Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Third Booga Bag Posted by Picasa
My first socks Posted by Picasa
Knitting in public has never been a problem for me. Maye this is because my mother knit at faculty meetings and in airports and so I thought it was normal. I don't think anyone knitting in public was particularly brave or bold unless they were generally shy. Even then knitting is great for shy people (I am very shy) because it keeps you from having to interact too much.

There are times and places that I don't think it is appropriate to knit in public. I don't knit during meetings or church services or musical performances because I think these are things that need my whole attention and I am not such a good knitter that I can not think about my knitting. I think knitting and reading are perfect for when I'm waiting for a performance to begin (my kids have to be at the venue an hour before the music starts and I sit and wait), during swim practice when I can't swim, and while I wait for appointments.

A number of bloggers and writing knitters say that knitting in public gets people to talk with you about knitting but I have had very little interactions with unknown bystanders. Maybe my fierce concentration throws them into silence. At our community pool I sometimes knit during swim practice or during breaks in my swimming (sometimes I read) and I have had two strange interactions.

The first was while I was knitting my first pair of socks. I was knitting and a woman approached me and mentioned that she was interested to see that I was knitting during swim team practice these days and not reading. She said, "It must be so much more satisfying to finish and have something because when you finish reading a book you have nothing." She is wrong. When I finish a book I have ideas and thoughts and stories. I have debates even though most of them remain internal. I have pictures in my mind of myself integrated into the situations from the book: Would I respond like the main character or how would my personality and experience affect my storyline? What does this article mean to me? What do I think it means to other people? How does the viewpoint put forth mesh with or change my vision of the world? I am changed in ways grand and small by the things I read; the things I knit are not quite as life changing for me. She was also incorrect about my knitting/reading ratio. It is only that I've been working on my knitting during swim practice because I'm making my first pair of socks and it takes concentration and chunks of time.

The second experience was with a different woman at the pool. I was knitting while I waited for my family to finish practice and come join me for a picnic dinner and a woman walked by and commented "Sew, sew, sew! Every time I see you you are sewing at something. I even saw your daughter sewing at the swim meet last week; she was all (woman puts her hands up before her face and hunches over). That sewing! My Grandma used to always be sewing stuff too." Then she walked away. Where could I have started? That I was knitting, that it is a fun thing to do, or that it helps my daughter filter out the stress of competition? Typically, I did nothing.

Tonight I was very brave and I went to a local stitch and chat session. I took my daughter with me for a knitting buddy and moral support. The group was very noisy and happy looking with a nice variety of ages of men and women. Nobody specifically greeted us but plenty of people made eye contact and smiled in a welcoming way. We sat and started knitting and after a few forays for drinks and yarn we settled in for some good knitting. I did what I usually do in social situations, I sat quietly and listened while smiling and reacting to stories that were being told. I told my daughter that I felt sort of isolated but that it might be ME not THEM. Then, I am so brave, I started inserting myself into the conversation. We ended up spending the whole 2 hours knitting and talking and I learned a few names and had a lot of fun. When we left someone said they'd see us next week. Woohoo! I don't have to take my daughter with me every time though she liked going; it is past her bedtime by the time we got home. There were several other children knitting and one even seemed to be about her age but my daughter was unsure of approaching them. She did deal with all the vendors and asked someone for help calculating yardage. LOL! We joked that she didn't interact with her own peer group but that my peer group was sufficient.
I have been knitting. Since the mitered hearts I've finished the pink X-back shirt for K's birthday, made myself a pair of socks (woohoo! first pair), and started on a second pair of socks for G. Pictures will be posted soon.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Mitered hearts for comparison Posted by Hello

You can see what a difference there was in size because of yarn choice.

These mitered hearts are a great break from Booga bags and the monotony of knitting 6400 stitches all the same. Before these mitered hearts, picking up stitches was a weakness in my knitting; it seemed like I always ended up with the stitches on the wrong needle. Now, I'm practically a pro at picking up stitches.
Red mitered heart Posted by Hello

Made with Dalegarn Sissik. This yarn is easy to knit with but it feels a little waxy. I think the flecks of colour look great.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Mitered Heart Sachet Posted by Hello

I bought Interweave Knits magazine for two patterns - this heart and a baby kimono only to find out that the heart pattern is free online as a pdf. I made this heart with mystery yarn that is thicker than the recommended yarn. It worked well because it made it easy for me to see what I was doing. The bottom square is supposed to be textured like the other squares but I didn't realize that until I was on the 3rd square. I kept going for the experience. I'm now knitting another heart out of sock yarn and it is much smaller.

