Auntie Ann Knits

Monday, June 27, 2011

Pride 2011

Things I learned (or was reminded of) yesterday at SF Pride:

1. Always arrive earlier than you think you need to for public transportation.

2. Cheap feather boas are a bit itchy, and shed a lot.

3. Most people look better with clothing on.

4. It’s generally more fun to be in the parade than watching it.

5. Don’t underestimate the importance of sunscreen.

6. It takes a lot of planning and work to throw an enormous party. Don’t neglect the safety personnel and precautions.

7. Don’t skip the voluntary donation at the gate. See #6.

8. It takes a long time to get anywhere through an enormous crowd. Keep calm and take your time.

9. Big parties can be lots of fun!

10. It takes a while to get all of the feathery bits out of your other clothing after wearing a feather boa.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

More actual knitting!

I've made loads of things I haven't blogged about yet. Some I have even forgotten to take pictures of before giving them away. Bad blogger!

I made two Shedir hats (the PDF of the pattern is here), one for my cousin and one for a friend, both of whom lost their hair to chemo, and both of whom are doing much better now. I have no pictures, though, so I'm going to cheat and use a picture I have of another one I made:

Shedir for Lisa
This one was for Lisa, who is now also doing well. The two I don't have a picture of are a denim blue color.

A while back I took an evening and crocheted this water bottle holder:

Water Bottle Holder 2
This gets used often.

I used to crochet a fair amount. Usually I insist on using a pattern for something -- not so with this one. It seemed like more bother to use a pattern than it would be worth. I grabbed a hook and some cotton yarn and away I went. I take this to my exercise class, and it makes the bottle much easier to hang onto on the walk home, when I'm also wrangling the dog. Ginger has never met a smell she didn't like. I should make another, though -- DD swapped me her red water bottle for this blue one, and I'd rather have something that went with the bottle better.

OK, I realize that is getting really picky.

Slouch Copy Cat Hat

This one is still around, but in a completely different form! I wore it only once in this form, which is the Slouchy Copy Cat Hat. There's nothing wrong with the pattern, I think I chose the wrong yarn for the pattern. I didn't like the drape I was getting with this yarn (Plymouth Yarn Encore Worsted, an acrylic/wool blend) and thought it was most unflattering. There's nothing wrong with the yarn, either, it was just a mis-match. I re-knit the yarn into a Koolhaas Hat. Much better! I love this pattern, and at last count I think I have made 7 or 8 of them. DD stole this particular one. Here are four more:

Did I mention that I love this pattern?

I made a green one for Dad, a green one for Tim to replace the denim blue one that Ruth swiped (more on that later), a turquoise one for sister Laura, and denim blue ones for Tom and me.

I also love this one, but so far I have made only one:

Grace Lace Beret

This is the Grace Lace Beret in Jaeger Extra Fine Merino DK. I really like how this came out and want to knit one for myself. This one was a gift for Ruth. Ruth and Tim are friends of ours in England. We met them decades ago, when they were in our area on a one-year teacher exchange. We've stayed in touch ever since -- they've visited us here, and we've visited them there.

I saw them last summer when I took our Girl Scout Troop (yes, both girls and me -- that's our Troop!) as part of a larger group from the area to a huge Scout and Guide encampment in England. Here I am with Tim and Ruth:

Tim, Ruth and me

I knit the Grace Lace Beret as a thank-you for Ruth, and a denim blue Koolhaas as a thank-you for Tim.

By the end of the day Ruth had stolen Tim's Koolhaas hat! It wasn't that she didn't like the beret -- she kept that one, too. So I knit him a new one and sent it over. I hope it has arrived all right. Oh, the joys of international shipping.

As for what I'm knitting now, I've got three projects going -- an Apres Surf Hoodie in a pale blue alpaca blend yarn, which will be for DD. This is yarn I got in one of our group yarn swaps. I seem to be the queen of getting free yarn at these things, because I always see possibilities in yarn that others don't want.

Either that or I'm nuts. The Apres Surf Hoodie is knit with fingering weight yarn on 2.75 mm needles. In a lace pattern. And this yarn is grabby -- frogging is difficult. I hate to think what the seaming is going to be like. On the other hand, it's gorgeous, if I do say so myself. I have done the body, now it needs to be blocked and seamed, and then the hood will need to be knit. This is a very long-term project -- I began it in the spring. (It's not the project that I've taken longest over, though -- at least not yet.)

I'm making some scarves for the Red Scarf Project. I'm making them in a color called Plum Heather. So sue me.

