Thursday, April 30, 2009

Yet another fine day!!

I'll keep it short, but show some photos.

For those of you who've wondered where the Goob's hair came from? The color is straight from her old man. On the other hand... the cowlicks and the curls?

Yup. Straight from me.


Otherwise, the spinning is coming along. (Back problems? Officially and for sure caused by too much spinning. Oh well.)

Ladies and gentlement, I bring you a new color scheme...

Frog in a Blender.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Poetry again.

Because it's another shit day and I don't feel like Googling all the pictures I'd need for an art history rant. (Portland Vase, coming soon to a bitchfest near you.)

Ogden Nash is one of my favorite poets ever, for several reasons. In part, just because he was brilliant. I doubt he's the first guy to alter words on purpose to make them rhyme, but he did it with great dexterity and effect. I also love Nash because when I was in seventh grade, we were forced to do a "Poetry Unit" by a bitch teacher (who I later helped force to resign, but that's another blog post) whose idea of "Poetry Unit" was heaping a huge assignment on a bunch of twelve year olds and dumping them in the library for a month so she wouldn't have to teach.

We had to find thirty poems by 'real poets' and illustrate them.

You can all imagine what I thought of this assignment, and ultimately, after a significant amount of research (impressive amounts, really, considering I was twelve), wound up using Ogden Nash and Shel Silverstein poems for all thirty. (It was seventh grade; I didn't know about Allen Ginsberg yet. Or Sappho. Or, well, you get the idea. I'd have used them if I'd known about them.) I illustrated them with hand-drawn cartoons.

I'd done the work, and she couldn't flunk me, but she wanted to and was pissed. That summarizes my entire relationship with this specific English teacher. And I spent probably double - even triple - the time and energy on assignments, finding a way to make them unflunkable yet annoying, than just doing the damn assignment would have required.

Which is probably the story of my entire academic career, but let's have some poems.

These aren't entirely the ones I used in seventh grade; honestly, I don't remember most of those. These are ones I found today and liked; some are chosen for relevance either to me personally or current events, some chosen just because they made me smile. All by Ogden Nash. (More of his work can be found here.)

A Drink With Something In It

There is something about a Martini,
A tingle remarkably pleasant;
A yellow, a mellow Martini;
I wish I had one at present.
There is something about a Martini,
Ere the dining and dancing begin,
And to tell you the truth,
It is not the vermouth--
I think that perhaps it's the gin.

No Doctor's Today, Thank You

They tell me that euphoria is the feeling of feeling wonderful,
well, today I feel euphorian,
Today I have the agility of a Greek god and the appetitite of a
Yes, today I may even go forth without my galoshes,
Today I am a swashbuckler, would anybody like me to buckle
any swashes?
This is my euphorian day,
I will ring welkins and before anybody answers I will run away.
I will tame me a caribou
And bedeck it with marabou.
I will pen me my memoirs.
Ah youth, youth! What euphorian days them was!
I wasn't much of a hand for the boudoirs,
I was generally to be found where the food was.
Does anybody want any flotsam?
I've gotsam.
Does anybody want any jetsam?
I can getsam.
I can play chopsticks on the Wurlitzer,
I can speak Portuguese like a Berlitzer.
I can don or doff my shoes without tying or untying the laces because
I am wearing moccasins,
And I practically know the difference between serums and antitoccasins.
Kind people, don't think me purse-proud, don't set me down as
I'm just a little euphorious.

Song of the Open Road

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree
Indeed, unless the billboards fall
I'll never see a tree at all.

What Almost Every Woman Knows Sooner Or Later

Husbands are things that wives have to get used to putting up with.
And with whom they breakfast with and sup with.
They interfere with the discipline of nurseries,
And forget anniversaries,
And when they have been particularly remiss
They think they can cure everything with a great big kiss,
And when you tell them about something awful they have done they just
look unbearably patient and smile a superior smile,
And think, Oh she'll get over it after a while.
And they always drink cocktails faster than they can assimilate them,
And if you look in their direction they act as if they were martyrs and
you were trying to sacrifice, or immolate them,
And when it's a question of walking five miles to play golf they are very
energetic but if it's doing anything useful around the house they are
very lethargic,
And then they tell you that women are unreasonable and don't know
anything about logic,
And they never want to get up or go to bed at the same time as you do,
And when you perform some simple common or garden rite like putting
cold cream on your face or applying a touch of lipstick they seem to
think that you are up to some kind of black magic like a priestess of Voodoo.
And they are brave and calm and cool and collected about the ailments
of the person they have promised to honor and cherish,
But the minute they get a sniffle or a stomachache of their own, why
you'd think they were about to perish,
And when you are alone with them they ignore all the minor courtesies
and as for airs and graces, they uttlerly lack them,
But when there are a lot of people around they hand you so many chairs
and ashtrays and sandwiches and butter you with such bowings and
scrapings that you want to smack them.
Husbands are indeed an irritating form of life,
And yet through some quirk of Providence most of them are really very
deeply ensconced in the affection of their wife.

And maybe some Shel Silverstein to round things out. This is one of his more famous poems, and a favorite of mine. More found here.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bless my blog readers.

Every one.

Not ONLY did the handspun sell within five hours of being put up for sale (!!!), Needle Tart was mad that she didn't get a chance to buy it.

Money and an ego boost, all at once.

Maybe it wasn't a shit day after all.


Shit day.

Yesterday Amy Lane mentioned knitting me a new nervous system on her blog. (That would be so totally cool.) And she also mentioned I'm not a whiner. Which was good news to read yesterday, because I sure feel like it. Right now we're fucking with my medication (I was getting open sores on my skin from the anti-inflammatory) and I have to try this new anti-inflammatory for a month before we're sure it doesn't work and we fuck with it some more.

So right now all the muscle pain I'm having is either the new anti-inflammatory not working, or too much spinning. Or fybromyalgia. Or muscular dystrophy. Or a brain tumor. Wait. No. Brain tumors are the migraines. Never mind.

Shit day. Oh well. Fuck it.


The crafting is going well because I use it as a distraction when I don't feel good. I'm working on That Spinning Project:

It doesn't look like much now, but you'll love it when it's done. Really. Even if you don't like green.