Felted Booga Bag #2 Posted by Hello

I did not use Noro for this bag; I mostly used Lamb's Pride worsted which is a mingling of wool and mohair. This yarn knits up beautifully (it almost seems a shame to felt it) and felts very quickly. The mohair goes create a little bit of a halo effect after felting but if it bothers you you can always trim it. The red is a mystery wool from the thrift store and the black is Red Heart 100% wool.

Felted Booga Bag #1 Posted by Hello

Monday, June 13, 2005

Thanks EACA but I wanted to be Hitchhiker's Guide instead.

You're Watership Down!

by Richard Adams

Though many think of you as a bit young, even childish, you're
actually incredibly deep and complex. You show people the need to rethink their
assumptions, and confront them on everything from how they think to where they
build their houses. You might be one of the greatest people of all time. You'd
be recognized as such if you weren't always talking about talking rabbits.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Booga strap unfelted Posted by Hello
Booga bag unfelted Posted by Hello

The Booga Bag by Black Sheep Bags. My bag is made of Noro Kureyon; I happened to pick the same colour as the original. Partway through the 2nd skein I ran into yarn problems; a yellow section just broke at any pressure. I pulled off all the weak stuff and then got back to the knitting.

Whenever I pick up stitches I end up doing it backwards. I had to back the stitches off onto another needle and then add them to the correct needle. I think that section looks terrific.

Friday, May 27, 2005

I consider myself good at ebay. Really. I've bought and sold and gotten some great bargains. I've only once bought stolen goods and the police said I didn't have to give the NASCAR model car back since we had already put it together. I've always sighed when I heard about people who went crazy on ebay and filled up their whole houses with ebay stuff they didn't need. These people need help (I said) they need therapy or medication or self-control. I mean, FLAX clothing is my only clothing weakness and I manage to only look now and then and buy even less often...and even then only stuff that I fits my wardrobe.

And then I checked ebay for yarn. It was an innocent attempt to find a matching skein of Giotto without going back to the very expensive and very addictive LYS. I started hyperventilating and got all shaky.! There were pages and pages of Colinette yarn. Lot after Lot of beautiful colours and wonderful paragraphs of descriptions. AND almost all of them were cheaper than the LYS...even with shipping added! I brought my breathing under control and noticed the few auctions where the yarn was way higher than LYS's prices. Rare colours?

I did not buy any yarn. I did not bookmark any lots.

Every day I resist the impulse to check out ebay and see what is for sale. I am trying to stay away until I need yarn.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The mitten on the left was my first attempt. Posted by Hello

I have ripped out the first mitten and reknitted it to be a match. They are cute! The first mitten took me a whole day, the second mitten took an evening, and the third mitten took less than 3 hours.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The number one direction for the Dulaan mittens is "Make two alike". Bwahahahaha! I'm a huge failure!

It's very funny to see the difference between the two mittens. This pair would only fit a child with one lobster claw. When I finish mitten #3 and before I rip out mitten #1 and start over with it, I'll take a picture.

Bwahahaha! It looks only remotely like the pattern photo.

(shuddering laugh sigh) DPNs are a huge learning curve.

Monday, May 23, 2005

I'm at the point on this that I either have to tell the birthday girl it is for her so that I can measure the straps or I wrap it up the way it is and she'll have to wait after she recieves the gift for me to finish it and block the piece. I'm leaning toward telling her now so that it will be ready to wear on her birthday.

In excitement that I've put it down for the moment, I have attempted my first double point needle project - this. I feel very clumsy tring to manage 4 needles at once; twice I've pulled a needle all the way out of the stitches and twice I've continued knitting with the same needle and discarded a needle. At least both are easy mistakes to rectify.

I'm also working on an alpaca shawl. It's a lovely and easy pattern of 5 rows of knit and one of purl using two sizes of needles. I love how the size changes but the shape is the same so that it could be so many things depending on when bind off is done. Right now it would be a good teddt bear shawl or a head scarf ala Sound of Music.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Tagliatelli in Toscana Posted by Hello
Shimmer in Monet Posted by Hello
Shimmer 5 in Jay Posted by Hello
Lapis Giotto Posted by Hello
The book - Artyfacts Posted by Hello
I went to StitchDC and I got LOTS of fun yarns and a book and it hardly cost me anything! Hard to believe? (g) I had gift certificates.