And of course, socks. Actually, I didn't make any socks for a while. Isn't that odd? It is for me. I guess I got a little burned out on them for a while. But now I want more hand-knit socks for myself, so I'm knitting more. Mom has also requested another pair. Red scarves first, though.

I made something else in red (free yarn, too!) and shipped that off to England just yesterday. It's lovely, if I do say so myself.

More on that later, though. Watch this space!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Boy, oh Boy -- Booties!

I made booties for a friend recently:

Chuck Taylor booties 1

She's having a baby boy.

Chuck Taylor booties 2

This is mostly based on this pattern. I didn't do the garter stitch sole, but I probably should have. I knit them seamlessly in the round, though. I also found that I needed 24" of shoelace for each bootie. Instead of making i-cord laces, I just did a chain stitch with a crochet hook. I cut the circle and star out of craft felt. I glued the red stars to the white circles the night before the baby shower, and stitched the white circles to the booties and re-made the longer laces on the ferry on the way into the city that morning.

Whew! The mom-to-be seemed very pleased.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fun with Zucchini

I didn't manage to grow any zucchini on our patio this summer. Maybe I'll have to do it next summer, so that I can make this handy little item.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Celebrate Banned Books Week!

Each year, the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom records hundreds of attempts by individuals and groups to have books removed from libraries shelves and from classrooms.

According to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, at least 42 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the target of ban attempts.

The titles in bold represent banned or challenged books. For more information on why these books were challenged, visit challenged classics and the Banned Books Week Web site.

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses by James Joyce
7. Beloved by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
9. 1984 by George Orwell
10. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
11. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
13. Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
14. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
15. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
21. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
22. Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
23. Their Eyes are Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
31. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
32. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
34. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
35. Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
37. The World According to Garp by John Irving
38. All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
39. A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
40. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
41. Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally
42. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
43. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
44. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
45. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
46. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
47. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
48. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
51. My Antonia by Willa Cather
52. Howards End by E. M. Forster
53. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
54. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
55. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
56. Jazz by Toni Morrison
57. Sophie's Choice by William Styron
58. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
59. A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
60. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
61. A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor
62. Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
63. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
64. Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence
65. Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
66. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
68. Light in August by William Faulkner
69. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
70. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
71. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
72. A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
73. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
76. Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe
77. In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
78. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein
79. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
80. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
81. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
82. White Noise by Don DeLillo
83. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
84. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
85. The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
86. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
87. The Bostonians by Henry James
88. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
89. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
90. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
91. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
92. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
93. The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles
94. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
95. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
96. The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
97. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
98. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster
99. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
100. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

Celebrate! Read a banned book!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rest in Peace, Mary Travers

I grew up singing PP&M songs. I sang them with my friends and at camp. I became a camp counselor, and we sang their songs at camp.

I was so sad to hear that Mary had died. I spent yesterday evening watching YouTube videos of her singing. What a beautiful, melodious voice she had, and how she used that voice for peace and justice.

RIP, Mary. You are missed.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Oh, baby!

Next door they're expecting another grandbaby any time now.

Clearly that calls for another baby blanket.

Ann & blanket

Star Blanket 4

This is the Star Doily Blanket (that is a Ravelry link -- there used to be a non-Ravelry link but it's been changed). It's an adaptation made by Alexis Layton of a vintage doily pattern.

I knit it with Cascade Sierra, a worsted weight wool/cotton yarn on US 9 needles. It's knit from the center out, so that it's ideal for a knit-'til-I-run-out-of-yarn type of project. I knit until the point that I thought it was 'big enough', yet enough yarn was left for a baby sweater for a baby to be named later. I used about 2.5 skeins. I added a picot cast-off, and it's about 36" across.

Knitting the center star was fun, and the stockinette portion was of course pretty darn mindless knitting. Sometimes that's just great, although lately I don't seem to enjoy it so much. Give me lace or cables any day! Stranded knitting now -- I still don't seem to have mastered that. Good thing there are always knitting challenges yet to come, huh?

This is for the younger sibling of the baby (now age 2 and a half) for whom I made the Log Cabin Baby Blanket. Since they had a larger blanket for the older sibling, I thought the new baby could use a smaller and lighter blanket. I gave it to the mom when she was going through some rough patches in the pregnancy, hoping to cheer her up a bit, and apparently big brother really likes the blanket, especially the center star.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

#2 Tries Harder!

Our local County Fair ended Sunday, and I won a red ribbon! I won second prize in the "knitted shawl" category.

Ann's Shawl and Christina
Half done, with some help showing what it might look like blocked.

