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.