I loaded up on Colinette yarns because they are fun! And I got a Colinette book so that my daughter and I could have instructions to follow for this fun yarn. I have three skeins of Colinette 5 Point in Zebra colourway that were for my husband's moebius scarf but the knit was too heavy and tight. I may order larger gauge circular needles and try again and I may just use it for some funky project.

I didn't buy the absolutely beautiful deep purple 5 Point. I couldn't swing it with the gift certificates but I do have a birthday coming up.

Here is what I got; photos will follow.

Artyfacts a book of fun projects. I really like the Iris hat and most of the projects use one skein.

2 skeins of Shimmer 5 in Monet colourway.

1 skein of Giotto in Lapis. The Giotto in Frangipani was AMAZING but I couldn't buy everything. You know what? Going to the yarn store is a little like going to the animal shelter...I want to take them all home but our home can only handle so much. Of course, yarn doesn't love you back and while the yarn may get dusty, put on sale, or sent back (can they do that?) the store will not kill the unsold yarn.

1 skein of Shimmer 5 in Jay.

1 skein of Tagliatelli in Toscana. The colours in Tagliatelli were awesome.

Other Colinette yarns I liked but have to save for another day or (please God) a sale were Wigwam and Prism.
I did it again! I mowed the yard with the riding mower!! Yay me!!!

There are lots of exclamation points because I'm all jittery and shaky still.

(deep breath) I not only read the manual again but this time I followed the instructions...even when the instructions tell me to do scary things. Like when I was supposed to drive this huge machine straight up the steep hills. We have a very steep back yard and even steeper front yard. My body and mind said DON'T DO IT but the manual said GO UP THE HILL. I tried it and it was scary but it worked. Last time the drive belt came off three times and this time it didn't come off once. Who knew the manual was correct. They should put instructions in that say "This will make your body feel as if you will tip over and be smushed by the machine but DON"T WORRY we have tested this and made sure it works. Up and down is WAY safer than going side to side even though the steepness is greater up and down." But they don't say that. They just tell you what to do.

I snort in the general direction of my father-in-law who told me that the drive belt comes off if the up and down hill is too steep when really it comes off when the area going across is uneven.

I talked to myself a lot while I mowed. I talk to myself a lot all the time but usually I pass it off as talking to the babies. Don't be fooled, most people who talk to babies are just using the babies to make themselves look less crazy. On the mower, going up and down the hills, talking to myself with no babies in sight I did look crazy. But I encouraged myself and cheered for myself and told myself that I could figure out how to get out of that stuck situation. My clutch got stuck, in 3rd gear when I was heading for Stump City™, and I fixed it. Partly so that I could succeed, partly so that I could at least get the mower into the shed before the rain came, and mostly so I didn't have to tell my husband I needed him to fix one of my messes.


Now I can drink a Diet Dr. Pepper and knit for an hour before the big kids come home and I can talk to them instead of imaginary people.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Survivor Posted by Hello

I call this one Survivor because I knit it during the season finale of Survivor (2 hours). It is made from 2 skeins of Karabella Yarns Brushed Alpaca. One skein was grey and the other white. I knitted with both yarns held together and then with each yarn separately making a pattern of thick and thin AND colours.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

People are crazy and at least one of those crazy people works for the local utility company. Saturday night we were driving home from dinner out (it was ok, too expensive but lovely soup). A big storm with lots of lightning had been hovering over the area for several hours and we were admiring the bolts that went sideways AND the ones that went up and down. As we were driving along Daisy Lane, which is a tiny road we use as a shortcut, we saw an electrical pole on fire. Pretty fire, green and blue fire was all over the junction box and coming down the pole and flickering along the wires. We carefully drove past and went the rest of the way home (.25 mile). I put the kids to bed and The Man called the power company. The Man reported the fire on the electrical pole and box and the Employee said it was not their problem! She said that it was a fire so we should call the fire department. Will the fire department touch that fire? Take it from me, they will not try to put out that fire - they will call the power company and then when the power company has turned off the power or cut the lines THEN the fire department will put out the fire. Can you tell we've seen lots of electrical fires around here? Hurricane Isabel did a number on our electrical structure.