I'm still knitting on the sock. Deciding how long I want the leg at this point; the yardage may decide for me. This sock is getting knit off the shorter of the two skeins, so yardage may decide length. This toe-up thing is pretty clever, isn't it?

I'm reasonably sure the sock will fit. Kind of loosely, but I like that.

Last, I've listed the Berry Picking over at my Etsy shop, here.

Part of me wants to keep it, but I've already got three other piles of hand spun that I'm not knitting up, sitting in The Pit. Sometimes you just need to let your creations go.

I think I'm gonna quit trying not to whine and go draft some green wool now. And plot knitting projects I may never do. It's good to dream.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Quote for the day.

ME, placing ham roast in front of the Goober: Here you go. Hot dogs.

GOOB: This isn't hot dogs!! It's.... MEAT!

Any given Sunday.

My day goes something like this. (Sundays I try to do what I want, instead of what I should do. The husbeast does the bulk of the Goob-watching, and I do whatever I like. Which usually involves hanging around the house anyway.)

I slept in, and got up late, and saw this, as soon as I left my bedroom.

Please note the pirate dinosaur jammies; she's on the larger of the two sizes we got her, now.

I got some tea and went off to my office, where I finished a cabbage rose I'd been working on since the night before. (Each petal is made individually... that takes a while.)

I really need to get over the botany student, knee-jerk urge to build anatomically correct flowers. It'll never happen anyway, and I'm driving myself insane trying. I've actually caught myself looking at botany books before working on ribbon flowers. That is madness.

The Goober (who was at this point wearing her taffeta 'Pwincess' dress, because it was the only way I could bribe her out of her jammies) spotted the flower and wanted it for her hair. After a round of intense negotiations, I came up with a solution both of us were willing to live with.

Getting her to calm down while I hot-glued the barrette to the flower was quite a feat. And I still want a USB glue gun. It'd be way more convenient.

I'd finished the current dye job as of Friday, and let it dry overnight. Yesterday was a whole lot of pre-drafting. Today I started spinning.

This is the nefarious project. No. You can't see it yet. But the first skein should be along any time; I'm excited and dying too see how it looks, so I'm going to ply the first bobbin instead of spinning all the singles first and THEN plying.

I got around to knitting a swatch of the Berry Picking. Love it. It's knit up here at seven stitches per inch, and it could be knit more tightly for socks.

I'm listing it in the shop tomorrow. But I hope nobody buys it.

For the rest of the day, I intend to do much the same. Some floral work, some spinning, maybe knit on a sock. If I feel really motivated I'll clean off the back porch. Maybe. And the Goob's room needs cleaned.

Tomorrow is soon enough for all that.

Sehkmet, of course, regally ignored all the action, pretending to sleep in her nest in my office.

But if you know cats, you can tell by the ears that she's 'watching' everything.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Hey, spinners.

I've been thinking about it... and reading other blogs. I know I'm not the only person who spins as an alternative to tranquilizers, but how many of us are out there?

If you spin, and have been doing so long enough to get past the frustration-learning level, do you find it relaxing? Is there anyone at that level of proficiency who does NOT find it relaxing?

A curious mind wants to know!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Topic jumble.


I knew everyone would be entertained by yesterday's tale. Some were surprised I like the Beat poets (though I'm not sure why), and Amy Lane and I are discussing the virtues of making students memorize stuff. (I'm biased on that topic - I have a problem bordering on learning disability, with memorization. If I can understand something, I'll remember it forever. But word-for-word memorization is nearly impossible for me. You should see me try to remember PIN numbers for debit cards.)

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't DISLIKE the Beat poets, but they aren't my favorite poets in the whole world. I like their topics, and how they conveyed them, and I have infinite respect for their ability to communicate feelings with words. It was Beat poetry that made me start to understand what writing is REALLY capable of; more than the essays and short stories I was fed in the public schools. However... well, they aren't my favorite. They sure as hell aren't pretty or calming or pleasant (and the authors would have said "damn straight, it's not supposed to be!" to that), and honestly, for my poetry I prefer some calm reflection to screaming at the world. Though of course both have their places in the overall scheme of things.

So, ultimately, the bottom line is, I chose that poem to suggest to my college friend because I knew it would speak to him, and it was a good thing for him to be exposed to. Not because I LIKED it.

Poetry I do like? Well, it's probably a cliche, but I love Robert Frost. (I like Mozart, too.) He's readable, pretty, and either expresses something I feel - though of course better than I ever could - or makes me think. Here's my favorite of his. It's common as dirt and I'm surprised no one else has posted it yet.

The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Amazingly, even at the age of thirteen or so, when I first read this poem, I got the larger metaphor for life, and liked the message. Looking back now, twenty-seven years later, I think that I should have taken a few more roads less traveled by in my life, but I took enough of them that I'm not totally disgusted with myself over it. He sure says it better than I could.


Plying and spinning.

Last night I dug in with the Eureka marathon on Sci-Fi and plied 180 yards of Berry Picking goodness.

It's slightly overspun - good for sock yarn - and also not washed yet. A lot of that twist will relax once it is. I'm thinking I should rename this "Summer in Farm Country" because that's what I was reminded of last night. Not just the berry picking and the summer sky, but the deep, intense red of the poppies that grew under the dining room window, and the pink of the wild strawberries (I couldn't pick those 'cause I'm allergic), and the dark purple of the clematis my dad grew and trained every summer by the back door. There's even a lavender, reminding me of the lilac bush in the yard that pissed my mother off because it almost never flowered (it was a subject of high comedy when she would lay into that thing with clippers). It's all in there. Plus some exotic bougainvillea pink that reminds me of Hawaii. Love it. One more bobbin to ply, then I have to decide whether I'm starting on the Purple Trainwreck, or spinning more shop stock.

I'm thinking shop stock. I have a nefarious, and I think funny, idea. Not quite Vitreous Humor, but more knittable.


The sock knitting is coming along. This is my second go at it; the first one was too big. I'm pleased to report the handspun unravels halfway decently. Not great, but you can knit it up again with relative ease and without it looking like crap after.

