Thursday, February 19, 2009

Is it fucking spring yet?

Best Quote I Heard All Day
If you're quiet, you're not living. You've got to be noisy and colorful and lively. --Mel Brooks.

Well, God knows I've got a big fucking mouth, so I guess I'm living colorfully. Although my mother keeps reminding me that in little more than a year, I'll be 60. Yeah, and you'll be how old, Ma? Heh. I'm going to see Black 47 on St. Patrick's Day and it looks like Clapton and Winwood in June. Rock on.

Been busy, as usual. The new job is just perfect but time consuming, as my kind of work always is. But then, they do pay me twice a month. So no bitching here. Plus, being with Jerry sucks up writing time, and I’m sure not bitching about that.

I realized the other day that I originally started the blog as grief therapy. Not that it filled the void but it did give me focus when I needed it. Had Jimmy lived, I don’t know if I would have gotten so involved in writing, although I had been an editor/writer for many years prior to 2002.

The grief therapy ended long ago but I was still pretty much alone, with work, knitting, and friends taking the place of a significant other. Now I spend my weekends with Jeremiah, still knitting but not writing. At the beginning of a relationship, it’s important to spend the time building it. Now that we’ve built it, I’m sure Jerry won’t mind if I spend an hour or two on the weekend writing. Considering that he’s mucking around with fixing up his house, he now has a time sucker-upper too. So I'll get back into the swing of things.

Generally speaking, if you want to know what I'm doing, I've gotten into the FaceBook thing. Most of my friends and family are on it and I enjoy sharing pictures with my kids and friends.

Plus, the Punk Princess, who has 900+ friends, plays on FB a lot. She made an unbelievably funny video for her history class...she plays Hitler. You have to see it to believe it. Produced it, edited it, and starred in it, along with friends Jennifer and Miranda. Yikes.

I almost never make socks other than my plain vanilla 60-stitch socks with the common heel. I don’t use Magic Loop, don’t knit from the toe up, don’t change a damned thing because these socks FIT.

I don’t care about fancy-schmancy socks, which is why I never buy sock pattern books, although I am designing socks for Rock Sox that are fairly complex and I love doing that. For myself, though, I can’t be bothered.

I wear my socks with jeans and I am not going to invest in those see-through clogs just to show off some stitch pattern. My socks are strictly utilitarian. I use self-patterning yarn and that’s it. Nobody’s gonna see some hot-shit lace patterned socks if I’m wearing pants. However, I know lots of people love to knit socks with a challenge in them. And they are good learning tools for those knitters who want to try a new technique or stitch pattern.

Jerry’s Aran
In between making my basic 60-stitch socks, I laid out the Aran patterns, wrote the set-up directions, and got the 32-stitch repeat done. Besides the gauge factor, the swatch gives me the opportunity to add some smaller patterns if needed. I haven’t yet decided whether I want more or not. I took two pictures, one that shows the truer color of the yarn,
the other below that shows the stitch detail a little better but isn't color true.

I played around with the direction of the baby cable on the left side. About 2/3 of the way, I decided to see how a left-leaning cable would affect the single moss stitch filler. I wasn’t too happy with the definition between the moss stitch and the right-leaning cable, so I thought perhaps doing this change would sharpen the definition. I may also slightly decrease the number of reverse stockinette stitches between the motifs.

The yarn, Dale Falk, is on backorder from Denmark, so for the time being, I’ll work on the stitch pattern layout and do the calculations for the sweater. The sleeves will be saddle-shoulders. And perhaps finish my Dembrow cardigan, which has been fermenting in my project basket and possibly growing mold or fungi.

Spring Stuff
I did some surfing around to see if any of the magazines had a preview of their Spring issues. Vogue Knitting has never done previews, which is a smart idea, given their generally awful offerings. Knitter’s may have a Spring preview but as far as I could tell, it’s either not gone live yet or it’s buried somewhere in that mess of a website.

IK’s preview is up. A few nice things but all in all, once again underwhelming, with few challenges for advanced knitters. Too many garments with more than 75% stockinette. The Fountain Pen shawl was about the only challenge I saw, and for an experienced knitter, not a big challenge.

The photography is still very static, the models less than memorable. Of course, you could always make the argument that the garments are the show but I offer up Rowan’s magazine as my rebuttal. Rowan puts American magazines to shame. I would far rather spend my money on Rowan’s publications than the American rags. Even if I don’t care for some of the garments, they are so beautifully modeled and photographed that the most unappealing item looks great.

And will someone please tell me why designers persist in creating spring and summer garments using worsted-weight cotton? Other than those allergic to wool, I see little use for this shit. If you don’t know how to handle cotton, you’ll end up with a saggy balloon-y nightmare, the odds of this happening being greater, the heavier the cotton.

Rhinebeck Rewind Retreat
Ted and I were talking the other weekend. Always a dangerous thing--we do go on. Me, bitching about not being able to go to the guys’ knitting retreat at Easton Mountain to see him as well as Peter Jobson, who will be coming from Oz.

We started discussing the possibility of having a post-Rhinebeck retreat this year, for a few days. So I’ve set up a survey to get your feedback. It seems to me that Rhinebeck is altogether too short and not always easy for friends to meet and spend time just BSing and knitting together.

If there’s enough interest, Ted and I will do this retreat. So give use your feedback.

Well, lunchtime is over and it’s back to making tutorial videos using Captivate, the Adobe answer to Camtasia, which I've used as well in the past. Quite fun, actually. One of these days I might fool around with doing a knitting tutorial, although I don’t know about what. Suggestions? I won’t get this posted until tonight because I can’t access Blogger from my work computer. It’s locked down, majorly. Websense, the site blocker, is not rare and handy. It’s a pain in the ass.