or attempt to weave.

A good thing. Don't worry, though. I'll never be so orderly as to put P-touch labels on all my Rubbermaid yarn bins.

The KC Family Tree
I was touched by Margaret's comment about never knowing her grandmother. Despite my grandmother's lapses into gross prejudice, she was nothing if not a product of her times. Nonetheless, I adored her. And to this day, I miss those phone calls at 9 a.m. where Grandma would say, "Marilyn, dolly, you won't believe what Phil Donohue has on his show! Turn it on now! He's got men dressed up like women!"

Yes, Grandma was indeed my mother's mother, although she couldn't knit. The story of how during WWII in a fit of patriotic fervor, she of no domestic skills decided to knit a Red Cross balaclava on five needles, ending up with the whole yarn mess on one, is legendary. My mother ended up fixing it and finishing it. Grandma turned her prodigious musical talents to good use and played piano at the local USO. A far better choice, since she was a teacher of many things in Staten Island, including music. And she was an opinionated, bossy curmudgeon of the first water, although not necessarily the first in the line. Ma certainly has her curmudgeonly ways, God knows. But Grandma's mother, a dour German, was apparently even worse.

So here's the fine tree from which this apple fell.

Curmudgeon line in purple, what else?

My father's mother, Oma, was a neurotic Teutonic diva who drove virtually everyone crazy with her neverending paranoia and anxieties. My fond memories of Oma include her chasing me around a park with a stick shrieking "I'm a witch and I'll eat you" in heavily accented German.

That's why I hated Hansel and Gretel, the story and the opera. Little wonder.

Oma was indeed a curmudgeon, albeit a whiny one. She opined constantly but fortunately my German and her English were not good enough for either of us to communicate to any great degree. And that was fine with me.

Grandma and Oma somehow had an armed truce, wherein they were polite to each other in a rather formal Victorian manner. Except when Oma got too neurotic and idiotic. Then Grandma let loose.

Here's my favorite: My father died very young, at 43. He knew he was going to die and so bought a family plot in the local cemetary, under a lovely large tree. Bucolic final resting place. Except that when Oma had the cemetary plant geraniums each spring, they always died. No shit--no sunlight, poor soil, whaddya want?

The complaining about the geraniums lasted for years. Finally, one day on the phone, listening once again to the geranium bitching, Grandma said, "Well, Elisabeth, if you really want the geraniums to grow, you'd better have 'em dig up the body and move it to a sunnier spot with better dirt."

I miss Grandma, every day. But she and Ma both taught me never to be afraid of saying what I thought.

I know if Grandma were still here, she'd be the first to write in the Comments, every entry. But she wouldn't like my foul language. Sorry, Grandma. I'm not cleaning it up.

(I'm waiting for my sister to claim that she's a curmudgeon too. And she is, actually. She just needs to fine-tune her skills. Which is why we should encourage her to start her own blog.)

Christmas Carol
So, after giving this to Purlmayer for her blog, for some unknown reason--perhaps I was feeling less Scrooge-ish that day--I'm going to republish a carol I rewrote back in 2002 when I had about 5 readers. I had fun with it then and think it deserves another go-round.

See, I like Eartha Kitt. Always have. And Santa Baby is one of my favorite awful Christmas tunes that I find cringeworthy yet singable. So here's my version. Yes, you can sing it to the melody.

Santa baby, slip a cable needle under the tree, for me
I've been an awful good girl
Santa baby, and give me some alpaca tonight

Santa baby, some variegated silk too, light blue
I'll knit it up for you dear
Santa baby, and give me some alpaca tonight

Santa honey, I wanna Schacht and really that's
Not a lot
I haven’t bought much all year
Santa baby, and give me some alpaca tonight

Santa cutie, there's one thing I really do need, the deed
To a Local Yarn Shop
Santa cutie, and give me some alpaca tonight

Santa baby, please fill my stocking with hanks, and thanks!
Just add some skeins to the stash,
Santa baby, and give me some alpaca tonight

Come and trim my Christmas tree
With some sterling silver circs bought at Tiffany's
I really do believe in you
Let's see if you come through for me

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little clue, Koigu
I don't mean goldfish
Santa baby, and give me some alpaca tonight

Give me some alpaca tonight
Give me some alpaca tonight

(No, second thought, give me a blank check and we’ll call it even)

I can the car, in the shower, to myself. So I won't record myself singing this. That would be past rare and handy. It would be excretable.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Best Quote I Heard All Day
She cuts you hard, she cuts you deep,
She's got so much skill
She's so fascinating that you're still there waiting
When she comes back for the kill.
--Billy Joel, Stiletto

Great song about sharp objects, no?

