Thursday, February 26, 2004


I hate insomnia. I've been depriving myself of sleep and waking up early every day this last week trying to reset my internal clock but it isn't working. 2AM rolls around and I feel fresh as a daisy.
Which is really fresh apparently. I have a bouquet of mostly daisies that I ended up with the day after Valentine's Day because Nick and I went to do the grocery shopping and Trader Joe's would rather give flowers away than have them die in a dumpster. And they are still going strong, with no sign of encroaching death.
I was cruising blogs--y'know I never much looked at blogs before I started this one, but now I think they are way more interesting than many message boards or lists because of the highly personal nature and all the pics. I love pics of people's knitting and spinning and weather and neighborhoods and pets--and I saw something whcih made me think: The girl is beautiful, the yarn is beautiful, so what is wrong with this picture? It made me pull out my own Dolman Updated to document its shortcomings. The shape...could it be any blockier or bland?

I am an idiot for following the pattern. I should have looked at it and bothered to visualise it long enough to have incorporated more shaping than just increasing 3 stitches over 48 rows. I should have said, "hey, that body is way too wide and square!" and "Hey, my torso is longer than that!" The garter stitch border I had proved insufficient to stop the hem from curling, so I tried to unravel it but was stymied by my own iron-fisted finishing and only succeeded in making it look like the dogs had been at it:

I had so much fun knitting it though that a little devil says to just rip it all and redo it all the wiser. I (obviously) have to at least pick back up all my unraveled stitches and add more garter stitch to stabilise the hem. And unravel the neck garter stitch collar finishing, because I spaazed there too, in the way I picked up stitches to knit it:

The normal people I run into (read: non-knitters ;P) wouldn't notice it, but I don't want to deal with the potential catty/pitying/"helpfully advising" responses. ["helpfully advising" in this tradition: "You know, you should wear make-up more often, you look good."]
I dyed the yarn, before it was that pale avocado flesh green cash iroha that was on sale everywhere awhile back. (Is that a preposition that can be found in any grammar guide, or is "awhile back" kind of like "alot?") And it was so pretty and so fun to knit with, this pretty grass green lifts my spirits no end. I was really looking forward to wearing it, but now I guess I'll look forward to knitting it again.

Now that the Dolman Updated has been in a penalty box grocery bag for about two weeks and I no longer feel that knitting letdown, I think I might even be looking forward to it. It was a pretty good mindless and quick knitting project.


Wednesday, February 25, 2004

No knitting, no spinning, just ranting... 

I don't think marriage is anywhere near the end-all-be-all, [although, I must admit I love it] but the government and society provide an awful lot of incentives. That's why this whole "same sex marriage ban" thing really pisses me off. People say "political correctness" like it's a bad thing, but what is so bad about treating every person as a human being deserving of love? Why are we spending so much time and money denying the rights of about ten percent of the population? If people of the same sex want to get married, why not? What harm can it do that adulterous politicians, Britney Spears and the "fair and balanced" Fox network haven't already done? I saw some moronic @sshole on CNN today in a t-shirt with silkscreening across the front, with "HOMO" in one of those circle and bar things like a "no smoking" pictograph and I felt like committing an anti-troglodyte hate crime. And I hate that I felt that anger over such a stupid little man.

Not to mention that I feel like a total nutcase for bringing in gov't conspiracies, but here it goes:
I live in San Diego, I spent the last two years of high school at Coronado High School. San Diego is a Navy town, and the Navy essentially built Coronado out of dredge from the bay and landfill. My first boyfriend was in the Navy, and he asked me to marry him. He was 23, I was 17. Did he ask me to marry him because we loved each other madly? No, but because if you are married, the Navy ups your benefits and housing allowance a spectacular amount. It's not about love, it's about money. [We broke up shortly after I said no, so then he asked my little sister out. I think everybody should get worst.scumbag.boyfriend.ever. out of the way their first experience out of the gate]

I knew a few gays and lesbians in the Navy who married each other as beards--that is to say, protective insurance against a dishonourable discharge for something which should have nothing to do with one's job in the military at all--and, why not, to take advantage of some of the benefits that so many straight people were getting with their own marriages of convenience.

In my more paranoid moods, I think this anti-gay-marriage thing is the first step to legalising a creation of second-class citizenry. Deny them the right to marry and the right to adopt, deny the rights which are so easily given to anyone else who happens to have a slot B for their partner's tab A and care enough to hold their shit together just long enough to get through Elvis' Drive Thru Chapel of Love.

I fear the religious right is becoming so much louder and bolder in its bigoted zealotry, and it is so frustrating how quickly this shift has occurred in the popular public mood.

Why do these people care who is sleeping with whom?

Why is a president indicted for a blow-job while another continues a legacy of killing civilians and soldiers in actions which destroy global good will, produce record deficits, and don't do anything but make the United States of America a more paranoid and unsafe place to be?

Before we spend 80 billion dollars on a war, how about better education, better health care and welfare systems, and environmental safety?

Ah, I'm just a dirty hippy! What the fuck do I know?

Anyway, all I've just said has already been said by someone else, and if you've read this far, I've probably just been preaching to the choir.
I just don't understand the lack of empathy.


Monday, February 23, 2004

I finally took a picture of the swatches for Rogue. Happily, I got gauge perfectly first try with US7s, flat and round.

