Sunday, December 23, 2007

Normal People

Not a knitting post, but certainly an aesthetics post. I was paying bills, updating the check book (debit cards can mess you up if you don't keep track of what you spend!) during the McLaughlin Group (PBS) this morning, after which comes Now, after which comes reruns of the Lawrence Welk show. I started watching the McLaughlin Group years ago mainly to watch someone else yell at Tony Blankly besides me (he's not even a smart Republican hack - barely smarter than Limbaugh - and don't get me started on the Moonie-owned Washington Times), and so I generally turn it on Sundays. Well, McLaughlin finished up, Now finished up, and I'm almost done when I realize there's the Lawrence Welk holiday special. Not my thing musically, mind you - not bizarre enough to be interesting, not bad enough to be funny. But the show looked to be from the 1970's, early 1970's. All the main players were introducing their families. And I was totally blown away by how normal all these people looked. There were big noses, prominent teeth, close-set eyes, and the wives and children weren't the least bit interchangeable - they all looked like individuals. Not in any radical way (mohawks, etc.), but if they stood next to each others you could tell them apart by something besides hair color. It was very trippy and depressing to realize how we seem to be losing more and more visual diversity in the population. Even if there are regional differences in how people dress, or class differences, populations within those groups are very conformist. Even the rebels have uniforms (e.g.tattoos, piercings) which eventually get coopted by other groups. Prominent noses are corrected by surgery; everyone gets braces at some point. Yes, straight teeth are nicer that seriously crooked teeth, but there was a time when only folks with seriously messed up teeth endured orthodontia. I don't mind people making the effort to improve their looks, but it seems that our culture has adopted some pretty narrow standards of what actually looks good, so it's not enough to simply take what you've got and find a way to make it attractive or interesting; now you've got to make it conform to the standard.

In spite of the ugly '70's clothes and hairstyles, these were some of the most individual-looking and interesting-looking folks I've seen in ages. They looked like real humans. What a Stepford country we've become.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

One last look at Lacy Little Nanopants

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Nanopants Lace - Close Up

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Lusting After Lace

One of several pieces on the "Lacy Little Nanopants" page; I've written the author to see if she can share some of the details.
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It's snowing, so it must be Swatch Day!

It's probably just as well that I don't have any regular readers. I've actually got two or three vintage patterns I mean to post, but haven't; I suck, but even that knowledge doesn't add hours to my day or days to my week so that I can do both everything I want to do and everything I need to do (both categories get slighted, in case you are wondering). And I do hope to get real knitting done tonight. But this afternoon will be swatch knitting.

First, I'm going to make a chenille hot water bottle cozy as an xmas gift for someone, so I had to swatch that. Since it's chenille, I'll have to decide what kind of closure I want for it; the ribbing won't be stretchy enough for it to be a 'pullover'. Once I get my stitch count figured out, I'll choose some nifty cable pattern (or other textured pattern) to grace a panel on the front. When I get something I like, I'll post the details.

Next, I'm swatching for the Charlotte Bronte shawl (a pattern that's a reproduction of sorts of a shawl that allegedly belonged to the famed authoress); I'm using a larger yarn than the original pattern calls for, but then I want a larger shawl...however, I want to make sure that the yarn I use will work for the pattern. It's a space dyed yarn, and I don't think the contrast in colors will distract from the design, but there's only one way for me to find out (I don't have enough experience to assess the affect of color on various lace patterns or what guage might work best unless I actually knit it up).

Third swatch will be for BadCatDesign's Saigon Scarf, another lovely lace project; it has assymetrical ends, but not of the radical nature of Pink Lemon Twist's Swan Lake (which I love, but Americans don't do well with that sort of thing, I think). Anyway, I got some laceweight yarn from, color Bloody Mary. Andrea of BadCat doesn't give a specific needle size, so I really do need to swatch to see if it will give me an effect that I like.

The fourth swatch is for GoddessKnits xmas mystery shawl KAL. It's an easier KAL than the lovely but seriously challenging Halloween Shawl, and uses a heavier yarn. I'm going to try some shetland yarns with the swatch to see how they look. I'm fine if I get a larger shawl than advertised - I'm plump with a huge rack, so there's plenty of real estate for a nice lace design to cover ("huge tracts of land" indeed!). I'm going to try different colors than she recommends - I want to catch the twilight colors of snow and winter sky, the blues, greys and lavenders that get quite intense shortly before the sun sets; I'll see how successful I am.

