Tuesday, November 30, 2004

You're only getting half the story

I've been blogging almost entirely about knitting lately because the only other thing in my life is school. I'm consumed by it. As some people would say, I've been burning the candle at both ends of the spectrum. And there just isn't much to say about it here -- unless people want to hear about Canadian communication technology theorists, or the ins and outs of completing a university ethics review form. (Don't everybody raise your hands at once.)

I'm extra busy this week, since on top of my own work I'm grading first-year term papers. And they are not good. High school students are clearly not being taught how to write. I've been reading the most convoluted, poorly constructed sentences. The grammar is shameful. The wordiness is painful. Thesauruses (or thesauri, if you like) should be banned among students who ask themselves, "What's the longest word I can use instead of 'do'?" Dictionaries, however, should be cracked open from time to time! (Note to one of the students who wrote on broadcasting history: The CRTC does not have a history of "chastity." I don't know what the hell you are talking about.)

I must comment about my comments. I love everyone who leaves a comment here. Alas, I hardly ever respond with a personal e-mail. Why not? Well, technical reasons, actually. Two things: first, I don't have the kind of comments-arrangement where I get notified of comments by e-mail. I just open the comments box and read them. (This is why I have it so the last commenter's name appears -- it's easier for me to see if a new comment has been made since I last looked.) Second, I don't use 0utlook Expre$$ for e-mail. If you leave me a comment and input your e-mail address, I can't actually access your e-mail address. (Does this make any sense?) This sucks big time for blogless commenters, I know. Most likely I'm just being a technodoofus, and there's a really simple way around this -- if so, let me know. In the meantime, if you are asking me a question (hi, Erika and KJ), you might want to send me an e-mail. My e-mail address is at the bottom of my About Me page.

Can you believe this is the second last week of classes? My life is insane, but only for a couple more weeks. Amazing. I have to start thinking about Xmas plans!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Cable rhapsody

It's a nice day here today: mild and sunny, with a few clouds and a bit of a breeze. No snow -- the dusting of the other day didn't last. I have lots of reading to do when I get down to business in a few minutes, but for now, I'm listening to DNTO on CBC. Saturdays are lovely, aren't they? I hope you're having a lovely one.

As I wait for Rachael's yarn to arrive so I can knit a sleeve for her Retro Prep, I'm working on a Retro Prep of my own, which has been dormant for a little while. Remember the beautiful violet Peace Fleece that Mia sent me? The Peace Fleece that I knit up into a batwing sleeve for the Everyday Cardigan? I scrapped the cardigan plans and knit both sleeves for a Retro Prep pullover about two months ago, and then I put the project aside. The Peace Fleece is a bit like twine (it even smells like twine), so it's not a luxurious knitting experience. I couldn't bear the thought of knitting up the whole body of a pullover in stockinette, so I decided to add a cable. After looking around for a good cable that would be interesting but wouldn't demand too much attention, I settled on the front section from a man's sweater called Rhapsody in Tweed (scroll down), in the fall 2004 Interweave Knits. Here's what I have so far:

one cable repeat done

I really love cabling. I love seeing how something so simple -- manipulating a few stitches here and there -- can produce something that looks so complex. I love the traditional knitting-ness of cables. Cabling sure beats the pants off plain stockinette.

Oh, and in case you're following along at home with the Six Sox Knitalong, I opted out of the third sock. The pattern didn't rock my world. The fourth sock starts on December 1, and I'm feeling sockish, so I'll probably get back on track.

OK, back to the books. This week: Arthur Kroker, Harold Adams Innis, and Dallas Smythe. Sexy stuff.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Put down your credit card!

And happy birthday to my dad! xo

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Wintery Wintry

We're getting a wee bit of snow this afternoon. A dusting of snow. Bea and I went outside -- here she is, thinking about scratching a post:

yes, she did scratch the post after this

Have you read Cari's post (speaking of posts, heh) about the GAWK round-robin sweater project? Well, what she said (because she said it so well). It's true: there's a girl gang amongst us, and it's me, Cari, Rachael, and Em. Right now, my box of red/orange/burgundy Patons Classic is on its way to Em in Brooklyn (this is what you helped me choose the colours for), and Rachael's Retro Prep yarn is winging its way to me. We'll each knit a component of one another's sweaters. Fun! And literally warm and fuzzy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


It's two o'clock in the morning. Do you do this too? I got home from class at 9:30 p.m. and was revved, sat down to work on a presentation for tomorrow night's class, felt tired, had a beer, kept working, and now... zing! I'm not tired anymore. Well, that's not exactly true. I'm too tired to keep working, but I'm not sleepy enough to go to bed. Plus I can hear that a certain somebody (I don't want to name names, but it's not me, and it's not Beatrix) is snoring up a storm at the moment. Hmm. So I'm sitting here glassy-eyed, clicking, clicking, click click click. I'm in that no-person's-land where I can't actually do anything. Look at the pretty computer screen, click click clickclickclick.