Twinings 1

Blocked & Unblocked
Half blocked. What a difference.

Twinings Stole and me
Moi, modeling my stole

I love this! It's the Twinings stole by Anne Hanson. The yarn is Karabella Lace Merino, a lovely, slightly heavier laceweight yarn. Is that an oxymoron? I used about 3.5 skeins. It blocked beautifully.

I knit it on US 7 Addi Lace needles. Love them.

The pattern is very clear. I made fewer repeats than called for since this is slightly heavier yarn on a needle one size larger than called for. It's plenty long.

There were a lot of knitting entries at our Fair this year, partly owing to Judy flogging us harshly gently encouraging us all to enter our items.

I think a lace binge is coming up. I can feel it. Just having trouble picking out the next item.

Meantime, I'm knitting the Apres Surf Hoodie for DD. No pics yet, though. I'm too busy basking in the glow of my red ribbon.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Incremental backwards . . . progress?

Can I get away with calling this progress of a sort?

I mentioned before about my sun-damaged Falling Water scarf.

Purple yarn on swift

Adios, scarf!

Purple yarn in skein

Now I'm a tiny step closer to being able to re-dye it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lois's Shawl for Lisa

I never met Lois, but Lois has touched my life, and now Lisa's.

Lois lived in our town, but I never knew her. When she passed away, DH was hired to help clear out her home. The family lived far away and wasn't interested in most of her 'stuff'. Clever man that he his, DH salvaged all of Lois's needles, hooks and yarn for me.

I know these things about Lois: she loved her tools and cared for them with love. She hand-sewed a sweet little case for her collection of crochet hooks, which range all the way down to a tiny size 15. She had a number of good quality scissors, and on each one she had crocheted yarn around one handle and affixed a needle threader.

In going through Lois's yarn, it became clear to me that Lois had meant to knit a prayer shawl for someone. There it all was: the needles, the pattern, and four skeins of Lion Brand Homespun yarn. One of the skeins had been hand-wound into a ball. Had she begun it, only to rip it out for some reason? Had she never started? I'll never know.

To pay the universe back for letting me have all of Lois's tools and leftover yarn, I decided to knit the prayer shawl. I am not exactly a praying type, and I wasn't sure who the shawl would go to. I figured the answer would probably come to me as I was knitting it.

When the shawl was nearly done, our neighbor and friend Lisa was hospitalized with pneumonia. Lisa has had a rough several years in terms of her health. She has undergone treatment for breast cancer, which (knock on wood) so far seems successful. She had an extremely painful bout of shingles. Her liver failed. She was in the hospital numerous times. Now she seems to be doing better on many fronts, but has just had cataract surgery on top of everything else.

Obviously the shawl should go to Lisa, it seemed to me.


And here is Lisa at our last knit night, wearing the shawl and knitting away.

Lisa and Sarah

Big enough for two!

When I took it around the corner to Lisa's, her husband's reaction was, "she'll wear that every night". It seems like a perfect thing for cuddling in front of the television. This is knit just like a big Grandmother's Favorite Dishcloth pattern, on the bias -- very simple.

I have to say that at first I didn't like knitting with this yarn. It's highly textured, making it a little splitty and grabby. I had to very deliberately knit much more loosely than I normally do (a good lesson for me, perhaps?). But the more I knit with it, the easier it became to do, and I do really like the result.

To Lois: I feel as though I did know you just a little after all, and I thank you.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We Won't Back Down

I am sad beyond belief at the expected, but still very disappointing, ruling today by the California Supreme Court upholding Proposition 8, and so denying marriage equality to all same-sex couples, present and future, in the state, except for those 18,000 couples who married during the brief period last summer when they were legally allowed to marry.

This wouldn't have been the end of this struggle no matter what the ruling was, and now our path is clear -- we must put a new ballot initiative before the electorate to undo this wrong. Hopefully enough people will now see sense. The demographics are ever changing toward marriage equality.

The arc of the moral universe is long,
But it bends toward justice.
-Abolitionist Theodore Parker, c. 1850's

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Here is a beautiful container of our daughter's favorite yogurt. Yum!

Yarn holder 1
But what's that sticking out of the top?

Yarn holder 2
Yarn, of course! The beautiful, naturally-dyed superwash merino fingering weight sock yarn from Tactile: A Fiber Arts Studio that I used for my Lace Ribbon Scarf, as I mentioned in my last post.

Yarn holder 3
It certainly helps manage the yarn and keep it neat.

Yarn holder 4
This is step one in creating your very own yarn holder. In my case, I used half a bag of leftover dry kidney beans from the pantry.