15 minutes later just as the kids got settled into bed and I pulled out my knitting, the power went out. Guess what? The fire overtook the junction box, it exploded, and the fire spread. Three poles were taken down in the ensuing chaos. The fire department came and stood around until the power company showed up. It took the power company 5 hours to get power back to the neighbourhood! Turns out that several people called the power company right after lightning hit the box but they were told that if the box had really been hit the power would have gone out so they must be mistaken and it was a phone line. Right.

Monday, May 16, 2005

A vibrating razor? Do women really want a vibrating sharp blade near their delicate parts? Female circumcision? No sir! Just a small shaving accident.


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Dulaan hat with a goofy kid Posted by Hello
Speaking of delicious French food, here is a delicious and easy recipe for Pain au Chocolat. It takes a number of hours to complete but most of that time the dough is chilling in the refridgerator. This morning I used a variety of chocolate bars in the pain including one with hazelnuts and one with lemon zest (both were bittersweet chocolate). My children would prefer I used a semi-sweet.
Someone recommended French Women Don't Get Fat to me. I do agree with the dietary ideas inside, that a little of wonderful things like cake and butter are good choices but that moderation is the key.

I do have a problem with the title and the idea that it plants. It is bad enough that we marginalize women and especially fat women and that the media continues to push the ideal of extra-skinny women. Must we now deny even the existance of a portion of French women? 25% of French women are obese (way lower than the US) and this title pretends that they do not EXIST. Well, they do exist and they deserve to exist and they deserve to be included in the whole picture of women worldwide. (sigh) I just can't bring myself to read the book because the title pisses me off; I rant to myself after every mention or sighting and now, dear blog, I rant to you.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Movie Meme: X the ones you have seen. I obviously read a lot more than I go to movies.