By the way, I was reading earlier about an American TV show called Room 222 that was on the air from 1969 to 1974. Anyone remember that one? From what I can gather, it was a good show.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Hey-la, hey-la

My boyfriend's back!

Yep, Bill's back. I didn't tell you he was coming, just in case it was jinxable, but now he's here. (And my apartment feels really small!) We went out last night to the racetrack -- yes, really -- and bet on the horses. The first horse I bet on was called Super Banjo (nod to Lala), but it didn't win. Some of our horses won in other races, though, and it was damned exciting! By the end of the evening, we'd spent $16 on bets and won $23, so we did all right and were amused for a couple of hours.

I tried to take a photo for you, but those horses, they go a little fast:


Thursday, November 18, 2004

Damn it.

Not only did I just write a post and have it disappear, but the post in question included all kinds of links and was long and had taken me bloody ages. So I'll try to rewrite it, but it will not be as charming this time. And it was charming, my friends. But now I'm a bit pissed.

Thanks for all the votes and comments: I'm going with Combo B. There may actually have been a few more votes for the greens than the reds (though celebrities like Hello Kitty and Taiwanese manufactured-girl-pop group S.H.E. voted for the reds, don't you know). It came down to a choice between comfy cosy fall colours (the greens) and spicy bright colours (the reds). It's cloudy and dreary today, so I went for the cheerful spicy colour combo. I do love that leaf green, though. I'm going to have to make something with the leaf green. [Added later: Look at the fab leaf-green clogs that Nicole made!]

So, as I said, the post that just vanished contained lotsa links. Here's how it went: first, I reminded you of the good old days when I had a full-time office job and used to put up links for you; then, I remarked on the fact that it's just wrong that I'm a Media Studies student who is "too busy" to read newspapers anymore. So today I'm reading the papers. And as I've been reading, I've been linking. Now let's see if I can find what I was reading! (I'm in the school library, and I was typing away and the whole browser shut down. Grrr.) Oh, right -- first it was about spelling...

The BBC has developed a Pop Idol-style TV show aimed at kids and teens, to inspire them to value and improve their spelling skills: read "'Ooh, I know this one!'" The Guardian tried to get a bunch of cultural smartypants(es?) to take a spelling test; most declined, but some were brave. The words were hard! I'm a pretty good speller -- and I think it's important to be a good speller -- but one word I always misspell is "embarrass," just like schools minister Stephen Twigg did:

One 'r', two 'r's. E.M.B.A.R.A.S.S. Blimey. Stupid language. Doesn't make any sense.
And in other spelling news (how often does one get to use that segue?), "Boy, 9, learns to spell 310-letter word."

Do you like British romantic comedies? You know, "I like you -- just as you are" and so on. Well, too bad for you. Working Title, the production company that has made nearly all of them in the last ten years, wants to change direction: read "That's enough, actually."

Good environmental news: "Kyoto Protocol ratified." I'm putting this link in for Americans, in case this is not front-page news in a country that refuses to sign on to the agreement (which is meant to combat climate change), while producing 25 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.

Speaking of global warming, what would you do if the world was ending tomorrow? This is the question Blockbu$ter video recently asked the British public, and the answers were pathetically stupid and more than a little depressing: read "I'll have a big Mac and fries to go before I go."
In top spot, most popular answer to 'What would you do if the world was ending tomorrow?' is the curious 'Resign from work'. I suppose it's good to know that even in moments of extreme crisis, we would remain sufficiently well-mannered to observe professional formalities. ('Dear Mr Smith, I have greatly enjoyed my time in your employ but...')
Here's a shocking bit of news: it seems that Prince Charles, a middle-aged mummy's boy trained since birth to become the King of England, is "out of touch with Britain's education system"! Good heavens, how did this happen? Story here.

OK, I'm quite sure there was at least another one, but I can't remember what it was, and I've now spent waaay too much time sitting here. Gotta run!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Another close vote!

Man, ask knitters for advice, and you'll get it! It's ten o'clock Tuesday night, and Combo A is in the lead. As it stands, the greens have 24 votes, the reds have 21, and two zany ladies want me to use all six colours in one sweater. (I like Erika's idea of using the reds, but with a wee leaf-green stripe here and there -- but then would it looks like a Christmas sweater?) I'm going to buy the yarn tomorrow, so the polls are still open...