Not the greatest picture, and not the greatest swatches...just big enough to let me know I got gauge.
It's actually not quite right to say I got gauge the first time. When I decided to do this whole "sweater from scratch" thing (although that's not exactly true either, as I didn't write the pattern, and I didn't shear or card the wool) I puttered about with Google and found what seemed to be reliable info saying that Aran weight is 8wpi (wraps per inch) which seemed to be borne out in the classifications of aran weight yarn on other sites which consistently placed it between worsted and bulky. I've also seen Noro Cash Iroha classified as aran weight, but it was (I think) 10 wpi when I checked. Anyway, so the first sample skein I spun was 8wpi but would have produced an unbearably inflexible fabric and I was getting 4sts/inch. Big f*g deal, after all, all that information could be right as every knitter is different, and perhaps I messed up my wpi measuring; I am, after all, a total spaaz. Anyway, what I'm getting gauge with is actually the same thickness as Noro Cash Iroha, more or less. I like the the thick and thin yarns (as you can see from the swatch;) because to me it makes it more visually interesting with large sections of stockinette.

The problem is, is as I'm spinning more, I'm getting better and the thickness is more and more consistent, which simply won't do, and so I throw in a couple fat slubs and thin parts on purpose then start f*g up and then we're all over the place. Or I'll be in a groove and realize I've filled up one section of the bobbin, so things aren't winding on as balanced as they should be. Oops.

I'm enjoying this a lot, but I almost can't wait to finish spinning so I can dye it. I'm thinking of separating out some sample skeins and starting to work on what colour/s I want it to be.
Really though, I'm not really diggin' the Coopworth, 'cuz it's not all that soft, and it has quite a few linty slubs in it that drive me batty. They are very sneaky and you don't really feel/see them until they're in your drafting zone, where you have to make a quick choice of trying to pick it out or hide it in the core of the yarn--if it's small enough. If it's too big I either have to twist it with my fingers, which is a bad habit to get into, or hide it in a bigger outer sheath of yarn that will take twist, as the weird lumpy linty things don't seem to take it unless you roll them in your fingers, and push out all the air. Otherwise, the aligned fibers sort of twist around it like a random bit of bouclé. Some small examples of what I'm going on way too long about...they don't look like much bother do they? Maybe I should change the blog name to "OCDelicious."

Anyway, I'm sure it will be great, or if I'm still not happy after it's all spun out, I'll just sell it on eBay and use the money to buy some of PF's fancy schmancy stuff. I think I can justify that. ;P


Thursday, February 19, 2004

Okay, people out there have long finished their Rogues, some are still swatching and bitching, swatching and bitching, and as for me, I keep getting distracted:
A bit of Paradise Fibers handyed Rhapsody Mohair/Wool [70/30] in Tahiti colourway on Audrey's bobbin

I like this picture 'cuz it's moody and arty, with the center of the niddy-noddy looming out of the darkness... ;P

All skeined up and awaiting a steam setting of the twist:

Which reminds me that I haven't introduced the spinning wheel. Apparently, it is tradition to name and personify one's spinning wheel. So I named "her" Audrey, after Audrey Tatou, because she's jolie, fun, and occasionally tempermentally French despite the birthname of Kromski Mazurka.

Note the matching spinning stool...because my husband rocks.

So I've been distracted by spinning up some of Paradise Fibers gorgeous bounty instead of the rough and ready Coopworth I have designated for the Rogue project. I did spin up a sample skein of it to test gauge and I got it, so now all I need to do is sit down and spin out about 1600 yards --I'm doing the 39" which calls for 1200 yds but I need approx. 400yds of piece of mind. I bought the Coopworth when Nick and I were learning and he was turning out huge-slubbed thick and thin skeins that only needed crazy colour dyeing to drive the VogueKnitters wild with superbulky joy. He's since lost interest though, and now I have a ton of it, plenty to do and dye for the Rogue.

I'd trade it for some more of Paradise Fibers peacock colour merino/tencel blend or multi-coloured merino top in a heartbeat. I have a pound each of those and they are so pleasurable to work with, but I'll have to save them for lighter projects as I haven't enough to make the Rogue with it. And the whole point of spinning up some fiber stash is to reduce it, so I'm not buying anything for a long while. Unless it's something which just screams, "Make me into something for your mother!" In which case, I'll have no choice. Cooperworth is eminently appropriate for rugged outerwear like a Rogue sweatshirt, anyway.
I've also been playing with some dark Blue-faced Leicester from Copper Moose. It's soft and will wear comfortably, but for some reason I don't see doing the Rogue with it, although I do have enough for the project should I change my mind:

With its smoothness, I have much better control and spin much more consistently than with the Coopworth or the mohair/merino, and possum fur/merino blends.
Possum fur and merino blend, spun into a small skein and displayed on the skinside of a possum pelt. Mom brought the pelt and the fiber back from her recent trip to New Zealand. She made NZ sound wonderful; someday we'll go there for a visit. It sounded like my perfect place to live, but our current plan for exodus if things get much worse in this country includes France. Go figure.

Plus, I've been busy with knitting and school and those other things that we call life. Two guesses what this Work in Progress is in UCDavis colours (and UCBerkeley, and UCSan Diego...are all Uof CA colours blue and yellow?):

C'mon, I bet you only need one guess.


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