Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Best Quote I Heard All Day

Do we not wile away moments of inanity or fatigued waiting by repeating some trivial movement or sound, until the repetition has bred a want, which is incipient habit?--George Eliot

Yeah, I knit.

Spring Break
I am fresh out of bon mots.

Every so often, I lose interest in writing. After this weekend, due to some trivial disappointments du coeur, I just got tired and didn't feel much like writing the blog either today or yesterday.

Couldn't think of a damned thing for Open Mike Tuesday. In fact, I rather forgot it was Tuesday until about a half-hour ago.

I suppose that writing for a living, which has lately included writing inane scripts for video tutorials, sucks a lot out of my imagination, let alone my general energy level. Be that as it may, I've managed to secure a lucrative freelance gig, which will greatly add to the coffers. And at least, it's editing and rewrites, which are both far easier tasks than writing from scratch.

But the freelance work means adding several extra hours after my normal work hours. And even though I work from home, work is work.

So, there'll be a slight break this week. I am working on two knitting projects that will merit photos but at this point, that will have to wait until I have the wherewithal to get my ass in gear.

Girls just want to have rare and handy fun. I'm waiting.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Best Quote I Heard All Day
I want to believe in intelligent design, and hence I am suspicious of anything that seems to confirm my desire to believe.--James Lileks

Thank you, Steve, for reminding me how much I love this guy's site. I highly recommend Lileks's Gallery of Regrettable Food. Check out Meat, Meat, Meat and More Fun With Coffee. And all the rest of his writing. He should do a number on '50s-era knitting patterns.

Have you ever Googled your name? Of course you have. I've done it and I admit to it.

Let's put it this way--these are Marilyn Robertses with whom I do not foresee sharing confidences. Or bologna sandwiches. The first one on the list is some kind of Scientologist. She completed the Scientology Service course, Celebrity 325, which may or may not have included making tea for Tom Cruise.

But then, when Googling The Knitting Curmudgeon, I found that I was a reference for the Wikipedia entry for Aran Sweater, based on a post that I wrote some time ago, entitled Heinz Edgar Kiewe--Crackpot or Historian?.

Who knew?

Open Mike Tuesday
Joe just wrote about the wiki phenomenon in his post from yesterday. Open-source wikis allow anyone to write, edit, and otherwise expound on subjects, whether they are knowledgeable or idiots. And as you may or may not know, some knitters are jumping on the bandwagon. So here's the topic:

Are knitting wikis going to be a valid source of information or are they going to become the domain of KnitDweebs ready to add to knitting misinformation already floating in the ether?

I'm tempted to start a Warshcloth Wiki but I'm afraid of who may visit. And contribute.

Yeah, Loopy, you're thinking of the same person, I'm sure. The Queen of Warshcloths. And we're not talking about Joe, either. He's an exceptional Mary but never a Queen.

Some Not-So-Wonderful News
I am sad to say that Corinne miscarried last week. And also found out that she has Lyme disease, although it's unlikely that the Lyme contributed to the miscarriage, according to the doctor.

Yes, we were all disappointed. For all my curmudgeonly ways, I adore children and I was very much looking forward to being Gangsta Gram to a new one. But these things happen, and they'll give it another shot.

The Punk Princess was a bit disappointed, too. She was looking forward to dressing her new sibling in black and red. But Liz is pretty circumspect, like her grandmother. She knows that she will be sharing her drum kit with a teensy Punk Baby soon enough.

And as it is almost the witching hour, I will post this and crawl into bed with Cleo. That's the best I can do for a warm, cuddly body. A human one is rare but unbelievably handy.

Speaking of cats, here's the kind of stuff my sister, the self-proclaimed Scrap Curmudgeon, sends me just as I've hit "Publish Post." Will someone please explain the difference between crocheting and knitting to her? Clearly, I've failed abysmally.

Cleo would never stand for this.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Consider the daffodil. And while you're doing that, I'll be over here, looking through your stuff.--Jack Handy

I've never gone much for memes. If you don't know what a meme is, the long, pedantic explanation is here, the short one for dummies is here.