Monday, November 15, 2004

Help Wanted

I'm a Libra, hence I suck at making decisions. Here's the situation: I'm planning a striped raglan pullover, and I want to use Patons Classic. (No, I'm not in a rut -- I'm on a budget.) There are not nearly enough colours of this yarn! I put together two possible combos from which to choose (yes, that was me at Michael's yesterday, putting yarn on the floor and taking its picture), and here's where you come in:

you like A or B?

A: leaf green (240) / chestnut brown (231) / deep olive (205)
B: rich red (207) / paprika (238) / burgundy (208)

What do you think? Which do you like? Thanks. And thanks for the comments on my skull sweater -- you rock. I'll be back soon with a surprise...

Saturday, November 13, 2004

The best sweater!

modelling for the self-timer

And since I made it myself, I'm going to show you lots of pictures of it. First, the details:

Yarn: Patons Classic Wool -- 4 balls of Dark Grey Mix, 1 ball of Rich Red
Pattern: based very loosely on Raspy from the Rowan Denim People book (very loosely)
Needle: 4.5mm circular
Intarsia: skull chart courtesy of Domiknitrix
Next pose: The Rachael!

Do the Rachael!

Yeah, I know, crappy lighting. Not only did I have to find a spot where I could get far enough back from my camera in this little apartment, but it also had to be a spot with a piece of furniture or something to put the camera on. So I'm downstairs in, ahem, Bea's room. Which means I'm standing quite close to where she likes catnip to be served, which means she's literally biting my toes in the Rachael pic. Helpful! She made me smile (like a bit of a lunatic, I might add).

Since you can't see too many details in the big photos, I took a couple of close-ups for you. First, here is a shot of a raglan seam (which is done with wrong sides together, so the seam is actually on the outside). Seaming was no big deal, since I'd done a selvedge edge. Plus, you can see the Raspy-inspired drop stitches around the neck:

raglans, gotta love 'em

And here's one more shot, so you can see that I chose this particular shade of red to match my toenails. I'm kidding. Here are a few more of those dropped stitches, and I wanted to use a bit more of the red, so I decided to do a ribbed cuff but stretch it out a bit during blocking:

red cuff

I ended up with a bit of a Flashdance neckline, which isn't my favourite shape, but I'm OK with it. This is the second sweater I've ever finished. I wanted it to be roomy and comfy, the kind of thing I could throw on to keep warm, and I'd say it's a success.

Dang it, I forgot to do the Em. But hold on to your hats -- it's the Iris!

Do the Brownsville!

Friday, November 12, 2004

Knitting, movies

I went looking for the new issue of Interweave Knits yesterday -- I know it's out there! -- but I couldn't find it. OK, well, I only checked at the A&P. What I did find was the premiere issue of knit.1 magazine. This is a joint project of Vogue Knitting and Lion Brand yarns, and supposedly it's for teenagers. Um, are Canadian teens going to spend $7.99 + tax (which in this province is $9.19) on a knitting magazine? Maybe. Or maybe the idea is that mothers will buy knit.1 for their daughters. "Dear? When you get tired of smoking pot in the basement day after day, I thought you might like to try knitting with Fun Fur!" (Aside: Lion Brand advertisements of leotard-clad dancers wearing hideous knit accessories have got to stop.)

It is a pretty cute magazine, I guess. I'm not the target market, of course. There's a nice basic cardigan pattern (#13, if you're following along at home) and a versatile vest pattern (#33). I happen to have enough Wool-Ease for the vest, and since intarsia is my new best friend, maybe I'll whip one up. (No, not with the "knitters rock" chart provided in the magazine.)

I was looking at the knits in the new Stitch 'n' Bitch Nation book yesterday, and was not surprised to find out that my favourite thing (the red capelet) was designed by Stefanie. Why not surprised? Because every little thing she does is magic. Few other things appealed to me, though.

I've been talking about knitting a lot lately, haven't I? I've seen some good movies. I'm signed up to an online DVD dealie, where you pick a zillion titles you want to watch, and a few at a time get mailed to your house. (Hey, anything I can do to reduce the number of times I'll actually have to go outside this winter...) I loved Tully and The Dancer Upstairs (featuring the outrageously dashing Javier Bardem), I really liked Gosford Park, Before Night Falls, The Believer, and Bully. I could've done without seeing Cold Mountain and The Company. The TV series Boomtown was OK (I love the whole Wahlberg family). The Office had me peeing my pants.