Step two? Use a pair of scissors and cut a slit and hole in the lid, natch.

Knit on!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Good News: Lace Ribbon Scarf; Bad News: Sun Damaged Scarf

First, the good news!

I had a lot of fun knitting a Lace Ribbon Scarf.

Alas, I have become addicted to Addi Lace Turbos. So pointy! So fine! Well, it's better than a crack addiction, right?

The yarn is a beautiful, naturally-dyed superwash merino fingering weight sock yarn from Tactile: A Fiber Arts Studio. It's dyed with indigo, which means that it "crocked" (vocabulary word of the day) dye all over my hands as I knit. It's very interesting to have blue hands, and dark blue lines showing the precise path that I wind the yarn over my fingers to tension it. I should have taken a picture of my hands, but I was a bad blogger and didn't think of it.

Lace Ribbon Scarf 1

This is the scarf in progress on crack needles Addi Lace Turbos, size 3. Also, you can see some beautifully purpley stitch markers from JL Yarnworks, and one of my own row counter stitch markers.

Lace Ribbon 1

And here she is blocking. Pretty, yes? I love it, it's a lovely little decorative accent to spruce up my otherwise drab wardrobe.

And now the bad news.

Some of you with very long memories will remember that I started knitting a Falling Water Scarf a while back with some purple sock yarn that I just loved. I blogged about it here.

Scarf beginning
This is the "before" picture.

I finished the knitting, um, about 18 months ago? I'm not sure. And I stuck it in a bag to await blocking. At the time the household was rather unsettled, in the sense that we were doing a major remodel on our house. All three of us slept in the uninsulated, bare-studs living room for months, and for a couple of weeks we had to remove all of our belongings from the house and live at a motel. So -- I had a wee bit of trouble finding an area where I could block my scarf without insulation bits raining down on it or sawdust coating it. I should have borrowed a friend's spare room or something, but -- OK, I'll say it -- I got lazy. I stuck the scarf in a clear ziploc bag and let it sit on my desk in my home office, one of the relatively unscathed rooms during the remodel.

Falling Water Scarf 1
This is the "after" picture.

It was hard for me to photograph properly, but there is bad sun (or desklamp?) damage to this scarf now. It looks really crappy, to be blunt.

I am thinking of attempting to over-dye it with purple food coloring or Wilton's food color paste, both of which I have purchased. Again with the laziness and procrastination, right?

Any tips for me on dyeing? Help kick-start me into dyeing this, already!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More Row Counter Stitch Markers

Yet more row counter stitch markers:

Row Counters 2

Two of these were a gift for someone in my Stitch 'n' Bitch, and the third is mine because I love purple (had you noticed?). Alas, the purple beads in the ring were a little smaller than the black ones I've used previously, the ring was too tight and it broke.

I will re-do the ring with black beads. Meanwhile I'm using it, but I have swiped a ring from one of my earlier efforts.

I might be over-doing it with the dangle on the bottom. As much as I like the look, it can tangle in the yarn a bit. We'll see, I can snip it off if I get too tired of it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Boom-de-a-da, boom-de-a-da, boom-de-a-da, boom . . .

Remember this song? Of course you do! Sing it with me!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Dragonfly socks

I'm still catching up on FOs that I haven't yet blogged. This is the last of them for now, at least the last that I have taken pictures of but haven't blogged. I have two more pairs of socks and a hat that need photo sessions so that I can blog them.

And, for those of you with very long memories, I am this close to finishing my Sonnet sweater, which is about the same vintage as this blog -- that is, about two and half years old. Sad, ain't it? But the Sonnet is another story.

Today it is about the Dragonfly socks. The free pattern is here. It is designed to work well with hand-painted or variegated yarns or even self-striping yarns, and it does that very well. The designer cautions that it won't look good with the faux-Fair Isle type of self-striping yarns, and I have to agree with her on that. Then again, in general I've decided I'm not very fond of that type of yarn patterning.

Dragonfly socks 3
Here is a close shot of one of them. The lace pattern is simple and elegant.

Dragonfly socks 1

Dragonfly socks 2

I love these! I will make them again, but I will either use smaller needles (I used 2.5 mm) or take a stitch out of the pattern repeat somehow, since I like my socks a little bit snugger. Also, the heel is a bit deeper than I need it.

Overall, though, a very nice and lovely pattern.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Spring Thaw Socks

I am shocked, shocked, I tell you, to find out that there is gambling going on here I neglected to post any pictures of my Spring Thaw Socks.