However, I have been listed by both Carol and Grandma Flea for the Thinking Blogger Award. I only just discovered that Grandma had tagged me, on my birthday, of all days. Certainly these two are thinking bloggers par excellence.

This is something I am truly honored to have been awarded. I will put it in my sidebar.

In accordance with the rules, I am listing the five knitting blogs that I feel are absolutely worthy of this:
  1. QueerJoe: As long as I've known Joe, which is coming up to five years, he's contributed immensely to the political awareness of knitters. And yes, his knitting and spinning are extraordinary, too. Joe was the one who got me to thinking that maybe my spinning wasn't quite as good as it could be. He was the impetus behind my working to improve my handspun. A personal friend? Yes. My gay brother.

  2. KnitterGuy: Ted has a remarkably analytical point of view towards his knitting and spinning. He has been my muse, as he has been for so many other intelligent knitters, for longer than I care to remember, first on the Knit List and now on his blog. And then there's the cooking and the dyeing, as well. Another dear friend who is greatly cherished.

  3. Jean's Knitting: What can I say about Jean Miles, that hasn't been said? American-born, she has lived in Scotland for many years, and is a premier knitter. I've been reading her since our days on the Knit List back in the mid 90s. Jean's lace knitting site and her almost daily blogging are incisive and insightful.

  4. Whoopsy Daisy!: Kerstin's beautiful photography, of things knitting and life in general, along with her often poetic style of writing, make her blog a meditative stop for me. Sometimes, just the photos give me pause to ponder.

  5. Wabi Sabi: Along with Ted, Katherine (aka k) is an analytical knitter, but with a tinge of philosophical thought. Her latest post, I Fought the Lawn and the Lawn Won--The Existential Gardener, is perhaps not about knitting but I think indicative of her writing.

Having been tagged, these bloggers need to:

  1. Write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.
  2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

If you do not already, please go and read these blogs. They are all refreshing antidotes to the relentlessly mindless, chirpy knitting blogs that have so wallpapered the ether.
Thanks again, Carol and Grandma, for this award. I hope I keep you all thinking for a long time to come.

Apres Moi, Le Filage
The former French major at work. However, I am glad to say in English that I've done the first plying of Carol's amazing alpaca top.

Once I get it on the niddy-noddy, perhaps the true subtlety of its color shading will be more apparent--there is a lovely lavender that shows up here and there. However, I am very pleased with the way this came out. I wanted a laceweight and I got it.

The yarn to the left is commercial laceweight, the yarn to the right my plyed alpaca. Without having done a wpi, I'd say I achieved what I set out to do.

Da Mags
I stopped at Borders the other day to use up my Personal Shopping Day, which they are making obsolete, much to my chagrin. So I flipped through both Interweave Knits and Knitter's. And bought both.

Yes, you read right. I bought Knitter's, for the first time in probably three years. Why? For this, by Celeste Pinheiro:

Yeah, Celeste, I really liked this one. Enough to buy the magazine. Amazingly, either someone bound and gagged DragonBoy or for once, he almost got it right, because the issue has two other good designs by Deborah Newton and Nancy Marchant.

However, the Knitter's Design Team needs to go out and design cocktail napkins or something else other than knits. Please. Modular knitting and fugly, too. Really fugly.

And I do wish the magazine would lose its frenetic, overwrought layout. Half the time, I can't differentiate the ads from the editorial.

IK also had some fairly nice things. Socks by Veronik Avery that I liked very much, although I don't wear knee-highs, wonderful hats by Kate Gilbert, and a beautiful lace blouse by Shirley Paden. I could definitely make this sweater by Veronik.

But the kicker is an indepth article by Ann Budd on knitting socks toe-up. I would say that between this article and Mel's tutorial on Sherman short-rowing, you've got what you need. I may yet go back to fiddling with toe-ups. But at this point, I'm sticking to my old ways.

As a final note, I haven't forgotten. I will write about spinning fine yarn. But it's Sunday morning, I'm watching CBS Sunday Morning, and I need another cup of coffee. Rare and handy, that caffeine.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Best Quote I Heard All Day
I used to work in a fire hydrant factory. You couldn't park anywhere near the place. --Steven Wright

Well, as usual, work seems to be getting in the way of what I'd rather do--knit, spin, blog, pee. With two conference calls yesterday and two today, it's talking heads time.