All righty, a big pile of first-year students' term papers is calling my name. I have fifty-five of them to mark over the next couple of weeks. Titles like "The CBC: Do We Really Need It?" and "Essay #1." I'm going to need a lot more coffee.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Yarn score at the thrift store

When I left school at three yesterday afternoon, I wasn't ready to head straight home. Instead, I took the long journey by bus out to La Boutique V.V., and I found that a knitting fairy had been round there!

mmm, silky wool

Score #1: Nine 50-gram balls of Scheepjeswol Thorobred Silk Lambswool -- 60% wool / 40% silk, 110 meters per ball, colour 373 (deep raspberry pink). Made in New Zealand. So soft. Looks like a light worsted weight? I'm never sure about that. So... 990 meters of this stuff. Enough for a sweater of some sort? Price: $3.99.

cotton + linen

Score #2: Seven 50-gram balls of Scheepjeswol Linnen -- 60% cotton / 40% linen, 170 meters per ball, colour 255 (pale dull blue). Made in Holland. This stuff is thin (recommended needle size is 3.5mm), but uneven; two thin plies of linen, two plies of cotton that are often slubby. So... 1,140 meters of it. No idea what this could be knit into. A light summer wrap, perhaps? Or a lacy summer cardigan? I'll set it aside for now. Price: $3.99.

Thanks, generous knitting fairy! Don't forget about thrift stores, you yarnivores, especially if you're dreaming of new yarn but can't afford a sweater's worth of, oh, say, a silk-wool or cotton-linen blend. People donate lovely things.

Monday, November 08, 2004


That's what I saw when I looked out the window this morning. Snowflakes. Sure, they're gone now, but the point is that they were here. Already!

I've put up some photos of Bea. If you think a knitting blog should be exclusively about knitting -- not about pets, and god forbid, not about politics -- well, you can bite me. I'm sure that's not you, though. (At the rate that I finish things, I don't think anyone comes here just for the knitting!) Anyway, Miss Bea is about a year old now (we're not sure exactly), and she loves to pose for photos. You can see the latest shoot here.

Thanks for the comments on my skull intarsia. I'm really excited about it. (You could make a really fabulous knitted pillow with this chart, if you're not ready to commit to a sweater with a huge skull on it. I'm using Patons Classic Merino, and the skull measures about 26 cm by 34 cm [about 10 inches by 13.5 inches].) I sewed the side seams last night and realized I'd been too enthusiastic with the blocking; this sweater was going to be wa-a-ay too wide. I dunked the seamed pieces back into cold water and reblocked. Oh, and I, uh... knitasleeve. Just one! Hey, I read Foucault too. So you may be seeing a finished sweater around here by the end of the week. And I need sweaters -- it's bloody snowing!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Intarsia or Foucault?

What a question -- intarsia, of course! It's totally fun. No, really!

I was going to keep this project a secret until I could model the finished object for you, but... I'm too excited! I have to show somebody, and Beatrix isn't interested. So here's the deal: I'm knitting a dark-grey sweater with Patons Classic Wool based on Raspy from Rowan's Denim People book. On the front, there is a big red skull, for which I used the super-awesome chart by DomiKNITrix. Without further ado, I bring you a pop-up parade of progress:

1. Getting started. I did stranded knitting for the skull's teeth. You can see a photo of Jennifer's skull on the screen; her teeth looked much better than mine. I realized later that it might have been better to stick with intarsia and do the whole mouth in gray, and then go back later and add the teeth with duplicate stitch. But did I stop? Reconsider? No way! Full steam ahead...

2. The ends are nigh... I'm only using two colours -- how can there be so many loose ends? No problem. At this point I poured a glass of wine, put in a good mixed CD (Cat Power, Mirah, Throwing Muses, Emm Gryner, Neko Case), and started weaving them in.

3. Ends? What ends? Weaving in all those ends really wasn't a big deal -- it was actually quite satisfying. You can see that I also stranded across the nose (absence-of-nose? nose hole? nasal void?).

4. For the first time ever, I washed and blocked. So there it is: the front piece of what I expect to be my favourite sweater ever. Yep, that's the back piece next to it, too (on the beach towel I've had since about 1983). Just two sleeves to go. I feel like such a good knitter! I'm trying new things, I'm learning, and I'm blocking! Plus I'm imagining all kinds of fabulous intarsia sweaters in my future.