I went out earlier for coffee; I will probably go out again around sunset to catch those gorgeous colors.

Oh, and I really do hope to post some charting challenges this weekend for the Lace Charting group to play with over the holidays; I totally missed November. (See above for details on my suckiness.)

I forgot to say that one of the reasons I've been slacking on other online duties is because I'm busy shaming myself by documenting my stash on ravelry. It's humiliating in so many ways...didn't realize I had that many novelty yarns, didn't realize I had that much yarn, and more. Hell, I stick it in a box and promptly forget I own it. Not the best way to manage my collection.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Second Time Around

I recently added ScribeFire to Firefox; nice tool, it really is, but it ate the post I wrote for today. So here's a warning to anyone using ScribeFire with Blogger - manually configure the account access. Otherwise, it won't talk to Blogger and you'll lose what you've typed! You'll get an error message telling you to go to the performancing page or some such thing, but what you'll want to do is delete your blog and add it again. The first menu you get after selecting "Configure Manually" doesn't list Blogger - select "Custom" or "Other" or whatever is at the bottom. The second menu will list Blogger; select that one and you'll get a link with a bunch of stuff in it - just replace your blog name where it should be in the link, do not replace the entire link. You need that other stuff to make the tool work.

Yes, I'm not much of a geek; notice I don't know any of the proper jargon.

I've been knitting - Dracula's Bride aka The Halloween Mystery shawl, Swan Lake aka Mystery Stole 3, and the Lace Party Scarf, my boss's xmas gift from last year.

Lots of drama on Ravelry around Dracula's Bride. Yes, the designer (Renee of Goddessknits) did overreact a bit, but I can understand why she felt attacked. I thought some of the remarks were, well, a personal attack. I don't know Renee, nor do I know the folks making the remarks; I can only say how the remarks seemed to me. The ones I found particularly appalling were the accusations that she was using the KAL members as test knitters (the KAL cost $5) because there was an error on the first chart and some confusion about interpreting the first clue. I'd say 70% of the KALs I've joined have had at least one chart error in the process of the KAL. (I also know someone whose mother is a professional test knitter, and the crap she gets is nothing like getting a chart with an error on one or two rows.) This is an extremely challenging project (even for experienced lace knitters); I think many were frustrated at the difficulty of the first clue (which was the hardest) and took it out on the designer. Having gotten past the worst of it, the biggest problem now is that there's lots and lots of knitting. I look forward to finishing this someday and having my own beautiful shawl to wear; I'm not posting photos until I'm through with clue 2 (it will be awhile, folks).

I'm working on Swan Lake, too. Same goes for photos; when I'm finished with clue 2 (that's how far behind I am).

I've been chatting with a few groups on Ravelry, too. I found groups with some funny, smart, witty but not unnecessarily mean folks. I try to stay away from the snarky groups; cranky snark people make me someone I don't really care to be. I do think that everyone should have standards; I don't think that everything is good, that it's impossible for a project to be bad or ugly (go to Ravelry, look at my unblocked half-finished projects - ugly). I've spent much of my adult life thinking about why I like the things I like - books, music, movies, etc. We live in a world where cultural product is shovelled out like fries at a McDonalds. Critical thinking of all kinds is a good thing. Having said that...Yes, there are ugly patterns out there. I ask myself why someone would knit that; but someone did, and my making fun of them and being cruel on a blog or online chat will not improve the quality of knitting in the world. Yes, I have seen products (patterns, accessories, yarns) I consider waaaay overpriced (in fact, I've commented on that sort of thing below); but what I consider too dear to purchase may be the treasure someone considers priceless. Yes, even if it's only the creator's mother. It's only my opinion and my budget that says, "Whoa, that's not worth it!" It's fine for me to say that, but I let everyone know I consider it an opinion, not a diktat. And yes, I've seen questions from knitters who have me thinking, "That person shouldn't be on a lace KAL if they can barely knit and purl." But instead of substituting cruelty for wit, someone will usually send them a link with the information/instruction they need. Yes, that knitter might actually be a dumber than a box of hair, but they don't stand a chance of learning if someone doesn't help them out. And generally, once shown where to learn what they need to know, they rarely continue to write the group for basic instruction. Oh sure, I can be as mean as any bitchy man or woman; but I save that for private conversations with friends. If given the chance to provide feedback, I make it constructive (that doesn't mean I only say good things, mind you), telling someone what works for me and why, and what doesn't work and why.