1. ( ) Napoleon Dynamite
2. ( ) Saw
3. ( ) White Noise
4. ( ) White Oleander
5. () Anger Management
6. () 50 First Dates
7. ( ) Jason X
8. () Scream
9. () Scream 2
10. ( ) Scream 3
11. () Scary Movie
12. () Scary Movie 2
13. ( ) Scary Movie 3
14. () American Pie
15. () American Pie 2
16. () American Wedding
17. (x) Harry Potter
18. (X) Harry Potter 2
19. (X) Harry Potter 3
20. () Resident Evil I
21. () Resident Evil 2
22. () The Wedding Singer
23. ( ) Little Black Book
24. () The Village
25. () Donnie Darko
26. (X) Lilo & Stitch
27. (x) Finding Nemo
28. ( ) Finding Neverland
29. () 13 Ghosts
30. () Signs
31. ( ) The Grinch
32. ( ) Texas Chainsaw Massacre
33. ( ) White Chicks
34. ( ) Butterfly Effect
35. () Thirteen going on 30
36. () I Robot
37. ( ) Dodge ball
38. () Universal Soldier
39. (x) A Series Of Unfortunate Events
40. () Along Came A Spider
41. () Deep impact
42. () KingPin
43. (X) Never Been Kissed
44. () Meet The Parents
45. ( ) Meet The Fockers
46. ( ) Eight Crazy Nights
47. (X) A Cinderella Story
48. ( ) The Terminal
49. ( ) The Lizzie McGuire Movie
50. ( ) Passport to Paris
51. () Dumb & Dumber
52. ( ) Dumb & Dumberer
53. () Final Destination
54. ( ) Final Destination 2
55. (X) Halloween
56. () The Ring
57. ( ) The Ring 2
58. ( ) Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
59. () Practical Magic
60. () Chicago
61. ( ) Ghost Ship
62. () From Hell
63. () Hellboy
64. ( ) Secret Window
65. ( ) I Am Sam
66. ( ) The Whole Nine Yards
67. ( ) The Whole Ten Yards
68. (x) The Day After Tomorrow
69. () Child's Play
70. ( ) Bride of Chucky
71. (X) Ten Things I Hate About You
72. ( ) Just Married
73. (x) Gothika
74. (X) A Nightmare on Elm Street
75. (X) Sixteen Candles
76. () Bad Boys
77. () Bad Boys 2
78. ( ) Joy Ride
79. () Seven (SE7EN)
80. () Oceans Eleven
81. () Oceans Twelve
82. ( ) Identity
83. () Lone Star
84. (x) Bedazzled
85. () Predator I
86. ( ) Predator II
87. (X) Independence Day
88. () Cujo
89. ( ) A Bronx Tale
90. () Darkness Falls
91. ()Christine
92. (x) ET
93. () Children of the Corn
94. ( ) My boss' daughter
95. (x) Maid in Manhattan
96. () Frailty
97. ( ) Best bet
98. (x) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
99. ( ) She's All That
100. (x) Calendar Girls
101. ( ) Sideways
102. () Mars Attacks
103. () Event Horizon
104. (x) Ever After
105. (x) Forrest Gump
106. ( ) Big Trouble in Little China
107. () X-men 1
108. () X-men 2
109. ( ) Jeepers Creepers
110. ( ) Jeepers Creepers 2
111. () Catch Me If You Can
112. () The Others
113. (x) Freaky Friday (the Original)
114. () Reign of Fire
115. (X) Cruel Intentions
116. ( ) Anchorman
117. ( ) Swimfan
118. ( ) Miracle
119. () Old School
120. () Ray
121. ( ) The Notebook
122. ( ) K-Pax
123. (X) Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
124. (X) Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
125. (X) Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
126. ( ) A Walk to Remember
127. ( ) Boogeyman
128. () Hitch
129. ( ) Back Door Sluts 9
130. () South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut
131. (X) the Fifth Element
132. (X) Star wars episode I
133. () Star wars episode II
134. (x) Star wars episode IV
135. (X) Star wars episode V
136. (X) Star wars episode VI
137. (X) Troop Beverly Hills
138. () Swimming with Sharks
139. (x) Trainspotting
140. (x ) People under the stairs
141. (X) Blue Velvet
142. (X) Sound of music
143. (x) Parent Trap (the Original)
144. () The Burbs
145. () SLC Punk
146. () Meet Joe Black
147. ( ) Wild girls
148. (x ) A Clockwork Orange
149. ( ) The Order
150. () Spiderman
151. () Spiderman 2
152. () Amelie
153. () Mean Girls
154. (x) Shrek
155. (x) Shrek 2
156. (X) The Incredibles
157. ( ) Collateral
158. () The Fast & The Furious
159. ( ) 2 Fast 2 Furious
160. () Sky Captain & The World of Tomorrow
161. () Closer
162. (X) The Sixth Sense
163. (X ) Artificial intelligence
164. ( ) Love Actually
165. ( ) Shutter
166. (x) Ella Enchanted
167. (X) Princess diaries 1
168. () Princess diaries 2
169. () Constantine
170. ( ) Million Dollar Baby
171. ( ) life of david gale
172. ( ) 25th hour
173. () vanilla sky
174. ( ) Eternal sunshine of a spotless mind
175. () Boogie Nights
176. (x) Braveheart
177. ( ) the anarchist cook book
178. () fever pitch
179. () Lost in Translation
180. () Leon
181. () Pump Up The Volume
182. () Garden State
183. () The Phantom of the Opera
184. (x) Footloose
185. (X ) natural born killers
186. (x) the princess bride
187. (x) monty python and the holy grail
188: (X) Raising Arizona
189: () Lion in Winter
190: (x) Sabrina
191: () Pump Up the Volume
192: (X) Rock and Roll High School
193: () Singles

Then add three:
194: (X) Bride and Prejudice
195: (X) Babe
196: (x) Best in Show

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I found the link where I learned to recycle yarn! Wonderful accompanying pictures.

I get a real energy boost from turning $3.90 worth of Value Village sweater into two lovely sweaters for my children.
Several people have found this blog while searching on STITCHDC. Here is a quick review of the store.

I've only been to the StitchDC store on Capitol Hill, not the one in Georgetown. The store is just across from the Navy Barracks in a section of 8th Street, SE that is nicely renovated. It may be hard to spot - the outside is pale blue. I've interacted with two different women who work at StitchDC and both were very helpful and wonderful. They made me feel free to tell of my rank amateur status and they suggested but were not pushy. They did not steer me toward "easy" patterns or expensive yarn. I had a nice conversation with one woman about the quality of knitting instructions and the importance (to me) of not having the knitting treated too zen. I do like a little humour and straight forward instructions. (sigh) A diagram with labelled parts is always helpful.

The StitchDc store is beautifully lit with natural light and is 2.5 rooms deep. It is not cluttered, many of the yarns are in oak looking cubbies. Some yarns are hanging from hooks against the walls. There is a small section travelling from the front to the back where non-knitting goods are displayed for sale. Kitschy and arty kitchen and dinner ware (written up in the NYT in February!). There is a nice variety of yarns, even I could tell that, and prices ranged from $4 - $30 a skein. Yes, I had shock at the high prices but I took full advantage of sales and all of the range of lovely yarns.