Today, however, Foucault wins. I must get reading. I'm certainly not going to start those sleeves today. No, that would be irresponsible. I have school work to do. Knitting today would be bad. Really bad. Bad.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

I'll keep knitting while the world unravels

at least I'll be warm

May I present the extremely unphotogenic huckleberry winter combo. I've had this scarf listed as 99% complete in my knitting gallery for several weeks now, as it waited to be blocked. And waited. And waited. It finally piped up and said, "Hey! I'm a scarf! Don't worry about it! You're going to bunch me up around your neck anyway. I'm done!" Well, fine. Who am I to argue with a lovely bunch of Mountain Colors 4/8's wool that's been knit up according to Rachael's fetching cabled scarf pattern? So the scarf-'n'-mitten combo is finito, but the reds-'n'-blues colour combo is miserable to photograph. The colours are really not this obnoxious in real life. Here, I'll hold up the scarf a bit so you can see the cable:

seed stitch on the sides, cable up the middle

There's no shortage of commentary on this week's U.S. election results. I won't even bother. I'd just like to remind American voters of those three important little words: Church. State. Separation.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Elections are good for knitting

...because I certainly can't read or concentrate on anything else. I don't have TV (note to self: get cable), so I'm listening to the coverage on CBC Radio. They're doing a good job, probably better than TV anyway, but there's just something about the constant onscreen number-updating that TV can do. Anyway, I'm just sitting here, knitting, drinking wine, and crossing my fingers for the Democrats. I don't feel very hopeful, but maybe that's just because the people I vote for never win. Of course, I didn't vote, so maybe it'll be different this time.

I don't remember any Canadian elections being so tense. I suppose there was a chance of a Tory victory in the last one, but I felt so removed from it all, being out of the country. Tonight, though, I'm reminded of the Quebec referendum of 1995 -- that was tense. And close.

I love the expert info that Michael Enright is digging up. (He's in DC -- I bet he has one of his best bowties on tonight.) Apparently Republicans are less likely to vote in bad weather! OK, everybody hold hands and chant: Storm in Ohio. Storm in Ohio.

I get by with a little yarn from my friends

I feel a little awkward blogging about things that people have sent me. Whether swaps or gifts, other knitters have sent me wonderful things, and since I love getting mail and (duh) I love yarn and knitting books (and CDs and magazines and candy!), it's been really awesome. And I don't mention every thing that comes, for a couple of reasons. Mostly, it feels a bit like showing off, and I'm Canadian, so immodesty gives me a rash. Also, nobody is sending me stuff just so they can see it on the blog. (Right?) I talked a bit about this with another blogger recently; she sent homemade cookies and a charming note and specifically asked me not to out her on the blog. Not to trash the "secret pal" stuff or anything, but I feel like I'm reading about it all the time -- plus it looks really expensive, which excludes so many people. I prefer the personal, off-the-blogging-radar mail that gets sent. Anyway, the yarn and stuff I've been sent has all been super-precious to me, and I want to give a big general shout-out to everyone I've swapped stuff with.

That said, I've decided to show you a bit of the booty. This is not even everything (and now I'm feeling guilty for leaving some things out), but I actually don't have all my yarn with me yet. Look at how lucky I am:

people who get yarn from people are the luckiest people in the world!

1. Three balls of Classic Elite Blithe (100% baby camel!). Maybe a Glammy Boob-Tube? Thanks, Greta!

2. Two skeins of Lorna's Laces shepherd sock yarn in Funky Stripe. Thanks, Mia!

3. Two balls of Regia Stretch sock yarn (colour 86). Thanks, Carolyn!

4. Two balls of Silja sock yarn (colour 331). I think I'll use this for my next socks, whatever they may be. (I've wanted to use this stuff since I saw Kris's Silja socks.) Thanks, Mia!

5. Two balls of Regia Jacquard sock yarn (colour 5272: blue and green). Thanks, Thuy!

6. 650 yards of fabulous hand-painted sport-weight yarn (merino?) that is yellow and red and blue and orange. I have no idea what to do with this yet, but it'll be something good. Thanks, Mia!

7. A skein of grape-alicious Fleece Artist merino sock yarn. Yummy. Thanks, Amy!

8. One big ball of Regia "Cotton Surf Color" (colour 5413: summer melon shades). Next summer, cotton socks, baby. Thanks, Carolyn!

9. Six balls of Bouquet mohair-wool-acrylic, "imported by F.W. Woolworth Co. Ltd., Toronto" (circa 1975?), rescued from a garage sale. I love this stuff. It will become the "To Dye For" sweater in the Stitch 'n' Bitch book (which Mariko sent). Thanks, Candy and Brenda!

And there is even more than that! It's a wonderful world. OK, I have to run -- I have a class. Have a great day, everyone. xo