Different topic - I ordered some Bloody Mary lace weight yarn from My cunning plan is to use it for the 'Saigon' scarf from Andrea J/BadCatDesigns. She is posting the pattern information on her blog for free. And if you are knitting any of her designs consider joining her Yahoo! group. She's very responsive to questions and requests. I figure if the yarn isn't what I want for that project, I'll find another use for it. I'm too poor to buy expensive yarns all the time, and Knitpicks or Elann or Malabrigo doesn't always have the color I want (if anyone is inclined to buy me some expensive hand-dyed lace yarn from Etsy or some other site, let me know - I'll put it to good use, guaranteed!).

Okay, here's my test post part 2 from ScribeFire. I'm going to update my Ravelry projects and stash now (I'm feraljane there, just as I am here, if any members care to check me out there). I lost a fight with my stove today and so no knitting tonight.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Yammering ninny

I keep saying I’m going to post photos, patterns, something, anything, and I don’t. I’ve been either knitting/frogging, reading, or engaged in mundane housework (exception was a hippie day off with one my coworkers – I’m not really a hippie, but she’s been under a lot of stress and needed to reclaim her hippie roots). Next week I’ll be co-presenting a couple of concerts…but I’m not going to write about that here. Just an indication that I’ll likely be no more attentive next week than I am this week.

I’m still working on MS3 – it’s getting easier as I get used to it (if I actually pin it out, it’s large enough to be worthy of a photo or two). Those #2 US needles are a little hard to use for those of us in the presbyopia age group. I need a Klieg light for my knitting at this point (where to put it in my postage stamp-sized apartment is another question). I’m pleased, though, with the yarn, the needle size, and the pattern.

I’m also working on the Halloween Mystery Shawl. That one is totally kicking my ass – much harder to get started than MS3 was (and I thought that one was difficult). The nice thing about KALs is that at least other people are struggling and offering tips. The mailings on the Yahoo! Group end of that have gotten quiet, as people are knitting instead of crying in anguish; I haven’t checked on the Ravelry end to see what the discussions are like there. I really need to get better organized so that I can keep on top of these things…or at least stay acquainted with them.

I’ll be spending some of the weekend with the Mater, so I don’t know how much knitting I’ll get done. I’m going to bring MS3 with me – since I’m having a somewhat easier time with it now, I feel a little more confident about traveling with it. If I decide to wimp out, I’ll bring my lace party scarf (or whatever the actual name is) from MagKnits. I’m almost done with it, so I could finish it up….heh, I’m already trying to talk myself out of traveling with MS3. Coward.

I’ve some vintage patterns and groovy photos from an old Spinnerin book that I want to post; I keep saying soon, but that may mean in terms of geologic time spans rather than the human lifetime. Note that, by groovy photos, I mean something similar to my “Groovy” and “Extra Groovy” – the sweaters aren’t quite as stylish (few designs could really compete with these), but the Spinnerin photos have a spirit that will complement the Groovy series well enough.

Until my next disorganized rambling that is totally lacking in useful information or entertaining images,

Best wishes,

Friday, October 05, 2007

Ravelry Rave

I got myself on the list to join Ravelry back in July, and I finally got my invite last week. I wasn't sure whether I'd actually like it; people have a tendency to think the most mediocre things are wonderful, so I had my doubts. But I love it! It's not a hassle to use, and real thought was put into making this thing useful to knitters. The tools for organizing projects aren't difficult to use or figure out, in fact everything on there is extremely user-friendly, so you don't have to spend 45 minutes trying to get something posted on there. I'm not the most tech-loving person in the world (for example, Library Thing is okay, but I'm not overwhelmed with its wonderfulness), but this is one of those tools that is really awesome and useful to someone who would rather knit than futz with a computer all evening. Ravelry - highly recommended!

Overpriced Swans

I rarely snark publicly (my closest friends hear my rants, but they recognize the difference between my venting versus my deeply-held beliefs); and I want to say that this is a very nice design, it really is. I would purchase it for $4 or $5 (comparable in price to Pink Lemon Twist, Bad Cat, or Goddess Knits, all of whom I've purchased from). But the designer is charging $25 for this design. I'm sure she was inspired by the fact that some folks were willing to spend $25-$35 for Triinu Andreasen's design (I admit I purchased early and bought it myself, I couldn't help myself), but Triinu's shawl really puts this one in the shade. I'm pretty sure I won't be spending that much on a single design in the next few years, but even if I did experience that lapse again, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't spend it on this.