Those colors aren't quite right; I took it under incandescent light, so it's more red than it should be.

QUESTION (AGAIN) FOR THE SOCK KNITTERS: I've seen some hilarious "stitch keepers" around, that bundle up all the working needles and hook over the ends, with elastic holding the ends together? I've found some plain old boring ones for sale, with simple caps. Where are you guys getting the ones that look like sea creatures and other crazy stuff? 'Cause I want some.
ETA: Mystery solved. They're homemade from finger puppets. I'm on the case and will create something unholy, soon, I'm sure. Thanks for the help!


Otherwise, I got a shipment of books from Lacis. These are two, which kind of set the mood.

The beaded knitting is gonna have to wait until payday, but I went to the craft store yesterday for other stuff (more on that, on a shorter blog post later) and took a look at the beads suggested for the projects. (Number eleven seed beads.) I won't repeat what I said in the store for fear of offending someone, but it's a miracle they didn't throw me out of the store. I'm thinking I'll experiment with larger seed beads and some size ten crochet cotton.

As for the ribbon? Well, at the least, it's gotten me motivated about organizing all the ribbon I've got.

Really need to develop an off switch about ribbon when I'm in craft stores. Sales be damned. (I picked up another roll yesterday. !!!) I'm plotting what to do with all this stuff, in such a manner as to make money. More on that later, too. But it's gonna be interesting, I hope.


Now I'm gonna go read more of my art history book that lives on the dining room table. I'm up to the Roman Empire and am now looking at frescoes about two thousand years old.

This may yet prompt another art-history rant about Western bias in art history books. Or how so much great art is not in the countries of origin where it should be. I know I've already said it, but DAMN.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Plying hath begun.

I'm trying to preserve the small flashes of bright blue 'summer sky' while blending together the purple and red of the 'berries'. Kinda triky. Certainly educational. (This is another thing chain-plying makes possible; never happen with regular plying.)

Poetry, for Amy.

Who is getting into National Poetry Month quite a lot. I have a story to share, that will hopefully make her smile.

During College Part Two, I was in my mid-thirties (with white hair, no less), surrounded by kids whose average age was about twenty. Luckily, they thought I was 'cool' and treated me, if not as an equal, then usually as a friend and classmate. I really enjoyed hanging out with the best of them; smart kids with their acts together is always a pleasure, regardless of age difference. Occasionally they would ask for help or advice, and when appropriate, I would help them out (within reason). One favorite topic was homework; more specifically, how to make it interesting. I had a reputation (also among the faculty) for turning assignments on their sides and making them, if not entertaining, then at least interesting enough that they weren't painful.

So, one day, a kid in my Cultural Geography class explained he was taking Poetry Appreciation and his assignment was to memorize and recite a poem. Did I have any suggestions for poems? Something easy to remember, or interesting?

This pisses me off, you see, because nowhere in the term "Poetry Appreciation" is the word MEMORIZATION used or implied. And what is more guaranteed to turn a twenty year old kid off poetry than making them memorize some tedious piece of crap? (Hell, it turns me off poetry, and I'm a former English major!) They're supposed to learn to APPRECIATE the poetry, not find it annoying.

I told him the answer was Beat Poetry. (Amy Lane is laughing right now, I bet you.) I explained that I consider Beat Poetry the forerunner of rap music, and it was originally written to be as much a performance as words on paper - maybe more emphasis on the performance. He was interested. Then I pulled him over to the library, found a poetry anthology, looked up one in particular, and laid it in front of him. "Do this."

HOWL, part I, by Allen Ginsberg
[this is extremely long, so I'm publishing just the first portion; for the whole poem click on the Howl link, above]

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull,
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their money in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall,
who got busted in their pubic beards returning through Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York,
who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their torsos night after night
with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, alcohol and cock and endless balls,
incomparable blind streets of shuddering cloud and lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the motionless world of Time between,

I suggested he also find video of Ginsberg on the internet, performing the poem. Then to go into class and scream it while beating on the walls and rolling on the floor, as is appropriate.

He did. (See what I did?? Got him to APPRECIATE POETRY. Clever, no?)

He got an A, though his professor complained (grouchy old bat). The whole campus talked about it. And when MY English professor got wind of it, and my involvement, I'm told she laughed so hard she nearly fell out of her office chair (she was one of the Good Ones).

Video of Ginsberg performing Howl on YouTube, here. This is SO totally not safe for work.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I'll tell ya what I'm gonna do.

Donna Lee and several others wanted to know how I intended to spin the pound of Purple Trainwreck. I intend to spin it just like I'm spinning the Berry Picking sock yarn I'm working on now; worsted-spun triple-ply. I'll probably chain-ply it like I'm doing the sock yarn. I may get a wild hair and do regular triple-ply, but I doubt it. Chain-plying is less bother. (Spoken like a self-taught spinner.) As for pre-drafting, well, that'll be the same too, so yesterday while working on the sock yarn, I took some photos.

The carpet beetle situation has forced me to get organized and kind of paranoid; the up side is, there's almost no cat hair in the fiber when I spin it, now. The orange nesting bowls were scored for sixty cents each, on sale at Hancock Fabrics. They'll even hold water if I ever go insane and try to wet-spin linen.

I use three bowls, plop the roving to be separated in the middle bowl, and start pulling the roving in half.

Once I've got the roving halved, I roll up one half - way too heavy to spin from yet - and put it back in its storage container, to be dealt with later. Then I shuffle the bowls, and split the half into half again.

I keep doing this until I wind up with something almost, but not quite, as thin as a pencil roving. Exactly how thin depends on how thin the single is, that I'm aiming for. But for sock yarn, it's pretty darn thin.

Usually that's it, and I roll it up and toss it in storage container number two.

Once I've got the second storage container full of rolls of roving to be spun, I seal everything up, re-nest the orange bowls, and then use that to hold the single ball of roving as I spin it. I get more out of the storage container as needed.

Mostly this is it for pre-drafting, but if one of the almost-pencil roving splits weirdly and is uneven or a little too heavy, I will do formal pre-drafting and pull it between my hands to thin it down and smooth it out.