This was one of those patterns that I knew I had to knit as soon as I saw the pattern. And I wanted to make an awesome gift for my friend Barb, who gave up a week of her life to come over every day and nurse me through recuperation from my ACL reconstruction (last May - ahem).

The pattern is from the Summer '08 Knitter's magazine, and you can see their pictures of it here. It is supposed to resemble leaves floating down the little rivulets that form in the spring thaw, or some such. I just thought it was beautiful.

Here's mine in progress:

Spring Thaw with marker

You can also see my much-loved and much-used bead row counter. I think I need to make some more of these, for myself and as gifts.

Somehow I gave these away without taking any pictures of the finished socks themselves (how can this be???), but here are two of the almost-done sock:

Spring Thaw nearly done

Spring Thaw again

ETA: I had to go back to Ravelry to look up the yarn, which luckily I had posted there. It is Lana Grossa Meilenweit, which comes in 100g skeins.

I think this is a beautiful, beautiful pattern, and I love the construction with the ribbing on the sides of the foot. I have actually made two more pairs sort of based on the construction (but without the fancy leaves and with 2x2 ribbing instead of 1x1 TBL ribbing), and they are the best-fitting socks I have, bar none. I'll post them -- but first I have to take pictures of them. (I may have to launder them first -- I wear them all the time.)

And Barb seemed quite delighted when I was finally able to give her these last month. I finished them way before that, but somehow we were never able to catch up with each other until December. Yes, I know I could have mailed them, but I selfishly wanted the pleasure of seeing her receive them.

And we were finally able to return her ice-cube machine, which was quite handy during the recuperation.

Thank you, Barb! Love ya!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Actual knitting content right here!

I've been knitting a lot, but obviously I have fallen out of the habit of blogging my knitting. But earlier today I updated our knitting group's blog, and it felt good. Time to update some of my own knitting projects!

I made two helmet liners for the brother of a colleague. I don't support the war, but I still can support our service members.

Helmet Liner 1
Helmet Liner I

Helmet Liner 2
Helmet Liner II

Sorry, I didn’t save I found the ball bands. It is Regia or Opal or something similarPatons Kroy Socks – wool and nylon self-striping yarn, in colors that say “Desert Storm” to me and that Patons calls "Buckthorn Stripes", from Dharma Trading Company.

Each hat took one 50 gram ball of sock yarn. There’s some left over from Helmet Liner I, and none left over from Helmet Liner II.

Helmet Liner I seemed to me to be a little pointy and a little short, so I made a few mods so that Helmet Liner II is a little less pointy and one inch longer. The stripes worked out really well with this pattern, through sheer serendipity.

I heard back from my colleague's brother, who reports that, as I feared, Helmet Liner I is too short, but he says that Helmet Liner II is long enough and fits well under his helmet.

The pattern is Jamie's Helmet Liner, by Robin DeWeese. The pattern was inspired by a striped short-row hat in a heavier weight yarn. You can read what she has to say about her pattern on Ravelry.

I made some stitch markers for a neighbor and friend who has just completed her treatment for breast cancer. We're all keeping our fingers crossed for her.

Lisa's Stitch markers

And I made a set of row-counting stitch markers for a stitch marker swap on Ravelry. I'm not sure I ever blogged my own set of these, but you can see them here and there in various project pictures. I love these and use them all the time.

Pearl stitch markers

Hopefully, more actual knitting content soon. Happy New Year, everyone!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Best. Christmas. Present. Ever!

Not to brag, but we (DH and me) got the Best. Christmas. Present. Ever!

Bar none.

I'm not kidding.


Ode to Parents

I am a voice you brought into this world of love and joy,
and for that and much more I thank you with the gift you have given me

You have given me a great gift,
this voice I have.
This home I have.
This life I have.

This body of flesh and bones
with a heart of love
and a brain of wisdom.
I still have much to learn.
But I trust you
to teach me well
passed the time I leave the nest.

Your guidance I will cherish always,
and your happiness and smiles
I will try to copy.

This is because I love you.

We love it.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Singing Claymation Camels!

I missed them for years, but today it occurred to me that they must be on YouTube.

And they are!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Mothers and Marriage Equality

The following came up in a debate on a Ravelry forum by member Farfalla (note: you have to be a member to view it), which I found to be wonderfully eloquent and moving.

"An argument has been coalescing in my mind recently, as more and more religious people are making me understand that their definition of marriage is “a specific type of union that is sanctified by God according to their beliefs.”

"I draw your attention to an adoptive mother. She is not, biologically, a mother. But she is legally (and socially and practically) a mother. But none of that will ever make her biologically a mother.