Edited to add the link:
Well, it sort of makes sense. I have Mid-western in me and I have never been to the mid-west. I grew up in Kenya, spent some formative pre-college years in rural North Carolina, went to college in Pennsylvania, lived in DC for for 8 years, and in Maryland just outside DC for 11 years. Though really DC and Maryland are pretty Southern/Dixie not yankee at all. People can't usually tell where I'm from by listening to me though talking to people from certain regios tends to bring those accents to the top of my tongue.

Your Linguistic Profile:

65% General American English

20% Yankee

15% Dixie

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The ill-fated blue wrap. Isn't the ruffle edge nice? Posted by Hello
Fun scarf - knitted in less than 24 hours as a birthday present Posted by Hello
There is no shame in being afraid. Acknowledging fear should not be shameful. I should not feel guilty and inadequate because I'm afraid of something.

Is there any other way to say that and make it clearer?

I'm afraid of lots of things. I am afraid of rejection and it impacts my life but that isn't the sort of fear that I'm thinking about today. I'm afraid of ants even though I know that that fear is not totally logical. Fear of ants and my fear of dentists are both based on negative experiences I had when I was child and even though I *know* that I am not around that kind of ants or that particular dentist but I *feel* the fear.

Other things that I'm afraid of are more logical things to fear. I'm afraid of guns. I'm afraid or driving a motorcycle. I'm afraid of fallen electricity wires. I'm afraid of things that make loud noises and can also possibly hurt me. Airplanes don't frighten me but chainsaws do. Ok, a blade with a motor is scary for me. Those motorized knives? I won't touch them. It suddenly occured to me that the feeling I have when confronted with electric knives, chainsaws, and lawn mowers is linked in my mind with my first sewing machine experience where the needle went faster and faster and I couldn't connect my foot on the peddle with the speed of the needle and so the fabric whipped around and around as I sat frozen with my foot pressing the peddle to the floor. (deep breath)

I admit I'm afraid of these things. I try to address my fears head on which is much easier once I've named them outloud. For years I used a push mower to mow our yard; I liked that it was quiet, wouldn't move on its own, and was good for the environment. We moved to a larger house/yard and my husband bought a gas mower. It was loud and I was scared of it but my husband did all the mowing and I kept the kids inside. Then we moved to a hilly acre of land and my husband was diagnosed with a heart problem that restricts him from mowing. I tried using the push mower but it took hours. I finally got myself together, read the manual for the gas mower, and tried it out. I got used to the sound and I practiced until I felt in control of the mower. For several years now I have mowed the land with the gas mower; it's hot work and takes about 2.5 hours (I split it over two days). Two days ago my father-in-law handed down his old rider mower to us. It's a Sears Craftsman and feels very big. Today I read the manual, disengaged the blades, and sat on the mower. Slowly, step by step, I started the engine, slid the throttle through its paces, and gently put the mower in gear. I jolted forward and my heart was pounding. My hands shook and sweat beaded on my forehead even though it is a cool day. I rode back and forth using 1st gear and reverse and even engaged the blades along the flat portion of land just behind the house. I had a phone in my pocket in case the mower turned over and trapped me. After several laps I braved a corner and even turned around (I think it was a 14 point turn). (deep breath) I started up the hill and it was scary. I was afraid the mower would roll over, I was afraid that I would hit a rut and flip, I felt like I was lurching. I tried small things, small sections, I backed up if I felt like it was too dangerous to go forward. Sometimes I went back and tackled a fearsome place but others I avoided.

I didn't cover the whole yard there are lots of ruts and several steep sections that I wouldn't face today but I feel more confidant. Admitting my fear and then carefully feeling out what parts I could handle and which were too much for me lessened my fear. I can use this machine.

I heard a radio article some time ago where the author claimed that women don't use power tools because the women are afraid of them. It's true that I'm afraid of loud power tools but I know a secret...lots of men are afraid of loud power tools as well. Some men are afraid but won't say so - they just avoid those tools. Some people are afraid and then they are afraid to say they are afraid and so they don't try things.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

An expensive and time consuming knitting mistake.