I'm curious to know how many will purchase the design at this price; could be I'm just cheap (and poor), and it doesn't tickle my fancy enough to make me ignore my budget. For her sake, I hope most knitters aren't the cranky pinch-pennies that I am.
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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Drinking and Knitting

Ah, it's tempting to post while I'm tipsy...but I'll spare my dear readers. No, instead I'm going to attempt some k2p2 ribbing while enojoying a bottle of cab merlot all by myself. If something bizarre happens while I'm engaged in this dangerous combination of activities, I'll post a photo. Hic! (Yes, I'm really hiccuping.)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Slowest Knitter in the World

I’m still working on the mystery stole – clue 1. Yeah, well, first I ended up frogging the entire first clue (long story – my life line came out during the frogging so I ended up destroying the entire clue…sigh!). So I started over, but we had a heat wave and I didn’t want to sweat all over my lace yarn, so the piece sat forever. Then I’ve been going out of town a bit, and it’s not the kind of project that travels well, not for me, with my spreadsheets all over the place, rulers, etc. So I’m just now finishing up the first clue. Oh well, no big deal – I have several options for how I want to finish up the piece, and a collection of messages about other knitter’s issues in trouble spots. Works for me!

And since I’m so freaking far behind on all my projects, I started up a little lace charting project on the Charting Lace group – I’m posting some of my 19th c. lace patterns (mostly insertions and edgings of some sort) for everyone to practice their skills. Nothing too demanding at this point – in part because my skills are so far from being up-to-speed, as well as not having 20 hours a month to spend charting things. At some point I’ll make those patterns available here, too, along with charts.

I have a ladies stocking pattern I’m going to post sometime this weekend. No, I haven’t knitted it. If I were to only post items I’d completed, there would be very little to post. For anyone who works one of these patterns and finds errata, please let me know so I can post it for others. You'll get credit for being an intrepid and intelligent knitter, too!

There will be more later, I promise…but I still don’t recommend holding your breath.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Mystery Stole & Crotchless Knickers

I signed up for the third Mystery Stole Knitalong; Melanie of Pink Lemon Twist designs these gorgeous, pain-in-the-ass-to-knit lace, I'll spare you the details (if you're really curious you can click on the link in the sidebar), but it's a challenge I'm looking forward to (as if everything I knit isn't some sort of challenge - ha!). Being poor (something few knitting bloggers seem to be), I'm using some lace-weight baby alpaca yarn I've got - in black, of course - but I'm using size 2 needles, so it will, at the very least, be narrower than the original design. Fine with me - I did the test swatch, and it suited me okay. Hopefully, the test swatch really is a good way to judge what the final product will look like (in terms of guage, openness of lacework, etc.).

I also found a pattern today for Victorian crotchless knickers. The author/poster of the pattern relates how drawers came to be used by women; during the era of crinolines, if a woman took a fall, say, exiting a carriage, she'd be rolling on the ground with this cage-like structure attached to her from the waist down, flashing beaver and mooning whomever happened to be nearby. So those clever, repressed Victorians came up with women's knickers to preserve their modesty should they prove clutzy as hell (like me). Heh, what an image...the crotchless design was to accommodate those nasty crinolines in the water closet; probably not the easiest outfit in which to reach up and pull down one's drawers. I don't know how truthful this tale is, but it's certainly amusing, especially if you have a visual imagination. {I will leave it to the reader to come up with their own much naughtier images relating to crotchless Victorian underwear....}

{July 6, 2007 - Arse biscuits! Someone's have trouble with the knickers link, so here is the address copied directly from the page:

The link doesn't seem to be working right now, although it was earlier today ...I suggest you keep trying, it may just be a temporary glitch on the other side of the world. If you find you're desperate, however, I did print up a copy of this article, so it's not necessarily lost forever - if it doesn't start working in the next couple of days, I'll try to contact her and see if I can post the piece here.}

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Proto Vegan Fox

I found this pattern in a collection of patterns from Godey's Lady's Book; I consider it the Victorian Vegan Fox (for those familiar with the Knitty pattern). In truth, it looks like some sort of weasel-snake crossbreed; when I get around to making this one up, I'm going to at least give the thing some legs so that it will look 100% mammal. I thought about adding fangs but if I end up with bitemarks in my neck, no one will believe it was from my scarf. I can imagine some mishap that would have the damned thing sever a major vein or artery in my neck - "Woman Bleeds to Death After Deadly Bite From Knitting Project."