"Let’s say a group of people, for some reason, decided that it was patently ridiculous for someone to be legally allowed to use the term ‘mother’ and have all the rights & responsibilities associated with motherhood when they were clearly, factually, not a mother biologically. They decided that the definition of a mother was a female who had borne a child, and to that child, or children, she was now a mother. Well, that’s impossible to argue with, right? I mean, that’s the biological definition of mother.

"To those religious people who believe that a marriage is any union between any one man and woman and therefore sanctified, that definition is as true to them as the biological definition of mother is a true definition. But that’s the key–it’s only one definition of mother. Legally, mother has another meaning. You can be an adoptive mother without having to call it “civil parenthood” or “nonbiological parenthood” or some other weird word whose rights were not clearly defined already and may not be recognized even if legal. You’re just a mother – a different type of mother.

"So why can’t we do it this way with marriage? To be a biological mother or a legal mother you don’t have to fulfill the same criteria. It should be that to have a (sanctified according to some religions) marriage and a (legal; has nothing to do with religion) marriage you don’t have to have the same criteria, either.

"The stranger who swats the cat away from eating my hair at night pointed out that in Connecticut, the reason they wound up with gay marriage was that they tried separate but equal (the civil union thang) and people weren’t recognizing it. Like, they passed a law saying they were supposed to be treated equally, but people weren’t. It’s not just a word. It’s over a thousand individual rights. That’s one definition of marriage. The one some Christians talk about is clearly another one. We don’t need another word, just like we don’t need to call someone a life parent or some other contorted phrase when they’re a mom of an adopted kid."

In other news, I have knitted two helmet liners for a colleague's brother in Iraq, an 8" square for a group charity afghan, a beautiful pair of Dragonfly socks for myself, and a very simple, plain vanilla sock that is probably going to have to be frogged, boo.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Radical Knitting Exposed!

OK, no pictures of my knitting, yet, but here is some knitting content at last!

The Colbert Report exposes dangerous radical knitting:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Love will Prevail

Someday I will post knitting pictures for you, I promise. I have even made some stitch markers that I think are very cool, and that I use to count rows and pattern row repeats. They are similar to those row counter bracelets, but they're stitch markers.

But for today, I think it is more important that I show you this short film, titled "Love Will Prevail", featuring my brother and BIL, about the aftermath of the passage of Proposition 8 here in California.

Tomorrow, November 15th, 2008, at 10:30 a.m. PST / 1:30 p.m. EST, there will be simultaneous protests against Proposition 8 and the other anti-marriage equality propositions that passed in Florida, Arkansas and Arizona on Nov. 4th

Most protests are at your local City Hall, or you can check for more details.

And remember -- Love Will Prevail.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Keith Olbermann on Prop. 8 and a new spinning wheel

I promise, this is still a knitting blog. I have some pictures to post and everything.

At the moment, though, I am still extremely disturbed over the passage of Proposition 8 here in California. I went to one protest last weekend, and intend to go to another this coming weekend. On Nov. 15, there will be coordinated protests across the nation, from California to NYC. If you have any interest, check here.

Keith Olbermann of MSNBC had this to say on the subject of Prop. 8's passage:

The only thing that would have made it better would have been if he had said this before the election. Well, can't have everything.

In other (knitting-related!) news, I won a spinning wheel. The Knitters for Obama group on Ravelry had a contest to promote donations to the campaign, and I won a Louet S51 Double Treadle (DT) Finished Spinning Wheel. Is that awesome, or what? As soon as I figure out how to put it together, I'll be able to take on the challenge of learning to spin.

Just what I need, another hobby! The wheel is quite beautiful, though. DH, the woodworker, admired the lovely maple of the wheel and the workmanship. High praise, coming from him.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Please Vote No on Prop. 8

Some of you have seen the photos I've posted here of the wedding between my brother and his partner of many years. That was a very, very happy day for the entire family. It was a wonderful day, not only because of their wedding, but because it seemed that everyone at San Francisco City Hall that day was filled with joy, whether they were there to marry, to attend a wedding, to show support for those marrying or to work at City Hall that day.

I imagine that most of you know that there is an initiative on the ballot in the election that is now less than a week away. Proposition 8 is aimed at eliminating the right that same-sex couples now have to marry in the state of California.

I have been donating time and money to the campaign to defeat Prop. 8 -- I don't understand why someone who doesn't want to marry a same-sex partner feels that they should try to take that right away from anyone else.