Und THEN, I schpin! (That's supposed to be a silly fake German accent.)


In other happy news, I got a "Kreativ Blogger" award from Tinkingbell!

Apparently I'm interesting and clever. Always a nice thing to hear. Thank you!


Also, I caught the Goob watching TV and reading a book yesterday. (I made her move back from the screen, as soon as I took the picture. Honest. Well, and got done laughing.)

All she needs is some knitting, and she'll look just like her mum.


Speaking of knitting, the orange sock is too big. I'm starting over. I'd like to complain, but I keep thinking it's good practice. Left the knot out of Judy's Magic Cast-On and am much happier. It's still kinda uneven but that just needs practice. I've got piles of stuff I really should be knitting... but I keep returning to the spinning wheel. That's what I do when I'm stressed, and with the retirement and more musical doctors at the Air Force base, well, it's a darn sight better than real tranquilizers.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The foundation of civilization.

I actually had this thought about a week ago, mentally kind of noted it down as a good blog post topic on a day when I have nothing to talk about, and took a photo, knowing eventually I'd stall and need a topic. Today's the day. Here's your photo.

You're looking at it and thinking, 'is that PEANUT BUTTER?' and you're right, it is. Peanut butter on whole wheat toast. Looks like a snack, right? Sure. It's also what built civilization as we know it.

Waaaaay back in the neolithic, we started farming. (We as the human race, of course.) Mostly I suspect that we started off with hard-to-find plants that were hard to gather, and THEN moved on to food crops. But when we did start cultivating food crops, we went with whatever was easiest to grow and most nutritious (though I'm sure that's not how the neolithic farmers would have phrased it, but they understood the concepts). Yield per acre was also a big factor.

Inevitably, no matter where it was in the world, the human race settled on a combination of two families of plants: Grasses and beans. (Poaceae/graminae and fabaceae/leguminosae, if you wanna be a botanist about it.) Always. Every last one of the early civilizations used a combination of grain and beans. In the Middle East, it was wheat and barley for the grain and peas, beans, and chick peas for the beans. China, it was rice and millet for grain and soy beans for the beans. Even central America did it; corn and beans. Sub-Saharan Africa was a latecomer, but used millet and peanuts. Europe used oats, barley, and beans (plus grains and beans imported from the Middle East).

The reason this is the default for agriculture is easy. The two, combined, create a 'full protein', or the whole compliment of amino acids that the body needs to function. Some anthropologists treat the grain and beans combo as interchangeable, but the truth is, not all grains and beans are created equal, and some combinations are better than others for that 'full protein' result. (I once did a research project on this, with charts of amino acids and the works.) According to the research I've done, the best combination is wheat and chick peas. So eat all the whole-wheat pita and hummus that you can hold.

My particular snack of choice has a typically American history. The wheat came with the European settlers, and they got it, originally, in trade all the way from the Middle East (a long, long time ago). The peanuts came with the slaves when millions were stolen from their homes in Africa and brought here. The invention of peanut butter is a hotly debated subject, but most historians these days agree it was not invented by George Washington Carver (though he invented all kinds of other crazy uses for peanuts, including plastics and drugs). It seems that everyone, sooner or later, had the idea to grind up peanuts and use them as a spread or sauce.

Without these 'full proteins' in the diet, mankind would never have had the get-go to build cities, specialize in trades, and generally create what we know as modern civilization.

Not bad for a peanut butter sandwich, huh?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Easter. (And dye stuff.)

I know, I know. A week late. You see, around here, I'm pantheist with a sort of lean toward Norse paganism and Taoism (they aren't as far apart philosophically as you'd think), and the husbeast is don't-give-a-shit-ist. So we're raising the Goob exposed to all religions and not intensively in any one. The way this applies to us celebrating Easter is, last week we were informed by the in-laws (who've been remarkably tolerant about the whole religion issue) that all religion aside, every kid NEEDS a basket of chocolate and toys in the spring and it MUST be done.

My only comment was something about how if I'd known it was required I'd have done it on the Spring Equinox like normal pagans.

So, today, when the Goob woke up from her nap, I ducked inside her room and said "I think the Easter Bunny has been here." She looked like this at the news:

The Easter bunny HAD been there, because there were tracks through the house (a husbeast family tradition):

One of the bunny hops landed on the cat.

Sorry for the blur; she was annoyed and moving.

Anyway, she followed the tracks through the house:

and got her basket full of candy and puzzles and a Domo (every kid needs a Domo), and was allowed to eat all the candy she wanted all afternoon (another husbeast family tradition), and is at the moment staggering as she races around the house hooting and hollering.

I dread bead-time, and am allowing the husbeast to deal with it, since the 'free candy' was his bright idea. All I will do is sing "Twinkle Twinkle" and run.

However, this afternoon, I found the husbeast taking a photo of this:

An earless chocolate bunny. I kind of laughed, and he informed me it was "blog-worthy". I don't know as he's ever deemed anything blog-worthy before, and it is funny, so there you go.

If Google botches this photo load I swear I'm gonna go kick the husbeast.


Yesterday I was a big vague on the dye process that produced the pound of Purple Trainwreck. I didn't want to bog us all down on details and more discuss the big picture. Inevitably, there were questions (that'll teach me about 'bog'). So here's the explanation.

My terminology was basically 'mordant yarn, fling dye, wash and rinse'. And that IS the basic dye process, in a nutshell.

The mordant I used was good old vinegar. Sometimes I use alum and cream of tartar. They're both reasonably safe. So is citric acid. If and when I ever get a dedicated dye studio (and am not dyeing things in my kitchen, surrounded by food and cooking utensils), I want to play around with iron, tin, and copper sulfides, which are used quite a lot in natural dyeing. (Natural dyeing, it's not the dyes that will kill you. It's the mordants.) Traditional turkey red is madder with an iron mordant, for instance.