I made a beautiful moebius wrap. It was supposed to be lacy with a lovely geometric pattern and I bought a great denim coloured variegated mohair yarn to knit it out of. I cast on for the largest size wrap, 236 stitches, and increased one stitch at the beginning of the next round. Then I knot and purled my way through the beginning of the scarf - which ends up being the simple looking middle of the wrap. After a few rounds, following the instructions, I started knitting the lace pattern and I knew I was in trouble pretty early in the program. I couldn't seem to remember where I was in the pattern; so I ripped it out to a sure place and started again, several patterns later I was lost again. I decided to go with the flow and let it work itself out. On the third round of pattern, I wondered that I was making two increases and one decrease per pattern which means with a gain of 1 stitch per pattern execution, maybe 20 extra stitches per round added. The math became boggling as I tried to work out number of increases x patterns per round x number of rounds. Who says people don't use Algebra in real life? I checked the book several times to make sure I was following it correctly; I even checked the website to see if there were corrections; I trusted the pattern.

I should have NOT TRUSTED MYSELF because, of course, I had misunderstood the directions for one set of stitches. The book said SSK and in the back (yes, I had checked) it explained that this meant to slip two stitches knitwise, then slip them back and knit them. The part I missed was that I was supposed to knit them together which would decrease a stitch leaving an equal increase and decrease by two for each pattern.

What did this mean? Well the pattern looked beautiful, not geometric and orderly but lovely and organic and not random looking or chaotic. Unfortunately every round started to take forever to complete. My hands cramped from the pressure of knitting against purled stitches. I got lost again and again in the pattern. Yarn disappeared onto the circular needles at a tremendous pace even though the knitting itself felt slow-slow-slow.

I finally started to bind off since I was worried about running out of yarn and I was so tired of knitting on this project and I secretly hoped to wear it to an event this evening. Binding off took several hours. I ended with 2 feet of yarn left.

The completed scarf is 90" from beginning to beginning (moebius joke). 45" long when folded. It has wonderful slightly wavy edges and the colour moves in eye catching ways. It feels lovely and snuggles against my neck.


it wraps around my neck 3 or 4 times or twice (and droopily at that) around my shoulders or once across my shoulders with a dip in the back that exactly frames my ass which does not need that kind of attention. I cannot wear it tonight and I don't think I can unknit it because the yarn gets those tangles from having its fibers rubbed against each other.

(sigh) It was a lovely pattern and a lovely colour of yarn. And really pattern I ended up with is very nice.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

People try to ban books from schools and libraries for many reasons including racism and sexism in the books, what is considered excess violence in books for children, and religious ideals (or lack thereof). I'm considered quite conservative among the parents of my children's peers. We don't watch much tv or read the Left Behind series for either adults or teens and yet we read Harry Potter, Chaim Potok, and watch "Best in Show". I'd much rather discuss the issues of our lives like racism and sexism in real time so that they can relate to the actions and incidences of our lives but talking about them as seen in books and movies through the lives of people who do not mirror our lives and yet who we see as real people...that is also valuable, very valuable. I did once ask to have a set of books removed from the children's section of our library. The books were, in my opinion, misfiled. They were re-shelved in the open racks where nobody was kept from looking at, reading, or checking them out but they were not kept in the area most recommended to children. As an adult I found the books offensive but I didn't see any reason to keep other people from ever reading them. The books I asked to have moved were these. I didn't expect them to be moved because of my asking I thought it must be a mistake. Do people sometimes try to ban a book knowing that they will fail in order to bring attention to what they see as flaws in the books? For instance, I've heard the Giving Tree has been banned from some schools because of the role of the female tree who gives and gives til the death and is expected to give all. The casual acceptance of this idea and the promotion of the book as a positive role model for children who may then also pull out gender expectations gives some people pause. I see and understand their reservations but I balk at banning the book. (g) I just don't give it as a gift.

100 Most Frequently Challenger Books

What banned books have you read? The ones I've read are in bold.

Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
Forever by Judy Blume
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Giver by Lois Lowry
It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Sex by Madonna
Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel I read these but they were TERRIBLE
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak because the boys penis is shown in the illustrations
The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
The Goats by Brock Cole
Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
Blubber by Judy Blume
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
Final Exit by Derek Humphry
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
Deenie by Judy Blume
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein Maybe, like my Mama they thought it was Flowers in the Attic
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice) I read two of them and found them horribly written, unrealistic, and stupid
Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
Cujo by Stephen King
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis I didn't like this one either, I quit halfway through
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
Fade by Robert Cormier
Guess What? by Mem Fox
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Native Son by Richard Wright
Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Jack by A.M. Homes
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
Carrie by Stephen King
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
Family Secrets by Norma Klein
Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
The Dead Zone by Stephen King
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
Private Parts by Howard Stern
Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
Sex Education by Jenny Davis
The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Wow! It looks like I've read a huge number of these books but I read a lot of books so it is probably a reasonable ratio.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Why did I stop running?