The most recent No on Prop. 8 ad features our senior US Senator, Dianne Feinstein:

I urge you all to vote No on 8 and to donate money to No on Prop. 8 if you can. It is coming down to the wire and more ads are needed to counter the flood of ads funded by the other side, the ones who want to take marriage away from only a specific group of people.

Please help.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Finally, my BBFF (best blog friend forever), Liz, and I met up! She was in our area for a national fencing competition, and I went to meet her. I missed her fencing, but together we visited The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, where they had an interesting exhibit of very untraditional knitted items. Downright political, some of them. I took a few pictures, then realized I wasn't supposed to, so those won't appear here.

But here is a picture of Liz and me, taken in front of a display of crocheted coral reefs:
Liz and me

Finally, I have actually been pretty single-minded in my attention to a knitting project -- to the extent I have been finding time for knitting, that is. Things have been pretty crazy around here this summer, what with the remodel and actually moving out for a couple of weeks and everything. We have finally moved back into the house, although it is far from done. It will be months before I find some of my stuff, I'm sure.

But as I said, my knitting time has been going toward just one project, this one:
Refined Aran

That's only part of the back, so it's not very exciting to look at for you, I suppose. I actually have the fronts and sleeves done already, so if I don't run out of yarn, I should be done soon. I could run out of yarn, though. It's going to be close. I got this yarn at Stitches in 2007, if you can believe that -- a 10-pack of DK merino in a lovely red color. I have to admit its not my favorite yarn, though, it has what to me is an unacceptable number of knots and flaws in the spinning, resulting in an enormous number of ends still to be woven in.

The pattern is the Refined Aran Jacket from the cover of the Winter 2007 Interweave Knits. I sure hope it turns out.

I also made more stitch markers. Apparently I am a magpie -- if it's shiny, I am drawn to buy it.

sun and moon markers

This is another adjustable pattern row counting marker, similar to this one.

sun marker in use

I'm pretty happy with these.

And -- I finally have found a great knitting bag! I actually got this at the running shoe store, on sale.

knitting yoga bag

The bottom is yoga mat material! Supposedly it was saved from being tossed into the landfill. I figure it will make the bottom water resistant -- and it makes the bag stand up.

knitting bag 2

Look, it has a built-in water bottle holder yarn bra and key fob yarn guide!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Freedom to Marry!

Just Married
Just married!

At 9:00, Tuesday, June 17, 2008, my brother Stuart and John, the love of his life and partner for over 21 years, were finally able to legally marry!

Stuart and John (my BIL!) are a bit famous in the marriage equality movement, plus they had one of the first appointments of the day, and the press were mobbing them – I couldn’t get any pix of the wedding itself because of the camera lights in my eyes. So the press got many more pictures than I did (better ones, too, I'm sure). Here are a few links:

Before the ceremony.
Exchanging rings.
From overhead.
A hug.
During the ceremony. You can even see me in this one, in the blue sweater.
Descending the central staircase. You can see me in this one, also.

This interview contains still pictures and audio of the entire ceremony, which was lovely, and performed by a judge for whom John used to clerk. It's about 5 minutes long.

This video is only about 2 minutes long, and is also lovely.

Snow Globe 1

Two grooms

These were our wedding favors. Cute, yes? Sorry the picture is so blurry. Now you know why I am not a professional photographer. I could have gotten a better one by kneeling, despite my knee injury, but I am no Tiger Woods. In fact, I'm better. I already had my left ACL reconstructed.

One of the happy things Tuesday was that it was NOT all about the two of them – over 200 licenses were issued Tuesday at San Francisco City Hall, and dozens of ceremonies took place. Every 10 or 15 minutes, cheers would burst out as another happy couple walked down the grand staircase.

I have really come to expect to see the two of them on the news whenever there is news about marriage equality – but now, there are hundreds of couples involved, and it is wonderful.

We had a rehearsal dinner Monday night, then Tuesday we were at City Hall right after they opened (slight delay – they had to wand me due to my post-op leg brace setting off the metal detector). They had their license appointment at 8:15, and their ceremony appointment at 9:00. A judge for whom John once clerked performed the ceremony, and did a beautiful job.

The press mobbed them – sigh, a lovely small wedding, surrounded by dozens of photographers, a few of whom were disregarding their wishes and blocking out family and friends. However, we tried to be understanding – it was not just a family wedding, it was a historic occasion.

We were there most of the morning. A couple descending the grand staircase was invariably applauded by everyone in the rotunda. There were women there from a Unitarian church handing out cupcakes, people outside were singing and handing out flowers. All the protesters were missing Tuesday, having spent Monday evening vigorously protested the wedding of two octogenarians who had been together over 50 years. Don’t you think they’d all have something better to do??