So this will be a severely truncated post until I actually have the time to write something other than:

1. In the view on the Under Review page, select the checkbox for the project to be reviewed.
2. Choose Mark Project as Completed from the Actions drop-down menu and click Go.
3. The page will refresh and display the Project Review window.
4. Click Close Action Status Window. The Project will be moved automatically to Completed.

I knew you'd be thrilled.

Open Mike Tuesday
I enjoy reading the Wolvies' e-mail. And one topic, which has sort of been tossed around, started with a stupid web site name and then segued into stupid yarn shop names. My favorite, from Lisa McNulty is: Fuck Ewe.

So this week's Open Mike topic is:

What's your pick for the stupidest yarn shop/web site name?

I imagine many will have the word "Ewe". I would substitute "Ewww" for them all.

Back later in the week with the rare and handy alpaca plying. That's the only thing I've managed to get done. Oh yeah, and unraveled the toe-up sock. I hates it, preciousssss.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city. --George Burns

Well, it's not large--there are, at last count, 25 of us, which includes two wives and one husband who married in. The Meyers, the Robertses. the Petersons, the Roths. And the two Carsten girls, Eleanor and Nancy, from whence all of this goodness emanated.

It's been seven years since all of us were in one place at one time. But this weekend, the sibs and I took Mammy up to Connecticut to see her sister, my wonderful Aunt Nan, and we got to see two of the cousins, Carole and Mark.

Carole definitely displayed the fine family trait of snarkiness with some choice comments. If she knit, she could do me one better in knitsnark. I gave her the URL for the blog. Now, if she reads it, she'll find out just how snotty her cuz is.

Here are the ladies and the bro, on a lovely May Saturday in Connecticut.

From left: Ma, Rich, Karen, Nan, and Carole

Sherman's March
I've never bothered to do toe-up socks. Why? Because I have my Formula 1 sock pattern that fits nicely and that I have memorized. But having finished one pair on Sunday, I decided to muck around with a toe-up to see what all the fuss is about.

First, there was the Sock Wizard-generated pattern. The short-rowing in the Sock Wizard is wrapped, so I decided to give that a shot with some of Carol's wonderful merino sock yarn, Rainbow Bright, which I bought a few weeks ago.

Well, the wrapped short-rowing sucked, big time. Hated how it looked. And it was a royal pain in the ass, besides, picking up those damned wraps. You can't really tell from the picture but trust me, it sucked.

Then, I remembered reading last week about the Sherman technique on Mel's blog. So I ripped out this toe, read the excellent tutorial Mel has done on the Sherman shortrowing, and reworked the toe. This is unwrapped shortrowing, with compensation for the wraps by making one and then decreasing it with the prior stitch or, as Mary Sherman Lycan, the originator, calls them, "encroachments." Just read Mel's tutorial and you'll get it immediately.

Much better. Whether this will fit better than my stock cuff-down sock with common heel and wedge toe remains to be seen. I don't like the look of it as much but then, fit and function count heavily. You need to try it all. I really need to pull out Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks Warm Feet and revisit it.

Open Mike Tuesday
In an e-mail, Carol brought to the Wolvies' attention an ad in this Sunday's New York Times that evidently shows a woman of babyboomer age knitting. She had heard at MD S&W that knitters were fomenting a protest. So the topic this week is:

Do you give a rat's ass as to how knitters are portrayed in the media? Or do you have your posters ready for the protest march?

Go for it, babies. More cowbell.

Woolee Winder Banshee
I had thought at first it was simply a noisy bobbin. Not. While spinning Carol's alpaca, the Matchless started to make gawd-awful clacking noises. OK, out comes the oil. No good. New drive band. No good. Tighten all the screws. No good. Then off comes the winder and on goes the original flyer. That worked.

I've not had this problem with the winder on the Joy but I'll be taking apart the Matchless Woolee Winder at some point to see if I can find wherein the problem lies. It took me a while to get used to using the old flyer but I'm back on track.