Yes, it is true even if amazing to those of you who only know adult me. As a child I ran back and forth across the playing fields at school, around the block, and through the neighbourhood. Later I ran through the woods, across fields of knee high grass, and up and down mountains. I ran for the speed. I ran for the feeling of wind in my face. I ran for the feeling in my calves when I went up mountains and the strength in my thighs when I went down. I didn't sprint, I ran. I bounded down gullied logging roads and never worried about my knees or ankles.

Sometime after high school I became a jogger. Jogging with bare speed but still passing the shufflers - old people and gossiping students making their obligatory mile around the track. Sometimes, in college, I still stretched and then ran through the night. It was good to be alone in the cold air. Then I met people who walked at night; fellow insomniacs who wandered through the countryside and along the railroad tracks at 2 or 3 in the morning. People who talked and listened at a pace that denied running.

And it seems that without decision, without plan, without major incident I have become a non-runner. I walk faster and faster until the treadmill forces me into that dreaded shuffle jog and then my disgust at the shuffle drives me to lift my knees and stetch my stride but there is no joy in this run. No joy but a little pride and the unmasking of an empty place where my running was.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Recycled Blue as a sweater. Einstein sweater in child size 10-12. This still needs buttons. Posted by Hello

Monday, March 21, 2005

I'm a new knitter. I just learned how to knit in mid-January. My first knitting was done on yarn I bought for less than a dollar at the thrift store; it came in a big bag of mismatched balls. I used needles that had been left in our house by the previous owner (my previous use of the needles had been to fish lint out of the dryer trap).

When I felt confidant, I ventured to Michael's and bought some chenille, some eyelash, some suede, and some ribbon yarn; no skein was above $6. Then someone told me about the moebius design so I bought the book and circular needles through the mail. Several knitting friends sent me links to their favorite knitting websites and I bought wool ($8 a skein) and a pattern from PeaceFleece.

I was searching for a particular colour of wool (our Michael's does not sell wool) and so I visited a local yarn store StitchDC. Oh my goodness! There were so many beautiful yarns. The colours! The textures! Gasp The prices! I smiled and willingly paid from $6 to $17.50 per skein. Then my dh chose the yarn for his moebius (posted below as Luxurious Moebius on needles) at $23 per 50 yard skein. I was in price shock. It's not that I don't think the yarns are worth it, I do. They are beautiful and labour intensive to produce but I feel guilty spending an amount that I know will feed a family of five a filling meat based meal for one skein of yarn.

I was very happy to stumble on the idea of recycling knitting. Following instructions found online (when I find the website again, I'll post a link) I went to the local thrift store and bought several wool sweaters in good condition, unwashed and yet clean smelling, with the proper seams, and nice colours. I took them apart (the family likes to help) and am now using the yarn to make new projects. The blue is making two child sized sweaters.

I allay my yarn spending guilt with several projects to help others: CiC which sends warm knitted items to former Soviet Union orphanages, TheDulaan Project, and The Red Scarf Project. I do not know any of these people but I do believe that people should have warm clothes and if I can help, then I should help.

I read Femiknitmafia's piece on the elitist bent of modern knitting with a honest mind. It is true that I have the option of paying the big bucks for yarn for non-necesities but I think I am too practical to pay high prices for everything. After all, I buy groceries at both the organic CSA farm and COSTCO, I buy some of my clothes from little boutiques but most of it comes from thrift stores. There is a balance. OTOH, I know my weaknesses and am determined not to buy more yarn that I need for current projects and not to have more than 2 projects on needles at the same time. I will not buy and hoard beautiful textures and colours just because I want to look at and touch them...they are not jewels in which to invest for my future.
Blue wool sweater during recycling. I forgot to take a "before" picture. Posted by Hello
Cream sweater during recycling Posted by Hello
Recycling thrift store sweaters. Cream wool sweater before recycling Posted by Hello
Luxurious moebius on needles Posted by Hello
Mittens, notice the bulbous thumb for hitchhiking Posted by Hello