Reluctant Tweet

Sorry for the cut and paste posts lately. I know that I am capable of better, and more, but lately I haven't had the creativity or material to write a good blog post. I actually had a five minute conversation about my cat the other day, which I realize is not terribly interesting to most people. Although he did have to have a bath recently, resulting in a patchouli scented cat.... I digress.
Maybe the little sparks that make up my weaker posts have become tweets instead. I will admit that I like twitter, because it's lazy blogging. I'm following a few people now and can see how twitter can be fun sometimes. I still think that it's superficial due to its constraints and throw away culture. I also don't want everyone to know everything all the time. All of the new technologies that are supposed to bring us together freak me out. For example, GPS friend locating software. For the discriminating stalker? I don't want to sound like a tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorist, but I really believe discretion is the better part of valor. Let's leave a bit of mystery.

I have a small start of startitis. Not to be confused with salmonella, against which my cousin reminded me after I ate some peanut butter. It didn't kill me. The misplaced knitting motivation is season related. When we had the amazing warm spell, I started a short sleeve cardigan in Dream in Color. It's adapted from the wildly popular Wicked pattern, but referred to as "peachy keen" in the project list. The ladies of Dream in Color named the colorway "giant peach" after the Roald Dahl book, which I find amusing. I'm not amused by the word giant in reference to any of my garments.
Once the weather returned to a more seasonal attitude, I cast on for a chunky alpaca cardigan with big ribbed collar and seed stitch texture. It's a free pattern I found on Ravelry, Sedum, but my version is called berlinale. The alpaca feels like butter, but has a surprising amount of plant matter in it. It isn't a Noro yarn. I don't know how long I'll be on this project, but I'd like to finish it while it's still cold enough to wear alpaca.
I spent a good hour grading the Sedum pattern the other day. I'm not bad at math (just trig, who knew that it would be so helpful in sound engineering?), but all of the math involved in resizing a top down raglan by 20% made my head hurt. It might seem as though the numbers would be fairly straightforward, but as knitting creates a three dimensional object, that is not always the case. I decided to knit it from the hem up instead and used Elizabeth Zimmerman's percentage system to work out the math on the yoke.
You might also have noticed that most of my projects are adaptations or alterations of published patterns. I think I may be moving towards not using patterns or writing my own. When I first started knitting, I found the European knitters who didn't use patterns so intimidating, but now I understand that patterns aren't always necessary. I talked to my pal Kristen, who is a professional designer, about it the other day. She was very encouraging, though she did say that being able to grade a pattern is a huge part of pattern writing. Further study is definitely required.



Show Business.

Look at this amazing found space performance hall in Berlin:

The artists who live and work here, at the Tacheles, may be evicted soon. It's a complicated story involving the fall of the Berlin Wall, squatters, real estate speculation, and the economic downturn. The people who own it (and the bank to whom they owe a king's ransom) want to gentrify the place. I have a love/hate relationship with gentrification. I'm not pro-slum, and I respect people who work hard to improve their community. But I hate how gentrification raises the rents to the point of pricing out long-term residents and kills whatever charm was there before the hipsters moved in. Tearing down an artist's commune to put up luxury condos in this economy? Seriously? Who are they fooling?

What really bothers me about this story is how easily disregarded the arts are in a bad economy. The arts are not a luxury, but I can see how they might seem so when money is tight. Still, politicians might think about the economic might of the arts. Artists pay taxes like everyone else, and our work is often taxed. We contribute to the economy and society, but are considered frivolous. If only we had the political will to support programs like the Federal Theatre Project, employ artists to create public art, and support reportage photography like the Farm Security Administration did with Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange. But it won't happen. Too many people think that we're a bunch of degenerates (Thanks, Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano.) and there are so many other, pressing problems that need funding.

Well, that's the Reader's Digest version of that tirade. I'm tired, so I'll link to the eloquent, persuasive words of fellow knitter, blogger, and amazing lady Yarn Harlot on the topic of arts funding. I couldn't have said it better myself.


Is that you, Spring, teasing me again? I opened the windows today to enjoy your balmy breezes and ended up locking myself out of the house when I went outside to enjoy your unseasonal temperatures. While I was outside, inwardly cursing myself, my big bohemian cat inhaled snootfuls of your fresh air through the screens. Instead of going for a drive with the moon roof open, I ended up going for a long walk to get my spare key. There were kids playing in their yards and the smell of barbecue, which I wouldn't have noticed if I'd been in my car. I even wore a summery dress, which probably could have used a jacket over it, but I wasn't cold without one.

Just a few days ago, I was miserably stomping through the snow on these Chicago streets, carrying all my truc, legs near frozen. That is the February I know. Once, when I was in elementary school, I remember temperatures like this in the middle of winter. My classmates and I all wore shorts to school and had little blue legs when we came in from recess. I know you're going away again Spring, probably right after I take my car to the car wash so that the doors will freeze shut again. You'll slink off like some emo boy, and you won't come back until the end of March. So I won't get used to you being around, okay?


Have you ever worked on a project that got to be so cumbersome that it seemed it would never end? I've had a couple of them in the works lately. The first was a shawl that grew exponentially larger. Seriously, it grew a half an inch every row, getting to the point that I couldn't even tell how large it was because it was so bunched up on the needle. Well, it's done. How did I know it was almost finished? Well, I got down to the last few yards of yarn and had to call it quits. After I cast it off (in more ways that one), it quickly because apparent why the rows seemed so goddamn long: they were. What I thought was a straight row across the top of a triangular piece was actually the two angled sides of a 45/45/90 triangle. Wow.

After I finished that, I rested my hands for a little while, pausing to watch some telly without knitting anything. Shocking behavior. I was immobilized by a large tabby cat snoring away on my lap under the newly completed shawl. He strictly enforces knitting breaks to prevent me from developing carpal tunnel syndrome (or ever wearing an item of clothing without cat hair on it). Once he decamped, I cast on for a top down raglan cardigan in Malabrigo worsted, with the same pair of needles. It grew and grew and grew, as raglans do. Each row seemed to take forever as I neared the armpits. Strangely, that part of the sweater is the widest point in a yoked sweater, since it includes all of the sleeve stitches as well as the body. My enthusiasm for a top down sweater can be expressed as an inverse ratio to the number of stitches. Fortunately, I managed to push my way through and have finally put the sleeves onto waste yarn. My relief at getting those 134 stitches out of the way is palpable.


It's been a while. Please don't take it personally. Nothing noteworthy has happened, and it's hard to blog when you lack material. You might notice on the sidebar that I've started twittering, despite being anti-twitter. I haven't given up my ideals; you won't see me running down the street eating Nestle candy bars and swinging around Walmart bags. It's just a lot easier to come up with a few words for twitter than a blog post up to my standards. So, I have that twitter widget so you can read whatever doggerel I've written. Most of it will probably be knitting related. The excellent codemonkey at Ravelry magically integrated twitter feeds into Ravelry profiles, which caused me to finally join. I'm not giving up on the blog. Perhaps I should put myself on a writing schedule, but if I were capable of that, I'd work on the Great American Novel. More likely, the Great American Short Story.

Blogger design by suckmylolly.com