But you stand there pleadin',
With your insides bleedin',
'Cause you deep down want some more.

Yes, It's Steenkin' Steek Time in KC's Playhouse
I do love the torture some call finishing. I do. First, it takes every ounce of my skill.

Second, anyone can make a knit and a purl stitch. But the finishing is everything. If you can't finish decently, I don't care how wonderfully you knit. Because your garment's gonna look like shit.

So this post is devoted to the steek endgame. Yeah, plenty of people have written about this. And Eunny Jang wrote a decent article about it in IK. But there's more detail to it than appears in the article. So as I started playing with sharp objects last night while working the armhole of the Andean Treasures Fair Isle, I had the camera at the ready.

Are you ready? Ignition on.

It's Such a Clever Masquerade
I opted to try the crocheted steek reinforcement, simply because I hadn't done it before since I heretofore have only done Fair Isle in Shetland 2-ply, known for its Velcro-like propensity. This alpaca definitely needs to be reinforced prior to cutting the steek.

[OK, one thing that has me kinda bugged. Nowhere in Jang's article is there any mention of Amy Detjen, who, to the best of my knowledge, invented this technique. I first saw it in Sweaters From Camp and always thought it was a primo idea. So let's give credit where credit is due, eh? This book is still my favorite for Fair Isle technique info, no question.]

Most steeks are composed of either 8 or 10 stitches--sometimes you can get away with 6 if you're working in Shetland but 8 stitches is really optimum. The dead center, between stitches 4 (5) and 5 (6) is where you cut, right in the bar between them.

[Nota bene: In Kathi Taylor's pattern, she has you do the armhole and front decreases as dec 2 tog before and after the steek stitches. Well, this was no good. And here's where thinking through a pattern before you start it with an eye to the finishing, pays off. I decided to do right- and left-leaning decreases (k2tog and ssk), with an edge stitch, rather than just knit two together. So I lost 6 stitches in the body--two for each armhole and two for the front opening. Big deal, I lost an inch. I took that into consideration when I chose the size that I wanted to work. ]

I determined the midpoint channel of the steek and crocheted together the opposing legs of two stitches beginning at the cast-off edge where you begin the steek cast-on. Jang explains this very well in her article, so I'm not going to reinvent the wheel. Basically, you'll be leaving a half a stitch on either side of the channel. I used a very bright, visible color because I'm fucking blind.

You work single crochet up one side of the armhole to the neckline, end off, and then recommence the reinforcement crochet from the top back down to the armhole cast-off, as shown in the picture. Can you see the two halves between the crocheted lines? That's where you'll cut, in between those two halves.

You Know You Love the Knife

Now, grab those sharp embroidery scissors. Not your kid's safety scissors, not your kitchen scissors, not your sewing shears.

Sharp, small embroidery scissors. I'm not fucking around here. You need to cut slowly, inching your way up the steek.

Don't cut the crocheted edges, either. And don't think that you need to have a shot of Jagermeister or Valium or both prior to beginning the cut. That's such bullshit and every time somebody writes that about steeking, I want to hurl.

Done and done. And wonders. Nothing fell apart. The steeks will naturally fold to the wrong side.

Machine knitters have been doing cut and sew for years, especially when doing double-bed jacquard or Fair Isle. I learned how to do this when I owned my Passap and was slashing left and right.

But I digress. Now that the steek is cut open, it's time to pick up the stitches for the armhole band.

She Says She Wants Affection While She Searches for the Vein
To ensure that I picked up the stitches in a straight line, I used my circular needle to provide a guide by weaving one end of it through the channel where I was going to pick up.

This helps enormously in staying on the beaten path. I retract the needlepoint as I go along. In addition, I always use locking markers to indicate where the halfway point of the edge is. In the case of a long edge to be picked up, I may divide and mark it into quarters or even eighths. So with 128 stitches to be picked up, with 8 of those part of the armhole cast-off, I knew that I needed 60 on each side of the armhole.

What's half of 60, gang? Right. So it was 30 to the marker and 30 after. And I pick up between the stitches rather than using a half a stitch or even a whole one.