Muff Crocheted in Imitation of Fur

The following articles crocheted in imitation of fur are recommended for the warm winter toilets of young girls, as they are not expensive.

With a fine bone hook, No. 12 Bell guage (sic), and the grey wool, single Berlin (of which you require six ounces), make a chain of 78 stitches.

1st Row: Dc (double crochet), at the end 1 ch.

2nd Row: 1 dc in the first dc, taking up the back of the loop, which is done throughout the work, take up the back of the 2nd loop, draw the wool through, pass the wool round the needle, take up the same loop again, making 3 loops on the needle in this one stitch, draw the wool through these 3, then trough the 2 on the needle; take up the whole of this row in this manner.

3rd Row: Plain dc worked from the back of the loop as before.

Repeat the 2nd and 3rd Rows.

Work a piece wide enough for your muff, then make it up; for this you require blue silk in the piece, two pair of black tassels, some blue ribbon to run in the runner, and a sheet of wadding. Lay your wadding the size of the piece of crochet you have worked, cover it on both sides with silk, then sew together; make a slot at each outer edge, sew up the piece of crochet, place it over the silk, run the edges of the crochet to the extreme edge of the slot, then pass your ribbon in; add the tassels by the join.

The Boa

This is also crocheted in the same stitch as the muff. You require five steel knitting needles, No. 12, for the head as it is knitted, 2 jet buttons for the eyes. For the length of the body make a chain of 117 stitches. Commence with a row of double crochet, then a row of pattern, always working a ch stitch at the end of each row. Work about 8 inches of this crochet for the width of the body. Sew it together, and stuff it with wadding covered with silk.

The Tail

The tail is worked separately, and is crocheted in looped crochet. Make a ch of 20.

1st Row: Dc.

2nd Row: Take up the back of the loop, pass the wool three times round a mesh one and a quarter inch wide, or your 2 fingers of the left hand, put the needle under these loops, loop the wool over, then take up the st again, draw through, then draw through the 2 on the needle; work the row in this manner. Work these 2 rows until you have ten rows of loops; then work 2 more rows, decreasing one stitch on each side now, cut the loops in the middle and comb them with a fine comb. Sew the tail together, then to the body.

The Head is Knitted

Cast on 10 stitches on each of the 4 needles; knit a round. Then 3 rounds knit plain.

4th: Knit 17; You now commence the increase for the forehead. In the 18th st work 2 st thus: knit 1, then purl 1; work the 19th st in the same manner; 20th st, knit plain; the 21st and 22nd st like the 18th and 19th; the rest knit plain.

5th: Knit plain.

6th: Increase like the 4th round in the 2 st on both sides of the 22nd st.

7th: Plain.

8th: Increase like the 4th round on both sides the 24th st; rest plain.

Knit 6 plain rounds.

14th: K 7, k2 together; k 1, knit 2 together; knit plain until the last 12; then k 2 together, k 1, k 2 together.

15th: Plain.

16th: K 5, knit 2 together 3 times; knit plain until the last 11, when knit 2 together 3 times; knit 5.

17th: Like 14th.

18th and 3 next rounds plain.

21st: K 5, knit 2 together twice, knit plain until the last 9, then knit 2 together twice, knit 5.

22nd: Plain.

23rd: K 7, join the black, knit 2 together in black until the last 7, which knit plain in grey.

Knit 8 rounds plain, knitting the black stitches with black and the grey with grey; cast off.

Wad the head to the shape, stitch on the buttons for the eyes, add some shreds of black wool for whiskers, then stitch on the ears, the directions for knitting which follow.

The Ears

Cast 12 st on 1 needle with grey wool. Knit back.

2nd Row: Purl.

3rd Row: Knit 2 together, knit 8, knit 2 together.

4th Row: Purl 2 together, purl all but the last 2, which purl together.

Repeat the 3rd and 4th rows until you have only one stitch left, then cast off, and sew to the head.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Crochet Miser's Purse

{Articles from The Young Ladies Journal, January 1901}

Purse: Crochet

Purse silk and a medium size steel hook are used for this purse. The stitches must be tightly and evenly worked.

Commence at one end with 3 chain, join round.

1st Row: 2 doubles into each stitch.

2nd Row: Work 1 double in the 1st stitch, 2 in the next, and so on, till the end of the row.