The dye I used was Wilton's "Violet" food coloring. Which is in fact a combination of two dyes (food colorings), red 3 and blue 1. (For international terms, you gotta look 'em up. Sorry.) See, red 3 sticks to everything - even things you don't want it to, like THE WATER YOU MIX IT UP IN. Yes, really. So pretty much the instant you pour it on a mordanted protein fiber, it sticks. Bam. Right where it landed. Then the blue 1 sort of soaks in, oozes around, and takes more time 'taking up' into the fiber. You can see it best in these spots off the roving:

In old-fashioned dye lingo, the dye is 'broken', meaning it took up into the fibers in a strange and funky manner, due to how it was handled. Usually this indicates a huge mistake in the dye process, but with this stuff it takes nothing short of a miracle to get it to dye evenly; I've managed it in the past, but it has taken some really crazy handling. Instead, I've quit fighting it and break it on purpose, and call it "Purple Trainwreck". That's where the name comes from. It's broken. It's a trainwreck.

The old adage about ten pounds of potatoes in a five pound sack comes to mind when dyeing roving, especially this one. The bag this roving came in had the volume of perhaps three quarts (or three liters). Now, I've stuffed it into a big plastic storage tub with a ten gallon/forty liter capacity, and it just fit.

Gonna take forever to spin it. And I'm still not sure how I'm gonna dye The Bells Fiber.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Obviously this stuff practically EXPLODES when allowed to fluff up. Sure looks like a sweater's worth of yarn to me.

Judging from the evidence, I'd say Left Brain needs to learn when to shut the hell up.

Lazy Saturdays.

Yesterday I ran errands and did grocery shopping and was otherwise virtuous. Tomorrow I've got to open up the back porch for the summer, sweeping out a winter's worth of fallen leaves and scrubbing at least two pounds of dirt and bug shit off the patio furniture. But today I'm doing what I want.

Last night I took this,

and opened up the bag, spread out the wool, and soaked it overnight with a mordant. Wool is like those little compressed synthetic sponges you buy for your kids, you know, that are in little pill forms, and you drop it in water and it expands out into a dinosaur.

In this case, it expanded to fill that metal pan, and was still compressed. It could have filled a space twice that size, if the space had been available. (I really need a five gallon pot, but my piece of shit stove can't heat a five gallon pot, so...)

Anyway. I opened it all up, fluffed it, soaked it, and this morning, I dyed.

It's been in the oven for about three hours now, and will probably be in there another hour, so the dye takes.

One pound of Purple Trainwreck. Woohoo!

This is the test dye and spin, before I tackle The Bells Fiber. (For that I think I'll buy the five-gallon pot.) I'm using one pound of fiber. She sent me 500 grams, I think, so it comes out about equal. I think. I hope.

Part of this morning's process involved dumping a whole pitcher of super-concentrated purple dye into that pan of wool. It was so dark and dense it was impossible to see the wool through all the dark almost-black dye, and I was having a stroke, thinking I'd wind up with a whole pan of super-dark purple evenly-dyed wool which wasn't going to do me a damn bit of good in terms of test-spins. For about an hour I had this kind of conversation going with myself:

LEFT BRAIN: Oh shit, oh shit, that's too fucking dark and if it's all the same color and solid it's not going to teach me shit for that other wool.

RIGHT BRAIN: With as tightly packed as that wool is, there's no way in hell it's evenly dyed. Chill out and get over it.

LEFT BRAIN: Oh shit, I'm fucking this up.

RIGHT BRAIN: It's an EXPERIMENT, dumbass, if you learn from it, you did it right.

LEFT BRAIN: Oh, shit.

RIGHT BRAIN: Shut the hell up, you idiot.

At any rate, you can see from the photo it's unevenly dyed (even moreso when you look at the underside and between the coils), so all that fuss was for nothing.

When I'm not spazzing out (and sometimes when I am), I've been spinning the Berry Picking.

I'm actually tracking how much time I spend for pricing purposes, and have decided hand-spinning is like hand-knitting. You can never charge what it's worth. But I spin for relaxation anyway, so it's all good.

Hope everyone else is having a mellow Saturday.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sekhmet, you fucker.

You probably can't tell in the photo, but she's got her claws dug in so she can hang on while I treadle.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

VK sucks even more than we thought!

I mention this for the, what, three of you who don't read the Yarn Harlot.

Over on her blog, today, she's discussing how she's trying to knit a pattern from Vogue Knitting 2006, and she found on Ravelry that there's an error in the pattern. So she went to the web site at VK and got the corrections.

And the corrections are wrong.

Details at her blog, here.

Cuteness and fiber. And sewing.

Yeah, sewing.

Yesterday the husbeast bought new uniforms (the new digital-camo working uniform in blue) and had to sew on patches and hem pants and all that jazz. The husbeast does the majority of his patch-sewing. That kind of heavy-duty stuff bothers my hands (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). It puts us in an odd situation because I'm the one who knows the gory details of sewing, but he's the one doing it. I do a lot of prep work though, like cutting pants and pinning hems, and all that.

The husbeast isn't bad at the basic stuff, of course (it's a sewing machine, of COURSE he can use it, it's a POWER TOOL), but when things go south, I get pulled into the chaos.

The digital camo is a new uniform, made with new fabric that we'd never dealt with before. So before I knew it, the husbeast was in my office, looming over me as I knit a sock (more on that in a minute), asking what to do to get the damn patches to hold still while he sewed them down, because pinning alone wasn't cutting it.

Long story short, he needed iron-on fusible stuff (Stitch Witch), we didn't have any in stock in The Pit, and off I went to Hancock Fabrics to buy some. And some properly matching thread, since I was there. And, well, there was a sale and I got some ribbon and some plastic bowls to hold spinning fiber off the floor away from Little Bastards. Managed to avoid the leftover Lindt Easter chocolate, though. (Go me. I'm on a diet.)

I got home, and was greeted at the door by this.

She was talking in a fake deep voice and insisting she be called Daddy. Heeheehee.

What really killed me was how the hair boofed out from under the hat in the back.

That's not the digital camo, that's an old camo hat that Dadad gave her to play with.


In between Vogue Knitting reviews (sorry it wasn't more vitriolic, but they haven't sucked quite so bad lately... wait 'til the fall and holiday issues, those are usually insane) and runs to the fabric store, I did fiber stuff most of yesterday.