Then we had a reception lunch. It was great fun, and exhausting, and energizing, too.

The current poll numbers seem to show that the marriage discrimination proposition won’t pass, but it’s a near thing at this point. Legal experts are divided on the effect of the proposition on existing marriages if it does pass, but I think most of the experts think it wouldn’t affect the legal marriages being performed now.

However, it was all about the joy and love on Tuesday. Hooray for marriage equality!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Four Finished Objects and a Knee

Does that sound like the opening to a bad joke, or what? "Four FOs walked into a bar, see . . . .

Kyoto 1

Kyoto V-neck Cable Shell by Zukii Design.

The last will be first because I love it so much. I think this is the best thing I've knitted so far.

I love this sweater. It’s for my DD, and I might have to make one for myself as well. She fell in love with the pattern at Stitches West 08 and, although she knits, this is still beyond her. I wish the pattern had charts, but other than that it is well written and very detailed.

No mods, except for doing short-row shoulders and a three-needle bind-off instead of binding off and seaming per the pattern instructions. I guess I do have one small quibble there -- in this size the front shoulders are reduced down to 12 stitches and the back shoulders are reduced down to 9 stitches, plus a small back neck treatment that adds just enough room to pick up the three stitches to make up the difference, but it never tells you to do that. Overall, though, I'm very pleased with this pattern.

Berroco Comfort was recommended by the store for its washability and range of colors so that’s what we went with, although what I was really after was a cotton blend. The yarn was splitty to work with so I had to use a cable needle, even though these are only 4-stitch cables and normally I wouldn’t use a cable needle for those. Other than the splittiness it was very nice to work with.

Shedir for Lisa
Shedir cables

Lisa's Shedir

My neighbor Lisa is currently struggling through breast cancer treatment. This Shedir is for her. It's in Rowan Calmer. Yes, it's almost the exact same color as the February Baby Sweaters I'm making. I never said originality was my strong suit.

When I gave it to her we got to chatting and mostly as a joke I mentioned to her the Knitty pattern for knitted prostheses. She has some cashmere, she tells me, and she might want some! I'm standing by to knit Tit Bits for her if she wants. Lisa has a great sense of humor and a wonderful family and a whole bunch of support. If you'd like to add your good thoughts for her, please do.

Galaxy socks

Gauge kicks my butt, again.

As in, I measured my gauge at 9 spi and the first sock came out huge. Over the course of things my gauge changed to 8 spi. I ended up frogging it back to the toe and re-knitting it.

However, all is now well and mom says that they fit. Interesting flashing with this yarn, which is what it’s designed to do. As long as mom likes them, which she does.

The yarn is Regia Galaxy, color Jupiter Blue. They are based on the
Riverbed Master Pattern by Cat Bordhi.

Carina's Feb Baby Sweater
Carina's button

Carina's February Baby Sweater

Look, I already told you I'm not very original, and that I was making two February Baby Sweaters for two baby girls. Here's the second one. It is just like the first one, but a bit longer in the body and arms. I think I love the buttons (from JoAnn’s) even more than the buttons on the first one, which I also love.

When I told the new parents that the buttons aren't functional but have snaps underneath, they were ecstatic. It's a happy synchronicity that lack of foresight in planning buttonholes can lead to contented parents, that's all I can say. EZ's pattern tells you to make buttonholes every 8 garter ridges, but it doesn't tell you this until the yoke is completely done. Yeah, I'm not much of a one for "read the whole pattern before you begin." Now you know.

Now, as to the knee part of the bad joke -- the punch line is that I had knee surgery May 19th. I have a picture of my post-operative knee, but I'm not sure how to post it so that those of you who are squeamish don't have to see it. I'm not even sure I want people on Flickr to accidentally be subjected to it. Not that it's that bad, the wounds are closed already, but not everyone would want to see my leg with five holes punched in it plus an incision, so I don't think it's going up.

I tore my left knee up while skiing in February, and it took until May for the surgeon to find the time in his schedule for me. Not that it was that bad, mind you, but it sure cut down on the exercise. Maybe that accounts for the stream of FOs. And some of the flab.

Now it's fixed, so it's sort of an FO, too. I had meniscus repair and ACL reconstruction, so there's sewing and a couple of screws inside my left leg now. I still have a long way to go with physical therapy and must wear a big honking brace on my left leg until 6 weeks post-op. My friend Barb came over every day the first week to help take care of me so that DH wouldn't have to take off work. Isn't she a sweetie?

Clearly I need to knit her something.