3rd Row: 2 doubles in every 3rd stitch.

4th Row: Increase in every 4th stitch by worked (sic) 2 doubles into the stitch.

5th Row: Increase in every 5th stitch.

6th Row: Increase in every 6th stitch.

7th Row: Increase in every 7th stitch.

8th Row: Increase in every 8th stitch.

9th Row: Increase in every 9th stitch.

10th Row: Increase in every 10th stitch.

Now continue to work without increase until you reach the opening, that will be measuring 2-1/2 to 3 inches from the first row according to the size you wish the purse to be.

For the opening, work backwards and forwards with 1 double into each stitch for about 1-1/2 inch. When this is done, begin to work in the round again, and work the same length without decrease as you did for the other end, then decrease in the same proportion as you increased. Sew a tassel to each end and slip on two steel, silver or gilt rings. A simple design may be worked in on each end in cross-stitch with silk of another colour, or with steel beads.

Description of Fashion Engravings

Bodice - Mercerised spotted velveteen makes up well in this style. The chemisette of lace is threaded through with the narrowest black ribbon velvet; this is attached to the tight-fitting lining on the right side, and is hooked over to the left. No bust seams are taken up in the velvet; it is strained over the lining, and what little fulness there is is gathered and sewn to the lining. The right side crosses over to the left, and fastens under a bow of ribbon velvet on the bust, which is connected by a strap to another bow at the side. The edge is trimmed with rows of ribbon velvet in two sizes.

The sleeves are trimmed at the top by velvet threaded lace, over silk, the edge being trimmed with ribbon velvet. Ruffles of lace finish the wrists.

Materials required: 2-1/2 yds velveteen, 5/8 yds lace 18 inches wide, 3-1/2 yds narrow velvet, 2 yds wider width, 3-1/2 yds for bow and waistband.


Baked Apple Batter Pudding - 1/2 lb flour, 1 saltspoonful salt, 1 pint milk, 3 eggs, 3/4 lb apples, 2 tablespoonfuls white sugar, 2 oz butter. Make a smooth batter with the flour, salt and milk, mixing the flour to a paste, and gradually stirring in the milk; when quite smooth, add 3 eggs well beaten, butter a pie-dish, and pour in the batter; take the apples, peel and cut them in slices, put them in the batter with the sugar; place the butter on the top in small pieces, and bake for 3/4 hour. When baked, sprinkle sugar on the top, and serve very hot.

Boiled Celery - Cut the celery in convenient and equal lengths; boil in salted water until tender, but not watery; drain, and serve with white sauce. Put in a small saucepan a tablespoonful of butter, and when melted stir in as much flour; add a cup of boiling milk, graduatlly, so that there will be no lumping, season with pepper and salt, and pour over the celery.

I Wonder What They Serve Here

A few years ago a coworker sent me this photo that he'd taken with the above title (and no, I've never eaten there). He said that the sign was missing the 'g' on both sides. Undoubtedly a fine instance of workplace sabotage. For further tales of workplace sabotage and pranks, I recommend Sabotage in the American Workplace. If you've ever had or currently have a shit job, you'll appreciate this book and perhaps be inspired.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Belding Corticelli Bk KP 13

This is one of my most favorite vintage knitting books; the designs are not too haute or over-the-top, but they are classic 1930's. You'd look right at home on the set of "The Black Cat" in any of these outfits (although whether you'd match the creepy repartee of Lugosi & Karloff in that film is another story entirely - Bela warms my cardiac cockles when he says "Superstitious? Perhaps. Baloney? Perhaps not.").

I bought this and some other 1930's knitting books in a flea market in Landisville, NJ a couple of decades ago. I'll be posting patterns from this book periodically (as well as others). If you've got something you're particularly interested in, send me an email and I'll see if I have a pattern for it. WARNING: It may take me awhile to get back to you or post something. If you're in a huge hurry for that perfect pattern, I'm not the person you want. Hey, at least I'm not pretending to be organized.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I would love the pattern for this hat!

My guess is that it's made of Red Heart Super Saver. His ma probably knitted it for him - sweet! {I highly recommend that you click on the photo for the enlarged view - not only can you appreciate the hat that much more, but you can appreciate that it was taken on what looks to be a firing range...this should be hanging in a museum next to American Gothic.}

Friday, May 04, 2007

Rather Stupid Article About Knitting

I must say, I like the 21st cent. revival of knitting better than the early/mid-1980's version (many ugly patterns during that time). Perhaps because there was nothing like the internet, anyone doing odd, radical, creative, punk knitting never got noticed or known. I only had a couple of friends in the punk scene who were into knitting, and no one was getting all that creative (I was the weird one with my vintage patterns).