About a year ago I dyed up a whole lot of roving and put it for sale in the shop. No one bought it, so now I'm spinning it. From interest generated by the orange Dreamsicle sock yarn, I'm going to spin it into sock yarn and offer it for sale back at the shop. Unfortunately I'm gonna have to charge a good bit, because spinning sock yarn takes a lot longer than spinning super-bulky. (If you don't spin, think about it - 100 yards of super bulky out of the amount of wool I've got, or 500ish yards of sock yarn. Remember I've gotta ply it, too.)

The new gonna-be sock yarn looks like this:

I'm calling it "Berry Picking". The colors remind me of just that, as a kid. Where I grew up it was cherries (tree in grandma's yard, I got elected to climb it), blueberries (best friend's parents raised them - still do, far as I know - in a special bird-proof surround), and blackberries (field behind the house I grew up in). There's the occasional length of pure light blue, the color of a summer sky. I can almost hear the bees buzzing and smell the green scent and feel the bramble scratches on my legs.

At the least, I'll knit a sample of this when I put it up for sale. Ostensibly so buyers can see how it knits up, but really because I want to see how it knits up. I'm already hoping no one buys it.


As for the Dreamsicle yarn, it's getting turned into toe-up socks. I decided to knit a pair plain for practice before tackling my Roulette sock. I've never knit toe up socks before. (Which means I'll miss the damned end-of-April deadline for the Roulette Roundup, but I don't wanna screw up the sock I need to knit 'cause I love the one I've got.)

Judy's Magic Cast On was used (very clever but next time I'm skipping the slip knot), and then I increased to 74 stitches 'cause I'm knitting this on size ones at about eight stitches per inch.

I've finished the toe and am now at the lovely length of plain old stockinette before I start the gusset increasing. (I'm gonna do a reverse gusset-and-heel-flap heel. It's the only one I know how to knit.)

Next pair, I'm gonna do the bottom of the foot in reverse stockinette, as suggested by Luneray. Sounds delish. The plan is to knit up all the sock yarn that's not selling in the shop. Shouldn't take more than fifty years.

Yes, I'm hooked on sock knitting already. Gloat, all of you.


Back to cuteness, they've been running some shorts on Disney Kids called "Shaun the Sheep". (Links definitely safe for work.) They're one of those great cartoons (claymations?) that is funny for adults, too. So far I've caught references to Monty Python, Spinal Tap, and Saturday Night Fever in there. Plus there are mini knits (watch for the farmer's sweaters). Apparently they're by the Wallace and Grommit people and there is a huge cult following. Who knew?

Introductory music video here. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2009.

I understand VK has changed their name overseas to "Designer Knitting" or somesuch. Should be the same old mag, though. Scroll down to look at some photos and see.

As always, patterns referred to by number instead of page. Anything in quotes is from the magazine, all else is my own work. Photos from the Vogue Knitting web site, obvious written-over bits were added by me.

Articles and advertising this time around were kinda interesting. Lots of henleys and similarly put together things from the yarn companies, also lots of stockinette bodices with lace or other openwork for lower body and/or sleeves. It's a nice look for a lot of the population; wise choice on their part.

One of the first things I noticed was "KnitBook". You pick out the patterns you want, and someone (Vogue? The details are sketchy) prints them out, binds them in a hardcover spiral-bound, and sends them to you. Ironically, the ad says "find out more at Vogue Knitting .com", and of course I can't find anything on the web site except a letter from the editor, even with a search of the site. Hitting Google, I found a link BACK to the VK web site, here, that gave details. Along with their copy editor/writers, they need to shoot the IT department. Anyway, looks like a good, if probably expensive, idea. No prices listed that I could find with a quick skim. Always a good sign it's affordable. Ha.

"Sweet Silks" was the section on yarns. This time around, they offer a LIST of silk yarns (that no doubt pay them advertising revenue). A photo of five balls of yarn - all the same yarn, just different colors - on the page with the list. You have to search to find out what yarn it is. No other yarns are shown. Brain. Dead.

"Frugality is the New Black". Article about knitting recycled material, like making shopping bags knit from cut-up shopping bags. You get the idea. More topical and useful to the environment than bamboo yarn, but couldn't they get a title that wasn't lameass?

Meg Swansen writes about Bohus Stickning - Schoolhouse Press has a new book/DVD set available, though it's a documentary, not patterns. The cost of the magazine is worth the one photo of the Bohus yoke (yolk? Sorry, had to, had to).

Nicky Epstein, apparently designer-in-residence at VK (hey, it's a paycheck), offers up a pattern for a scarf. It is knit of beaded silk and looks like sewn-together potholders.

The insult of the issue, "The SKINNY on Fine Yarns". Meaning sport weight or sock weight for garments. Now. Don't get me wrong. It's an excellent article, and I like the author, Carol J Sulcoski, quite a lot. Plus I agree with her to boot. It's just utter hypocrisy and a slap in the face, coming on the heels of last winter's super-bulky issue where they insisted that super-bulky knitting was IT, and now here's an article telling you that super-bulky is going to make you look like a woolly mammoth on growth hormones. Vogue, you assholes. (To repeat. Excellent article, good writer, hypocritical salesmanship from Vogue. Not the author's fault.)

Trends from the runway show lots of glitter. Sequins mostly. Yay.


First section, "Vernal Interlude". Sounds like a kind of venereal disease. "Lengthened days lead to languorous knitting." Yuh huh. The styling is rather lameass but it's not packing crates.

1. Lace pullover. Raglan shoulders and a big whack of ribbing at the neck that looks hot. Otherwise, it's a lace summer pullover. Hope you have a camisole because at that gauge, the holes are huge. Sizes from 32 in/91.5 cm to 44 in/111.5 cm bust.

2. Silk tank with star motif. Thanks to Norah Gaughan, everyone wants to knit in all directions these days, but it's trickier than it looks. (This is not one of her patterns/designs.)

See the wadded-up fabric at the shoulders? (Circled in red for your entertainment.) Unless you've got boobs on your shoulders, I'd find a way to decrease those stitches out of there 'cause right now it looks really, well, crappy. Sizes from 34 in/91.5 cm to 38 in/96.5 cm.