Birthday Presents
Now, Barb insists this was not a birthday present; however, it did arrive during the Mar Birthday Festival Week. A thoughtful gift from a good friend, much appreciated. Barb's company, Wild Geese Fibres, has much worth buying. My fingers are itching to work with this alpaca/silk laceweight.

And then, there was my sister's birthday present, which she claims isn't my "real" present. Huh.

Yes, Wallace & Gromit lovers, it is Shaun posing as a hot-water bottle cover. Which delightful article Karen found at a garage sale. The seller said that it was bought at Bootts. No doubt. You'd never find anything like this in the States. I haven't decided whether or not that is in our favor as Americans.

However, there is a certain charm to it. You have to search, but it's there.

Some Enchanted Evening
I'm so disappointed that I didn't receive an invite to the white tie extravaganza at the House o' Shrub. It's highly likely that I was excluded from the guest list because my hat collection does not meet HRM's standards.

It would be a treat to see Shrub give her a shoulder massage. Or perhaps say, "Hey, Queenie, how y'all doin'?" Unfortunately, behavior like that is not rare for the Fucktard-in-Chief, and it's continuously unhandy.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Why slap them on the wrist with a feather when you can belt them over the head with a sledgehammer.--Katharine Hepburn

You know, my kid Corinne has wielded a sledgehammer since she popped out of me 35 years ago.

Yesterday, with my girls and their significant others gathered in the living room, with Ian dancing around and Liz slowly snaking downstairs, everyone ready to take Mamoo out to a birthday dinner, Corinne stated, rather emphatically, after her Sisty Ugler made a snide comment about Corinne only going out because she wanted a Margherita, that she could not have a Margherita with her dinner.

Huh? Now, Corinne seldom drinks. So when she goes out, she enjoys her Margherita. What wid dat?

And then it dawned on her sister. Holy shit. And then on me.

I'm going to be a grandmother. Again.

Yikes. Time to get buying those Dale baby books. And yes, I do know about Jil Eaton, et al. And no, I am not going to knit any Debbie Bliss stuff.

Open Mike Tuesday
Well, after having put in a 12-hour day editing, formatting, and doing a clean-up on five manuals for tomorrow's application build, I'm writing this late Monday night while nodding off at the keyboard.

Eunny was the clear favorite from last week's topic. And I totally agree with that. Kate Gilbert, too. I was interested also in hearing about the others.

So here's this week's topic of disgustion:

Is it possible to integrate knitting into your sex life? And no, we're not talking about knitted lingerie or Willywarmers, either. We're talking kinky. As in kinky circ cables. Maybe.

I'm sure that those into S&M will have many fabulous ideas.

Short Spurts
I'm really beat tonight, so there are no pictures. Work sucks when it keeps me from doing what I want. However, they do put money in my checking account twice a month.

I have managed to get a fair amount of spinning done on the alpaca. And some mindless stockinette rows done on the back of the Lavold sweater. It's almost done, at which point I may shift gears and get some finishing done. I can at least join the shoulders, set in the one sleeve, and even put in the collar, before I finish up the other sleeve. We'll see.

Barb Brown of Wild Geese Fibres sent me some glorious alpaca/silk laceweight. I will definitely put up a picture in my next post. This is some beautiful yarn. Go visit Barb's web site and see what she's got.

I'm not going to MD S&W next weekend. I wouldn't have, in any case, but I must go with my mother and the sibs up to Connecticut to visit my Aunt Nan. These days, I am only interested in going to Rhinebeck in October. Shall we have a show of hands as to who's planning on going? I know the usual Wolvies will be there--Joe, Carol, Kathy, Selma, maybe Lisalisa. And hopefully Ted, Mary-Helen, Lee Ann, Katherine, perhaps the wonderful Peter from Oz, and a few other friends.

If nothing else, blogging has brought me so many terrific friends. My life was so unrare and unhandy before they all showed up. I love them all.

[Ed. note: I'm cheating and posting this at 11:04 PM on Monday night. I'm fucking tired so I fixed the date and time to read otherwise. Bite me.]