On an unrelated topic, I learned something new about Blogger; if you take months or years to publish a draft, it shows up on the date you started it, not the date you published. Since it takes me forever to publish anything, if you're looking for old patterns, you may wish to check the archives for previous months. I just published something I started in Feb, and that's where it is on the post now. Arse biscuits! I have a suit from the late 1910's - early 1920's that I hope to publish, but I started it last month, so it won't show up in'll have to travel back to April something or other to see it.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Swagger Scarf

1930's Scarf pattern from Lorraine Yarns vol W1 (magazine has F.W. Woolworth's imprint on the back). I haven't made this one up yet, but I thought I'd post it for anyone interested in vintage accessories. I'd love to get photos of the FO, if someone makes it up! (Apologies for my unsophisticated presentation of the visuals - perhaps someday I'll be inspired to improve my blogging skills, just keep holding your breath!)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Harmsworth

Knitting suit from Harmsworth's Household Encyclopedia vol. 6

I recently scored this book for a ridiculously low price; I found it on a sale cart at a used book store, and the first article it fell open to was an article on taxidermy for amateurs. Too wonderful, I thought, and immediate a list of at least half a dozen people came to mind who had to see this (yes, I know people who are almost as, er, unique as I am). $2 and 2 hours later, I discovered what an amazing book this is! If civilisation ever collaspses, this is the book you want to have, absolutely. I found too many articles to mention, tons of recipes, instructions for furniture, fences, and wireless receivers, among other things. It's so wonderful I'm almost afraid to track down the other five volumes - I might never leave home again, my consciousness possessed by such volumes of wisdom from the turn of the 20th cent. I really do love old books.

Anyway, I found these lovely knitting patterns contained within, and thought I'd share them with you. I hope to post other fascinating tidbits from this book from time to time, and if there's anything you'd like me to look up in there, lemme know and I'll see what I can find and send you a scan. You'd be amazed what you find between the letters STR-Z in this book (like knitted suits!). Click to enlarge, folks, click to enlarge!

PS - I haven't knitted these up, but I thought some would find them interesting. Also notice, on the first page, the article on suicide - ha!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


My orchid is in the process of having a baby (a kiki apparently is what these offspring are called). This flower is growing out of the little three-leafed two-inch-long kiki (which is still growing out of the mother). This flower is huge (four inches from top to bottom, about the same across) - you can't even see the kiki behind it. And kiki is producing a second flower just like this one. I know nothing about orchids - but I'm really impressed with the huge, beautiful bloom my little kiki has produced! (Click on the photo to see a larger version of it - the better to appreciate her intricate beauty!)

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Surge

Sometimes reading doesn’t pay off, at least not in a positive way. I was just reading the latest edition of the NYRB (3-15-2007); the first article is “The Surge” by Peter W. Gailbraith about Bush’s Iraq policy (in case you had some other surge in mind). He relates the following about General Petraeus (hopefully this quote doesn't piss the copyright gods off):

“Petraeus, on whom so much now rests, served two previous tours in Iraq. As the American commander in Mosul in 2003 and 2004, he earned adulatory press coverage — including a Newsweek cover story captioned “Can This Man Save Iraq?” — for taming the Sunni-majority city. Petraeus ignored warnings from America’s Kurdish allies that he was appointing the wrong people to key positions in Mosul’s local government and police. A few months after he left the city, the Petraeus-appointed local police commander defected to the insurgency while the Sunni Arab police handed their weapons and uniforms over en masse to the insurgents. Neither this episode nor the evident failure of the training programs for the Iraqi army and police which he ran in his next assignment seemed to have damaged the general’s reputation.”

Not that I actually thought the surge strategy would be successful but, without a doubt, Bush picked someone to lead it who is pretty much guaranteed to make sure it’s a failure. Of course, the Democrats are holding lots of hearings about Petraeus mismanagement of his previous Iraqi assignments – or not. Definitely not.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Delancey Scarf (Minverva Bk 36, 1934)

{It was pointed out to me that there was a missing asterisk on the row 9 instructions; I have corrected it, and I apologize to anyone who was wondering why it wasn't knitting up properly!}

Cast on 36 sts. Knit 6 rows (3 ribs), then work in pattern for 29 inches {or desired length}, knit 6 rows, bind off.