3. Yet more with the multi-directional knitting. It's got potential, but there is no edge except for some single crochet - which rarely prevents curling. I wonder how much starch is in this thing. Add in the button issue... what the fuck is up with the buttons?

Personally I'd stop with the third button from the top, between the breasts. That fourth button pulling the cardi all out of whack? No idea what in hell's up with that, but they should have known better than to button it. And look all the way at the bottom edge; there are more buttons there, for who knows why. It'd be impossible to walk or sit down in and look like ass with that last button buttoned. I assume it's decorative. Comes in ONE SIZE, a 31 in/78.5 cm bust. Vogue, you assholes.

4. Giant doily with arm slits. Not holes; slits. No shaping. If I were knitting this I'd arrange it so that the seam was under an arm and less noticeable, rather than RIGHT SLAP DOWN THE MIDDLE OF THE BACK. Two sizes, for what it's worth.

Section two, "Fine Art". They're claiming it's "contemporary lace". "...a gallery of posh-as-a-picture pastel openwork." Urgh. They shot it in some kind of museum or gallery with photos and paintings and statuary everywhere, which looks kind of ridiculous looming in the background.

5. Blue lace cardigan. The way the thing looks, it's like it's straining to meet across the model's torso, giving the illusion that it's four sizes too small. There's actually ease there, and the lace is shaped to do that, with the points. I imagine on anyone other than a size six model it'd make you look like you're wearing your kid's shirt and it doesn't fit. Sizes from 32 in/81 cm to 49 in/124.5 cm bust. Because plus sizes are JUST the people who need to look like they squeezed into their clothing.

6. Dress. Knit with "Silk Purse" from Alchemy Yarns. $200 USD to knit the dress, and if you look closely in the magazine, you can see the yarn is already starting to pill. I also wonder how the dress would hang if the model wasn't working it.

7. Deadhead vest. These have never been flattering. They never will be flattering. They aren't cutting edge, and I wish they'd quit putting these damn things in their magazines. Sizes from 36 in/92 cm to 50 in/125.5 cm.

8. February lady sweater with raglan shaping instead of a yoke. Still waiting for high fashion or cutting edge. Sizes from 33 in/84 cm to 44 in/111.5 cm.

9. Tank with some lace and lacing. (Is that Abraham Lincoln looking over her shoulder?) Cute enough, but I'd leave out that horizontal line of stitches straight across the tits unless you are an A cup and want to actually emphasize that you have some. Don't believe me? Let me illustrate.

HEY! LOOK AT MY TITS!! Sizes from 31 in/78.5 cm to 37 in/94 cm. Because only size smalls wear tank tops. Vogue, you assholes.

10. Cardigan of the Grandma's Bed Jacket variety. Women have been wearing these for two hundred years at least, just not in public. If I were making it, I'd alter it so the little drawstring tied under my breasts and was actually flattering. Sizes from 33.5 in/85 cm to 47 in/119 cm. I actually like this. But it's about as cutting edge as a brick.

Third section, "The Sensual Side of Pink". Well, no kidding. We don't refer to women's nether regions as 'pink bits' around here for nothing. "Feel free to blush." Oh, kiss my ass. This section does have the best styling I've seen in ages from Vogue. Gotta give them that. Even if they did probably just hop the train to Coney Island.

11. Vest sort of thing with "Boa Handpainted Ostrich and Goose Down Feathers" yarn. (Gee, I wonder if the yarn company paid to have this used...??!!??) No shaping. It is a box with feathers on it. Now. Having worn feathers (yes, yes, I've worn feathers on formal wear before. Pink, even), I am here to tell you, they are HOTTER THAN A SUMMER IN HELL. NOT what you want to be wearing in freaking summer time. This, apparently, is a feather boa sewn to the edge of the boxy sweater. Only one place is selling this yarn, in the UK, at seven pounds per meter, which, roughly, comes out to $60 USD just for the feathers to knit this silly thing. Which will then give you heat stroke. Sizes from 30 in/76 cm to 40 in/103 cm bust. At least the large sizes of the world will not have to face wearing Big Bird. Oh, the indignity.

12. A 'throw' in bamboo yarn. Now. Call me crazy, but I always thought the point of a throw was to, you know, THROW it over yourself and be warm. Why, then, would you create one with big holes in it? (It would be nice as a wrap, sized down to something wearable, though.)

13. Openwork sort-of-plaid scarf. I think the dropped stitches and seafoam lace go together to create a really cool lace/texture pattern. But scarves with supposedly summer patterns feel like a ripoff. Scarves are winter wear, for crying out loud.

14. Yet again with the directional knitting, this time for a bolero. I strongly recommend against knitting this thing... it's got some kind of problem. I think it's supposed to drape, but doesn't. Let's have a look, shall we?
See the green circle? There's really bad finishing where the sleeve is sewn into the bodice. The lace stripes don't match up (which is probably impossible to pull off, but it still doesn't look good). And I lean toward thinking, if this is the best the professionals can do, sewing in those sleeves will likely drive me insane. Plus, there's a whole lot of fabric that doesn't know where to go (again, I think it's supposed to drape and isn't). See the red line? That's at least six inches of fabric, just sticking out from the body. And the blue circle is there because there's a big clumpy fold of fabric slopped out over the shoulder seam. I'm also very suspicious about what the back of this thing looks like; I'm betting it sticks out away from the body at the hem, from what we can see in the photo. And to add to the insult, there's only one size, a 36 in/91.5 cm bust.

15. Again with the hippy vest shit. 1. This isn't Vogue Crochet, motherfuckers. 2. Maybe it looks better with a tab of acid. I'm not gonna try it and find out.

16. Dress. I suppose they're inevitable, especially in summer issues. This one's not too bad, an overgrown tank that's probably flattering to most women who would wear knitted dresses. Not that we'll ever know for sure because there's no photo of her standing in it, only the lounge shot. Personally I'd leave off the patch pockets; no one needs double fabric at their hips, even a size six. It's not like you'd put anything in the pockets anyway. In sizes from 32 in/81 cm to 37 in/94 cm bust. Assholes. I'm not saying women with sixty-inch busts need to wear knitted dresses, but there are women bigger than a thirty-seven inch bust who'd look good in a knit dress. Oh, and it's knit in silk. $446 USD to knit the medium size. No, that is not a typo. I'd consider a cotton/tencel blend from Elann, myself.