You Don't Really Mind the Pain, You Don't Mind the Pain
Now it's five rows of 2/2 ribbing and that's one band done. Because the pickup is done on the right side, the steek lays flat on the wrong side. Why do you suppose that is? Yeah, Mar, fuck the Socratic method--give 'em the answer.

Nope, figure it out your own selves.

Now a shoulder seam to do before I start the next armhole band. All in all, about 3 hours worth of work, I would say.

No Jagermeister, no Valium, no nerves of steel. Just some coffee, some music and a job well done, I think.

Now that I've diddled away Saturday morning, it's time to get out of the sweatpants, take a shower and go look for a Christmas tree.

Because it's a rare and handy time of the year and your writer has done nothing, absolutely nothing about it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Being noticed can be a burden. Jesus got himself crucified because he got himself noticed. So I disappear a lot.--Bobby Zimmerman

No relation to Elizabeth. You know. The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles.

All the knitting divas and divers should take a hint from Bob. He made music because it was in his soul. Not because he wanted to be a star. That's creativity. Celebrity has nothing to do with nothing other than ego.

Useless is the Word
Just been busy, is all. Busy reading these useless Christmas catalogs that have flooded my mailbox, that contain things like crank-up flashlights that you wouldn't give to anyone as a Christmas present. I read them all when I eat dinner (other than reading The Historian, a wonderful book, by the way). And busy actually knitting--the vest body is one pattern band away from being done. Pictures next weekend. I spent the past weekend doing other fun things and didn't feel like blogging.

Now, understand that my sister, Karen the Queen of Chaos, aka The Scrap Curmudgeon because she either can't think of anything more original or because she's fucking lazy, has decided that she must hunt down the fugliest knitted thing she can find at the local craft shows and bazaars and give it to me for Christmas.

The last time she tried to give me something tacky, it blew up in her face. She gave me a garden gnome as a housewarming present. I loved it. She thought I'd hate it.

Or perhaps she thinks that by gifting me with a set of fine Fun Fur coasters, she will get her ass published on the blog. Heh. She's probably right.

The best knitted gift I ever received was Bipolar Betty, created by my dear Carol. Betty has a place of honor in the curio cabinet. For those of you who don't remember Betty, here she is in all her glory:

Edvard Munch had to have been the inspiration for this.

Useless Gifts for Knitters
You know how I feel about these things. And it seems that the bigger the knitting market becomes, the more we get flooded with crap. Mind you, I'm a sucker for a nice knitting bag. But some of the knitting gifties I've seen in the magazines make me roll my eyes and spit phlegm.

Besides the light-up needles, here is my short list of knitting crap that no one needs ever buy me for Christmas.

  • That stupid sheep bag
  • Any item of clothing with a sheep on it (Dolores excluded)
  • Earrings that are a) balls of yarn; b) knitting needles; and c) spinning wheels
  • Garment labels that say "Made with love by Grammy"
  • Bumper stickers or license plate frames that say something idiotic like "I'm a Knitting Fool"
  • Anything that has "Knitting Goddess," "Knitting Diva" or "Knit Wit" on it
  • Anything that says "I Heart _______" on it
  • A mousepad with a sheep, a ball of yarn, or some old gramma-type knitting in a rocker

And Kar, don't get any smart ideas from this list or I'll fucking jam your paper down your throat and then die-cut it.

More Useless Christmas Knitted Shit
I always love to peruse the hideous Christmas sweaters to see which one is the worst. Here's my pick for this year.

Yeah, what would Jesus have knit? If He'd have knit this, then I guess I could do an intarsia diorama of my birth at Cornell Medical Center, with my mother in labor for 27 hours and my unbelievably prejudiced grandmother kissing a "Negro" in the elevator upon learning of my birth. (Grandma told that story to me every fucking birthday until I was 35, when she passed away).

But the sweater does have the prerequisite sheep, so essential to the Compleat KnitDweeb's wardrobe.

I have my knitting. I define it, it does not define me.

Time to get back to the comfy chair, watch mindless TV and knit. Tomorrow is another day at the valve factory--a far, far better place than the Slobvenian Mindfuck Management Company. I get Christmas week off, paid. How rare and handy is that, I ask you?

Postscriptum: Go to If you want to drive yourself fucking nuts, dive right in. And don't ask me for any answers. This is a journey akin to solving The Seventh Guest or Riven. You need brains, stamina, and a lot of coffee. Just sayin'.