Stitch Pattern

Row 1: K2, * yo, k2tog; repeat from * to end of row.

Row 2: P

Repeat these two rows 3 more times.

Row 9: K1, *k2tog (k through back of sts), yo; repeat from *, end with k1.

Row 10: P

Repeat these two rows 3 more times; there are 16 rows to one complete pattern.

{Below are photos of my Delancey WIP, unblocked. I'm working it on some Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino that I had left from another project. I like the way the direction of the decreases automatically forms the nifty, jagged border - it's a very easy stitch pattern.}

Everybody's Happy Nowadays

Recently I've been seeing an AARP ad which uses the chorus "Everybody's Happy Nowadays" from the Buzzcocks' song. I wonder if anyone involved in making this ad paid any attention to the lyric content of the rest of the song; if I remember correctly, the chorus was meant to be ironic, right? Admittedly, I haven't listened to my Buzzcock's recordings since the early '90's, but I thought the verses of the song had a rather dystopic, or at least disillusioned content, and that the 'happiness' everyone seems to be experiencing stems from a disengagement from reality. (Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong; or if you have the inclination to search for the lyrics, please post them and let me know that I've totally missed the point.)

I like to think that the AARP is perhaps trying some subliminal advertising*; that the future holds little for us as we age that is positive, and that banding together in a radical body is the only chance we have of happiness that isn't an illusion - that otherwise, we really do have No Future**, just decades of personal and societal disappointment.

*This bit of fantasy on my part shows a complete disengagement from the nature of advertising, and reality in general; warning to the reader, an ex-boyfriend once told me I had a "rich inner life" and he did not mean it as a compliment. On the other hand, I like harboring images of the AARP turning into something like Hamas for older, non-wealthy Americans.

**Please reference the Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen."

And while I'm on the topic of the Buzzcocks, didn't they have a line in a song that was "same as it never was?" Heh, Jennifer 'Sexpot' Hewitt seems to have kiped that for the name of her store on "Ghost Whisperer."

{God, I've been watching too much TV - this has to stop, I tell you!}

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I don't know about other countries, but Americans seem obsessed with resolutions for the new year. I try not to set up too many, or I try to keep the ones I have flexible. Part of my problem is I'll forget the resolution. If I make a list of resolutions, I'll forget that I made it most likely, or if I remember its exiestence, I'll forget where I put it until I eventually forget I wrote them down. Anyway, I'll try posting something on the blog I never write to (another resolution, but I'll spare the unfortunate reader the details), in hopes of coming up with better results.

So, like all knitters, I've got stash, too much for an apartment the size of a walk-in closet (not much of an exaggeration - really!). Below is my own personal version of Wendy Johnson's Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon (

1. The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start January 1, 2007 and run through December 31st, 2007 -- a period of 12 months.

2. I will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:

  • Sock yarn does not count. (If I end up with a box of new sock yarn, I may have to change/delete this exception.)
  • If someone asks for a specific knitted gift that I really and truly do not have the yarn for, we may buy yarn to knit that gift.
  • If I am knitting something and run out of yarn, I may purchase enough to complete the project.
  • I get two "Get Out of Jail Free" cards -- I am allowed to fall off the wagon twice. {Wendy's is set for nine months - mine is set for 12; I figure I deserve two tumbles off said yarn wagon.}

3. I am allowed to receive gifts of yarn.

4. Trading stash is allowed.

5. Spinning fiber of any sort is exempt. {Heh heh, I just took up cunning plan is to spin if I can't control the need to acquire more yarn...bwa ha ha ha!}

6. I will finish all UFOs, or frog them, and get them out of my life!

It remains to be seen how long this will last; I bought some yarn Saturday (nothing exciting) for a pillow I had promised last year, long before I came across KFYS. I suspect the gift one will be the one to cause me the most trouble and trips to the yarn shop. Also, this does not cover books, magazine, needles and other knitting toys. I'll keep track of those purchases here, too - not that I think they'll be interesting reading but if I'm going to shame myself publicly, I might as well do it well and thoroughly, instead of half-assed. I certainly consider myself a half-assed knitter; someone else has claimed the title {} so I'll just have to be one without the honorific. I'll start posting photos and readers can see for themselves what half-assed truly is. Who knows, the only attention I may get as a knitter could be as an example of how not to knit.