17. Another Grandma's Bed Jacket cardigan. This one with Grandma's Afghan Stitch on the edges! Whee! In sizes from 36 in/91.5 cm to 44 in/111.5 cm.

18. Cardigan That Ain't Right.

See how the knitting is stretched to the limit across her bust? That's going to - obviously - pull like crazy on all the surrounding fabric, including the shoulders (red line). Long story short, all that tension is going to pull those funky shoulders right off and they'll slide down your arms. I'm not sure if it'd be easier to keep on if it was unbuttoned, but I doubt it. This could probably be made to work with a whole lot of fitting and custom knitting to tailor it to a specific body, but as it is, the model's got her shoulders hunched forward just to keep the cardigan on. In sizes from 30 in/76 cm to 34 in/86 cm at bust. That's the problem right there; it's too fucking small.

Section, uh, next. The much-beloved designer section. "Banish the winter blahs with a cool case of the blues". Yeah, yeah, sure. But the last issue they were telling me winter was awesome. Which is it?

19. Lace tee by Anna Sui. What is the point of knitting lace, if you use a yarn that is so busy it obscures any detail whatsoever? And why is the model standing like that? I'm guessing no waist shaping. Sizes from 30 in/76 cm to 50 in/127 cm. Points for a wide range of sizes anyway. And it's nice enough for a lace tee shirt.

20. Sheer tank by Wenlan Chia. Okay. First I'm about to swoon because this isn't super bulky cotton at two stitches per inch. It's three per inch. Hahaha. There's some directional knitting that's pretty cool, and she varies the sheer-ness of the fabric by using multiple strands of yarn, fewer strands in some places. However. The part I would make sheer is NOT the front, for crying out loud. (Note to VK: If you need Photoshop to remove the model's nipples for the sake of decency, this is NOT going to go over with 99% of hand knitters. FYI.) Plus there's the Big Butt Length, but you can fix that by just not knitting so much freakin' length to bag at your waist. If you knit the whole thing opaque so your nipples don't hang out, I think it'd be a great summer sweater. Possibly the most wearable thing she's ever done. In sizes from 33 in/84 cm to 40 in/103 cm bust.

And then, the Easy Glitz section. Hang on a minute, I have to go barf. Okay. "Take your place atop the fashion podium in metal winners that knit up one... two... three." Can it get lamer? Why yes. It can. The majority of these designs are nothing but regular old shirts, knit in metallic and called fancy. Sow's ears, silk purses, you get the idea. There are a couple gems, here, though.

21. Metallic tee. Just knit it in cotton and wear it with jeans or shorts, for crying out loud. Sizes from 34 in/87 cm to 45 in/115 cm bust. Dude. Sequined pants? How very 1985 of you.

22. As always, Norah Gaughan comes through with something cool-looking. I think this would be flattering to a wide variety of figures, though you'd have to be very careful to get that ribbing to hit precisely at your waist. It's knit with linen, but anything heavy and drapey would work, like cotton, rayon, or hemp. Sizes from 34 in/86 cm to 50 in/127 cm. Go, Norah.

23. Mohair blouse with crystal beads at neck. This is lovely, really. But it's knit with something similar to Kid Silk Haze and that stuff is HOT. I'd seriously consider knitting this and wearing it as a layering piece in winter. Mohair is not the go-to fiber for summer. Pretty, though. Sizes from 33 in/85 cm to 44 in/113 cm.

24. Silk sleeveless cardigan thingie with a ruffle around the opening. Cute idea, iffy execution. For one, it's silk. Those buttons are humongous and heavy and the silk just can't support them. (Red circles.) Plus, well, LOOK.

What the fuck's up with that pose, with the shoulders straight across?? I'm betting no shoulder shaping. Knit in "Disco Lights" silk with sequins by Tilli Thomas. Around $200 USD to knit it. And I'm telling you, this kind of silk is NOT for summer. Sizes from 30 in/76 cm to 50 in/127 cm.

25. Tank top. It's a great tank top, and I want to knit about ten of these in different colors, but it's a freaking TANK TOP. Knitting it in metallic yarn doesn't make it dressy, just scratchy. Sizes from 33 in/84 cm to 44 in/111.5 cm.

26. Tee shirt with directional V-shaped knitting. Not sure those stripes are flattering... maybe. Depends on your figure. But they're awfully close to horizontal stripes, which no one needs. See above about how knitting it in metallic yarn doesn't make it dressy. Sizes from 30 in/76 cm to 38 in/96.5 cm. This would be flattering to larger sizes, if those sizes were available. Vogue, you assholes.

The last section. Thank the gods. "A Lacy Affair". If it's an affair, I want Hugh Jackman in there somewhere. Now. "...inflame a passion for ethereal openwork design." Imagine me hacking up a hairball like a cat, here. (And I like lace!)

27. Fingerless lace glove thingies. First off, I don't see the point in wearing gloves in summer, fingers or not. Secondly, these are way too bulky for the summer thing, even if you were going to go all Victorian and wear gloves. And third? I don't think they fit right.

28. Rectangular mohair lace wrap. How many patterns for these have been published in the last five years? A hundred? More? Are we tired of them yet?

29. Well, points for a wearable sock pattern. Still not sure how socks are high fashion, but they're nice socks.

30. Still don't think scarves are summer knitting or wearing. Still, if you want a beginner lace pattern, this is one.

31. Lace stockings. Fun idea, pretty execution. Get a garter belt, though; if these things stay up on their own, I'll eat the pair. (A band at the top of tight garter stitch, sideways, might keep them up. Maybe. With a garter belt.)

There you have it, then, Vogue Knitting's summer spread. Not the worst issue they've ever done; if you sift through the dross there's some nice, wearable summer knits in there.

Personally I'm still seething that they did the super-bulky issue last time and now they're telling me that super-bulky is unflattering and we should knit with sport-weight. That just galls me. I need chocolate.